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Manufactured Homes: What to Know Before You Buy

House & Apartment

This article explains what you need to know when you buy a manufactured home.


Here you will learn the importance of buying from a licensed retailer, using a licensed installer, preparing the land, and inspecting your new manufactured home.  

This article was adapted from the Manufactured Housing tip sheet at the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.  Revised on October 15, 2022

What are the most important things to do when buying a manufactured home?

When buying a manufactured home, be sure to: 

  • Buy from a licensed retailer. 

  • Use a licensed installer to install your home. 

  • Understand your warranties.  

  • Properly prepare the site and ensure that it's suitable for your home. 

  • Inspect your home thoroughly as soon as you move in. 

Where can I find information about licensed retailers?

It is best to purchase a manufactured home from a licensed retailer. For information about licensed retailers in your area, visit Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Manufactured Housing Division to search the Manufactured Housing Database

How do I prepare the land for my manufactured home?

Proper site preparation is important. Be sure to do the following:  

  • Make sure that all permits have been obtained, especially in low lying areas.  

  • Consider zoning requirements, restrictive covenants, and electrical, water, and sewer connections. You are responsible for your utility connections. 

  • Remove all debris, sod, tree stumps and other organic material from the area where footings will be located. Take special care to trim organic material to a maximum height of eight inches in the area where the home will be placed.  

  • Ensure that the exterior grade slopes away from the home to prevent surface runoff from settling under the home.  

  • Be sure there is adequate access to the site to prevent damage to the home during transportation.

What do I need to know about installing my manufactured home?

A manufactured home can only be installed by a licensed retailer or licensed installer who is bonded and insured. Otherwise, you risk having the home improperly installed without an enforceable warranty.  

Faulty installation can result in unsafe conditions, structural deterioration, accelerated depreciation, and higher utility costs. The bonding and insurance requirements protect you in the event that a licensed retailer or installer goes out of business before the warranty period expires. If you use an unlicensed retailer or installer and that retailer or installer goes out of business, you will not be eligible to make warranty claims.  

For information about licensed retailers or installers in your area, visit the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Manufactured Housing Division to search the Manufactured Housing Database

What do I need to know about the homeowner’s manual?

Your new home should come with a homeowner’s manual. This manual usually contains important general maintenance and safety guidelines. 

What do I need to know about warranties?

Your new home should come with manufacturer, retailer, and appliance warranties. The manufacturer’s warranty usually covers defects in the workmanship of the structure and plumbing, heating, and electrical systems installed at the factory. Appliances installed at the factory are also covered. The retailer’s warranty typically explains the terms of the warranty and the services the retailer will provide.  

Appliances may be covered by separate warranties that include use and care manuals if they are not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.  

It is important that you read and understand all warranties so you know what is and isn’t covered. You should also find out how to obtain warranty service.  Properly maintain your manufactured home and its appliances to ensure that your warranties will be honored. 

What do I need to know about doing a move-in inspection?

Carefully inspect your new home, both inside and out, as soon as possible after you move in. In some cases, the manufacturer and/or retailer will provide you with a checklist to make the inspection easier.  

For example, make it a point to open and close all interior and exterior doors. Problems with doors may indicate that the home was not installed properly and is not level.  

Examine walls, floors, and ceilings for damage. Verify that all windows, faucets, and appliances are in good working order.  

If you find any problems or damage, immediately notify the manufacturer and/or retailer in writing by certified mail, and request a return receipt.

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