Steps to Buying a Home

The Home Buying Process

Manufactured Home Setup & Installation

Aside from the introductory remarks, make sure the following steps for installation are included in a written itemized list before you sign the contract to purchase your manufactured home:

  • Introduction
  • Transporting Your Home
  • Building A Foundation
  • Leveling Your Home
  • Securing Your Home To The Foundation
  • Finishing Your Home
  • Connecting Utilities

Introduction

Manufacturers must provide instructions for proper home installation. Usually, the retailer will install your home or use a contractor and the price of your home typically includes installation. You should get a written explanation of the installation services from your retailer. Be sure to read your contract before you sign. If installation isn't included, you may have to hire a professional. Ask your retailer for recommendations.

Whether the retailer or a contractor installs your home, follow these guidelines listed below. They will help you understand what you're paying for and how to check that the work has been done properly. You'll also better understand your warranty protections. Get written proof of the installer's qualifications. In North Carolina, installation contractors are required to be licensed by the NC Department of Insurance.

Ask if there is a written warranty for installation. If not, have the contractor put in writing any promises or claims regarding the installation.

Ask the contractor to explain the installation process; have it written into the agreement.

Transporting Your Home

The manufacturer is usually responsible for transporting the home from the factory to the retailer. The retailer or its transporter is usually responsible for delivering the home to your site. However, if roads are inadequate or obstacles make delivery difficult, your retailer may not be able to accept responsibility for delivery. Have the transporter check out the route beforehand to avoid problems.

Building a Foundation

Your home must have a foundation. In addition to following the manufacturer's instructions and complying with local codes, ask the institution financing your home or your rental community if they have special requirements. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA) and the Rural Housing Service (RHS) also have special foundation requirements for homes they finance. Remind your retailer of the kind of financing you're using so that all applicable requirements will be met. If you place your home on your own property, you can choose from a number of foundation types including concrete block, metal or treated wood piers; a concrete slab; or a full basement. A professional installer will know which local building codes apply. Ask the installer to obtain required building permits and inspections.

Leveling Your Home

Its critical that your home be leveled to meet the manufacturer's installation instructions. Otherwise, your home's weight will be unevenly distributed. This can cause floors and walls to buckle and prevent doors and windows from opening and closing smoothly. While the manufacturer's warranty won't cover repairs resulting from improper leveling, a written warranty from the installer may. Insist on a walk-through before the installer leaves. Check for signs that your home may not be level. Because some foundation supports may settle unevenly, it is important to periodically check that your home stays level. The first check should be done 60 to 90 days after installation, and then once every year.

Securing Your Home

To help minimize damage from high winds and earthquakes, your home should be anchored to the ground or concrete footers. Anchoring must comply with the manufacturer's instructions or as required by local codes. This is not a "do-it-yourself" project. Ask your retailer for more information. North Carolina has very strict anchoring requirements for manufactured homes that add to the homes' safety and durability.

Finishing Your Home

Your home may need finishing work, such as an enclosure around the crawl space. The enclosure must provide adequate ventilation openings at all four corners of the home. If you have a multi-section home, finishing work may include molding and joining carpet on the interior, and siding and roofing work on the exterior.

Generally, these tasks are handled by the retailer. Be certain that the contract clearly outlines the level of completion to which the retailer will finish the home.

Connecting Utilities

Installation should include connections to water, electricity, gas and sewer. If connections aren't included in the installation price, you'll have to contract for them separately. Your retailer can help you with the arrangements, or you can contact local authorities for more information.