Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Home is a Home is a Home...maybe

Little River Inn Resort
Not too long ago I did a long, involved, and rather heavily researched blog on manufactured houses and modular homes.  I ended up with a much healthier respect for how this type of housing is built and to what standards they are held now.

The Sun News did an article last year about the market for these "mobile homes" (which is not the correct word for what they are talking about) saying that sales for manufactured homes in Myrtle Beach were actually UP recently in the Grand Strand. One local company reported a sales increase of 15% in 2010.

To quote a manufacturer of modular homes in Pennsylvania from my other blog, here's a description of the terms and how they are rated:

"Over our 40-year history, Riverview Homes has sold mobile homes, manufactured homes, modular homes, two stories, sectional homes, single-wides, trailers, double trailers, triple-wides, double-high, etc.", he begins. "In the end what we have really sold is either a home built to the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) building code or to a State building code. In Pennsylvania, we build single family homes to the IRC (International Residential Code). In Pennsylvania, modular homes are built to the IRC and manufactured homes or mobile homes are built to the HUD code."

Wikipedia defines a similar difference. It says that typically a modular home is built to local state or council code, so it can actually have a different construction standard depending on the state where it will be located. Modular homes built for final placement in a hurricane-prone area can have additional bracing built in to make it more safe. Surprisingly, it says that after FEMA studied the destruction done by Hurricane Andrew, they concluded that modular and masonry built homes fared better than any other construction.

The Sun News article suppositioned that the increase in Myrtle Beach real estate sales of manufactured housing was due to a price usually under 100K, and the new government incentives going on at the time. It applied to these homes as well as traditional "built on the spot" homes.

All this being said, I had a friend who was married to a guy who sold Clayton Homes here locally, and while the inside of it was nice, (it even had a fireplace) the outside somehow reminded me of a life-sized Barbie doll house. It had this underpinning that was supposed to look like rock, but was made from fiberglass or plastic and LOOKED exactly like what it was. I was not impressed.

And unless you buy the land 20 miles from the beach, you're still going to end up paying a good bit for that...or worse, renting the land itself.

I guess it's all what you were raised with. I'm partial to a condo for myself anyway, but I was raised in an older wood and brick home, with parents who very much disdained what everyone called a "trailer" back in the day. Modular homes back then were pictured as very small, one piece "cottages" which are very popular in Florida. I did always think I'd like one of them, but have never seen one up close...unless you count the "villas" they have in the campgrounds such as Pirateland.

Either way, and no matter what Wikipedia says, I wouldn't want to be sitting in one when there was a hurricane within about 200 miles from it. My Allstate agent in Myrtle Beach doesn't offer SC homeowners insurance on what they consider a mobile home, (having a title instead of a deed) or unless it is "frameless". You would almost certainly be in one of our wind zones - I don't know of any place inside the Myrtle Beach or NMB city limits that would allow one. So there would be even more cost for wind and hail insurance. I'll stick with my condo in Myrtle Beach.