Does Your House Measure Up, Part 2: Manufactured Homes

In our last post, we discussed in the importance of accurate measurements, and how there can sometimes be large discrepancies between what public records show, versus what actually exists.  Now, it Part Two, we will look at how this applies to manufactured homes.

Manufactured homes are a big part of the real estate industry in Western Kentucky.  Unfortunately, there’s way too much confusion surrounding this often very affordable type of housing.  To read more on what a manufactured home is, click here.

Determining the gross living area of a manufactured home should be easy.  I mean, after all, most manufactured homes are just large rectangles, right?  That being said, gross living area calculations are more often misrepresented in a manufactured home than any other housing type.  Why?

 

The main reason is that when the manufacturer lists the dimensions of a manufactured home (usually just two dimensions, with a few rare exceptions), it lists the shipping measurements.  In an article written for the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board, we read that

“Appraisers should be aware that the manufactured housing industry communicates the measurements of manufactured housing units as shipping measurements, which include the tongue, overhangs, bay windows, etc. This measurement is not to be used in developing the GLA square footage for appraisal purposes. “  (To read the article in its entirety, click here.)

So if the PVA, Realtor, or homeowner picks up on this less-than-accurate advertising, they will just assume that the dimensions listed are actually what they’re getting.  Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

 

Let’s look at an example.

A couple of months ago, I appraised a manufactured home which – according to the PVA – measured 28×70.  However, after I measured it (twice, to be sure!), it was found to actually measure only 26.8×60.  That’s a difference of 352 square feet!  Now, the listing agent didn’t measure the house, and instead took the PVA for their word.  The home was, therefore, advertised as having 1960 square feet, and was priced accordingly.  When it was all said and done, and the home was actually 1608 square feet (and subsequently valued less than purchase price), the sellers ended up taking close to $4,000 less than what they were going to get.

Public records’ measurements of manufactured home are almost always wrong.  These incorrect measurements can be costly.  Hopefully we’ve given you the understanding that accurate measurements are important, and how they can be different on a manufactured home.  In the final installment of this three-part blog series, we’ll conclude with looking at why all of this really matters, and how to prevent losing money and time on your next real estate transaction.