They mean quite different things…
Mobile homes – The term Mobile Home is often used interchangeably with the term Manufactured Home but in fact they mean quite different things. “Mobile Home” refers to homes built PRIOR to 1976 when the HUD code governing building standards for factory-built homes was instituted, greatly improving quality standards.
Manufactured homes – Homes built AFTER 1976 should, technically, no longer be referred to as Mobile Homes but instead are Manufactured Homes and are built to a higher standard of quality than yesterday’s “Mobile Homes”.
Manufactured Homes are built entirely in a factory under the federal building code administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These homes are constructed to meet the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standard Act of June 15, 1976. The federal standards regulate manufactured housing design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality. The HUD Code also sets performance standards for the heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems. HUD is the only federally-regulated national building code. Each home or segment of a home is labeled with a red tag that is the manufacturer’s guarantee the home was built to conform to the HUD code. On-site additions, such as garages, decks and porches, often add to the attractiveness of manufactured homes and must be built to local, state or regional building codes.
Manufactured homes generally come in single or two-section units and their dimensions range from 8 feet or more wide and 40 feet or more long. Manufactured homes can be placed on a basement and include multiwides and expandable manufactured homes. Excluded are travel trailers, motor homes, and modular housing.
Modular homes– A modular home is manufactured in a production facility and are built in two or more sections in a controlled factory setting that are then transported and assembled on location. The assemble process typically uses a traditional concrete foundation (permanent). Unlike a mobile home, a modular home cannot be moved once built. These homes are treated just like a traditional home you’d buy in a neighborhood. They offer outstanding features, a huge assortment of pre-designed homes, and their price per square foot are sometimes lower than the traditional stick built home.
Modular homes are homes assembled at the building site. Modular homes are built to either local or state building codes as opposed to manufactured homes (sometimes still erroneously referred to as mobile homes) which are also built in a factory but are governed by a federal building code.
Modular homes can be completely customized to meet the home-buyers needs and tastes.