A Complete Manufactured Home Glossary

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Understanding the steps to buying a manufactured home starts by knowing the right terminology. Which terms are new to you?

You’ve finally made the decision to begin your exciting home buying journey with the Clayton team! Or maybe you’re still deciding which home is perfect for you. Regardless, we’re glad to have you as part of our family!

Whether you’re at the very beginning of your journey or you’re a home buying expert, it’s always important to brush up on housing terms. We want to make sure you understand every step in our home buying process, and what better way to do that than by giving you a simple guide to our lingo? We’ll have you talking like a Clayton Built® pro, all while creating a seamless journey to your new home.

Home Building Terms

If we were all professional engineers, architects or construction workers, this section would be easy. But, most of us don’t have in-depth knowledge about the building process of a manufactured home, so let’s break it down.

HUD Data Plate: The HUD data plate has information such as the name and address of the home’s manufacturer, the serial number, home model, the date the home was built, verification the home meets HUD standards and more. The data plate is usually found inside a kitchen cabinet, electrical panel or bedroom closet.

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Grading: Grading is shaping the soil around the home site and foundation to allow for water to drain properly.

HUD Code: The HUD Code is the national standard manufactured homes must meet. It includes guidelines for frame requirements, thermal protection, plumbing, electrical and more. It was put in place in 1976 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which manages the code and oversees enforcement.

HUD Tag: Also referred to as the certification label, all manufactured homes built and sold must be labeled with a HUD tag that assures the homeowner the home was built according to HUD’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

Mobile Home Tongue Hitch: Associated with moving a home, the tongue, or hitch, is attached at the front of the home to the steel chassis and is used to transport the home from one location to another.

Undercarriage: The undercarriage is the bottom part of the home that protects the insulation and keeps out moisture and pests. There are other parts under a manufactured home that may also be called the vapor barrier, mobile home belly, mobile home belly board, underbelly, bottom board and more.

On-frame: Modular homes are built to local and state building codes, unlike manufactured homes that are built to HUD code. On-frame modular homes have a steel chassis that remains permanently with the home.

Off-frame: Just like on-frame, off-frame refers to a type of modular home. Off-frame modular homes are removed from the steel chassis and placed on a foundation.

Permanently Affixed to Land: A home is permanently affixed to land when it is permanently resting on the base, or foundation, of the home and cannot be moved.

Pier and Beam: The pier and beam system is the most popular type of manufactured home foundation. Anchors are driven into the ground and steel straps are attached to the frame of home, all of which help stabilize the home against wind.

Roof Pitch Ratio: The ratio describing the slope of the home’s roof based on how many inches it rises for every foot in horizontal span.

R-Value: A value that represents the ability of insulation to resist the transfer of heat. The higher the number, the higher resistance of heat passing through the insulation and your home.

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Siding: Siding is the material that covers the exterior of the home and protects against the elements, pests and heat loss. Vinyl is a popular choice for manufactured homes.

Skirting: The skirting, also known as underpinning, wraps around the bottom of a manufactured home to enclose the crawl space underneath it and can be made of a variety of materials.

Truss System: The roofing frame is referred to as the truss system. This system, made up of a wood frame, is the base structure of the home’s roof, and it is where roof insulation will be placed. Shingles will then cover the top of the truss system.

Home Buying Terms

Now that we’ve discussed all the things you need to know about building the home, let’s talk about buying the home. Terms that pertain strictly to manufactured homes can be different from those you see in the process of buying a site built home.

Appraisal: The assessment of a home to determine its current market value, which is usually completed by a licensed third-party appraiser.

Chattel Loan: When buying an off-site built home, buyers often hear the term “chattel loan.” This type of loan is extended to an individual only for a personal, movable piece of property. The loan is secured by the personal piece of property.

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Conventional Loan: A conventional mortgage is a loan that is not government-insured or guaranteed but is offered by institutions such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers or online lenders.

Deed: A legal document that is recorded in the land records of the jurisdiction where the property is located that shows proof of ownership in the land and home, if the home is attached to the land.

Down payment: The amount you pay toward the home upfront, which is usually a certain percentage of the home’s value.

FHA Loan: An FHA loan is a government-insured home loan by the Federal Housing Administration that is funded by an approved, private lender and meets the FHA’s requirements to be insured, such as credit score, down payment amounts and mortgage insurance premiums.

Flood Zone: Depending on the region where the home is located, a flood zone is the rating of the estimated flood risk to the home.

Homeowner’s Insurance: Sometimes referred to as hazard insurance, homeowner’s insurance protects from losses and damage to your property caused by unexpected perils, which are exposures to dangers or threats such as fire, burglary, tornadoes, burst pipes, etc. Coverage will depend on the policy and what your lender requires.

Home Trade-in: Many home buyers often wonder, “Can I trade-in my manufactured home?” If you are currently a manufactured homeowner, you may be able to exchange your home at your local home center for credit toward a new one.

Loan Origination: Loan origination generally refers to the entire mortgage process that is to be completed to finance the purchase of a home, from the loan application to closing.

Mobile Home and Manufactured Home: Often used interchangeably, these two types of homes are actually quite different. Mobile home refers to a prefabricated home built prior to 1976, when HUD Code was put into place. Manufactured homes, like those built by Clayton, are homes built after 1976 in compliance with the HUD Code.

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Multi-section: Double and triple section homes can also be referred to as multi-section homes. Multi-section homes have larger, more varying dimensions than a single-section home and are delivered in two or three sections that are joined together at the home site.

NADA Guide: This website is the largest source for information regarding pricing, tools and value of assets like boats, automobiles, motorcycles and manufactured homes. You can also purchase a report to estimate the current value of your manufactured home.

Property Taxes: Property taxes are charged by local governments to generally help with funds for infrastructure, community service and education. They are typically based on the value of the property you own and are either paid directly by the property owner or by the lender through an escrow account, depending on what your lender requires.

Single-section: A single-sectioned home typically ranges in size from 784 sq. ft. to 1,440 sq. ft., which is about 14’ x 56’ to 18’ x 80’.

Roof Load Zone: Depending on the region where the home is located, a roof load zone is the rating of how many pounds of snow per square foot the home’s roof is required to be able to resist.

Site Prep: Land improvement options and site prep items, such as clearing foliage, grading the home site, constructing a driveway, etc., typically need to be complete before a home can be placed on the property.

Survey: A drawing of your property showing the location of the lot, the house, boundary lines and existing structures on a property.

Thermal Zone: Depending on the region where the home is located, a thermal zone is the rating of the U-value, which measures the rate of heat transmission or leakage through the home.

Title: A title, also sometimes referred to as a certificate of title, is a document that serves as proof of ownership of the manufactured home. This also can sometimes refer to the document that shows the legal owner of the land.

USDA Loan: A government-guaranteed home loan under the United States Department of Agriculture that’s funded by an approved lender and meets the USDA’s eligibility requirements to be insured, such as a low-to-moderate income and the home being located in a rural location.


Wind Zone: Depending on the region where the home is located, a wind zone is the rating of the amount of wind pressure a manufactured home is required to be able to withstand.

The housing industry is always changing, that’s why it’s important to stay up to date with the terminology. By understanding the terms, you can make a smart home purchase that fits your specific needs and budget.

I know what you’re thinking, this was a lot of information at once! We have you covered! Visit our Studio blog to find articles that tackle one topic at a time by category, from learning more about home financing and the building process to home features and visiting a home center.

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