Finding Land for Your Manufactured Home

A blue and white manufactured house is at the end of a long driveway, trees in the background.

The process of buying a manufactured home includes several different steps, and choosing your home’s location is definitely an important one. Learn what you need to know when you’re looking for land and some tips for how to find it.

Before you start your search, know that finding the right spot for your home involves several factors. Of course, the overall location is important, but you’ll also need to think about your budget, zoning rules and regulations, potential land and home site preparation steps, how your home will be delivered to the home site and more. We’re diving into an overview of things to consider when you’re choosing land for your new manufactured home.

What to Consider When Looking for Land

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Renting or Buying a Lot

First, you’ll need to determine which home site option works best for your budget and financing and whether your home loan is for the home only or the land and home. If you are looking to rent an open lot in a community, that will narrow down your search to manufactured home communities in your area that have available spots. Depending on the size and shape of your home, you’ll also need to ensure the lot is big enough. The advantages of choosing to rent a lot are that you’ll know the community is zoned for manufactured homes and they typically have the utility hookups ready. The downside is that you usually don’t own the land your home is on and that availability of lots may be limited depending on the demand. However, some communities are resident owned, which means you would be able to purchase a lot.

Another option is purchasing a move-in ready manufactured or modular home with the land included. These homes may be available in communities and neighborhoods or in more rural, private areas, depending on where you live. The upside to this is you don’t have to find land separately from the home because it’s already there and set up! However, this does mean you won’t get to choose the exact location of your home.

As a helpful reminder when you’re factoring in the costs of finding and setting up your land, if you want to move into a community that offers on-site amenities or join a neighborhood with a homeowners association, the rent for the lot may be higher or the HOA could have additional fees.

Purchasing land to place your new home on gives you the most options when it comes to location, but it can require more searching to find a property that fits your needs. If this is your situation, then you’ll definitely want to keep the factors below in mind.

Knowing if Land Will Suit Your Home

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When you’re buying a home, you’ll always hear that it’s all about location, location, location. And when you’re looking at land to put your manufactured or modular home on, there are several questions to ask about that location.

First, decide if it works for your life and plans by asking questions like:

  • How close do you want to be to work, schools, emergency services and amenities?
  • How is cell and internet service for the location? This can be important, especially for those who work or take classes remotely.
  • How long do you plan to stay in the area?
  • Is the land in area that could potentially increase its value over time?

Having your new manufactured home permanently attached to land can also help your home keep its value or even appreciate over time. This is especially true if your home is in a desirable or popular location. Whether you are looking for a spot with more privacy or want to be part of a neighborhood, find an area you’ll want to say and settle down in for a while.

In addition, you’ll need to confirm that the land you’ve chosen can have a manufactured or modular home placed on it. This includes answering questions like:

  • Is the land the right size and shape for your home?
  • Is the land zoned for residential use and manufactured or modular homes?
  • Is the land in a flood zone?

Before you buy land for your home, make sure to speak with your home center consultant and have the site inspected. You don’t want to buy the land only to find out that your home cannot be set up on it.

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Then, you’ll want to figure out what site preparation and land improvements will be needed. This can include answering questions like:

  • Will there be obstacles on the route to deliver the home, like narrow roads or low hanging tree branches?
  • Is the land accessible or will you need to have a driveway built? And do you need an easement to connect your home to the road?
  • Will the land need to be cleared of trees, vegetation and debris?
  • Have the soil conditions been tested or graded for drainage?
  • Does the land already have access to utilities like water, electricity, gas and sewage? If you are outside city limits, you will likely need a septic system and a well installed.

Any land improvements will add to the costs of your land and home purchase, so make sure to communicate with your lender and home center beforehand as the details of your loan may need to be adjusted.

Legal Items and Documentation to Consider

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If you have determined that the land meets applicable state and local zoning laws and building regulations for the type of home you’ve chosen, there are still documents that could be required, often requiring fees that may or may not be included in your financing depending on your loan. Some of these documents can include:

  • A land survey to determine the property lines.
  • A title search that ensures that the property has no lien (legal claim) so that it is free to be sold.
  • The deed or a legal description to the property.
  • A purchase agreement between the buyer and seller of the land to advise what is being purchased and the cost.
  • An easement may be needed before you can build a driveway to access your house if it has to go through someone else’s property. An easement is legal permission from the other landowner to use it.
  • Building permits may be required for the laying foundation, as well as additions like porches and garages, utility installation and more.
  • Flood insurance may be required if your home site is located on a flood plain. Depending on your lender, proof of general homeowner insurance may be required as well.
  • Property taxes will typically be required if you own land, with the amount determined by your property’s assessed value and the tax rate. Depending on your lender’s requirements, you may have a mortgage escrow account that takes care of the costs.

Not every home site is the same, so what is required before you purchase the land or place a home on it can vary depending on the specific situation and the loan type.

How to Find Land for Your Home

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Now that you understand some general questions to consider when you’re deciding on land for your home, you may want to know some tips to help you start finding it. Here are two ways Clayton can help make your search easier.

Clayton’s Find Land Tool

To use our Find Land tool, start by entering the zip code of the area you’re looking for land in. Then, you’ll see available lots, along with a map. Once you have a list of available properties, you can then filter your search by your preferred price range and distance, up to 25 miles. This will help save you time because you’ll only see lots that fit your needs.

By clicking on a property, you can see information like the lot size, photos and who to contact if you’re interested in learning more. You can then work with one of our trained home consultants at your local home center to help you confirm if the zoning for the land allows manufactured or modular homes.

Home Center Consultants’ Expertise

Your local home center is just that: local. They know the area and will have contacts and leads for openings in communities or on private land, as well as any available move-in ready homes. They’re also experienced in navigating the local laws and requirements and can help guide you through the process and what documentation and permits you may need to get.

At Clayton, we want you to feel confident about your new home purchase by making sure you have all of the info you need to make your decisions. If you’re ready to take that next step, you can contact a home center near you today. There, our consultants can help answer your questions about how the home buying process works, including if the home center has any home and land packages — where the home is already built and placed on land — available.

Meet with a local home consultant and tour available models.

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