Trailer, Manufactured, or Modular? Real Estate Terms

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What’s the difference?

Well, a trailer or mobile home, is now referred to as a manufactured home.  A modular, on the other hand, is a regular house.  Really, that’s it!

Ok, maybe there’s a little more than that:

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Is this a modular or stick built on site?  Usually you cannot tell the difference.

on-site stick built home

An on-site stick built home with wood-frame construction.

modular is typically of wood frame construction, built off-site, and in a factory setting.  It is built to local codes and would offer the same marketability as a standard site built home.  There are varying degrees of quality from an entry-level basic structure to a real high-end upgraded structure.

A manufactured home is also built in a factory.  They are typically built on a metal frame with axles that are used to transport the sections.  They are built to HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) standards…a separate national code for construction.  The tolerances may be different than local code depending on the area: sometimes more strict, sometimes less.  In 1976 HUD standards where developed and the term “manufactured” was coined to describe these dwellings.  I suppose it sounds better to say I live in a manufactured home rather than a trailer.

These are very basic definitions, but hopefully it helps you understand that the only difference between regular house construction and modular construction is one is built on-site and the other in a factory setting under a controlled environment.  From an real estate value standpoint they would be comparable.  Whereas a manufactured (trailer) may also be built in a factory, but it is not built to the same standards and therefore not comparable.

Here is part 2 on financing differences between Manufactured and Modular homes: http://jennifercote.info/financing-manufactured-or-modular-houses/

Just my thoughts. ~Jenn

Here is a BBC article, I thought interesting about manufactured statistics in the US: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24135022


www.TopNHhomes.com      www.JACoteAppraisals.com

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Negative Environmental Influences in Real Estate

We’ve all heard the saying that when buying real estate it’s about location-location-location.  Houses in some towns have higher predominant values than others, the same with some neighborhoods, but what I’m talking about is more specific: negative environmental influences.

An appraiser looks at surrounding lots to determine the uses and influences that would affect the subject property.  It could be a positive influence like conservation land or a park.  In many cases there can be negative influences such as commercial or industrial businesses, high-tension power lines, or even contaminated or Superfund sites.

What is a Superfund site?  It’s a site where toxic waste has  been dumped and the Environmental Protection Agency has designated the site to be cleaned up.  Typically the area has restricted access and is fenced in.

A more detailed explanation on the differences between a Superfund site and a Brownfield site can be found on this post: www.jennifercote.info/superfund-or-brownfield/

The typical buyer wouldn’t know how to begin a search on site influences other than what they see driving by.  Would your typical real estate agent know this information?  If they know, they should be disclosing it to you, but they don’t always know.   The appraiser would be reporting site influences in the appraisal report…you need to read that report thoroughly.  Unfortunately, by the time you get a copy of the appraisal you will be near your closing date, or worse, you find out after you move in!  In many cases these sites have been cleaned up, but it could affect the marketability long-term.

Whether it be buying a house, stocks, or even a Doctor’s diagnosis, you need to be your own advocate.  Do your own due-diligence.  Research, research, research…takes time and practice but the more you do it the better you get.  I happen to do it for a living, and my endless curiosity pushes me to take extra steps in researching a property…be it for an appraisal or a client.

The reason for this post is because I did an appraisal on such a property in Nashua, NH.   The state owns the property behind this lot, the tax records do NOT indicate it’s a Superfund site, but town has the owner as the State of NH, Dept of Environmental Services.  Hmmm, so I went on the EPA site and found out it indeed is a contaminated brownfield.

contaminated site in Nashua NH

A well labeled site in the picture to the left is very obvious.  The Mohawk Tannery Site is located in a neighborhood close to downtown Nashua and adjacent to the Nashua river. 

The EPA defines a brownfield site as: “the redevelopment or reuse which may be complicated by the presence, or potential presence, of a hazardous substance…”

 

Check it out to see what’s near you. EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/swerosps/bf/index.html

Just my thoughts.  Jennifer Cote- Everything Real Estate

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Is there a contaminated site next door?

Would you?  Do you even know what that is?  How would you know?  When I do an appraisal I look at surrounding lots to determine the uses and influences that would affect the subject.  It could be conservation land, commercial or industrial businesses, high-tension power lines, or a Superfund site.  A Superfund site is a site that has been SUPER contaminated…my definition, not the actual one.

The site I dealt with did not have frontage on the street. I didn’t see any signs.

 

The typical buyer wouldn’t know how to begin a search on site influences other than what they see driving by.  Would your typical real estate agent know this information?  If they know, they should be disclosing it to you, but they don’t always know.   The appraiser would be reporting site influences in the appraisal report…you need to read that report thoroughly.  Unfortunately, by the time you get a copy of the appraisal you will be near your closing date, or worse, you find out after you move in!  In many cases these sites have been cleaned up, but it could affect the marketability long-term.

Whether it be buying a house, stocks, or even a Doctor’s diagnosis, you need to be your own advocate.  Do your own due-diligence.  Research, research, research…takes time and practice but the more you do it the better you get.  I happen to do it for a living, and my endless curiosity pushes me to take extra steps in researching a property…be it for an appraisal or a client.

The reason for this post is because I just finished an appraisal on such a property.   The state owns the property behind this lot, the tax records do NOT indicate it’s a Superfund site, but town has the owner as the State of NH, Dept of Environmental Services.  Hmmm, so I went on the EPA site and found out it indeed is a contaminated brownfield.  EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/swerosps/bf/index.html check it out to see what’s near you.

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Subdivisions, Builders, and Appraisers.

Subdivisions, builders, and appraisers. I’m putting out a plea…builders please befriend an appraiser! Seriously, find a knowledgeable local appraiser and set up a relationship.

Of course Realtors are an excellent resource as well, but you would need to find one that is experienced in subdivisions, one willing to figure out what options in new construction would bring the biggest return or help with shorter marketing times.

Subdivision Plan

Subdivision Plan

Check out another of my posts on new construction:

www.jennifercote.info/development-projects-gone-bad/

Every town, sub-market (entry-level, green, luxury, etc.), and style property will have different factors that affect value. Appraisers do this all the time, and they typically cover a wider geographic area than a Realtor.

The reason for my plea is I’m working on an appraisal in a new subdivision and I wonder why this subdivision is even here? This little town is still plagued by foreclosures, geographically ill-placed on the southern border of NH with only one main road in, and low-end inventory. I should first say the surrounding towns are beautiful quintessential New England communities that are far more desirable, in which market conditions have been fairly average over the past year and with good road access. The market for the past 12-18 months (in most areas of southern New Hampshire) has been for entry-level properties that are either in great condition or of investor interest.

I’m sure the land was cheap for the builder and construction started well over a year ago, but the conditions even then were not so hot. The house is over sized for this town at 2,200SF with 4-bedrooms and 2.5 baths and has been on the market for over a year. Your typical home in this town is about 1,500SF and the median price over the past year was $160,000.

A good thing is the builder has only built 3 homes in this 12 lot subdivision so changes can be made…I wonder if the Realtor will help guide the builder into constructing smaller houses until the market improves. Anyway, the house is selling for far less than it should at $207,000 because it’s over built, and currently there is little interest for real estate in this town.

So I make this plea…get acquainted with a local appraiser. I’m sure appraisers could learn quite a bit from you too!

Just my thoughts. -Jenn

www.TopNHhomes.com
www.JACoteAppraisals.com

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How skewed can the market data be?

Every market has submarkets, so when you watch the news about double digit declines- it’s all the markets combined. A cookie-cutter subdivision with a price point of $350,000 and up may show a larger decline than an entry-level subdivision. A contemporary home on a lake may show no decline. Bank-owned properties would most likely show the largest decline. All this within the same timeframe/market. They are examples of submarkets…move-up (mid level), entry level, standard cookie cutter, vacation, lake front, bank-owned, or unique style properties. So depending on what submarkets posted the most sales it would skew the overall market data. Knowing this you can now postulate that these huge declines are due, in part, from most sales being bank-owned or entry-level in the past 6 months so it is a false representation of the market.

-Just my thoughts.

www.TopNHhomes.com

www.JACoteAppraisals.com

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Top Towns In A Declining Market

Something I noticed in the recent real estate debacle was that more “desirable” areas fared better overall. They were the last to start declining and they were the first market areas to stabilize. This may not be news to everybody but I thought it was rather interesting to point out.

-Just my thoughts.

www.TopNHhomes.com

www.JACoteAppraisals.com

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