We all know the struggle when shopping for a car, a home, or just about anything else. Can you really trust all the flowery promises and upbeat testimonials on a companies website? Can you really trust them if all they want to do is make a profit? That’s where manufactured homes reviews come in.
One of the great benefits of the internet is that you now have access to thousands (if not millions) of the experiences of other customers just like yourself. These can give you an amazing look into what it’s actually like buying a mobile home. However, that doesn’t mean you should trust any review or review site you happen to come across. In this article, we will give you some tips on how and where to find honest and trustworthy manufactured homes reviews.
What to look for in the home:
These are the most important features of a home that any reputable and worthwhile review should cover. If you’re looking at a review with an eye on buying, they will also be the most illuminating when it comes to how much the house will end up costing you and whether it’s the right choice for you. Which features you look for will also depend on whether it’s a review about a home or the manufacturer themselves.
Age of the home
Arguably, age is even more important when it comes to a mobile home than when it comes to a stick-built home. Most reviews will be about newer homes. However, if it’s a secondhand home, you should be aware of the fact that manufactured homes depreciate at an average rate of 3% per annum. Like a new car, the value is never the same once it rolls off the lot. The discrepancy between the home’s asking price and value can say a lot about its condition.
Even if the secondhand selling price isn’t a factor, the manufactured home industry is a swiftly evolving and dynamic industry. The older the home is, the better the chances are of it having missed on new developments or important amendments to the HUD code. Few manufacturers will bother selling non-HUD compliant homes or homes built before 1976.
Older mobile homes are also notorious for their outdated decor and look. If the home looks its age, it should be mentioned in the review as many people put a lot of stock in a modern looking home that’s in line with the latest trends.
Size and layout
This is another important factor. Most people aren’t buying a home just for themselves, but for their whole family. In this case, you will need to make sure that you look for homes with the right amount of size. Different people also have different taste when it comes to how much open space they want and in which rooms.
The reviewer should describe the layout of the house and where the rooms are located. Also, they should talk a bit about how space was utilized in the home and in terms of how open or cramped the spaces are.
Furniture and appliances
This is an essential factor. If a home doesn’t come with some furniture or appliances, it could drastically affect how much you end up paying for your home. A mobile home only costs a few ten thousand dollars, so the furnishing could run a significant portion of the overall costs.
Also, the type of appliances plays a major role. Nowadays, you get attractive designer appliances that are as much part of the decor as a functional tool. Appliances can also be power-saving or eco-friendly if that’s something that concerns you.
Manufactured homes are no longer the drab, tasteless, and Spartan mobile homes of the past. They now come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. It’s no longer rare to hear about design manufactured homes and this aspect of manufactured homes is even celebrated through multiple industry awards for design excellence.
Any review should cover the finishing touches of the home so that you know what style and feel you can expect. This goes for the interior as well as the exterior.
Make and model
This should be a no-brainer no matter what review you’re looking for. Knowing what model or make the home is can give you an idea of what to expect from a particular manufacturer or model. If the same pros or cons pop up in multiple manufactured homes reviews, it could indicate that there is a big, ingrained problem and that you’re better off looking somewhere else.
Where is it located/sold
Mobile home manufacturers often have different offices or brands for different locations. Often, one branch can be terrible while the other is fantastic. Make sure that you are reading about the right distributor/seller/office as one bad branch should put you off a brand entirely.
The same goes for the home itself. Manufacturers won’t always deliver all homes to all locations, so before you get your hopes up, make sure they operate or deliver to yours. If you live far enough away, they may even charge an extra delivery fee which could be prohibitively expensive.
The price range
Of course, the price is always a factor. Some reviewers won’t mention the exact price because they are subject to change at the whim of the manufacturer or seller. In this case, they will usually indicate it with a price range that could be illustrated via dollar signs, such as $ for the cheapest and $$$ for more expensive.
The more you pay, of course, the more you expect from the home and the service. So, check whether the reviewer has something to say about the value for money proposition and whether they felt this specific home or company was worth it.
Delivery and setup services
By far, most complaints come from customers who have had a bad experience with the delivery and setup services of a manufacturer. This is probably where the most interaction between the supplier and the consumer takes place. You should see what the overall experience is that users had to prepare yourself for this trying time.
Where they on time? Were the staff friendly and accommodating? Did they have a sense of urgency to deliver, install, and set up the home? Did they do a good job connecting the home and utilities? How quickly did they follow up on your level of satisfaction? All of these are very important questions that will play a huge role in your experience.
What to look for in the source:
Who is the publisher?
You should always check the source of the review. Does the website itself look modern and up to date? Is it registered by a real company with contact information? Is it a recognizable name that you can find mention of elsewhere? Do they have any authority within the industry?
The answers to all these questions could tell you whether you should put faith in any reviews on this site in the first place. Also, look for any affiliate information or whether they get paid for referrals while you’re at it.
Who is the author?
Sites that are open about their authors and provide their names, contact details, and a short bio are usually more reputable than those who don’t. When their reputation is at stake, people are more likely to do a good job and to keep their information as truthful as possible. If the review does show who the buyer is, then you can also check whether they are real, what their reputation is, and whether they actually have any experience or authority when it comes to manufactured homes.
The level of detail
Another important mark of quality is the level of detail. Does the author of the review get into specifics such as dates, numbers, etc? If they are always being vague, this might intentional because of a lack of information and research. If they mention the home is large, expect measurements as well as a comparison to other homes. And if they talk about its resale value, look for real-life examples.
Does it seem biased?
The internet has no shortage of people who are trying to make money via affiliate programs or similar incentives. That means that they could only be giving extremely favorable or positive reviews to make more money. If this is the case, they should say somewhere on their website that they are an affiliate partner of a certain brand or brands. Often, authoritative review sites are also privy to special informational brochures or documents from the manufacturers themselves. So, keep an eye out for new and rare information that seems plausible.
Of course, a manufacturer also wouldn’t badmouth their own products on their website so just be conscious of that. If you feel like a review or an entire review site tends to be skewed towards a certain brand it might not be the best place for unbiased information.
Is the information balanced?
What we mean by this is that for each individual review, the information presented should be balanced between pros and cons. There are many features or aspects of a home that might be great for some, but terrible for others. If there is something like that, a reviewer should point out who it’s good for and who it’s bad for. The most dishonest reviews tend to be those with the lowest and highest scores. A reviewer that can see the good and bad in something within context is very good at his/her job.
How old is the review(s)?
You should also always check the publish date of the review and other reviews on the website. If the review is too old, the information might be outdated, although it shouldn’t be necessary to update information on manufactured homes too often. However, if there hasn’t been a review in a long time or the publishing schedule looks very erratic (such as multiple reviews published on the same date), it might be a fake review site that buys reviews.
Does the review allow comments?
A reviewer that has done his due diligence provided factual information, and was balanced and fair in his reporting doesn’t have anything to fear from the community or even the business they review. Comment sections can be a great place for meaningful conversations. Look for reviewers who regularly reply to user comments and doesn’t favor like-minded or positive replies only.
Where to find manufactured homes reviews?
ConsumerAffairs is a very popular and active site for users to publish reviews about companies they have bought goods and services from. A nice thing about ConsumerAffairs is that they provide companies with official accounts that they can use to replay to consumer reviews so that you can see whether they care and how actively they monitor their customers’ experiences.
ConsumerAffairs does run affiliate programs to receive money for referrals. However, as the reviews are written by normal consumers, it doesn’t seem to have any effect and there are still plenty of negative reviews. A good number of manufactured home builders are featured and you can find all the most important ones. They also openly state which companies pay them for referrals and which don’t.
Most people associate Yelp with restaurant reviews. However, the website contains reviews for just about any line of business where consumers are involved. Yelp processes a huge number of reviews and you can find recent reviews for just about any manufactured home company. They also provide basic information on every business such as contact details and office locations.
People on Yelp can sometimes be a bit emotional or extreme so it’s best to read as many reviews as possible and find a middle ground. It depends largely on the company, but you can often find responses from the company to individual complaints.
Better Business Bureau
The BBB is the go-to place to find reputable and accredited businesses in America. Not only can you find customer reviews on the BBB, but the BBB themselves also accredit companies with an alphanumerical rating from A to F that denotes how reputable they and their practices are. The BB does not accept money from these companies in exchange for reviews or referrals in any way. However, companies do need to pay when applying for accreditation.
As a pro-consumer interest agency, you can usually rely on the rating provided by the BBB and it’s always a smart move to check whether they are accredited by the BBB and what their rating is. You can also find important information about a company, such as how long they have been in operation and where their business address is. Complaints and quotes can also be submitted directly from the BBB website.
Don’t just take a company’s word for it!
Not only are customer manufactured home reviews a great way to (hopefully) get an unbiased look at a manufactured home or its manufacturer, but they are also helpful to gain a sense of what the buying experience is like for an everyday consumer. Companies are out to make money, and no matter how honest they are, they will always try and push for more sales. They can greatly help you narrow down your search as well as feel better about your ultimate choice.
Most mobile homes are located within mobile home parks. If you look for a home already in a park, you will drastically cut down on your expenses and broaden your options. We’ve written a guide on buying a used mobile home in a park to help you out. It might also be better to simply rent a home at extremely low cost if you’re tight on a budget.