For those out there who know little about the nuts and bolts of manufactured housing, let’s dive into the world of manufactured home foundation inspections. Before working in the industry, the extent of my knowledge about manufactured homes was that I lived in a nice one once.
After coming to work in the industry, I found myself amazed at how far manufactured housing had come — and that was back in 1995! Fast forward 25 years, and here I am writing what I know about them.
I am by no means an expert in manufactured housing, but I can help you understand the basics. This article may be for you if you are a Realtor, Lender, Manufactured Home Owner, or Manufactured Home Dealership. You may find the information I will be presenting beneficial — especially when it comes to attaining a Certification Letter for the Foundation of a Manufactured Home signed and sealed by a licensed engineer.
New Manufactured Homes
If you have a new home, you have options and can choose how you will set your manufactured home on the property. You can put it on footers, a slab of concrete, or on piers. Below is a step-by-step process when you order an inspection from ADP & Associates, Inc.
The first thing you need to do is order the Engineer Letter and Drawing (Form #1). Once in hand, this will allow you to apply for the permit. The Contractor or Builder then does his or her part.
Choose A or B for this step. (Installers will set the home on foundation A or B and secure it.)
A: If the home will be set on footers: Once the trenches are dug and the rebar is in, but before the cement pour, you will need to order a Pre-Pour Inspection (Form #5).
— BUT —
B: If the home will be set on piers: After the home is set up you will need to order a Compliance Inspection-Initial (Form #3).
After the home is complete and the power is on, you need to order a Compliance Inspection-Final (Form #3).
Once this three-step inspection is complete, you will then be provided with a signed and sealed certification letter from the engineer.
Pre-Owned Manufactured Homes
What if you aren’t buying a new home? What if you are buying a pre-owned home? No worries, ADP & Associates, Inc. can help you there as well! Below are the steps if you are buying a pre-owned manufactured house.
If the home passes inspection, then the Licensed Engineer’s Sealed Manufactured Home Foundation Certification is provided. This certification is needed for the loan approval. The goal for both new and pre-owned homes to get that sealed certification; otherwise, there will be no loan.
But, what if the home doesn’t pass the inspection? The field report from our inspector will provide ADP’s State Manager with his or her findings and photos for the site. ADP’s State Managers are trained on what to look for to meet HUD guidelines. There are also FHA guidelines.
HUD & FHA Guidelines
Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have roles to play and guidelines to meet. The rules can be complicated, but for Basic 101 purposes, here it is in a nutshell.
HUD calls the “shots” on manufactured housing’s technical rules. FHA calls the “shots” on the financial rules of a loan pertaining to a manufactured home. A manufactured home, both new and pre-owned, has to meet both HUD and FHA guidelines (but only FHA if you are going that route). Conventional loans can be more lenient, but they typically require more of a down-payment. FHA requires less of a down payment but is more stringent on particular guidelines for your manufactured home foundations, naturally so, to protect what they have invested on your behalf.
If the inspected home doesn’t pass the inspection, based on the HUD and FHA guidelines, it brings us to Step 2 for pre-owned homes. (Step 2 is not always necessary if the house passes inspection the first time around.)
Otherwise, either the buyer or the seller will need to hire a Licensed Manufactured Home Installer to complete any remedial work, thus bringing the home up to HUD and FHA guidelines (again, if you are going the FHA route).
Request the Manufactured Home Foundation Re-Inspection (Form #4).
Once the work has been completed, you call us back for the Re-Inspection. We will send our inspector out again to check the work that was done. Again, the inspection will need to pass. As long as you hired a Licensed Installer and he did his job correctly, there should be no issues.
Performing due diligence before hiring someone to do this work will only benefit the wallet holder. You do not want to be stuck in a vortex of re-inspections — this is costly and unnecessary! Be sure to vet the installers that you hire. Get recommendations from friends and family and read verifiable reviews. Do your homework and make sure you hire the right contractor.
Once this two-step inspection is complete, you will then be provided with a signed and sealed certification letter from the engineer.
That’s the process, and the very BASIC 101 of getting your manufactured home, new or pre-owned, certified by a licensed engineer with his/her seal.