Manufactured home moving down an assembly line. Photo - Wikipedia Commons

More blog posts about mobile homes:

  1. How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

  2. How can I make my mobile home look more like a house?

  3. What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure mobile home?

  4. Does it make sense to remodel an older mobile home?

  5. How much does it cost to move a mobile home?

  6. Can I install a mobile home myself?

  7. Where are Wind Zone 2 and Wind Zone 3 for mobile homes located?

  8. Can I paint the vinyl covered wallboard in a mobile home?

  9. How can I know if my mobile home meets HUD Code?

  10. What can I do to prevent moisture problems in my mobile home?

  11. Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with with HUD Code?

  12. How much does a mobile home inspection cost?

  13. What is a Park Model mobile home?

  14. What is an air conditioner for a mobile home called?

  15. Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home?

  16. Why are there two VIN numbers on some mobile home titles?

  17. What’s the difference between a manufactured and a mobile home?

  18. How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

  19. What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home?

  20. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  21. Why are there cracks in the wallboard in a mobile home after its moved?

  22. Can you move a mobile home that is 20 years old in Florida?

  23. What is a pit set mobile home?

  24. Do you have any tips for buying a used mobile home?

  25. Why is the floor tile cracked in my mobile home?

  26. Why is it important that a mobile home stay level throughout its lifetime?

  27. How much venting is required for mobile home skirting?

  28. What do I need to know about building an addition to a mobile home?

  29. What is the average lifespan of a wood deck?

  30. What is the best air conditioner for a mobile home?

  31. What is a D-sticker mobile home?

  32. What is the life expectancy of a modular home?

  33. How do I upgrade my old (pre-1976) mobile home to meet HUD standards?

  34. When was the first double-wide mobile home manufactured?

  35. Why is my double-wide considered a HUD home?

  36. How energy efficient is a mobile home?

  37. Can I tell the year of a manufactured/mobile home from the HUD tag (red tag)?

  38. Can a mobile/manufactured home have a high radon problem?

  39. What are the HUD requirements for selling a remodeled or renovated mobile home?

  40. How many mobile/manufactured home manufacturers are licensed to sell their homes in Florida?

  41. Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

  42. What are the limitations on homesites where a mobile/manufactured home can be located?

  43. What does a home inspector look for when examining a mobile home crawl space?

  44. How do I look for mold in my mobile home?

  45. What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home?

  46. How can I make my mobile home more energy efficient?

  47. What are the ventilation requirements for bathrooms and kitchens in mobile homes?

  48. How much is a used mobile home worth?

  49. What would cause half of a double-wide mobile home to lose electric power?

  50. What are the common problems to look for when buying a mobile home that is older than 40 years?

  51. How many manufactured/mobile homes are there in the United States?

  52. Can I convert a shipping container into a HUD-Code manufactured/mobile home?

  53. Where do I find the water heater in a mobile home?

  54. How do HUD-code mobile/manufactured home standards compare to the IRC building code for site-built homes?

  55. What are the right words for the parts of a mobile/manufactured home?

  56. What is the right humidity level in a mobile home?

  57. Can you do a mobile home inspection with no electric power or water?

  58. What is the difference between a manufactured/mobile home water heater and a regular water heater?

  59. What is an “RP” sticker for a mobile home?

  60. What is a manufactured home?

  61. What is the building code for mobile/manufactured homes in Florida?

  62. Where do I find the VIN/serial number on a very old (pre-1976) mobile home?

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We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.


Example of serial/VIN number stamping

  1. 1) The name of the manufacturer and address of the manufacturing plant where it was made. if you are not familiar with the reputation of the manufacturer of the home you are considering buying, we suggest getting a copy of The Grissim Ratings Guide to Manufactured Homes (John Grissim, Rainshadow Publications, 2007, $29.95, The book is updated every few years and your local library will likely have a copy. The guide covers all major manufacturers and includes a brief history of the company, price range of their homes, rating of construction quality, and description of the company’s most popular model lines. While it is intended as a guide for buyers of new manufactured homes, the information is equally valuable for evaluating a pre-owned home. Mobile home manufacturing rides a roller-coaster between boom and bust every 15 years or so, with a cluster of companies leaving the industry on the downside of each cycle, so the brand of a 20-year old mobile home you’re considering may not by be in the current Grissim Ratings because the company is defunct.

  2. 2)The date of manufacture. If the mobile home was built before June 1976, there were no baseline HUD-requirements and the home will not have a data plate. The year of manufacture is important, because construction standards were strengthened over the years, especially after certain key dates. The construction standards of different manufacturers of pre-HUD Code homes varied—sometimes dramatically. Then, between June 1976 (beginning of HUD Code) and July 1994 all mobile homes were required to meet a single minimum standard regardless of where they were intended to be located. While these homes, especially the double-wide units, are typically sturdier than pre-1976 homes, they are not nearly as storm-resistant as homes built to Zone II and Zone III standards after July 1994.

  3. 3) A listing of the certification label numbers (also called HUD tag numbers) affixed to each transportable section of the home. One number for a single-wide, two for a double-wide, and so forth.

  4. 4) The manufacturer’s serial number and model designation of the home. In some versions of the data plate, the model designation is in a separate box.

  5. 5) A list of the factory-installed equipment, including the manufacturer’s name and model number. Comparing this list with the refrigerator, range, water heater, and other currently installed appliances in the home will tell you whether they are original to the construction or newer.

  6. 6) A check-box for the “roof load zone” in which the home was designed to be located. Northern roof load zones are meant to allow for a snow load. Compare the roof load zone checked with the adjacent small U.S. map to confirm that the home meets the standards for where it is located.

  7. 7) A check-box for the “wind load zone” in which the home was designed to be located. Zones are I, II, and III—with II and III zones constructed to withstand different levels of hurricane-force winds inland from the coast. Here too, compare the wind load zone checked with the adjacent map to verify proper construction for the location.

  8. 8)Heating and cooling data and “thermal map,” which shows the zone the home was designed to be located in, along with a calculation of the level of heat transmission of the building envelope. Sometimes this is a separate plate. Because most homes in our area do not have factory-installed heating or cooling, the manufacturer’s recommendation for the BTU-size of the package air conditioner is noted. A home designed for a higher thermal zone number can be located in a lower zone, but not vice-versa.

    We sometimes encounter older, remodeled mobile homes where the data plate has been painted over or removed. So you may not find one.
   But there’s still hope: if you can locate either the HUD certification number or the serial number, then you can obtain the original data plate info from the Institute for Business Technology and Safety, a HUD contractor that maintains a database back to 1976 of HUD-code manufactured homes. There’s a fee of $100 for a replacement data plate by email or fax. Here’s a link to their web-page for the service:

    The HUD certification number is etched into a 2” by 4” metal plate (called the “HUD tag”) riveted to the exterior wall of each section of a mobile on the long side at a corner near the bottom. There’s a picture of one below. It starts off life bright red, but will likely be faded when you find it. If even the HUD tag is gone, crawl under the home with a flashlight and look for the serial number on the forward cross-member of the steel I-beam frame. It is required by HUD to stamped into the metal by the manufacturer in letters a minimum of 3/8” high.

   And, finally, the local property appraiser’s office will have basic info about the mobile home that they acquired for real estate tax purposes which can be accessed via a public records search of their website; or, if paperwork for the original home financing turns up, it will contain helpful information.

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  Here’s links to more of our blog posts with useful information about buying and owning a mobile home:

  1. Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it?

  2. Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home?

  3. How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it?

  4. What is the life expectancy of a mobile home?

  5. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  6. What is the right price for a used mobile home?

  7. What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home?

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection