Buying Land for a Modular Home? – CHECK THESE FIRST!

Buying Land for a Modular Home? CHECK THESE FIRST!

In this video, Felicia talks about things to watch for when you’re buying land for a modular home. If you’re looking for land for a modular home, being familiar with the County’s zoning ordinance, and whether or not the property has utilities, access, and financing will help you plan your move and help you understand how to buy land and put a modular home on it.

From the video:

Are you looking to save some money on your next home by buying land and having a modular home brought in? You want to check these items first, or you could end up losing a bunch of money instead of saving it.

My name is Felicia I’m a land investor and a partner at Compass Land USA.

We’ve bought and sold hundreds of properties across the US.

Today I’m going to go over a list of things you need to watch out for if you plan on purchasing your next property for a modular home.

So first, what is a modular home? People often confuse these with manufactured homes.

Manufactured Homes

  • Made after 1976
  • HUD insignia upon meeting criteria ✅
  • Counties like these more than mobiles!
  • Delivered in a few large, pre-assembled pieces 

A manufactured home is built after 1976 and is subject to the housing and urban development (HUD) code. This is a national standard.

A manufactured home will arrive at your property in just a couple of really big pieces. Think like single wide, and then if you got double wide they’ll finish assembling that on site.

Modular Homes

  • NOT subject to HUD → subject to state level codes
  • Delivered in many pieces (frame, windows, doors, etc) and assembled on site

A modular home, similar to a manufactured home, is built in a factory.

But, it is NOT subject to HUD code. It’s not subject to that national standard. Instead, it’s subject to state level codes.

These could be the same as HUD or totally different, it varies by state.

A modular home will show up to your property in a bunch of pieces, much more similar to a site built home. Trucks will show up with the framing, walls, doors, windows, and then they’ll put it all together on site.

Modular homes these days can get pretty fancy. You can go 2 stories, high pitched roof, nice big porch, some of them are really lovely.

It’s really important to distinguish those two because, in the eyes of a County, they are not always the same thing. [LINK – mobile vs manufactured vs modular]

Knowing that, what should you be looking for with your next land purchase to find out if it’s suitable for a modular home?

Obviously the first thing you want to start with is location. And a lot of people know this already. We chat with a lot of folks who want to retire to Florida or Arizona, or want a modular home in the mountains of Colorado.

Or families who want to move, then you have to consider things like nearby schools, amenities. If you want to be near a beach, fishing, hiking, hospital, shopping, you need to consider all that. People normally have at least a rough idea of where they want their land to be (you can find out how to find land online here 🙂 ).

Once you have your location narrowed down to the County level, the very first thing you need to do is check the zoning.

Modular homes usually aren’t allowed just anywhere in a County. Often they’re limited to certain zones, particularly residential zones.

The County’s zoning ordinance will give you all the details on this. They’ll let you know which zones a modular home can go into, they’ll let you know the minimum size requirements of the home, whether or not they need to be installed on a permanent foundation, if it can be multi sectional, all that good stuff.

To find the County’s zoning ordinance isn’t normally difficult. You can head over to Google, and search “COUNTY NAME zoning ordinance”. So let’s try this with a Colorado County, Park.

You may have to fish around through the results a bit. Some County resources are better than others. This one looks promising, Zoning and Use Regulations.

It can be a bit of a pain to parse through big documents like this.

If you don’t want to search like this, you can just as easily pick up the phone and call the County’s Planning and Zoning Department, they will be able to give you the information you need as well.

So, zoning is the most important thing you need to check once you have your location narrowed down. This will make or break your entire land purchase, so please don’t skip this step. You don’t want to pay for that perfect property, and then find out a year or two or six months later that you can’t bring a modular home onto it.

Once you’ve confirmed the location, and that the zoning allows for a modular home, there are still a couple things you need to be aware of.

You want to consider the size of the property, and make sure that once your modular home is installed, you will still several feet around the perimeter. The zoning ordinance will specify the minimum distance required for that.

You probably want to place your modular home so that you still have space for a driveway or to park your car, space for kids in the backyard.

You also want to check road access. Not just for you, but for the company delivering your modular home. Will their trucks be able to get to the property? Will it be a big challenge for them to navigate there with all the pieces of your modular home in tow?

By the way, when you spec out your modular home, you want to ask the company how much the delivery and install costs are. It will vary depending how far your property is from town, how many trucks they’ll need to get your modular home out there, etc.

Another huge consideration is utilities. Are there utilities on the property?

Is there city water and sewer or would you have to install septic and drill a well?

Are there power lines in place? Can you go solar?

The power lines especially are a big one because if the power is far away, you have to pay to bring that in by the foot. So the cost of bringing it in 500 feet is very different than the cost of bringing it in 1 mile.

The last thing you want is to buy land specifically for a modular home, and then find out it will cost you more than what the home is worth just to get utilities to your property.

If you need more info on this, I have a separate video and post about how to find out if a property has utilities. You can find that link here.

While you’re looking up utilities, it wouldn’t hurt to get a cost estimate on the pad either. The County’s Zoning department will be able to tell you if it has to be concrete or limestone or whatever, how big it needs to be, all that.

Those are the big ticket items you want to check.

Another thing to consider is financing. If you have the cash to pay for the land up front, good on ya. If you don’t, there are still options.

You can try getting a loan from a bank or a traditional lender, but honestly for vacant land it’s pretty difficult.

A lot of land investors like myself will offer owner financing. We don’t do credit checks or charge prepayment penalties.

That is a great option for you if you want to finance.

So those are the big things you need to check when buying land for a modular home. Checking these will help you get a better idea for how much it’s actually going to cost to get your dream property, and set up a modular home on it.

If you’ve done this, found land and brought a modular home out to it, leave a comment below let me know how that went. I’d be really interested to hear it. 🙂

Alright so if you enjoyed this video and found it helpful, please give it a thumbs up, leave a comment and say hello, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.

We do lots of land-related videos like this as well as custom property tours for all of our lots.

Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll talk to you soon.


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