Selling a Modular Home


We are having a serious problem selling our modular home.  It is not a manufactured home constructed on a metal frame, but a wood framed home that was stick built in a factory.  The problem began when someone made an offer on our house. The offer was $50,000 lower than our listing price. The agent of the person making the offer told our agent that because our house is a modular, it is only worth the offered price. Until then our agent claims she didn’t know it was a modular, even accusing us of hiding this detail when in fact we did tell her is was modular on day the listing agreement was written at our house. Now our agent believes what she is being told by the other agent.

To get to the bottom of this, we hired a professional appraiser to identify the value of our house. The appraisal came in at $10,000 less than our listing price. Now our agent says the appraiser was wrong because he didn’t compare our house only to other modular homes.  She has made us sign an agreement to drop the listing with her.

We believe our home should be sold just the same that any other home is sold and that is not any less valuable because it is modular.  We do have a conventional 30 year mortgage.  The builder of our home agrees with us but our agent thinks the builder is telling us this because we bought the house from them.

HELP–we want to sell our home for a fair price but also want to make sure we are having it listed correctly with the next company. What are the rules for modular homes?
jcool 1-10-07 5:24pm

Your real estate agent is TOTALLY off base about this!  Modular homes are actually constructed quite well and should have an identical value to homes that are built on-site.  In fact, since modular homes are constructed in a factory, they may even be better constructed than those built in the field.  Factory automation delivers superb accuracy for cutting and assembly and the home is not subjected to any of the effects of weather while it is being built.

Modular homes can be built in sections and joined together on site, or they can be built in panels, where one wall at a time is constructed and then assembled on top of a floor frame that is constructed on site.  Some years ago I hosted a week’s worth of television segments about panelized homes that were built for Habitat for Humanity.  I can tell you first hand that those homes were built as good if not better than any I had seen in my many years of hanging around construction sites.

It was smart of you to hire an appraiser to provide an estimate of fair market value.  The fact that it came in 10k under asking does not trouble me.  That may just be the reflection of market conditions.  In this market, you may very well end up negotiating a final price under the asking price anyway.  If you want any further assurance of quality, hire a professional home inspector and have him/her do the very same home inspection that would be done for a potential buyer.  To find a good one, go to the web site of the American Society of Home Inspectors at

The home inspection report, together with the appraisal, should be placed into the hands of a competent, professional, real estate agent who “gets it” and can properly and enthusiastically represent your home all the way to the closing table.

Reaching Tom:  If you have a home improvement question or comment on this topic, please post it here.  For answers to other home improvement questions, please email Tom at so your question can be used in future blog entries.

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