When it comes to purchasing a home in Nanaimo there is literally something for every conceivable taste, need and budget. If you decide to explore the local marketplace it quickly becomes apparent the city has an almost embarrassing wealth of available housing choices. As a result of this rich diversity in the regional housing inventory today’s buyer can be faced with a bewildering number of options to choose from. You can purchase a free-standing detached residence, a semi-detached duplex or triplex style home, a condominium, townhome, apartment or patio home. One of the most misunderstood forms of residence, and one that is among the easiest for buyers to get into, is the world of mobile homes.

While sometimes used interchangeably, there is a huge difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home. By its most basic definition a “mobile home” is a portable structure that has been built on a chassis that has at least the potential of being moved to and from a site. In other words a home of this type could be considered a trailer. In contrast a “modular or manufactured home” is a factory-built house that is designed and intended for use as a full time domestic residence. It is constructed by assembling pre-manufactured three-dimensional modular units, each with three walls and a roof/ceiling, that are each at least one room or living area. Both of these structures must include a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) seal that attests to the individual nature of each designation.

Under the Homeowner Protection Act, mobile or manufactured homes constructed and certified by the Canadian Standards Association (specifically CAN/CSA-A277 for factory built homes and CSA-Z240 for mobile homes) are not required to have home warranty insurance in British Columbia. This exemption does not apply to hybrid homes that are partially constructed under these CSA standards, e.g. a manufactured home with a site-built addition. To protect owners and purchasers, all mobile or manufactured homes must be registered with the Manufactured Home Registry of the B.C. Ministry of Finance.

If considering the purchase of a manufactured home there are a few steps and precautions that should be taken to protect yourself and to get the most value out of your home purchase. When exploring this section of the marketplace always shop around. Once you do you’ll realize there are many different designs available, offering a vast range of options, features and qualities. Some areas you might want to focus on while shopping includes checking out the quality of the construction, type of roof and especially the home’s insulation levels. If your home is to be sited on your own property there are probably no major restrictions, but if you will have your home constructed within a manufactured home community or park there could very well be – such as no provision for a gas stove or rules against having a wood-fired appliance. Always get all the facts before making the purchase.

Always Check Out Your Property Thoroughly

When shopping for an existing manufactured home ensure all of the windows and doors move properly and smoothly. Check the available cupboard space to be certain it will meet your individual needs. Have the major appliances and the furnace examined to ensure they are in working order. Check out the condition of carpeting or floor coverings. Make sure there are an adequate number of electrical outlets, and that the home is wired for telephone and internet.

Perhaps an off the rack style of home doesn’t meet your personal needs, in that case there can be some customization options if purchasing a new manufactured home. In some cases the local dealers have the ability to contact a manufacturer for you, who could have the ability to layout the interior to your specifications. Check it out, you never know.

Of course the best option when thinking about buying any home (manufactured or otherwise) is to contact a REALTOR®. Your local real estate sales professional will known what homes are available, will understand the benefits and pitfalls involved in owning a manufactured home. They will also be able to offer advice regarding locations, regulations and other crucial aspects of home ownership. Another useful tool, especially for first time buyers, is the Consumer Protection Guide, produced by BC Housing’s Homeowners Protection Office. This online document offers a wealth of tips and suggestions to help make the job of buying any home simpler and more straight-forward.

Owning a home is a significant investment, but also a great source of individual pride and accomplishment. The manufactured home can be an excellent way to get into the world of home ownership, especially when having completed your reviews and research.