Tiny Homes vs. Mobile Homes – What’s the Difference?

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What are the biggest differences between tiny homes vs. mobile homes, and how do you choose which is best for your needs? Below we will cover the top eight, as well as the pros and cons of each option.

What is a Mobile Home?

A mobile home is a prefabricated structure built in a factory. These homes are attached to a chassis before being transported to their final location. Mobile homes may fit the saying of a tiny house; however they come in single wide, double wide, and even triple wide options, so they can easily be over 2000 sq ft.

Mobile homes have a bathroom(s), living room, kitchen, and bedrooms allowing for more privacy.

What is a Tiny Home? DIYers can build tiny homes if they have the skills.

tiny home is typically under 600 sq ft. It can be attached to a foundation or on wheels (THOW). They are also typically built in a factory and moved to their final location; however, they can also be left on wheels to be taken from place to place if the owner plans to travel.

Differences between Mobile Homes and Tiny Homes:

Quality

Up until 1976, mobile homes had low guidelines. During these times, mobile homes often had poor leaks, lousy wiring and insulation, and high energy bills. However, in 1976, the HUD Code created standards for Manufactured Homes which came with higher quality.

Today, installing errors cause 80% of all manufactured home complaints, so ensuring the home is installed correctly is a big one to look out for!

Tiny homes are well built, and although made in a factory, they are closer lined to a traditionally-built house when compared to mobile homes. Since the interest in Tiny Homes is at all-time highs, they are made with the latest building technology and designs.

Cost

The average cost of a mobile home is between $40,000 – $250,000. Prices can fluctuate depending on the size, materials and customizations, delivery, and the location where the home is being built. Used mobile homes are an option and can be as affordable as $10,000.

Tiny Homes average $30,000 to $60,000. The price can vary more with tiny houses because they can be built DIY, with kits, or from a builder. Buyers can find tiny houses that are for re-sale to get some savings.

Both mobile homes and tiny houses will also incur the cost of land.

Mobility

Despite their name, mobile homes are not very mobile. A moving permit is required to move one, and it can cost between $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the size, location, and if the company has to dismantle the home before moving. Mobile homes are usually only transported if the owner has purchased a new piece of land or the owner sells the house, and the buyer has to move it.

Tiny Homes, especially those on wheels (THOW), are made to move from location to location. They are much more versatile in the mobility aspect. It is advised to get the tiny house RVIA (recreational vehicle industry association) certified to move it to different locations to make sure that it is road worthy and meets uniform standards across the U.S. Many RV parks also require an RVIA tag to stay.

Mobility can be a deciding factor between Tiny Homes vs. Mobile Homes.

Size

Mobile homes, on average, are expected to be 1,172 sq ft by 2023, making them larger than the average tiny home one of the most significant differences between the two.

Tiny homes are usually between 100-400 sq ft and typically have much smaller living and kitchen areas than mobile homes.

Aesthetics

Mobile homes can change their look by being single, double, or triple wide but typically look very similar because they are built on assembly lines. While you may see a difference between builders, this option usually has a mass-production look.

Tiny Homes have a lot of flexibility when it comes to aesthetics. They can be single-story, two-story, square, or rectangle, and the options are almost endless! There is much more freedom with size and shape for a tiny home, as well as the finishings, furnishings, and fittings.

Stigma

There can be some stigma around living in a mobile home, with old ways of thinking that people who live in them are poor. People may now choose to live in mobile homes as it is cost-effective and faster to get than a stick-built home, and their look has come a long way!

Tiny homes tend to come with the feeling of a community. They are trending right now, which makes them more “acceptable.” The movement around tiny houses is to live more simply, have more financial freedom, reduce your carbon footprint, and overall live more environmentally conscious.

Which Option is More Environmentally Friendly?

Mobile homes were not built with the thought of being environmentally friendly but instead to be cost-effective and provide a simpler way of living.

In contrast, Tiny homes are built with the environment in mind. Many are made using repurposed or recycled materials which helps with the amount of waste that goes along with building a home, and also use solar panels and wind power.

Financing

As long as mobile homes meet the requirements for HUD, they are easy to get financed. Banks will typically give a 30-year mortgage for a mobile home.

Tiny houses are not usually eligible for a 30-year mortgage, and the buyer will need to use a personal or RV loan. These loans are generally much shorter, which may create a larger payment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a tiny house be considered a mobile home?

A tiny house is not considered a mobile home. Mobile homes are larger, less expensive, and regulated by the government through the HUD code.

Is it better to live in a tiny house or an RV?

It depends on your wants and needs. A tiny house is more secure and customizable. However, an RV would be more suitable for your needs if you wish to travel often.

Is a tiny house cheaper than a trailer?

A tiny house is cheaper than a trailer, although you can find used trailers that would be more affordable than a tiny house. Prices also vary highly based on size, so that a small mobile home may cost similar to a large tiny house.

As you can see, there are many differences between tiny houses vs. mobile homes. When it comes down to deciding which is suitable for you, looking at budget and usage would be a great place to start. If a tiny house is the right option for you, contact us today so we can start planning!

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tinyhousesociety

Owner/Founder of The Tiny House Society

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