Deciphering the VA Lender’s Handbook Chapter 10 Part 10
Manufactured homes are a little different from normal homes. They are not constructed the same way as normal homes, and they’re usually smaller and cheaper than normal homes as well. When it comes to getting a manufactured home appraised, one of two situations applies. Either a) the manufactured home is already in place and permanently affixed to a foundation and you are purchasing it just like a normal home, or b) the foundation for the home is not finished yet and/or the home unit has not been installed yet. In the first case, the home is usually appraised like any other home, but in the second case, there are special appraisal requirements, and you will have to provide a few things that are considered “construction exhibits”.
Construction exhibits for manufactured homes are actually pretty similar to those for conventional homes, but if you’re buying a manufactured home, the burden of providing them may fall on you. Check with the company you’re getting the manufactured home from and let them know you’re buying the home with a VA loan. They may already know what they need to provide you. Your lender may also be willing to contact them on your behalf to get the information the VA needs. In fact, you may want to hold off on promising to purchase anything until you’ve got reasonable assurance that the home is going to meet the VA’s minimum property requirements. Work with your lender for specific guidance on your situation.
The construction exhibits need to include specifications for the foundation of the home, as well as a plot plan. If the home is double-wide, details need to be provided on the mating line piers. Also, a foundation plan that shows the location and cross-sectional details of the supporting piers is required, along with drawings of the foundation anchorage. Unless the home is already physically located at the site that is to be appraised or the appraiser has access to the dealer’s lot, the floor plan of the unit and the exterior elevation drawings/photographs of the front and rear of the home need to be provided to give the appraiser a good feel for the house. If the home is in a state that requires the underside of the unit to be completely enclosed, details of that closure are required. If there are to be on-site improvements to the manufactured home like a deck or a garage and they are to also be financed with the VA loan, then the VA will need construction exhibits of those additions as well. In addition to all of these things, the VA clarifies that there are local requirements and building codes that may require revisions to the information in the manufacturer’s technical installation manual, and that these revisions need to be included in the construction exhibits.
Lastly, the construction exhibits need to include a signed statement for a qualified individual that states that they have examined the home and it meets the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements. This qualified individual should be an architect, engineer, or home-builder, and also be properly identified. The Handbook stipulates that the signed statement read as follows (or equivalent): “I certify that the construction exhibits for (identification of the property by house type, lot, block, subdivision name, etc.) meet all local code requirements and are in substantial conformity with VA Minimum Property Requirements, including the energy conservation standards of the 1992 Council of American Building Officials’ Model Energy Code and the requirement for lead-free water piping.” The VA will also accept the HUD 92541, Builder’s Certification of Plans, Specifications and Site, in lieu of this certification.
However, in order for the VA to accept that HUD form, it must be completely filled out, and provide the same certification that the VA asks for in the above paragraph. The important thing here is that a qualified professional has examined the property and found that it meets all applicable VA Minimum Property Requirements and local codes. The goal behind all of the construction exhibits is to ensure that the veteran is getting suitable housing with their VA loan benefits.