Mobile or Mini?

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Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:14 pm

Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:45 pm

I think the distinction between mobile & mini homes is vague, and the line is a but blurred when talking about different things on this site, so I'm wondering what the differences are, if any.

Take my place for example. It's a 1987 3 bedroom 66' x 16'. It has a full steel frame, with lugs for 4 axles and the hitch. However, the rest of the home is built with regular house stuff; normal wiring & switches, fixtures, doors, etc. The walls are 2" x 4" studs, 16" o.c. The roof is a normal 4/12 built with regular looking trusses. It came with standard copper plumbing (now replaced with pex), never heard of this grey stuff people sometimes talk about. In other words, it's basically a regular modular home on a frame.

However, I know people in "mini" homes, difference being there's no steel frame. The home movers referred to mine as a "mobile" because of the frame. Then again, I see on this site people talking about mobile specific stuff, like different light switches, doors, bath tubs and so on.

Part of this might be regional differences; I live in Atlantic Canada. Nobody around here makes "trailers" any more, they make mini homes like mine, at least since the '80s. Double-wides are almost unheard of. You either buy a "mini" home (frame or not I assume), or a modular which I call a double-wide on a basement. There are no mini homes for less than about $75k new anywhere.

Do they still make "mobile" homes AND "mini" homes in the USA? Sometimes I think we're discussing different things.

Norm Frechette
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:34 am
Location: Norwich, CT

Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:03 pm

i like to think i live in a paid in full 14x66 single wide 2007 titan brentwood 'mobile home'

enough said :D

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Posts: 5666
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Weedsport, NY

Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:41 pm

I have questioned the difference also. It may be a regional thing like you said, or my other thought may be is it a Modular home?

"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

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Greg S
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:13 am
Location: Kingston Ontario Canada

Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:02 pm

A Mobile Home is a manufactured home that is transported on it's on set of wheels. Accordingly it has a steel frame designed to attach the axles and survive the move. It may be a single wide or separate sections of a double wide.
A mini home is also a manufactured home but it does not have it's own set of wheels and thus no steel frame is required. They are transported on a flat bed and at site are lifted by crane onto either piers, a foundation or a slab.
There are also modular homes that are manufactured in a factory, transported by flat bed truck and assembled by crane on site. The difference between mini and modular is primarily in the name in that "modular" is a home consisting of multiple sections that fit together into what is essentially a stick built home. Mini generally is a complete one section home.

Mobile, mini or manufactured homes may be set on any form of foundation or pier support although Mobiles are generally set on piers and Mini and Modular are set on foundations (or slabs). Not always the case but definitely the general rule.

Interior and exterior construction, material and fixtures are dependant on the manufacturer and run the gauntlet from old style cheap "mobile home" to high end custom. The primary difference in today's quality homes is where/how they are built not what they are called. Not so in the old days when Mobiles truly were "tin cans".

The primary difference between a mini and a mobile home are the wheels and associated frame.
An individual must enforce his own meaning in life and rise above the perceived conformity of the masses. (Anton LaVey)

Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:14 pm

Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:16 pm

I know of a few around here in the late '90s vintage, that are standard house style construction, and that come on wooden beams, transported on a float. They can still be set up in parks, on blocks, with regular skirting and not put on a foundation. They are called "mini" homes. The "modular" homes are generally like a double wide with two parts that come together, and get final assembly on-site. These always go on a foundation in a sub-division, never in a rental park, and their mechanics differ (breaker panel goes in the basement usually, maybe a furnace, etc. These are almost always made by the same "mini" home manufacturers, and though there are several manufacturers around here, they all produce the same kind of thing. Nobody here makes a true "mobile" home that I can tell anymore.

Here's the reason I ask: cost. I did a little research and discovered just how cheaply you can actually buy a mobile home in the USA.... I was shocked. :shock:

You can buy a brand new 72' long mobile for under $40k at the above link. They have some models for under $25k. There's a 40' long double-wide advertised for under $40k.

Up here, you only get single-wides, and they start at low $70k's, and only if on sale or something. The usual new cost of a 3 bedroom is around $100k and up. This would be for a 16' x 70' or so. Then add on the moving & set up costs.

My question is, is there a real big difference between the $35k mobiles and the $100k "mini"s? I actually only live 10 minutes from the USA border, and it almost seems like I should be looking into importing and reselling these at those prices. Are these normal prices for mobile homes?