I Believe in Manufactured Housing!

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My mother has spent her entire life – save four years at University of New Hampshire – within one square mile in lower Boscawen and Penacook, New Hampshire.

That one square mile does not reflect limitations.  My mom has traveled extensively and has wide interests.  Books take her most places now though she still travels
some and performances at the Capital Center for the Arts – where she’s a volunteer usher – takes her places, too.  She’s active in two village committees and has a circle of friends, the size of which, I marvel at.

No, that square mile actually reflects deep roots.

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That said, she hasn’t wanted to move from her house of 35 years.  But, she needs to.  The only bathroom in her house is on the second floor.  And, there’s no good solution for it on the first floor.

For the last five years, I have been suggesting we need to find an age-friendly living situation for her.

We’ve looked at a retirement community owned by a nonprofit in town but found that to be way too expensive.  We looked at the only single floor age-restricted condo in the area but it was in a forest of pine trees and dark.  She likes sunshine and flowers.

We also looked at new HUD-code manufactured homes at two local retailers.  The 12th one we walked into she said, “Oh, I like this one.  It really feels like a home.”

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Fast-forward 10 weeks:  Her new 28-by-52-foot Marlette arrived from a Clayton Homes factory in Lewistown, Pa., last Thursday!  My brothers are on alert – moving day is three weeks away!

The overall value for this 1,456-square-foot home – with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms – is simply extraordinary.  With the concrete slab, pressure treated stairs and set-up included, the home came in just under $67 per square foot turn-key.  That’s $30 a square foot less than modular (apples to apples) and greater still less than a site-built home.

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We worked through Concord Homes, a local retailer that I know well from my time in the business.

Concord Homes became a Next Step Retail Direct verified retailer through the process. Next Step is a national network of nonprofit organizations facilitating the use of high-value, energy-efficient, factory-built homes as an
affordable housing option for working and retired Americans.  I wanted to use Next Step because we wanted an Energy Star-certified and universal design (i.e. wider doors, walk-in showers, door levers instead of knobs – all intended to allow owners to more comfortably age in place) home that would put her 19th-century home to shame.  (I want no longing feelings for that old place!)

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My mom will soon be living on a single-floor in a home that she can age in much more successfully and comfortably.  It’s bright and affordable.  Her heating bills will be more than halved and her tax bill cut by two-thirds. She’s happy, which makes me happy.

I believe in manufactured housing for my mom.

I believe in manufactured housing, period.

The first in an occasional series by ROC USA President Paul Bradley. Reach Paul at pbradley@rocusa.org.

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