The Federal Housing Association insures loans to qualifying borrowers to promote homeownership. This program is especially helpful if you wish to purchase a manufactured home, because many lenders are reluctant to cover them under a conventional loan. To be eligible for an FHA loan, you must have a credit score of 620 or more, two years of verifiable employment and consistent income, no bankruptcies within the last two years and no foreclosures within the past three years. The double-wide manufactured home and its foundation must meet certain standards to qualify for an FHA-insured loan.
To be eligible for FHA insurance, the loan must cover a double-wide manufactured home and the land on which it sits. This disqualifies double-wides located in trailer parks where the homeowner pays a monthly rental fee and does not own the land itself. The land and residence must both be taxed as real property, not personal property, as if it were a mobile home. The manufactured home must be installed on a permanent foundation that meets the current FHA standards at the time of the loan origination. Only manufactured homes built after June 15, 1976, and containing at least 400 square feet of interior space may qualify for an FHA-insured loan.
Only a registered architect or licensed engineer from the state in which the double-wide manufactured home is located may certify the foundation. Written certification must include a statement that the foundation meets the standards set out in the FHA's Permanent Foundation Guide for Manufactured Housing. The architect or engineer must sign and date the certification, list his license number and apply his official seal, if applicable. A valid certification may be reused for future FHA loans as long as there are no changes or damage to the foundation.
A stable foundation begins with the preparation of the ground on which it will rest. The site must be graded to provide adequate water drainage and keep the home at or above the hundred-year flood elevation level. The grading for the foundation must also maintain the natural drainage pattern of the land to prevent water from pooling.
FHA loans do not cover mobile homes, because the intent of the program is to encourage homeowners to settle down and become a part of their communities. However, certain manufactured homes are eligible for FHA loans if they have been installed in a permanent location. The home must sit on a permanent steel chassis in an area with permanent water and sewer hookups. All wheels, axles, and trailer hitches must be removed from the home so it cannot easily be moved from the foundation.
The bottom of the crawl space must be at least 18 inches below the bottom of the home's wood floor joists and at least 12 inches below the steel chassis beams. In areas needed for mechanical access and repairs, the bottom of the crawl space must be at least 24 inches below the floor joists. You must place the openings for the crawl space on long foundation walls where they will not interfere with the foundation's structural support members or sill plates. The entire crawl space must be above ground level unless the site has a sump pump to keep water from draining into the openings in the foundation.