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Serial number on Modular home

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Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:10 am

My mother bought a Marlette modular home new in June of 1976. It was a Terri model doublewide. She is selling it now and the buyers inspecter says he cannot find any serial numbers on the home and the couple are saying they want out of the deal. He claims there should be a metal serial tag on each half. Before I start sliding around in the freezing cold crawl space searching for it, I hope to have an idea where I am looking. Prior entries talk about the numbers being cold stamped into the hitch or front frame crossmember. I have never seen which end is the front or the back....is there a way to tell or will it be obvious once I get under there? Any help you can offer is appreciated, by me and my 83 year old mother!
Chuck V offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:49 am

The HUD tags (if there still there) would be on the left corner of the home rivited to the siding directly above the skirting.There would be one on the other side of the home also.The homes serial numbers areon the hitch or frame.Since your hitchs are probably long gone the front of home is probably the side neares tto the front door When you look under the home you should be able to see the brackets where the axles were once bolted.The front of the home is the opposite side from there.
Bill Fry offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:01 pm

This is an on frame mod. Not a hud house.
When you stand at the front door, the hitch end should be to your right.
Although with a Marlette there is no guarantee as many were shipped backwards.
You may not be able to see the serial number because it is probably hidden by the foundation wall.
This house would have originally had a state label on the electrical panel box giving the serial number.
This shouldn't matter to the home inspector though. The serial number on a mod doesn't mean anything.
If nothing else, offer to pay for a better home inspector in order to save the deal.
trmimo offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:03 pm

We're having a simplar problem with a 1974 Marlette modular home that we bought from my husband's father in 1984. Since then we have added onto the home and currently are having it reappraised for refinancing. Unfortunately, the appraiser doesn't seem to be familiar with older mods and seems to think the home is a double wide mobile home, not a modular. He keeps referring to it as "the trailer", has asked for the HUD information/serial number, and started checking for tags on the house. We do not have a hitch or wheels, but that doesn't seem to matter to the appraiser. Is there any general documentation you can suggest we get that could help us convince him and the lender that the home is indeed a medular and not a double wide mobile home? We have no such documentation to help our cause.
Sandi Russell offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:15 pm

You should have a modular approval seal somewhere in the house.
Probably at the electrical panel. It will state the home is a modular, approved by your state.
A good appraiser would do a little research and realize that all Marlette sectional homes of this vintage are modulars. Although it may be difficult to prove to him that it is a Marlette. Your serial number is probably hidden by your foundation wall.
If it were a double wide, it wouldn't have hud tags, because of it's age.
If a building permit was required initally, your local building department should have a set of plans on file that clearly identify your home as a modular and they may have the serial number as well.
You might want to ask for a better appraiser.
trmimo offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:06 am

We have remodelled the house extensively since we bought it, and there isn't much left of the original home. I checked the electrical box and nothing. The siding on the front and back of the house has been replaced, so any markers there are long gone. And to make matters worse, the town assessors had it listed as "mobile home" in the tax records. They changed it to "manufactured home", but even THAT isn't correct because it was built before 1976. So I'm guessing THEY don't have any accurate information on file, either.

This weekend we're going to crawl around to see if we can find a number - ANY number or identifyer. You'd think the manufacturer would put it somewhere that isn't likely to be removed in renovations, such as the support structure.

I tried contacting Marlette for information, but kept getting an error message when I tried emailing from their website.
Sandi Russell offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:30 pm

This is lifted form the ask the expert forum "nextdoor"

Subject: Re: Manufactured home Vin numbers
Author: Roy T. Bonney
Message: http://mfdhousing.com/discus/read.php?f=2&i=12704&t=12647&admview=1

If the home was built after 1976, the serial number is on the backing plate. This is the piece of steel that runs across the front of the home, and to which the hitch would be attached. The code is clear on this issue. The number must be 3/8" in height, and be located on the foremost crossmember, numbers must not be stamped into hitches or draw members. They cover with rust, will be behind skirting, and will be difficult to find, but they are there.

David Oxhandler offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:32 pm

THe serial number is stamped on the vertical face of the front crossmember beam of the steel frame.
Trouble is, this surface is covered by your foundation wall.
Not much effort is put into it with mods, because the serial number doesn't really mean anything to anyone but the manufacturer.
Off frame mods have no permanent serial number marking at all.
Since the town has assessed it as a manufactured home all these years, you are going to have a tough time changing that without documentation.
Marlette probably doesn't have much they can offer you without knowing the serial number of the house. Your town might have your serial number on file if they are taxing as a manufactured home.
Even with the serial number it will be tough to get much from Marlette, they have changed owners several times and closed most of their factories so their records may be quite limited.
By the way, this should be a 5 digit number that starts with a 4.
good luck!
trmimo offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:37 am

Thank you for all of this information! At the moment it looks like the refinancing is going through. The appraiser came up with a value of much more than enough to satisfy the lender. I haven't seen the appraisal yet, but I'm wondering if the appraiser found something in the town records that solved the mystery. In any case, I need to clarify the matter once and for all before I DO try to sell.

Thank you again so very much..
Sandi Russell offline

Re: Serial number on Modular home

Postby » Sun Feb 13, 2005 2:37 pm

And the saga continues. Last Friday I spoke with someone at the Marlette plant in PA. He said that a good way to differentiate a mod from a doublewide is to determine if there are I-beams running lengthwise AND crosswise under the house. True?? Or is this just a test for newer construction? He also mentioned something about mobile homes and floor joists (perhaps mobile homes didn't have floor joists??), but I cannot recall exactly what he said now.

Sure enough, our home has the I beams running both ways AND it has 2x6 floor joists. Is it possible that 1974 mods and doublewides were built similarly and that no one is going to be able to definitively say which one our home is?

Saturday I received official notification that my refinance request had been denied because "the value or condition of the collateral was not sufficient". Since the appraised value of $144,000 is $64,000 more than I wanted to borrow, I think the bottom line is the appraiser stated that the home IS a double wide, and the lender doesn't do mortgages on single or doublewide mobile homes - period. I paid for the appraisal and am waiting for a copy of it from the lender (Option One Mortgage) in CA.

My concern is two fold - I still don't know what type of home this iis. With a 30 year old home of unknown manufactured type,
1) I won't be able to refinance at a reasonable rate
2) I may not be able to even sell the house down the road.

Should I hire another appraiser? And before I hire another appraiser to clarify this matter, what qualifications and experience should the appraiser have?

Many thanks for any suggestions!
Sandi Russell offline

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