our everyday life

How to Determine the Year of a Mobile Home

by Lorna Hordos, studioD

Park trailers and manufactured homes have identifying tags usually referred to as labels or plates that display information, such as the manufacturer, serial number or vehicle identification number, and the year manufactured. Although park trailers and manufactured homes can have similarities like square footage, a park trailer has a VIN, and a manufactured home has a SN, explains the Vehicle Industry News. While in transportation or over time, the plate can be lost or it may be difficult to locate, but you have various places to look and resources to contact to help you determine the year.

Look for the data plate or label on the home’s exterior. If it's still attached and hasn’t been painted over or built over, such as with a deck or addition, it may be near the front door or an exterior corner. The type of tag may differ depending on the construction standards or development department in your area. In California, for example, a manufactured home’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data plate is a 3-inch-by-4-inch, red aluminum tag; If the home was manufactured before June 15, 1976, the tag is called a California Label .

Look on the front cross member of the chassis for a stamped SN or VIN. The number can aid you in tracking down more information.

Check for an adhesive or metal tag containing the home’s pertinent information inside a cupboard or closet or on the electrical-panel door or near the furnace. In a manufactured home, the plate may be roughly letter size; in a park trailer it may be only a few inches wide. This tag should contain the year, SN or VIN, and manufacturer, as well as the wind, roof and thermal zone for which the home was built, explains the Institute for Building Technology and Safety.

Ask a previous owner, the last insurance company or lender, or the tax-records office for the year, if they have any title information on file.

Send a picture of the home to the manufacturer. The home’s style, such as the roofline or materials used may be identifying factors.

Narrow down the home’s age by looking for a sign related to certain mobile homes, such as aluminum wiring, which the manufacturer used in models built before 1976, Realtor.com explains.

Contact IBTS to ask about obtaining a verification letter or compliance certificate to replace a missing data plate, which provides the year. IBTS may request that you fill out a form, if you have at least some information on the home, such as the SN or simply the original address.

Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to inquire about obtaining a verification letter or copy of the American National Standards Institute label for a park trailer. It may be able to provide you with the home’s year, if you have at least some information on the unit, such as the VIN.

About the Author

Lorna Hordos has owned a home-flipping business for more than two decades. She uses her construction and interior design experience to write friendly, conversational home and lifestyle articles for Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes and numerous other publications. She also enjoys writing for children, and has been featured on the cover of Humpty Dumpty magazine.