Zoning, Grading, Permits: What You Need to Know

Manufactured homes offer the same appeal, comfort and amenities as traditional site-built homes (and often at a lower price).

However, we hear questions almost every day in our showroom from people who are concerned that there are considerations with this purchase that they would not have to worry about with a “regular” home. These concerns are mainly centered on three areas: zoning, grading, and permits.

At Ma Williams we are here to help with every aspect of your manufactured home purchase, and we’ll take care of many of these things for you. Let’s look at these issues one at a time.


Concerns about zoning and where manufactured homes can be located would be understandable decades ago, when there were more restrictions in place. Some people didn’t want to live near a “trailer.”

But manufactured homes have come a long way since then, and their evolution has been recognized by the state of California. Today, a manufactured home can be placed on any lot zoned for a single-family dwelling, and is only subject to the same architectural standards that other homes in the area are responsible for meeting.


Grading of land means moving dirt from high spots into low spots, and smoothing it out so the land is level. The grade around the home must be enough that gravity can move water away from the home. HUD wants to see a 5-6” slope around the first 10 feet. That equals out to a mere ½” for every foot.

HUD’s Home Builders’ Guide to Manufactured Housing states that slope for manufactured homes should be at least 4-8%. If a slope is not possible there are other methods to satisfy this requirement.

Grading is a necessary step for both site-built homes and manufactured housing. It is an important part of site preparation, which may also include soil testing, excavation of any existing building and flood/water protection and drainage. What is needed will depend largely on the state of the land where the home will be located. Once we know where your home will be built, we can tell you exactly what will happen next.


With traditional homes, permits are acquired and managed primarily by the builder. If you buy a manufactured home from us, it will be our task to work in conjunction with your site contractor to get the permits you need before, during and after the home is transported to the site and placed on its permanent foundation. For a Riverside County site, for example, we’ll work with the site contractor to make sure they obtain the site prep and permanent foundation permits, while we obtain the installation permit.

In some cases, California adds fees or assessments that must be paid prior to receiving a permit. We will discuss these with you when we review your financing options, so there will never be any “surprises” along the way. Still have questions? That’s why we’re here. Contact us today