The lack of eaves and a shallow (not steep) roof pitch are often design features that distinguish a manufactured home from a better looking conventional home.
An eave is the portion of the roof that overhangs the outside walls of a house. The soffit is the underside of the eave and by measuring its width you can tell how much of an overhang you have.
In most styles of house -- except for pueblo-style houses and some modern styles that don’t have eaves -- eaves add substantially to the appearance of a house. They also protect the siding and window frames from deterioration and penetration from water falling off the roof and drooling down the side of the house. Rain gutters can do the same thing on a house with little eave but they require maintenance and don’t look good.
On a smaller manufactured home (under 1500 square feet) a one foot eave would be desirable, but a 6“ eave at least, is better than no eave at all. Without eaves, most homes look more trailer-like and less homelike. On larger homes a 16” eave adds a look of substance to the home. Below is an assortment, the first with eaves only on the ends, and very little eave on the front. The second, no eaves on any side.
If you enlarge the image below by clicking on it, you can see a substantial eave on the last home in the line, probably a doublewide. By the way, I have done a post on the first home in this lineup, Palm Harbor's "The Santa Fe," because the interior is different and very attractive. I've also done a post on the doublewide version of the same style by Palm Harbor, which they call "The Urban Homestead."
Below are two photos of the same home, one with a 1" eave, and one where I photo-shopped (using Gimp) a 12" eave.
The pitch of a roof is how steep it is and the pitch is measured in inches with 3/12 pitch being a 3” vertical rise for every foot (12”) of roof. In areas with high snow fall, sometimes insurers will require that you have at least a 4/12 pitch on your roof. A steeper roof of 4/12 or more will also make a manufactured home, look much more like a conventional home.
Many manufactured homes come with a 3/12 roof pitch but some can be upgraded to a 4/12, 5/12 or greater. Usually pitches of 5/12 come only on modular homes with hinged roofs, so they can be transported within height limits. The roof is flat and a crane lifts it up and it is unfolded into place on site.
Besides being better looking, a roof with a 4/12 pitch may also be better for shingles than a standard 3/12 pitched roof, if you elect to get a roof with shingles. Above is a chart showing the angle of various roof pitches.
A 30 degree roof pitch has been shown to be safest in areas prone to hurricanes. Although the best design for hurricanes is a 4 sided hip roof -- pyramid shaped with two trapezoidal sides and 2 triangular sides, rarely an option on manufactured homes. In high wind areas, eaves should be less than 20 inches.
One last word on roof pitch is safety. If you get a metal roof in particular, and it has a pitch of 5/12 or above, that's not going to feel as safe as a lower pitched roof, if you're one of those people who like to climb up on your roof and clear branches or do some minor patching around exhaust pipes, for example.
Beefing up the strength of the roof so it will hold more weight is not done by adding roofing material or sheathing but by adding rafters. It is something you have to pay attention to in areas with snow. Homes in non-snowy areas usually come with 20 lb. or 30 lb. roof load capacity.
In heavy snow areas, where you might get 5 or 6 ft. of snow on the roof, a 90 lb. roof is recommended. In areas where you might get 2 or 3 ft. of snow, you should upgrade to the 50 lb. roof.