How to Buy Mobile Homes and Things to Consider Before Getting One.
How to Buy Mobile Homes: Mobile houses are becoming really popular these days and getting one can be a little stressful since there isn’t an official website where one can easily buy a mobile home from. However, if you are considering buying a mobile home, there are things to consider. This post will give you all the information you need.
History of Mobile Homes
The modern mobile home began with travel trailers, or what we now refer to as RVs (recreational vehicles). These things started out as little rooms, basically, that could be towed behind cars or trucks, thus eliminating the need for hotel rooms while on vacation and designed to be more secure and comfortable than a tent for camping.
Travel trailers began production in 1926 and, by the late 1940s, some enterprising folks figured out that they could make travel trailers that were meant to be permanent and affordable homes.
First came the single-wide which could be as large as 18 by 90 feet, then came the double-wides which essentially double the width of the home.
Essentially, with the exception of the newer homes, most trailers do still have axles and wheels attached to the underside, unless the home has been put on a foundation. This makes it easier to haul it wherever it needs to go.
Mobile homes are now manufactured in all kinds of crazy ways and some folks prefer the term prefabricated (prefab) or modular to a mobile home. They even make these things with multiple stories now!
The prices have changed dramatically, too. What once was touted as an industry that made affordable housing is now producing double and triple wides that can cost in excess of $80,000. Though that might seem like a deal, the cost of the land has to be considered, and know that the value of your mobile, prefab or modular will never increase.
Things to Think About When Buying an Older Mobile Home
Though they are now technically referred to as “manufactured” homes, many of us still call them trailers or mobile homes. Here are some things to consider before buying one.
A lot of the newer models have all kinds of frills, but many of the older trailers do not. Be aware before you even begin your journey that you are most likely not going to find skylights, wood flooring, drywall, or many of the finer things that some folks expect from the newer homes. You’ll probably find awful wallpaper, wood paneling, linoleum, and lots of it!
Believe it or not, most older trailers have plumbing fixtures that are not industry standard for regular homes. Your pipes drains and even some of your fixtures are going to be made for mobile homes only and your replacement parts may be hard to come by and/or expensive. Also, it is rare for a mobile home with any kind of age on it to have shut off valves for sinks, tubs, and toilets. If you have to make a repair, you’ll have to shut off all the water to the trailer.
Just like with the plumbing, doors, doorknobs, and windows are difficult to replace on older model mobile homes because they are specially made for trailers. These parts are getting harder and harder to find and some enterprising sellers have realized this and the prices on some things can go through the roof. My advice is to know in advance where you will be able to find affordable parts for your trailer.
Unless your new home is sitting on a foundation, which most older mobile homes are not, it will likely be up on cinder blocks or other structures to make it stable. This is not a bad thing, but it does make for an interesting thunderstorm experience – these things can shake pretty good. Also, someone jumping up and down on the floor on one end of the house could bounce you right out of bed!
Most of the windows on older model mobile homes are not the same as in regular houses. They’ve got little levers that you have to press to open or close them and the storm windows are often put into place on the inside and held in with little plastic clips that can break pretty easily.
Older trailers do not have drywalls. Many are outfitted with cheap wooden paneling that has absolutely nothing behind it. This can make hanging things on your walls difficult and the studs that you will have to use to hang heavier decorations may be too thin to support them.
A lot of the older homes are heated with oil or an oil/kerosene blend. This can get extremely expensive in the winter months especially if you live in a colder location. Central heat and the air is a popular feature, just make sure both are in working order before you sign on the dotted line.
Most banks will not finance a loan for an older model mobile home. This is primarily because these homes do not appreciate in value – by the time you make your final payment, the home could be worth half the price you paid for it. This makes it difficult for the bank to recoup their money if you default on the loan. So be prepared to pay for your new “old” home upfront.
Whether you are buying or renting the mobile home, if it sits in a mobile home park, you will be paying the park a fee each month to rent the land on which it sits. Obviously, when you pay for the trailer, you won’t have any more payments to make, but the lot rent will continue as long as you live on the property.
Moving the Trailer
If you buy any mobile home and it has to be moved, be aware that this is not an inexpensive prospect. It can literally run into the thousands to move a trailer from one location to another and moving it can cause expensive damage to the structure – especially the roof. If the trailer is what’s called a “double-wide” or bigger, your move will cost even more because it has to be taken apart and the pieces have to be moved separately.
The bigger the trailer is, the more it will cost to move. Also, consider the cost of having the home hooked up to electric and water/sewer.