Buying A Mobile Home: All Ins and Outs to Consider in 2024

Home buying tips, June 18, 2024
buying a mobile home

Buying a mobile home can be a smart move in 2024. 

They give people the affordability and flexibility regular homes can not do. But it can be pretty scary to go through the process. 

This is where our ultimate guide comes in. 

We took into consideration everything you need to know in a purchase — from how to find the right, trustworthy dealer to how you could prolong the life span of your home. 

You will learn all its pros and cons, the different types available in the market, and purchase cost, along with tips on how to purchase it step by step. 

We’ll also provide some hints and tips from real estate experts who know what they are talking about.

Ready to dive in? Let’s make your experience of purchasing a mobile home smooth and stress-free.

But First, What Is a Mobile Home?

A mobile home is a factory-built home that is transported to its site, differing from the normal houses that are stick-built.

These homes come fully constructed and are set up on-site, either on rented land or land you own.

Think of a home that is cozy and compact for a small family or an individual, such as a single-manufactured home, about 18 feet wide and up to 90 feet in length.

The other type has more room, for example, a doublewide, which is 36 feet wide and suitable for most families.

Mobile homes are only set up on-site, offering flexible and affordable housing without sacrificing modern standards of comfort and amenities.

Types of Mobile Homes

There are three specific options for mobile homes: mobile homes, manufactured homes, and modular homes.

First-generation units existed before the year 1976 and are considered mobile homes.

They usually exude plenty of retro charm but lack the regulations of the present day.

Manufactured homes were built after 1976 when the HUD Code started to control them. 

Thus, these houses are comparatively much more secure, strong, and energy-efficient.

Then you have the sophisticated cousins — modular homes.

Unlike manufactured homes, they are not built on a chassis.

A factory creates modules that are later delivered to the site for assembly.

Following local building guidelines rather than the HUD Code, modular homes allow more variation and, most of the time, better construction quality.

Key Differences Between Manufactured and Mobile Homes

  • Construction standards: Mobile homes operate under less stringent pre-1976 standards whereas manufactured homes follow the HUD Code, and modular homes follow local building codes.
  • Assembly: Manufactured homes are built on a permanent chassis while, on the other hand, modular homes are built in a factory, and then delivery takes place to the site for construction.
  • Customization: Modular homes often allow more customization because they follow local codes.

Advantages:

  • Manufactured homes: They are cheap, built to federal standards, and quickly set up.
  • Modular homes: Allow more design flexibility, often of higher quality, and are built to withstand local conditions.

All three varieties bring affordable, flexible housing but cater to varying needs and tastes.

Knowing these differences helps make that informed choice, whether you’re looking for the nostalgic charm of a mobile home, the standardized safety of a manufactured home, or the customizable quality of a modular home.

How Much Does a Mobile Home Cost?

You will feel a little relieved at least once you find out how much it is going to cost you to purchase a mobile home.

They are usually much cheaper on average compared to a conventional home.

For example, you could get a single-wide for around $57,600 to $62,000 or a double-wide for $110,300 to $122,900.

Traditional houses cost an average of $388,800, though.

Source

But remember, there are numerous other costs to consider.

  • The cost range significantly varies, between $1,000 to $100,000, depending on the site of the land base.
  • Site preparation costs – rough grading and foundation: $4,000–$11,000.
  • Actual moving costs: transporting and installing a manufactured home runs between $3,000 to $7,000 for setup.
  • Hookups for utilities: $1,000 to $5,000 for water, electricity, and sewage.
  • Insurance: this, of course, is going to be way lower than for a site-built home, but insurance will still cost $500 to $1,500 on average.
  • Maintenance: you will spend about $500 every year on repairs.

Taxes for such homes are considerably low compared to traditional homes, which can be anything from $200 to $600 as compared to in the thousands.

It also needs to be remembered that mobile home park dues may vary from $300 to $1,000 a month depending on the facilities available in the park and its location.

This might mean that site-built homes are a lot more expensive, in terms of construction quality and the number of permits required during manufactured home installation.

Most notable to consider is the fact that with the very low initial pricing that your house will have, all these additional costs will still see you end up with very cheap prices.

Other Costs You Can Incur When Buying a Mobile Home

Buying a mobile home is very important, and there are hidden expenses in the process of buying a mobile home that takes you by surprise.

Let me explain.

  • Permit Fees: Building, Electrical, and Plumbing permits can easily run in the hundreds of dollars.
  • Transportation Costs: Extra expenses in the transportation of goods to your site, if it is significantly removed from the factory.
  • Lot Rent Increases: The rent paid for living in a mobile home park can sometimes increase and affect your monthly budget.
  • Utility Connection Fees: Very high, particularly in rural settings where infrastructure is not much developed.
  • Landscaping and Exterior: Professional landscaping is expensive, but it has a high impact on keeping the home yard and exterior beautiful.
  • Home Repairs: Modifications for a porch or added fixtures to design standards can dramatically increase the cost of care.
  • Natural Disaster Coverage: Flood, hurricane, or earthquake insurance may be much more expensive in some areas.
  • Property Inspection and Appraisal: This is very important in determining the safety standards and the right valuation, and it comes on top of the initial cost.

By realizing these hidden costs, you can have a much better and more secure financial experience in the purchase of mobile homes.

Pros and Cons of Mobile Homes

Source

Mobile homes are a mixed bag, really.

Let’s start with the pros.

✅ Affordable Mobile Home

Affordability is the biggest plus.

Mobile homes are a small fraction of the price of most regular homes.

On average, a single-wide mobile home costs around $57,600, while the average price of a traditional home is $392,000.

Moreover, the affordability goes further than the price of acquisition.

Property maintenance and the taxes involved in owning a mobile home are usually cheaper.

✅ Benefit 2: Mobile Home is Constructed Efficiently

Next is efficient construction.

Manufactured homes are built in controlled factory environments.

With that, it radically reduces construction time and waste.

This basically means a quicker move-in time, and more often than not, better quality than one would have on an on-site build.

✅ Benefit 3: Finance Options

Now it’s time to talk about the financing options for you.

While it’s unquestionably different to finance a mobile home than a traditional stick-built home, many financing options exist.

FHA, USDA, and VA loans may be available—many times with lower down payments and more flexible terms.

❌ Con 1: Higher Interest Rates

Now for the not-so-good news.

Higher interest rates are a possible downside.

With most mobile home loans, the interest rates are higher than those secured for standard house mortgages, making them more expensive in the long run.

There is also the depreciation factor.

While most houses tend to increase in value, mobile homes actually decline, and this could become a resale problem.

❌ Con 2: Social Stigma

Social stigma is another con.

Manufactured homes, despite the benefits of the dwelling, sometimes carry a different perception of being of less quality or unsteady than traditional houses.

This stigma can affect everything from resale value to where you can place your home.

In brief, mobile homes give affordable choices and efficient buildings, with ample modes for financing.

The buyer needs to be careful about higher interest rates, potential depreciation, and social stigma.

Balancing these factors gives you a good thumb on whether a mobile home will work out for your lifestyle and budget.

Mobile Home Buying Process in 6 Steps

Believe me, there are a ton of steps to purchasing a mobile home, but this is the basic breakdown in layman’s terms.

Step 1: Location

Decide where you want your manufactured home to be located; will it be on your own parcel of land or in a Mobilehome Park?

Both options have their advantages.

While the privacy and freedom to tailor your surroundings that are associated with owning your own parcel of land are appealing, the advantages of Mobilehome Parks offer community and amenities.

Step 2: Finding a Dealer

Look for reputable dealers or manufacturers.

Make sure you research and read available reviews, visit showrooms, and check on prices to ensure you get good quality and value for your money.

Step 3: Financing

Financing is at the heart of the whole process.

Some of the options include FHA, USDA, and VA loans — essentially, chattel loans.

Compare prices to get the best interest rates and terms that reasonably fit into your budget.

Step 4: Site Preparation

You ought to level and place foundations on your site.

Given that site preparation is an expensive affair, it guarantees that your house is going to be strongly fixed onto the ground.

Based on the type of work involved, site preparation ranges between $4,000 and $11,000.

Step 5: Delivery and Installation

Following site preparation, the home is delivered and installed.

Most companies will provide delivery within a certain distance, but one should always check first.

Installation includes placing the house on its foundation and hooking up utilities.

Typical costs range from $3,000 to $7,000.

Step 6: Insurance and Permits

Finally, the insurance and permits.

With insurance, you are assured that your home is protected from disasters and accidents that can happen anywhere and everywhere.

On average, insurance will cost you $500 to $1,500 yearly.

Permits ensure the house complies with all local building codes and regulations, which sometimes require permits ranging from zoning and building to utility connections.

In this way, you can now proceed with the search for your new dwelling house, armed with knowledge and self-assurance.

Being able to buy a mobile home is actually quite fulfilling and presents a very flexible and affordable housing option.

Stay organized by keeping documents in files, noting expenses, and tracking timelines to ensure everything goes well.

Top Tips and Hacks for Buying a Mobile Home from Real Estate Professionals

Having the right pieces of advice and hacks will come in handy when buying a mobile home.

In coming up with the best deal, choosing a reliable dealer is of great importance.

Getting enough research and checking reviews is paramount.

Look for the most satisfactory reviews and a good reputation associated with the dealers.

Experts at MHVillage recommend: “Talk to friends and family who own manufactured homes, and check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints”​​.

Visiting multiple dealers can also help you get a sense of who you can trust.

Negotiation tips can make a significant difference in getting a good deal.

Research how much it usually costs to buy a mobile home of the kind one wishes to buy.

Set a realistic budget from what one learns and haggle from an informed position.

“Always ask for a total cash price and negotiate up from the invoice price rather than down from the retail price”, advises Mobile Home Living​.

There really is some leeway, so it pays to be insistent.

One can do this without being discourteous.

There is also merit in dropping by at the last part of a selling month or year.

Dealers are often more motivated to hit sales targets.

Regular maintenance and repairs will increase the life span and value of your home.

Regular maintenance will enable you to find any leaks, cracks, and pest infractions — skirtings of high quality can protect the underneath of your home and add to insulation.

Upgrading appliances to energy-efficient models can reduce utility bills and increase your home’s value, according to the experts at Small Manufactured Homes.

A front porch or back deck will make the overall space seem larger and is a bonus for curb appeal.

These tips make a world of difference for a good experience while buying a mobile home.

Thus, finding a trusted dealer, being a great negotiator, and maintaining your home will ensure that your investment is worth your value through the years of enjoying your mobile home.

Conclusion

It is an experience of pleasure if it is affordable, flexible, and efficient during the purchase of a mobile home in 2024.

We have described the most crucial aspects you need to be aware of: choice of a trustworthy dealer and understanding of all types of expenditures.

We have also shared expert advice and hacks to make your journey smooth.

Please note that proper research and cautious planning are your best friends.

Be aware of maintenance to increase the value and lifespan of your home.

And now you are ready to make an informed decision — happy home buying!

The Estate Skyline Team The Estate Skyline Team is a group of dedicated real estate professionals passionate about helping home sellers and buyers navigate the real estate market. With extensive experience and expertise in property management, marketing, and home renovation, they provide valuable insights and top-notch services to ensure a seamless real estate experience. The team is committed to delivering personalized solutions and staying updated with the latest industry trends, making Estate Skyline a trusted source for all your real estate needs.
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