Mobile homes have an unfair reputation for being low quality or trashy. That just isn’t true. A mobile home is a great way to get your own property, place it anywhere you choose and for less than many more stationary houses tend to cost. It is becoming an increasingly popular option, with variations such as tiny homes and mini cottages becoming a darling of the real estate world.
If you are reading this you are probably considering making a purchase yourself. Before you go shopping for the perfect little place of your own, here are some things you should know.
There Are Many Kinds of Mobile Homes
Mobile homes are not all the same single level family affair that you may be used to. There are multiple styles and types, as the couple mentioned above prove. Tiny houses are miniature homes that attempt to utilize every inch of space, all in a very small package. Mini cottages are similar, though usually one room wood houses with lofts.
There are also multi-level mobile homes. These are less portable, which makes them a mixed bag. But if you are looking to get a manufactured home and you aren’t concerned with being able to move it quite as easily it is definitely a good option.
If portability is your goal there are models that come on wheels, which can be either kept on at all times or slipped under with some tools.
The Cost of Mobile Homes Can Vary Wildly
With so many mobile home styles it probably won’t surprise you that these dwellings don’t come in a standard price range. According to Forbes, the average cost of a tiny house is around $23,000. But the average cost of a single story mobile home is around $64,000. Multi-level manufactured homes can vary, but you can assume between $50 and $100 per square foot.
The varying prices is one reason that it is important to know what it is you are looking for in a home. You should also consider other costs that are associated with your house. The land that you are building it on, for example, or the hook up costs for electricity, plumbing, gas, etc. These may not be built into the price and so require additional installation and fees.
Quality Is a Factor
Not all mobile homes are created equal. In fact, going to the wrong provider can end in some serious headaches. A major storm can topple it over or damage can be done to the exterior, pieces can fall off, etc. It is critical that you find a reputable dealer or construction crew to help you find the right mobile home.
You are looking for quality materials, designs and reputable reviews for who you work with. If you find all three you will wind up with a beautiful, sturdy home.
Manufactured or Prefabricated Homes Are Awesome
These style of houses are fantastic. Not only are they lower cost than from scratch models, but they are easier and faster to put up. A crew as small as two people can construct a manufactured or prefabricated mobile home, using pretty basic tools. Sometimes it can be done in as little as an afternoon.
That is because the pieces are already put together and ready to combine. They have been shipped from the factory with everything needed, to the location you specify. So the people putting it up just have to go through and hook all the parts, from the walls and foundation to the different compartmentalized rooms and features.
Getting a Loan Can Be Tricky
When you are getting a mortgage you go to a bank, right? Most mobile homes won’t qualify under mortgage programs. Instead you have to either go through an official mobile home company that specializes in financing, or you have to go through a credit union that has a loan specifically for this style of house.
The idea is that mobile homes are portable and many people mistake that to mean temporary. They are also lower cost, so there is less profit gained through interest rates. Many banks don’t see the point of funding them.
Thankfully, it isn’t hard to get a loan from one of these specified places. If you have an account with a credit union it is all the better, as that improves your odds of approval and they often have competitive rates.
Location Is Everything
You could have a gorgeous, well crafted, amazing mobile home. But if it is sitting on an ugly lot in the middle of a crowded area, what good it is? You want a location that is central to what you need, but still pretty, functional and offers you whatever you are looking for. Some people choose mobile parks in order to have a neighborhood feel. Others choose more isolated locations where they can enjoy a plot of land.
Whatever works for you, location is a pretty important part of buying your mobile home. It is also a good chunk of what you will be paying for. Renting land is possible, such as in mobile parks. But buying your own ensures you have greater equity in your property. It is a sound investment, even if you plan on uprooting and moving somewhere else. Land is also cheaper than you might expect, depending on the area.
Retail Cost Versus Invoice Cost
Once you know what you are looking for and where you are going, it is time to go to a reputable dealer. When dealing with closing costs make sure you ask to see the invoice cost of the property. If they resist, insist on it or possible go to someone else. This is a better representation of cost without inflation that can come from retail markups.
Don’t let them corner you into telling your budget or what you can pay monthly. Just have them give you flat invoice prices for a described model and then negotiate based off of that price.