The Pros & Cons of Buying a Mobile Home

Features of the Modern Mobile Home

Mobile homes, also known as “manufactured homes,” are built in a factory and placed on a trailer chassis to allow them to be moved. Mobile homes are sometimes placed in a mobile home park or on leased land. In these cases, the owner rents a space or leases land, but owns the mobile home itself.

Alternatively, mobile home owners can place mobile homes on land they own or are buying under contract.

The Pros:

  1. Affordability: The average cost per square foot for a manufactured home is $49 per square foot versus $107 per square foot for a traditional home built on site.
  2. Structural Strength: All manufactured housing sold in the United States bears a permanently affixed “red seal” to show that all requirements of what is sometimes termed the most stringent certification process in the building industry have been met.
  3. Versatility: A basic manufactured home can be extremely affordable, families who own an appropriate site can start small, with the option of adding additional manufactured modules as their needs change.
  4. Energy Efficient and Eco-Friendly: Today’s manufactured housing is 27 percent more efficient than it used to be. 
  5. Lower Taxes: As long as your manufactured home is installed on your own private land, you can get a lower property tax compared to when your home is considered real property.

Manufactured homes have become a primary part in addressing the problem of housing shortage as a result of high prices and demand.

The Cons:

  1. Availability and Cost of Suitable Land: There can be a shortage of available land with proper access and existing utility service. In some areas, the land is deed-restricted to require site-built construction.
  2. Lingering Stigma of Mobile Homes: Verify zoning restrictions and limitations.
  3. Lender Requirements: If they decide to lend, the end up charging very high rates and offering terms that are not friendly. The alternative to a mortgage is a personal property loan which can involve even more stringent qualification requirements, additional cash investment, and less favorable terms.
  4. Foundation and Land Lease fees: Balancing the costs of various foundation choices and land lease fees sometimes exceed the cost of a stick-built mortgage.
  5. Long-term Value: The market value of manufactured homes depreciates with time, which is disadvantageous especially if you plan to resell your manufactured home in future. In California, manufactured homes depreciate fast when they are not maintained well. Just like a car after leaving its dealership company, the value of manufactured homes plummets once it has left the factory.
  6. Mobile? Not Really: Many manufactured homes are “grounded” with concrete foundations, decks, site-built porches, garages, patios, and lush landscaping, situated in subdivisions with abundant amenities for upscale lifestyles.
  7. Park Policies: This means that, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on your manufactured home, as long as you don’t own the land it is installed on, you will have a landlord.

As with any major purchase, the decision must depend on a family’s individual needs and circumstances. When you weigh the pros and cons of buying a mobile home, the value becomes apparent and the uncertainty of “are mobile homes a good investment?” fades away for sure. Before planning to get your “sweet home”, be sure to evaluate your own specific housing goals and plan the right process for it.

All data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the RLS or Revel Real Estate. See Terms of Service for additional restrictions. © 2020.. All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While, this information is believed to be correct, it is represented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice. All property information, including, but not limited to square footage, room count, number of bedrooms and the school district in property listings are deemed reliable, but should be verified by your own attorney, architect or zoning expert. The number of bedrooms listed above is not a legal conclusion. Each person should consult with his/her own attorney, architect or zoning expert to make a determination as to the number of rooms in the unit that may be legally used as a bedroom. We are an equal housing opportunity provider. Consistent with applicable law, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, lawful source of income, military status, sex, gender identity, age, disability, familial status (having children under age 18), or religion. Equal Housing Opportunity. 

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