On the surface, buying your first mobile home isn’t much different from buying your first stick-built home. The process may sound familiar: endless house hunting, paperwork, and loans. But that’s where the similarities end. A stick-built home is already…built. A stick-built home comes with land and a hot water heater. But with a mobile home, the story isn’t quite the same.
Before you buy your first mobile home, there are a few things you need to know. Forget what you know about buying a house! Today we’re going to zero in on mobile home buying and take a look at three elements that deserve some thought (and some budgeting).
#1 Buying new may not be the best option
When it comes to buying a mobile home, there’s an initial question that needs answering. Should you buy a used mobile home or a new mobile home? It all depends on your budget and lifestyle.
Mobile homes depreciate quickly, so buying a used mobile home can be significantly less expensive. Also, there are a lot of them on the market, which can cut your wait time in half. Compared to ordering a custom mobile home and waiting for it to be built, this is an advantage. The process of purchasing a brand-new mobile home can take several months.
If you’re looking for a temporary home that is ready to move into in short order, a used mobile home might be perfect. However, if you’re looking for a more permanent residence and your budget is substantial, then go with a new home. Put your money into the things that are most important to you. Do you want style over function? Location over looks? These questions will determine your path.
Buying a used mobile home: budgeting
In all of this, another question that should be at the forefront is: what can you afford? Budget wisely. A new mobile home may be a bigger initial investment than you prefer. And a used mobile home can look more attractive for this reason.
But numbers on paper can be deceiving. Have you considered the age of the used mobile home you’ve been eyeing? Used mobile homes often need work. It’s common for roofing, skirting, and other essential elements of a mobile home to need fixing. Are you prepared to cover the costs of fixing up an older mobile home?
#2 You’ll need to consider land options
One thing that sets mobile homes apart from stick-built homes is that mobile homes are actually mobile. They’re designed to be moved around from one place to another. If you’re buying a new mobile home, it will be delivered to the designated plot of land after it’s built. This may be a plot that you own, or, more likely, it is a plot you’re renting from a mobile home park.
Buying a new mobile home is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to make sure you allow space in your budget for buying or renting land, but otherwise, it’s not hard. Buying a used mobile home, however, is a little more complicated. If you’re buying a used mobile home that comes with its own land, then chin up! Your problems have been solved. You can keep the home right where it is.
Most of the time, it won’t be that easy. Many of the mobile homes on the market are currently placed on rented lots in mobile home parks. The park owner is often trying to get rid of the home so he can make space for another renter. You’ll need to rent property in your chosen mobile home park (or buy your own land). And that means budgeting enough money to have the mobile home moved to that spot.
#3 There will be additional costs
Lastly, remember that if you’re buying land, you’ll need a septic system. A septic tank and system for mobile homes can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. You may even opt to use a portable storage tank that needs to be dumped every so often.
Make sure you plan and account for the way your mobile home situation will differ from other setups. For instance, if there’s no existing garage or carport, determine if you’ll want to add one. Similarly, if you know you’ll need a shed to keep your gardening tools in, plan to purchase that yourself. Take extra costs like these and add them up in your initial budget research so you’ll be totally prepared when the time comes to buy and settle in.
Happy house hunting
You’re buying your very first mobile home. Congratulations! We hope this has given you a look into what you need to accomplish to make your dream a reality. And if you’re planning to buy a new mobile home, be sure to check out our guide to designing your dream mobile home in 2021.