If you just picked up your next investment mobile home and intend to rent it out for passive cash each month, there are a number of simple improvements that can help ensure you the least amount of hassles down the road.
Below is a list of 4 upgrades that may help in reducing immediate inconveniences, in adding value to the home, and in preventing larger damages later. Keep in mind it may be easier to make these improvements while the home is still vacant.
Replace regular outdoor faucets with Frost-Free water facets: Frost-free faucets are plumbing valves that are installed on the exterior of your mobile home. When used properly, a frost-free faucet can be drained in the winter to eliminate the water damage caused by busted pipes that once occurred with exterior faucets.
Upgrade that old 100 amp breaker to 200 amp service: This can be an easy upgrade with the help of a licensed electrician. Increasing the amount of electricity your mobile home may use at a single time will greatly increase the appeal and length of time your tenants rent your home.
Many older mobile homes will have a 100 amp or 50 amp service into the entire home. Always consult a licensed electrician. It may only be advisable for your home’s electric to increase service by 50 or 75 amps because of dated wiring inside the home.
This ‘Main’ amp breaker is found in the exterior electric box outside your mobile home; locate this box and read the top breaker itself to see the total the number of amps this home will run before the breaker turns itself off for safety.
Extra Water shut-off valves: Have you ever had a leaky faucet? Hot water heater burst? Running dishwasher that just would stop wasting water? Did the appliance or faucet that was leaking have a water shut-off value specifically for it? If the appliance or faucet had its own separate water turn-off valve (separate from the other faucets and appliances) you noticed how easy and quick this problem was to repair/replace without stopping water usage from the rest of the home. These valves can be easily installed with basic plumbing knowledge and a few inexpensive parts at your local hardware store. Always consult a professional first.
In addition map out where all the water shut-off values are (both inside and outside) and how to use them should your tenants ever need to cut water off from any part(s) of the home. Tape this map in an easy to read location. I have found that adding shut-off values before needing them is one of the best investments to make. Water damage happens quickly, make sure your tenants can stop a leaky appliance and still maintain daily activities like showering and drinking water while the repairs are being made.
Replace Carpet with Tiles: If your mobile home currently has good looking carpets then by all means keep them until they should be replaced. Once your carpet gets too soiled to be re-rentable, consider replacing the carpet with wall to wall linoleum tiles (also called peel-and-stick tiles). Inexpensive linoleum tiles can be bought at your local hardware store for under a dime per square foot and are super easy to install over wood floors. Linoleum titles are easy to clean and unlike carpet if a single tear, stain, or blemish occurs you need only replace the damaged tile square(s) and not the entire room of carpet. From time to tile styles get outdated and are replaced; purchase extra matching square tiles to prevent having to mix-n-match your flooring tile designs later.
All these upgrades will cost you money. Make sure to have your selling/renting strategies made before you ever purchase your investment mobile home. Know which improvements you will be making and take account for this in your purchase offer(s) to your seller(s).
- John Fedro