Once you have closed a few deals you will find it not necessary most of the time to hire inspectors or contractors to inspect your mobile home properties before you purchase them. With their simple shapes and what you see is what you get construction, these homes allow for anyone knowing what to look for, a leg up to potential obstacles and warning flags.
The following is a list of mental notes to make when walking through your next mobile home investment.
Pipes leading nowhere: Shortly after I purchased and resold a nice looking mobile home back in 2005 I heard from the owner that the bathtub and toilet pipes led straight to the ground underneath. The metal pipes where cut and stolen to sell for money. So now any water or fluid that left the bathroom landed squarely on the Earth below the home. This whole embarrassing incident could have been avoided had I bent down and with a flashlight looked to see all pipes below the home led safely to pipes below ground.
Ceiling Spots: Many times walking through mobile homes you are going to see signs of past water spots or other damage. Evidence of past water damage could be previous ceiling repairs or currently existing water spots. Check to feel if a spot is still damp. If so, when was the last rain storm? Question the owners and double check repairs where complete, to fix the water source. If possible lift up the existing damaged ceiling panel and check to feel if the insulation or interior ceiling space is damp, and make sure to make any needed repairs.
Slope: In a heavy rain storm how would the ground underneath your home retain or shed water. The ideal situation is for the land underneath your home, if not a solid slab, to be slightly off level in order to move water away from the home. Your goal is to avoid stagnant water underneath the home for any reason.
Puffy Floor Syndrome: Many older mobile homes that still retain their original flooring in the bathrooms and kitchen will suffer from “Puffy Floor Syndrome”. This water damaged floor and wall section is due to inexpensive particle board being used in construction to keep costs low. It is inevitable that overtime, sinks will overflow, drains will get clogged, and dishwashers will leak, but it is important that once the water source is fixed the wood damage, puffy floor, mold, and mildew are halted and cured as well.
Electrical shorts: Many older mobile homes built before 1971 use aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring can oxidize and deteriorate over time, causing bad connections and electrical shorts. Electric wiring problems can become a real money pit so keep a close eye on electrical issues on all older mobile homes as they can be indicative of large problems to come.
Remember it is sometimes the most obvious problems that pass right by us unnoticed. Often times we investors get so excited to close another deal, or our first deal that we overlook simple and obvious warning flags. Keep your eyes open and stay profitable.
- John Fedro