5 Common Interior Mobile Home Repairs (& How to Handle Them!)
Mobile home repairs. Many mobile homes need some repairs, and some mobile homes need many repairs. While recently touring a manufactured home facility, I was able to see firsthand the fairly simple construction of modern-day manufactured homes. While the engineering and safety that goes into constructing these homes is great, the few simple layers that separates the interior and exterior of the homes are relatively easy to understand and work with.
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The exterior of a mobile home will consist of siding, wood, or a composite material that will be aesthetically pleasing to the buyer. Underneath this will be a moisture barrier that is stapled to the wood stud frame. Depending on the weather rating in your area, the subject manufactured home will have different degrees of insulation and safety features built in the walls. Finally a drywall, gypsum board, or paneling material will be used as an interior wall. Ceilings and floors are similar in their few construction layers separating the interior and exterior of the home.
If you missed part 1 of this 3-part article series, please see 3 Common Misconceptions Investors Have About Mobile Home Repairs. Below is a short list of common areas you will find repairs needed concerning many used mobile homes you tour.
Roof leaks are sometimes inevitable. Minor pinholes from falling acorns or branches can cause significant water damage to a home overtime. Correct the roof by removing and replacing damaged shingles or re-tarring/cementing (using roofing cement) the damaged area. Once the entry point for water is corrected, remove and replace any damaged insulation, mold, and ceiling panels/drywall to cover.
Pro Tip: When a roof leak is identified by water stains appearing on the ceiling, a hole or tear directly above the water stain is typically to blame.
As mentioned above the general construction layers of these homes are fairly simple to understand. While walls of manufactured homes are expertly designed to keep water out of the home, windows are inevitably left open, gutters will overflow, or roof/water leaks travel into wall cavities to rot wooded wall studs and cause mold in warm climates.
Pro Tip: Push on all exterior walls to verify vertical studs are attached to horizontally running floor studs at the floor and ceiling levels. Some walls may be wobbly to the touch and/or show evidence of significant wood rot. While this may not void a deal, it should be accounted for in the purchase price.
Cosmetic holes in drywall or paneling can easily be fixed with patches or by removing and replacing entire wall sections. Occasionally some walls need to be rebuilt. Always be sure to hire an experienced and recommended handyman or contractor.
Over the last 50 years, the flooring material in factory built homes has changed from 1/4 inch compressed wood fiber board to 3/4 inch water-resistant plywood. With better material comes a more water-resistant and safer home. With regards to flooring issues the most common repairs are listed below:
- Holes in floors: Cut a square hole around the existing floor-hole back to the surrounding floor joists. Cover square hole with matching square of plywood with same thickness of the existing floor. Glue and screw the new wood square to the nearby joists for a tight fit.
- Soft-spots in floors: Cut a square hole around the existing soft-spot back to the surrounding floor joists. Cover square hole with matching square of plywood with same thickness of the existing floor. Glue and screw the new wood square to the nearby joists for a tight fit.
- Wavy floors: Wavy floors can be firm/rigid or soft and ready to cave in. Depending on the degree of waviness and softness the floor may have to be removed and replaced, or simply left as is. As a rule of thumb, if you notice a wavy floor than your buyer will most likely notice it as well.
- Unlevel floor: This may be due to the home settling over a number of years from the outside due to peers shifting or a poor foundation for which the home sits on. An experienced mobile home contractor or handyman may be able to diagnose the best and quickest fit for this issue.
For the most part, we have talked about rainwater damaging a home. However, any water leak or overflow inside a home can absolutely damage the surrounding walls and floor if left for a substantial amount of time. Before purchasing any homes, make sure to test water lines and listen and look visually for leaks in pipes, water lines, sink connections, appliances, faucets, refrigerator water lines, etc.
While walking through a property to purchase, the electrical service may be connected and powered on. If this is the case, then make sure to check all outlets, appliances, and light switches to see they are in proper working order. Additionally, there should be a suitable number of amps (minimum 100A) coming into the home to power all modern appliances and air conditioning systems.
Pro Tip: If you are uncertain about electrical repairs, breaker boxes, or exposed wires, make sure to bring a licensed and experienced handyman or electrician to give you added clarity and cost estimates to repair.
Turn on power before closing, if possible. If you are unable to test the working order of appliances, water heaters, HVAC systems, or lights and outlets to account for electrical issues in a rehab, then budget a minimum of $750 in case there are any electrical issues the seller forgot to disclose. Hopefully, no repairs are needed, however this must be accounted for if you are unable to verify exactly what you are buying because the power is off.
Pro Tip: If the subject mobile home has sat vacant, without-power, for over 6 months make sure to call the local power company to verify an inspection will not be needed prior to power being reestablished. If an inspection is needed the inspector may require many costly updates to be made around the home. This alone may void a deal as Electrical repairs can be very expensive.
In conclusion, none of these mobile home repair issues above are deal breakers unless they are chronic problems throughout a home, and even then, there still may be an opportunity to create value and help local buyers/sellers in your market. As a mobile home investor, it can be important to recoup all our invested capital back as quickly as possible. For this reason, it is sometimes unwise to place many thousands of dollars into a mobile home as repairs, especially if the property will not be worth the added amount once it is repaired. Keep your end-buyer in mind and remember you have to make every property attractive and affordable for this end-user.
What are some of the most common deferred mobile home repairs you see?