5 Common Interior Mobile Home Repairs (& How to Handle Them!)

by | BiggerPockets.com

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.

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.

Related: 4 Due Diligence Steps to Take BEFORE Purchasing a Vacant Mobile Home

Roof Repairs

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.

Wall Repairs

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.

Floor Repairs

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.

Plumbing Repairs

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.

Related: What You Should Know About Investing in Mobile Homes During Fall & Winter Months

Electrical Repairs

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?

About Author

John Fedro

Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a 4-bedroom mobile home inside of a pre-existing mobile home park. Over the next 11 months, John added 10 more mobile homes to his cash-flowing portfolio. Since these early years, John has gone on to help 150+ sellers and buyers sell their unwanted mobile homes and obtain a safe and affordable manufactured home of their own. Years later, John keeps to what has been successful—buying, fixing, renting, and reselling affordable housing known as mobile homes. John shares his stories, experiences, lessons, and some of the stories of other successful mobile home investors he helps on his blog and YouTube channeland has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest here and on other prominent real estate podcasts, authored a highly-rated book aimed at increasing the happiness/satisfaction of average real estate investors, and spoken to national and international audiences concerning the opportunities and practicality of successfully investing in mobile homes.


  1. Jerry W.

    While what you say sounds simple, it is very good advice. I spent a lot of time in trailer houses growing up and still own one. The new ones are amazing. The mold ones with paneling were very risky for fires. The oiled panels burned like wildfire. Most had metal roofs back than and sounded pretty loud during rainstorms. Mobile homes were extremely common in Wyoming and boom areas. Be sure to look at a few of the outlets by removing the plate and pulling one or 2 out. Some never used junction boxes and will have 6 or more wires running in and out. those are susceptible to fires. The ones with aluminum wiring may not be eligible for insurance or in some cases even loans.

  2. Don Johnston

    John…I don’t mean to be critical but your title is misleading. Instead of “mobile home” you should have said “manufactured home repair” as your content referred mainly to manufactured homes as did your “About the Author”.
    I live in one…a mobile home…in a mobile home park. Right across from me is a manufactured home. I am a handyman. I work on these homes. Doing repairs on a manufactured home is very similar to repairs on a “regular” home. Mobile home repairs can be totally different. There isn’t much you could call “standard” in mobile homes, especially from decade to decade and manufacturer to manufacturer.
    I agree with Jerry W. above but the mobile home I live in is over 30 years old but one of the best in its day. Nicely insulated so the rain is not a bother.
    Just a word on plumbing…I just did some repairs on an older model and there was a mixture of copper, brass and galvanized pipe. A great combination for fast corrosion.

  3. Tom Keith

    Hey John, you always do a great job in assisting investors on the benefits of Manufactured home area. As a retired insurance agency owner, I came in contact with 30 years of changes and some of these new ones are amazingly built. I remember the 1990’s when they put the very cheap plastic plumbing in them and caused a Lot of problems for owners and claims. I believe some manufacturers were sued also. Thanks for the information.

  4. Charles Morgan

    I can’t seem to reference users by @name on this machine, so will just add my 2 cents.
    Don Johnston stated that that he thought there was a difference between Mobile and Manufactured homes, I agree but a lender or insurer will likely treat them the same.
    As Tom Keith said, beware the 90’s homes with Poly(grey plastic) plumbing, I have priced out retrofit jobs on those and a two bed/2 bath was a mere $2,000+ dollars, scary since I was only offering $6,000 for the home!

  5. Don Johnston

    Charles Morgan…I don’t believe the @ thing works in these blogs, just the forums. I agree with you and that is the big frustration with lenders and insurers. Many manufactured homes are actually better constructed than many homes. The only difference is they are not built on site. Interesting, I can buy an older home, jack it up and drive a trailer under it and relocate the house to another piece of land AND STILL HAVE IT CONSIDERED a “regular” house.
    The old poly lines were bad. Today we have what is called PEX and seems to be a lot better.
    Here in Chula Vista, just south of San Diego, most mobile homes are sold as-is except for certain code items like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and strapping of the water heaters for earthquakes and possible requirements of the park the home is in. The majority of the repairs/renovations (like better plumbing or changing out the aluminum wiring) are left up to the new owner.

  6. John, it\’s interesting that you mention electrical being a common problem among mobile homes. It seems like most of my friends have issues with their electrical and other sources of power with their mobile homes. I\’ll have to remember our tips to check the outlets, etc. before deciding on any specific property. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I like how you recommend pushing on the exterior walls to verify all the verticle studs are attached to the horizontal studs to make sure they are solid. I think this is good advice for making sure your older mobile home is still safe to live in. If the walls are wobbly or there is wood decay it would probably be a good idea to get a new mobile home so you and your family stay safe.

  8. I am trying to find out I can build interior walls in a manufactured home? I’d like to split one large room into 2 smaller by adding a wall and turn the dining room into a bedroom by adding a wall…is this possible? Is there any difference in framing/building walls in a manufactured home vs regular (stick-built home)? Of note, home is on permanent foundation…

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