Mobile Homes

12 Repairs to Make to Your Investment Mobile Home if Capital Is Limited

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management, Mobile Homes, Real Estate News & Commentary, Landlording & Rental Properties, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Marketing
224 Articles Written
remain-in-mobile-home

Before you invest in any property, you should ideally understand the full procedure moving forward, the time involved, and the capital required to complete the deal at hand. Oftentimes we underestimate both the repair costs and time required to rehab a particular manufactured home to our liking. It may be wise to add a 10%-30% margin to your repair estimates. Take these repair costs into account while creating purchase offers for any potential investment.

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

12 Repairs to Make to Your Investment Mobile Home if Capital Is Limited

There are certain repairs that most sellers run away from. On the other hand, there are certain repairs that many sellers will happily perform themselves if they are able to save money to get into a home of their own. If money is limited and you are looking to make your mobile home attractive to the largest number of serious buyers, then please consider the list below.

1. Ensure the roof and ceiling are free of leaks.

Before you purchase a mobile home, feel free to safely walk around on the roof to verify its condition. To solve a roof leak, first locate and patch the roof hole where the water is entering the home. Next, remove and replace any damaged material, including insulation, paneling, and drywall inside of the mobile home.

If possible, aim to walk through the mobile home after a recent rainstorm to inspect for active leaks.

2. Ensure the sub-floor is free of soft spots and holes.

Fix a manufactured home’s sub-floor if it is noticeably damaged, noticeably soft, or missing. New plywood should not be laid atop old/damaged sub-floor. Instead, any old or damaged sub-floor material should be removed and replaced with an equal thickness plywood.

mobile-home-sellers

3. Fix interior walls with substantial holes.

Any holes larger than 2″ diameter should ideally be corrected. Use the same material to stay consistent with this construction of the mobile home. If drywall is being used, then patch the drywall or replace with new drywall. If paneling is being used, then you may choose to remove the entire 8′ x 4′ panel and replace with a new, matching 8′ x 4′ panel.

Remember, the first thing you notice about a mobile home is typically the first thing a potential buyer notices as well.

Related: 3 Costly Mistakes Investors Make With Mobile Home Park Managers

4. Make sure the plumbing works.

Most plumbing repairs should be handled by a professional.

It may be wise to turn off the water while showing a property. Make sure the hot water heater is drained and the breaker to the hot water heater is shut off. Also, aim to tape down the toilet seats to prevent potential buyers from using the restroom accidentally.

5. Check to see that the electrical system is in working order.

Most electrical fixes should be handled by a professional.

Always disclose any known defects to any renters or buyers. When in doubt—disclose, disclose, disclose. Make sure your buyers know exactly what they are purchasing. Never aim to mislead anyone.

6. Ensure appliances, AC, and the heat source function properly.

In many parts of the country, it is customary that a mobile home for sale will include a refrigerator and stove in the sale. Most end-users who are purchasing the home to move in will not have a spare refrigerator or stove to bring with them. While it may be wise to include refrigerators and stoves for your end-users, clothes washers and dryers are not typically provided.

When purchasing a used mobile home, know that broken appliances in the home are not a deal-breaker; however, these repairs should be taken into account when making purchase offers to the seller. Before purchasing any real estate, always make sure you know the condition of all appliances, air conditioning systems, swamp pumps, heating sources, hot water heaters, etc. If you are unable to test these items due to the power being off or the temperatures being too extreme, then a professional should be called in and/or power should be turned on to verify condition. Without verifying these items are in proper working order, it is wise to assume that the appliances are broken and that you will have to repair them or replace them accordingly.

7. Sweep and vacuum inside, if needed.

Cleaning the inside of a mobile home can make a big impact. Allow the potential buyer to envision themselves living inside a clean and vacuumed home.

8. Remove furniture and junk, if needed.

Hire inexpensive laborers or advertise for people to come locally to take your furniture and miscellaneous items from your property. For most light rehabs, a designated roll-away dumpster will not be needed.

If the mobile home includes any items of mild/moderate value that you do not want but other people (on Craigslist, etc.) may be interested in, it may be wise to require the person taking the items to also remove the other junk and items from the home for you. This may require a truck and/or trailer from the picker. This allows you to get rid of all/most of your junk/items/furniture for free, and in exchange, the picker get to keep all the items of value.

mobile-home-exterior

9. Remove any bad smells.

Try vacuuming and/or disinfecting away any smells as a first plan of action. If the odors persist, then the smell may be trapped in the carpets, walls, and/or sub-floors. In this case, the carpet and pad may need to be removed and a coat of primer and paint may need to be applied liberally to the plywood/OSB sub-floor. This primer-paint layer helps trap the smell into the sub-floor, allowing you to place new carpet or tile without the smell coming through.

10. Remove any stray animals or bugs.

Remove animals and bugs. Hire a professional if needed.

Related: How to Overcome 4 Common Newbie Errors When Mobile Home Investing

11. Pressure wash the exterior.

If your first impression while driving up to the mobile home is “this is a dirty mobile home,” then a pressure wash may be needed. Hiring a professional to pressure wash the roof and exterior walls will take less than a few hours of work and will ideally cost less than $200 for a single-wide and $300 for a double-wide. Make sure to call around to local companies/handymen to compare rates.

12. Replace carpet and paint, if needed.

In most areas, aim to salvage a mobile home’s floor covering if possible. If the current carpet is usable, then it may be wise to keep it for now. Re-carpeting and repainting an entire mobile home may typically cost $1,000-$3,000+ depending on the time and materials used. Before investing this significant amount of capital, understand your exit strategy and the mindset of your buyers. Listen to all the potential buyers walking through your property; if many of them are mentioning the carpet and/or paint, then it may be time to address these issues. After helping multiple local buyers, you will naturally become more experienced with your local market and understand the mindset, wants, and needs of your buyers.

In areas with a fast growing population, it is very possible to sell mobile homes for a high retail cash price. In these areas, aim to replace/upgrade carpet and add fresh paint if selling for a high retail cash or bank financed price.

In conclusion, please keep in mind that some mobile homes you look at will need none of the repairs listed above. Other mobile homes may require a great deal more to rehab before selling. As investors, we have to understand the mindset of our buyers and sell with our buyers in mind. After you have purchased and resold a number of mobile homes, the process of buying, selling, repairs, and management will become a bit more predictable. Until then, aim to invest safely and help others daily.

What other common mobile home repairs did we miss?

Comment below.

Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a four-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 insights of other successful mobile home investors he helps on his blog and YouTube channel and has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest on BiggerPockets and 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.

    Larry Weingarten from Monterey, California
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hello John and thankyou for this article! As a contractor who buys and rents out mobile homes, I appreciate your focus on getting the big picture around any particular home. It’s seldom brought in in RE investment circles, but I think it’s important to make homes more energy and water efficient (I’m in California). It makes the home more comfortable and less expensive to live in, while increasing it’s value. I’m curious to know your take on the importance, (or lack of) of making homes efficient and I’m looking forward to your future articles! Yours, Larry
    Diedrick Nagle Rental Property Investor from Golden, CO
    Replied over 3 years ago
    As someone who is going to be living in an Airstream fulltime, I find the mobile-home sector of real estate investing intrigues me greatly! Great intro post for me, look forward to more.
    Kara Haney Investor from new york, nj
    Replied over 3 years ago
    you are in CA? this really gave me a gasp on the potential of mobile homes! http://www.trulia.com/blog/double-wide-mobile-homes-malibu
    Charles Morgan Investor from El Paso/Socorro, Texas
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I currently own three mobile/manufactured homes and love the value. One big issue that I ran into is the lack of lenders for refinancing. I would love to refinance one that I have in Alamogordo, but most lenders straight up say no to M/M homes, or want to have an appraised value over $60,000.
    Hannan Ahmad
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    All these repairs are essential not only for a mobile home rather for every kind of house. The most important repair is to ensure that roof or ceiling is leak free. And it should be first of all considered by a homeowner. Many other house hazards begin after this.