Mobile Homes

5 Tips for Those Buying a Used Mobile Home as a Primary Residence

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management, Mobile Homes, Real Estate News & Commentary, Landlording & Rental Properties, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Marketing
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Mobile home investors looking to purchase and resell mobile homes for profit are obviously different from mobile home end-users looking to purchase a manufactured home as their primary residence. With that said, whether you are an investor or an end-user, you want a safe, streamlined, win-win mobile home transaction. In this article, we will discuss a high-level overview of areas where mistakes can absolutely be made when purchasing and screening a used mobile home as a primary residence.

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5 Tips for Those Buying a Used Mobile Home as a Primary Residence

1. Understand your local market.

This step is crucial to help avoid confusion and overspending. You may already have an idea of whether your home area is a buyer’s  or seller’s market when it comes to traditional real estate. If your home market is experiencing a strong seller’s market, then this may spill over into local mobile homes as well. This may cause the prices and demand of local mobile homes in town to rise. In areas with high demand, you will likely have to be competitive and act quickly in order to purchase a mobile home you desire. Keep in mind that your area may be a buyer’s market when it comes to used mobile homes.

Decide which area you would like to live in. Drive through all of the mobile home communities in these areas and aim to speak with many of the park managers. Learn from these managers how often properties come available. How long is the average days-on-the-market before these homes sell? What do selling prices usually range from?

Pro Tip: Driving outside of these “hotspot” areas and into more rural areas may be helpful to find lower-priced homes, lower lot rents, and more properties on the market.

2. Allow a 90-days minimum if possible.

Being rushed while making important financial decisions is almost never a good idea. Give yourself time to move. Additionally, give yourself at least 90 days to find and negotiate a used mobile home that fits your needs and the needs of your family.

Related: 5 Things You Must Do When Transporting or Moving a Mobile Home

This “90 days minimum” is not always possible due to the fact that you may need to sell your current property to pay for your new property. In these situations, it is best to remember the following tips.

  • Move out of your current property and stay with friends, family, and/or hotels until you purchase another home.
  • Borrow money to purchase a new home before you sell your current home. Once you pay off your current home, pay off the money you borrowed.
  • Arrange with a buyer to not pay them off until you have sold your current property.
  • Be rushed. Sell your current property and use the profits to quickly look and buy another used mobile home.

3. Make multiple home offers.

Aim to have a handful of used mobile homes you like and can envision yourself living in. After speaking with the sellers and walking through the property to understand repairs, aim to make win-win purchase offers on multiple homes to multiple sellers. The more offers you make to different sellers, the less emotionally attached we become as buyers. This may it help when it comes to negotiations and ensuring you get a fair price for the property.

4. Hire an inspector.

Concerning a primary residence, if you have not grown up around mobile homes and mobile home repairs your entire life, it may absolutely be wise to hire a seasoned mobile home inspector to walk through a potential used mobile home purchase. Call around to at least six residential property inspection companies in town. Find out how much experience each company and/or inspector has with factory built housing. Aim to walk through the home while the inspector is touring the property as well.

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

5. Understand your value.

Keep in mind that as a serious used mobile home buyer, you are a bit uncommon compared to most people. Many used mobile home buyers are flakey, unqualified, and less than serious when it comes to buying a mobile home. This means that you have real value. You are one of the few real buyers in town who can get approved and purchase a mobile home you like. In short, your money is just as green and desirable as anybody else’s.

If you pass on a deal or miss out on an opportunity, remember that it is certainly not the end of the world. There will be more opportunities in the future. Take time to fully understand your situation before committing to any serious life change.

Are you considering purchasing a used mobile home for your primary residence?

Feel free to list any questions 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.

    Jerry W. investor from Thermopolis, Wyoming
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Hey John. nice article. Another important tip is to find out the rules of each park you look in. In booming areas some parks have rules about how new your mobile home must be to keep in the park, like 10 years. If you are buying a 9 year old mobile home and the limit is ten years, then you will have to move it soon. In the past I even heard of fees to change owners being charged by mobile park owners. I have not heard of those in quite awhile though. There are even some parks that do not let new owners stay, when ownership changes you must move the mobile home out.
    Oscar O'Malley
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    I really like that you mentioned hiring an inspector with experience and advice, especially if you haven’t had much personal experience with mobile homes. My brother in law is considering moving into a mobile home, so I’m trying to help him gather information about how to go about it. I appreciate the tips, and I know they’ll be very useful to him as well!
    Georgia Robinson
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Hi John, I stumbled upon your article, very informative. I purchased a mobile home two years ago, never lived in one before and it is almost a nightmare. Something always needs fixing, floors not leveled although I’ve leveled twice in the two years. Recently changed all doors and windows but came across lots of rotten wood. Taking a closer look I realized that all the wood around the frame ( the part that goes on the metal ) is rotten, trying to find a way to fix. Should I pull off all skirting and lift metal siding? Or should I pull up floors from inside.