How to evaluate a Manufactured home deal?

9 Replies

hi! Newbie here... I'm having a hard time figuring out how to evaluate a deal on a manufactured home. Is it the same as a SF home or are there additional costs that I need to take into consideration? There are several on the market in my area that I'm interested in. Has anyone purchased one and if so we're there any surprises in addl costs? This would do be my first purchase as a new investor.

@Danielle Watts

Welcome. 

There actually are less costs with a mobile home than with a stick built house. Read up on this blog about mobile homes for more help.

You can check with local real estate agents who deal with mobile homes for an idea about prices. You can find people in your area who deal with mobiles and ask them. Park managers can give you an idea. At least to get you started.

Once you have done a few, you will have your own basis.

And good luck!

@Danielle Watts

A number of years ago, I looked into purchasing some 4 plexes in Killeen.  I wish I'd done so;-)

I'm currently doing my first Mobile Home flip.  I bought a '74 MH in a park for $1000.  The owner needed to get out of his monthly lot payments so agreed to coming down significantly from his asking price.  I figured it would take me about a month and $3000 to get it back on the market.  It's been 4 1/2 months and has cost me about $15000 so far.  

I believe it will take a month to finish;-).    My plan is to sell it and offer financing.  I've had several inquiries.  Hopefully that means I'll have no problems selling.

I believe you're in a great location for investing in MHs.  But you need to buy right.

As Bill says, costs are less but you can still get carried away as you can with a stick built.  

Harold Anderson

@Danielle and @Harold

Critical in any investing is to keep costs down. I've had a few over runs that kicked mye in the butt, too. Make a list of repairs BEFORE buying and stick to it. As an investor, YOU are not going to live in it. Fix to clean, safe and liveable, sell and move on. 

More fun is to get a good deal, sell as handyman special for a little less $ but a lot less work. And move on.

My first 17 mobile home deals, I fixed 1 and cleaned 1. All the rest, sold 'as is', 'handyman special', 'fixer special', 'haven't had time to do the work, you fix and save', deals.

Its a pretty open question.  It all depends on the size, condition and materials used.  Older mobile homes can have PB plumbing and even aluminum wiring which was much less common in stick built homes of the same eras. 

Sharing some additional information would likely allow people to give you a bit more help.

@Danielle Watts

It may be different in Killeen but park owners here will not allow you to buy and rent out.  You need to get to know the managers and what restrictions are placed on you.  The owners of my park have told me that I cannot buy any more places in any of their parks.  However, the managers are trying to get me to buy several in the park.  I suspect that the managers could help me get around the owner's restrictions.

Gene brings up aluminum wiring.  I'm changing out all of my outlets but have to use a special connector for the aluminum wiring.  That makes it very time consuming and expensive to do.  I suspect that if you do as Bill suggests and just turn the MH over, that won't be an issue.  Personally, I intend to avoid MHs that old going forward.  There are too many issues with the older MHs from the siding, the roof,  leaks that are hard to find or even see on initial inspection.  

Though I don't intend to renovate this extensively going forward, I'm glad that I did.  It's been an education.  I believe I understand MHs far better than if I hadn't.

Mobile Homes newer than 1976 are usually fine. Older ones may have aluminum wiring. If someone lived in the home, as a consumer and sell, it, that's one thing. Use caution if you are an investor. There may be some requirements in your area.

As an investor, Labor and Industries (building codes) in my area requires that Mobile Homes older than 1976 include: 

1 - Wiring converted to the upgraded type. (Terminal caps and gel available at Home Depot or Lowe's. Cheaper than replacing plugs and switches.)
2 - Sheetrock behind cooktop, around heater and hot water heater.
3 - Egress (escape) windows in bedrooms.
4 - Permit and inspection.

If you buy 1980-new, no need to worry about this post. :-)

Have fun!

Addendum to previous. Just for clarification. Simply changing plugs and switches may not cover the electrical. I bought one with the master bedroom power not working. After checking, we found that the previous owner had switched the plugs but used copper wire plugs. One MELTED and could have burned the home down.

You can get aluminum rated plugs and switches OR put the terminals on existing. Get a mobile home repair book to help with all this. I got these when I started - Foremost "Mobile Home Fix-It Guide" and John Krigger "Your Mobile Home" both avail on Amazon.

@Bill Neves

Thanks bill for the suggestions on MH books to read! I'll be picking them up this week. 

Thanks everyone for your replies! Your answers have given me a lot to consider before making my purchases. I intend to do more research on the matter with all your suggestions and advice in mind.

Thanks again!!!

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