rehab 1955 Detroiter mobile home??

9 Replies

We purchased a duplex recently that has a small mobile home on the back of the lot with water, gas, electric hook up.  We originally planned to tear it down and get rid of it, but are debating. Home needs painted but seems solid (metal) and has a good roof.  Has a brand new furnace in it.  Carpet was disgusting and ripped it out today.  Very strong smell of cat urine that I am wondering if we will be able to eradicate.  Windows are not in great condition, but seem okay.  Our rentals are all nice, and this would definitely be a much lower end than any of our others, but we have actually had 2 people track us down as the new owners and ask if they can rent it. They haven't seen the inside, but still makes me think it is rentable with work.  Probably would only charge $200-250 a month I am guessing.  

If anyone has any before and after trailer rehabs, that would be an encouragement. LOL   I am usually a turn-key buyer, so this project has me a little overwhelmed.  Thoughts??

You need to do an assessment on asbestos and lead based paint for this home before you do anything with it - the materials were completely uncontrolled until HUD began overseeing construction of these in 1976.

Also have someone get under the home and look at the wooden trusses and frame to make sure it's in good shape and serviceable - many times these will be bent from multiple moves and the floors may seem wavy and unable to level them out.  Or termite damage - but maybe you don't have termites in Ohio.

Get comfortable with the bones of the home and you should be okay for rehab.  If you have one of these major type problems it could be painful - just know what you're getting into.

Okay - thanks for the info and suggestions.  Where would I be looking for asbestos in a mobile home (forgive me if that is an ignorant question!)?  There is really no paint on the inside of it, as it is all paneling and wood cabinets.    

Web + D4D Mobile App for you & the team!
Trusted Provider of Real Estate Data, Marketing, Skip Tracing & A
#1 Real Estate Software for Investors, Agents & Brokers to find leads and close deals nationwide.
7 Day Free Trial!

A mobile home that age is not worth the cost to maintain. Your expenses will far exceed your rental income due to the fact that mobile homes do not stand up well over time and your renters will be the absolute bottom of the barrel in tenant quality. One up side is that quality of tenant will probably feel at home with the cat urine smell as they will likely have or will have 1/2 a dozen pets themselves.

Your tenant issues will have you questioning wanting to be in the business in short order and they will probably drive out your other tenants.

I have flipped mobiles in a very strong market and frankly many are better off being taken to the dump.

Wow, that is an old one.  That's a tough call about renting it.  Because of the age and the very low rent price it might be too much hassle but maybe not.  The new furnace is a good thing.  You could rent it for the time being and if it gets trashed later you could always tear it down then.  You could gut it out and use it for storage also if the roof is solid.  What is the quality of the duplex?  Maybe try for $300 rent for the mobile home.  

As for the cat urine smell.  Check the floor for any spots that have swelled real bad, sand them down even with the floor.  Then go to your local home depot, Lowes, Menards and buy some floor sealer.  Don't buy Kilz or the like, they don't cut it for urine.  Look for Zinsser B-I-N White Shellac Base Primer or Zinsser B-I-N Advanced Synthetic Shellac.  They are pricey at $40/gal and $34/gal here at my menards.  I have used both and they both work great.  The first one is Shellac based and the 2nd is a synthetic version.  I have sprayed the White Shellac version and it needs denatured alcohol for clean up.  The synthetic I rolled on and just tossed the rollers.  I have used them on both cat and dog urine and it seals the floors very good.  Also check the walls for the urine as well.

Hope that helps.  Good luck.   

@Erin K. You've already learned that there's a market for that trailer.  I wouldn't tear it down.  And I'd charge more than $200.  You're basically renting someone their own little house.  I'd start out by trying to get $400 for it, like the other units, and just see what happens.  You can always come down.

I rented an old trailer like this that was on a farm.  I was happy to find a rental in the area, which were very hard to find.  Especially a place that wasn't a tiny apartment in a noisy apartment building.

The one I moved into and rented, was a horrible pink color inside.  I painted the entire interior a really light gold yellow - almost white, with white trim.  It turned out really nice.

Asbestos wouldn't be an issue, from my understanding, unless you were going to rip something out that had asbestos.  Old floor tiles or ceiling tiles can have them.  But, if you leave them in place, you don't have to worry about it.  Sometimes the old stoves or fireplaces had asbestos sheets around them. But, if a furnace was put in, that's probably not an issue anymore.

The walls might have lead paint, but you just paint over it.  And if the regulations say you have to give tenants info on asbestos and lead, you give them the flyers provided by the state, and tell tenants that because of the age of the building they could be present, but you're not aware of any. 

So, I vote for painting it up and seeing if you can get the smell out of it, and renting out that little "house."  The market is there.  See how much you can get for it.

The only potential issues with other tenants would be who uses the yard and how?  Are there separate areas?  Maybe you could provide a little fenced yard for the trailer?  And parking?  Who parks where?  Do they share a driveway?

And check out how to charge for utilities.  Those are the things I can think of.  Good luck!

@Erin K. , based on the numbers and the fact that there is interest in renting out the trailer, i would rent it out! You will likely be getting a similar "type" of renter for the $400 per mo as you would the $200-250 so there will be no "conflicts".