What to do with mobile home?

6 Replies

I recently invested in a property I plan to build on (for personal use) and it came with a 1998 double wide 3/2 mobile home that is in really good condition, needs some cosmetic updates to make it look current but otherwise, it's perfect. The problem is that it can't stay on the property, it has to go so I can build- I just don't know what the best thing to do with it would be. 

I was thinking of buying a lot and plopping it on there and doing some updates to flip it, estimating that this would maximize my profits on the deal at around $200K or so, but I'm going to have to do that with Hard money since all of my resources are tied up in the construction loan/process for the next year or so. However, my mortgage person told me that once you move a mobile home it has to be owner carry or cash offer only (although I'm seeing online some information about the VA being willing to loan on these, not sure if that's true or not). This won't work if I have to do the flip using hard money as I imagine a cash-only will take maybe up to a year or longer to sell? I'm in the Portland market and things move pretty fast but they've definitely come to a comparative crawl in the last few months and cash only seems not to move at all, especially when the sales price would be in the 450k range when all is said and done.

I have enough cash to buy a tiny lot with hard money until I could refinance it after my construction is over, and then I could make it into a rental... I do have other rentals so that's not out of the question, but I really prefer to have the cash.

I could just sell the home itself outright and tell the buyer to come get it, but I'm thinking that I'll probably not get enough for it to even bother selling since the move costs will be high. The thing is currently plopped on top of a shop building (Yes it's very strange) and needs a crane to bring it down before it can go on a truck. I'm afraid that no one will take it unless it's free because of that caveat. 

What other options are there? I feel like I have a really nice home that could be great for someone that would be a shame to just tear down and dispose of. I want to maximize profit on it but I feel like I'm not creative or knowledgeable enough to come up with something workable with the pretty empty pockets I have at the moment, so hoping someone has some unique ideas. 


Contact owners of mobile home parks and ask if they want to buy it.  You can also post it for sale online stating the buyer is responsible for moving it and properly disconnecting plumbing and electrical.  Or you could contact a charity and see if they want it.  they could use it for low income housing or emergency shelter.

Is the lot not big enough to build the new place AND have the mobile on the property too?  Or is it a zoning thing (2 houses/1 lot)?  Just wondering if you couldn't rent it out as airbnb or mother-in-law type place.  Otherwise, purchase a lot and move/connect it and rent it out.  Maybe do a lease option??  I think (but not sure) that if you move a mobile into a park, it needs to be new.  I think that's the case here in CA anyway.  But, I agree, seems like you have great potential there, and it would be a shame to waste it.  Why don't you try and do a lease option (if you can't find a cash buyer) on the unit and have the buyer buy their own lot and move/connect it.  Or maybe you can find someone with a lot they already have.  Good luck!

This maybe an option. Find someone who already owns the building lot where the home could be set up. Partner with them on the whole project. This would save your cash. If you build the slab to FHA specs, there are financing options. You'll have to check local prices but I would guess about $20,000 to move and set up again. Then you have the cost of site development on the other end. Will you need well and septic or is it on city systems? You'll need power and also meet zoning requirements. I would guess you would be more likely to find a suitable place in a more rural area. The cost to move a couple hundred miles even isn't that much more than it will cost to disassemble and crane down.

If you have a more rural area where the value is still near the $200,000 range, there could be some nice profit for both parties. I would think that you would have to do an equity split with someone to make it appealing. I would suggest that you provide the home, handle the logistics of move and development and they provide land and capital. That way the value could be nearly 50/50. You will solve your problem and it could help someone sell a property at a higher margin. 

I don’t know your area but you may consider someone who has a timber lot if they are within close commuting distance from a metropolitan area. That way the owner likely bought a larger parcel, has already made his money on the timber, and could pull a good extra profit by sectioning off a few acres. 

Thanks everyone, there are some great suggestions. 

Yes the reason it cannot stay is zoning as well as space, the lot is timberland and very sloped, there is very little space on the currently buildable area of the land, and the other flat parts of the land are hard to access without some extensive road development first. 

I'll look more into selling it outright and what it may bring, as well as lease options. I really need as much value out of it that I can get. Partnering with someone might be an option if I can find a few good lawyers to make sure it doesn't go sideways. 

@Kerri G. You may want to sell it to someone who owns a park or is looking for a mobile home to put on their land and willing to pay cash. Talk to some local parks and mobile home dealerships. They may have some referrals for you as they work in the business and deal with prospective buyers all the time. Good luck!