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Used Mobile Homes - Be Careful

Why buy used mobile home? Simple affordable housing. Just buy on real estate and watch for these common problems.

used mobile homes, mobile homes, mobiles

Why consider used mobile homes? My own first home was a mobile on a small lot. I bought it for $19,500. With the mortgage payments it was still cheaper than renting, plus I paid it off quickly and later sold it for $45,000. Obviously you can live cheap and build equity with a mobile home. (Buying may be the equivalent of cheap rent, but this article is about mobiles that are on real estate.)

The primary advantages of mobiles over traditional houses are clear for first time home buyers. It may be the only option, for starters. Then there is the lower initial price, the simpler, cheaper maintenance, lower monthly payments, less property tax, lower insurance cost, and perhaps even faster equity build-up (I explain this in another article). Mobile homes do have their own unique problems, so be sure to watch for the following.

<b>Problems With Used Mobile Homes</b>

Sometimes the age of a mobile home makes it tough to finance. If it can be financed, it may be at a very high interest rate. Check into this before making an offer, and take the higher payments into account when comparing your options.

The age of is also a big factor when it comes to insurance. Certain older homes may just be uninsurable. See if you can obtain insurance at a reasonable rate before buying.

Some mobile homes built before 1976 have aluminum wiring. This is a fire hazard because the chemical reaction between the aluminum and other metals cause the wiring to break down, eventually leading to sparking inside the walls (not good). Remove any of the electrical outlet or switch covers, and look inside with a flashlight. If the bare ends of the wires are silvery looking, they are probably aluminum, and you may have to rewire the home to get it insured.

Look for stains on the ceilings. Used mobile homes are prone to leaks. If it is raining and the stains are dry, the leaks have probably been repaired, but if there are many dark stains, at least ask for how long the roof leaked. Leaks that were quickly repaired may not have done much, if any, damage to the supporting beams, but if the roof is seriously sagging there may be rotten wood up there.

Look for wavy walls and crooked door frames. If the mobile is irregularly settling, the walls will sometimes show it. It may also show in the door frames, so see if the gap over the doors is straight in relation to the frame.

Check for spongy floors. Many mobiles have particle-board for floors. If these floors get wet, they can warp and rot. Step down hard here and there to test, especially in the bathroom. I've had to rebuild two bathroom floors in mobile homes. Around the toilet is a common place to find problems, because of the condensation from the toilet running down and soaking the wood around it. Is the toilet level or leaning?

Most of these problems can be resolved, and for much less than in a traditional house, so if there are issues, you may want to see them as an opportunity to make a lower offer. Alternately, you can just avoid the mobiles with problems. In any case, don't give up on owning your own home due to high prices. Just look for good used mobile homes.


Why Buy Mobile Homes?

Why buy mobile homes? Don't believe the myths about mobile homes. They are more than just affordable.

buy mobile homes, mobile homes, mobiles

You can buy mobile homes for much less than stick-built houses in most areas of the country. Despite the common predjudice against them, mobile homes are the cheap housing choice of millions. While the advantages are not always obvious, they are real.

<P>One of the advantages is fast equity buiding. You see, the myth about mobile homes depreciating is only half true. In parks they generally go down in value over time. Buy mobile homes on land, though, and they'll usually go up in value.

<P><b>Buy Mobile Homes With Real Estate</b>

<P>My first home was a mobile, and it doubled in value in the twelve years I lived in it. The home deteriorated a little (don't all houses?), but the value of the land rose. With a lower price than a "stick-built house, the mortgage payments were lower. Because of the shortened amortization (seven years), and lower loan amount, I built equity fast.

<P><b>Buy Mobile Homes To Build Equity Fast</b>

<P>A house with a $100,000, 6%, 30-year mortgage loan gives you a payment of $599.60. $500 of the frst payment will go to interest, $99.60 to principal. You built equity of $99.60 (I'm ignoring appreciation for the moment).

<P>A mobile home on land, with a $30,000, 8%, 10-year mortgage gives you a payment of $363.99. The higher interest rate is normal with mobiles. The shorter term is normal too, so you'll own the home free-and-clear in 10 years instead of 30. The first month, $200 will go to interest, meaning $163.99 goes to principal. You built more equity in this scenario.

<P>A mobile home on land might appreciate more slowly than a "regular" house, but faster loan pay-down probably may cover this factor. Now, if you also chose to bank the difference in payments ($235.61 per month), you'd definitely be better off financially with the mobile home versus the more expensive home (Except during times of fast appreciation).

<P>You can pay less per month and build more equity. Your real estate agent won't tell you this, and don't expect him to agree even after you explain it. Math skills aren't part of the licensing requirements (at least they weren't when I sold real estate).

<P><b>Other Advantages</b>

<P>You can do what you like with the home when you own the land. I rented rooms in my home, and took in more money than it originally cost.

<P>Mobiles are cheap to maintain. I once had a furnace die in a mobile home I owned as a rental.This is about the most expensive repair you'll have in a mobile. I replaced it for $1,200, which is much less than a furnace for a larger home. For $200 you can tar the roof, or $30 if you do it yourself, instead of $5,000 to re-shingle a traditional roof. Windows, plumbing, and doors are all cheaper.

<P>Property taxes, because they're based on value, cost less. Insurance is less because you're insuring less value. Just be sure you can get insurance before you buy. Some old mobiles may be uninsurable in some areas.

<P>I wouldn't buy a mobile home if house prices for houses are just as low in the area. We bought a house near Butte, Montana for $17,500 - less than mobile homes for sale there (See a photo on our site).

<P>Will your own needs and predjudices let you be comfortable in a mobile home? It's something to consider. They may be in areas you don't want to live (true of houses as well). These are personal things you have to consider.

<P>Why buy mobile homes? The advantages are clear for young people starting out, who may have no other options. It may also be your better option, when you consider the lower price, the simpler, cheaper maintainance, lower monthly payments, low property taxes, lower insurance costs, and faster equity build-up. Why not buy mobile homes?


Mobile Home Decorating

Mobile home decorating presents challenges regarding space. The rooms in mobile homes are small and will require ideas and tips about decorating small spaces. If you have plans for decorating your mobile home, they may need to be compromised somewhat because of the space. However, there are ways to achieve your ideal theme in mobile home decorating.

The first step in mobile home decorating or decorating any small space is to get rid of the clutter. Sort through your things and get rid of any unnecessary or unwanted articles. This will automatically make your space look bigger. Find places to hide things like under table skirts or behind closed doors. Making sure everything is neatly stored and out of view will open up the space. While moving things and clearing away, you may want to rearrange your furniture. Make sure large pieces of furniture are not blocking walkways or entrances. Also place tall pieces of furniture on a wall and not in an open space. Mobile home decorating is about creating space in an area that doesn’t have much space.

Choosing color is important in mobile home decorating. In order to create an open, larger atmosphere, you should use light, cool colors. Painting your walls in soft tones of blue or green will provide an open, airy feel. You should also choose colors within the same color family in mobile home decorating. Not only when picking paint colors but also when choosing fabric for curtains or upholstery.

Rooms look larger when they are well-lit. In mobile home decorating it is very important to ensure rooms have plenty of light. Stay away from heavy curtains or drapes for your windows. Use window treatments that are lighter to allow the brightness from the outside in. To provide plenty of light in your rooms, have lamps, track lighting or recessed lighting installed. Small spaces need more light.

There are little tricks for mobile home decorating. Using reflective materials is one trick to make a room appear larger. Using mirrored tiles or a large mirror on a wall will definitely make a room look larger. You may not be fond of mirrored walls but this may be one compromise you’ll have to make. Another trick is to use see-through materials. This will make objects look further away. This idea could be used in shower doors or table tops.

When choosing furniture for mobile home decorating, it is better to pick big pieces. This may sound strange but a few bigger pieces of furniture, is much better than several small pieces of furniture. Using several pieces, the space is cluttered while two or three bigger pieces will allow for more openness in a room. If covering your furniture, be sure to pick plain colors instead of prints, plaids or stripes. If wanting to add something extra, use texture but also in plain neutral tones. Choosing plain colors and neutral colors for light, sheer window treatments, bedskirts and tablecloths will provide an airy feeling as well. Owning a small home like a mobile home can provide problems when decorating but if you follow advice and suggestions for mobile home decorating, your home could be comfortable and feel much larger than it actually is.


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