Are Used Mobile Homes Good Value?

A lot of people who rent have considered moving into a mobile home to lower their monthly rental rates. Many people have considered purchasing plots of land and starting out with a mobile home until they have money to afford something more extravagant. When you are just getting your feet wet in the mobile home market, it is tempting to first purchase a used mobile home to see how you like the lifestyle and if it is something you'll want to try long term.

Everything in life requires so much commitment and upfront investment that a used mobile home makes a lot of sense for small families on a budget. At the end of the day, it takes a lot of wisdom to appraise the value of each particular mobile home to determine if it is a good value.

Answer: Mobile Homes Suffer from Depreciation, Financing Hurdles, and Legal Challenges

Categorically avoiding homes built before 1976 is the first rule because they are notoriously dangerous and rarely eligible for financing. These homes were constructed with kitchen areas next to bedding quarters and, therefore, pose a heightened risk of death in the event of a fire. The quality standards required by law for mobile homes keeps on improving and rendering the former models less desirable. This is especially true when you consider that the upgrades needed to keep pace would likely cost more than the new models. This is why mobile homes depreciate in value like automobiles rather than appreciate over time like traditional homes.

Unlike brick-and-mortar homes that are built into a neighborhood and pretty much planted there, mobile homes are not considered to be real estate in the purest sense. This means that they fall under trailer laws unless they are converted into more permanent structures with wheels and trailer equipment removed. The legal classification aspect makes it impossible to obtain a home mortgage loan unless the trailer is legally converted. You will be forced to take out a higher interest auto-style loan with higher monthly payments if it is still legally classified as property rather than real estate.

All that being said, some people may nevertheless elect to purchase a used mobile home. There are a number of factors to consider when you purchase used mobile homes that cannot properly be discussed in a short blog on the issues. Experts claim that water damage and electrical issues are the major problem areas in used mobile homes. A leaky mobile home may be rotting from the inside out. A mobile home with bad wiring is a book of matches waiting to light up like the fourth of July. Whether you want to invest in a used mobile home is all relative to whether you are willing to fix any issues you encounter yourself to make it cost-effective and educate yourself on appraising the home before you buy.

Additional Resources:

The above is merely a primer on the major factors to consider before jumping into the world of used mobile homes. The following resources expound these facets of the decision in more detail.

  1. Mobilehomerepair.com - This website is designed around helping people keep their mobile homeswell maintained and looking great. While it usually focuses on issues like plumbing or upgrades, this article is instead a guide to used mobile home valuations and how to determine them. 
  2. The Mortgage Reports - This online resource is a neutral informational hub for everything related to real estate, applicable regulations, and mortgages. They have a clear breakdown of the major difficulties that mobile homes face on their blog and are a good resource for other information on the subject.
  3. MobileHomeLiving.Org - This online webpage is full of helpful buyer's guide information and decorating ideas for mobile homes. If you have your heart set on buying a mobile home, this is a good resource page.

Questions to Consider