There are a lot of reasons why more people are considering living in mobile homes than they did in the past. For one thing, millennials, in particular, have long been less interested in the idea of buying “starter homes”. Millennials don’t have as much reason to buy houses when they’re in their 20s, or sometimes even their 30s. They’re putting off getting married and having children, or settling down in general, with many desiring to travel more often in their youth. For that matter, a lot of millennials cannot afford to invest in traditional homes, due to the debt that they’ve often accrued by the time they leave school and the fact that job opportunities are growing scarce for them. However, many people are now struggling with similar issues, beyond millennials, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea of home ownership has changed, and traditional home ownership is no longer seen as a perfunctory marker of adulthood as it once was. Naturally, this has led to many renting apartments or houses. But others like the idea of buying something of their own. This has led many on the path of looking to buy a mobile home.
Unfortunately, a lot of stigma remains about mobile homes. This means that when you initially announce that you’re looking to buy a mobile home, you may be met with surprise and skepticism. However, mobile homes have changed a lot within the past couple of decades, and as interest in them has grown, they have transformed to meet a market that demands higher quality, as well as more unique mobile homes. So, for every myth that exists about mobile homes, there is an answer proving that these particular investments are not what some may think they are. Let’s look into some of the myths that still exist about mobile homes, and how you can counter them.
1. Mobile Homes Are Poor Quality
Perhaps the biggest and most harmful myth about mobile homes is that they are poor quality, or somehow lack class. We still have the stereotype surrounding mobile homes that associates them with trailer park, or easily damaged structures. While it’s true that as with every industry there are cheaper manufacturers that do produce substandard products, this by and large is not the case for mobile homes in general. In fact, mobile homes come from a wide variety of producers today, and many of them have aimed to combat the stereotypes about mobile homes by producing homes that are high quality, both in appearance and in construction. Dating back to 1976, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development set a standard of guidelines that oversee the construction of mobile homes, to ensure that they are at the very minimum sturdy and safe to live within. In 1994 and then later 1999, these guidelines were revised to make the homes produced even safer. But that, again, is the minimum, beyond the expectations that have been raised to meet an increasingly competitive market. Now that there is an expectation that mobile homes may be used as long-term housing, many are being made with the same materials used to construct traditional homes. This means that issues like leaking roofs and shoddy construction are no more common to mobile homes than they would be to regular houses. You simply need to select the right manufacturer, and for that matter the right home. This, again, is the same type of process that you would experience when buying a traditional home, whether you were seeking to build a new house or buy one that was already constructed. Just because you’re looking to buy a mobile home doesn’t mean that your standards should drop.
2. All Mobile Homes Are Alike
Putting aside quality, many have mistaken belief that all mobile homes look like, and are cookie cutter copies of each other. Never mind that this is also an issue with some new construction traditional homes, yet is not something that they are typically judged by; it’s simply not true. Mobile homes come in all shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, you’ll be less likely to find a mobile that is multiple stories, as this can be difficult to build safely. However, just because they are less likely to be built doesn’t mean that they do not exist. The fact is that the uniqueness of your mobile home can often be dependent on your budget, just as it would be with a traditional house. You generally will be able to find the number of bedrooms and basic amenities that you need in any mobile home, with the construction quality that you’re looking for as well. But if you want some extra uniqueness, you might have to go looking further. Conversely, however, you could very well get what you want by looking for a tiny home. Many, perhaps most tiny homes on the market right now are mobile homes, and by cutting down the amount of living space through creative ways, like having a loft instead of a traditional bedroom, you can get a truly unique and often exciting mobile home for significantly less than what you would pay for a comparably unique traditional home. While a tiny home may not be ideal for a big family, it can certainly for work young families and couple who want to try something different, while also being sustainable and trendy.
Another thing to consider if you’re looking for a more unique mobile home is investing in a fixer upper, just as you would with a traditional home. When looking to buy a mobile home, you may not initially think of them in the context of renovation opportunities. However, if you’re thinking about the home in a long-term context, why not look into the different ways that you can make it your own? Think about unique paint jobs or perhaps replacing the roofing with a material that is more your style. A lot of plainer mobile homes can be seen as blank slates for the intrepid buyer, and something that can be transformed into really exciting houses.
3. Mobile Homes Do Not Appreciate In Value
When looking to buy a mobile home, you may be dissuaded by worried friends and family members because there is a misconception that mobile homes do not appreciate in value, and only lose value. They are often compared to new cars, which begin to lose value as soon as they leave the lot. However, though mobile homes obviously can get on the move like cars, their value does work in the same manner. The value of a mobile home is not simply determined by whether or not the house is site-built or manufactured. Rather, what affects the value of a mobile home are things like the quality of the home, its amenities, and how well it has been maintained over the years. For that matter, if you do renovate your mobile home, as discussed above, you actually may be able to add value to the home over time. This means that when it’s time look into selling a mobile home, you may be able to make a profit. But again, this can take time and dedication. You may even have to initially invest in a mobile home that’s being sold for less because it’s sustained damage, which would mean living elsewhere while it’s repaired. This really depends on what you’re trying to get out of your mobile home — a long term investment, or a home that’s easy to move into. Either way, you have plenty of options available.
4. Mobile Homes Can’t Be Insured
Some are under the impression that mobile homes can’t be insured, and this is something that you’ll probably hear when you first begin looking to buy a mobile home. There are several factors that contribute to this misconception. For one thing, some believe that home insurance is not necessary for mobile homes, due to their comparably lower value than that of traditional homes built on-site. Therefore, it is supposedly less easy to find. This is not the case at all. In fact, it is extremely important to get home insurance for your mobile home. Mobile homes may be less susceptible to certain types of damage than traditional homes, but they are at risk of being damaged in other ways. Major weather events like tornadoes and floods can potentially damage mobile homes, which is why they must be insured.
On the other hand, another misconception is that mobile homes can be insured, but are difficult to insure. In fact, some insurance companies actually provide home insurance that is specifically designed for mobile homes. This will take into account unique circumstances that would fall upon mobile homes, but wouldn’t necessarily be great concerns for those living in standard traditional homes. This means that when you begin looking to buy a mobile home, you should also start considering hunting for mobile home insurance as well. Just as with a traditional home insurance policy, mobile home insurance rates can depend on the structural integrity of your mobile home, its features, and where it is going to reside primarily. But it’s certainly attainable, and advisable.
5. Mobile Homes Are Difficult To Repair
Much of this myth has to do with simple ignorance. It’s true that in some ways, mobile homes do operate differently from traditional homes. But there are still measures that have been taken to insure that mobile homes ultimately offer the same amenities as traditional homes, even if their installation or repairs may conducted differently. If you have a mobile home air conditioning system, for example, it will function much as a typical air conditioning system would, but simply be adapted so that it can be portable.
In the same sense, if your mobile home suffers from a broken hot water heater, you can have that repaired just as you would in your traditional home. Now, some repairmen may not be trained to work with mobile homes. But many are, and finding those that are qualified shouldn’t be complicated. You simply need to take this into account when choosing who to work with, and be up front when you’re speaking with different companies.
6. You Can’t Finance Mobile Homes
As with any home, when you’re looking to buy a mobile home you may not be ready to pay for it with cash in hand. People typically finance traditional homes, and a major concern about mobile homes is that you can’t finance them. Fortunately, this simply isn’t the case. Now, older mobile homes can be harder to finance; but as long as you have your real estate agent look for newer homes specifically, you won’t run into these same problems. If you go into the process with land that you own, as well as good credit and a consistent job history, you’ll likely be able to finance your mobile home.
Now, if you don’t own land outright, this doesn’t mean that you can’t finance your mobile home. But you should be prepared to shop for land, and there are sometimes very good home and land package deals that may be available for you to finance. These are considerations that you should keep in mind when you’re looking to buy a mobile home.
Clearly, it’s easy to run into problems when buying a mobile home if you go into the process uneducated, which is why it’s important that you look into every part of the process proactively. But there is a lot to be gained, at the same time, from buying a mobile home if you do it in the right way. The more you inform yourself before looking to buy a mobile home, the easier the process will be for you in the long term. With that in mind, before you begin the moving process, make sure that you have a good real estate agent ready to help you hunt for models and land, and be ready to take out a specific insurance policy outfitted to work with mobile homes. Before you know it, you could have a mobile home that works perfectly for you!