You win or lose, when buying a mobile home, on the front end — how good a deal you get. So to make a good purchase, it’s important that you know what to avoid as much as what to seek out. So here’s a list of what you want to avoid when buying a used mobile home.
#1: Frame damage
If the frame is bent or broken, the home cannot be moved down the highway. Additionally, it will lead to other problems like leaking. You cannot afford to buy a home with structural issues at any price. Period.
#2: No title
A home without a title is a complete nightmare. You have nothing to prove that it belongs to you. You also have nothing to prove that it belongs to the guy that you’re buying it from. And that means that you also have no chance to sell it or get a loan on it, as you do not have the required title. Although it is possible to get a new title on mobile homes – assuming you have the right credentials – it can be very tedious and take up to a year.
#3: No affirmation of wind-load or snow-load
If you are buying a home in an area of the U.S. that requires certain minimum wind-loads and snow-loads, then you have to make sure that you are buying a used mobile home that qualifies. This is not something that you can leave u to chance, as there are significant liability issues involved. In addition, you will not be allowed to bring in a home that you cannot prove meets these requirements.
#4: Rotted exterior
Rotted exterior panels are normally as a result of a product known as T-111. This was a poorly designed concept – effectively a pressed coardboard panel that completely rots in the event that moisture gets inside the protective coating (which seems to happen every time). Not only is it expensive to fix these issues, but it can also be the cause of water intrusion into the rest of the home, leading to rot and potentially black mold formation
#5: Evidence of interior ceiling water damage
Interior moisture can also be the result of roof leaks. The best evidence of these leaks is a sagging, stained and/or detaching ceiling. Although a coat of Kilz can hide the stain, the sagging nature will still be observed. Moisture and a mobile home do not get along well together, and homes that show signs of significant water intrusion should be avoided.
#6: Rotted floors
The final source of moisture inside a mobile home is from plumbing leaks and/or tenant abuse. This will be evident in warped and rotted flooring. This will require removal of the carpet and/or vinyl, replacement of the wood or particle board, and then putting the flooring material back. While this is expensive, what’s more expensive is what’s happened in the areas you can’t see, like behind the walls. We cannot emphasize enough that you should avoid mobile homes that appear to have been the subject of water intrusion.
#7: Bad floor plan
While most modern mobile homes seem to follow basically the same room flow, there are still some models that are lesser than others. One of the biggest differences is the size of the master bedroom. The floor plans that most people favor skew much o the home’s square footage into the master bedroom. Small bedrooms can be a real turn off.
#8: Plumbing problems
Leaking pipes are expensive to replace, and have probably already done a sizable amount of damage before they were discovered and/or repaired. Leave homes with such issues to another buyer, as leaking pipes can turn a good deal into a nightmare fast.
#9: Electrical problems
For the same reasons as plumbing leaks, electrical issues are not only expensive to repair, but can even result in a deadly fire. You have enough problems without taking on the responsibility of fixing and worrying about defective wiring.
Everything revolves around price when buying a used mobile home. The whole purpose of buying a used home is to save money over a new home. So don’t overpay for that used unit. Demand a real deal, not just a slight discount. Your happiness in what you buy will be dependent on what you pay, so that’s priority number one when shopping for a used mobile home.
Avoid these issues when you’re shopping for a used mobile home, and you will be very glad you did. Buying a used mobile home can be a great investment – as long as you don’t buy a lemon! Be a smart shopper, and everything will work out fine.
By Frank Rolfe
Frank Rolfe is a mobile home park investor and owns over 100 parks with his partner Dave Reynolds. Frank also leads regular Mobile Home Park Investing Bootcamps through www.MobileHomeUniversity.com.