How Much Is A Mobile Home And Should I Buy One Today?

If you’re like many Americans who are having problems buying a house, you’ve probably wondered how much a mobile home costs. The answer to that question will depend on a few factors like size, amenities, and materials. Mobile home living has changed over the years, and those new to the lifestyle are discovering its advantages.

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The number of mobile homes nationwide is decreasing. The downtrend is expected to continue in the coming years. But don’t worry, we can help you navigate this terrain and answer your questions so you’ll be prepared should you decide to buy a mobile home.

Before you do anything, check out the following facts we’ve gathered, which includes the cost of a mobile home and other expenses.  

How Much Is A Mobile Home?

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The cost of a mobile home isn’t fixed. According to Cost Helper, there is an average for each type of mobile home.

These are the three types of mobile home:s 

  • Single-Wide Average: $51,371
  • Double-Wide Average: $107,500
  • Triple-Wide Average: $250,000

 If you are building a new mobile home, you can expect to pay 30 percent more. If you shop for repos or older models, you can find cheaper deals. 

Land Expense

Another important factor is land. You’ll need a place to park your mobile home. If you’re planning buying land or you already own it, factor in the cost plus property taxes. The total should also include preparing the site to host the home, like grade work to ensure sewage drainage. Other things to consider include if your mobile home is on a hill, slope or flat land, and if there are trees on your property. 

Community Rent Rates

If you don’t own land and you don’t have any intention of buying it you can rent space in a mobile home park or manufactured home community. The cost will depend on the location and the services and amenities are offered. Allow for common sense to dictate on this one. An mobile home park overlooking Malibu is going to cost more per month than a mobile home park overlooking a nuclear waste dump in New Jersey.  

Mobile Home Financing

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If you’re like many Americans, you’re probably having financial problems. If so, you’ll need a loan to buy a new mobile home. There are four main types of loans you can apply for, so you’ll need to determine which one is right for you.

According to the Housing Urban and Development (HUD), the most common method of financing a manufactured home is through a retail installment contract, available through your retailer.

Long-term lending is available for mobile homes on approved foundations. Manufactured homes are also eligible for government-insured loans offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Veterans Administration (VA), and the Rural Housing Services (RHS) under the US Department of Agriculture.


FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration might be able to help you. With an FHA loan, you will need to secure outside financing. However, you’ll be considered less of a risk since the government promises to cover your debt if you can’t. Although securing an FHA loan isn’t easy there are certain requirements you will need to meet first, including owning the land where your mobile home is parked.


USDA Loans

If your mobile home will have a permanent foundation and you’re financing both the home and the land it will sit on, then you may qualify for the Rural Housing Services (RHS) loan under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also referred to as the USDA loan. There are some other pretty strict regulations for eligibility. Read the fine print carefully before sending in your application.


VA Loans

Are you a current or former member of the US Armed Forces? If so, you should qualify for a VA loan for your mobile home. The loan operates the same as an FHA loan. With a VA loan, you can finance up to 95 percent of the sticker price of your mobile home and the land under it.


Chattel Loans

Chattel loans are the most popular financing option for mobile home. One reason why they’re popular is because they’re easy to get. However, you can expect to pay higher interest rates. Usually, people with bad credit will need to apply for a chattel loan.  


Types Of Mobile Homes

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Knowing the cost of different types of mobile homes isn’t very helpful if you don’t know the size of each type. After all, most people don’t know the difference between a single-wide and a double-wide by looking.

So check out this briefing of the three types of mobile homes so you can find out which one is right for your family. Shopping without keywords is difficult, so find out which one you want to look for.

Single-Wide Mobile Home

The average range for a single-wide is 600 to 1,300 square feet. There are rarely more than two bedrooms and often only one bathroom. They are 18 feet or less in width, and 90 feet or less in length.

Single-wide mobile homes are half the size of a standard home in the US. If you live alone or only with one other person, then a single-wide is all you will need. The average person doesn’t need more than 500 square feet alone. 

Double-Wide Mobile Home

The average size for a double wide is 2,000 to 2,500 square feet. They are at least 20 feet wide yet 90 feet or less in length. Most of them have at least two bedrooms and two bathrooms. They also have entryways and dining rooms. 

Double-wide homes are the same size as standard homes in the United States. Average-sized families will need a double-wide to fit comfortably. If you have more than four or five people, you may want to upgrade.

Triple-Wide Mobile Home

The average size of a triple-wide is between 3,000 and 4,500 square feet. They are usually shorter than double-wides as they appear more square than oblong. They often look very similar to a property-built home.

Triple-wides are larger than most other homes in the United States. But if you have a family of five or more, it might be necessary. Large families have trouble with just two bathrooms and two or three bedrooms. 

Mobile Home Vs. Motorhome Vs. Prefab Home

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One of the reasons that the popularity of mobile homes is decreasing is because other types of similar homes are becoming more popular. Check out the differences so there will be no more confusion in the future. 


What Is A Motorhome?

A motorhome is a recreational vehicle that is designed to transport families like a car but also designed to live in like a house. It doesn’t have a foundation but rather can be placed on concrete pads anytime. 

Motorhomes have built-in water and electric systems while mobile homes need to be hooked up to separate systems. They need a foundation to operate and aren’t nearly as “mobile” as motorhomes.


What Is A Prefab Home?

A prefab home may look similar to a mobile home, but the truth is that a prefab home isn’t mobile at all. While mobile homes used to be more mobile than they are now, prefab or modular homes are very different.

A prefab home is a home that is built off-site and then set on-site for the owner to use as a home. While a mobile home is also built off-site on most occasions, it is designed to be moved if necessary. A prefab home is just a normal home that is built off-site. 


What Is A Tiny Home? 

A lot of people assume all prefab homes or motor homes are tiny homes. This isn’t the case. A tiny home is simply a home that is under certain square footage. Mobile homes and prefab homes are usually considered small homes, not tiny homes.

Tiny homes come in two types. Tiny houses on wheels and tiny houses on foundations. So, tiny houses on foundations work like any other house while tiny houses on wheels work like a motorhome. 


Mobile Home Vs Modular Home

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These two are compared more often than the other types of homes when comparing homes to mobile homes. These two homes can look very similar to the untrained eye so they are often confused for one another.

But the two are different. But modular homes are actually more similar to site-built homes. Or rather homes that are built by standard measures with standard local codes in place and built with a permit. 

But mobile homes often have different rules than modular homes. This is because mobile homes are “grandfathered” in. They are built before 1976 and they follow the old rules unless they are being relocated. 

Are Mobile Homes Safer Than Modular Homes?

The short answer is that no, mobile homes are not safer than modular homes. In fact, the opposite is true. Because mobile homes can often evade modern-day rules and codes, they are not near as safe as modular homes.

Modular homes follow all the same rules that standard-built homes do. They aren’t built on-site but they are built up to code and they are placed on-site with the same laws that any other home is built. 

Pros And Cons Of Mobile Homes

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Mobile homes have their fair share of flaws, but they also have a lot to offer. Take a look at these lists so you can weigh the pros and cons on your own because we all have different priorities. 

Pros

  • Quick – you can get a used mobile home next week if you want. But even if you want to buy a new one, or build one, it can be completed and the paperwork processed in less than a month. 
  • Cheaper – square footage-wise, a mobile home can cost half as much as other homes. If you buy one used, you can get a really good deal, but the newer they are, the safer they will be. Original mobile homes don’t follow the same codes.
  • Lower Taxes – because they aren’t considered real estate property, mobile homes don’t have property taxes so you can save a lot of money here. Especially considering the average annual property tax is over $3,000.
  • Mobile – that’s easy to assume! Although mobile homes aren’t as mobile as they used to be, they can be moved. You can hire professionals to have your home moved to a new location in mere days.
  • Safety – when they came out in the 70s, mobile homes were quite unsafe. But now, they are much safer. Not many people have serious problems with their mobile homes that other homeowners don’t have.
  • Custom Builds – not only can you have a home built in a month, but you can also have that home the way you want it. Most companies have base models that you can design the way you want. Who doesn’t want a custom home?

Cons

  • Value Decreases – unfortunately, the second that mobile home leaves the lot, its value will decrease. Unless you make major changes, it will continue to decrease the longer you own it. This isn’t always true with other homes.
  • Hard To Finance – because you can’t get a real estate loan, it can be difficult to finance a mobile home. We’ll talk more about how you can get a mobile home financed later. It happens all the time, it just isn’t simple.
  • Not As Sturdy As Others – although mobile homes are much sturdier than they were twenty or thirty years ago, they aren’t as sturdy as regular homes built on foundations. Maybe one day they will be.
  • Different Laws – even if you know all of the laws on properties, you need to learn the codes when it comes to mobile homes. Things are different by state so if you move to a new state, make sure you know the differences.
  • Stigmas – you may not think about this one, but it is true. Sadly, there is a stigma and stereotype for people who live in mobile homes. So if you care what people think, then keep this in mind.

Mobile Home Foundations

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There aren’t that many different types of mobile home foundations, but you’d be surprised how many foundations you can transform into mobile home foundations. These are your primary options for mobile home foundations. 

Slab

This concrete slab is the most common type of foundation in America, for almost any type of home. The only problem is that the plumbing and wiring need to be installed before the concrete is poured.

A floating slab foundation can be difficult with a mobile home because you can’t use an old slab that had a different placement for the plumbing. It needs to be tailored to fit the mobile home and is not universal. 

Pier

A pier foundation is a cement cylinder set into the ground below the frost line, ensuring a safe foundation that is easy to level. Most of the time, piers are paired with beams that go above the ground.

Together, they create a nice frame for the house to rest on. The beams can be different lengths as can the piers above the ground. This makes for a foundation that you can install on a hill or in a valley. 

Basement

Most people don’t consider getting a basement foundation if they have a mobile home. But it is entirely possible to build a basement foundation for a mobile home as long as a professional is in charge.

This is because mobile homes need a very strong foundation or else they could collapse or fall over with the slightest push, usually from bad weather. But it can add a lot of fo space if done right and offer a lot of benefits. 

Crawlspace

Crawlspaces are one of the more popular options in areas of high humidity areas for mobile homes.  They keep the home off of the ground to prevent moisture from gathering and to make it easy to maintain. 

The plumbing is installed underneath where someone can easily crawl in and repair it and winterize it. Winterizing is important with crawlspaces so make sure you do it ahead of time to prevent freezing pipes. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Why Are Mobile Homes Going Up In Price? 

There are a couple of reasons the prices of mobile homes are going up. The main reason is that the prices of almost everything have been going up these past few years, not to mention, the housing market is booming.

This can affect the prices of mobile homes in more than one way. Because even if the prices do go up, they are still cheaper than almost any other type of home, so it’s affordable to those who can’t afford another type of home.

Are Mobile Homes A Good Investment?

They can be. If you find some mobile homes for a really good deal, you can actually fix them up, or flip them, and resell them. This can be risky as they aren’t always on the rise, so you have to wait for the right moment.

Stick to buying homes in good condition and remodeling them with nice-looking decor, flooring, and wall coverings. It’s important to start with a good base so that you know you are buying a safe home. 

Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy A Mobile Home?

It isn’t possible to build a mobile home as mobile homes are buildings that were built in the 1970s and before. So it is always cheaper to buy a mobile home. If you want to build, there are other options.

Modular homes can be built and customized. Barndominiums can also come in kits or be built from scratch. They are a fun, open-concept building that can be an alternative to standard homes built on-site. 

Why You Should Never Buy A Mobile Home?

There are plenty of reasons to buy a mobile home, but in general, it is best to steer clear if you have another option. Living in one temporarily because it is available to you is fine, but be on the lookout for something new. 

Because mobile homes are almost never up to code. They are usually not nearly as safe as any other type of home. So they work for short-term and maybe for guest houses, but not for permanent living. 

What Is The Downside Of Buying A Mobile Home?

A disadvantage of buying a mobile home is that its value begins to depreciate after you buy it. Like a new car, once a mobile home leaves the factory, its value decreases. Stick-built homes, on the other hand, appreciate in value because the homeowner usually owns the underlying land.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Mobile Home?

While the average life expectancy of a mobile home is 30 to 55 years, they can last longer if cared for properly. When you first buy a mobile home, the most important thing is to ensure the installation is handled correctly. This involves choosing the right location and adhering to proper maintenance practices.

Can You Move A Mobile Home For Free?

You can’t move a mobile home entirely for free, but there are a few ways you can reduce costs. One thing you can do for free is search for lots and communities that offer free lodging for mobile homes. Next, find a moving company. This will not be free, but it’s a bullet you can’t dodge as it’s an integral part of the moving process. And finally, you’ll need to research which permits are required to move.  

What Is The Difference Between A Manufactured And Mobile Home?

You can tell the difference between the homes by determining when they were built. If the structure was built after 1976 and meets the federal rules for quality, durability, safety, and affordability, then it would be a manufactured home. If it was built before ‘76, it’s a mobile home.

How Long Does It Take To Build A Mobile Home?

One of the biggest advantages of buying a manufactured home is its short building and delivery process. Manufacturers can build a prefabricated home in less than a week. New homeowners can start living in their delivered home just four months after they order it.  

Mobile Home Conclusion

After you buy a mobile home, the real fun begins. If you don’t know where you should go, just search on online for “mobile home parks near me” and go from. The first of any journey is the most important.

Mobile home living is quickly becoming the new middle class standard. You can either choose to embrace, or adjust to a lifestyle that may include living on the streets. 

As you may have already discovered, mobile home parks are magnets for interesting and curious people. You never know who you might meet next. Also, if you choose to buy a used mobile home, make sure the mobile home has skirting. It’s an extra expense you’d be much happier not having to pay it.