Should I buy a mobile home or a traditional home? This is the exact question my childhood friend asked me several days ago and although I gave my suggestion in person already, I know a lot of you out there are having the same question so I wrote this article.
My friend has just gone through a messy divorce process and lost most of his assets to his wife. He is moving to Southwest Florida due to his new job and is looking for a new place to call home. Florida is home to many mobile home parks and he thought buying one could be a good option.
We had a lengthy discussion and I told him to get one instead of renting Airbnb, staying in a hotel, or buying a single-family traditional house.
I explained everything below why buying a mobile home instead of a regular house in his case, is a great choice.
What Is A Mobile Home?
Mobile homes were very popular in the United States back in the 70s. In the last couple of decades, however, their popularity in the country was falling, but in light of a new financial crisis and price growth of traditional homes, many Americans still live in mobile homes and in fact, there is a steady increase in mobile home demands.
As the name implies, mobile homes are prefabricated houses that can be moved from one place to another, so they can be set up anywhere.
Unlike traditional houses, which require permission to settle on the land, mobile homes are not anchored permanently to the ground. Mobile homes in the United States are not considered real estate and are taxed as motor vehicles.
In short, mobile homes are made in a factory and brought to the installation site in a finished form. Yes, special vehicles and a crane are required, but in the future, such a house can also be moved and lived in calmly again. Of course, they can’t move on their own, they cannot, they are not on wheels. But in general, the installation process is simple, manufacturers immediately offer such a service.
This is one of the reasons for the popularity of mobile homes in the United States. Americans often move around a large country in search of work. It is convenient if it is possible to take the house with you, quickly move along with all the belongings, and rent a plot of land for installation in a new place.
A concrete slab can serve as a foundation for a mobile home, but more often it is installed on blocks or screw piles.
Mobile Homes Are Divided Into Three Groups
- Single-wide. With a floor area of 480 to 1440 square feet. Two bedrooms, a kitchen, one bathroom, and a small living room. For a family of two or three people more than enough.
- Double-wide. With a floor area of 640 to 2,560 square feet. This is a full-fledged house for a standard family with two bathrooms, three bedrooms, and a kitchen and dining room.
- Triple-wide. With a floor area of 960 to 3600+ square feet. There are also usually three bedrooms, but the dimensions of the rooms increase. Such a house from the side can not be called mobile, but it is, you can transport it in parts. Unlike single and double wide houses that have an elongated shape, a triple wide mobile home is always square.”
Almost all mobile homes are one-story, but in some cases, the attic can be used. Such buildings are considered budgetary for those who cannot afford a traditional house, so the area is usually small. In addition, the larger the building, the more difficult it is to transport it.
The Advantages Of Mobile Homes Are Quite Significant
Mobile homes are not considered real estate objects, since they are really not considered real estate buildings. That is, you do not need to obtain permission to install, draw up documents, or pay real estate tax.
You can install a mobile inside a mobile home park provided you have the park’s approval.
Mobile homes have many advantages. Therefore, they have positioned themselves as one of the best alternatives to traditional homes, since they are cheaper, sustainable, and, in addition, we can customize them to our liking and according to our needs. Mobile homes offer ready-made models, but you can make changes to the project and get a mobile house that meets all your needs and priorities. The exterior and interior can be different, and quite attractive, you can attach the terrace, and make some changes over time.
You can get a ready-made house from the supplier in a week or even less if you opt for a brand-new mobile home. You only need a place to install such as a mobile home park. A great way to get a summer house on the eve of the season, without waiting for the end of the construction.
Main Advantages Of Mobile Homes
Mobile homes offer important advantages over traditional homes that many people fail to see. Let’s discuss this.
1. Mobile homes allow changing the place of residence easily
While traditional houses force us to be in the same place, mobile homes allow us to travel where we want and without moving from the comfort of our homes. Although the majority of the mobile homes in the US are semi-permanent, mobile homes that were built during the 80s can still be moved.
2. Mobile homes are far cheaper than traditional houses
Since they usually measure between 640 to 2,560 square feet (although there are larger and smaller ones), fewer materials are needed for construction and, therefore they are usually cheaper.
In addition, they are factory-built and with parts or modules, which also contributes to them being cheaper (around 40%, compared to traditional) and quick to build. And in addition to being prefabricated, they do not need work permits, which can take up to a year.
Fast erection and convenient quality control. On average, one section of a house is made within 1-2 days, so even the largest houses of 4-5 sections can be made in our production within 7-10 days. Then the factory invites you to check the house according to the quality of the work performed and if you see the finished product in advance, you can make adjustments and comments that will be taken into account.
You can adjust the price of the structure yourself based on your own needs without overpaying for unnecessary options. You can choose the thickness of the frame and insulation, the height of the ceilings, the number of windows and doors, the types of finishes and painting, and much more.
However, as with the rest of prefabricated houses, their price will depend on several factors, such as the type and quality of their materials (which are usually: wood, concrete, metal, or PVC), and the extras it includes. However, we can find mobile homes for $15,000 or less.
3. Mobile homes allow greater energy savings
Again, being smaller and using fewer materials in their construction, these mobile homes are also more ecological. And in addition to needing fewer raw materials, their energy consumption is lower, since they need little lighting and low energy to heat or cool. Therefore, they allow savings on our invoices.
In fact, many of them are designed to enhance renewable energies and, therefore, be self-sufficient. The most advanced uses solar and wind energies for their functioning and even reuse rainwater.
4. Mobile homes are functional and efficient
Mobile homes are efficient and designed to use every square foot of the interior. They are also easy to modify or upgrade.
As we have seen, prefabricated houses are a very good option for our guests to have their own space with all comforts.
But The Downside Of Mobile Homes Are Also Obvious
Since the house does not have real estate status, there may be problems with the sale and obtaining a loan for its construction and purchase.
Over time, according to many realtors, the cost of a mobile house is depreciating, and you can’t call it a profitable investment unless you are renting it out.
In terms of strength, mobile buildings are inferior to stick-built houses but the difference is negligible. However, now this minus is leveled, thanks to new technologies.
Dispelling Popular Myths About Mobile Homes
- “The modular design is unreliable, the sections can move apart” – when ordering a reliable pile foundation, you protect yourself from such precedents because the presence of rigid support reduces the change in the level of the building to a minimum. The sections themselves are fastened together with a reliable self-expanding PSU tape, which allows the structure to maintain integrity even with a slight “shrinkage” of the wooden material.
- “There are gaps between the sections and the house will not be suitable for use in the cold season” – when connecting, the joining of the sections is as tight as possible and the distances at the junctions are minimized and the remaining ones are carefully foamed to avoid cooling. Using the same technology, doors, and windows are installed in any traditional house.
- “The qualities are much lower than those employed in traditional homes” In no case, the quality of the mobile home will be inferior to that of a stick-built house. At least, the characteristics will be the same, although they are usually manufactured with better insulation and comfort parameters. Manufacturers work with technically more modern and efficient materials, applying factory quality controls to ensure the finished house is of the highest quality before being transported to the final location, where the module assembly operation and facilities connection are carried out.
- “Mobile homes are less solid and less sturdy than traditional homes.” Neither one thing nor the other. At the structural level, mobile homes are calculated taking into account the movement produced by transport, so they are normally oversized to support these dynamic efforts, which results in more robust structures than usual. At the level of materials, common components are used in traditional construction, and others are more sophisticated ones that provide the technical requirements necessary for mobile homes,
Who Should Buy A Mobile Home?
Of course, mobile homes are not for all people. When buying a house, it always comes down to personal preference, budget, location, size of family, and the ability to finance. But not all mobile homeowners are poor. In fact, there are many people who own mobile homes as their second home, especially in Florida where owners spend their time in their mobile homes during harsh winters. If you are included in the following group of people, a mobile home is perfect for you.
- If you are single. Although many mobile home parks especially in Florida are designed for older people, there are also a lot of mobile home parks on the East and West coasts that are designed for all ages. If you are single and don’t want to pay expensive apartment rent every month, a mobile home is a perfect choice.
- If you are a new couple. Many new couples buy mobile homes while saving money for future stick-built real estate. There is no better and cheaper option for the new couple to own a house than buying a used mobile home.
- If you are a retired senior. Seniors should enjoy their lives, right? Florida is home to many 50+ mobile home parks and if you are looking for a peaceful place to live without paying an expensive mortgage, buying a mobile home is the best option.
- If you have extra money and want a vacation home. Many people own a second home in Florida so they don’t need to pay for a hotel or Airbnb when they spend their summer down here. This is a no-brainer decision.
- If you want to invest and make passive income. Yes, a mobile home can be a good investment if you rent it out. Buying a cheap mobile home, having it repaired, and tented out, can be a sustainable source of monthly extra income.
If you are planning on buying a used mobile home in the greater Sarasota Florida area, we, at The Mobile Home Dealer, are happy to assist you with the purchase requirements such as virtual showings, closing assistance, and title transfer of your new mobile home. Contact Us anytime or message us through our Facebook page.