Are you considering a mobile home as your next residence? Or, perhaps, you're curious about what it's like to live in a mobile home. Either way, mobile home living is a unique and affordable housing option that many people choose for its simplicity and convenience.
Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, downsizing from a traditional home, or looking for a more minimalist lifestyle, living in a mobile home could be the perfect fit. In this blog, we explore the ins and outs of mobile home life, from the benefits to the challenges, so you can determine if it’s the right choice for you.
Types of mobile homes
Mobile homes, also known as manufactured homes, are affordable and flexible housing options for many people. With various types of mobile homes available on the market, it can take time to determine which one best fits your needs. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of mobile homes available to help you decide which one is right for you.
Single-wide mobile homes
The single-wide mobile home is an excellent starting point for newcomers to this lifestyle. Living in a single-wide is ideal if you need less space and intend to move more often. Plus, new single-wide mobile homes cost an average of $76,400, making them the most affordable option for singles and couples.
These homes never exceed 18 feet in width and 90 feet in length. While this may sound small, you can still enjoy everything you need for a high-quality lifestyle.
Double-wide mobile homes
In many ways, double-wide mobile homes resemble ranch-style houses. Families often opt for double-wide homes because they measure over 20 feet wide. You can expect to spend $86,000 on a new double-wide, but used options can be found for as little as $20,000-$50,000. But be forewarned: What you save may end up going towards repairs and upgrades.
Also important to note is that double-wide homes come in multiple pieces, which makes them substantially more difficult to transport. However, if you don’t plan on moving too much and need the space, a double-wide mobile home can be a great option.
Multi-section mobile homes
Multi-section mobile homes can include everything from triple and quadruple-wide to multi-story mobile homes. As you would expect, these are the priciest types of mobile homes and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On the plus side, living in a trailer home of this size provides you access to luxurious amenities, including spa baths, master suites, and walk-in closets. Some high-end mobile home manufacturers even offer custom styling with architectural elements like bay windows and cathedral ceilings.
Costs of living in a mobile home
Like traditional homes, mobile homes have ongoing costs. Other than the initial investment of purchasing a mobile home, which can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000, you will have ongoing expenses, including lot rent, insurance, and taxes.
Before you decide that living in a mobile home park is right for you, you’ll want to investigate these costs and evaluate your budget. Here’s a breakdown of the expenses you may incur by choosing to make a mobile home your permanent abode.
Buy or rent?
The first decision is whether you want to purchase a mobile home or rent one on an existing lot. Renting usually means you spend less money upfront, and you’re not responsible for repairs. However, the downside is that the home typically remains static. Unless you buy the home, the owner will most likely require you to stay where you are.
Plus, you may never own that home. If you are in this for the long haul, renting is almost always more expensive in the long run.
Buying a mobile home outright is the best option, but there are financing options if you need extra help.
Once you have a mobile home, you must decide where to place it. Some mobile home dwellers choose to erect their abodes on their land. In this case, you pay nothing in terms of ongoing rental costs.
Most people choose to rent their lots, which can cost $100 to $900 per month, depending on location, amenities, and demand.
Location often has the most significant influence on your monthly costs. High-demand lots near cities with social amenities and homeowners association protection usually see higher rental prices. If you want to save money, head to the rural areas in states with a low cost of living
Hook-up responsibility expenses
Mobile homes need to meet the building codes developed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Part of that is making sure your utilities are hooked up if you own the mobile home. This is best done by a professional, and that means paying for the service.
According to Angie’s List, you can expect to spend $600 to $2,600 to install a water main and $1,000 to install an electrical line. Like other expensess, the cost depends on where you live and the complexity of the installation.
If you’re renting, the community manager on your lot must handle the installation costs. You can only connect them with a reliable utility installer.
Most mobile homes use natural gas or a propane tank to provide a reliable gas source for cooking. Each source comes with its pros and cons. For example, propane is objectively more dangerous and costly but also gives you more power. If you are more concerned with saving money, natural gas is cheaper. But the cost is based on personal usage.
Sewage may be classified as a separate expense for a new mobile home, and most communities require you to pay these costs. Some, however, may include it in your rent. You usually can’t negotiate this cost because the charges are set by the local sewage company instead of the landlord.
Electricity is essential for most appliances and devices in the modern era. Many mobile home owners find this to be the lion’s share of their monthly utility bills.
These days, most mobile home parks require tenants to pay their bills directly to the local power provider. In rare cases, you may see your electric bills rolled into your monthly rental cost.
If you’re worried about these costs, consider investing in energy-efficient improvements, such as solar panels, or purchasing a newer mobile home.
Mobile homes are usually connected to the nearest city’s water supply. Expect to be charged based on usage, but one thing to know about how to live in a trailer is that landlords habitually charge fixed fees as part of the rent.
On a side note, beware that water in mobile home parks often contains nitrates. Be prepared to use a reverse osmosis system to ensure you have the cleanest water possible.
Mobile homes weren’t built to last forever. Unlike static brick-built real estate, mobile homes have an average lifespan of 30 to 55 years. As your home ages, things can and will go wrong. Ensure you have space in your budget to account for unexpected repairs, such as failing utilities or a hole in the roof.
Again, if you’re a renter, necessary repairs are often the landlord’s responsibility under the terms of your lease.
Every mobile home dweller should always have adequate insurance. Property damage, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and more are just some of the things that could happen to you for any number of reasons.
Expect to budget between $300 and $1,000 monthly for mobile home insurance. Factors influencing the cost include your home's value and size, the coverage amounts you select, and your location.
Mobile home insurance policies, also called HO7 policies, come with coverage for your:
Every home needs insurance because you never know what might happen. We offer quality mobile home coverage that suits most budgets. Contact us to learn how much reliable mobile home insurance could cost you.
Reasons of living in a trailer home
Are mobile homes good to live in?
For the right person, mobile homes offer a sense of freedom you cannot find with ordinary real estate. After all, there’s a reason why so many seniors choose mobile home living. Here are some of the reasons why this could be the lifestyle for you.
Cheaper than a traditional home
America is suffering from a crisis of unaffordable housing. Today’s median home sale price is $428,700, with no signs of slowing down.
In contrast, mobile homes are less than 25% of the cost of a traditional home, so if you’re selling up, you can buy a mobile home and have a substantial retirement fund to enjoy.
On a side note, if you buy a used mobile home, you could find yourself paying less than the value of a new car for your home.
Mobile home features
Older mobile homes were often basic, but today’s mobile homes have the same features as traditional homes.
Whether you want a home office, a spa bath, or a garden area to enjoy, contemporary mobile homes can be equipped with everything you might need. Moreover, if you have the budget, you can even have a custom mobile home manufactured for you.
Low maintenance costs
Mobile home living are surprisingly robust. New mobile homes are built to meet many of the same standards as traditional real estate, such as being Energy Star certified. The robustness of a modern mobile home means repairs are rarer than in a traditional home. Moreover, if you do need work done, it’s typically far cheaper.
Live in an expensive area for less
Cost of living concerns are rampant across vast swathes of the country. New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle are just some places where a studio apartment can cost thousands of dollars in rent alone.
Mobile homes are ideal if you want to live in an expensive area without blowing your budget. You can’t expect to park your mobile home downtown, but residing just outside the primary metropolitan area allows you to access the lifestyle with just a few minutes of driving.
It’s not uncommon for Americans to want to build their dream homes, but where would you live in the meantime?
Home construction can take years, especially if you are doing it yourself. Living in a mobile residence while you finish construction offers the breathing space you require without compromising your living standards.
Pay fewer taxes
Did you know that a mobile home is not considered real estate, according to the IRS?
If you are thinking about living in a mobile home park, this is one of the biggest perks. Mobile homes are taxed as personal property, meaning property taxes on these homes are a fraction of those levied on traditional real estate.
Enjoy high-end living
Gone are the days when mobile homes were synonymous with cramped and outdated living spaces. Today, mobile homes offer an opportunity for high-end living with all the amenities and luxury of traditional homes but at a more affordable price. The transformation of mobile homes has been remarkable, and it's not uncommon to find mobile homes with spacious living areas, modern kitchens, high-end appliances, and luxurious features such as walk-in closets and fireplaces.
Disadvantages of mobile home life
Is it bad to live in a mobile home?
For all the benefits of a mobile home, some drawbacks may make this lifestyle unattractive. Below are a few disadvantages of choosing a mobile home.
You usually can’t finance a mobile home with traditional mortgages. This is because they’re classified as personal property, not real estate. Instead, you’ll likely need a personal property loan,, and these often come with caveats. For instance, some lenders only offer these loans to people in certain areas. Other may refuse to finance a mobile home at all.
The upside is that your credit score isn’t that important in proving your eligibility.
Sadly, a considerable amount of stigma remains that comes with living in a mobile home. The images of trailer parks being crime-ridden and rundown persist. But it’s important to know that a trailer isn’t the same as a mobile home. Moreover, many mobile home parks are of a high standard that often dwarfs conventional neighborhoods.
Limited floor designs
Mobile homes do tend to have the same long, rectangular layout.Even custom-designed trailers may have the same overall shape, meaning you will likely need to be comfortable with that particular footprint.
Traditional real estate typically appreciates over time. However, manufactured homes depreciate. This is another downside of mobile homes not being classified as real estate. Generally, you can expect a mobile home to depreciate by 3% per year, which is why pre-owned mobile homes are so cheap.
Difficult to sell
Because mobile homes depreciate, owners almost never make a profit when they sell one they purchased as new. Mobile homes aren’t impossible to sell, but finding the right buyer can take longer than if you were selling a static piece of real estate.
Mobile home living tips
So, what is it like to live in a mobile home?
Living in a mobile home can be an enjoyable and affordable housing option, but it also requires special considerations. From skirting solutions to weatherproofing, there are various tips and tricks to make the most of mobile home living.
1. Choose a professional installation
Even if you believe you can erect your own mobile home, experts generally agree you should hire a professional. Mobile homes can experience problems, but most can be traced back to improper installation.
2. Get insurance
Mobile homes may not be considered real property, but they hold the same intrinsic value as a stick-built home. This is your residence and contains your worldly possessions, so why would you leave them unprotected?
Mobile home insurance is often more affordable than you think. Comprehensive coverage may set you back just a few hundred dollars annually.
3. Repair skirting immediately
Skirting goes around the side of your mobile home, and it’s responsible for protecting the belly of your home and maintaining its energy efficiency. You should inspect this area regularly because even small holes can lead to severe structural problems. Go out of your way to repair any holes immediately.
4. Keep the exterior clean
Maintain a pristine exterior to prevent dirt and grime from adhering to the surface of your mobile home. Residents must keep their mobile homes clean in many parks as part of their lot rental agreements. This is likely to be a factor if an HOA runs your park.
Use a pressure washer with a long handle extension to get the job done. But before getting started, read the instructions. Using the wrong tools could cause permanent damage to your mobile home.
5. Location, location, location
Finally, your choice of location could make or break your decision to begin living in a mobile home. Pay a visit to your chosen park first and speak to some neighbors about what it’s like living there. In particular, ask questions about the park manager's performance and the communal facilities' quality.
The bottom line
Living in a mobile home offers many benefits that can make it a practical and enjoyable housing option. From affordability to flexibility, mobile home living can provide a sense of freedom and independence that's hard to achieve with a traditional home. However, it's important to keep in mind that mobile home living requires a unique set of considerations and lifestyle adjustments.
Even so, mobile homes are significant investments. Anything can and will go wrong, so ensure you protect what matters most to you with our mobile home insurance. Find quality mobile home insurance by getting a free quote from our team now.