Mobile Homes Offer an Alternative in an Expensive House Market

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There was a time not long ago when people shied away from mobile home living. They said things like they’re not actual homes or they’re too small, but most of the time complaints were about thin walls and inexpensive materials used inside. Years ago, this may have been true to a degree, but today’s mobile homes will convince anyone they’re well-built with solid floors and walls with 2” X 4” wall studs and real drywall, to name only a few.

Because of the marked improvements made to mobile home construction standards, they no longer carry the stigma like many years ago before government standards took effect. Prior to June 15, 1976, few standards for mobile home construction existed, making people leery about flocking to this inexpensive and comfortable living style. The exceptional bargains for a home were hard to beat, so millions of people tried it and discovered mobile home living is as comfortable as it is inexpensive.

Advantages of Living in a Mobile Home

After June 1976, HUD standardized mobile home construction for newly minted manufactured homes, and introduced several long-overdue safety measures. Wired smoke detectors in every living area, fire-resistant materials, ceiling heights of at least seven feet, and higher standards of plumbing and electricity. Since then, HUD mandated several more updates to construction and safety standards that continue today.

At a fraction of the cost of a stick-built home, individuals and families have a very popular option that allows them to live comfortably and in a good neighborhood. Rent for today’s apartments has skyrocketed amid a housing crisis that sees inventory of stick-built homes shrinking, spiking home prices, too. With rent in the $1200 range and climbing, mobile home living becomes an even more attractive alternative to high-priced stick-built homes. An average $200,000 home costs nearly three to four times as much as a double-wide mobile home in a park.

Options for a new mobile home like skylights, an extra bathroom in place of a bedroom, or a larger room in any part is no problem because the home is on an assembly line in most cases. They won’t have to redraft plans and consume extra waiting time. There are additional costs for changes, but it’s still less work and hassle during the initial stages of construction.

Costs of a Mobile Home

Information from the Census Bureau’s Manufactured Housing Survey stated that in February 2020, single-wide mobile homes sold for an average of nearly $56,000, and double-wide homes averaged almost $107,000. The sales prices fluctuated in different areas of the country, and were slightly lower in southern states and higher in western states.

On the lower end of the scale, a single-wide home averaged about $54,000 in the Northeast, while in the Midwest, double-wide mobile homes sold for around $93,000. Most people set their new homes inside parks on separate lots, and pay an average rental cost of $450 per month or more, but this cost depends on location and amenities within the park. For homes set up on land, extra costs for the foundation, landscaping, utilities, and other extras like decking add to the initial setup expense.

Some amenities in parks include a swimming pool with a lifeguard, a community center loaded with fun things to do like catered dining, dancing, live music, and conferences. They will also include at some locations kids’ recreation parks with adult supervision at all times. Depending on the location, sometimes parks are near sports and recreation sites that always provide activities for the family.

Mobile Home Placement

There are two distinct types of foundations available for mobile home placement. They are permanent and non-permanent. A permanent foundation works best for people who own their land and plan on never moving the home. In that case, they could have the home’s title reclassified to real property.

An example of a permanent foundation is having the home placed on top of a full cement basement. The installers have an amazing ability to align the home perfectly to the basement, and when it’s finished, no one is the wiser. It’s no simple task to perform this kind of work, and it’s more important to make sure the entire structure is perfectly level. If it’s not, twisting and bowing of the frame occurs and will cause significant problems over time.

Mobile home parks with rented lots will typically require placement of homes onto pads and footings, which makes it easier to move to another location by simply installing the wheels to make it mobile again. In this type of placement, it’s strongly recommended or required to have tie downs installed into the cement pad to prevent the home from shifting from high winds or falling off their footings. Levelling is also very important for this placement to prevent twisting the frame and causing issues like doors not closing and leaks from the roof.