So you’re in the market to buy a new double wide mobile home? That’s great. A mobile home is a perfect choice for affordability, energy efficiency, and customizability. And a double wide will offer you even more space than a single wide would. That’s more space at a great price.
Selling or buying a home is not quite as easy as selling your used, but unwanted, hockey pads online. For starters, there is a lot of money involved, even if it is a mobile home. Secondly, for the buyer, it is an investment that they will not only be stuck with but live in for the foreseeable future. Thirdly, there are a lot of regulations, laws, standards, and hidden clauses involved. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide to buying and selling your double wide trailer.
The unique nature of mobile homes leads to a multitude of gray areas. For instance, not all mobile homes count as “real estate” because they are not permanently grounded. Just thinking about all these possible stumbling blocks might send your head spinning and give you cold feet!
Buying a home is quite the investment and adventure. Thrill, fear, and excitement are all mixed together as you stand on the edge of a new chapter in life. To make the chapter transition a little smoother, we compiled this list of five things you should know before you buy your new place.
Ready? Here we go.
First, What is a double-wide trailer?
Mobile homes have always come in two size categories: Single-wides and double-wides. Recently a third, even larger variety has made its way onto the scene, triple-wides. Mobile homes or trailers are divided among these three groups by their dimensions, although each type usually comes with relatively the same room allocation and layout.
Here are the typical dimensions for each:
- Single-wide: 8 ft. (5.5 m) or less in width and 90 ft. (27 m) or less in length.
- Double-wide: 20 ft. (6.1 m) wide or more and are 90 ft. (27 m) or less in length.
- Triple-wide: Anything bigger than the above two. These trailers can get really huge.
The typical double-wide comes with 3 bedrooms, 2 or 3 bathrooms, a kitchen, a washroom, and a dining or living area (or both for bigger models). This makes them the perfect size for a small or growing family and comparable to the typical family real estate.
How much do double-wide trailers cost?
We should start this section off with a disclaimer: Without a proper and professional appraisal of the home, there is simply no way to accurately give you a spot-on figure with any degree of certainty. There are simply too many factors, and each has a massive impact on the price of a mobile home.
These are just some of the most important questions you should ask:
- How old is the mobile home?
- Has the home been moved? If so, how many times?
- What is the general condition of the home?
- How badly do you need to sell or buy a home?
- What are the specific features or amenities of an existing model?
As a rule of thumb, double-wides with the room layout we discussed go for upwards of $50,000 to under $100,000 for new models. Used or second-hand prices are heavily influenced by the above factors, but should always be less.
Potential buyers should be aware of other possible running costs, especially if the home is in a park. We will go into more detail in a later section.
How to sell a double-wide trailer?
There are many reasons why you might want to sell your mobile home. Many people want the comfort and appeal that traditional homes offer. Others want to avoid their park’s levies and fees. Some have to move but just aren’t willing to take on the hassle or risk of transporting a mobile home, especially across great distances.
Whatever your reason, there is a market for mobile homes. Many people are attracted to this lifestyle outside the big city. With prices much lower than traditional, stick-built, suburban homes and for the same size and comfort, there are more than enough reasons to buy a mobile home. Make sure you get the value for your home.
What to keep in mind
We mentioned that selling or buying a mobile home is not always the same as real-estate. Here are some special considerations you should bear in mind before you go about attempting to sell your double-wide:
If you own the land that your mobile home is on you will need to decide whether you want to sell that too. If you plan on keeping your land, the mobile home will most likely need to be moved. You can offload the process onto the buyer, but it will be a huge deterrent for them. Also, be warned that a home loses a lot of value when it’s moved.
HUD stands for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The HUD code, as it’s called, is a set of standards that determine how a mobile home should be built and has a list of criteria a home must meet. If your home is not HUD compliant it will be near impossible for the new owner to get financing and it will affect your home’s price dramatically. The article, HUD Laws and Mobile Homes, covers the topic in depth.
Condition of the home
If your home needs some repairs (common areas include the roof, window and door frames, skirting, and foundations), you have a choice to make. Many buyers are looking for a deal and might be more willing to buy the home at a lower price but do the repairs themselves. For others, it might be a deterrent. Negotiating around these issues is a must.
Many mobile home parks require a notice period before a home is moved off the property. Also, most parks retain the right to determine who is allowed to live in the community. As such, any potential buyers will need to be approved.
If you have not fully paid off any liens or mortgages on your mobile home, you cannot hand over ownership to the buyers. You will also be left to pay for a home that you are no longer living in. It is possible to come to an agreement by which you receive a monthly sum from the buyers which you use to pay off your mortgage. Then you can hand over ownership later.
Some states place a tax on selling your mobile home. Check your state for their tax information, such as exemption policies.
Mobile home titles, Bill of sale and Home occupancy documents
Some or all of these documents are required whenever you sell your home. They are as much for the buyer’s benefit as yours, and you should make sure you have them and store them safely.
How to sell your double-wide
When starting the process of selling your mobile home, these are some of the steps you should follow. Not only will following these steps make the process easier and less stressful but they might get you a better price too.
1. Inspect and fix up your home
- Do it yourself
There are many common issues that mobile homes are prone to over the years. Many of these are easy enough to DIY if you have some experience. Common problems to look for and repair are:
– Roof leaks
– Damaged window and door frames
– Water damage to walls and floors
– Foundation that is not level
– Electrical problems and hazards
- Call the professionals
There are many services you can easily find with a Google search that will inspect your home and fix any problems you want. You can expect an inspection to cost around $300. The repair cost depends on the problem and its scope
2. Appraise your home
While you are at it, you should also do some research to get an estimate yourself. Try and find similar models to yours and check their prices. Calculate the home’s value based on the average depreciation (3-5% per year). Tally any needed repairs. Factor in whether the home has to be moved or not. Do all this, and you should start to get an idea. Many online sites that buy mobile homes provide an appraisal service as well as moving quotes.
3. Find a channel to sell through
- Through an agent – Finding an agent might feel very tempting. A seasoned agent will know what goes for what and can guide you on what paperwork you need, put you in contact with appraisal and moving services, etc. However, you should beware of many agents overcharging on these package deals. You will also have to be willing to part with the commission fee of around 10%.
- Through a mobile home reselling agency – These companies are in the businesses of buying and selling mobile homes. As such they provide appraisals, inspections, moving services, and you have the benefit of dealing with professionals.
- On your own – With great power comes great responsibility. Yes, you are not beholden to anyone and get to keep the full sum you receive for your home, but you are responsible for advertising your home and finding a buyer, showing your home, and getting all your requirements together.
- To your mobile home park – Many mobile home parks buy mobile homes owned by their community members when they move out. These transactions have many benefits for the park as well as the seller. For one, the park has a vacant home to sell or rent out immediately, and they have full control over who moves in. For the seller, it eliminates a lot of the extra worries, like moving the home or finding a buyer.
4. Prepare your home
Before you show your home to potential buyers, it’s important to put its best foot forward. Inspect your home, repair any visible flaws, and dust off all your surfaces. Remember, first impressions are everything.
5. Show your home and meet the buyers
Showing your home to buyers should serve a dual purpose. First, to show the home to buyers and hopefully seal the deal. Second, it gives you a chance to meet them. You should make sure the people you do business with are reputable and have the funds to complete the transaction.
How to buy a double-wide trailer?
Making a significant investment, like buying a home, is never an easy choice, even for a mobile home. You should have noticed by now that it is not the same as buying a piece of real-estate. It comes with its own set of specific pitfalls and challenges.
For a helpful source on how to buy a home and do so affordably, read How to Buy a Mobile home Without Breaking the Bank.
What to keep in mind
Mobile home stigma
Unfortunately, there are a few stereotypes surrounding mobile homes that rear their ugly heads from time to time. “Mobile homes are unsafe; mobile homes only depreciate in value; trailer parks are filled with unsavory individuals; mobile homes provide a lower living-standard than stick-built homes.” Chances are you have heard most of these before. In most instances they are untrue, and you only have to look around at how many people live happy lives inside their mobile homes.
Mobile home parks
Most homes are planted inside of mobile home parks or communities. When you buy a home inside of one, you will need to make sure that you and the park regulations are compatible. You should also be aware of any back lot rent or levies you will be obliged to pay
How to finance
There are four main types of financing available if you are purchasing a double-wide. All four have their own prerequisites, requirements, and rules. You should do some research on your own on each option to make sure you choose the appropriate one that’s best for you. Double-wides are much easier to finance, and there are more options available than for single-wides. The same goes for a home that’s permanently affixed to the property.
Basically, the Federal Housing Institute takes on some of the risk themselves so that lenders will give you a loan. FHA Loans come with plenty of requirements, concessions, and maximum loan limits based on the type of housing.
Chattel mortgages might be easier to get but have two considerable cons. They have higher interests rates and shorter terms. It’s hard to see any advantage with this kind of financing.
These loans are the same as FHA loans but are made available by the Department of Veteran Affairs. As you might have guessed, you will need to have served in the military and be able to provide proof to meet the requirements.
You can get a regular loan but the terms and credit checks are strict, and there are usually high down payments. The lender might also demand collateral.
How to buy a mobile home
The surest way to not get hoodwinked out of your hard earned money is to become knowledgeable about mobile homes. The most important thing is to establish exactly what you want and need and to not deviate from that. Amongst others you should look out for:
- The number of rooms and layout.
- Extra features and amenities.
- Average price.
- Reputable manufacturers (if you are buying new).
- Park regulations.
- Moving requirements and price.
2. Find out where you can buy
- Private sellers: When buying from a private seller, you should take extra care to ensure HUD compliance, that all the ownership documents are available, and that the seller is serious and reliable.
- Mobile home resellers: This is probably the safest way to purchase a second-hand home. These companies usually take care of HUD compliance, provide moving services, and repair the home if necessary before selling it on.
- Agents: An agent might know all the ropes when it comes to buying and selling mobile homes but beware. You might get overcharged, especially on package deals. Using a local agent means you won’t have to go through the hassle and expense of moving the home long distances.
- Mobile home parks: Some mobile home parks also sell their homes. You should make sure you accept the parks regulations and if you are allowed to move the home out.
- Repossessed auctions: You can find some amazing bargains here. Banks or lenders usually just want to cover their losses which lead to fantastic deals on occasion.
3. Meet the buyer
You should make sure the seller is ready to sell and move before you commit to anything. If you found the home for at a low price, now’s the time to fish out the seller’s motivation for selling at that price. Moving a home is a huge drain on money and time, and many people would rather sell their double-wide on a something-is-better-than-nothing basis if they suddenly have to relocate.
4. Inspect the home and HUD compliance
Be sure to scrutinize the home before you buy. Whether or not a mobile home is HUD compliant plays a significant role in whether you will receive financing and impacts the home’s value. Check the home’s HUD plate and ask when the home was last inspected for HUD compliance. If you are worried, get your own inspector and ask for permission to assess the mobile home.
5. Moving in!
Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork from the previous owner, like Mobile home titles, Bill of sale and Home occupancy documents. Don’t forget the keys!
Five things to know before you buy a new double wide mobile home
1 – Energy efficiency
There are different levels of energy efficiency. You’re in the market for a new double wide home, so you can be assured that every home you look at is HUD code compliant. Mobile homes made before 1976 are outside of HUD code. Mobile homes made after 1976 are designed and required to meet HUD minimum requirements. And as a result, over the years, manufactured homes have come a long way in their level of energy efficiency.
If you want to up your energy efficiency game, look for Energy Star labeled homes. Energy Star encourages manufacturers to go beyond the minimum HUD requirements. This prompts manufacturers to develop more energy efficient constructions processes and homes. Homeowners benefit by saving on their utility bills long term. The whole world benefits from the smaller energy footprint left by these manufacturers and homeowners.
2 – Customization options
Frequently, manufacturers have a variety of options available to new homeowners. From carpet to fireplaces, roofing to light fixtures, the possibilities are endless. A variety of customization options denotes a manufacturer that cares about a quality product. Remember, you get what you pay for and you’re in control of what your home will look like. Take a look at their options, compare with other manufacturers, and be ready to weigh what’s best for you, your budget, and your family. Never forget, you’ll get as good a house as you’re willing to pay for.
f you’re going to buy a new double wide mobile home, make it worthwhile. You have more room to create different floor layouts that better cater to your style and needs. As you pick out or create your own design, it’s a good idea to visit a variety of double wide homes for inspiration. An idea may seem good on paper but seeing it come alive may provide a different vantage point.
3 – Financing
Thanks to financing, home ownership is more accessible. Even if you’re bankrupt, have no fear. A double wide is just what you’re looking for. Find out your options for borrowing. Compare interest rates and closing costs, making sure you’re reading the fine print.
Sometimes you can only borrow from the mobile home manufacturer. If you’re getting a lease on land, make sure your lender is aware of this and the fact that your home may not be permanently attached to a foundation. Ideally, your lender will be experienced in dealing with mobile home purchases. Read here for more about lending options.
4 – Installation
This is a concern that is unique to mobile homes. You’ll need to find out if the manufacturer will install the home or if you need to hire your own contractor. Be careful, even if hiring your own seems cheaper, it could void your warranty. Either way, you’ll want the home installed according to HUD regulations. Otherwise, you may face unexpected fines down the road.
If you’re installing the home in a park, get detailed information about how the park wants you to handle your move. Work out a schedule with them so everything (utility hook-ups, cable, etc.) is in place, ready for your new home. Additionally, make sure you don’t do anything that would break your lease agreement.
5 – Costs
Lastly, it’s important to count all the costs involved. You need to factor in the costs of transportation, hook-ups, and installation. And you’ll need to rent a space suitable for a double wide. Don’t forget about all the fees and details that come with signing your lease agreement.
If you’re going to have your home moved to a mobile home park, ask for printed documents detailing the costs incurred by renting the lot. Some of these extras are required. What does trash pick up look like on your monthly bill? How about security and parking? These extras can be nice. But it’s nice to know about any costs they might charge before you commit.
Enjoy your new double wide!
Well, there you have it. Five things to know before you buy a new double wide mobile home. A double wide home is a great way to save money while providing you and your family the space needed to live a vibrant life and a place to rest. It will only cost a fraction of what a site-built house cost you.
Now that you’re about ready to sign a lease, check out our list of questions to ask before signing one!