Buying a home is a big step. Whether it’s your first home or not, you want to make a good decision – one that you’ll look back on positively. Before you take this exciting plunge, you want to make sure you weigh your options adequately and end up with a great place to live. In that vein, let’s explore your dream mobile home and your path to it.
Options, options, options…
When it comes time to snag that mobile home for you and your family to set up house in, you have options. Whether it’s age and condition of the home, the appearance of the exterior, price, size, or other factors, the “ideal home” will look different from one buyer to the next. What home you choose will depend on things like finances, availability, and preferences. So, just what are your preferences? Identifying what you’re looking for is a good first step when it comes to selecting your dream mobile home.
New vs. old
Do you want a brand new mobile home or a used one? And if one that’s already been lived in is an option for you, what age and condition will you be looking for? A new mobile home with you as its first inhabitant may be intrinsically attractive. You may be drawn to this because of the freshness of starting in a mint-condition home. Plus, you’re hoping that a new mobile home will offer you modern design elements, too.
However, while acknowledging the benefits of a brand new mobile home, a used one may provide some advantages of its own. Obviously, there’s the possible price advantage. And if you’re looking to pay less for a home, that may be enough to send you down the used mobile home path.
Already lived in and loved
Another thing that could attract you to a used mobile home is location – for example, you’ve found your ideal plot of land and it already has a mobile home. The land/mobile home combo is situated exactly where you were hoping to move. If the land and location are your number one priority, you might be more than happy to go with the mobile home already there.
And this could be especially attractive if you were hoping for any legal technicalities related to placing a mobile home on land to be already ironed out. You’d like to be able to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor in that department. And that could make snapping up a used home already linked to land look like a great option to you.
Additionally, you might choose a used home because you won’t feel so bad about the normal wear and tear that you and your family will inevitably cause. If the home already has a few scuffs and scratches, you reason, you won’t feel too bad about adding a few more. This may help you be more relaxed about living a normal life in your new place.
The “where” question is another one to consider during your hunt for your dream mobile home. Ask yourself what places or areas you need to be close to. Is it your workplace or perhaps an aging parent’s home that you want to stay near? Alternatively, you may be looking to be within 15 minutes of an airport or interstate because you travel frequently.
In addition to the areas you want to stay close to, consider what kind of area you’d like to move into. There’s plenty you could consider here including:
- Climate and weather – Do you want a place with a balmy summer, snowy winter, or temperate weather year-round? (Hint: if you’re fleeing the freezing temperatures, check out our Want To Escape The Cold? 4 Ideal Locations For Your Mobile Home).
- Jobs – Do you need an area where the job market is good?
- Taxes – What kind of income and property taxes will you be looking at in a given location?
- Cost of living – How expensive or inexpensive is it to live in this area?
- Storms – How common are hurricanes, tornados, high winds, etc.?
- Proximity to shopping centers & area attractions – Is there a grocery store nearby? How far away are area restaurants and shopping plazas?
When you have a particular location on the table and you’re seriously considering it, learn about the area. Solicit opinions of people who live in the area. What do they like and dislike about it? Go there yourself and try to get a feel for the community. Is it warm and welcoming, or will you be treated like an outsider?
Will your mobile home be welcome?
One other consideration in a given area is whether your mobile home will be welcome. Will yours be the only one in a community of stick-built homes? Of course, even if it is, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t move ahead anyway. Just try to get a feel for the situation and legal restrictions before you do.
Also, mull over whether you want a mobile home on land you’ll own or in a mobile home park. A mobile home park could offer the advantages of a ready-made community. However, land might give you more peace, quiet, and solitude if those are important to you.
The country vs. the city is another question to keep in mind. You may feel strongly about this one or you may be ambivalent. If you do have a strong opinion one way or the other, be sure to note it before you go househunting.
Mobile home appearance and features
Now, these are important considerations when it comes to choosing your mobile home. What it looks like (both outside and in) may mean a lot to you. While you need structural quality and a good location, too, the visual appeal of your home may be high on your list of priorities.
Inside the mobile home
Let’s start with the inside. Are you looking for a particular wall color? Of course, if you’re willing to paint, the wall color may not matter too much. However, if you’re shooting for a home that won’t need much work before or after moving in, wall colors you already like could be a plus.
Moving into the kitchen, what are you hoping your cabinets will look like? Do you have strong preferences when it comes to color or layout? Plus, maybe you were really hoping for an island. And if granite countertops are a must for you, add that to your list. You may also have some lighting preferences you’d love to accommodate if possible.
If you’re looking for an open floor plan where the living room, dining area, and kitchen are in a common area, identify that desire early. That way, when you look at individual mobile homes, you won’t waste your time on ones without this kind of layout. Give thought to flooring preferences, too. Would you prefer solid surface as opposed to carpeting or a mix of both?
The way your mobile home looks from the outside may not seem quite as vital as the inside. After all, you don’t live on the outside of your house. Yet, you’ll see it when you pull in your driveway and head up to your front door. And others will see it, too. In fact, your next-door neighbors could feel like they see it more than you do – every time they look out their window.
Of course, you can always go with a common mobile home look for your home’s exterior. But if you’re looking to shake things up a bit, check out Champion Home Builders’ Kingsbrook 34. It might just smash your preconceptions of what a mobile home looks like from the outside.
Incidentally, if you want a beautiful little home (“little” being the keyword), take a look at The Heron. At less than 600 square feet, you won’t have to worry about ending up with more house than you can manage.
Considerations for the outside of your house would also include siding color and shutter colors. More than that, you may be able to get a type of skirting that particularly appeals to you.
It goes without saying that price is a vital element in homebuying. For most people, funds are limited – there will be a kind of cap at the upper end of what they’re able to spend. How much you spend will depend to some degree on what home you buy. Are you looking at a brand new double wide or a used single wide? To dive into mobile home prices a little more, head to our Mobile Home Prices And The Average Cost Breakdown.
Get an idea of how much you’re able to spend before you go too far in the process. If you’ll be financing your home, one place to start is visiting a bank or lender to get pre-approved for a loan. This tells prospective sellers that you can get a mortgage if you want one. Preapproval is the bank’s verification (with certain restrictions) that they will loan you money to buy a house.
If you are planning to finance, do this before you spend much time searching for a home. Because if it turns out you are not able to get a loan, you may end up having wasted your time.
And remember that buying comfortably within your budget – not maxing it out with no wiggle room – could be a lower stress approach than buying as much mobile home as you can afford.
Other money considerations
Checking into whether your mobile home will likely appreciate could be worthwhile. And it could be especially useful if you hold out the possibility of reselling in the future. If you want to live in your dream home for 10 years and then resell, do some research on this end to figure out what would be a good investment.
Additionally, consider how much you could get for it if you ever need to move and decide to rent it out. You could try checking with others in the area (mobile home renters, landlords, park managers, etc.) to see if you could get a ballpark figure.
Get a handle on how much space you want in your dream mobile home. Of course, your family size and lifestyle could be factors in this decision. A growing family may need more mobile home space than a retiree. If you’re a cooking enthusiast, a large kitchen may be high on your priority list. And for some, having a large master bedroom could be important.
If you have several people at home, a reasonably large space to do laundry could be very desirable. Plus, if you have little kids, you may really be hoping for some extra space to turn into a playroom for them. Having more than one bathroom could be a factor for some homebuyers, too. And those who love to entertain might have definite hopes for a certain type of main living area conducive to hosting guests.
So as you take stock of your size desires, try to determine how many bedrooms and bathrooms you calculate would be optimal for your family and situation. That may be a good way to eliminate some options. If they don’t have enough bedrooms, you may be able to take certain mobile homes off the table.
How to go about finding and buying
So just what can you do to find this mobile home you’re dreaming of? Well, as we’ve already mentioned, start by identifying what you’re looking for. Sharing some brainstorming time with family members who need to weigh in on the decision could be a good thing at this point.
Here’s one way you could jump in:
- List everything you’re looking for in a mobile home.
- Rewrite your list, dividing things into two categories: highest priority items in one column and things that would simply be nice to have in the other column).
- Then take those “nice to have” items and re-list them according to how much you care about them. Since you may not be able to have all of them, it might be useful to know which ones you care about the most.
Getting the ball rolling
If you’re going to be working with a real estate agent, consider getting recommendations from friends. Does anyone have an agent who they loved working with? Another source of mobile homes is your local mobile home retailer. You could even ask if they have any homes you can stop by and view. This may give you a chance to get a feel for the homes and the prices.
Another place to head is the world wide web, of course. Use online auctions sites or local classifieds websites to see what you can find, whether in your area or elsewhere. If you’re not having much success, you could even consider running an ad yourself in a local paper or putting a notice on social networking sites explaining what you’re looking for. Maybe there’s someone (and their mobile home) out there who would be willing to sell but hasn’t listed yet.
Learn & plan more
Once you have a good handle on your what you need and desire as you make this mobile home decision, consider other aspects of the transition, too. From things to do before moving into a mobile home park to help for moving into your mobile home, get ready for the next phase in your home-owning life.