Get the look you want
For those who are still in idea limbo, let’s first talk about “the look.” What look are you going for? Ranch? Modern? Cottage? Research house styles for the look that fits you and your location best. Next, stop by Pinterest for inspiration.
Planning your mobile home exterior remodel
So now that we have a vision, let’s examine three key factors in the remodel process.
The dollar figure can shoot sky high if you’re not careful. Factor in all your costs. Material, labor, and fees incurred from code regulations must be added. Contact your municipality and get quotes from varying suppliers and contractors. (Let these contractors know you’re talking to their competitors!)
Poke around Craigslist, your local secondhand store, and salvage yard. You might find those charming window shutters you’ve dreamed of! Tastefully re-purposing can save you money and give your mobile home a unique curb appeal.
On the other hand, be ready to spend money on things that make your home safer and more energy efficient. Properly installed windows, doors, and insulation can save you money in the long run.
Last but not least, plan for a contingency fund. A contingency fund is money set aside for unplanned expenses. At the very least plan for 5% contingency. This will give you a little breathing room if things go wrong or if you missed something in your planning.
Next, let’s consider time in both the sense of time of year and the time it will take to remodel.
If you’re in Florida, chances are you don’t want to replace your roof in the middle of hurricane season. If you’re living in Wisconsin, you’d probably be wise to not get that skirting while the snow is six feet deep. Plan around the weather as best you can. We think you get the drift (no pun intended.)
Get time estimates from contractors. When you speak to contractors, ask them for customer referrals. No one wants to hire a needlessly slow contractor. Talk to people they’ve served.
However, if you opt to do it yourself (more on that below), be prepared for things to take a little longer than planned. Murphy’s Law is bound to show up uninvited. If you don’t do this for a living, troubleshooting may take you more time than it would a seasoned contractor.
DIY vs. contractor
A good contractor is skilled in his or her trade. If safety is a concern, or a permit is required, a licensed contractor is the best fit for the job. Don’t forget to take the cost of mistakes into consideration if you lean towards DIY. Poorly installed energy efficient windows are no longer energy efficient. It becomes a wasted investment and you don’t save as much as you hoped for in your utility bills.
If you choose the route of a contractor, ask for a written contract and make sure it’s detailed. A vague contract will do you no good if things go south. Visit their current job sites, see what they’ve done and if you like the quality.
The do-it-yourself approach is not for everyone, but it can be rewarding. It can cost you significantly less than hiring a professional. It can also end up costing you more if you have to call in a contractor to fix your mistakes. Another downside is devaluing your home due to construction mistakes.
Ordinarily, a blend of both approaches is more realistic. Take the DIY approach for projects you’re comfortable with, and hire a contractor for everything else. Find a contractor for the more delicate or dangerous tasks.
Patience and a keen eye for detail will go a long way in pulling together your mobile home exterior remodel. Weigh the pros and cons project-to-project or even step-to-step. Only you can know which option is best to meet your needs.
Tips on bringing it together
Now that you’ve laid the ground-work, here are some tips for bringing your research together.
You can start with the least expensive projects and work your way up. Or weigh what project is the most beneficial in the long run. (For example, changes that will make your home most energy efficient could be high on your list.) Don’t forget to look at the big picture as you prioritize. Some updates may look out of place if made before others.
Knowledge is power
Before you begin, be clear on your budget. Write it down and keep it visible. It’s too easy to lose sight of all the details when you’re in the middle of a big project. It doesn’t take much effort to exceed your budget. According to Houzz, 41% of homeowners surveyed exceed their remodeling project budget.
Permits and code regulations
We’ve heard our share of horror stories. No one wants to find themselves thoroughly invested in a project just to find it doesn’t meet government regulation. We can’t stress this enough: do your research.
Time to get started!
A mobile home exterior remodel is no walk in the park, but a beautiful home is worth it. By going into this project with a solid plan and well thought out budget, you’ve set yourself up for success. An easy place to get started with an exterior remodel is your landscaping. Not only can you add little by little, it’s also more forgiving if you make a mistake.