Tips For Updating Your Mobile Home To Increase Value, Accessibility Or Safety
There are few better reasons for updating your mobile home than to increase its value, making it accessible to impaired residents, or making it a safer place for you and your family. In this article, we’ll provide some of the best tips for improving your mobile home in these areas.
We’ll focus on ideas that are easy to “DIY” and cost-effective so that you don’t have to break the bank to have the home you deserve.
Tips for increasing your mobile home value
Designer appliances are often viewed as one of those luxuries that doesn’t do much for the value of your home and is completely wasted on a mobile home. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, even appraisers or wholesalers take the exact model of your appliances into account when generating a quote.
Nowadays, people are always on the lookout for homes that already come with attractive appliances that will save them the trouble and money of buying it themselves. Appliances that are attractive, modern, high-quality, and energy-efficient will significantly improve your home’s value.
This is another one that makes jaws drop. Most people can’t see the value in carrying out something so labor-intensive and expensive as making an addition to a mobile home. However, today’s homes are long-lasting. Moreover, additions are seen as valuable. They add features that can not only increase the home’s living area and utility but also its curb appeal.
Some popular additions to make to a mobile home include:
- building a porch or deck
- erecting a carport
- or setting up a screen/sunroom.
You can even find complete DIY kits online to put these structures together yourself. Just make sure to not violate your home’s adherence to the HUD Code.
Update the curb appeal
- Paint: Slapping a new coat of paint on your home is a great way to completely update the look. And it helps get rid of any blemishes or signs of aging at a very low cost.
- Roof: Pitched roofs are far more attractive than flat roofs while also improving the structural soundness of the home. Shingles look good but are super high maintenance. Nowadays, there are many cheaper and more versatile alternatives like synthetic tiles.
- Porch/deck: Even a small front or back porch that just acts as access to your exterior door can do wonders for your home’s curb appeal.
- Eaves and trim: Decorative eaves along your home can give it a polished and attractive country home look. All while still being fairly cheap.
- Window and door frames: Replacing windows and door frames in a mobile home is easy and inexpensive because of standardized sizes. It’s another great way to finish off the look of your home. You can also use different colors of paint for interesting effects.
- Landscape: This might be less worth it if you are in a land-lease situation. However, if you own the land, a bit of landscaping can go a long way to improve your curb appeal. Buyers will definitely be attracted, too! Just make sure it doesn’t require too much work to tend to. Clever gardening can also help break up the boxy shape of a manufactured home.
- Skirting: Skirting in good condition is required by law in many areas, simply because it’s such an effective tool to protect your home. You can also find gorgeous skirting products! You’ll find that they go as far as faux wood or stone designs!
- Driveway: Pair this up with a carport for maximum effect. Make it a part of your landscaping project while you’re at it.
- Wall panels: If the painting doesn’t go far enough, it’s not too expensive to replace the outer wall panels. You can find faux/real wood, faux stone, or other interesting options.
Updating your mobile home with remodels
Remodel the kitchen
A designer kitchen has become one of the first things people look for when house hunting. It has become a huge status symbol. Cooking in style at home has gained increased popularity thanks to shows such as MasterChef and the 21st-century fitness revolution.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that your kitchen needs to be big and fancy. However, it should at least be organized, functional, and easy on the eye. Designer appliances, remodeling your cabinets, installing handy storage, improving the lighting, and installing working surfaces are great first steps.
Remodel the bathroom
To a lesser degree, more people are also looking at the bathrooms of their new houses. People want somewhere where they can relax and tune out from the outside world as they tend to their daily bathroom routine. There is no shortage of interesting DIY projects you can tackle. And we’ve written an entire article with Tips for Remodelling Your Mobile Home Bathroom.
With a heightened sense of environmental responsibility amongst the general public, more and more people also appreciate environmentally-friendly homes. Manufactured homes are already on the cutting edge of this because of the abundant innovation in the field, standards, and the budget-conscious nature of their occupants.
There are a number of ways in which you can make your home eco-friendly:
- Make sure that you are using good plumbing.
- Ensure that your insulation is of high-quality and in good condition.
- Buy and install “green” appliances, especially when it comes to your heating/cooling.
- Apply energy-saving roofing materials such as Koolseal.
- Apply UV-blocking film to your windows or install storm windows/doors.
- Make sure the structure of the home is in good condition and that there are no cracks that cause air transfer.
If you can show buyers you’ve made your home utility-saving and eco-friendly, asking a higher price will be well within your rights.
Tips for making your mobile home more accessible
One accessibility strike mobile homes have against them is that they are required by law to be raised above a certain level. This causes serious accessibility issues as it means most of them use some form of stairs to go in and out of the exit doors. Luckily, you can buy stair and ramp combo kits that you can attach to your home just like that. Otherwise, you will need to incorporate it into the design of your deck or porch.
We haven’t mentioned the interior stairs as it’s rare for mobile homes to have these, especially in terms of having two floors. However, remember to cater for these as well using something like a stairlift.
Add grab bars
This is especially important near any ramps, stairs, or slick flooring in and around your home. Grab bars can be useful to almost anyone with a mobility problem, whether they are bound in a wheelchair or not. The bathroom is particularly important. It helps them navigate the small space without constantly needing their wheelchair or walking aids.
This can be an expensive procedure. But if you need to make your home wheelchair accessible, you’ll quickly wish you’ve done it earlier. If your doors are wide enough, someone in a wheelchair will be completely dependant on an aide to get in and out of the house.
Install a toilet riser
A toilet riser is another one of those small features that can drastically reduce someone’s dependence on a helper. Some are built-in, handicap-friendly, or raised seats. And even the most expensive model won’t cost you more than one or two hundred dollars.
Make your shower accessible
Anyone who has slipped in the shower before (which is almost all of us), knows that this is a potentially hazardous feature. Unfortunately, getting in and out of a bathtub without assistance can be impossible for someone with a disability. To make your showers accessible:
- Make it a step-in shower without a high barrier or pan.
- Install faucet handles at an accessible height.
- Install portable showerheads that someone with difficulty standing can use anywhere on their body.
- Add in a bench so someone can sit and shower.
Use suitable flooring
Carpets can be extremely hard to move around on for those with wheelchairs. Additionally, they can act as an obstacle or trip-hazard for others with motor-impairment. The thicker the carpet, the worse the problem. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have that beautiful Persian in your living room. But just try and position it so it’s out of the way or under a table.
Use as little permanent carpeting as possible and stick to mats you can pick up and move. Wood flooring provides a good balance between smoothness and grip.
Rearrange your furniture and appliances
There are multiple ways in which the arrangement of your furniture and appliances can improve accessibility. For one, sturdy items can help act as anchors or balancing tools for the impaired. Secondly, you need to make sure that the spaces between them are wide enough to maneuver without spacing commonly used items so far apart that they become a burden to reach. The latter is especially important in the kitchen. Try to put all the most important appliances close to each other so that minimal moving around is necessary.
This one is often the most overlooked aspect of making your home accessible. However, for the multiple times that we interact with door knobs, cabinet handles, or light switches, it can be a huge source of frustration for someone who lacks fine motor skills. Particularly in their hands and fingers. A big part of making these accessible is also placing them where they are easy to reach.
Tips for updating your mobile home safety
Earlier mobile homes or trailers used to be called “matchbox houses” because of how easily they would be engulfed in flames. This often led to fatal consequences. In fact, fire safety was one of the chief reasons behind the introduction of the HUD Code. Today, mobile homes are almost comparable in this regard to traditional houses. However, there are still some important upgrades to make:
- Fire Retardant Material: Homes should be constructed using materials with a certain level of fire-resistance. However, you could always look for even safer materials for your wall panels, insulation, flooring, and furniture.
- Fire Alarms: The HUD Code dictates that fire alarms should be located near bedrooms and in the kitchen as well as near any other hazards. Make sure you have as many installed as necessary (more is better), that they are working, and that they have emergency batteries.
- Exits: Make sure your home has two unobstructed exit doors that can be reached easily from anywhere in the home.
As with any home, it’s only a matter of time until the electrical system starts to show problems. Not only is electricity one of the leading causes of fires but it’s next in line as the cause of fatal home accidents. If you have any signs of trouble like shorting appliances or lights, flickering lights, sparks from your outlets, or dead outlets, it might be time for an overhaul.
Ensuring that all your wiring is protected from water and physical damage as well as replacing any faulty parts should be your first step. Then see if any of your major appliances need replacement. You can also opt for shock-proof light fixtures and switches. This is particularly important when baby- or childproofing your home.
No matter what home you live in, if you have a little one on the way, you should take some steps to baby-proof it. In a mobile home, the most obvious area where this is a need is at your exit doors, as they are usually accompanied by stairs where something like a baby gate will do. It’s also important that your electrical systems are in good shape as babies have been known to shock themselves often with carelessly placed or malfunctioning outlets or extensions.
Your home doors, drawers, cabinets, and toiletries are also prime candidates for baby-proofing. You can find more info on this in our article 5 Mobile Home Baby Proofing Hacks That You Can Do Yourself.
Have your home inspected and stick to the HUD code
Lastly, it’s imperative that no matter how you plan to improve your home that you don’t violate the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1976 (or, the HUD Code). Doing so will drastically undercut your selling price as questions will be asked about your home’s safety and integrity as well as the fact that buyers won’t be able to finance their purchase.
If you want to increase the value to sell your home, you could have it inspected prior to this so that you can show agents and buyers it’s still HUD-approved. Likewise, you can use the results of such an inspection to make your home adhere to the HUD Code if it wasn’t for any reason. This will already address a lot of your value, accessibility, and safety concerns.
Updating your mobile home is easy and cheap
Mobile homes have a distinct advantage over real estate in that they are often much easier and cheaper to upgrade. There’s therefore little reason to hold back upgrading your home to either improve the living conditions for you and your family or to increase your mobile home’s value and appeal in case you want to sell it.