There is a difference between “used” and “loved” mobile homes
How a mobile home is looked after by its owners plays a significant role in how well it ages. We’ve seen some used mobile homes from the late 80’s that look better than some from the early 2000’s. Because of the materials used in their construction and the way they are built, mobile homes do require a bit more regular maintenance than stick-built homes.
Because they consist of a lot of wood, water damage is a particularly big threat that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible, not to mention any damage that its structure might suffer from “settling,” being moved or exposed to the elements. These are usually small issues, but they add up over time.
An owner that cares for their mobile home will not only keep it up to date aesthetically but will also regularly look for these flaws and address them.
When the home becomes old enough, it will become fairly obvious which class of former “owners” the home has accommodated. Odd creaks, stains, outdated/cracked window or door frames, missing or broken roof shingles, worn paint, signs of water damage or electrical issues are good indicators. Some of these will be apparent while others will be detected during a basic inspection.
As it becomes more obvious, it will also start to impact the value more and more. This provides compelling motivation for owners to take care of their homes if there is a possibility they might resell it one day. Buyers will also want to inspect a home to avoid a lot of retouching once they move in or at least make sure the price is fair for what they get.
First impressions affect your bottom line
A lot of people still make the mistake of thinking that mobile homeowners don’t place any importance on luxury or aesthetics. However, times are changing and people are no longer only picking mobile homes due to financial constraints. Even if that is the case, these are people resorting to mobile homes because of the current affordable housing crisis.
They therefore still look for and appreciate some of the luxuries of a stick-built home. One of these is a home with curb appeal. Just like when you want to sell a piece of real estate, you should ensure that your house looks like a home from the moment browsers spot it turning into the driveway.
That means you should make sure that the following is in good shape:
- Window and door frames
- The roof
- The paint
- Porch or deck (if there is one)
Remember that this same first impression needs to extend to the house’s interior. You can immediately add on a few thousand to ten thousand dollars onto the resale value of your home if it looks relatively new and unscathed. Buyers will also see the value in living in a home that gives them pride in their neighborhood.
Buying a home might just be the start
This one is more for the buyers than the sellers. However, sellers should at least be aware of these factors as it might make it more difficult to sell their homes. And it’s an obstacle some buyers will need to overcome.
If your home is located on a private piece of land that you will want to keep, you need to be cognizant of the fact that a buyer will need to move the home. This is a very intense and expensive undertaking. The same goes for the buyer.
Since the average double wide costs around $70,000, moving it for $10,000 or more is a significant increase in your overall spending. It may even work out settling for a cheaper home that’s located somewhere more convenient.
Mobile homes are also unique in that they don’t necessarily come with a property attached. Therefore, most mobile homes, especially used ones, are located in mobile home parks. If you buy a mobile home in a park, you will still need to pay lot rent for the lot it’s occupying as well as any other levies or fees the park charges its residents. However, mobile home lot rent is still extremely affordable with most lots costing between $300-400.
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Improvements can increase a home’s value
Many are still quick to dismiss the notion of making additions or improvements to a mobile home. For one, people don’t see the use of making costly and permanent changes to something they see as less valuable and temporary.
However, modern mobile homes are structurally very sound and are built to higher and higher standards. We don’t really know yet how long today’s houses will last, but some manufacturers guarantee their homes for up to 50 years and there is no reason to doubt that a well-cared for home will last much longer than that.
That means that you will still get plenty of opportunity as a buyer or seller to utilize any of these enhancements or to profit from them. Some of the more common improvements to make to a mobile home are:
- Installing a pitched roof or doing a roof over
- Upgrading the skirting to something attractive and protective
- Installing new light fixtures
- Upgrading the window or door frames
- Making the home more eco-friendly
- Installing new flooring, carpets or trim
You can even make prominent additions to a mobile home! Some of these include:
- Building a carport
- Building a porch/sunroom/screen enclosure
- Adding on storage space
- Adding on an entire room
All of these are relatively easy and common additions that can increase the asking price of a mobile home. If you are a buyer, a carport to protect your motor vehicles or a sunroom to relax in on windy days might also be highly sought after.
Just like with real estate, the price of a mobile home is heavily dependant on its location. The pattern of where mobile homes are more or less expensive also closely resembles that of stick-built homes. The same goes for lot rent in mobile home parks.
For example, you can expect to pay way more in states like California, Florida or New York than you would in Arkansas, South Carolina or Missouri.
Homes in mobile home parks are also usually a little bit cheaper, although not by much as by far the most homes are located within parks. You should also take the actual location of the home in question into account. A mobile home located in a park on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, like Paradise Cove in Malibu will cost significantly more. Mobile homes there cost millions of dollars and have been home to A-list celebrities.
Much more practical concerns also play a role. How far the home, or park, is located from the city or other conveniences like malls, schools, places of work will factor into the price. If it’s something you would look for in a piece of real estate, it counts for mobile homes as well.
Land is always a big factor
Land in the U.S. is incredibly expensive and getting more so every year. You can just take a look at this handy graphic by How Much to see how steep the incline in prices is. Again, the rate is largely dependant on the state and the particular location. However, the price has increased without exception.
Whether you believe that mobile homes truly depreciate in value or not, it’s undeniable that land is the better investment if you can afford it. However, it also means that we have reached the stage where your chances are good if a piece of land is worth more than the mobile home itself.
As a buyer, you will need to carefully consider what you want to do with the land if you sell your mobile home. Especially as it will have a huge effect on the price. Package the land with, and you might price yourself out of most buyers’ budgets. However, keep the land, and you may have to reduce the price of the home because sellers will need to move it.
In some cases, this has led to awkward situations for landowners as old and worn down mobile homes can quickly become a liability on a prime piece of property.
The type of mobile home plays a big role
Mobile homes can be put into three broad categories:
- Single-wides: These are the smallest manufactured homes that consist of a single section. They are usually very rectangular and around 1000 sq. ft.
- Double-wides: These are the most common size. They consist of two separate units that are attached. They are usually between 1600 sq. ft. to 3000 sq. ft.
- Triple-wides/multi-wides: These can consist of multiple sections. They can get massive with a size upwards of 4000 sq. ft.
Double-wides are by far the most common type of manufactured home and are considered to be the typical “family home”. Because they are so popular, they tend to hold their value much better than single-wides. Typically, a used double-wide sells for around $50,000-$60,000 while the typical, used single-wide can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000.
Triple-wides can get exorbitantly expensive at upwards of $100,000. However, they also have a much smaller market.
The “facts” surrounding depreciation
The jury is still out on whether mobile homes do, in fact, depreciate in value in the current market conditions. There is no doubt that as a form of personal property mobile homes stand a much better chance of consistent depreciation, and that their value would go down in time.
However, with housing prices soaring across the U.S., it’s unclear whether that is the case in current circumstances or whether mobile homes may also appreciate in value.
- Mobile homes do not depreciate as an immutable law of housing.
- The amount by which mobile homes depreciate depends almost entirely on market conditions.
- However, in most cases, a mobile home will reduce in value as soon as it’s not “new” anymore.
- As a very broad average, mobile homes can depreciate by up to 3% a year. However, this does not apply to all homes.
- One of the main reasons for their depreciation is stereotypes related to their quality and safety. In general, the safety of mobile homes has increased dramatically, and stereotypes are catching up.
Prices are seasonal
As crazy as it may sound, manufactured homes also follow the seasonal pricing trends of real estate. It’s common knowledge that prices are inflated during the middle of the year in the summer months. Part of the reason is due to families taking advantage of the holidays to hunt for a house and move together. This also fuels extra competition which leads to better offers from buyers who don’t want to be turned away. The simple supply/demand laws of economics take over from there.
Here, you can see how the seasons affect housing of all types in the San Fransisco area. Different states or regions might hit their peak at slightly different times, but September and October are considered to be the peak months where prices are at their highest. The winter usually has a prominent nadir or “rock-bottom” in prices. As you can see, this cycle is repeated consistently year after year.
During peak months, you could see prices go up by as much as 20% from the median and decline by the same amount during the off-season.
WHY YOU NEED A USED MOBILE HOME PRICE GUIDE AND WHAT IT WILL TELL YOU
If you’re starting off this year thinking about selling a mobile home, you might consider checking out a used mobile home price guide. Why should you look into a price guide? Well, to name one of the most obvious reasons, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to sell your mobile home because you accidentally set the price too high.
By using a price guide, you should be able to remedy this problem – you’ll be able to set a reasonable price for your used mobile home by consulting the guide. Optimally, you’ll make a quick, easy sale, rather than waiting years for a prospective buyer to come along.
WHAT IF YOU’RE A BUYER INSTEAD OF A SELLER THIS YEAR?
Like the rest of us, you’re probably trying to find a good deal on a mobile home before you fork over any money – but you may not know how to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Fortunately, that information is within your grasp. There are various websites designed to help you find the estimated market value of a mobile home.
After you’ve established the base market value of the home you’re interested in, you can move on to more complex factors that will help establish the true value of the home (more on that later.)
Whether you’re buying or selling a used mobile home this year, a price guide can help you determine an acceptable price – or, at the very least, it certainly can’t hurt to give it a try! Keep reading to find out why a price guide is important and what you’ll be getting if you use one.
WHAT DOES A USED MOBILE HOME PRICE GUIDE CONTAIN FOR A SELLER?
So, by now you’re probably asking, “What does a used mobile home price guide contain?” Well, here are a few essential elements of a price guide that will help you get what you need if you’re about to sell a mobile home.
MARKET VALUE: A GOOD PLACE TO START
A price guide should be able to estimate the market value of your mobile home. Some price guide sites will simply allow you to search your address or zip code in order to find your home’s market value. This estimate will give you a place to start. Some factors that provide a market value estimate include the location, the manufacturer, the age, and the size of your home and what materials it’s built with, and what condition the home is in.
Typically, the area where your home is located will affect its market value. In fact, some homes will have a greater market value than others simply because of what state they’re located in. Therefore, the location of your mobile home will most likely play a large part in how high you can set your selling price.
Additionally, the matter of whether your home is on privately-owned land or in a mobile home park will affect its value.
MANUFACTURER, AGE, SIZE, AND MATERIALS
A few more things that will affect the market value of your home include:
- Your mobile home manufacturer
- The manufacturer year
- A complete layout of the home – such as the number of rooms, what types of rooms there are, etc.
- The size of the home (both width and length)
- The materials used to build certain parts of your home
If you’re seeking the help of an online site, you may need to include details about the condition of your mobile home in a value calculator or a type of CMA-related report. In other words, is your mobile home fit to be a home? Is it a little less than desirable but still livable? Or has it mostly retained its original style and form? These are things you’ll need to know during the process of getting a market value estimate.
Note: Because the condition of your mobile home will definitely have a big impact on the home’s market value, you should try to describe your mobile home’s condition as accurately as possible. Selling your mobile home quickly is probably important to you, and the best way to speed up the process is by estimating your mobile home’s condition fairly and giving your resources the information they need in order to give you a good estimate. In other words, don’t be shy! Be honest about your mobile home’s condition.
Seems like a lot, right? Well, you’ll need to include even more specifics in order to take finding your home’s value to the next step – a comparative market analysis.
A COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS
Your next step is to get a comparative market analysis, which is a report that you can get from some real estate agents or websites. A CMA should answer the following questions:
- What is the selling price of homes that are similar to yours?
- How much time does it take for those homes to sell?
- What price did the seller receive for the home (compared to the price that they initially asked for their home?)
- How will the individual details of your mobile home affect its market value and selling price?
WHY PAY A FEE FOR A MARKET ANALYSIS?
So, why would you pay a fee to get a comparative market analysis? You’ll actually benefit incredibly well from the perks that sites offer if you pay for their CMA report. For example, a good site will offer these benefits:
- You only have to pay for your report once – it’s yours for good!
- You’ll get a web link so that you can post your CMA to internet listings of your choice.
- The mobile home seller will post and update your CMA report so that potential buyers can see it.
In other words, sometimes paying the fee is worth it!
CREATE YOUR OWN CMA
Perhaps you’d be more comfortable with compiling a CMA on your own. Typically, you’ll be able to do so, and what’s more, you can do it for free. There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when creating a comparative market analysis.
FINDING YOUR OWN CMA ONLINE
If you don’t have a real estate agent, you can create a comparative market analysis of your own by doing some research. You can do this by finding a site that will give you the information you need based on details that you’ll supply about your mobile home. These sites will ask you questions, then provide you with a report.
You can also search for “comparable properties,” otherwise known as “comps,” near your mobile home. Comps are properties that are:
- Roughly the same age as your mobile home/land
- Only one-quarter to one-half mile away from your mobile home
- Were put up for sale in no more than three months earlier
You’ll be able to estimate your own mobile home’s value by looking at what others homes similar to yours have sold for.
PAY TO HAVE AN APPRAISAL DONE
Finally, if none of the previously mentioned options are working out for you, you may wish to have an appraisal done on your home. Be aware that this will typically cost you somewhere from three to four hundred dollars. However, it will generally give you a good estimate of your mobile home’s market value.
WHILE YOU’RE RESEARCHING “COMPS,” HERE’S SOMETHING ELSE YOU CAN COMPARE
If you’ve decided to go the route of comparing your home and property to others that are for sale nearby, here’s something else you should compare your mobile home to – the expired home listings. If you see a mobile home in your area that was recently sold, you may want to check out the price that the home was initially listed at and compare it to the price the home actually sold for in the end. This might help you to price your own mobile home more reasonably.
WHAT DOES A PRICE GUIDE CONTAIN FOR A BUYER?
If you’re buying a mobile home, things might look a little different. Rather than trying to set the right price so that you can make a sale, you’re in the process of ensuring that the mobile home you’re considering is actually worth what you’re paying for it. In other words, you don’t want to find yourself paying too much for too little. Fortunately, a price guide will give you a little advice on how to make sure you’re paying the right price.
COMPARING YOUR DESIRED HOME TO SURROUNDING PROPERTIES
The practice of comparing your home to surrounding homes and properties is irreplaceable for both sellers and buyers. While a seller is looking to set a reasonable price for a mobile home by researching comps, a buyer is ensuring that he pays a fair price for the mobile home of his choice by doing the same thing. A wise buyer will check into the prices of surrounding homes and attempt to negotiate the selling price of the mobile home he’s interested in (within reason) based on the patterns he notices throughout the selling prices of surrounding homes.
There are a few factors that have the heaviest influence on such comparisons, including these:
HOW OLD IS THE HOME?
If there are two or three homes nearby that are the same age as the mobile home you’re interested in, you’ll want to know what the final selling price was for each of those mobile homes, since it will be reasonably comparable to the mobile home you’re looking at.
Compare your desired home to others within the same location. In this way, you can see how much is being paid for many of the homes near your area.
REMEMBER THAT YOU MIGHT NOT LIVE THERE FOREVER
Right now, you may be sure you’re going to live there forever, but that doesn’t mean you won’t change your mind someday. If you ever decide to leave the home you’re looking into purchasing at some point, you want to know that you have a reasonable chance of selling it. Otherwise, you might end up with a mobile home on your hands that you don’t want anymore – and the problem is nobody else wants it, either. Therefore, consider things that will be a sticking point if you ever need to sell the home – things like modifications or consistent water/electricity problems.
WHY SHOULD YOU USE A PRICE GUIDE?
Finally, the big question: why use a price guide? There are some obvious reasons, of course: the seller doesn’t want to accept too little for a home, and the buyer doesn’t want to pay too much for it. As a result, the price guide exists. So, if you want to get the best deal out of your sale or purchase, why not use a price guide? Most are readily available and easy to use.
Another big reason to use price guides is that setting the right price will allow you to sell or buy much more quickly than you’d otherwise be able to. If you set your price too high, people will find other options, and you’ll be stuck with your mobile home for a long time – or perhaps forever. If you are unable to negotiate prices (or you negotiate too much) as a buyer, you’ll be unable to buy a home that fits within your budget. Again, the purpose of a price guide is to allow you to avoid these problems, so it’s not a bad idea to make use of one.
IT CAN’T HURT TO TRY – SO GO AHEAD AND FIND YOUR PRICE GUIDE!
Again, it never hurts to try – especially with a service as useful and harmless as this one. If you’re struggling with pricing issues, go online and find a used mobile home price guide. You’ll find plenty of useful information that you can use to make a quick sale or a confident buy. We think it’ll be worth your time!
Stay well informed
If you’re a buyer or seller who wants to try and get an accurate estimation of what a mobile home is worth, we invite you to either check out our handy infographic or read our article on the subject. We hope that you find these facts about used mobile home prices useful, no matter which side of the fence you fall on. Information is key to get the best price whether buying or selling.