Why you should consider remodeling your mobile home
Let’s first look at the reasons why you might want to consider remodeling your home. Where appropriate, we will also give you some examples of what type of projects you can consider/undertake.
To add value
This is a hotly debated topic when it comes to mobile homes. Is it worth remodeling/renovating a mobile house to increase its value? Won’t depreciation mean that the upgrades will lose their value as well? Additionally, is it worth trying to increase the value of something that’s considered by some as “temporary housing”?
These questions are usually grounded in longstanding stereotypes surrounding mobile homes. People still think of mobile homes as the trailer homes of the early 70’s and 80’s. However, they have improved vastly to become something much different today. They are officially called “manufactured housing”.
First of all, it’s not certain that manufactured homes of today do depreciate in value. The U.S. is currently facing a housing crisis where just about any type of housing is precious. The demand for manufactured homes is growing as more and more people are unable to afford real estate that has entered the market.
Secondly, manufactured homes of today aren’t nearly as “temporary” as the homes of yesteryear. The new construction standards (captured in the HUD Code) means homes last much longer and approach the quality of real estate. Some homes come with guarantees of up to 50 years. Since they are quite new, we don’t yet know for sure how long they will last, but a generation or two is a safe enough bet for a well-cared for home.
Opportunities for value does remain for you
So, in short, yes you can add value to a manufactured home by remodeling/renovating it. The most significant caveat is that any reconstruction you do should not violate the HUD code as doing so will immediately hit your value.
A great way to increase the value of your home is to make functional additions to it, like:
- Sunroom/screen enclosure
- Entire room
This is a whole beast on its own, and we recommend that you check out our articles and guides on the subject.
Fix underlying issues
As we just mentioned, the mobile or manufactured homes of today, are very different from those of the past. They are built to much stricter codes which means increased safety, durability, and quality of living. However, like any type of housing, they do pick up their share of kinks with time. Probably more so than stick-built homes. These can be or are due to:
- Settling: Whereby mobile homes settle in place once they are transported to their destination.
- Moving/bending: Because they are made of lighter materials, manufactured homes are under more stress from strong winds or extreme weather.
- Water damage: Manufactured homes are mostly constructed of wood which means water damage from leaks is a constant threat.
- Plumbing: Mobile homes mostly use plastic/rubber plumbing which actually makes them less prone to issues than typical real estate plumbing.
- Frame: Because of settling/moving/bending, the frame inside a mobile home might be in need of repair.
- Floor: Any home’s floor is constantly under threat of being damaged by one thing or another. Mobile home floors are usually thinner and made from wood, making them more susceptible.
- Roof: Again, just like any type of housing, the roof is exposed to all the elements and should be regularly checked for any kind of harm from physical collisions to water damage.
- Wall: It’s surprisingly simple to fix any structural problems within your walls by removing the paneling and fixing. Or you can replace the wooden joist structure underneath.
- Electricity: Any type of home can experience problems with its electrical system. Older models may be in particular need of an update.
All of these areas can be quite easily fixed by a DIY enthusiast and are common with manufactured homes. They will also help preserve your home and hamper small niggles from becoming much more devastating problems.
Repurpose a room
Another possible reason to remodel a part of the home is to give a certain room some utility or function. Did your last kid move out and you need an office? Turn the bedroom into a small home office. Do you like to paint or do some form of arts and crafts? Turn the utility room into a small studio. It’s quite easy to change the space dynamics in a mobile home to help your repurpose along, which we’ll talk about next.
Change the layout
Many people think at first that mobile homes can’t take the removing/adding of walls. Actually, it’s much easier, cheaper, as long as you know what you’re doing. It’s also less risky than doing it in a stick-built home. Mobile homes’ ceilings rely minimally on support from the interior walls. So, as long as you don’t remove everything and your outer walls are intact, you should be good.
In some older homes, especially smaller models, rooms are still divided. A common remodel is to knock down a few walls and create modern, open living spaces. Combining the kitchen with the living/dining room is a common example. You can also erect walls to split rooms. If you want to do this without construction work, consider using room dividers.
Updating the look
Updating the aesthetics of your home can be an entirely valid reason to remodel for a number of reasons:
- It looks or feels outdated, and you want to modernize it
- You want to improve the curb appeal of your home
- Going for a certain design style or feel, like a rustic cottage, a minimalist apartment, etc.
The motivation behind it could be to:
- Feel more comfortable/content in your own home.
- Make your home more attractive to tenants/buyers.
Whatever the reason, there is no shortage of opportunities or possibilities when it comes to affordability and dramatically updating the look of your home’s interior or exterior.
There are plenty of small and significant changes you can make to the interior. The biggest of which is playing with the layout. You can then consider painting, installing more storage/shelves, refurbishing, replacing the flooring, etc.
You can also update the walls be installing decorative wall panels, floor or crown molding or board and battens. All of these are relatively simple projects you can DIY.
Remodeling the exterior will be slightly more expensive. However, it will give you bragging rights throughout the neighborhood. Most exterior remodels will not only raise your curb appeal but also help protect your home. For example, replacing skirting, new wall panels, installing a new roof, like a pitched roof, etc.
We have prepared an entire series on remodeling the exterior of your mobile home.
Prepare for the future
Another reason to remodel could be to adapt to your future lifestyle. The most common and far-reaching life changes that often require remodeling could be:
- To prepare for retirement – As you’ll most likely be spending more time at home, make it as comfortable as possible. This could mean finally getting that reading porch or sunroom you wanted or making it more accessible.
- To prepare for kids – This could mean to repurpose a baby room, babyproof the doors, stairs (if any), etc.
Weatherproofing your home and making it more durable
As we have mentioned earlier, manufactured homes are under a lot of threat from the elements, particularly because they are primarily made of wood. This makes weatherproofing remodels a frequent, essential, and common-sense upgrade.
There are many things you can do to weatherproof your home:
- Install a pitched roof: Pitched roofs are more appealing and have much better drainage as well as structural integrity than flat roofs.
- Wrap your roof: An EPDM or similar membrane protects your roof against the weather as well as reflecting away warming rays from the sun.
- Stormproof doors and windows: Stormproof doors and windows can better withstand the elements and provide increased levels of insulation. Look at weatherproof products that cover both the actual doors and windows and their frames.
- Weatherproof skirting: A home’s skirting protects the sensitive underbelly from rodents and the weather conditions as well as providing insulation.
- Drainage and gutters: It should be adequate for your home’s location and can be improved.
- Paint: Only use weatherproof and high-quality paints when remodeling your home’s exterior.
Improve the sales potential
As we mentioned, the manufactured home retail market is changing. More buyers than normal are in the market for real estate. That means these buyers appreciate upgrades, renewals, etc.
Putting effort into your home could make it more attractive to buyers, especially by installing special features like jacuzzis, fireplaces, etc. It could also help you capture tenants if you want to rent out your home.
Make a green home
You could also remodel your home to make it more eco-friendly. This will mostly be by reducing your energy spend by making your home more energy efficient. You could do this by:
- Repairing/upgrading the insulation in the ceiling, walls, and under the floor.
- Installing storm windows/doors.
- Repairing cracks in the walls, ceiling, frames, etc.
As good as real estate
Many people who are willing to extensively remodel their mobile homes also do so to make it appear more like real estate. Although they are becoming more and more attractive out of the box, manufactured homes still have a slightly generic and “boxy” look. Most of the remodel we have talked about so far can be used to make your home look more like real estate inside and out.
How to remodel your home
Identify what you want to remodel
The first thing you need to do before attempting to remodel your home is to identify the area(s) that will be affected. Remember that doing something like changing the layout may have consequences for more than one room or area of the home. The remodel could be isolated to a few or include a number of the following:
- Living area
- Whole house
Define a scope for the remodel
Once you’ve identified which areas of the home you want to remodel, it’s time to make sure you identify all the possible areas of collateral work. For example, it makes sense when you open up your walls to check the electrical system or insulation while you’re at it. Or, clean up underneath your house when installing new skirting.
Choose DIY vs. contractor
Another important consideration to make is whether to attempt all of the work yourself or hire a contractor. If your remodel affects multiple different areas of your home, don’t hesitate to hire a specialized contractor for only the plumbing, electricals, etc. You might be tempted to save money and do it all yourself, however, you could violate the HUD code or cause further problems if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Come up with a budget
A remodel can quickly run away with your wallet if you let it. Delays, unexpected problems or our tendency to include this and that impulsively can quickly turn a small project into a massive one. Set a clear and realistic budget based on your goals. Make provisions for an “emergency fund” in the case of something going completely wrong. It’s important that you have a cushioning amount at the ready.
Follow our blog!
We will soon launch a series of articles that will provide you with handy tips and advice when it comes to remodeling specific parts of the rooms within your home. So, keep a look out for our “Tips for Remodeling Your Mobile Home” series. In this series we will look at, among others:
- Tips for Remodeling a Mobile Home Bathroom
- Tips for Remodeling a Mobile Home Kitchen
- Tips for Remodeling a Mobile Home Living room, etc.
We hope you were inspired!
That’s it from us! We hope that you found some inspiration, meaning or remodeling ideas in this comprehensive list. Remember to check our blog for any specific remodeling task as we are always posting new step by step guides, inspirational ideas, and advice. For example, 5 Key Considerations When Completing an Old Mobile Home Remodel or What Does a Mobile Home Before and After Look Like.