Mobile homes and manufactured homes are pre-fabricated houses (often called “coaches”) that are manufactured off-site and hauled in to the site. What’s the difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home? Typically a mobile home refers to a unit that was built before mid-1975, and is also known as a “pre-HUD” home. Manufactured homes, built after 1975, conform to a higher quality standard imposed by HUD.
Manufactured homes offer many benefits. Affordability is often a driving factor, because values are much lower than a single family home. It’s wonderful that most mobile home parks include amenities such as a swimming pool, spa, clubhouse, and parks. Residents prefer manufactured homes over condos, because they want a home that has NO common walls with neighbors. Senior parks often have planned activities and events which foster a strong sense of community.
The main drawback for manufactured homes is the lack of competitive financing rates and terms. So even though a mobile home may be priced lower than a detached stick-built home, it may be difficult or impossible for first home buyers to purchase. Older coaches were constructed with sub-standard processes (by today’s standards), so there may be continual repairs and maintenance. Yard space is very minimal. Another challenge is the lack of garage space, as most coaches come standard with only a carport.
Some manufactured homes allow you to own the land (your lot) and others you will have a pay monthly rent for your land. Mobile home parks are highly restrictive, so be sure to read their list of rules and regulations before you make an offer to purchase.
Make an appointment to meet with the manager and bring your real estate advisor with you. Ask questions. Pet owners, for example, should ask: Are pets allowed? How many and what size? Do they have to stay indoors? Where can you walk them? Regarding residents, does every occupant need to apply and get approved by the management? How long can visitors stay? Can you rent out your home later on?
Read more in our book, "Buy Your First Home", http://tinyurl.com/dy2wjx4.