Zoom Call of 5.24 Inspections with Manufactured Housing

Real Estate Agent with Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 REB.0759001

Inspections with Manufactured Housing Presented by John Arendsen

The Zoom call this past week was on HUD manufactured homes, formerly referred to as mobile homes. Factory built homes, offer economies as they are smaller and as they are built in standard models offer economies as well.  With the modern conveniences installed they can be an ideal residence for downsizing people looking for less maintenance.

The presentation was based on a community that John had inspected as part of a class action lawsuit against a mobile home operator that resulted in at least 30 residences having to be declared uninhabitable and in at least 1 instance the lack of maintenance resulted in a death due to mold in the home.

Lipstick on a Pig  

John called his presentation a typical case of lipstick on a pig. The operators of the park had been ignoring the ongoing maintenance and as a result, the homes started to decay at an accelerated rate.

As with any type of residence, curb appeal and exterior cosmetics can appear to be fine. It is only after a contract has been initiated and an inspection is done does the home show it's true issues, and hopefully there are none or minimal at the worse.

The jargon for inspectors when approaching a job is referred to as Shoes, Skins and Hats.  Shoes would be the foundation; skins are the exterior walls and Hats would be roofs.

Lack of attention to these elements results is issues that are costly to repair


A primary source for water penetration would be from roofs. Wind and rain and in some areas, ice and snow can take their tolls on roofing materials and cause edges to lift and decay. In time, water gets under the shingles and starts to destroy the roofing sheathing which will also allow water to penetrated to the interior walls of the house.

Vent roof penetrations are also a source of penetration and John recommended that at least every 2 years a thorough inspection should be done of the roof and areas where vents exit.

Trees overhanging roofs are also a concern. With wind blowing, the branches will rake the roofing materials and weaken them allowing water to get into the house.

In this instance, it as the overhanging tree that allowed for the water penetration which eventually turned into black mold and killed the owner. The water also created the discoloration on the side of the home and allowed penetration through the window.

Gutters also need to be cleaned regularly so as to keep debris and weight out. In time, the water will back up because of a filled gutter and decay the fascia board of the residence.

This will lead to very expensive repairs both outside and inside of the house.

Gutter guards will help but the biggest concern there would be the vendors trying to take advantage of an unsuspecting homeowner.


With a gutter filled with debris and water, The wood support of the homes becomes weakened and this is an expensive repair, which can also create issues within the walls



The exterior side walls of a manufactured home also need to be periodically inspected.  As manufactured homes are typically set on support piers which allow for the mechanicals to be accessed from an entry chase, the exterior skirting is susceptible to damage especially where the upper parts are joined.


 A trim board or skirting is normally placed around the joined area and sealed with a caulk. This will fail over time, so an inspection of the trim area is important. If it looks damaged or worn, the old caulk needs to be scrapped away and a new layer of fresh material applied. This keeps the water our and does not allow for the wood below to become rotted.

If this is ignored, then the water will not only rot the exterior wood, but also the box joist that supports the house will become damaged and then the entire floor structure of the home is compromised.


The shoes would be the support structure of the home as well as the pad on which it rests.

The underside of a manufactured home is accessible through entry ports. If a door can be opened and there is vegetation present. then water is getting under the home.

This creates a hazard as the support columns can move which will affect the structure and make doors and windows difficult to open or close. The excessive moisture also is unhealthy and could lead to mold.

Improper drainage is typically the cause, and this starts from the outside areas of the home.

As can be seen on the photo, insufficient spacing around the home, and on this instance too close to a retaining wall allows water to run directly to the home. This could be prevented by first allowing more space and also providing proper drainage around the outside of the home.

Drainage between the homes is also necessary and should be completed to allow water to drain away from the homes and into exterior storm drains.

When selecting an inspector for a manufactured home, it is important to find one that understands the construction difference between a site built and factory built home.

Mr. Arendsen spoke of the California Real Estate Inspectors Association, CRIA, as a source there for a qualified manufactured home inspector. In other states a search of a comparable association would be a place to start.

A lot of questions were asked and answered and at the end of the session many of the attendees had a much better understanding of manufactured homes and how to be better informed when helping a buyer find and purchase one.

Inspections with Manufactured Housing Presented by John Arendsen


Posted by


Edward (Ed) Silva
Broker Associate

Serving Central Connecticut Sellers and Buyers

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Comments (20)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Ed - I can see that I missed a good presentation on Tuesday.  Thanks for the recap.

May 26, 2022 06:00 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

This is such a great summary and I always learn a lot when I visit John DL Arendsen in person.

May 26, 2022 06:11 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Ed, for your excellent Zoom session report.

May 26, 2022 06:14 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Ed, thanks for sharing the Zoom meeting, and sounds like lots of valuable information we can all use.

May 26, 2022 06:16 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Very interesting information, Ed... manufactured homes are almost impossible to sell here in Charlotte so I rarely come across them.

May 26, 2022 06:42 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Ed - nicely summarized.  

May 26, 2022 07:13 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

Great summary Ed Silva! You did an amazing recap of my presentation and I really appreciated your attention to detail. As always I thoroughly enjoy having the opportunity to interact with all the wonderful folks at AR. I've learned a lot and have met a lot of terrific folks since I joined in '08. Thank you everyone and I look forward to many more years of fun with you folks. Have a great year!

May 26, 2022 07:39 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

John DL Arendsen gave an excellent presentation last Tuesday and I learned a lot about a niche that is not my market.  Hat, skins and shoes so reminds me of stick built homes and all the issues we've run into this past 35 years.  I see things from a different perspective now with mobile/manufactured homes as there appears to be more room for things to fall apart (all things being equal). Great recap as always Ed!  You don't miss a beat on even the tiniest of details!

May 26, 2022 09:58 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Ed I had to leave half way through the meeting for a doctor's appointment, so thanks for filling me in on the rest.

May 26, 2022 02:20 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Ed- John DL Arendsen 's presentation was excellent and I continue to learn from him. His title was (lipstick on a pig)  perfect for sfome of the issues he showed us!

May 26, 2022 02:39 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for a great recape, Ed, especially since I missed all that John shared. He clearly knows his stuff.


May 26, 2022 05:15 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good even Ed,

Sorry I had to sign off. Not sure what happened with my video and then I lost reception totally!

May 26, 2022 07:49 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Interesting in general and  you seem to have a grasp on the whole thing in an assured way

May 26, 2022 10:23 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Ed Silva 
John DL Arendsen always gives a great presentation. The thing about this presentation is much of what he discussed is applicable to ALL homes, not just manufactured ones.  Thanks for the recap.

May 27, 2022 09:42 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

You're spot on about that Ed Silva. As constructions defect expert witness I've probably done as  many site built homes as I have MH's.

May 27, 2022 10:14 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Hi Ed,  I'm so sorry to have missed this.  It sounds so interesting.  We see our fair share of mold in south Florida, but I have never heard of anyone dying of it.  Thank you for the recap.

May 27, 2022 03:50 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I'm certain that all who were able to attend this Zoom session with John, benefitted from it.

May 28, 2022 02:08 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Ed, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

May 28, 2022 02:08 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Thank you for another wonderful overview! I appreciate that you take the time to do this, and I also appreciated John's manufactured housing overview. Pictures always help!

May 28, 2022 04:19 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Sorry to have missed this Zoom!  Darn it!  Thank you for taking notes and sharing the info presented.  Would have really liked to watched it.  Next time!

May 28, 2022 03:05 PM