Bay windows homes

Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it?

Mobile homes more than 20-years old often sell at a steep discount to their original price. So buying an older home and remodeling it—instead of paying the full sticker price for a new one—can be appealing. But here’s ten factors to consider when evaluating a used mobile home as a remodeling candidate:

1)Only a better quality mobile home is suitable for remodeling. The ones that were bargain models when they were built tend to have a shorter lifespan. Some begin to deteriorate, with significant problems, before they are 10-years old, and are just not worthy of the time and money you will invest in them.
How to tell which mobile homes are better constructed? Essentially, the ones that look more like a site-built home: with a higher-pitch roof and overhang, sturdy siding, and a ceiling of 8-feet or more where it meets the outside walls, for example. For more on how to recognize a better-quality mobile home, go to our blog “How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?”
The one exception to this rule is pre-1980 metal-clad homes. You know the ones, with the eccentric bay windows and wacky rooflines. They tend to be very durable, with one downside: a lack of insulation by modern standards. If you like that retro-modern look, there’s still older single-wide inventory to choose from out there. Because many of these homes were built before HUD standards went into effect in 1976, there is also a wide variation in quality; but only the sturdy ones from this era have survived to greet the 21st century. Unfortunately, the low level of insulation means it will cost as much as 50% more to heat and cool than a site-built home of the same era or a newer mobile home.

2)Are you handy with tools and willing to devote most of your weekends and vacation time to a remodeling project? If not, and you plan on hiring contractors for most the work, then remodeling will likely not make financial sense when compared with buying a new manufactured home.

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3)Buying a fixer-upper for a low price, then adding $10, 000 worth of materials plus plenty of your own sweat equity, can get you a handsome home that will be comfortable and enjoyable to live in for years to come. It will be a great value for you, but not necessarily be a good investment in terms of resale. Mobile homes depreciate as they age, no matter what their condition. While a remodeled, upgraded older home will have increased value in the marketplace, don’t expect to make a nice profit if you sell it a few years later.
Yes, there are pros that buy, fix-up and flip mobile homes for profit. But they have years of experience and resource connections, along with the hard-knocks of a few flips that flopped already behind them. And if you believe any of the “get-rich-quick when you buy my amazing 7-step, can’t-fail mobile home investment video course”—well, good luck.
For help determining the right price to pay for an older manufactured home, see our blog post “How much is a used mobile home worth?”

4)While a new manufactured home is a little more difficult to finance than a site-built home—and the term of the loan is typically shorter, along with a higher interest rate and closing costs—finding financing for a used mobile home through regular lenders is just about impossible. There are occasionally private lenders (often the seller of the home) that will finance your purchase, but not the improvements.

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