Buying a new or used mobile home is among the most important decisions you could ever make especially if you are about to be a first-time homeowner.
You will plan to live there for a substantial period. The initial investment you will put on a unit is certainly going to be high as well.
As such, you want to ask some questions when buying a used manufactured home to ensure you end up with a quality and lasting product.
What Are Some Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Manufactured Home?
They are many. Here are some of them:
1. What kind of electrical system does the home have?
The electrical system will be responsible for all the lighting and powering your electronic equipment – that’s why it should be the first thing to evaluate.
Find out the total amp capacity for your potential mobile home.
Generally, the amp capacity in old mobile homes is anywhere between 50 and 60 amps. For new manufactured homes, this capacity increases to about 100 amps.
The manufactured home of your liking may not come with sufficient capacity for all the electrical appliances and lights you plan to connect.
2. How old is the home?
Ask the owner to permit you to inspect the unit.
Put together a comprehensive inspection checklist complete with all important things regarding the age of the home.
Check for such things as mildew growths, rot or rusted areas, and chipping.
Besides, check the condition of the insulation on walls and ceilings – make sure it is still intact and in great working conditions.
3. What’s the state of the conduits?
Check the condition of the whole piping network.
What’s the state of the waste and heating systems’ piping insulation?
These are the most integral parts of any mobile home’s piping system because they are responsible for sanitation and keeping the home warm during cold months.
Also, inspect the combustion system to find out if it has adequate venting. Remember to inspect the entire ductwork for damages as well.
4. What do the local ordinances say?
Ask the seller to tell you more about local ordinances regarding manufactured homes.
The seller should provide you with an up-to-date copy of the ordinances with which the home of your interest should comply.
Also, ensure that the home complies with all other regulations required in the area.
5. Just how stable is the ground?
Is the home stable?
Find out if the manufactured home is installed to sit properly on the ground.
It is not uncommon for some homes to be installed on a sinking land or where the home will be prone to shifting and other stability issues.
6. What are the involved fees?
What fees are or will be associated with owning the home?
The cost of any home – manufactured or otherwise – is not as simple and straightforward as you may think at the start.
For example, purchasing a used or new mobile home through a bank loan will certainly involve administrative and banking fees associated.
You will also want to look at the location you plan to position or put the home more permanently – your decision at this point may be affected by a few other fees as well.
For example, trailer parks normally place a series of fees on different things, all of them associated with the mere fact of your home being there.
They may include such things as landscaping and groundskeeping, security, or pool maintenance.
If the home is situated in a park, take a look at the periodical fees (often monthly) the current owner pays for space.
Determine under what situations or conditions this fee could be hiked. For example, would a new tenant be required to pay more just because they are new owners?
If you must look for a separate land to place the used manufactured home, find out the monthly charge or purchase price so that you ensure you can afford every other cost associated with the home.
7. What’s the construction material on the home?
Dig for details about the techniques and materials used to make the mobile home of your interest.
Not all homes are made the way.
Older homes may require even more scrutiny because some of the methods that were used to construct them are no longer in use, something that makes them have incompatibility problems today.
Knowing the materials and methods used to make the home is necessary for knowing how to care for it in the future.
What is the foundation made of?
Also, what is the plumbing system made of?
Just like any other average buyer, you want to ensure that the manufactured home is made well and can withstand destructive weather.
The seller may not have all answers, so this the perfect moment to bring along a reputable manufactured home inspector.
Such a trained professional is experienced in identifying all types of building materials and construction styles, which means they will be in a better position to provide you with a lot of valuable insights regarding all critical parts of the home.
8. Any previous modifications or additions?
What additions or modifications has the owner made to the home?
It is always a good idea to know which components of the second-hand home are original or new and which parts have been modified or replaced.
For example, there is a very slim chance that a 60s-era manufactured home is still exactly the same even today.
A lot has changed ever since, so you might want to check whether the owner upgraded the windows to more energy-efficient options and whether the electrical wiring has been upgraded or reflect modern needs.
Also, you may purchase a recently built manufactured home that looks new, only to discover that the entire flooring was replaced with an entirely different type after a plumbing or fire incident.
It is important to understand that many homeowners do customize their homes with additions, upgrades, and renovations just as readily as they do with their cars.
Not only will it be fun to learn about these when touring the potential new mobile home, but they will make up a big part of considerations when determining the resale value of the home if you ever make up your mind to sell it in the future.
Knowing what upgrades and additions have been made to the home will help you come up with a pricing strategy if you ever decide to sell it to another person.
9. Who is the Builder/Brand?
Who built the home?
While knowing who made the home may probably not be a priority to you, leave alone not making it to your list of considerations, it is still worth knowing if you can.
Specific builders are known to build products that adhere to particular styles or come with certain features.
The more knowledgeable you are with your manufactured home, the more likely you will make informed decisions, whether it’s about maintenance or renting it to someone else, or when you choose to sell it later on.
In some cases, some builders may be entangled in legal cases that you will want to know so you can make sure you are covered from liabilities or that you can join the case if your particular kind of home is involved.
10. Where is the documentation?
When buying a used manufactured home, ensure that you get the home’s title certificate which is basically proof that you are the rightful owner of the unit.
Getting the title for the property is a pretty normal part of virtually all transactions.
11. (Bonus) Other things to ask about
Below are a few other things to consider and ask about regarding quality and upgraded items.
Remember, upgraded items normally add to the overall cost of the mobile home.
So, if you are attempting to hold down the initial cost, then it only makes sense to opt to upgrade these items later.
- Water shut-offs to all fixtures.
- Fiberglass showers and tubs vs. plastic
- Main waterlines shut-off inside the home (often installed shortly after the mobile home is setup)
- Plastic bathroom sinks vs. porcelain.
- Drawer’s friction slide vs. slide roller system
- Welded vs. removable hitch
- Outside outlet and/or outside frost-free faucets
- Gallon water heater (electric or gas) vs. 30 gallon
- Light in closets and over kitchen sink
- Metal double-hung vs. vinyl windows (double-hung is starting to become rare).
- OSB or plywood exterior sheathing vs. foam board or buffalo board
- Vinyl siding with at least .042” thickness vs. .040″
- Particleboard vs. plywood floors
- T-joists every 4 feet on floor to provide greater support at seams in the floorboard
- House wrap under the siding vs. none
- 25-year shingles complete with high fire and wind rating that are firmly nailed (not stabled) tightly to the roof (nailing may be unavailable or may not be a viable option in some situations) vs. 14-year shingle
- Copper, CPVC, or galvanized water lines vs. PEX water lines
- Heat registers installed to run down the center of the home
- Gas furnace with electric igniter (glow-plug) vs. standing pilot models vs. perimeter heat registers
- 200-amp electrical line vs. 100 amps
- Heaviest carpet pad
- Wind straps that tack into the wall vs. straps that completely run over the frame
- Vinyl flooring glued entirely vs. glued only on the edges