What to Know about Living in a Manufactured Home

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Manufactured homes have grown to be just as competent as site built (or stick-built) homes. However, there are still a few factors that would make one notice the difference. In some elements, manufactured homes perform better, as with energy efficiency. Manufactured homes are best suited for single people or couples looking to start out. It’s a great starter home for young families as they can upgrade the home comfortably as needed, as their finances grow. Besides money, manufactured homes also give the option of living in a home park, having great security in the community’s support and access to amenities.

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Older models, also known as “mobile homes” are definitely thinner in build, non energy efficient and non compliant with building codes. So these will surely feel more unsturdy and thin. This makes the stigma of cheap trailer park homes carry over to the manufactured home of today.

In some aspects, manufactured homes actually perform better than those traditionally built. They are more eco-friendly and energy efficient, having passed the HUD code and building standards. The homes are also more vigorously checked and therefore extremely safe.

It doesn’t change however that to keep costs low, manufactured homes are built efficiently with less materials — only as much is needed for the home to stand resilient.

This doesn’t make the house less safe to live in. Psychologically you may just feel the home is smaller and more fragile than the more solid stick-built.

In comparing with site-built homes, this may lead to a few comparisons like having a lack of storage spaces or being discriminated against in government land zoning and applying for home loans.

Stigmas aside, here’s a run down of what you may actually experience.

Living a Minimalist Lifestyle

Manufactured homes are great for those on a budget. This can be singles starting out to couples or young families in their first home. It is very budget friendly to those struggling financially and need to start out without dipping too much into those funds. (1)

Besides your initial capital, your running costs will also stay low. Being in a smaller space naturally forces this minimalist living in having less items to store and and less square feet to clean and maintain!

Imagine having to clean 50 square feet over 150, that’s 3x the time and cleaning or repair materials spent.

Viewing them as a Transformative Home

As your family gets bigger and the space grows too small due to a lack of storage, space and privacy, manufactured homes have the great option of expanding and adding onto the home.

This is an adaptive home that ensures you can grow with your home and not be forced immediately into a home bigger than you feel comfortable spending upfront.

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Having a portable or movable home may be viewed as a pro or con. If we use it to our advantage, it can be a great benefit if you’re struggling to keep up with the bills. Maximizing the adaptability these homes give, you can start off renting a lot in a home park lot then eventually move the home to a piece of land you actually own!

Yes you may be given less square feet (even vertically with the lack of an attic), but these homes relieve many of the cripples excessive home loans give. This while giving the opportunity to own a home and plot of your land under your name.

You don’t even need to view manufactured houses to just a home function.

What if you needed a portable, efficiently built office space? You could buy these homes as an attachment guest house or standalone office.

Doing Some D.I.Y. Projects

If you find yourself in an older mobile home (built before 1976), these would often be not built to building code standards. You may find needing to install extra insulation for your walls, or switching out to better quality skirting.

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To keep costs low, you may have opted out for many of the premium upgrades home dealers have to offer. These can be from having the simpler countertop material, to having the basic exterior finishes.

Don’t worry! There are many ways to uplift and spruce up your home.

As your finances grow, you may want to switch out for those weatherproof and energy efficient upgrades to improve the living quality of your home.

For example, the underbelly is prone to critters and living in the older (mobile) homes can be scarier in storms.

Expect a lot of D.I.Y. projects like insulating your home, sealing off the vinyl skirting and fixing some frozen pipes. The worst part to watch out for is that after all the work, the resale value of your home may still go down, as these homes are viewed as vehicle property than land property. Be mindful of how you can make changes that will make you and a future buyer benefit in the long run. (1)

What’s great is that you’ll also always have your home center as the primary information hub for any upgrades and repairs you need in your home. For example, if you needed a wall panel replaced, give your manufacturer a call and see if they have the exact same material and finish in stock. If they don’t, they can easily recommend you an alternative that would go well and compatible to install with your home. They can also advise you on if your home can structurally accommodate your additions, and offer to help install some fancy upgrades such as: (2)

●                   Large Bathtubs

●                   Fireplaces

●                   Decks

●                   Walk-In Closets

You can also have some functional rooms added on  such as a separate tool shed, laundry room or garage.

Have fun D.I.Y. upgrading your home and customizing it. There’s a lot of design variety and floor plans you can choose from! (3)

Being Part of a Community

Image from 2022 Homes on the Hill Consumers | MHI | Manufactured Housing Institute

Manufactured home owners tend to flock to home parks and create great, family friendly, community oriented neighborhoods. Scout for one with great security protocols and amenities for your family. Some communities even host events for all residents to enjoy.

These factory built homes can be built to live large or scale down into the tiny home trend. A tiny home will significantly lower your bills and stress, having less to maintain and worry about. In saving on building out square footage, you can allocate those funds into premium finishes, or fixtures like island counters or study nooks. (4)

Home park communities can make the great effort to create a family friendly area with a clubhouse, some with extensive amenities: (2)

●                   Playgrounds

●                   Swimming Pools

●                   Walking Trails

●                   Athletic Courts

●                   Picnic Areas

So own up to living in a manufactured home! Have fun being able to stay minimalist or expand. Maximize its movability or after upgrading, work towards converting the home into real property to up that resale value.

There are several benefits that will do you and your family much better long term. Benefits that no stigma is worth enduring if it gives you financial security, functional flexibility and a supportive community.

References

  1. Lynn, K. (2019, July 25). The real pro’s and con’s living in a mobile home 2019 | my honest opinion living in a old trailer. YouTube. Retrieved June 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdIySle6zVI
  2. Becker, J. (2021, August 9). What it’s like living in a manufactured home community. Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. Retrieved June 2022, from https://cedarspringsme.com/whats-it-like-living-in-a-manufactured-home-community/
  3. Tarnow, K. (2020, December 18). Everything wrong with my manufactured home. YouTube. Retrieved June 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1R-WomopS8
  4. Kennedy, A. (2021, August 6). The Pros & Cons of Mobile Home Living. Move.org. Retrieved June 2022, from https://www.move.org/pros-cons-of-mobile-home-living/