As Laura Bramble points out, “As a piece of titled personal property, a mobile home is a depreciating asset, like a car.” But “once it is attached to land that is owned by the title holder of the home, it can be converted into real property, which makes it an appreciating and more secure asset.” This route won’t appeal to everyone. However, if you’re interested in pursuing this option, there are several things to remember.
A mobile home converted to a house is “real property”
First, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Converting your mobile home changes how your city or county categorizes the property. Now, as Bramble notes in the article quoted above, this is excellent for the value of your home. But this also means your converted home may be subject to property taxes. Furthermore, some mobile homes built prior to 1976 don’t meet federal housing and development standards (read here for more information).
Save yourself time, money, and heartache by doing your homework on the front end. Make sure you count the costs. Otherwise, you may convert your home only to realize you’ve converted a pleasant living situation into a legal or financial nightmare.
Per the Uniform Manufactured Housing Act, you must do two things to legally convert your mobile home to “real property” (meaning it is tied to your land parcel). According to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, you must “locate the home on a particular parcel of land.” “And file a certificate of location with the land records office of the jurisdiction where the home is located.” This means you must either own the land or have a lease agreement stating you can place your home there.
Here are a couple of ideas for converting your mobile home to a house
If you would like to make your mobile home a house, you’ll need to secure it to a concrete foundation. Additionally, consider building a wrap-around porch or even a second story to tie it into the land aesthetically. However, as always, be sure to check with your local zoning commission before you attach any external structure to your home.
Build a second story
If you’re adding a second story to your mobile home, particularly if it’s an older mobile home, it may be necessary to build a supporting structure around your existing home to support the load of another story. This can get pricey, but it may be the price you pay for peace of mind. If you have a newer mobile home, you may be able to build directly on top of your existing structure without any danger of the lower level collapsing under the weight of the new addition. However, we strongly recommend you consult a professional before you make any alternations.
Add a wing
But what if you want to convert your mobile home to a house, and you want the convenience of a second story, but you don’t want to build one on top of your existing home? Build a wing on the side of your home. If you like the idea of having a separate living space on another level, you may be able to build a two-story garage beside your existing structure and tie it into your home. This eliminates the possibility of collapsing your lower level. It also removes the cost of building a supporting structure to build on top of your current living space.
Construct a wrap-around porch
Or maybe you’re a single-story guy or gal. Maybe you like your steps on the outside of your home. If so, you may be interested in building a porch around your mobile home. And when we say porch, we mean a wrap-around porch. How many people can walk out of their front door and their back door and be standing on the same porch? If you build a wrap around porch on your mobile home, you can raise your hand when someone else asks that question.
A covered wrap-around porch will function like a skirt for your mobile home, while provided additional living space. If you want to swing for the fences (and avoid constantly swinging at bugs with a fly swatter), you could enclose your wrap-around porch and make it a sunroom. Add some ceiling fans and rocking chairs to the porch, you’ll feel like you’ve doubled your living space. In addition to feeling much larger, your mobile home will also look much larger.
Do your research before you convert your mobile home
Remember, if you’re looking to convert your mobile home to a house, do your homework. Make sure you’re ready for the costs associated with tying your personal property to the land. And don’t just conduct a Google search. Talk to your local zoning commission to ensure you get it right. If you decide that it’s time to let go of your mobile home, here’s a complete guide to scrapping your mobile home.