Perhaps you’ve recently come across mobile homes as a housing option. And you’re considering them purely because they are more affordable than other forms of permanent housing. However, what you may not know is that there are plenty of far-reaching benefits to embracing the mobile home lifestyle than at first glance.
We think more people need to become aware of just what the mobile home life has to offer. And it’s this positive message we’ll focus on in the following article.
Live the American dream for half of the price
We can summarize this whole section with the answer to a simple question: “Where else can you find a full-sized, independent family home with a lawn and driveway for less than a $1,000 a month?” Or perhaps for less than $70,000 if you buy? Even when you consider modular homes, your chances are very slim unless you go for a much older or smaller model.
In our books, manufactured homes present an unrivaled value for money proposition.
- Lot rent on an average of $300, with lows of $100
- Unit rental at an average of $600, with lows around $300
There is very little that can beat it. If you’re looking at buying single-wide homes, it costs between $20,000 to $50,000. Of course, it depends on whether you buy new and at what level of luxury. Double-wides average between $40,000 to $80,000.
For those same prices, you are looking at cramped and basic apartments not necessarily located within the best parts of town. In fact, the average price of apartment rental in the U.S. is around $1,200 with places like Seattle averaging closer to the 2,000’s.
Pay your home at a rate that’s affordable to you
We just covered how affordable mobile homes are compared to most other types of housing. There really isn’t anything that can compete and provide the same type of lifestyle. However, a big concern for buyers is whether or not they will be able to finance a mobile home in a way that’s above board and affordable. After all, even at a third of the price, a home may still be unaffordable to most if you need to put the full amount down in cold, hard cash in one go.
Luckily, you do have solid mobile home financing options that are 100% legal, well-regulated, and freely available. In addition, mobile home financing options now have comparable interest rates and terms to real estate loans. This used to be a big deterrent.
The Federal Housing Administration can help you apply for a loan with lower interest rates with a higher chance of success. The FHA will “back up” qualifying borrowers by guaranteeing their loan should they become unable to pay. This extra security makes it easier for lenders to say yes to your loan and give you more affordable rates.
The FHA has a number of qualifying factors, such as:
- That the home must be HUD-Code complaint
- It must be placed on a permanent foundation
- The loan must have a minimum term of a certain period
- If the home is located in a park the lease has to be at least two years
- Etc …
A VA Loan works in much the same way as an FHA loan except for the fact that your loan is backed by the Department of Veteran Affairs instead of the FHA. They have similar requirements on the home itself, and you will also need to provide proof of your veteran status. However, they can help you secure amazing loans with 0% down payments and interest rate as low a 1%.
If you convert your mobile home into real estate, you will even be able to apply for a traditional real estate mortgage. Although you might have slightly less agreeable terms than for an actual piece of real estate, it should still be better than a chattel loan or any other loan without FHA or VA backing.
A chattel loan is like a mortgage on a piece of personal property. As you can imagine, that also means they usually come with the least appealing terms as they don’t regard your home as a “fixed asset”. However, these types of loans are the most accessible and their conditions really aren’t as bad as they used to be.
On top of the fact that you are able to get financing, don’t forget that you are taking out a much smaller loan. This means that you will inevitably end up paying much less in total interest. Additionally, you’ll be able to pay off your loan in smaller amounts over a shorter period. This will grant you full ownership of your home much faster!
Choose a community that’s right for you
Although it has somewhat cooled down, the relatively recent proliferation of mobile home parks, rising popularity, and need of mobile homes, means that there is now more variety when it comes to your living arrangements than ever before.
If you think about any type of real estate community, inevitably there is a mobile home park version of it as well. In fact, the mobile home community has managed to carve out some pretty interesting niches for itself. This is the result of less intense competition and a lower financial barrier of entry.
An older community
One area where mobile home park living has become especially sought after is when it comes to age 55+ communities. No longer do the retired have to cut costs when it comes to their lifestyle, sell their home, or live in either a cramped apartment or care center because of financial constraints. This is more important now than ever. Research suggests many of the baby boomers have not saved enough for a traditional “golden years” retirement.
To take you to another extreme, there are even mobile home parks that do the community a valuable service. They fulfill a niche by housing only ex-convicts. Take this park in Florida that caters exclusively to sex offenders.
However, no matter who you are, you should be able to find a park in your state that caters to your exact needs and living requirements. There are parks that cater for:
- Students or young working adults
- Allow or disallow pets
- All incomes
You can also find parks with all kinds of amenities from public bbq spots to parks to swimming pools to oceanside properties with yacht clubs and jetties. You just need to look.
Live the environmentally-friendly way
Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, mobile homes are generally very energy efficient. Because mobile home manufacturers know that most mobile home residents are budget-conscious, they intentionally build many models with energy-saving features in place. This trend has particularly picked up the last few years as innovation. And a general raising of standards has taken place in the industry, largely thanks to the HUD-Code.
For example, most mobile homes come with proper insulation in the walls, flooring, and ceiling. Many manufacturers also use insulating windows or doors, roofing material that reflects away heat, as well as coming with energy-efficient heating or cooling systems.
Even if your home’s insulation isn’t that great, most fixes are much cheaper to apply to a manufactured home than in a stick-built home. For example, if you need to refill your insulation, it usually only involves gaining access to the area (or making a small hole), pumping in the material, and sealing it up again. Another solution is to install or paint an insulating or heat-reflective roof wrap or coating, like the products Koolseal offers.
Living this way not only benefits your budget every month but you can also put your conscience at ease that you’re taking care of our environment!
Make the switch to a minimalist lifestyle easier
The terms, “mobile home living” and “minimalist lifestyle” are increasingly being found in the same context. For many people, their transition to a more minimalist lifestyle coincided with a change of housing to a simpler and more affordable option. Often mobile homes.
In part, this is because a smaller home forces you to think differently about space, what’s necessary or not, and how to maximize its usefulness. It also helps that you are already on the path of paying less by letting go of the non-essential vanity of living in a stick-built home. This is still seen as the superior living arrangement despite the inflated cost. The fact that you are also less financially chained to your home goes a long way to change your perspective.
Living a minimalist lifestyle reportedly comes with numerous benefits that are financial, physical, and emotional in nature. By making this change, people often report a greater sense of fulfillment, contentment, and an overall improvement in focus and clarity of mind.
You can live like an A-lister in a mobile home!
This benefit may only be applicable to the 1% of those who fall in this income range. However, it is surprising to know that there are actually a number of mobile home parks that regularly house A-list celebrities. These parks are usually located in prime locations, have beautiful properties, and boast homes that cost millions of dollars.
For example, Paradise Cove in Malibu sits on the cliffs overlooking the ocean and has housed celebrities such as Pamela Anderson, Minnie Driver, and even Oscar-winning Matthew McConaughey.
This just shows how far manufactured homes have come, both in living standard and potential.
Get out of the city and close to nature
Yes, this benefit isn’t necessarily singular to mobile homes or mobile home parks. However, it’s just a fact that currently, most mobile home parks are located either outside of city centers or completely outside of cities. In fact, today, it’s very difficult to build a new mobile home park within city limits.
While this may have the unfortunate side effect of meaning that you need to commute further to work or stay further away from certain modern conveniences, it also offers a lifestyle that’s appealing to others. Mobile home parks are usually located outside of the hustle and bustle of city life. That means less noise and light pollution, natural surroundings, and a generally more laid-back lifestyle.
Make your work your home
A popular way of going about mobile home park investing at the moment is to buy a park, move into it, and then manage it from the inside. This has plenty of benefits in store for both the park owner/manager as well as its residents. Not only will you have an insider perspective of what it’s like being a resident of your own park, you will become more part of the community, and have free accommodation.
For the residents, it’s great that they have a manager who is also on hand when an emergency arises and can deal with it swiftly.
However, you should be warned that owning and managing a medium or large park can quickly become a full-time job. Even with other managers (for landscaping, maintenance, etc.) helping you out. Running any kind of housing community that involves working with people a lot, going over finances, organization, etc… is no small task.
Still, this can be a really fulfilling way to earn a living and solve your own housing needs in one go. Many choose this as a way to spend their retirement. Or at least a sizeable portion of it.
Ready to embrace the mobile home life?
We hope that if nothing else, this article has opened your eyes to the potential of mobile home living. The times are long gone when mobile homes or mobile home parks are only for the anti-social or those unable to afford anything else. They now offer a great standard of living with enough variation that anyone can find exactly the home that they are looking for. There are also some other fantastic perks sprinkled along the way.
If you decide that you want to have the mobile home life, you should take a closer look at living in a mobile home park, as this is still the most common place to find mobile homes. And, if you want to know more about the potential financial benefits or pitfalls when owning a mobile home, you should read up on mobile home investing.