Making a house into a home is a great and challenging job worth rising to. A home is more than just the four walls holding up the roof—it’s a wonderful place to live and grow. And if you’ve selected a mobile home as your domicile, then you have a domicile that can present unique joys and unique challenges. Sometimes, it’s encouraging to hear from others who have “been there, done that.” So, let’s explore some words of wisdom from mobile home owners.
Whatever your situation, hearing other people’s perspectives on mobile home topics can help you. If you’re simply considering a mobile home as your next housing option, you may want to know how it’s worked for others. And if you’re already living in one, you can still learn from the experiences of fellow mobile home dwellers.
What’s your mobile home story?
Maybe you want to take on a remodel of your little place. Or maybe you’re ready to upgrade to something larger and want ideas from those who have followed that path already. On the other hand, you might just be looking to confirm what you’re already convinced of—that a mobile home is a great place for you and the people you love to live. You know you can’t be the only one who knows this, so you’d like to hear it from others.
Whether you’re living the mobile home life now, want to live it in the future, or are taking steps to live it as soon as possible, let’s hear from those who have gone before.
Financial – money matters
Plenty of considerations go into finding a home you love. Naturally, there’s the appearance of the place. And the location is important too (which includes both the immediate area and how close or far it is from other locations of interest). Plus, you also have to think about size—and sometimes that depends on the size of your family.
One vital consideration, though, is price. How much can you afford to spend on your home? If you’re going to be getting a mortgage, how large you do you want the mortgage payments to be each month? Like every other homeowner, mobile home owners have to think about the cost of their home.
So, let’s hear a little about mobile homes, their owners, and their price tags.
In her Q & A about remodeling their mobile home, Geneva of My Heart’s Song, listed their mobile home expenses. Naturally, they spent money on things like flooring, appliances, and more. She follows her list up with:
“I think it would be safe to say that we’ve spent approximately $15,000 on our home. We’ve purchased quality when we could but also took advantage of outlets like Habitat for Humanity, Thrift Stores, Discount Centers & Garage Sales. After four years…we’re still very pleased with the choices we’ve made. It goes without saying that we could probably have purchased a new home for what we’ve spent on this one, but even in a new home, we would have wanted to make some of the same changes. We’re Happy! We’re Blessed!”
Of course, everyone’s mobile home expenses will look a bit different. But it’s great to hear Geneva’s reminder about tradeoffs. Yes, you may choose to spend enough money on a used mobile home that you could have purchased a new one instead.
However, don’t forget that Geneva probably had the chance to personalize her mobile home as she rehabbed it—choosing things she liked. Whereas, if she had instead spent her $15,000 to buy a new mobile home, it may not have had her stamp on it in the same way.
You don’t have to invest a huge sum to personalize the place
Still, don’t think that you need a lot of money to make the mobile home your own. Elizabeth and Dale Phillips’ project in their dining room hallway is a case in point.
“This kitchen and dining room DIY project cost us $170.00! (paint, primer, wood, brown board, etc.) The time spent for this project was two months. We work weekends when time was available. We basically took our time.
Amazing what a little paint, adding wood trim can to do to give a home a more custom look!”
No, you don’t have to break the bank. Plus, it’s good to be reminded that sometimes small things can make a big difference. What small changes could have an huge impact on your mobile home?
A mortgage-free future?
Certainly, it’s good to consider how your mobile home will impact your financial picture at the moment. But don’t forget to take its future impact on your wallet into consideration, too. One couple’s exciting situation takes aim at a common financial element of homebuying—the mortgage.
“We have renovated over half of our home, and have more projects on our minds that will complete the process. When we finish, we will have no mortgage. Yipppeeeee! It doesn’t get much better than that.”– Darren & Beth McGee, My Mobile Home Makeover
Maybe you also want to shoot for a mortgage-free future. Or maybe you want to set aside money to purchase a stick-built house. Whatever your reasons, think critically about how a mobile home’s financial upsides could help you get there.
Homeownership – a place to call your own
One benefit to homeownership is so simple it’s almost cheesy to say it—you own the home. And for some people, having a place to call their own is a huge thing. Take it from someone who’s remodeled her own mobile home.
“But we DID get moved in, and to be honest, this is the best house we’ve lived in so far. Our kitchen is efficient, the floors are nice, the carpet is comfortable and a great color for hiding dirt (important when you live on a farm with kids!), two bathrooms that are fully functional, and we own it – which means I can hang things on the walls, or paint, or whatever I want without worrying about our security deposit. That made the mobile home remodel totally worth while.”- Elise of The Frugal Farm Wife
Some mobile home buyers have reservations about the situation. It sounds like Lorraine of Sow the Land certainly did. You can read her Blog Post – We Bought a Mobile Home to hear it from her. But her final paragraph is our favorite:
“We are moving full speed ahead and almost done with renovating the mobile home. It’s been exciting to see the changes we’ve made and how quickly it is turning from a single wide mobile home to our home sweet home.”– Lorraine
We’re happy to hear that Lorraine found her “home sweet home” in a mobile home. Maybe a mobile home is already your home sweet home, too. And if it’s not, your search for one can begin today.
Renovation – changing the mobile home
To renovate or not to renovate—that is the question. Should you invest in your mobile home by adding on or updating? Should you buy a mobile home at all if it requires changes?
Let’s say you dislike some element of your mobile home (or one you’re considering buying). Well, that doesn’t have to hold you back. Realistically, whether you’re buying a stick build home or a mobile home, you might not find one that has every single element you’re gunning for.
It would be hard for a home to meet all your expectations—unless you’ve built it yourself (or had it built for you). So expect that there will be some things you don’t like. But the good news is, you can change it.
Handling elements you don’t like
Take it from Gina of The Shabby Creek Cottage blog:
“Living in a mobile home for more years than I care to remember – there are three things that irk me. Coincidentally, those same three things are the first thing I do when we redo each room to take away that “mobile home” look.”
Wondering what those three things are? Well, you’ll have to head to her blog to find out… Just note that what Gina doesn’t do is give up on mobile homes for all time. Something isn’t right with your mobile home? Don’t ditch it, change it.
As a mobile homeowner, the things that bother Gina might also bother you. Then again, they might not. Either way, the takeaway is that if you don’t like something, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There is another way—fix it!
Taking it out—with a caveat
When you do decide you want to change something about your mobile home—like the layout perhaps—there’s one very important thing to keep in mind. And My Mobile Home Makeover gives it to us straight.
“For the last nine months, we’ve been working on a new bedroom suite in which we took the two end bedrooms in our double wide and tore down the wall between them to make it one large master suite. (If you do this, be sure the wall you are tearing down is not load bearing!)”- Beth McGee on My Mobile Home Makeover
Sometimes, statements in parentheses are unimportant. But not here. No way. In fact, we hope you were paying attention because what Beth said is actually important if you’re about to tear down walls in your mobile home.
Load-bearing walls are vital to the structural integrity of your mobile home. Tear them down and … well, let’s just say things are not looking good for you or your mobile home. Beth is on to something. So take her advice and tear out walls wisely if and when you do.
Taking your time
Of course, you can plunge headlong into a round-the-clock renovation project. You can pull out all the stops and give all available time to your remodeling. And, if you’re on cloud nine after your mobile home purchase, it stands to reason you might want to.
But, keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. In other words, you don’t have to do everything at once. Crafting a beautiful mobile home space can take time. Masterminding, tearing out, putting in, painting (then painting again for a second coat), changing hardware … these things take time.
Obviously, the game changes a little if you just purchased a fixer-upper mobile home that’s currently uninhabitable. You may definitely have some more urgent renovation to start on. Still, the main point holds true, you don’t have to perfect your mobile home all at once.
Rushing isn’t required
Take some inspiration from Elizabeth and Dale Phillips whose mobile home story was even featured on Clayton Homes. They didn’t do everything at once. We love how they’ve set goals that they wanted to achieve “this year.” It encompasses a couple of tasks:
“Our goal for this year is to paint the kitchen/dining room and apply wood trim around the doors, windows and baseboards. We thought we would work on a small section of the kitchen where the pantry, laundry and bedroom doors meet.”- First DIY for 2019
But Elizabeth’s earlier perspective reinforces the idea that you don’t have to do it all at once. In a 2016 blog post shortly after moving into their new mobile home Elizabeth wrote:
“We don’t want to do any major projects to our home at this time. I feel we need to live in our home for a while to get a feel for it first.”
In between those two posts, Elizabeth wrote this about their mobile home in 2018:
“We’ve been slowly putting our stamp on it, one room at a time!” – Guest Bedroom Remodel
See? You don’t have to do it all at once. First, you can even take some time to develop a sense of what you do want to do in the future. Second, once you do launch into your renovations, you can be strategic and tackle things over time.
The big, bad, beautiful mobile home
There’s also the elephant in the room when it comes to mobile homes—stigma. Designer Charmaine Manly hits this head-on:
“There is a definite stigma attached to manufactured homes based on shoddy construction and questionable design.
Is it possible to make them attractive?
What’s a great way to combat that negative stigma, in our opinion? Get out there and make your own mobile home a beautiful place to live. Nothing will convert naysayers like seeing the possibilities with their own eyes. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We say a real-life mobile home that gives the lie to the negative stigma—that might just be worth a million words.
Armed with these words of wisdom from mobile home owners, we hope you’re charged up about making your mobile home a better place for you and yours. Looking for still more mobile home inspiration? Check out In The News: Mobile Homes Helping People In The Wake Of Disaster. Or take a look at Real-Life Mobile Home Heroes: Helping A Neighbor In Need.