Guide to Buying a Manufactured Home

buying a mobile home

Purchasing a home is most likely the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Whether this is your first purchase or you are an experienced buyer, this decision must be made carefully.

Despite still carrying a stigma, the quality of manufactured housing has dramatically improved in recent years. Manufactured homes offer a great way to acquire your very own home at an affordable price, especially when living in the Silicon Valley.

One of the benefits of the factory-built process is that you can buy a new home, one that no one has ever lived in. Perhaps you want an existing home – do you want to reside where the home is today? Whether new or used, here are some tips to get started on your manufactured home buying process.

1. Choose the Right Home for You and Your Family
The first step toward buying a manufactured home is to figure out what you are looking for in terms of size, floor plan, and features. Do you want to buy brand new or used?

Most manufactured homes are available in a wide range of sizes, architectural styles and can include different amenities, such as spacious floor plans, walk-in closets, fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, and energy-efficient features. Once you have established your needs and wants, selecting the right home becomes a lot easier.

Here’s a list of things you should look at when shopping:

  • Window and door quality
  • Floor material and structure
  • Insulation
  • Walls
  • Exterior siding
  • Roof material and quality
  • Anchoring and earthquake bracing system for the home

2. Evaluate All the Financing Options
Before you start shopping for your dream home, it is a good idea to make some preparations. In order to make a financially sound decision, you need to weigh out all the financing options available to you.

Your credit score will have a huge impact on what type of property you can buy, and at what price. It is first recommended to check your credit rating with an experienced lending institution so that we can determine what you can afford.

There are four primary financing options when purchasing a manufactured home: Conventional loan, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Mortgage, Veteran Affairs Mortgage, and Chattel loan. However, each of these options has requirements and limitations and you should evaluate them carefully. Talk to your mortgage lender if you have any questions about buying a manufactured home.

3. Choose an Agent
Buying a home requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues, and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. We can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings before they hit the general market.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:

  • Look for a full-time agent. Find an agent who has experience completing transactions similar to yours. Are they familiar with manufactured homes and the areas that you are interested in? Ask for a list of properties they have sold or a list of references.
  • Ask about their credentials and education. A good agent will continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends and hold the highest designations in their respective fields of expertise.
  • Does the agent return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a home. Be sure to choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs and concerns. 

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4. Narrow Your Search
Get to know the neighborhoods and communities that interest you. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to own a manufactured home in the area. Start getting a sense of the homes available in those areas by searching through MHVillage, Zillow/Trulia, MLS, Craigslist, or even our website at AllianceMH.com!

Do you want to live in a big, family friendly community? You can go for either Casa De Amigos, Adobe Wells, or Plaza Del Rey in Sunnyvale. Live close to Google, but over the age of 55? You will love the senior communities of New Frontier or Sunset Estates in Mountain View. Live close to the city of San Francisco? We have a gated, all-age community of the Franciscan Park in the heart of Daly City. For more information on mobile home communities, click here.

Once you have picked out the home you want to purchase, your agent can help you make an offer that the seller will accept. A good agent will investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property. They can also help you draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offer.

5. Inspection & Final Approval
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the home within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. As with any home purchase, you need to thoroughly check out the manufactured home. While this applies to a new home as well, it’s especially important if you’re buying a used manufactured home.

In addition to all the usual things you’d check out in any home (such as plumbing, wiring, and heating and cooling), with a used manufactured home, the following features deserve a close look:

  • Windows and doors. Make sure they’re insulated, and keep an eye out for gaps around the frames. Look for any cracks in the windows, and make sure the doors all open and close easily.
  • Floors. Test their strength (no squeaking or sagging), look for any warping, and avoid floors constructed with particle board because it tends to warp or rot when wet.
  • Belly wrap. This thick plastic goes under the floor and insulation and helps keep out animals and moisture. Check the insulation under the wrap to make sure it’s not damp.
  • Walls. Look for any interior leaks. Vinyl exterior siding is preferable to metal (which can buckle) or hardboard (which can have water problems).
  • Roof. Avoid the old-style flat metal roofs, which can leak and make cooling the home difficult, and look for a shingled roof with an overhang to aid in rain runoff.
  • Lumber. Walls should use 2×6′ lumber with studs 16″ apart.
    Settling and leveling. Older manufactured homes can settle over time, twisting the home’s frame and leaving it unleveled.
  • Anchoring. Check that the home’s anchoring system is still sturdy and well-attached. Worried about those rumbling earthquakes in the Bay Area? Check out one of our previous blogs on earthquake bracing by clicking this link, here!
  • Additions or alterations. Determine if the home has any structural additions or alterations that were no factory installed. Additions not approved by the home manufacturer may present increased exposure to wind and snow weight damage if not properly supported.

Meanwhile, an agent will regularly monitor the progress of your transaction and keep you fully aware of unexpected funds that might be expected from you. They will also work with your lender to make sure all the necessary paperwork is complete as we move closer to a smooth closing.

6. Closing
Making it through escrow can seem like a hurdle, but the end game is worth it. Expect to sign a ton of paperwork before you get there, and an agent will hold your hand through every step of the process. A few days before closing, they will conduct a final walk-through, and then, once both parties sign closing statements, the keys are yours and we’ll celebrate your new home!

Buying a manufactured home is a big commitment and investment, so do your homework, check all your options, and follow up on any safety, construction, and finance questions you might have. Remember, you’re not buying a “mobile home,” you’re buying YOUR home for you and your family!

At Alliance Manufactured Homes, we are more then happy to answer any of your questions and help you purchase your future home! Give us a call at (888) 874-8692 or email us at info@alliancemh.com.

Sources:

Adkins, Crystal. “30 Most Helpful Tips For Manufactured Home Buyers.” Mobile Home Living, 7 June 2019, mobilehomeliving.org/30-tips-for-buying-a-new-manufactured-home/.

O’Neill, Nikki. “Dos and Donts of Buying a Manufactured Home.” Triad Financial Services, 24 Jan. 2017, http://www.triadfs.com/news/dos-and-donts-when-buying-a-manufactured-home.

Brown, Sanda. “The NewHomeSource Guide to Manufactured Homes.” What You Need to Know Before Buying a Manufactured Home, Builder Homesite Inc, 18 Sept. 2017, http://www.newhomesource.com/guide/articles/the-newhomesource-guide-to-manufactured-homes.

Revere, Patrick, and Patrick Reverehttps. “How to Buy the Perfect Mobile Home: A Definitive Step-by-Step Guide.” MHVillager, 19 Oct. 2019, http://www.mhvillage.com/blog/buying-a-mobile-home/.

“Beyond Trailers, Buying Modern Manufactured Homes – State Farm®.” State Farm, 9 Sept. 2019, http://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/beyond-trailers-buying-modern-manufactured-homes.

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