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Unread 12-19-2011, 03:46 PM
 
1,977 posts, read 748,996 times
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Default Mobile Home lifespan

I'm considering buying a mobile home on acreage as a 2nd home. After looking for a while it seems that out of low cost homes on small acreages the newer mobile homes I've seen are in better condition than the regular older houses.

I do worry about long-term condition, though. So - about how long does a mobile home last if kept well maintained? I figure I might live another 30 years, at most. Will a mobile home see me out?

Is there a difference in the expected lifespan of mobile homes built in the 80's vs. 90's vs. 2000's?

I know what the manufacturers say. What I want to know is what people who have lived in mobile homes for many years say.

Thank you!
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Unread 12-19-2011, 03:56 PM
Status: "The mind doesn't work if it's closed!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
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If properly built, installed and maintained, there's no particular reason why its lifespan would be any shorter than any other home. However there will be no real re-sale value because mobile homes typically decrease in value, regular home increase in value.
If you're planning on getting one, pay for quality, and good installation (ie: poured foundations or whatever) and it will last as long as any other home.

Read more here: what is an approximate lifespan? - Home Gardening Forum
View topic - What is the lifespan of a mobile home?
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Unread 12-19-2011, 04:20 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 601halfdozen0theother View Post
After looking for a while it seems that out of low cost homes on small acreages the newer mobile homes I've seen are in better condition than the regular older houses.
Really? I can't imagine any situation short of a destitute or just ignorant owner who doesn't keep up their house being compared to the home of a house proud OCD type. ymmv. Then think about the other month to month items like utility bills for heat and a/c too.
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Unread 12-19-2011, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
If properly built, installed and maintained, there's no particular reason why its lifespan would be any shorter than any other home. However there will be no real re-sale value because mobile homes typically decrease in value, regular home increase in value.

Read more here: what is an approximate lifespan? - Home Gardening Forum
View topic - What is the lifespan of a mobile home?
I disagree wholeheartedly with the "depreciation" angle. The OP is talking about a mobile set on land, not in a park.

There is no comparison.

I've yet to see any mobile set on land depreciate any worse than a stick-built home, and FWIW, stick built homes can depreciate pretty bad too - in my area, homes that were $300k five years ago can be had for $60k today.

Modern mobiles have most of the same (or better) features of stick-built homes.
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Unread 12-19-2011, 05:26 PM
 
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Thanks for info so far!

To clarify, in the very rural area in which I'm looking the options on acreages seem to be either ratty old farmhouses from 1890s - 1910s which need repair vs. mobile homes from the '80s & '90s.

And I don't care about re-sale value since my main home will appreciate, I'm single with no particular heirs, and I couldn't care less what happens to the mobile home property after I die!

Should I expect higher utilities in a mobile home, though?
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Unread 12-19-2011, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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There have been some pretty significant changes to the good for mobile home code requirements over the past 40 years, with the biggest and most recent in 1994 as a result of a review following damage to manufactured homes from Hurricane Andrew. The 1994 rules also mandated better energy efficiency standards.

I don't live in one, but based on the storm damage I've seen on teevee, I would definitely not buy anything older than 1995 models, and would also have it well inspected to make sure it's properly attached to the slab or pad.
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Unread 12-19-2011, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
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+1 to the above post. There are some wildly different animals out there that all carry the "manufactured", "mobile" and "modular" labels, depending on the year they were built, and the building code they were built to.

You really need to look very hard at the specific home you're evaluating, especially if it's a double-wide. In the early 1980's you might still see a flat metal roof & walls with paneling inside, or a "peaked" roof with real drywall, it depends on the builder & the building code it was built to. Some were built to no code at all, some were built at or above the "BOCA" standard, which is exactly the same as a stick-built. Newer is definitely better.

It might be worth finding a friendly home inspector or perhaps a contractor in the trade to help you figure out what you're looking at. Some of these homes have 2x6 walls (really great), some have 2x6 floor joists (marginal at best). Some of the manufacturers are well-known for building excellent homes, others are known as throw-away homes - so definitely get some help, even if you have to pay for it.

If you get one with 2x6 walls & double pane windows, you'll probably have very low utility bills - but again, there are variables. A true "trailer", made to go into a park or on your land often has a very cheap 80% efficient furnace - some are all electric-resistance heat, which can be extremely pricey - depending on where you are in the country.

As long as you stay away from the 1970's "metal & paneling" mobiles (many of those had 2x2 walls with one whole inch of insulation!), you'll be in much better shape than you would be in a 1900's farmhouse.

Last edited by Zippyman; 12-19-2011 at 10:37 PM..
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Unread 12-19-2011, 10:48 PM
 
Location: Back in COLORADO!!!
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In my experience with manufactured housing I've found that while the standards they are built to have improved dramatically as time has progressed, they are still a product designed around economy. What this means is the quality of the exterior framing is quite good, the materials used for the finish are likely to be cheap.

Now, this is not necessarily true of all manufactured homes, as some of the higher end ones are almost indistinguishable from their stick built counterparts, but the more common ones will often have:

3/8 vinyl faced sheet rock joined by trim strips. Doesn't hurt anything, just looks cheesy.

Poorer quality vinyl windows. Pay attention here. They are expensive to replace. Trust me, I know....

Lousy, extremely poor quality faucets. Plan on switching them out.

Particle board subfloors, not OSB (oriented strand board), but particle board. Works fine in living areas, but plan on having to rip it out and replace it in kitchens and bathrooms. Again, trust me on this, don't ask me how I know......

The wiring on some of these homes is suspect. Granted, it is modern grounded Romex (same as a stick built), but, on some models the electrical receptacles are not conventional boxes secured to the studs. They are instead a sealed device which mounts via plastic clamps to the sheetrock. Remember the 3/8 sheet rock? They tend to come loose very easily. Major PITA. In fact, this was the single largest motivating factor in my removing ALL the factory sheetrock and starting from scratch. So the house could be wired properly using conventional boxes and receptacles. Not all of them will be this way, but be prepared that may become an issue for you is you go this route.

Another complaint I have is that the interior walls are framed with nominal 2X3 lumber rather than 2X4 as a stick built would be. I suspect this is primarily to save weight (as well as money), but it can be a real pain if a guy wants to change out the existing doors with new pre hung units. When I had the sheet rock torn off, I shimmed out all the existing studs to bring them out to proper dimension.

Interior trim..... Well, the manufacturers seem to be in love with the stuff. Unfortunately, it is seldom well installed. It has no effect on any kind of practical function, but can be unappealing aesthetically.

The exterior siding just sucks. Accept this as fact of life. It is typically vinyl which will be ripped off violently by the wind, or really tacky looking 4X8 sheets of press board siding. The upside is a manufactured home which is on a permanent foundation can be resided with decent cement board siding or even stuccoed like any other home. Count on doing this too......

Lastly, and this is most important, pay attention to what material is used in plumbing the water distribution system. If it is CPVC and you live in a cold climate, you WILL have pipe bursts. I am a professional, licensed plumber and I am giving you this admonition for free, unless you budget in re plumbing it, which can be complicated, time consuming and expensive, avoid purchasing any manufactured home with CPVC water pipe. Fortunately, most all of the newer ones will feature PEX pipe which is a vastly superior product. You may still get occasional freeze ups, but the beauty of PEX is that it doesn't rupture when frozen as CPVC or copper will do.

***FREE MONEY AND AGRIVATION SAVING ADVICE FOLLOWS******



The key to avoiding freeze ups is to make sure the crawl space is sealed up from the wind and that the pipe heating cable on the exposed portion of the water supply line is functional and that it is insulated as well.

All in all, I think manufactured housing is still an excellent bargain for a person who knows what he is getting into. The purchase price of a 2000 square foot home on 40 acres of land was less than half of what a similar sized stick built home would have cost me when I bought mine. Even figuring the extra work I had to do. So, they're a good deal for the money, but there are a few things to watch out for...
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Unread 12-19-2011, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenScoutII View Post
Particle board subfloors, not OSB (oriented strand board), but particle board. Works fine in living areas, but plan on having to rip it out and replace it in kitchens and bathrooms. Again, trust me on this, don't ask me how I know......
I toured a factory that made "high end" mobiles a few years back, one of the selling features was plywood floor sheathing, everywhere except the kitchen & bath - in those areas, they used osb. The reasoning was that a woman's heel would leave "dents" in plywood, but osb was harder.

I'm not doubting you, but I don't think "particle board" meets any building code for floor sheathing - it isn't rated as a structural element.
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Unread 12-20-2011, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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We watched ours being built. We have heating bills lower than neighbors in stick-builts, (2 x 6 exterior, 2 x 4 interior walls) no drafts, and are overall satisfied. We did upgrade to hardieboard siding (vinyl is junk, IMO).

The basic box(es) are the key component, and those are inspected bu hud and constructed properly. The trim and fixtures are where the cheap comes in. Cabinets are a sore spot in some models, wiring goes to integrated outlets and switches instead of boxes and standard outlets. A key issue is the size of the floor joists. Cheaper models can use 2 x 6 joists, which will not hold weight without allowing the floor to warp.

Mice are one of the biggest issues. The underpinnings must be sealed and constant watch kept for traces.
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