Mobile Home Buying 101: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know- Part 1
You don’t end up buying a home because of the square footage. You buy a home because of something about that home allows you to envision your life there, building memories with family and friends in that home. It’s about how you feel the moment you walk through the front door and realize this is the one for you!
Tips & Tricks
We want to share some tips about mobile home buying 101 from what we have learned all these years in business. Yes, Legacy is still considered the new kid on the block in the industry, but we have a lot of knowledge, talented engineers, and plenty of happy customers to back us up!
Hopefully, this information will be useful to you or someone you know who’s planning to buy a mobile home.
Do Your Research
A great deal of information exists out there about mobile homes and the manufacturers who make them. It is important to do your research ahead of time to save you time during your house-hunting process. The competition is fierce in the mobile home marketplace and, with all the options, it can be overwhelming where to start.
See what the comparable sales, or comps, are in your area. Comparables are a tool in real estate for estimating how to best price the real estate in the area such as site-built homes, apartments, mobile homes, etc. The comps are based off geographical location, house size, special features, and condition of the home relative to similar real estate in the area.
It is worth your time and effort to research. Look up what the local cost of condos, apartments, and site-built homes are in your area to give you an idea of what the local market looks like. Owning your own home is a smarter investment than renting, so seeing those numbers for yourself helps put things in perspective.
The stigma of mobile homes has changed over the last decade. Many mobile home manufacturers make better-looking homes than most traditional site-built homes with more desirable, modern, and “smart” features that come standard due to the streamlined assembly-line home-building process!
If you are a first-time homebuyer (like myself), you don’t really know what the comparables are in your area so getting a good idea of those numbers before you start shopping around is really eye-opening and informative.
It’s important to research reviews online to see what others have to say about the company you researched. Check out Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau reviews for outside opinions on a particular manufacturer or mobile home dealership.
Be cautious when reading reviews online; it is much more likely that people will post a review when they have something to complain about over than when things are going great and they are content with their home.
Run information by your family and friends where they have purchased their mobile home from or if they know anyone who’s recently purchased a mobile home.
A lot of business is done purely through word-of-mouth, and many families shop at the same stores and hire the same contractors. If they have a positive experience, they are much more likely to share their positive experience with their family and friends. The family members and friends trust their opinion and guidance and, therefore, are much more likely to use that information when making a purchasing decision.
Never settle on the first mobile home you look at or the first dealership you visit. It’s important to get current prices and look at online inventory from more than just one dealership, who sells different manufacturers, to make an informed decision.
Knowledge is power, and, the more power you have in the buying process, the better!
Make a New Home Checklist
First, you should make a checklist of everything you need and everything you want in your new mobile home. Whether it be a huge master bathroom to a large kitchen with a hidden pantry, this step should be done before heading out to any mobile home dealership. It’s important to narrow down what is most important to you in your new home, and where you might be willing to compromise.
In a perfect world, you would want to get everything on your list. But in case things don’t go perfectly, you should write down what you are willing to compromise on if the new homes you are looking at don’t have everything you want on your list.
For example, if you love to entertain you would want to make sure the living room area is large enough for having family and friends over and have it feel comfortable with a furniture-friendly design. Because more space is being utilized for the living room area, the guest bedrooms might not be as big as you would have wanted. You will have to decide if you would want to compromise the guest bedrooms for a larger living room, or if you would be better off looking at a larger mobile home or a different floorplan to suit your needs.
Once you have done your research, read all the reviews online, talked to family and friends, and made your home checklist, it’s time to start checking your finances and how much money you have saved up this new home.
In this article, we aren’t going to be diving into the financial aspect too much since we will be posting blogs that go into more detail about financing later on this month and in the future. Keep an eye on our blog for more articles detailing mobile home financing.
To keep this brief, you are going to want to make sure you have enough money for a down payment. For instance, at Legacy, a $5,000 to $10,000 down payment is recommended, but not required. Then figure out your monthly budget and how much you can pay month-to-month towards a loan if you need to finance your new home.
Some in-house financing programs don’t require a social security number or drivers license upon application. With in-house financing programs, the income verification process is simple for the customer and done in-house as the name suggests. Note that all manufacturers are not the same and do not always offer in-house financing options to their customers.
It pays to research the financing options before you head to a dealership so you can know you are getting the best financial deal for your budget.
Once you get to a dealership, bring your checklist with you because that puts you in control of the buying process as well as making your notes handy about in-house financing options and your minimum/maximum budget for buying a home.
Being organized and prepared before shopping around different dealerships allows you to stick to your budget and end up getting the house that fits your lifestyle and not the most expensive house on the lot that the salesman might try to sell you.
If you feel like you need more resources when it comes to being a first-time homebuyer or even if you need to freshen up your homeowner’s checklist, check out our blog post this month about Tips for National Homeownership Month!
Upgrades for the Win
Smart upgrades can make a difference in your new house over time. Choose to have better insulation in your new home so that your home stays warm in the cool months and cool in the warm months. Check to see if your manufacturer has a free catalog to see the latest and greatest features and benefits in their mobile homes!
Roofs with higher pitch prolong the life of your roof, so do your research before shopping in the marketplace. Some competitors claim they have the highest roof pitch, and they don’t, so educate yourself before buying so that your roof lasts longer.
Updating your home to have a shingle roof over a metal roof is better for the home, as well as making sure a premium aluminum gutter system is installed as well. An aluminum gutter system protects the doors and windows of the home, as well as your landscaping and topsoil.
Vinyl siding is a great option for your new home’s exterior because it is low-maintenance and resembles the texture of real wood. Upgrading your new home’s exterior can extend the life of your home and protect it from unpredictable weather.
Another smart upgrade is making sure your mobile home has an energy-efficient overhead-duct system so that your improved cooling system keeps your home cool. There’s nothing worse than having a warm house in the middle of a hot summer. The energy-efficient overhead-duct system also reduced air nose so your home stays quieter for those long afternoon naps.
Even though we haven’t been in the industry as long as some of our competition, we have more than enough combined knowledge and experience to share with our readers about buying your first mobile home. Be on the lookout for Home Buying: 101 Part Two in the future! If you have any first-time home buying tips, please share those with us and others in the comment section below.