Buying used mobile homes is like a separate real estate niche. Earlier I mentioned cash buyers because conventional loans on mobile homes can be tricky to find. Mobile home sales are treated the same way as a vehicle sale. Title is passed to the new owner and taxes are paid.
Loans on used houses are even harder to obtain than loans on new homes.
If the home is on a piece of land it offers more security for the lender.
Why Buying Used Mobile Homes Can Be a Great Deal?
Why are any people are buying used mobile homes?
Used homes are cheaper as their value tends to decrease over time. Generally, the cheaper the price the older the home.
With the economy booming and house prices on the rise again, not everyone looking for a mobile home is interested in buying a new home. If you know what to look for and what to avoid, there are still some pretty good deals out there waiting for cash buyers.
Who Should I Buy From?
- A licensed dealer.
- Licensed broker.
- Mobile home park.
- A private individual.
Mobile home dealers in most states are governed and controlled by the department of highway safety and motor vehicles.
New homes can only be sold commercially by a licensed mobile home dealer who must have a sales lot to display the inventory for sale.
Used mobile homes may also be sold by a licensed mobile home broker. The mobile home broker is not required to have a street sales lot. The brokers’ job is to act as a middleman between the seller and the buyer. Usually for a fixed commission.
Individual sellers can sometimes lead to the best deals but sellers can be difficult to deal with.
Do I Need a Contract?
Although the installation standards for your used home are still regulated by the state, the sale is not subject to the same statutory requirements that apply to new homes.
This is where a detailed contract is essential.
Each party needs to thoroughly understand the limits of their responsibility. What is included in the contract price and what is excluded?
For instance, if a fence needs to be taken down to allow the used mobile home to be placed on your lot. Who is responsible for the cost of taking down the fence and who will pay to have the fence reinstalled?
What if the fence is old or damaged?
Construction Cost – New Versus Used.
Despite the initial lower cost of a used home do not forget that most of the local and state construction regulations will still apply. The cost of the permits and impact fees/taxes will remain the same. Surveys and architectural fees will still apply.
Lot clearing, land preparation, transport, setup, utilities, and many of the minor construction costs will remain approximately the same. Some of the construction materials that are sent with a new house need to be purchase on a used home.
What To Look Out For?
Here are some basic things to look out for when buying a used mobile home from a dealer or a private individual.
Do not buy a used home that looks like the one in the picture below! Unless you are getting the structure for FREE, and you intend to use it as a hunting lodge for you and your friends.
Structural Considerations Outside.
- What does the home look like from the outside as a first impression?
- Has the mobile home look like it’s been cared for?
- Does the roof look good?
- Is the siding still in place?
- Does the home have skirting are there any cracks or holes?
- Is the underbelly intact?
- Is insulation hanging from the floor?
Inside Inspection of a Used Mobile Home.
- What does it smell like?
- Are there any pets?
- Is the floor soft especially in the kitchen or bathroom?
- Do the doors shut properly?
- Check under sinks for evidence of leaking.
- Look for cracking at the centerline.
- Are there stains on the ceiling or evidence of repairs?
Permits and health department rules still apply although there are some differences with the used home option.
In Florida, the installation of a used mobile home is regulated by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Florida Administrative Code 15c parts 1&2.