Mobile home living. I want to do it! How has it been for you or people you know?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When Jumper is out of high school, hub and I want to get out of the house we are renting. The cost of a house is going to be too high, we won't need all this room, and there is a really nice park near us where they drug test everyone and check for criminality before you can live there. Plus you can own pets and it's very friendly (which is a big draw for me. I like neighbors). They have some new and pretty doublewides that seem as large as a small ranch, and, in case of a tornado (which we don't have often) they do have a shelter in the park. I already know that the value goes down, but that isn't a problem...we would not be buying one to make a profit. So I have a few questions:

    1. Am I romanticising this and not realistically figuring the cost? I know there is a lot fee, but I'm thinking that utilities would be much lower.

    2. Would an over 55 park be better? There are two parks there...over 55 and general. Both are very nice, but the over 55 park is much nicer. However, I like all age groups and I'm not sure Sonic and Jumper will be moving out any time soon.

    3.What are the down sides? What are the up sides?

    4. If you have anything else to add, please do.

    This park is kind of isolated, yet there is a Walmart within walking distance so I could have easy access to shopping. I am actually looking forward to this over any apartment or even another, smaller house because I'm tired of the yard and hub and I aren't getting any younger.

    Our financial situation once Jumper is nineteen will change. First of all, we will lose Sonic's adoption subsidy. It stops at 21. That is $900 a month that we won't have, and he'll be getting his own SSI and also will be working, but that's his money. We don't want to take any of it from him for the house. A little rent, yes, but he isn't going to have all that much. He needs to learn how to use it for his own needs. And he may want to get his own place by then. He is talking about it.

    I am on disability and Jumper gets a small amount until she is 19, but then it stops. She will probably be in school by then or working AND going to some sort of school. We certainly don't want her to pay anything to us while she is in school. She will need to pay for plenty of things outside of her house such as maybe $40 a month to be added onto our car insurance, gas, clothes, etc.

    Neither hub or I ever had a 401K or IRS. So we will be working with hub's rather modest salary and my SSI. We are trying to find a pleasant way to live within our means. Having a beautiful house or fancy stuff has never been important to either of us so...well....this sounds like a good option to us, but I want to check with you guys...if any of you know.

    Thank anyone who answers in advance.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    I don't see how utilities would be lower. depending on age and condition, they could actually be higher. I also don't see how a double wide would be downsizing unless you currently have a REALLY big house.

    Personally, I've never been much for apartment living, but lately have been fantasizing on getting a one bedroom apartment or condo when the kids fly the coop. (might even keep Dad's place til I'm ready for it.)

    Even with a mobile home, I figure you still have to keep up on maintenance of your lot, or would that be included in lot fees?
  3. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I have no idea - but I think renting one would be a good trial for a year...see if you like it and how the costs compare...see if you like the neighbors, etc, without having to fully invest/commit.

    My friend recently became an empty nester and is renting a condo in the city to make sure she and her H like living there and like apt style living before they buy. I think it's a brilliant idea to try renting first!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, the lots are

    The double wides are much smaller than our current house and there is no upstairs or basement to heat or cool. Our heating and electric bills are OUT OF THIS WORLD right now.

    I don't want to live in an apartment with people upstairs or us being the ones upstairs (what if grandson visits?) and I don't want to be told we can't have pets. The park we are looking at allows two dogs and if your cats stay inside they don't really care about cats either. That's a biggie.

    We are certainly going to do research before we move!!! Thanks for your response. Appreciated :)
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    That IS a good idea. Thank you. Lots of them are rent to own so we could rent to own, but opt out if we don't like it. Excellent. I knew some of you would give me good ideas.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I feel the same way- in 18 mos my son will be out of HS (if all goes as planned) and I will be sooooo happy not to be tied to finding a good sd anymore!
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I've lived in both MH and homes. I wouldn't give up my house and my privacy for anything. AND THEN? The lady across the street from us passed away and her daughter had her mobile home removed. It was set back off the road, and very private -hardly ever knew she was there and vise versa. This gal was from the BIG city of Philly. SHe parked a gigantic double wide directly across from my front door, she tore down a building that gave me privacy for years, she installed THREE pole lights, she cut down all the trees....built out buildings...and brought the city to her. While I moved here to GET AWAY from city life - it seems that I would have to move to Alaska to get what I'm after. She's finally getting the hint I'm NOT the lean over the fence chatty cathy. I'm friendly, helpful - but I'm not a back door, coffee clutch gal.

    As far as living in a MH and utilities? They were higher. Maybe with a newer home there have been improvements - but I can tell you this much. IF YOU BUY? The value of your house DECREASES CONSIDERABLY each year and to sell you will NEVER EVER make your money back.

    With regards to disasters? I wouldn't be in one for a tornado - but I was in a home for a tornado and lived. However I didn't have a choice and would not do it again. 18 tornados struck our neighborhood that night because of Hurricane Andrew - so we got lucky.

    THen again - I've lived through hurricanes, floods, fires....and those were in houses.

    I think overall MWM - you are going to like what you like - and it's going to be a matter of what is in your head. I have cousins that have lived their ENTIRE LIVES in single wides and would NOT EVER think of moving into a house. All of them live on homesteaded property and the kids have all moved their trailers on the same property, paid for wells and hooked into the electricity,and dug septics. TO me? That's insane - to them it's a right of passage. I have a girlfriend here whose family lives the exact same way - they just keep buying more property and the entire family and children move there - and have kids there. I could NOT live like that with everyone in my business. Some people like that - and that's fine for them.

    WIth regards to maintenance? We now have 2 and some odd acres and it's too much for us.....but --------if I could I'd have more of it go woodsy and not worry about mowing.

    That part of over 55 sounds WONDERFUL.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    GOOD GRIEF that is the cutest puppy! lol.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Mobile homes decrease in value by considerable amount as they age. And honestly.........I've never really known one to age well, even those that were taken care of with great care. They're literally not built to last.

    Depending on where you live; you will freeze in the winter, smother in the summer. (this may or may not be with high utilities.....that would depend on the shape of the mobile home) Many a storm will make you feel like you're at sea. (especially if you've never lived in one) Rain can be deafening, so you can imagine hail. If you live where tornadoes are's just plain a BAD idea.

    You'll have lot rent that will never go away (and lot maintainence) on top of the mobile home payment.

    And to be blunt, they're made out of the cheapest, flimsiest material you've ever seen........and expensive to repair because you most likely won't be able to buy the same cheap materials to repair it.

    My sibs learned these lessons the hard way. The only good thing about them is that they're cheap.....and of course sort of mobile.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Star, that sounds just like my brother! When my brother got married the second time, they moved on to land owned by his wife's family. sister in law's mother lived in a small, older home in the middle with a U-shaped dirt road that makes a big loop around it where almost all the children live! They're fairly spread out, no closer than any other neighbors, except that they're all related. One of sister in law's older sisters lives next door to them, one brother is right down the road, a niece lives next to him, etc. When someone has company, the whole family knows it, sometimes even before they do! My brother and sister in law started out in a used single-wide mobile home and replaced it with a new double-wide a few years later. It's quite nice really, as nice as a regular house would be. They have lots of room, their yard is fenced for the dogs, and they have a nice big front porch added on. I don't think they've ever even thought about the resale value because they've lived there for over 20 years and probably will never leave. I do worry about them with tornados since their area seems to attract them because it's fairly flat there. But when sister in law's mother died, her old house was torn down and the basement was converted into a huge storm shelter big enough for the whole family.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Mobile homes are NOT well insulated.
    That means... hotter in summer, colder in winter... utility bills may be a shock.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Okay, thanks for making me feel like poor white trash! MWM, is there anyway you could swing a singlewide on a private lot? If it were me, that is what I would go for to be honest. I dont need all the square footage in this doublewide at this point and if you are downsizing, neither do you. Many parks only allow doublewides with shingle roofs and they have to be newer than a certain age. I dont like that provision. You could probably get an older singlewide for a song and pay off the land quite reasonably. You dont need a big lot. If you have a nice shade tree, you wont feel like a tin can in the sun. You can add insulation to the walls easily and you can probably find a singlewide with shingles at this point in time if that is what you want. Other wise, you can do the painting on the roof at least every other year with this stuff that will help with the sun just fine.

    If you dont like something in the house, its not that expensive to change, unlike that of a stick built house. I hear of people having to pay 20K to rebuild a kitchen and I have to lmao. No way. I completely rebuilt a kitchen in my old singlewide for 3K before we lost it. And that was the kitchen and living room because it was an open floor plan. You will want a newish heat pump because that cut my electric bills in half. And yes most of them are total electric. The drywall is much thinner that stick built houses but if hubby is handy and wants to change that you can. Just put a layer of thicker drywall over all the walls you want to be thicker. Not a big deal.

    In 2001 I bought a 4.5 bedroom doublewide with 2 full bathrooms, a huge master bedroom, living room, family room with fire place, kitchen with island and walk in pantry, laundry room with mudroom sink for 40K. Today the tax value is still 33,500.
  13. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    My dad built our house. It was on 2 acres, and when he built it, it was a rural just becoming residential area (it is now McMansion city). When we were hit by a tornado (yeah, they hit houses, too) in 1974, ours was the only house left to rebuild. There had never, ever been a contractor or maintenance person in the house - dad did it all.
    After he died, my mom kept the house for one year. It was too much yard (she had a service, but the neighbors kept cutting the grass!). She had no idea who to call for things (I told her, it's a Lennox air conditioner, look up Lennox in the phone book!).
    She moved into a 2 bedroom apartment 24 years ago and has NEVER regretted her choice. It's worth her peace of mind that if something goes wrong, she leaves a note and when she comes back, it's fixed. Her complex does take animals (there's a sheepdog living downstairs from her) - I don't know what the extra fees are for that.

    I agree - before you make any long term decisions, rent for a while to see if the lifestyle works for you.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Um......Janet ......???? You have no claim in that title. ROFLMPWTAoff.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, everyone.

    There has never been a tornado touch down here. There have been warnings, but really not enough to worry about and the park has a shelter.

    I will talk to hub about the insulation and upkeep...he is pretty handy. I *do* like the idea of close by neighbors. But apartments aren't very friendly. I've lived in them. They also often don't allow pets or they change their pet policies and you have to give up your pets...I'd rather live in a car than give up my babies. Not going to happen. I see many people on Craig's List giving up their pets because animal policies change...I don't trust apartments and pets.

    I am going to be 59 soon and hub is 56 (with a few health problems). I don't care about having a lot of property or if the value of the home goes down (actually house values aren't doing too well in this neck of the woods either...we could buy a nice two bedroom house with basement here for $55,000). But the stairs, the lots, everything...we don't need that anymore.

    I am going to talk to some of the people who live in the park. I drive through it a lot and the people are very friendly and wave to me. I'm sure if I walked around and got down to pet somebody's cute little pooch the person would talk to me about life in the park, including during storms that are just regular storms (not tornadoes).

    We are never going to be mortgage or rent free as we can't afford to buy anything this late in life and pay it off, so we want to minimize how much we'll have to pay.

    We would consider a single wide MH. Right now, we are just asking around. Thank you very much for the feedback.
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    LOL in a mobile home doesn't make you poor white trash.

    Most people opt for it simply because it's tons cheaper than your average house. husband was tempted when we were house hunting, I nixed it immediately. Then he wanted a pre-fab house, which is basically a mobile home on a foundation. Nixed that one too, although I had to go around the house and literally show him why I was doing so. It was an awfully beautiful place with a hot tub in the master bath set on like 3 acres in the country........and CHEAP, about half of what we paid for this one. They're both really popular here. I spent far too much time in them during my teen years with my sibs to even consider it. It's not for me.

    easy child has been talking to me about giving up this big house and moving to an apartment. Won't happen unless I'm forced to. I won't live without a dog ever again........and apartments are iffy about such things. And while my neighbors here are close, they're not right on top of me. Did apartments for 20 yrs. Uh, no.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Pam the reason I am suggesting a single wide to you now is that I am so regretting the fact that I have this danged huge thing now. I have a tad over 2000 sq feet of house when in reality we could get by with 2 bedrooms. One for us and one for Billy. I really dont want an extra bedroom for company...lmao. Means no one can move in with us. The grands can camp out in the living room. Actually most single wides come with 3 bedrooms anyway these days and are approximately 14 x 80. Well...that is really 14 x 76 of living space because you have to remove the 4 feet of tongue. The rooms are quite nice if you get a good one built in the last 10 years or so. You should be able to get one for no more than 10K. Honestly. If you arent thrilled with the kitchen cabinets, Lowes or Home depot sells some prefab ones you can put up for relatively cheap. Or even easier is to refinish them if the bones are good. Just change out the counter top. You can make a mobile home look really nice for so much less than you can buy a house.

    In your neck of the woods, I would look for one with a fireplace. I have a fireplace and I love it. You can retrofit it to use gas instead of wood and that is what I would do in WI. It would really help out with the heating bills in the winter.
  18. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    MM -- I don't know a lot about mobile homes. Seems the consensus from what I've read in this thread is that they often are not well insulated and they depreciate rather than appreciate in value...

    Knowing where we live, the insulation issue would give me pause. Not from the heat - but from the cold. Same thing with the roof. You would need a shingle roof to deal with the snow load. I can't imagine that a metal roof would hold up well with 45" of snowfall a year...and the accompanying ice layer underneath the snow. Janet mentioned that they are all electric - and if that's true - the utility cost to heat with electricity has to be astronomical in the upper midwest. Just IME

    You guys are still young and if you are intending it to be your "last" independent home; you need to buy something that will work for you for 25 years or more. it seems the responses indicate that the at the time a MH starts to age out 15 years or so- will be about the time you and H may be less able to do work on it yourself and since they do depreciate; you could find yourself unable to move...

    ... or you may have fewer ties to the community once the kids are out of school and you both retire - and you may want to move somewhere with more "hospitable" weather. (Every January, I ask H "WHY ON EARTH DID WE MOVE FURTHER NORTH INSTEAD OF FURTHER SOUTH???") So, I think buying something that will depreciate may not be a great idea. But I don't know, I am just thinking aloud.

    There are a lot of HUD programs that offer assistance or subsidies for buying and renting in "older adult" communities and the living options are very accessible. I guess what I am saying is that you should plan this move with your 70 yo selves in mind...and maybe look into side by side freestanding condos or townhouses that have the benefits of a home without the maintenance. We lived in a great townhouse when we first married - never had to worry about snow removal, or lawn cutting or exterior painting, etc. In fact, we moved because we had our first baby & #2 was on the way -- and our neighbors were all empty nesters and we wanted the kids to have playmates.

    Just food for thought...
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sig...not all mobiles fall apart at 15. When Tony and I got our first mobile when Jamie was 2 and Cory was just born, the mobile was in old as all get out. This was in 1986 and we needed something to live in. It was 10 foot wide and probably 60 feet long...maybe. At the time we hadnt realized it had been through a fire but we soon learned that. It was a 1965. It had no furnace and no air. We had to put window units in and heated it with a kerosene heater. It had two on each end of the house with two full bathrooms which was really nice considering the kids had a bathroom so I didnt have to bring them into mine to wash them. The master bath was nice too once we fixed all the holes in floor. Lets just say we bought fixer

    The mobile home my mom bought me to move out of the house with my first husband was a 1970 and it had two bedrooms to. It only had one bathroom though but it did have a place for the washer in the bathroom. The master bedroom had all the furniture built in because it was only 10 ft wide. It was much shorter though. Maybe 50 feet.

    Its hard to believe I came from an upper middle class family who lived in upscale developments in the capitol city of VA.
  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just thought of something else. You asked about "over 55". Our region has more seniors than any other region in Fl so I "know" (secondhard) a bit about parks. The "over 55's" have varying regulations about visitors under 55. Some only allow one week a year with a grandchild or child staying in your home. Others are more flexible. A few weeks ago there was an article that outside Tampa an "over 55" park had a school bus picking up kids daily from the park. The people parenting those children were told to move or get rid of the kids. Something to keep in mind.

    One more interesting thing I have learned in my years here is that many retired well to do farmers move into parks because they have spent decades isolated from neighbors and love the "closeness". Different strokes, I guess. DDD