Should You Buy an Older Mobile Home and Remodel It?

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  1. hi In 2018 i purchased a 1978 dbl wide fleetwood . 55,000. metal roof nice large yard in a park. I knew nothing at all about moble homes,never lived in one. i never knew anyone that lived in one. I got one because of the price of living. I saw it to be a good choice. my home I sold because property taxes were so high priced and water is liquid gold. I live in oregon.. at last minute before I signed anything I paid for inspection. the sad thing is i was unable to download it . let me just say the home is worth 13000 and i was given a quote on side walls, and 2 soft floors from home masters. my metal roof they want to put shingles 55000. from another company 18000 new roof gutters. I have always wanted a metal roof and now they tell me its bad. no leaks on ceiling but i can say below me on backside of home is wet including the sidewall. i could go on and on but I wish i found this article before i went looking. i know i searched for a month trying to find out anything on the history of this home. nothing, nothing at all just that a older couple lived here for a year and she passed away. I never met the previous owner. basically, i think I learned my lesson on moble homes and realtors. if they are able to take advantage in any way, they will. I have put all the money i care to put into this place. in november i 2020 I can sale it. now i do have good things to say. i feel safe living in a park. it is quiet and they are strict but thats why its a nice place to live in. it is cheap rent water 32.00 verses 500.00 2 months at home moble park is 32.00 each month. I have a car port for 1 car and a space for 2 and 2 sheds. corner lot with privacy. You see I should of been buying the property its worth 55,000 but its not mine. i just take care of it. I signed the papers I did not have to do it. i guess I am feeling a little sorry for myself but, maybe next time around I wont let this happen. I cant afford to let it happen again. at 1 point last year i was going to walk away. who wants to hear the home they purchased for 55,000needs 55,000 repairs. I will say my home looks nice on inside and out how we found the damage was when i painted last summer. thats when I realized I better take a look at my inspection report. oh yes, it was there. here is advice when you pay for the inspection which is worth every cent . dont skip things . or ignore the important ones and fix the little things and go on as all is fine like I did. understand everything and if not ask someone that does and they can explain it to you. this was my case. at the time I dont think I wanted to understand. I had signed papers already there was nothing i could do at that point. but, I shared the first page with you. thankyou for the article.

  2. After looking around on Zillow and other such real estate sites for affordable housing around the country for a couple of years prior to retirement, I decided to investigate older mobile homes. I was so encouraged about what we could afford. We settled on Borrego Springs, California. We purchased an early ’70’s double wide home with cash for $13,500. Our home was in good shape. The owners kept the place up. We didn’t have to paint and there was wood-look laminate flooring throughout the home. We have a sweet backyard with complete privacy on three sides courtesy of towering Oleander hedges. Here, there are close to 400 manufactured homes surrounding a gorgeous golf course Our space rent is $735. This is an age 55 and older gated community and the weather in winter is 70-80 degrees. Homes in our club, range from $10,000. to $350,000. Palm Springs is an hour and a half away and more expensive; but reasonable enough. Borrego Springs is a small village but has a number of good restaurants and a couple of grocery stores. Groceries are too pricey here so we order through Amazon and can get our order within 2 days. Or, like most people around here, we drive for an hour to Walmart or any other store that we need for frozen foods and less expensive groceries. I don’t know why the guy in the article thought most people buying an older mobile home would have to move it some place else. There are plenty of mobile homes available, especially in retirement communities. If a retiree becomes ill and has to find a place closer to a certain medical facility, or a retired loved one dies, the seller wants to sell quickly and at a discounted price. Less than a year ago, when we moved here, I was once again diagnosed with breast cancer after 18 years of being cancer free. We had to drive an hour and a half for chemo treatment every 3 weeks. That was fine since we could do major shopping each time. Later, when I went through six weeks of daily radiation treatments, The American Cancer Society put us up in participating hotels. Throughout all treatment, we were given gas cards and grocery cards to help out with expenses through various charities. So, even if you have to drive farther to get a better price for a used mobile home, it has been absolutely worth it. There is a medical office here and emergency helicopter service if needed. My husband and I pay $25. each per month for this potential emergency service. Purchasing a used mobile home has worked out great for us.

  3. I bought a 1976 single ,for a good price .But didnt have it inspected before buying .Now I’m finding out that the walls on outside are just dryrot with lots of paint on them.Dont mind having to spend the money ,but dont really know how to do this.My understanding is to start from roof down.Yes I think there’s been water coming down the walls outside and inside ..because the window seals look like it. That’s fine so I need to get a roofer ,too repair roof or new one .ok.But the walls on the inside have wall panelling dont know where to start .I pulled off some the wall on outside the wood is in shreds, which is just some really thin rotted plywood and alot of dryed paint .How do I start this job.Know body in this mobile home park seems to know how .I’m in Northern Calif.I live by Los Banos,Ca.It gets hot here in summer 90s-100 every day in summer.Thats why some of rot too, the wood is baked I think .And I’m thinking in 1 corner the floor is the same way .These rooms do have wooden beams ?And have no clue how the walls are made do they have sheetrock or what .Can you please tell me.And how the floor is put together &made of ..please .I’m retired moved from Silcon valley where its soooooo exspensive to live now.But want to fix mobile so I can feel happy about where I live ..Would really appreciate some wise words ,on how to do this …please .Thank you …Sincerely.

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Without looking at your home it would be impossible to tell you how it was made (every builder does things a little different). However, in any remodel you want to make the home as waterproof as possible first. No need to replace anything until you are sure it won’t get wet.

      Also, keep in mind that what you think you see and what you actually see may be two different things. Mobile homes are made with a lot of petrochemical materials so they are thin and flimsy but joined together it creates a strong structure (like the vinyl-coated wallboard). Are you sure water is coming down your wallsDoes your area ? Could it just be sweating? get enough rain to cause that kind of damage?

      Before you remove a single thing please call in 3 different contractors and hear what they say. Of course, they will tell you anything you want to hear so be sure not to be the new homeowner that thinks she was just ripped off. Be the homeowner that just wants to see if this is a leak or sweat…Even if it is all painted, the previous owner at least took steps to keep the moisture from damaging the home too much so don’t write it all off as bad.

      I’ve seen a homeowner start with a clogged drain and end up replacing the entire roof and siding because she went down the rabbit hole and thought everything was wrong with the home she had just bought. She overspent and can never recoup those unneeded costs.

      Let me know what the contractors tell you. Best of luck!

  4. I am currently remodeling, or should I call it rebuilding, a 1990 Guerdon. A very poorly built unit as far as quality is concerned. I have it down to the studs and upgrading to 2×6 walls and drywall. Also adding 2×6 rafters in for ceiling support. Already replaced the plumbing, in rough now. I had a war against particle board so all that will be left is the original decking, covered in plywood, and the siding. I just put in bigger, new windows and am painting the outside now after caulking everything. I had a footer poured around the perimeter and had supports added all around along with something called Duraskirt, 3/4 inch thick concrete panels for skirting. I removed the bag underneath and insulated it like a site built home. Awhile ago I tore off all the roof sheathing and installed 1/2 plywood with Snaploc metal roofing. The electrical will get gutted too, looks like a bunch of spaghetti running all over the place, but that is after I put walls back in. I own it and the wonderful land it is on outright and plan to stay as long as I am able. I am 66 and retired, single. I have 10 acres and 22 goats! I thought about scrapping it due to rats underneath, poor construction, but I have already, in the past, upgraded the master bed and bath by moving the bathroom to the other side, new closet, and bedroom with large window overlooking the valley, with 2×6 walls, all 1/2 drywall. So I am part way there. With home construction prices and high realestate taxes, I decided to go ahead on make it as stick built as possible. Some studs are being replaced with 2×6, others I add 2″ to the existing studs. Anyway, a fun project, and no where near what it would cost to build a house!

    1. WOW, James! You’ve essentially built an entire home! I would LOVE to see and share it. Especially if you have some photos of it before or during. It would be a great example of the potential and possibility of an older mobile home.
      Thanks for commenting! if you’d be willing to share your remodel please email me at We would just need some photos and have a few questions answered.

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. Terrific article, many thanks for sharing. One safety pointer you might pass on to the owners of the $5k 1978 single-wide: IF YOU LOVE YOUR HOME, DO NOT LEAVE THAT TELESCOPE IN THE WINDOW. IF THE SUN PASSES IN A POSITION TO SHINE THROUGH THE TELESCOPE, YOU’LL INADVERTENTLY AND ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY START A FIRE. I’ve seen this happen more than once, burning homes to the ground. Put a lens cap on, or be sure to aim the telescope away from the window.

  6. Need help-bought 1969 20×50 in sr.park 6 yes ago for $3000. Very cheap in decent cond. Of course its paid for. We have bad credit-owe IRS but in unrecoverable status and medical bills. Remodeled kitchen,bath,floors. Now need to finish 2nd bedroom and new roof. Its worth $55,000 as it sits. Will private lender take title on a loan of $20,000 so we can finish? Prime location in park Do you know anyone. Mobiles selling
    Like hotcakes here across from beautiful pool area with mountain view in back. Ideas? Want to finish and stay forever park is so affordable. Thanks for any input. Cecilia T. San Diego calif

    1. Hi Cecilia,

      From what I understand, it is near impossible to get any kind of home equity loan on a factory built home in a park. It’s unfair because data proves that manufactured homeowners home equal to or better rates of repay on home loans. Unfortunately, you’d probably only be eligible for personal loans.

      There are a lot of issues in the manufactured housing world. Financing and insurance are the two that upset me most.

      I wouldn’t give up though. You may be eligible for some grants. This post should help a bit, 18 Home Improvement Loans And Grants For Your Manufactured Home Remodel.

      Best of luck!