mobile home park aerial view

Editorial: The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home

This editorial is a rebuttal to an article I found on Pinterest titled, ‘The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home ( Under Any Circumstance).’

Remember how you felt when someone else picked on your best friend in school? It was OK for you to pick on her because that’s your best friend but as soon as someone else starts you get defensive? That’s exactly how I feel here.

I’ve been tough on manufactured housing salespeople. Four out five of my family members that have purchased a new manufactured home were outright lied to by a dealer. Plus, I’ve been reading about the poor experiences that readers have had for almost 8 years so I don’t trust many on the sales side of manufactured housing. I wish we could all just buy older pre-owned mobile and manufactured homes!

The Beginning

Let’s start at the beginning. As I was scrolling Pinterest I found this pin:

Editorial: The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home 1

Of course, I clicked it!

The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home (Under Any Circumstance)

The pretty Pinterest graphic took me to an article called ‘The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home (Under Any Circumstance)’ and I read every word. Then I read every word again.

This article is tough on mobile homes! It’s almost vicious and I want to ask the writer “Who hurt you?” (I’m fairly certain whoever it was worked at a manufactured housing dealership).

The writer of this article is a previous Realtor and her blog is about blogging and finances. Admittedly, she is right about a few things. However, she’s a whole lotta wrong about a whole lotta other things. She states she grew up in a ‘trailer’ so I can’t help but wonder why she has such animosity toward them?

This seems like a near perfect example of the attitude and the misinformation that all of us mobile home owners have experienced at one time or another.

Get ready, I’m about to vent….I’ll share the quote from the article and then my thoughts and rebuttals.

Editorial: The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home 2

Lie #1: Mobile Homes are only Considered Personal Property

A mobile home is considered personal property…not real estate.

Yes, a mobile home is considered personal property but they can be converted into real property. It’s not even that hard to do. 

Lie #2: Mobile Homes Only Depreciate in Value (and are glorified car payments)

Mobile homes depreciate (go down) in value. They will never go up in value. I don’t care what anyone says. They’re a glorified car payment, and we all know that car payments don’t enhance your wealth.

Sourced data and factual evidence be damned, huh? Mobile homes absolutely can and do appreciate. Data Comp did a 2-year study that proved that more mobile homes gained value than lost. Gaining value is the opposite of depreciating.

Yes, of course, we all know that land is the ultimate factor but to say that mobile and manufactured homes can never appreciate is simply not true.

Car payments may not enhance your wealth but the car comes in pretty handy. We all have to work and we all need a home – you can rent a place and have absolutely nothing at the end of the lease or you can buy an affordable mobile home and recoup some (if not all) of your money.

Plus, any home that you can get your name on and make yours is a step up. Last I heard, up is a good place to go.

Editorial: The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home 3

If mobile homes never increased in value why are all the investors buying them up? It may be that 20% of Americans make less than $20,000 a year and millions of baby boomers are retiring with monthly benefits averaging at around $1,400 per month.

Look at all the retirement communities in Florida where mobile homes are selling like crazy and all the mobile homes in California that are selling for millions of dollars. 

Look at all these mobile home investors and flippers. They aren’t doing all that work because they are losing money.

Out here in the real world, a family can buy a pre-owned mobile home at a reasonable price and own a home and that’s a pretty awesome thing to own.

Life isn’t always sunshine and puppy dog kisses, some people don’t have a lot of money or the means to get it. Some people work their asses off and have one illness or wreck or some other awful thing that destroys their finances. Some people are just barely squeaking by with enough food to feed their family. For these people, buying a cheap mobile home is like buying a mansion – it’s a dream come true.

How dare you look down on that.

Buying our 1978 mobile home allowed my husband and me a chance to finally have something with our names on it. Something that we could have pride in and use as a stepping stone to a better life.

The bank wouldn’t touch us because we didn’t have a credit history (we hadn’t financed anything for over 15 years). We didn’t have any credit cards and our car wasn’t worth that much. The only way to for us to buy a home was owner-financing and thank goodness the seller gave us a chance to buy that single wide. Even though we bought it on a rent-to-own contract with a high-interest rate (8%), it enhanced my family’s wealth significantly.

If you’ve always rented because you couldn’t save up enough for a down payment or your credit score was too low, a little mobile home can be the most amazing and beautiful thing in the world.

It certainly was to us.

That little home completely changed our lives. It gave us a chance to catch our breath and helped us save money and get our feet back on solid ground after the recession.

It gave us pride and honor because we did that on our own (well, we were so broke we had to borrow half the $1000 down payment from Joe’s parents but we paid them back a couple of months later). That mobile home gave us just enough of a footing to work our way up. We paid the mobile home off in 18 months and talked the guy into selling us the land, too. Now, we own a cute little mobile home on a nice little lot in city limits free and clear.

We lived in that single wide for 6 years while only paying a $210 land payment and the utilities each month. In those 6 years, we were able to save money and get our credit score up.

We are doing much better now thanks to that little mobile home.

Read about Pam’s Path to Debt-free Living in a Mobile Home

Lie #3: Mobile Home Salesmen are Snakes

Her next strike is at manufactured home salespeople.

Mobile Home Salesmen are Snakes

She’s not wrong about some of the salespeople. Manufactured home dealerships are notorious to lie and cheat. It’s a common issue and anyone that has read this blog knows how I feel about them. I speak about it in the article 30 Expert Tips for Buying a New Manufactured Home (Updated).

But, Realtors can be snakes, too!

Realtors work on commission just like a manufactured home salesperson. For every dirt deal you’ve heard about involving a manufactured home salesperson I can find one involving a Realtor.

Site-build homebuyers have protections that manufactured home buyers do not. You can walk onto a manufactured home dealership and walk off an hour later having bought a house with a $1000 monthly payment. With site-built homes, it takes weeks and inspections, attorneys, and bankers.

Any time a commission is involved it opens the door to a slew of questionable issues. That’s why I’m so against commission-based pay in the manufactured housing world. There simply isn’t enough overwatch or regulations to keep the salespeople honest.

Lie #4: All Upgrades are Bad

The sales lady had told her every lie under the sun to get my friend to drive there. The mobile home was cheaply built, with ugly particle board walls, and many of the “upgrades” my friend thought she could get simply “weren’t possible without the mobile home falling apart on the drive to its new home”. My friend thought that she could make upgrades to the kitchen, such as granite countertops and oak cabinets. Let me tell you something about upgrades in a mobile home….

If you’re not going to listen to me about the only reason to buy a mobile home, at least don’t buy the upgrades from the manufacturer. Buy the base model and fix it up yourself. You’ll save thousands of dollars, and you’ll still lose your ass by not listening to me in the first place, but you’ll lose less money if you do the upgrades yourself, paying cash, and by shopping around locally. Trust me on this!

A person should really understand how manufactured homes are built before they start giving out advice.

You will probably want to have upgrades such as doors and windows installed during the construction. Upgrades like this may require larger studs and a different outrigger design to hold the weight.

Related: Read about the 10 smart new manufactured home upgrades here.

If you upgrade the roofing you’ll likely need to upgrade the studs, too. That’s why you don’t pick out the cheapest home on the lot and start upgrading – it simply doesn’t work like that. Each home is perfectly engineered and specifically designed from the cambered chassis to the roof line.

Faucets and countertops are best done after the installation so yes, bypass those upgrades.

Take a look at 10 Gorgeous Manufactured Home Models on the Market Today


You’ll pay a huge markup for upgrades in a mobile home. For example, the granite you wanted so badly may have cost the mobile home distributor $2,000 in materials and installation, but they will probably charge you triple that (at least). They will upcharge you for every single upgrade imaginable!

This is how construction works. A supplier sells to the middle man that marks it up and sells it to the professional that installs it and also marks it up. Everything you buy has a markup. That’s how free markets and capitalism works.

Editorial: The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home 5

Lie # 5: The only reason to buy a mobile home (under any circumstances) is for the land it is sitting on


The only reason to buy a mobile home (under any circumstances) is for the land it is sitting on….If you find a parcel of land (especially acreage) in a good area with steady values, that is the only reason to buy a mobile home. Buy the land, live in the mobile home while you prepare for a build. Or buy the land with a mobile home to use as a hunting property. Either way, the land is where the value is…not the mobile home.

Yep, land is awesome to own. However, having a little mobile home that’s been paid off on that land is a little bit more awesome. I like pillows better than rocks, don’t you? 

Everything doesn’t revolve around profit margins and investments. Yes, it’s nice but I can assure you that when you are struggling to pay bills the last thing you are worried about is the appreciation ratio of an investment.

Most of us don’t even have $1,000 in our savings account and our credit scores are in the low 500s (and that’s OK – life happens). We should probably worry about paying for a home before we go talking to an investment firm about our vast land holdings.

Most people just make do the best we can. 

So What is the Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home?

The only reason to buy a mobile home is if you need an affordable home with a ton of potential.

Or if you don’t want to be debt for 30 years.

Buy a mobile home because it will give you the freedom to travel or start that business you’ve always dreamed about.

Or, simply because it’s the right thing to do for you and your family and to hell with what anyone else thinks.

Manufactured homes aren’t perfect but they have given millions of us a good safe place to call home.

By the way, this is a mobile home:

Smoker Aritocrat Vintage Mobile Home Exterior 4

This is a manufactured home:

Clayton-Blackjack-model-with-textured-ceiling-and-beams

And, this is an Airstream:

airstream glamping-longhorn state exterior
The exterior looks so festive. (image from Glamping Hub)

Conclusion

We’ve all dealt with these types of people – those that only see a home as an investment or a number on a spreadsheet and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is so much more to life than the number on the bottom of a spreadsheet.

Every one of us that live in a mobile home has dealt with this type of negativity. We’ve all listened to some know-it-all’s financial advice. Yet, millions of people still live in mobile and manufactured homes, and perhaps that’s most telling. You can keep your (wrong) data and your misinformation about the home and we’ll keep all the money we’re saving. Deal?

Plus, I probably wouldn’t take advice from anyone that uses an image of an Airstream when talking about the perils of mobile homes. Airstreams are campers not intended for full-time living and they can cost more than a site-built home. Also, they have a cult following and can travel long distances so I’d probably leave them out of this!

Get Expert Tips for Buying a New Manufactured Home Here

As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!


63 thoughts on “Editorial: The Only Reason to Buy a Mobile Home”

  1. Louder 👏 for 👏 the 👏 people 👏 in 👏 the 👏 back👏.

    Seriously though, I think the big divide here is a lot of people who buy stick builds are looking for an investment. Those of us who have mobile/ manufactured are looking for a home. One we can actually enjoy life in and still afford to actually live life while we’re at it.

  2. Hi Crystal, thank you for standing up for us “trailer” owners! I started my married life and raised 2 kids in a single wide 1978 Fleetwood, which my uncle still lives in. My husband and I just sold our 2400 sf stick built house and bought a used 1700 sf doublewide that we have remodeled, with inspiration from your posts. We now have a beautiful home on a creek front lot with 5 acres behind us and a MORTGAGE FREE, DEBT FREE life! Nothing wrong with that at all…

    1. Hi Peggy, you are definitely living my dream life. I’d love to have about 4-5 acres so no one can be close to me that is on some kind of water (a creek would be fine). Having it paid off before I turn 65 would be a plus!

      So happy for you!

  3. Seems the author of the article didn’t make it as a Real estate agent, isn’t gonna make it as a finance adviser either and probably there is a host of other failures in her life. Once a bully always a bully. I have been a Real Estate Broker for 20 years, my husband and I had our own brokerage for 30 years and am ashamed when others in the profession sound off like that and make the rest of us look bad too. We sold our “stick home” and moved to a mobile home park to take care of my husband’s mother. We have a very comfortable and large mobile home. She has lived in mobile homes for over 30 years and I’m here to tell you they have improved tremendously in those years. Dr. Ben Carson, current HUD Secretary, recently publicly promoted what he feels is the answer to the affordable housing crisis we are experiencing. It lies in manufactured homes! I believe that’s our future talking. Thank you Crystal for your articles, I love reading your newsletter. Also, thank you for responding to that gal. She needs to wake up and look around.

  4. David Anthony DeKoven

    Thank you for the fine thoughtful writing. Love my 71 Skyline in Chula Vista Ca. Practical and beautiful. Question: what is appropriate portable air conditioners for said skyline?

    1. Hi David,
      I’m on the east coast and not at familiar with swamp coolers y’all use on the roofs but I suspect any of the portable air conditioners would work fine. They’ve gotten a lot better over the years. I’ve checked out the standing air conditioners that you just place in the room instead of a window and was impressed with the cold air they were pushing out.

      I’d go with a middle of the road unit (within your price range) with the best warranty and after-care policy you can find. Best of luck!

      1. Andrew Jorgensen

        Hi,

        My wife and I just moved out of our first mobile home in utah. Neither of us had ever lived in a mobile home before, however, after reading from this site and some others we decided it was the best option. We couldn’t afford rent, and even if we could have the apartment would have been half the size of our manufactured home. We lived there for a little over a year and enjoyed the park and the home, but because the manager wouldn’t “approve” us to move from the single wide to the double wide next door we decided to move out due to our young growing family. I’m still not sure how she could not approve us to move, but not kick us or of the park. We hadn’t done anything wrong and always paid on time. That’s our frustration with mobile home living. The park owners/managers can make a huge difference. We still miss our neighbors

      2. I’m sorry that happened to you, Andrew. Financing and parks are my two biggest issues with mobile home living. If we could all just have our own property and get reasonable financing mobile and manufactured homes would be a better option.

        Since you are a growing family you may be eligible for an FHA loan and those only require 3% down and a credit score of 580. Those loans do cover land and new manufactured homes (and site-built homes). You may want to look into it. There are also programs that help you make that down payment (grants and loans).

        Best of luck!

  5. Hi there Crystal, just want you to know I love all the work you put into providing manufacture home owners and perpective manufacture home buyers. Great that you put a bit of knowledge. Out there pertaining to the article. The author needed to do a bit more info gathering before writing. Manufactured homes of today wether new or remodled are stunning! She should take notice of all your articles and photos! So happy your back to it! Lisa @ Sweet Tea N’ Salty Air

  6. My wife and I started out our married life in 1973 in a 12×60 mobile home that we paid $5,000 for. We also paid a nominal lot rent for a large corner lot. We lived in the home for three years and sold it for $5,000.

    We just recently put in a new double wide two bedroom to serve as the offices for a couple of small businesses that we have going on in our retirement. We have repeatedly said that this would make a great starter home, a retirement home, a mother-in-law home or anyone that could live in a smaller home. We love it!

    1. Hi Ron!

      You’re proof alone that the homes don’t always lose value! Most every coal mines (in ground and strip mines) use those mobile offices and I’ve thought about using one as an addition but someone told me they don’t have to meet HUD code (I don’t know if they are right or not, I never investigated). Would be a smart idea if you could get one cheap enough, wouldn’t even matter if they met HUD or not.

      Thanks for commenting!

  7. Stephanie Jones

    If only the writer of that article you rebutted could see all of these comments. Agree, her data is very slanted and out-dated. I’m 64-years-old and realized two years ago that I’d never be able to retire if I stayed in my stick-built residence. Life’s too short to be a slave to a mortgage. So two years ago I retired and paid cash for an older double-wide on a beautiful piece of property that has views of the Puget Sound here in Washington state. This home was converted to “real” property decades ago and in the past two years its value has increased by $60,000 over what I paid for it.

  8. I have been reading your website with interest for about 9 months now. I found that there was no way for me to EVER retire as long as I kept a lot built home with a mortgage. My job had me moving around and I was not able to build a lot of equity so I went back to my thought on manufactured homes. My significant other didnt want to consider it because of those stereotypes of the past but I did some convincing and we found a double wide in a nice area that only has other doubles. I paid cash for the home made quite a few renovations and now my rent payments are about 50% less than what I was paying monthly for property tax alone. Oh, and I retired a week ago.
    One major frustration is finding repair and renovation folks to work on it. I have ended up wading in doing things I have never done before because I cant find anyone to do the work. I think we need a directory of pros like the Axxxxx list for our communities. Thanks for your good work here.

    1. Hi Gordon,

      Congratulations on the retirement! I hope you many years of leisure. I am actually working on a directory for repairment and companies that are mobile home friendly. Unfortunately, the coding and tech parts are way above my head so I’m having to save up to hire some help. I think your comment is my sign that I’m on the right track and hopefully I can get the directory up by fall.

      Thank you so much!

      1. Hi Crystal!
        Thank you for your article! I’m a Realtor specializing in manufactured housing on leased and owned land and I encounter many of these misinformed opinions daily. In just under 5 years, I’ve sold 250 homes to some pretty amazing human beings who decided it was the right choice for them; I own one myself (a 1981 Marshfield that my husband and I are renovating top to bottom)!

        Being in a resort area (Rehoboth Beach Delaware), housing is ABSURDLY expensive here. Manufactured homes offer affordability not just to primary home owners, but also to vacationers. I don’t know of a less expensive way to have a home at the beach! And as far as depreciation? The data shows otherwise. I have yet to attend a settlement where people aren’t receiving a check for at least as much if not more than they paid, at settlement.

        Unfortunately, the stigma of living in a “trailer” is everywhere, perpetuated by people who are ignorant of the industry and the product. Many of my clients start out that way, and I welcome the opportunity to educate them. I hope they’ll in turn share what they learn with others and it will have a trickle down effect.

        I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences leading to your distrust of commission based salespeople. Commission real estate agents like me must satisfy our clients needs to make it to a settlement table. I work hard to be sure my clients have an incredible experience. The fact that I put as much effort and care into a manufactured home buyer as I do an $800k home buyer, is what has set me apart in our area. Many real estate agents refuse to sell manufactured homes, saying “they’re not real estate” or that the commission is too low to be worth their time. Funny– I see my job as helping people with their HOUSING needs, not simply selling expensive dirt! As a commission based person, my three kids and husband depend on me providing outstanding service; it leads to more business through the recommendations of past clients. Commission based or not, the person and their core values & ethics are what’s important here… not the way they receive their income. Work with honest people who have your best interests at heart, and you can’t go wrong! A side note: Realtors are not just real estate agents; we are real estate agents who are also members of the National Association of Realtors, and we follow a strict code of ethics. If you encounter a Realtor who is not practicing ethically, please report them to your state or local board of Realtors. We don’t want our organization polluted with people who don’t adhere to our standards.

        Thanks for providing such a great site! My clients and I really appreciate the work you put into being such an informative resource in the world of manufacture housing and what you’ve done to create this growing community!

  9. Zane Sutherland

    Great article! That other article was riddled with so much wrong information it was actually pathetic. And even before the article with the picture of the Airstream when the article is talking about mobile homes lol I’m going to be moving into my 1988 Terry Resort camper in a month or so on the family property to save money on rent. I then want to move up to a new used double wide. Like you said, not everything is about resale/investment potential. And if you buy a manufactured home and rent it, you can easily get your money back.

    1. Hi Zane,

      I know so many people that have lived in campers and they all loved it. One of my friends said laundry was his only true problem but once he figured out a system it was all gravy. Let me know how it all goes – I think you’ll love it, most do. Best of luck!

  10. I face scrutiny every day when people find out I live in a mobile home. I raised my children in one that my ex-husband and I remodeled and added onto. It became a beautiful cedar sided 6- bedroom ranch style home tucked a quarter mile back into the woods in northern Wisconsin. We loved it !
    Later after the children were gone, we were sadly divorced and I was left without much to rebuild my life. I secured a new job father north and decided to purchase a mobile home in a beautifully landscaped village on the outskirts of a larger tourist area. I paid it off in 5 years and have nearly completed the remodeling. It is two becroom two bath home with a wood buring fireplace. I am now concentrating on purchasing land to move my soon to be retirment home into a more secluded setting. The local restore is my favorite palce for low cost materials for renovation. Windoes, doors, lightfixtures and even plumbing have been renewed and I have a home even nicer than the one we raised out family in! If you do your homework, you can pruchase and refurbish apporpriately. The nay-sayers who come into my home for the first time are blown away with how lovely a single wide home from 2000 can be!

    1. Hi Geralynne (love your name),

      I bet your home is gorgeous and is only going to get better! Please keep me in mind, I’m always looking for homes to feature and homeowner stories to share. Hope you find the perfect property!

  11. Crystal,

    I’ve read and enjoyed your articles for several years but I think this might be my first comment. You’ve written lots of good ones, but this might be the best.

    My husband bought our first used mobile home when we were expecting our first son and living in a crummy rent house (1974, $60 a month). It had a great floor plan (separate dining room and back doors at both the front and back). I wish we still had it. We sold it to buy a site built home. We sold that one so my husband could use up his G.I. Bill and finish a degree. Then once again, we were expecting and living in a crummy rental (apartment). My dad gave us the down payment for a new single-wide Skyline in ’81. It has been truly mobile. After years in mobile home parks, we moved it for the 6th time out to our own property and took the axles off.

    It has provided us with home ownership during multiple lay-offs when we would not have been able to make mortgage payments. We raised our two sons, and now we’re helping raise our 2 grandsons in it. Our older son is helping us remodel, but at our age, it’s slow.

    I really appreciate what you’re doing with your website and have no complaints about your writing.

    THANK YOU!

  12. I live in a mobile home by choice. The main one is I became disabled and wanted to live debt free. I have always loved the idea of a mobile home so this was a no Brainer for me. I’ve been debt free for 19 years. I paid cash for it and will never regret it.

  13. What a @%#&!! I will admit, I used to look down on mobiles, not a lot, but I did. Until a couple things happened.
    One, I met my old boss and his wife. They lived in a trailer park, in a single wide. Not the greatest park, but it’s pretty good. Yes, it’s a narrow house, yes it’s a small lot. But it’s cute, its comfortable, and it’s cheap! (Er)
    Two, I started looking for a place for my wife and I to relocate to. Priorities are space, (land) plenty of good air for my wife’s lungs, and a garage for me. The more we look, the more we find GREAT mobiles! For the land we want, we cant afford a stick built house unless it need more work, like roof, electrical, plumbing, etc. For a mobile, we can get everything we want, for a similar price, and it needs paint, carpeting and not a lot more! The only big change we find that we are not crazy about is that it’s harder to find a basement. Ehh, we can work around that some. 🙂
    The “person” that wrote this used to be a real estate agent? But she doesnt know the differences between a mobile and a modular? Smh. While a double wide and a modular are similar, there are a LOT of differences. Not going into it, I bet most of the people reading this know better than she does. Also, she said, or at least implied, that mobiles dont get any inspection? I know that’s not true. I belive most of them have an inspection tag on the right front. At least the ones I have seen do. I know the standards are different, they have to be. Most houses dont have to survive bouncing down the road. 🙂
    Ok, rant off.
    Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      I edited this article 50 times and if I would have left the original draft up it would have looked a lot like your first sentence..lol. Rants are sometimes needed. I appreciate your comment!

  14. My husband and I just purchased a double wide mobile home on a level lot near a small city. We sold our stick-built house, that we built in 1994. I had friends tell me they would never sell a stick-built house for a trailer (their words, not mine). Our stick-built house was on a steep lot with an even steeper driveway. My husband could no longer take care of our 4 acres. We found our mobile home, which has more square feet than our stick-built home, and we are very happy with it. It is the first mobile home that either of us has lived it. We didn’t do any remodeling, except to make the steps to the front less steep and wider. It was a case of “it works for for us” and we love it! I love your articles and read them every month!

    1. Hi Becky!

      It sounds like you absolutely made the right choice! Manufactured homes are perfect for downsizing and whatever you can do to simplify life just a bit is a win in my book! I appreciate you reading and commenting! Thank you!

  15. At age 59 I lost my job due to a merger. I carried health insurance for myself and my husband. I was offered several positions all part-time, no benes. We decided to downsize from a 4 bedroom 3 story townhome in Illinois and go to Florida where I spent a lot of time through the years and hubby (after he moved from Germany to the US permanently) loved Florida too. We have a manufactured home, near the beach and are fortunate to own our land (a corner lot). We love our manufactured home and after 8 years, we haven’t regretted the move. My grandparents retired near here in the sixties and I have 2 aunts and 2 uncles who made their retirement home in the same community as we are. Although they all are gone now, we feel surrounded by their loving spirits.

    1. Awe, what a lovely comment, Roberta! I’ve no doubt you are exactly where you are meant to be and it sounds like you are happy and thriving! That’s awesome! I wish you many more years of mobile home living happiness!

      Thank you for reading and commenting! The more we share stories of successful mobile home living the more we can show the world just how wrong they are about the homes (and the people living in them).

  16. Thanks, Crystal, for speaking up in defense of manufactured housing and homeowners. I recently saw an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in which he covered a story about investors preying upon unsuspecting mobile home owners in parks. Although the piece was well-intentioned, it wound up sounding awfully condescending to a person like myself, a manufactured home owner who lives in a community from which we rent land. The organization in California that we belong to, GSMOL(https://www.gsmol.org), is dedicated to keeping us informed and arming us against a whole host of threats, from managers who bully older residents, to investors who want to buy up the land we rent for our homes. My husband and I (who use a portion of our triple-wide as a home office) love our lifestyle. With affordable housing in this country disappearing at an alarming rate, America needs to know the facts!

    1. Hi Carolyn!

      I saw that video and felt the same way. I think I’ll do a rebuttal to that too. He took the right angle against the park owners and investors but I agree with you, he did so at a cost of making mobile home owners seem gullible.

      Thank you for the link! I’ll check it out. Our only protection from the park owners and investors is to pull together and raise up against them. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  17. This is a GREAT read!! We bought our new home 8 months ago here in SE Texas and live in a park and are loving it. Have had stick and brick homes but that option didn’t fit the budget where we live now, not without being house poor. The whole “building wealth” philosophy, while wise, is so rigid in this authors presentation! Yes, the old MH stigmas are definitely alive and well but there’s also the trends and market you mention that fit so many. Our choice was to buy new because it was right for us here, and everyone should buy what fits their budget and future considerations, without concern of stigmas or popularity. Thank the Lord we have the MH option!!

    1. Hi Cheryl!

      Thank you so much for your comment! You make such a great point that I failed to do. Everyone seems to be so focused on building wealth and doing it in the ‘normal and traditional’ way but none of us are starting at the same line. Some of us can’t just go buy a $150k home and renting is your only other option, unless you look at mobile and manufactured homes. I’m so happy you found your happy home! I hope it gives you many years of happiness (I bet it is gorgeous!)

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  18. We live in a manufactured home on 33 acres in southwest Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Building a site-built home up here would cost a fortune, and refurbishing the old farm house would have been even more. For many people in this area manufactured homes and mobile homes are the answer for safe, affordable shelter. As you say in your rebuttal, “How dare you look down on that.”

    1. Hi Ron!

      I’m from Pineville, WV and it’s the same way. There’s no way anyone could have materials brought to build a home. The closest lumber and home improvement store was over an hour away. Manufactured housing is the only way to have a home that isn’t built from logs.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! PS I fixed the error in the sentence! Thank you!

  19. Thank you Crystal for speaking up and out about mobile home ownership and mobile home living. Excellent rebuttal!

    After a divorce and about to enter my senior years and the reality of living on a fixed income, my only affordable option was a used small single wide mobile home. Rents in my area, a college town, are outrageous and continue to increase at a rate my fixed income will never be able to manage. I bought my home in a land-lease mobile home park for 20k and after 10 years it is completely paid for and my land lease runs about $300 a month. Compare the $300 a month to the average $1600 a month for a rental in my area and the savings and affordability are obvious. A 30 year mortgage for a modest stick-built home would have cost me upwards of 150k with taxes and payments well into the end of my life, a moot point because my retirement income wouldn’t afford it.

    I know too many people who bought into the idea that owning real estate is necessarily a wise investment, and perhaps on paper it looks good but to be able to quickly liquidating their assets proves otherwise. Most never pay off their 30 year mortgage and simply move their debt to their next home purchase, all-the-while, continuing to take the risk the housing market doesn’t crash again leaving them holding the proverbial bag. Or, they end up late in life wanting to downsize, simplify their lifestyle and reduce their financial responsibilities to meet their retirement income.

    In the spirit of your article and in my mind, the current tiny home trend is simply a gentrification of mobile home living. A tiny home can easily run upwards of 100k with all the middle-class bells and whistles and because it remains mobile, towed by an additional purchase of 65k+ vehicle to tow it, the young upwardly mobile (pun intended) folks can justify their purchase and ease the stigma of living in a mobile home. I get the attraction, so cute and embraces the minimalist life style however, when they tell me their build is to reduce their carbon foot print all I can think is why didn’t they move into an existing used mobile home and upgrade instead of adding to the overall carbon output they seem so worried about, but I digress.

    I love that my home is considered personal property because my tax debt is under a $100 a year. When it come to upgrades, I’ve made a few, nicer faucets, some new flooring, wainscoting, removal of the dreaded garden tub and more adequate shelving in all my closets/cabinets. I plan to make more changes, as money permits, but, all in all, I love living in my mobile home. Making changes, managing repairs and the occasional upgrade has all contributed to my nesting, making this trailer my home.

    The stigma of living in a mobile home is real. I’ve had people turn up their nose and question the safety of my neighborhood. As a senior woman, living alone, I have created the security most of my widowed and divorced female friends don’t have and have never considered. Knowing the average woman out lives her male partner by some 7 years, many women face these senior years alone, sadly losing their life long home and/or dependent on their children. I’m a living testimony that it is possible to retain my independence and live within my retirement income. My mobile home park is owner only, no rentals, and everyone here has a vested interest in keeping up their home and maintaining our neighborhood. I have no complaints, feel safe, love my neighbors and the park owners keep up with their responsibilities (sometimes with our nudging) and our monthly lot fees include trash removal, snow plowing and road repairs, water and cable TV service.

    1. Hi Nina!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’m so glad that you made the right decision for you and had the strength of character to not care what people thought. I hope I can make smart decisions like that. Thank you so much for commenting!

      PS You should be writing articles for Mobile Home Living! I loved reading every word! Thank you!

      1. Hi, again, wow, thank you, you made my day! What a compliment coming from you — love your articles and have been subscribing to your website for ages and look forward your email hitting my inbox. I fix a cup of coffee and settle in to read every article, much like my grandparents used to do with the Sunday paper!

  20. Ana Maria Dudley

    The writer is very wrong and has very old data! We are so happy in our 55 and older community, we bought our home 5 years ago last month and it has gone in value $40,000 dollars! In the park we live in the houses stay on the market at the most one week, the waiting list is very long. This move allowed my husband to retire from teaching and be debt free, no maintenance since the place was totally remodeled when we bought it. How I wish there was something like our park in our community for young families. I love, love! living in our park!

    1. Hi Ana Maria!

      I’m convinced that we don’t have true data on mobile and manufactured homes that are classified as personal property for two reasons: A lot of people will enter a lower price so they don’t have to pay sales taxes on the home (if that’s how their state works) and states simply aren’t keeping a separate record of sales on the homes. Therefore, we can’t know how many homes are gaining and/or losing value. Of course, even if those aren’t a factor the location will always be.

      I’ve often said I couldn’t wait to be 55 so I could move into one of those awesome parks in FL. We used to live in Nokomis, FL and there are some parks there that would be gated communities with mansions to shame. I bet your park is one of those – lucky!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  21. Heather Rosenthal

    We dealt with a lot of negativity from the place where we purchased our home. Today, I live in a manufactured home on a lot of acreage (thanks to my husband’s family from past generations) and I never pictured that as my dream home, but it was exactly what worked for us also! I would rather live way out in the woods in this home any day!
    I sincerely appreciate your articles!

  22. Dear Crystal, i am so happy to have found your site and you! Your articles are personal, helpful and well written. I feel like I know you! My daughter was struggling as a single mom of two, living in less than acceptable apartments. We bought her a 1986 Crystal Valley double wide and she (and we) are thrilled to have someplace safe and roomy for her and our beloved grandchildren. My husband is retired and he has found a new hobby maintaining, updating, and upgrading her home (with your help and inspiration). I do consider this purchase an investment, real and emotional, and I think it is paying off already in peace of mind and hope. Thank you so much!
    Robin

    1. Awe, thank you, Robin!

      I can’t write worth a dang but I try..lol..I’m so happy to hear your daughter and grandchildren are happy and safe. You are wonderful parents! If you ever need any help just comment on an article and I’ll see it in a day or two! Thank you so much for commenting (and reading)!

  23. My husband and I both sold our stick built and very expensive homes and bought a double-wide to be closer to his aging parents. We will inherit his dad’s house when he passes away. We are enjoying our >2000 sq ft manufactured home so much, we may choose to stay in it. It will be paid for and has more room than we need. We bought a re-possessed home that had been refurbished and have made our own upgrades. And yes, we live in a state where people stereo-type someone. By the way, I am a director for a large company and could choose to live anywhere.

    1. Hi Meria,

      Thank you for commenting! Homes that you aren’t afraid to change and make yours are the best kind of homes. I bet your home is gorgeous! Thank you for commenting!

  24. What a great response. Back when I first got married and not having a lot of money starting out, we realized renting was throwing money down a rabbit hole and decided to purchase a MH. Even though interest rates were outrageous then it was still cheaper than renting. Fast forward 30 years and I look back to that time and realize how smart of a decision that truly was. We were able to save enough money to purchase a land-built house & sold the MH for what we paid. Now after several job changes resulting in an increased salary I do the high-rise condo thing but I often think fondly about owning a MH.

  25. mobile_home_dude

    Hi Crystal,

    I commented on the article at her website. My comment is waiting for approval. We’ll see if it gets accepted.

    I let her know that her incorrect terminology made me suspicious right from the start.

    We should check sometime this weekend and see if my comment was approved.

    mobile_home_dude

  26. Oh, I just love my new doublewide mobile home here in Virginia. It is completely paid for. It sits on a beautiful lakefront property with a big dock, also paid for. I am 71, hubby is 74. We wanted a house on this beautiful lake, but the average house built in the 80’s is over $600 K. The relief of everything being paid off can’t be expressed into words. We got it 1/2 price and couldn’t be happier. It’s just a little over a year since we got it. It is very modern and pretty. 1500’. Love it❣️

  27. The author (realtor) of the article is a “Negative Nelly” and her comments just add to the stigma of owning a mobile or manufactured home. From what I’ve read on your page, a lot of people choose to live in a mobile home and enjoy the benefits of home ownership as well as a debt free or almost debt free life.

    We are listing our stick built home and planning on buying an older mobile home in one of our cities parks (leased land) and I’m looking forwards to making it our own and becoming debt free.

    1. Hi Shirlee!
      I’m sure you’re gonna love your new home! Just be sure to take your time picking the right park. A lot are getting bought by huge investment firms and raising rents.
      Mobile homes are definitely less stressful financially. Best of luck to you!

    2. I love Christmas and every year I try to come up with a different theme. I have a single wide and every since I have been in my home I have tried to figure out how to have a traditional tree. After investigating every nook and cranny, I finally accomplished the task. Feeling proud I would tell anyone willing to listen about my tree. One day another person asked me was I really able to put up a tree in such a tiny home. Crushed I told my husband about the comment. He laughed and reminded me it’s about the size of something but what you with it. He reminded me that in our home we have feed missionaries, we have nursed the sick, we have dried tears due to a broken heart and hosted dinner for those who would have spent the holidays alone. Everyone wants to feel valued and respected and where will I sleep tonight? Can become more of a luxury than a necessity. So to those of us who do not realize that events in our life are not always a chosen choice and all of life events can and do happen in a mobile home remember the mom with three children sleeping in a car or the man on the highway asking for food or tent city and remember thereby the grace of God go you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top