Flipping A Mobile Home: One Couple’s Story
Flipping a mobile home can be a profitable project. Flipping is the act of buying a property that has seen better days with the sole intention of updating and selling it at a profit. Remember, flipping is a ‘make you or break you’ kind of project and while it can net you a nice little profit, it isn’t for the inexperienced.
When Chris, an insurance adjuster with a strong background in construction, first saw this 2001 Clayton mobile home he immediately saw its potential, something that many others can’t see when faced with an older mobile or manufactured home.
Chris saw a home with good structure and no major issues except “being extremely ugly,'” he jokes. The home was a great candidate so with a clear vision and a detailed plan of action, Chris and his wife decided to give flipping a shot. With Chris’ experience and knowledge, it could become a gorgeous home and that’s exactly what happened.
The 2001 Clayton double wide before the flip:
The exterior was in good condition, it just needed a little love.
Flipping A Mobile Home: All Work And No Play Pays Off Big Time
The mortgage payment for this 4 bedroom home was less than $500. To save money, Chris and his wife moved into the home during the remodeling process. With such a low cost of living, the couple could take their time on the project, do all the work themselves and increase their profit margin.
The repairs and changes were made on the weekends and vacations over a 3 year period. The list of improvements include:
- New flooring throughout
- Taping and texturing all the walls
- Adding baseboards and molding
- Replacing all lighting
- Painting the cabinets and refinishing the countertops
- Replacing all the plumbing fixtures
- Replacing or repairing all the doors
- Rebuilding the front porch and adding landscaping
Chris was kind enough to share lots of great information about flipping mobile homes with us. Continue reading to see the results of the home remodel and get great tips from Chris.
Flipping Mobile Homes is a Bit Different
Mobile homes are so affordable that it can make flipping them a little more complicated. The price per square footage in a manufactured homes can cost half that of a traditional home which can skew the profit margins for the inexperienced.
Flipping a mobile home requires walking a fine line between updating the structure and not outpricing the market. Knowing your area’s real estate market analysis is an absolute must for a mobile home flipping project. Learn how to perform a real estate market analysis here.
Return on Investment
Flipping a mobile home requires some forethought. In addition to knowing your area’s housing market trends, you will need to understand the return on investment so your remodeling dollars aren’t wasted.
For homes that just need a cosmetic makeover, updating the major surfaces will almost always give you a great ROI. Major surfaces include walls, ceiling, and flooring (add countertops and cabinetry for kitchens and baths). Replacing doors is smart, too.
We’ve written quite a lot about return on investments when remodeling a mobile home:
- Upgrades That Will Reduce Mobile Home Heating Costs
- Manufactured Home Renovations That Pay You Back
- 10 Smart Manufactured Home Remodeling Projects
Save money by thinking outside of the box is another tip from Chris. The breakfast nook was found at a thrift store. The couple refinished an old restaurant booth and installed it as a builtin breakfast nook.
Attention to Small Details Make a Big Difference
Chris stresses how important it is to pay attention to detail. Don’t skimp on vent covers, light switches, outlet covers, and cabinet hardware. People notice these things. Several small details work together to make one big impact in a space.
Chris mentioned that his favorite room project was the master bathroom because it was a complete remodel and transformation.
As with most older manufactured homes, the bathrooms were dated and in need of serious repair. This is usually the case when carpeting is installed. Why the manufactured housing industry was so attached to carpeting in a bathroom is beyond me. It’s a guaranteed floor destroyer, regardless of how hard you try to keep water off the floor.
Both bathrooms were completely gutted and remodeled. They removed the plastic tub and reinforced the floor so they could build a fully tiled 6′ x 6′ shower stall with a bench and shelves. A frosted skylight was installed in the middle of the shower’s ceiling to add natural light.
The exterior received plenty of love, too. New landscaping gives the home some much-needed bulk around the bottom so that it can compete against the gorgeous huge tree holding the front yard down. Get 10 great landscaping ideas for manufactured homes here.
New privacy fencing has a great return on investment. Building a deck is the top-rated project based on ROI with a 75% recoup average. See 45 great porch and deck ideas for mobile homes here.
The Interview: Flipping a Mobile Home
As always, we like to ask a few standard questions when we share a project. Fortunately, Chris was candid about his experience of flipping a mobile home.
What tools and materials did you use during your project?
Standard construction tools. The materials were obtained piece-by-piece over the course of 3-years.
What was your biggest challenge during the project? Any obstacles or things you wish you would’ve done differently?
The biggest challenge was just choosing to use so much of my extra time to work on the house while I was off of work. It’s hard to make yourself work on your only days off, at least for me it is. Of course, it’s also tough to use vacation time sometimes to work on the house, but it is paying off now.
The tub in the master bathroom took us an entire Saturday to retrieve.
Can you break down the cost of the project for us?
We bought the property for $50k, I sold it for $137k. We obtained an estimate of what it would have cost for a contractor and that estimate came in around $42k. However, we did all of the work ourselves and only spent $12k on all of it.
What was your proudest DIY moment?
My proudest moment is every time someone comes into my home and they say, “Wow, this looks nothing like a mobile home!” My insurance company even let me increase my limits to $156k during the process of selling the property.
What’s your favorite room?
My favorite room is definitely the master bathroom, it’s a total transformation.
Why did you choose a manufactured home? What advice would you give someone thinking of buying a manufactured home? –
We chose a manufactured home simply because I know from experience that they are not the nightmare that everyone likes to say they are and you can get a ton more square footage for a fraction of the price.
It is a challenge working on them only because nothing is the standard size of site-built homes. In some ways, manufactured homes are better because they are built in a climate controlled environment.
What was the biggest issue you encountered during the project?
The biggest downside for me was dealing with mortgage and insurance companies in relation to manufactured homes because they have a very narrow view of them. They are hard to finance and you can never purchase a full replacement cost policy for them.
A final piece of advice to our readers?
Mobile homes can appreciate in value if they are taken care of and especially if they are permanently installed on private property. You can read more about mobile home appreciation here.
There is money to be made flipping a mobile home if you do it right and if you can live in the home and do several projects yourself you can increase your profit margin significantly. You can up your profit by knowing where to splurge and where to be thrifty, too.
Flipping A Mobile Home isn’t for Everyone
Chris and his wife make flipping a mobile home look easy but it’s not. Flipping is a great way to make money but it is not for the inexperienced. Being familiar with all the construction aspects of a manufactured home is a must. But most importantly, you have to be able to look beyond the mobile home stigma and see the potential of a mobile home.
Have you flipped a mobile home? If you have a remodeling success story to share we would love to hear from you. Reach out to us by commenting below or emailing us.
As always, thanks for reading Mobile Home Living.