Author Topic: Any downsides to living in a trailer?  (Read 20814 times)

lifejoy

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Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« on: June 12, 2014, 11:19:25 AM »
I haven't lived in one, but I'm strongly considering it. Have you experienced it? Pros and cons?

GuitarStv

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2014, 11:20:16 AM »
Awful insulation . . . cold in the winter, hot in the summer.

gimp

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2014, 11:31:10 AM »
Any girl you try to bring back will think you're trying to murder her.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 11:31:41 AM »
Banks charge much higher interest rates for mortgages on trailers.  Closer to 7 or 8%.   They are also harder to sell and do not appreciate in value at the same rate that a house does (if at all).

Zikoris

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2014, 11:41:31 AM »
My family lived in one briefly as a teenager - it was pretty bad, and a strong motivator to get out on my own when I hit 18. The issue for me was noise - the walls are paper thin, and if someone's watching TV, everybody else has to listen to it. I ended up chronically sleep deprived because my mom and her husband liked to stay up very late talking, watching tv, and playing board games loudly, and I couldn't get away from it (we previously lived in a two-story duplex, and I could just go to my room upstairs and sleep fine).

I don't imagine that would be a problem for one person or a couple, however.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 11:58:47 AM »
Depreciating asset.

Ottawa

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 12:03:15 PM »
Yes - Tornadoes always seek them out! 

But on a more serious note - Are you talking about a trailer park trailer or a mobile home type trailer?

Are you thinking about doing this in Montreal because that would be a rough ride in the winter. 

CarDude

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2014, 12:08:57 PM »
Crime rates?

EricL

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2014, 12:25:24 PM »
...mobile homes are smotherin' my Keys
I hate those bastards so much
They're ugly and square
They don't belong here
They looked a lot better as beer cans
-Jimmy Buffett (Floridian perspective)

On the other hand, Jacob at ERE loves his mobile home.  It was reasonably cheap to get, maintain, park, and mobile.  Plus the limited storage space keeps him from buying a lot of junk.

lifejoy

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2014, 12:49:16 PM »
Awful insulation . . . cold in the winter, hot in the summer.

If you live in a mild climate, does that solve that?

lifejoy

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2014, 12:50:50 PM »
I'm really into the tiny house movement. I guess I'm the king of mobile home or trailer vs. small apartment.

lifejoy

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2014, 12:51:31 PM »
I'm really into the tiny house movement. I guess I'm the king of mobile home or trailer vs. small apartment.

Haha oops, typo + autocorrect!

I meant "I guess I'm kind of thinking mobile home..."

frugaliknowit

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2014, 01:08:13 PM »
You might consider watching the series (available on Netflix) "Trailer Park Boys" to learn more.

skandrae

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2014, 01:23:33 PM »
Having just purchased one at the end of April, because the cost of renting an apartment in Whitehorse was so high that taking out a loan on a trailer actually allowed me to get ahead, I don't have a whole year's worth of experience to give you.

Thus far, I'm enjoying the trailer park, which has lots of trees and walking trails, and all of my neighbours seem great. I'm not sure about heating/insulation for trailers outside of the north, as ours have the "arctic package."

I think the trailer is even a little too big for just me and the cat :P

DoubleDown

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2014, 01:37:08 PM »
I think the major downsides are:

1. Lot rental fee (you are at the mercy of rents rising over the years, and just picking up and moving is not a practical option).

2. Likely depreciation instead of appreciation. Mobile homes have very poor resale value, in general, whereas single family homes are likely to go up in value over time.

3. The other things already mentioned -- privacy, neighbors, insulation, social stigma (if you care about that)

That said, I've seen some decent mobile home parks, so maybe it works in some situations. Overall, though, I'd be far more likely to either buy a small home, or just rent an apartment or condo rather than purchase a mobile home. I think buying a mobile home is inferior, financially, to the other choices.

MidwestGal

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2014, 01:54:06 PM »
Why live in a trailer when you can live in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER?!?!?

Seriously though, I had a buddy who lived in a rental one just off base.  Rent and utilities cost him $325.  I have no idea whether that's supposed to be a good deal or not.  He never had any complaints, but maybe the area was slightly more livable due to the proximity of the military installation.  They weren't too bad looking from the outside but I never saw in.

AlanStache

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2014, 01:57:52 PM »
Quote
1. Lot rental fee (you are at the mercy of rents rising over the years, and just picking up and moving is not a practical option).

yep, quickly looked before buying a condo and the fees for the mobile home park were like 400-600$/month.  On a straight dollars basis I did not think I would come out a head especially with trailer depreciation. 

But buying a used RV or camper trailer and parking it on someones land for cheap might be a real money saver if you want that life style or options.

crazy jane

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2014, 02:03:28 PM »
I was conceived in one so I only see them as a wonderful place to begin one's life. No downside from my perspective.

socaso

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2014, 02:05:56 PM »
Apparently there are some nice trailer parks out there. My husband's relatives have a trailer on the lake that is in a trailer park and they always talk about how nice it is. I guess the majority of people in that particular park use their trailers as vacation homes.

gimp

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2014, 02:30:14 PM »
Having just purchased one at the end of April, because the cost of renting an apartment in Whitehorse was so high that taking out a loan on a trailer actually allowed me to get ahead, I don't have a whole year's worth of experience to give you.

Thus far, I'm enjoying the trailer park, which has lots of trees and walking trails, and all of my neighbours seem great. I'm not sure about heating/insulation for trailers outside of the north, as ours have the "arctic package."

I think the trailer is even a little too big for just me and the cat :P

I passed through whitehorse recently. It seems like 90% of the Yukon lives there, and jesus christ is it expensive. Largely due to it being the only choice for a lot of people, largely because it's a bitch and a half to transport everything there (though on the other hand, maybe not as bad as some of the places I went through in Alaska)... Very nice little downtown area, though.

Emilyngh

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2014, 02:40:58 PM »
I asked a similar(ish) question a couple of months ago, so you might find this thread interesting:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/manufactured-homes/msg289249/#msg289249

I still am not convinced that the general anti-mobile home sentiment is not strongly influenced by class bias (eg, wouldn't want to be confused for one of "them").    Insulation issues concern me and mortgage rates and/or lot fees might make it not so frugal (which is why we wouldn't be paying either if we did it), but ultimately I think that the numbers would need to be realistically run (estimated depreciation if any, potential long selling times, etc) and it may or may not ultimately make sense depending on individual circumstances.

lizzzi

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2014, 02:50:42 PM »
Don't forget safety issues. They can be deathtraps in case of fires. I lived in a mobile home as military housing during my husband's temporary duty in Alabama in the late 70's. It was fine for something like that, but I wouldn't buy one or want to live in one permanently for all the reasons others have said. It is absolutely nothing to do with snobbishness. I agree with those who mentioned renting an apartment, or renting or buying a small house…maybe a condo, if it fits your style.

InXS

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2014, 02:54:42 PM »
A Tiny house might be an another alternative?

skandrae

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2014, 03:00:15 PM »

I passed through whitehorse recently. It seems like 90% of the Yukon lives there, and jesus christ is it expensive. Largely due to it being the only choice for a lot of people, largely because it's a bitch and a half to transport everything there (though on the other hand, maybe not as bad as some of the places I went through in Alaska)... Very nice little downtown area, though.

Yeah, the options in WH are pay through the nose for an apartment, pay through the nose for a trailer, and pay through the nose for a gigantic house. I loved the apartment I was living in because it was downtown and I could walk to work, but it cost me 50% of my take-home pay for the privilege...and it was infested with silverfish and supernoisy neighbours.

WH is a wonderful town, and I'm glad that I live here, but it is ridiculously expensive.

netskyblue

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2014, 03:09:23 PM »
People are assuming mobile home park.  I've personally considered buying a plot of land and putting a mobile home on it then later in life building a nicer home, just to get me out of renting.  And I want land even more than I want house.  Though I do want both...

darkadams00

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2014, 03:17:33 PM »
The two primary benefits are costs and location. Both of those are completely dependent on your current living situation and future plans.

The downsides of...

Living in a trailer:
1) Safety issues due to construction methods (fire has been mentioned)
2) Low quality of construction materials (pictures fall off walls, sound carries, structure is less stable, things break more easily, terrible energy efficiency ratings, etc)
3) Design makes repairs more difficult, and specialty parts might be used for HVAC, electrical, and plumbing (limited/more costly DIY repairs).
4) Social stigma exists unless you surround yourself with like-minded folks miles from town. They might live there because they make $30K and have no better choices. You're living there because you make $60K and are trying to save money presumably. Those friends won't care because from the housing perspective, you're equals. But if your friends live in two-story houses with two-car garages in nice neighborhoods in the 'burbs or in hip studios in downtown, you'll be hard pressed to avoid social eyebrow raising if you invite them over for dinner. "That's cute" and "Isn't this quaint" will dominate the conversation, regardless of whether you're saving $20K on housing per year or not.

Buying a trailer:
1) Depreciating asset
2) High interest rate
3) Continuing and rising lot rent (more expensive than most HOA fees, often without the community benefits of pool, clubhouse, playground, and reasonable covenants--today the neighborhood looks nice, but in five years disrepair is beginning to show as trailers age and are not well maintained.)


darkadams00

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2014, 03:26:40 PM »
People are assuming mobile home park.  I've personally considered buying a plot of land and putting a mobile home on it then later in life building a nicer home, just to get me out of renting.  And I want land even more than I want house.  Though I do want both...

Two years after their wedding, my sister and brother-in-law lived in a repaired 35' RV on three acres in the country for almost a year when they quit renting and got ready to build a house. He bought the RV wrecked for $3K, fixed it himself, built a small utility building for tools and supplies, and started building. No drive time needed between building site and home, and everyone thought he was being very resourceful. After the year of working his public job and his "house" job, he sold the RV for $4K and moved into an appraised $295K brick home with only a $90K mortgage--savings and daily sweat equity at work!


Latwell

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2014, 07:29:18 PM »
In my area, the lower lot rent of $450 would be what you would otherwise be paying in taxes if you owned a normal home. We have two parks down the road from each other. One is the $470 range per month for lot rent and the other one is $645.

We were considering purchasing one of the mobile homes in the cheaper park. The home was plenty of space for us and we'd gain a lot more than we have from our current apartment. However, we realized that the warm months were a nightmare b/c the area is infested w/ gnats. If it weren't for the insane amount of bugs, we would have definitely purchased the place.

The more expensive lot had a smaller place.. but less bugs. When they told me the rent fee, I laughed.

StarryC

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2014, 07:36:46 PM »
"Trailer" means different things to different people.

There are "camper" type trailers that attach in under an hour to a truck and roll away. 

There are single wide, "manufactured" homes which are attached to a cement pad, and are expensive and difficult to move, and are hooked up "permanently" to water, electricity, etc.  Older units, before say 1995 are much worse quality.

There are "double wide" manufactured homes.  Same thing, but even bigger.  Very permanent, since the two parts get joined.   The defining noticeable thing about these is they are 1 story, and usually longer than wide.  But, you might not notice what it was otherwise. 

I grew up in a double wide on a very rural lot.  It was poorer quality than "high quality" homes.  It was better quality than crappy quickly built tract homes.   It was quicker to build, and cheaper because of the location.  It took about 3-weeks to move the old 1970's single wide trailer, finish the plot, and put the new one in.  "Stick built" would have meant my family spending months someplace else, and paying mileage for all the workers for that time too.  I think it was a mustachian choice!

So, a camper would be fun, tiny house style.  It would have insulation problems, sure.  However, you wouldn't HAVE to be in a "trailer park."  Or anywhere really!  If you didn't like it, you could move! 

All of the "downsides" of a trailer are the same as an apartment-they depend on neighbors, construction quality, and size to be safe and pleasant. 

JustTrying

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2014, 08:18:03 PM »
I have a friend who recently bought a lot of land and a motorhome (yes, like what you go camping with), and has been fixing it up and living in it. She's really liking the process! I have a lot of hobbies that require large equipment, so I can't imagine doing such a thing, but I think it's a rather mustachian idea. It's kind of fun seeing her before and after pictures as she makes progress! She lives far away from me, so I've never seen the camper in real life, but she posts progress pictures online pretty often.

abhe8

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2014, 08:24:22 PM »
TORNADOE!!!! if you live in such an area.

the trailer parks in my town have a lot of crime. but i would LOVE to have a travel trailer, to pull behind the truck, ore even a class B to travel and live in. iw ould also love to buy some land, have a trailer delivered and live in it for a while while I build my house. i think i would first have them dig a storm shelter.

taekvideo

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2014, 11:10:42 PM »
Trailers don't really make sense financially... at least in this area... they cost roughly the same per month as an apartment, and you have to actually buy them...
I'm not sure why people go for it tbh.

chasesfish

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2014, 05:16:15 AM »
I grew up in one, they put a trailer on 7 acres and had a bigger barn than house.

The biggest issue I had was repairs/maintenance.  It wasn't normal drywall ceilings, it wasn't normal flooring.  Insluation sucked.  No attic/basement.

Your better off with an 800-1200 sqft stick built house in my opinion.

rusty

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2014, 06:03:27 AM »
I insured a bunch when I worked in the insurance (home auto) market.  Quality of construction was always an issue.  Depreciation was amazing.  After 20 years, you had something worth about $6k (single wide).  Double wides were very expensive, but many people saw it as a way to buy almost 2,000 sq for under 100k.  I had many clients who took great care of theirs, but insulation and depreciation were always an issue.

GuitarStv

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2014, 06:35:44 AM »
Awful insulation . . . cold in the winter, hot in the summer.

If you live in a mild climate, does that solve that?

Probably.  But we live in Canada, eh?

BigHammah

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2014, 07:03:47 AM »
Hi libraryjoy,

Me & the wifey lived in a single-wide for awhile. Rented it for $500 (US) a month. This was rural Maine. With oil heat it was still under $700 a month average year round. Wasn't in a trailer park. This one was pretty decent because it was a late 70's one (think less flimsy, when materials where cheap and engineers cared less about shaving off weight here and there to increase profits). It had wood framed walls, decent insulation and drywall instead of paneling (I can imagine the truck that brought it there creaking and groaning with every bump in the road!).

I wouldn't buy one unless: A) it a little bit older (past the steep depreciation phase) AND it was in very good shape, B) you try living in one for awhile, and C) you have a lot with septic & well-water in a receptive community (that will let you put in an older mobile home). Then you'll be able to have very low costs.

D) You also have to figure in the length you'll be living there. I would treat it like an asset that will have a junk value when you're done with it, so take your upfront cost and divide it by the months you'll be living there, add it to your taxes and heat costs and figure out if it's worthwhile. E) Never take a loan for any type of home with wheels, or that needs wheels to get to where you want it.

If you can swing it, your total cost per month should be far less than renting or buying an equivalent sized home (seeing that it's an "inferior" quality home), otherwise it's not worth it. Later on if you move out and keep it in good condition, and its operating costs are minimal you can rent it out and turn it into a decent investment.

bo_knows

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2014, 07:06:10 AM »
A Tiny house might be an another alternative?

Yeah, I'd much rather have a tiny house on a friends lot, than a double-wide in a trailer park.

BigHammah

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2014, 07:12:12 AM »
Oh, and I'll add that you shouldn't give a shit about the stigma portion of it (which is why I didn't think to mention it at first).

As a reader of this blog, you'll probably understand that it's better to live in a trailer, have a $1mil net worth and the freedom of FI than in some 3,000 sq ft house and a negative net worth. So who gives a rat's tail about what others think? Anyone passing judgement on you will probably be in the negative net worth category, and your like-minded neighbors will accept you as one of their own. My trailer years were some good times.

MrsPete

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2014, 07:15:34 AM »
Trailers are fairly popular around here, and they tend to fall into three distinct groups:

- Those in horrible, horrible trailer parks populated by people living in real poverty.  These trailers are visibly rusty and are in awful condition (i.e., broken windows, holes in the walls and floors).  The trailers are crammed in side-by-side with perhaps 20' between them, and usually the space is full of garbage.  I can't imagine living in such conditions. 
- Trailers in nicer trailer parks where the lots are bigger and greenery exists. 
- Trailers on private land out in the country. 

While the second two sound moderately acceptable, they're not a good use of your money in the long run.  As others have said, a trailer is titled like a car -- it is a depreciating asset.  Second, they're made of flimsy material and poor construction: When you walk through one, the floor vibrates.  When someone's watching TV in the living room, people in the bedroom hear it.  And every year we hear of several trailers burning today, and they burn SO FAST -- literally, a fire can whip through a trailer in something like 20 seconds; if you're asleep, you're almost certainly dead.  While your up-front cost might be cheap, your energy bills and insurance will cost a fortune. 

Rural

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Re: Any downsides to living in a trailer?
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2014, 07:30:14 AM »
A disadvantage I didn't think of in Emily's discussion a couple of months ago: we could not purchase insurance for our trailer at any price. It wasn't available. I went to several companies and then multiple brokers. Couldn't get homeowner's insurance for a mobile of that age. So check into that, too, if you are thinking of an older one.


Frankly, having been there, I can't think of any upside aside from short-term cost. Even cost doesn't work out in the longer term, not even if, like us, you get the trailer for free, because when the collapse/ catastrophic leak/ fire (!) comes you lose the contents, too. It was worth it for us, and I don't regret it, because it was a predetermined limited term stint in a free trailer--we were there four years.