Author Topic: Considering buying a manufactured home...  (Read 4353 times)

kolorado

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Considering buying a manufactured home...
« on: June 18, 2012, 02:22:33 PM »
Right now we're renting a house in a large city for $960 a month. That's a really good price because the house is a bit run down and the neighborhood borders a high crime area. I like it here though and I feel safe. ~shrug~
So my hubby wants to move to the north side of the city where the home prices are $150K and up. The commute would be the same as now, about 5 miles. I'm ok with going north but I don't think we should spend more than $160K because that's what we can pay off in 5 years. The high average cost of homes up there will make finding a cheaper place much harder. If we were to buy north we'd only be living there about 11-16 years until hubby retires(at 50-55). Then the plan is to buy a small rural lot and build a tiny, off-grid house to live in for the next 20-30 years.
 We could live in different areas of the city with similar commute distances but in "worse" neighborhoods for about $130K. Taxes in the city are about $850 a year for the size and areas we're considering and the lot sizes are about .2 acres.
Now, I've found a manufactured home on 1.5 acres outside the city for a list price of $150K. It's a 15 mile commute. Taxes are $450 year. The property has a 2 car finished garage, a giant metal storage building, fencing and 4 sheds. The manufactured home is 1200 square feet and 20 years old. The view is nice and a park is being developed on the adjacent lots. The neighborhood is all new homes valued in the $250K range and those are still being built. This is the one of only two manufactured homes in the immediate area. I'd be able to put in the kind of garden I had in NJ(savings of $20+ a month in produce I'd grow). The kids would have all the room they wanted to explore(less trips to parks). I would have the private feel in the yard that I badly want. Distances to groceries, nice parks, banking, library, restaurants and other shopping would not change.
Undeveloped land in the outskirts goes for $25-75K an acre depending on location, size and view. Undeveloped land in the city goes for $70K-500K an acre depending on where it is.
If we were to buy this property we would not need to move again in 11-16 years, we'd simply have someone haul away the manufactured home(and get a little something for it if we could)and build our tiny house on the already developed lot.
Because of the difference in property taxes, the difference in transportation with a longer commute would be almost insignificant.
I'm worried about is the depreciating aspect of manufactured homes. I would think the land would hold its value if there were any reason we did need to sell and move again but a house in the same location would almost certainly appreciate. I'm sure we could easily sell a house in the city based on watching the market here for the last half year.
I'm also concerned about quality of life in a mobile home. I lived in one as a toddler and again for a few months as a teen and I was not a fan. Everything from the too gold fixtures and fake wood paper covered cabinets to the thin framed windows and plastic sinks feels cheap and temporary. I'm not sure if it would feel like a home to raise kids in.
So what I'm really asking is:
Does anyone live or raise kids in a manufactured home? Thoughts on durability, utilities, quality of life?
Are there differences in obtaining loans and insurance on manufactured homes as compared to "real" homes?
Has anyone lived in a mobile home while building a "real" home on their land?
Has anyone sold a mobile home off their land?
What are some convincing arguments for a reluctant spouse? The numbers alone didn't seem to make an impression on him. He seems to really have the premium part of town etched in his want list. He concedes that the choice is mostly up to me since I'm the one who is home 24/7 with the kids but even so has vetoed a half dozen possible houses we've driven to so far based on "the neighborhood" or just "Eh, I think we should look up north". I even suggested we could earn $200 a month by renting out the spots in the giant building for RV storage and that didn't seem to make an impression either.
Just so it's clear, we have made an appointment for a showing of the property but I'm not jumping up and down already pleading to buy it. I'm just trying to consider all the angles before I possibly like it a lot. I'm surprised we are even looking at it since being a manufactured home should have immediately disqualified it.
Any opinions would be welcome. :)

gecko10x

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Re: Considering buying a manufactured home...
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 02:42:52 PM »
First, from my understanding of the terminology, a "mobile home" is different from a "manufactured home". A manufactured home would be one made mostly in a factory, and the term seems to be used interchangeably with "modular" home. These can be made to the same quality of a conventional on-site stick built, which is far from the quality of a mobile home.

Now, back to your question, assuming you mean a mobile home. I would not buy one. The will depreciate far more than a regular house, and I personally would not be happy with the quality of living in one. I'm sure Bakari (and others) will disagree with me ;-) Also, loans and insurance will be different. (As a side note, a manufactured/modular home, on a permanent foundation, is considered the same as regular construction for loans/insurance.)

AJ

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Re: Considering buying a manufactured home...
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2012, 03:57:31 PM »
I can't say what you should do, but your situation sounds eerily similar to my own about a year ago. I have always wanted some acreage on the edge of town. When a great place came available for a great price, we jumped on it thinking we'd never need to move again. And indeed, if we can hold out, we may not need to, but it is far from a dream right now. The reality is, right now with both of us working (and with kids on the horizon) it will be *decades* before I have the time this land really needs to be kept in good repair, let alone to turn it into the little homestead of my fantasies. I don't know about your climate, but in rainy Oregon it takes several hours a week just to keep the grass cut and weeds at bay. Then, since it is an older house, there are endless repairs and maintenance in the house itself. In FI, I hope to spend my days turning this place into the beauty it can and should be, but right now it is just more items on an already full to-do list. the most disappointing part? We are into our second growing season now and I have yet to plant a single veggie! No time for planting when its all I can do to keep the grass <3 ft. We are thinking about trying to rent it out and moving to a lower maintenance place until we are FI and have more time. YMMV, of course.

Actually, the places we are looking at moving to are in our version of the "north side of town". We'll get to enjoy the nicer neighborhood for a few years, send the kids to the nicer schools, and then it will make a desirable rental when we're ready to move back to the country. Your hubby's plan may indeed be a good one.

kolorado

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Re: Considering buying a manufactured home...
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2012, 08:38:45 AM »
I guess the internet ate my follow-up post. :/ Again, in summary:
Thanks for the replies. Hubby loved someone seconding his opinion. ;) The thing is, what you(AJ) describe doing before kids is what we did 12 years ago. We bought into the nicest neighborhood we could with what we could afford and sold that house a couple months ago to move across the country. We knew it was a starter house so I sacrificed a lot of other desired features to have the assurance that our little starter home would retain its value and be easy to sell. It did and was so the plan there was sound.
We had three children in that 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house. The oldest is 9.5. Hubby and I grew up in the country and we very much want to give that same experience to our children. They're getting of an age to help out on a larger property.
Here in CO the conditions are dry. We've yet to mow our rental yard. I've heard just one neighbor start up a mower so far this year. The grass just doesn't want to grow higher than 4 inches without constant watering and attention. Fine by me. ;) Our NJ property was 3/4 acre and a 2 hour weekly struggle to keep under control. We even let 1/4 of the property go wild and it still consumed a lot of my husband's time. But thanks for reminding me about lot maintenance. I do need to be realistic in how much we can take on.
The property is no longer available anyway. I knew it wouldn't last. Typically for the market out here, it was on the market less than a week before it went under contract. That's why it's so important for me to hammer out these issues before I ever walk onto a property. If we really like it we just can't dilly-dally and think about it for a few days.
I appreciate the input guys, thank you!

AJ

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Re: Considering buying a manufactured home...
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 12:52:45 PM »
Here in CO the conditions are dry. We've yet to mow our rental yard. I've heard just one neighbor start up a mower so far this year. The grass just doesn't want to grow higher than 4 inches without constant watering and attention.

I am so jealous! ;)

HeidiO

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Re: Considering buying a manufactured home...
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 01:26:40 AM »
I would not do it.  We bought an old doublewide, put it on a beautiful lot, did a big remodel to it, and now need to sell b/c we have gotten to tired of commuting.  There is very little chance we will break even.  Much more likely to sell for $50,000 less than we paid.  My worst plan so far.
Heidi