Author Topic: Living in a trailer park?  (Read 22095 times)

JohnGalt

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Living in a trailer park?
« on: August 06, 2013, 09:28:38 AM »
Anyone doing this?

I close on my house next week and still don't know where I'm going yet.  As I've been looking at apartments to rent, houses to buy, etc - I came across a manufactured home for sale (~$16,000) in a park right in an area that would make sense for me with a $475/mo lot rent.  If I were to rent a comparably sized / quality apartment in that area - it would probably be ~$1,100/mo.  In reality, I would most likely rent a smaller apartment for ~$700/mo. 

Comparing it to the $700/mo, spending $16,000 up front to save $225/mo in rent and live in a larger space without sharing walls with anyone doesn't sound like a bad deal.  Even if the house depreciated 100% over the next 6 years, I'd still break even.  Even taking into account the opportunity cost of not investing that money ($50/mo) and that I would have to cover maintenance on the place (can't imagine it would be too much as I really wouldn't care about the place), it still doesn't seem like a bad deal.  Kind of a middle ground between buying another house (don't really want to do) and renting.

My full plan would be to use the place as a cheap "home base" that I wouldn't have to keep moving in and out of while I do short term rentals / sublets in different parts of the country over the next few years to help me decide on where I want to move to more permanently and then either dump it for cheap, rent it out, or possibly even give it to my brother so he could have a cheap place to live.

So - just wondering what anyone else's experience has been living in a trailer park.  I'm not really sure what to expect. 

Any issues with pets?
How have your neighbors been?
Crime?  -This is in a nice part of town so I'm not really worried.
Hidden costs?

AJ

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 09:48:44 AM »
It's not a bad idea, but some things you'll want to keep in mind:

  • It may be difficult to sell if you ever need to. You will have to keep paying the $475 a month until you find a buyer, which is harder to do for those types of places.
  • You probably won't be able to rent it out. I'm sure it depends on the park, but all of the ones I've seen explicitly forbid subletting.
  • Along the lines of #2 - parks have TONS of rules. In my mother's, she isn't allowed to park on the street (visitors must park at the clubhouse and walk to her place), she isn't allowed to have any weeds in her little yard (so you'll need a yard service if you don't live there for a few months at a time), and they do restrict the pets you can have (many don't allow them).
  • Also in my mom's, they limited the utilities she could have. Her park only allowed one cable provider because they got a kick-back, so she was forced to pay more $$ for lower quality than if she could have chosen her own.

Personally, I have no compunctions against living in a tailor, but I wouldn't live in a park unless I had no other choice. Still, it could be an economical solution for you, if you don't mind the restrictions of the particular park.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 10:36:49 AM »
I've never lived in a trailer, but I've worked for a lot of clients who did. So, bear in mind that I have seen the worst side of living in a trailer park. In addition to the potential issues AJ mentioned, consider:
  • If you violate a rule, and the LL doesn't want you there, s/he will do what s/he can to get you out -- therefore forcing you to sell your trailer to the only available bidders (which may just be your LL, trying to get a steal)
  • It's expensive to move the trailer -- in the event that your neighbors are unbearable or the LL is trying to kick you out or your LL is not providing snow removal/maintenance on the park, moving the trailer is probably not an option; especially if it is older
  • You will be responsible for upkeep of the trailer -- be sure to have it inspected before you buy
  • The value of the trailer depreciates, so I would add a reasonable depreciation value to your monthly "expenses" -- you are not acquiring an asset that you can sell for the same amount that you paid for it.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 11:34:23 AM »
Mobile homes are not considered "real" property, they are considered "personal" property and thus generally interest rates are much higher and loans harder to get.  If you're paying cash, this may not be an issue but when you go to sell, it limits the number of prospective buyers.   If you buy it, the MH will be titled as if it were a car.

Personal property is also (in my state) taxed at a higher rate.

Finally, if you owned the land, then you could install the MH on a permanent foundation and get the trailer's title from the DMV so you can have the MH designated as real property.  But if you don't own the land, this is not an option and the MH would remain personal property.


Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2013, 11:42:26 AM »
I would rent a house or find an apartment.

meadow lark

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 04:35:27 PM »
I would do it if I didn't have big dogs.  And my wife didn't object.  Hmm, I wonder if it would adversely effect your love life.     I know of a lovely park near us that is attractive, clean, well managed, and friendly and I would live there.

Christiana

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2013, 05:04:34 PM »
You'll spend a lot more on electricity for AC in a trailer, which is basically a big metal box set right out in the hot sun, than you will in an apartment, where there are probably some walls shared with non-Mustachians who keep their homes wastefully cool.  They also are hard to heat when it's cold.

Go and check out the construction, the condition, the appliances, and the size of the water heater, and see if they are things you can live with.

An apartment could offer more security against break-ins, since you plan to be out of town a lot and for extended periods.


tooqk4u22

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 07:43:16 AM »
So far there the comments are mostly negative from a group that is supposed to be trying to be badass and open to varying lifestyles to make that happen. 

I don't have an opinion one way or the other and put it into the category of it depends - sure there are some stereotypical trailer parks that are full of beat up trailers and degenerates but there are some that have million dollar trailers.  I had an aunt that lived in one that was across from the beach and she was there for 20 years and loved it - until they kicked her out to redevelop the park into something else, but they gave her a big check to walk away.

Anyway, I saw this site http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/ interviewed on madfientist and they live in one and seem to have a very positive view of it - to each his own.


ender

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 08:52:45 AM »
So far there the comments are mostly negative from a group that is supposed to be trying to be badass and open to varying lifestyles to make that happen. 

Hmm?

Just because something is different doesn't necessarily make it a good idea or one which will not have risks/difficulties.

Rural

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 11:33:07 AM »
I've lived in the trailer (as old and run-down as they come), but I wouldn't do it in a park. Too much togetherness and too little security and insulation.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 01:45:16 PM »
So far there the comments are mostly negative from a group that is supposed to be trying to be badass and open to varying lifestyles to make that happen. 

Hmm?

Just because something is different doesn't necessarily make it a good idea or one which will not have risks/difficulties.

Where did I say it WAS a good idea just because it was different, just like I didn't say it WAS a bad idea.  But the OP is contemplating it so we should be open to provide ideas and opinions, which thus far have been negative and appear to primarily based on stereotypes or significantly limited experience.  If I walk across the street and get hit by a car would it be fair for me to argue that all roads, cars, drivers, are bad....hell maybe it was my fault for walking at that time (or living in a fucked up trailer park).


Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 02:15:40 PM »

Where did I say it WAS a good idea just because it was different, just like I didn't say it WAS a bad idea.  But the OP is contemplating it so we should be open to provide ideas and opinions, which thus far have been negative and appear to primarily based on stereotypes or significantly limited experience.  If I walk across the street and get hit by a car would it be fair for me to argue that all roads, cars, drivers, are bad....hell maybe it was my fault for walking at that time (or living in a fucked up trailer park).

I beg to differ. As I wrote in my post, I have worked with many people who live(d) in trailer parks -- somewhere between 30-50 people.

Tami1982

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 12:47:59 AM »
I lived most of my life in trailer parks, until about the age of 24.  I say it really depends on the park.  Our parks was an all ages park, which tends to make it less restrictive.  Parks for 55+ are, and again, this is a generality, militant about rules.  Maybe you can talk to neighbors and the people who run or own the park.  We did have people renting in ours, kinda on the sly.  Depends on how nosy your neighbors are and much enforcement of the rules the managers/owners do.

We had a few restrictions on pets - just a deposit and a limit on the number.  Our utilities were incredibly cheap because of how well the newer (1993) mobiles are insulated and we had a fairly large lot and a good sized yard.  You will upset neighbors if your dogs are barkers and you don't work to control them, but for the most part, I had good experiences.  As a kid, we had built in friends and a large community to play in.

I have seen people try to sell their mobiles in a park, and struggle to do so.  If you are trying to move on with life they can become a ball and chain dragging you down when you are trying to get out.  Try and get it as cheap as possible, and only put enough money in to maintain it.  Don't remodel, you won't get the money back. 

Best of luck!

Forcus

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 10:38:24 AM »
The math would generally decide it for me. That means including all expenses - as others noted sometimes trailers aren't the most efficient. And you live in a hot / humid / sunny area. Also important to calculating each is the depreciation of the trailer. New ones have incredible depreciation that tapers off over time. If it is $16k for a newer (less than 5 years old) trailer in a nice trailer court, that's not bad. If it's older in a so-so area, not so much. As a supporting example, if you expect to live there 5 years, and the trailer is 5 years old now, I'd expect it to be worth no more than $10k at the end of your stay, so there is about $100/mo additional "cost" in depreciation over renting. Of course you are also responsible for maintenance. Probably not a big issue for your location and if its a newer unit. if older, you will always have to budget for water heaters, HVAC, etc., as they tended to not be quite as robust as house units. Make sure you understand insurance costs too. I don't know what the difference is but assume there is one.

Like I said the math would probably decide for me. I lived in an old trailer for a short amount of time while I secured an apartment. I liked the space and lack of noise (at least, with directly adjacent neighbors in an apartment) but it ended up being more costly and an apartment, and the apartment was nice, with a pool. Your mileage will vary!

shadowmoss

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 12:11:58 PM »
I just bought an older trailer in a +55 park here in Phoenix, and I've owned 3 other trailers in prior years elsewhere and grew up living in trailers.  In other words, I'm comfortable in the environment.  I found I HATE living in an apartment where they can come in for any reason with 'notice'.  I own the trailer.  Where I am now has pebble yards, common down here, and I'm really down with that!  The park has a pool, hot tub, community room, exercise room, billiards room, library, and other things.  Since it is summer in Phoenix and these parks here are mostly filled with snowbirds, the park is really quiet right now.  Talk to me in January to see if it still is.  I paid 5.5K for a newly remodeled trailer with new appliances and a 1yr old heatpump.  My lot rent and utilities included, other than internet, is less than the apartment rent alone was.  They do limit the size and number of pets.  I'm totally happy now.  I figure I can sell it in a few years if I want to for a couple of thousand and stll come out ahead.  Or, this is a safe enough place I can use it as a base while I travel in retirement.

lentilman

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2013, 07:20:08 PM »
I lived in a trailer park for a few years awhile back.

No problems with the neighbors (except for one Halloween egging).  As long as the rent was on time, the management was cool.  I did get a visit from the cops because I had a car parked on the street - that wasn't allowed and they ran the plate to track me down.


kendallf

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Re: Living in a trailer park?
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2013, 08:20:50 PM »
Buy an older, well maintained trailer if you can since they depreciate like cars.  A number of years ago I bought an older singlewide that was in a good park for $3k.  It needed a couple of window leaks fixed and I had to patch the floor under those windows.  The park rent and utilities were reasonable; we did not have central A/C, just a window unit that we used sparingly.  We saved a ton of money the two years we lived in it, and I sold the trailer for $3500 when we bought a house.  If we had stayed in that trailer I would be a millionaire now.  :-)

Bakari

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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2013, 08:59:23 PM »
I've lived in trailer parks my entire adult life, both the mobile home and RV variety, in CA, MI, and NJ (with brief stays in places everywhere in between), 3 different ones in the SF Bay Area (CA).

I've never lived in an actual mobile home though.  Too expensive, and not actually "mobile" in a practical sense.  Many mobile home parks allow travel trailers or other RV types to rent spaces if they have some spaces without mobile homes in place.  (Many others don't).
I've traded up from a 1969 15ft Class B ($1500) to a 1977 26ft Class C ($2500) to a 1995 35ft Travel trailer ($7500), where I am currently writing from right now. 
About 250sq ft of non-wall-sharing space, plus covered "porch" small garden, two parking spaces, and 4x8ft storage shed, in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country (SF Bay Area), for about $500 a month, including utilities(!), which I split with my girlfriend.

Perhaps it isn't an option in any of the parks you are looking at, but there are a lot of advantages.  Way cheaper (even more than sticker price, since you can more likely buy without a loan and avoid any interest, and tax is based on purchase price). You can move it yourself, anytime, for free.  Its extremely easy to set up a solar system.  It's appliances are a bit more efficient, since they are designed with dry camping in mind (mobile homes tend to just use regular household appliances). 


More than 1/2 my neighbors have pets.  I've known a few trailer park residents with large dogs, but I don't know how / why they do it.  Indoor cats the park has no reason at all to care, since you own the property they will be living in, but I've had no problems with outdoor cats either so far.  My current landlord doesn't especially like pets, but he won't ban them either.

Almost none of my neighbors have fit the trailer trash stereotypes (which, honestly, has been a little disappointing).  There was one who had a monster truck, and a couple who did demolition derbies, but the majority have just been random ordinary people, with a wide range of ethnicities, incomes, ages, family sizes, political orientations, etc.

Of all the parks I've lived in (or visited), only one had problems with crime, after new owners took over and stopped doing background checks on applicants and stopped requiring residents to own their own trailer.

Hidden costs - hmmm... Well, there is maintenance on the trailer.  Its a whole lot less than for a house, but of course its more than zero, so its more than an apartment or rental house.  Some parks charge HOA fees, usually the ones where you buy your space, which wouldn't work for the flexibility you're looking for. 

Contrary to popular opinion, I have found heating and cooling costs to be as low or lower.  There is a lot less cubic volume of air and stuff to heat or cool.  Combine a white roof, tinted windows, a reasonably moderate climate, and tolerance for mild discomfort, and I have not used ANY A/C for 2 years now.  Used heat about a half dozen days in the last 2 years (it was a xmas splurge, and then we had the heater out, so we gave in a few times before putting it back in the shed).  Most recent electric bill: 77kWh, for $10.21

In summary: none of the objections listed here are consistently valid.  In some parks, and with some trailers, yes, but all can be avoided or worked around.  Your results may vary.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 10:52:39 AM by Bakari »