The world of manufactured homes and mobile home investing can be a bit confusing for traditional real estate investors.
There are so many unique qualities to watch out for when it comes to mobile home investing.
In this article, we will explore some of these differences and take a bird’s eye view to understand more about how to invest in mobile homes.
Manufactured Homes vs. Mobile Homes
There are some clear and distinct differences between manufactured homes and mobile homes, but the two terms often get used interchangeably.
Society, in general, may even use the word trailer to describe these properties… but no matter what name is used to describe this type of housing, it is always built in a factory and transported down the highway on wheels to its current destination.
Factory homes built after June 1976 that adhere to post HUD building codes are considered manufactured homes. Factory homes built before June 1976 are considered mobile homes.
Before June 1976, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had little rules or oversight when it came to factory-built housing.
Once HUD stepped in, many builders went out of business because it was no longer a profitable venture with the increased building and safety standards. The proactive name-change to manufactured homes was an effort to distance the industry from its current “mobile” reputation. However many people, including this article, still use the term manufactured home and mobile home interchangeably.
Inside Mobile Home Parks vs. Attached to Private Land
As an active mobile home investor, you will find that some mobile homes are located in pre-existing mobile home parks, while others attached to their own private land.
Mobile homes cost around $60,000 to $120,000 on average, according to Fixr.com. If you opt for a mobile home park, you may have added monthly fees. Otherwise, you will need a plot of land to build or park your home on.
Here are some of the common similarities and differences:
Mobile Homes Located Inside a Mobile Home Park
Mobile home parks are located in all 50 states. Within these communities, the owner of the mobile home typically rents a small piece of land where the mobile home sits.
There is typically a monthly land/lot rent fee that may or may not include water, sewer, and/or trash charges. Inside a mobile home park, a mobile home owner must follow all rules and regulations of the mobile home park or risk being evicted from the community. When purchasing a mobile home inside a pre-existing mobile home park, you will almost always only be purchasing the home, and not the land.
Mobile Homes Attached to Private Land
Mobile homes attached to private land are also located in every state. When a mobile home is legally attached, or “married” to private land, the home's serial number or VIN will typically be listed on the property’s legal description.
The owner of the mobile home also owns the land and all utilities found on the property. This is considered a home/land deal.
When purchasing a mobile home attached to private land, you will also very likely be purchasing the private land the home sits on as well.
Disclaimer: There are occasions when a seller simply wants to sell the home and keep their land. In this case you have the option to purchase the mobile home and move it to another location of your choosing.
As an active mobile home investor, you may want to have a combination of mobile home properties on private land as well as located in pre-existing mobile home parks.
Age Restricted Communities vs. Family Communities
All manufactured home communities have rules.
When these communities were created, the owners decided on the age ranges of residents for their community, such as:
- Residents of all ages
- Only adults over 18 years old
- Only adults over 40 years old
- Only adults greater than 55 years old
These restrictions have likely changed little since creating the park.
Common and not-so-common park restrictions may include:
- Pet breed restrictions
- Income restrictions
- Credit restrictions
- Rental history restrictions
- Number of children or adults allowed in the home
- RVs only
- Rentals only
Singlewide Mobile Homes vs. Doublewide Mobile Homes
Manufactured homes and mobile homes are made in factories.
Mobile homes back in the 1950s-1960s were often times only 8-10 feet wide, compared to more modern day 14-16-foot-wide homes.
Manufactured homes are produced in sections. Each section will require its own serial number or vehicle identification number.
Each section will typically be moved down the highway as an individual unit. Once at the desired location, the section or sections will be secured and anchored safely to the earth. Many times a mobile home is placed on cinderblocks so as to be elevated safely off the ground.
- Singlewides (1980s and newer): Singlewide mobile homes are built no bigger than 18 feet wide and 90 feet long, with many singlewides you see running an average of 14′ x 60′.
- Doublewides (1980s and newer): Doublewide mobile homes on average are less than 40 feet wide and less than 90 feet long. Many doublewides you see will have an average dimension of 24′ x 60′.
- Triplewides: Triplewide mobile homes are three sections of mobile homes join together at the subject location. Triplewide manufactured homes are much less common than singlewides and doublewides.
Consider the Local Supply
Through what research is available online plus personally investing in mobile homes around the country, there absolutely seems to be more single wide mobile homes in existence than doublewide homes. Likewise, there seems to be more two-bedroom singlewides compared to three-bedroom singlewides.
Typically, the more mobile homes on private land and the more mobile home parks around in the market where you're working, the better chances you'll have for your investing success.
If you're curious how many mobile home parks are located around you within a 50-mile radius, follow the steps below to discover the nearby inventory.
- Click here to visit MHVillage.com (a third-party website).
- You should see an area on this page to enter in your location. Enter your location here.
- Next, make sure to expand the radius to “Within 50 miles” under the “fine-tune your search” options. Do not select any other options to fine-tune your search.
- Now click the green Search
- View all of your results within a 50-mile radius of your location. Please keep in mind that this list of mobile home parks will include some senior communities, rental-only parks, and parks with overpriced lot rents. This is also only a partial list and only represents roughly 70% of the parks around you. More than 50 parks in a 50-mile radius is a good inventory.
Every mobile home is a unique property. Every mobile home seller and buyer is typically in a unique situation. There are no cookie-cutter approaches or purchase offers to make with mobile home sellers. It is best to fully understand exactly what you are making an offer on, who you are working with, and the steps needed to safely move forward to create a win-win transaction.