Buying Land For a Manufactured Home and Choosing Your Model
1. The first thing you should do is form a project budget. Knowing how much you have to spend will help you narrow choices to what is affordable. You might also want to look at manufactured homes and have some idea of the home you want. This could help with later decisions about where to live, as the size of the home you like will determine the property you should select.
2. How much should you borrow? You should get approved for the maximum amount you have available. You don’t have to use it all. But often, unforeseen expenses can trip you up, and you don’t want to be short on funds if this occurs. Costs can increase if the home doesn’t fit for some reason right away, if there are delays or problems with transit from the factory to your home location, or if there are permit issues that come up. Make sure to have some financial breathing room to deal with eventualities.
3. Now, decide where you want to live. Do you want to live in a mobile home park? Do you want to be in the city or the outskirts? Maybe you want to live in a rural area away from it all. Knowing what you are looking for will immediately narrow the choices you have to consider.
4. If you want a rural property, some prime considerations will be getting your home on the site (access), utilities, septic, zoning, and water. You don’t want to invest in a property only to find out you can’t place a home there.
- Access: You will need to have access to your property. Not just for you but also large enough that the home can be delivered to your property. If the home cannot be delivered it will be sent back to the factory, which could be a very expensive mistake. If your property is not on a road, you will require an easement from another property. If you have a narrow or difficult road on your property, you must ensure it is upgraded to allow a large wide-load truck to deliver your home.
- Electricity: Electric power may be available close to your property choice, and hooking it up is relatively easy. But if not, trying to connect to the electric grid could become very expensive. There are options available if the grid is too far away. You can set up local wind or solar power with battery storage. Even if you are connected to the grid, you might want to consider these options to provide independence from the grid and energy savings. In some places, you can even sell your excess power back to the grid.
- Internet: Internet access is becoming a standard utility. In rural areas, it is common to not have broadband internet access from power poles. In these situations, satellite internet services can be accessed from anywhere in the United States. Also, if you have cell phone service, you can use your phone to create a hotspot to which you can connect your devices to access the internet, but this will be a slow connection.
- Septic: In a rural area, you will have to install a septic system to handle waste. You will need to conduct a perk test to determine what sort of system you require or if you can put in a septic system at all. You should check on this before buying the property. In some areas, you must own a certain amount of acreage to install a septic system.
- Water: In a rural setting, it is unlikely you will have a city water source available, so you will need a well to obtain water. You will want to ensure water is available underground before buying the property. Also, consider if water usage is high versus the amount of replenishment from various sources. If the water table drops, you could have an empty well and spend a lot of money digging a deeper one.
- Zoning: Before buying your land, you want to ensure the zoning permits manufactured homes. Some areas do not allow these types of homes. Also, the zoning might not be residential and disallow people to live on the property.
- Setbacks: Before building your foundation or even selecting a mobile home, ensure the home will fit into the available space. Sometimes, local ordinances will require homes to be a certain distance from property edges, sidewalks, and roads. Placing your home too close to something with a setback will mean you’d have to move it again, which could be very expensive. Check on the setbacks before you choose your home.
5. If you choose to live in a mobile home park, your first decision is whether to rent or own the land you’ll be occupying. If you rent, you will want assurances that the rental rates won’t spike. It has become common in recent years for large corporations to buy up rental parks and massively increase lot rents. Mobile homes have mobile in the name but aren’t very easy to move. It is extremely expensive, and older units often can’t survive being moved. So the people who rent these spaces are stuck paying whatever price is forced on them. In light of this, if you can afford it, you would be better off owning the property your home is on so you can’t be evicted or gouged. Many mobile home parks have private ownership of the lots, but you must call around to find out which parks have ownership.
- Access: This is an advantage of mobile home parks; they are designed for mobile homes and will have the access required to place your home. The pad will also already be in place and ready to go.
- Utilities: Another advantage of mobile home parks is they already have utilities provided. So the home just has to be delivered and hooked up.
- Zoning: Mobile home parks are already zoned for manufactured homes, so there won’t be any issues or surprises.
- Setbacks: Setbacks apply here too. In an established mobile home park, you will want to insure your home fits within the space available. If you are too close to the park’s common areas, they may require you to move it.
6. Additional issues:
- Setup costs can become huge if things don’t go smoothly. The best way to avoid problems is to hire a contractor specializing in manufactured homes. All the hookups have to align. The foundation must match the home. You’ll want to make sure all the permits are obtained. A contractor can help you with this. The cost of hiring the contractor will be far less than any mistakes you might make without one.
- If you are moving to a mobile home park, you will want to ensure there aren’t any age requirements. Many parks are for seniors only or don’t allow pets or children. Some parks cater to the needs of families. You’ll want to ensure the park you choose doesn’t have restrictions against your needs.
- Mobile home parks usually have an HOA (Home Owners Association), which establishes rules for the park. Sometimes these rules are perfectly reasonable, and sometimes it seems to be a personal power play by the HOA manager. Make sure to read the HAO rules thoroughly before investing. Make sure you can live with the rules. Rules often deal with accessory buildings allowed, pets, colors, upkeep; you name it. If you have any ideas on personalizing your home, make sure the rules allow it before committing.