As an active mobile home investor you will likely walk through older and newer mobile homes. Over the decades more and more regulations have been instituted regarding the manufacturing of these factory built homes, resulting in better and better quality. However after a mobile home has been lived in for years, and possibly decades, some common problems and repair issues may arise that you will want to notice as an investor.
5 Common Issues with Older Mobile Homes
1: Ceiling Repairs
It is common for many mobile homeowners to make their own repairs over the years. When it comes to roof and ceiling repairs many homeowners may not do things 100% correctly. Over time these mistakes and oversights may allow moisture/water to seep into the roof and walls. This can cause additional problems including wood rot, mildew, and mold to develop over time.
Pro Tip: Before purchasing any investment property make sure to understand all repairs needed in the home prior to renting or reselling. Also ask sellers how they made certain repairs and feel free to raise/unscrew ceiling panels to look and feel around in the ceiling to ensure you know exactly what you are buying.
2: Doors Interior Missing
It is common for interior mobile home doors to go missing. These doors are usually different sizes compared to single family homes. Mobile home doors may be ordered at specialty mobile home supply stores locally or over the Internet at mobile home-related websites.
3: Holes in Walls
It is common for the interior of some older mobile homes to have holes in the walls. While these repairs are cosmetic they can certainly go a long way in helping you resell the home.
Pro Tip: Replacing broken wall panels and/or fixing drywall can be a quick “test repair job” for a new handyman you may be trying out. Give prospective handymen a small area of wall to fix. After the job is complete you can review the speed and quality of each person to choose who you will continue using. Always keep on the lookout for more experienced mobile home handy people.
4: More Than One Source of Air Conditioning
Be aware when a homeowner has multiple cooling systems for their home. Swamp coolers, window AC units, central HVAC systems, fans, etc. all serve the purpose to cool down a manufactured home’s interior temperature. Make sure you know which systems work and which do not. If a seller has more than one source of air conditioning then it is highly likely that one of these systems does not work properly.
Pro Tip: Unless you are able to verify repairs needed, do not simply trust/believe what a seller tells you about a non-functional appliance. If you cannot physically test this appliance or system then you must assume it is broken and will need to be replaced or fixed.
5: Missing Insulation
Always check underneath every mobile home to verify a majority of the insulation is still intact underneath the home. This layer of thick insulation should be supported by a vapor barrier/water barrier to keep out moisture. This vapor barrier may be a dark blue or black color and should stretch along the entire underside of the manufactured home.
Pro Tip: While looking under a mobile home make sure to look for trash, debris, stray animals, vermin, evidence of animals, water and sewer pipes leading correctly into the ground and not leaking anywhere. Bring a very bright flashlight (1000+ lumens) to help you see underneath mobile homes even in the daytime.
Bonus: Window Cracks
Mobile home windows may be made of glass, plastic, or Plexiglas. This material may crack or break over time. These windowpanes should be removed and replaced accordingly. Be aware that only the clear glass/plastic windowpanes, not the entire window, may need to be replaced.
Low Pride of Ownership
These amateur repairs, lack of repairs, and deferred maintenance are typically the result of a “low pride of ownership” with regard to the homeowners living in the home at the time. Sometimes this lack of maintenance is on purpose, and sometimes it is due to accidental neglect. Some mobile homeowners may not have the financial resources to make these repairs, and others may have the money but are simply too lazy or do not care about their property.
Pro Tip: Be aware of a seller’s pride of ownership. This may help you in negotiations. Typically a seller with a low pride of ownership will be less emotionally attached to their property and therefore may sell at a reduced price compared to a homeowner who has taken care of their property and loved it for the last few years.
In conclusion none of these repair issues are a deal-breaker by themselves. In fact, many of these issues will overlap in a number of mobile homes you look at for investment purposes. Make sure to walk through every inch of the potential investment property and bring a powerful flashlight to look and test for leaks. Know exactly what you are purchasing. Continue helping local sellers and buyers while always protecting yourself and knowing exactly what you are purchasing before you buy.
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