First, the word "Mobile Home" was used until June 15, 1976 whence the HUD guidelines changed and required that (new word) "Manufactured Homes" be built according to the same standards as a site (stick) built home.
Some answers are more accurate than others, however. A PRE HUD "Trailer" or "Mobile Home" in a rent/lease park/community is probably not a very prudent investment and the chances of you ever getting your original investment back is slim to none unless the park/community is in a very desirable location.
If the "Manufactured Home" is in good condition and in a desirable community it can be a worthy investment. I have bought and sold dozens of Manufactured Homes and have yet to lose money on one. The very thing that got me into this business was realizing that you could make money on them.
It is in fact very important to carefully read he rules and regulations as they tend to vary from community to community. You also want to see if the community is in a rent controlled area. If not you need to know how they adjust their rent/leases. Try to find a park that offers a lease with a rent increase tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). By all means avoid communities with no lease or only a month to month and check with other residents.
There's also the option of purchasing a home in a "Resident Owned" community where you actually own the real estate under the home. There are 4 basic options here. A "condo Conversion", "Sub-Division", "Planned Unit Development (PUD)" and a "Co Op". A Co Op can be a viable option but you would never be able to refinance and/or take equity out as you only own a share of a corporation. Additionally, should you ever want a reverse mortgage they would not be available in a Co Op.
All in all some folks just plain prefer having a little space around them with a yard, a carport and storage shed instead of having to listen to their neighbors flush the toilet and engage in their personal lives that you can hear with a common wall. Personally I would take a Manufactured Home in a nice park/community over a condo or town home any day. But that's just me.
I hope you find this information useful. Please don't be discouraged out of your desire to purchase a Manufactured Home because of a few ignorant remarks or personal opinions. If you need any further information please feel free to contact me anytime. You may call my cell if you wish at 760 815-6977.
Also, carefully read the rules of the park/community and make sure that you agree with the rules. Like Bylaws for an association, if you violate there could be penalties, you could be foreced to move the home out of the community.....
The deal needs to be right, the numbers and the condition of the property, age and depreciation, etc. do your due diligence. If your financing and land lease, plus other expenses are significantly less than what ordinary rents are, you might have a good deal. You might have a good positive cashflow property there.
Some agents have an opinion of what a 'good' or 'bad' property is based on if THEY would live there. That bias won't allow them to properly analyze a deal for their customer.
Mobile homes can be extremely effective in providing low cost, high quality housing for people in areas of the country that traditional home construction cost is greater than market values. Prefab, Modular and mobile homes are economical ways to fill this housing space.
I know plenty of mobile home park owners that are millionaires and happy with their properties and the management and maintenance of these sites. They would say that the investment was well worth it. Every deal must be analyzed for its' own merits Kee1422.
It is all personal preference and your situation. I agree with Simon. Some mobile home parks are very well kept and sometimes nicer than a house in an area you are searching. Some the space rent is lower than renting in that area as well. Personal preference.
If you are looking in Redlands or anywhere in California I would love to help.
Coldwell Banker Kivett-Teeters
(909) 894-9221 CELL
BRE Lic. 01936003
If however, you are hoping to own a piece of property that will grow in value and can be sold for more than you purchased - then the purchase of a mobile home is not a good decision. Mobile homes are viewed as personal property, not real estate, and they depreciate like cars and rarely, if ever, increase in value.