Why are mobile homes so cheap?

Asked by Courtney Landeros, Garden Grove, CA Fri Mar 23, 2012

I'm getting a lot of mobile home hits during my home searches. There are some extremely nice-looking, newer models for $70,000, give or take... any they are just as big then some of the houses in certain areas.

Based on the calculators on the sites, I'm seeing that if we buy a mobile home, we could have a monthly payment for as little as $300 a month. What's the deal with this? Are there other fees we would have to pay?

What are the pros and cons of a mobile home? Thank you!

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sat Mar 24, 2012
Despite some of the comments regarding their safety, the newer ones are just as safe as stick-built homes.

They're cheap (as some of the previous answers noted) because:

(1) In parks, you pay a lot rent which typically can run from $200 to $800 more a month.
(2) Mobile homes themselves don't appreciate in value. Rather, they depreciate, somewhat like automobiles do.
(3) Parks have stigmas against them. Some people just won't live in a mobile home in a park, regardless of how nice it might be.
(4) There's almost no land. Yes, you're renting the land, but the amount of land is very small (in most cases).

Still, they can be the right answer for a lot of folks. I bought a manufactured home a few years ago and am selling it with owner financing. It's a nice 2-bedroom unit in a great location (very good park) that I sold for $13,000. The buyer is happy; he's buying it from me for $210 a month for 5 years. Next year, he'll own it.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Thomas C. Sa…, Agent, Fullerton, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
The main portion of value is in the land which typically appreciates over time, not the structures, which typically depreciate over time. Mobile homes are often on LEASED land.
0 votes
Virginia Cla…, Agent, Yorba Linda, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
Hi, Courtney - Those prices look tempting, don't they? And there are actually mobile homes with gorgeous floorplans that do give you a lot of "house" for the money. Many people enjoy the amenities that come with a mobile home park, such as the community center and pool, etc. And some park locations are great; near the beach, for example, where the price of a traditional home would be very high. However, there are negatives as well. You obtain a different type of financing for a mobile home. In addition to buying the mobile home outright, or financing and having monthly payments, you have to interview with the mobile home park management and be approved, as you will be paying space rent to the park as well. Some space rent is reasonable, but depending on the area, it can easily run over $1,000 a month. Which equates to roughly an additional $200,000 in purchasing power for a traditional home. Also, there will be park restrictions which residents must follow and they are usually strictly enforced. So do your research and decide if a mobile home is a good option for you!
0 votes
Willy Olsen, , Claremont, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
First, mobile homes are not the same as a "traditional" home. Most mobile homes are in parks where you would be paying space rent. They only way around that is if you bought the land and placed the mobile home on it. You'll find the later in more rural situations.
Second, mobile homes do not hold their value or increase in value providing you with equity when the time to sell comes around like a "traditional" home does.
Third, age and the elements tend to take more of a beating on mobile home more than on a house.
Fourth, mobiles are much more difficult to get financing for.
0 votes
Emily Knell, Agent, Huntington Beach, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
1st you don't own the land
2nd the space rent is crazy high & it never ends
3rd they're a fire hazard
4th you can't get good financing on them with a low rate or low down payment

If you can at all help it, don't buy a mobile home UNLESS you're going to buy the entire mobile home park & collect space rent from all your "tenants"

Shoot me an email if you want to talk about this some more.I don't look back on this same Trulia thread for answers posted after mine.

562-430-3053 c
Realtor Since 1996
0 votes
Jeremy Lehman, Agent, Garden Grove, CA
Fri Mar 23, 2012
They're very inexpensive because you need to pay a space rental each month that can range from $500 to $2000 per month depending on what park with no land ownership. Also, they're very expensive to move, so once you buy it, it it can be very difficult to move, if at all.

Mobile homes can be a good choice if they're in a community you really want to be a part of or if you have land somewhere and want an inexpensive home on it. They continue to depreciate in value like cars, with a few exceptions. Buying real property is almost certainly a better choice for most people.
0 votes
Great, thank you! I figured I was missing some key information regarding why they're so cheap. We will definitely not be going that route. Thanks!
Flag Fri Mar 23, 2012
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