With continually increasing housing costs across much of the country, you may find yourself priced out of the market in your current location -- especially if you're just entering the workforce in a city like San Francisco or Seattle, where the median housing cost can exceed $1 million. Rents in these cities can be high as well, and you may be wondering whether you have any options that won't require you to pay thousands per month in housing costs. For those who work within a commutable distance of a mobile home community, purchasing a used mobile home for next to nothing can give you the financial cushion needed to upgrade to your dream home in a few short years. Read on to learn more about what you can do to restore a used mobile home to like-new condition to lower your bills even further.
What costs can you expect when purchasing a used mobile home?
If you already own a piece of vacant land on which you'd like to later build, you likely have the perfect setup for a temporary mobile home. After you've paid to have the mobile home transported to your property and hooked up to the sewer or septic system and breaker box, your only ongoing expenses will be utilities, property taxes, and any mortgage on the raw land.
For those purchasing a used mobile home in a community or park, you'll likely be responsible for site rental fees along with your utilities. Some parks will bundle water and sewage expenses in the site rent, while others require you to carry these expenses separately.
What can you do to improve the condition of your mobile home after purchase?
Because mobile homes are designed to be easily transportable, they're constructed with lighter and thinner wood than site-built homes. Combining this light construction with even typical wear and tear to the roof, siding, or windows can mean that your home loses energy quickly. Taking steps to insulate the exterior of your mobile home will reduce the amount of heat lost during winter and prevent your home from feeling like a sauna in the summer, all while saving you money.
You'll first want to examine the siding used on your home. Many older mobile homes still have their original metal siding -- which, while a great choice for detached garages or storage sheds, can be too efficient at conducting heat from the inside to the outside for thin-walled mobile homes. Even if this siding is in good condition, you may want to have it replaced with vinyl or PVC. These materials can be insulated (protecting your home from the elements while keeping heat or cool air inside) and are treated with UV-resistant chemicals that make them impervious to fading, cracking, or chipping.
You'll then want to take a look at your mobile home's skirting or decking, as well as the plumbing beneath. Because mobile homes don't have basements or crawlspaces to protect exterior plumbing, they're at particular risk for burst pipes in the winter if their protective skirting is damaged or missing. Installing new skirting to serve as a windbreak and protect your plumbing should be one of your first priorities when renovating your mobile home.
While lattice skirting designs can be aesthetically pleasing, in all but the warmest climates they may be too thin to fully protect your pipes -- and you also run the risk to becoming host to a family of raccoons, foxes, or skunks who decide to nest beneath your home. You may want to choose an impermeable vinyl, wood, or PVC skirting that can block air flow and animal travel. Even after installing new skirting, each autumn you'll want to place heat tape on your pipes to prevent them from freezing in harsh winter weather.
Contact a company like Lifetime Exteriors for more information about improving and updating your mobile home.
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