In many ways, buying a manufactured home is like buying any other type of home. Manufactured home buyers need to realistically evaluate what they need from their manufactured homes, comparison shop for the best options, and take their time to evaluate the pros and cons before making a decision.
Unfortunately, manufactured home buyers can’t always use the same resources that stick-built homebuyers do. Despite the huge number of options available to today’s manufactured home buyer, many major real estate companies and online platforms focus on stick-built homes and condos. Thus, it can sometimes be challenging to find the manufactured home you’re looking for.
However, for buyers who know where to look, there are thousands of quality “mobile homes for sale near me.” From shopping for your perfect manufactured home to evaluating a home’s condition, to finding the right manufactured home financing solution for you, this guide will help you get started on your journey to owning a great manufactured home. To get started, we’ll talk about a few different ways that manufactured home buyers commonly find and purchase their homes.
Finding a Manufactured Home Through a Real Estate Agent
Enlisting the services of a real estate agent can help you find the manufactured home that fits your and your family’s needs. A real estate agent will use their knowledge of the manufactured home market in your area to find a variety of home options that fall within your budget and match your requirements for space, features, and more. Buyers will want to find an agent who specializes in manufactured home sales, as a manufactured home real estate agent will have the knowledge and expertise to find the best deals and navigate the process efficiently.
Real estate agents can help buyers save time and reduce confusion during the buying process. A good manufactured home real estate agent will be able to guide you through each step, including the sometimes-overwhelming paperwork required to close on a home. The downside: As you might expect, a real estate agent will charge fees for their services—money that could be spent somewhere else, such as a higher down payment. Nonetheless, for buyers who want a little extra guidance, working with a manufactured home real estate agent can be a good move.
Finding a Manufactured Home Online
Looking for manufactured homes for sale online has quickly become many manufactured home buyers’ preferred way to shop. That’s because, with the right tools at your disposal, it’s just as easy to find a great manufactured home online as it is to find any other kind of home. On a quality manufactured home listing site, you’ll find:
- Both used manufactured homes and new model homes
- A wide range of models and designs
- Great deals on bank-owned homes such as repossessions and foreclosures
- Large and comprehensive stock listings from major manufactured home dealers
- Hidden gems being sold independently by owner-occupants
Major real estate search engine services are typically used for stick-built homes, but they also include some listings for manufactured homes. However, these search engines aren’t purpose-built for manufactured home buyers, so you may not find as many results as someone looking for a stick-built house might find. General classified ad sites like Craigslist can be worth checking, but they lack quality control and require the buyer to do a lot more of the work in vetting the home and the seller.
By contrast, MHVillage lists the widest variety of manufactured homes for sale near you, and it’s designed specifically to give manufactured home shoppers the easiest and most seamless way to look for a new or used manufactured home.
Other sites require users to pick through sparse listings and battle with clunky user interfaces. MHVillage features over 29,000 listings for mobiles homes across the USA and the most active community of users of any manufactured home listing site—plus the ability to search for manufactured home dealers, manufactured home communities, specific home features, and much more.
Buying Through a Dealer or Builder
Having a new manufactured home custom-built by a manufactured home builder is one of today’s most popular ways to get a manufactured home. It’s easy to see why: A custom-built home offers a higher degree of personalization and gives buyers the joy of living in a home built just for them. Dealers and builders also often have their own showrooms, model home lots, and manufactured home communities that make it easy to find what you’re looking for and evaluate your choices.
Buying a brand-new manufactured home starts with browsing mobile home floor plans or finding a mobile home dealer showroom to visit and check out your options. Once you’ve found a builder, you’ll first choose the size of your home from single, double, and triple-wide options.
Next, you’ll explore the range of floor plan options that the builder offers to clients, along with standard home interior design choices such as cabinets, flooring, and countertops. You’ll also decide what kind of HUD-approved permanent foundation you want to use to support and secure the home.
After finalizing the design of your home, you’ll wait anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to have your home assembled and delivered. Remember to check whether the cost of delivering the home is included in the price, since it can be costly to have a home delivered over a long distance.
For this reason, many manufactured home buyers who purchase custom homes buy them from builders within a radius of 100 miles or less. You can also investigate modular home options, which have their components delivered and assembled on-site rather than shipping the entire structure.
Should I Buy a Used Manufactured Home?
Finding a used mobile home for sale can be a great way to get an outstanding deal on a quality manufactured home. Thousands of used homes for sale on MHVillage are in near-new condition, with the same great features you’d expect in a new home. For a small compromise in customization, you can often get an excellent home for significantly less than you’d pay new, plus a turnkey experience that will allow you to move in without having to wait for your home to be built.
However, buying a used manufactured home requires the same careful inspection and research that buying any home does. For one thing, you want a manufactured home that’s in great shape—you’ll often spend more renovating a “fixer upper” than it’s worth. For another, you need to make sure the home fits the criteria of the space where it will rest.
Some manufactured home parks, for example, prohibit manufactured homes more than 10 years old. By using the filtering tools on MHVillage and knowing what to look for when inspecting a home, you can find a home that’s in great condition and complies with your local laws.
How to Evaluate a Used Manufactured Home
What should you look for to make sure a used manufactured home is in great shape? That’s a whole article in itself, but there are some basics to look for in a quick manufactured home inspection, including:
- The home should be free of mold, mildew, and signs of water damage in ceilings or walls.
- If the home is not currently on a permanent foundation, the underside of the home should have elements like the belly wrap and bottom board intact, and should be free of signs of pest problems. Piers should be straight and in good condition.
- Standing water should not be pooling around the home. (Look for tell-tale signs such as unexplained muddy patches.)
- The home’s floors should be in good condition, without soft spots or humps, particularly around fixtures like sinks, bathtubs, and water heaters.
- Windows should open and shut easily and provide a tight seal.
In addition, ask the seller to show you the home’s manufactured home HUD data plate, which provides important information about HVAC, weather ratings, date of manufacture, and more.
Note that, according to most manufactured home experts, it’s not recommended to buy a model built before 1976. A pre-1976 mobile home may not be built to the standards required by the 1976 HUD Code, which established important rules for safety features and structural integrity. Few mobile homes this old are still on the market, but it’s important to be aware.
It’s highly recommended to get a professional inspection and appraisal on any manufactured home that you’re serious about buying. Professional inspectors will cover the home top-to-bottom and help you spot potential problems you might have missed, and a professional appraiser will evaluate the land and the home to find their market value.
Datacomp manufactured home inspection and appraisal is considered the gold standard for both buyers and sellers, with market-based appraisals that can help buyers avoid overpaying and in-depth inspections to verify a home’s safety and condition. MHVillage offers a free Datacomp home value for all sellers who list homes on our site, making it easy for sellers to set an accurate and market-appropriate price.
This Land Is Whose Land?
Remember that a manufactured home needs to sit on a lot. Thus, a key part of the manufactured home buying process will be finding the right lot on which to put your home, as well as deciding whether to buy or lease the land underneath it. Some common scenarios include:
- Some buyers already own vacant land and are simply looking for a manufactured home to place on it.
- A manufactured home may come with a lot included in the purchase.
- In most manufactured home communities, home buyers purchase their manufactured homes but rent the land underneath them. However, resident-owned manufactured home communities are an increasingly popular option for manufactured home buyers who want to own both their lot and their home.
Remember that very few manufactured homes are ever moved off their original delivery site. Thus, when you’re selecting a plot of land for a manufactured home, consider the major factors that affect its suitability, such as:
- Do local zoning restrictions allow manufactured homes to be placed on this land?
- If the land is in a manufactured home community, are the community’s rules (such as age and pet restrictions) suitable for your lifestyle?
- Does the land include utility hookups, or will you have to pay to have them added?
- What is the land’s appraised value? (Again, consider enlisting the services of professional appraisers here.)
- Is the land suitable for putting a manufactured home on a permanent foundation? (Even if you’re not planning on doing this now, it can be an important consideration for the future.)
- If you have children or are planning on having children, is the land in a high-performing school district?
How to Finance Your Manufactured Home Purchase
Several different types of loans for manufactured home buyers are available. One option is that of land-home mortgages, traditional mortgages that include financing both for the land beneath a manufactured home and for the home itself. A second is the construction-to-permanent loan, which finances manufactured home construction, and then becomes a traditional mortgage when construction is finished. Both of these loan types are typically only available to buyers who plan to situate their homes on certain types of permanent foundations and title them as real property.
Chattel loans are another major type of loans that home buyers take out. If the manufactured home is to be titled as the buyer’s personal property, the home itself can be used as collateral for the loan. These loans are typically used for buyers who are buying a manufactured home, but renting the land underneath it. It’s often easier to obtain a chattel loan than to get a traditional mortgage, but interest rates can be higher and terms can be less flexible.
Government-assisted loans, such as Federal Housing Administration loans, USDA Rural Development loans, and VA loans, can also be helpful options for manufactured home financing. You’ll have to meet income eligibility standards and purchase a property that meets a certain set of conditions, but, for qualified applicants, these loans can offer strong options for getting financing at an affordable rate.
Buying the perfect mobile home can mean doing a little digging and exploring channels that specialize in manufactured homes. It can be time-consuming and require some work, so remember that MHVillage is designed to be the fastest, simplest, and most complete option for finding a “mobile home for sale near me.” You don’t even need an account to get started—dive right in through our advanced search page to start the search for a manufactured home you’ll love.