For all of its promise, mobile home remodeling also holds its fair share of risks. Fortunately, if you make yourself aware of these five things to consider concerning mobile home remodel projects, you may sidestep all of them.
1. Is Your Budget Realistic?
When you plan a mobile home remodel, it can be a pretty thrilling experience. Thrilling enough that you can soon find yourself lost amidst the promise of remodeling — and smack-dab in the middle of some severe financial peril. You wouldn’t be alone. Nearly 50% of homeowners exceed their remodeling budget, and only 20% of them come in under budget.
When working up your budget, remember to:
- Factor in shipping and taxes on all materials and supplies
- Stick closely with your budget while continually looking for opportunities to reduce costs as you go
- Work in a 10% safety overage in the event of unforeseen complications
- Avoid projects that don’t add value
2. Are You Aware of HUD Issues?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (known as “the HUD code”).
The HUD code regulates matters such as home design and construction, fire resistance, and energy efficiency. Every manufactured home has a red and silver label certifying that it was built and inspected in compliance with the HUD code.
Why does this matter to your renovation plans? Because HUD does not provide certification labels for renovation projects.
If you wish to ensure your renovations meet your local, state, and federal safety standards and regulations, hire an inspector familiar with mobile homes and the HUD code to review plans beforehand as well as once the work is completed. Support from such a professional is an especially good idea if you’re engaging in some do-it-yourself mobile home remodeling. A professional knows more ins and outs than you do, but contracting with an inspector brings such knowledge to your DIY project.
3. Do You Think About the Future?
Problematic mobile home additions are sometimes an issue for new owners who inherit any deficiencies with the work. The additions may include something as simple as a small porch to a large effort, such as a new room.
If you don’t expect your renovated mobile home to be the last house you own, help the next owners out by adding an addition that won’t create any headaches for them years down the road.
Complications from such mobile home additions can arise if, say, a new room was added using a more traditional “sticks and bricks” approach and tied into the mobile home’s outer wall. Unless the addition has an independent system capable of supporting its entire weight, it may cause the mobile home to sag; the mobile home is rated to bear only the weight it has coming out of the factory.
4. Can You Maximize Your Workflow?
If you’re replacing the vinyl on gypsum (VOG) panels in your bedroom with drywall, think about what else you can do once the panels are off but before the drywall goes up. Do you want to change some wiring? Firm up its support to hang cool new decorations? Add insulation? Install some recessed shelving? Now’s the time.
Another way to get the most out of your workflow is to schedule the work when help is available. This makes the most sense if you’re going the mobile home DIY route since many hands make light work. But being there to address any questions from contractors can help usher tasks forward, too.
5. Does Your Mobile Home Require Remodeling?
Is a mobile home worth remodeling? You bet it is! But that doesn’t mean you should jump straight to “This Old House”-level effort at the outset.
Odds are you have practical reasons for your remodel: expanding your living space, adding a deck for entertaining in the summer, etc. Before you dig in, however, think about cost-effective ways to achieve similar goals.
- Instead of building an addition for more living space, declutter as many unused items as you can — including furniture. It’s a great way to create space in your mobile home without spending a dime.
- Rather than putting in a deck, look at ways you can leverage inexpensive benches, tables, lighting, and lawn games for a party-ready backyard.
It Takes a Village for a Successful Remodel
Your mobile home remodel efforts will go much easier — and potentially cost less — if you pay attention to issues such as these, plan out all your work, carefully calculate your pricing, and come back for more tips on living in a mobile home.