We know the ins and outs of manufactured homes at MHVillage. But at the end of the day, there’s one group of people who knows more about buying a manufactured home than just about anyone else: people who own and live in manufactured homes!
That’s why we consider it so important to our users and customers—because they’re the real experts. In a recent survey, MHVillage users told us a lot about their experiences with buying a manufactured home, including what to look for in an inspection and how to ensure you’re getting the right home. These six mobile home inspection tips, with commentary from MHVillage users, will help make your manufactured home purchase a success.
1. Don’t be in a rush to buy any particular manufactured home.
MHVillage users are in agreement about one thing: “Do your homework,” as one user puts it. “I would suggest taking the time and don’t rush for all the bells and whistles until you see what works for you,” says another user, while a third urges buyers to “compare home sizes, floor plans, appliances, and reputations.”
2. Hire a professional mobile home inspection service.
One user puts it best: “Have an independent home inspection before purchase and write the inspection into the purchase agreement. Walk away if the inspection finds plumbing, roofing, electrical items.” An independent inspector will be able to find problems that are easy to miss with the naked eye, and they’ll have special tools such as moisture sensors that can detect hidden water damage.
Sometimes, an important inspection area of a manufactured home is difficult for the average person to access, such as the underside of the home. A professional mobile home inspector knows how to access and examine these areas and make sure nothing gets past you.
3. Check the foundation and structure of the home to ensure that they haven’t been damaged.
Manufactured homes can be vulnerable to structural damage from moving, weather events and even the natural shifting of the ground. “Look for a replaced roof on a unit over 20 years, look for double pane windows in an older home, look for soft floor boards,” is the advice of one MHVillage user. Another user notes: “Check the land that it will be set upon for any issues with water, settling, etc.” The structural integrity of your home is too important to take chances with.
4. Evaluate the community to make sure that it fits your needs.
Another thing our users are sounding off on is the importance of finding the right manufactured home community. “Ask potential neighbors for insight information about the community,” one user advises. Others note that not all communities are equal when it comes to maintenance: “Look for a nice park or community where other homeowners take care of their property,” another user says.
Another user warns of the potential for hidden fees and inflexible rules: “Space rent: ask questions about annual increase, potential for unforeseen increases (for example, change in taxes or park property ownership)… Ask park management for a thorough walk-through of rules and regs.” It’s all about getting as much information as possible and deciding what works for you.
5. Make sure the manufactured home’s electrical systems and insulation are in good condition.
Electrical systems and insulation are common failure points in older manufactured homes, so it’s important that an inspection examine them carefully. Manufactured homes should have GFCI protection, and buyers should beware of a home with many DIY electrical fixes or old aluminum wiring.
Many users also warn about the need to inspect insulation: “Check and make sure the insulation is what it says it is,” cautions one user. Another advises a general need not to skimp on building quality: “If anything, pay the extra for real wood underlayment on the floors, better insulation, siding, roofing and windows. The rest is really cosmetic and easier to do after and down the road.”
6. Examine any mobile home additions with extra care.
Your inspector should pay special attention to any additions made to a manufactured home. Porches, decks, and extra bedrooms can make a good home great, but they’re also vulnerable to separation and water damage as the ground shifts and swells.
Double- and triple-wide manufactured homes can also have this problem, as they’re assembled in pieces and can begin to show subtle cracks due to the land shifting. Again, community support can be critical: “Do some homework regarding the community’s assistance with specific home maintenance repairs like plumbing and leveling,” according to one of our users.
Another user sums it up: “Research before buying, MHVillage provides great information, checking websites and talking to folks living in a manufactured home are all good ways to begin this process.” For more tips on what to look for, be sure to check out the official MHVillage mobile home buyers guide and contact our partners at Datacomp USA for trusted independent mobile home inspections.