How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Mobile Home?

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Mobile Home?
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If you’re considering downsizing your home, or just exploring alternative living situations, a mobile home might be a good option for you.

But a mobile home isn’t exactly like other types of houses. While the cost might be significantly less than a traditional home, you could have some other expenses to consider. Here’s what you need to know about mobile home costs.

What’s Considered a Mobile Home?

In many cases, mobile homes are manufactured homes. These are homes that are constructed in a factory and transported to their location after being built. This is different from traditional home construction—or a site built home—which is when a home is built on the site it will stay for the duration of its lifetime.

It’s important to note that the government changed the term “mobile” to “manufactured” homes through the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act, so mobile homes built after 1976 are considered “manufactured” homes. However, while you might see the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” used interchangeably, not all manufactured homes are mobile homes.

In some cases, homes are considered “mobile” when they’re trailer homes. These depreciate in value similar to cars and other vehicles. Even though they’re built according to the standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), they’re not usually considered “real” property and are instead regulated more like cars. If a trailer home has wheels, they’ll need to be removed if the home needs to be installed. They’ll also require what are called “tie-downs” to anchor the home to the ground.

How Much Does a Mobile Home Cost?

How much you pay for a mobile home depends on the type of home you buy, its condition and where you buy it.

  • Single-wide: A single-wide home usually ranges up to 18 feet wide and 90 feet long. New units average around $51,000. Used units go for anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000.
  • Double-wide: A double-wide home is meant to be “double” the size of a single-wide home, but they actually vary widely in size. Some can get as big as 36 feet wide by 90 feet long. The most common sizes range from 1,300 to 1,800 square feet. Average prices for this size are about $107,000.
  • Triple-wide: These homes have a maximum of 3,000 square feet. The average cost of a new mobile home of this size ranges up to $250,000.

Factors That Affect the Cost of a Mobile Home

There are a few different factors that can impact the total cost of buying a mobile home including:

  • Builders: If your mobile home is manufactured off-site, you can get your home priced out by a few different companies. Manufactured or prefabricated homes are built new and delivered to the permanent site in chunks to assemble there.
  • New vs. used: A used home, like a car, has already had a life before ending up with you, which could impact its final cost.
  • Land cost: In addition to buying the property, you may also need to buy or lease the land the home will sit on. This might be separate from the unit purchase or you may buy it in conjunction with your home.
  • Additions and customizations: If you’re looking to have top-of-the-line appliances or to upgrade your doors, it’ll likely cost more.
  • Utilities: Add up what you’ll pay for internet and cable service, as well as for hooking up water, sewage and other utilities.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Mobile Home

Pros of Buying a Mobile Home

There are plenty of upsides to buying a mobile home.

  • Lower overall cost: Compared to traditional single-family homes, mobile homes are a fraction of the cost. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, the median sales price of a single-family home was $440,300 in the second quarter of 2022. A new triple-wide would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars less.
  • Fast build: Since mobile homes are manufactured in climate-controlled warehouses, you don’t have weather delays. They’re also required to be built to specific HUD codes.
  • Easy customizations: You can tailor the home to your needs and can even gain more space with bigger units.
  • Financing available: There are a variety of different ways to finance your mobile home, including loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as chattel mortgages.

Cons of Buying a Mobile Home

  • No conventional loans: Since manufactured mobile homes aren’t considered real estate, you can’t get a traditional, conventional mortgage. If you don’t qualify for another type of financing, you might have to pay for the home in cash.
  • Possible upfront costs: If you’re purchasing the land the home will sit on, you might have to pay for that in addition to the costs of the home. You could also have the option to lease the property the home is on—which might be a less expensive option, depending on where the home will be.
  • Limited federal oversight: While these homes must be built according to HUD regulations, the agency doesn’t regulate mobile home parks. So if you’re having trouble with a landlord or another mobile home problem, you’ll have to reach out to an approved association in your state.

How to Finance a Mobile Home

If you’re ready to buy a mobile home, make sure you research options to qualify for the right funding.

  • Chattel mortgages: These are one of the most popular ways to buy a mobile home. They’re specifically made for manufactured and modular homes as well as vehicles and other movable property. But if you fall behind on payments, your lender can take possession of your home—just like if you default on a traditional mortgage.
  • Government-backed loans: If eligible, you could qualify for loans backed by federal agencies like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA) office. These are more in line with traditional mortgages for homes, and you’ll have longer repayment terms and potentially lower interest rates compared to other types of borrowing.
  • Personal loans: Most personal loans are unsecured and can be used for almost anything you need up to $100,000 or more, depending on the lender. This means you might qualify to borrow up to the full amount you need to finance your home. But interest rates are much higher on personal loans compared to mortgages. And repayment terms are significantly shorter, like up to five years compared to a traditional 30-year mortgage.

How to Buy a Mobile Home

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve taken some steps to prepare for buying a mobile home:

  1. Check your credit. Your credit score is one of the most important factors in not only securing financing, but making sure you qualify for the lowest interest rates available. The lower your interest rate, the less extra money you’ll pay over the life of your loan.
  2. Choose your property. In traditional home-buying scenarios, you’d get pre-qualified first. But for a mobile home, you’ll need to find the land and building details first. If you need to finance buying the land as well as the mobile home, that could impact how you finance your purchase. You might find that the cost is wildly different based on location, so where you find the space for your home matters.
  3. Find a lender. Once you nail down your mobile home details, start looking into financing options. If you don’t qualify for government-backed loans, you might need to look elsewhere. Doing your research beforehand could save you in the long run. Compare many different lenders, if possible, to see which one offers the most favorable rates and terms. Doing your research beforehand could help save you money in the long run.
  4. Complete the application. Once you’ve chosen the right lender, complete a full application. Submit any down payment requirements, and if you can, negotiate the total price for the build or lot purchase. The more upfront work you do, the less you’ll pay down the line.

How to Buy a Mobile Home With No Money Down

While the more money you put down on a home will lower your monthly payment, not everyone has the cash on hand to afford a down payment. If you’re trying to buy a mobile home without a down payment, there are a few ways you can do it.

You might be able to take out a loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or VA office with no money down, as long as you’re eligible. Credit and income requirements for these kinds of loans also aren’t as stringent compared to conventional loans. So if your credit isn’t great or you don’t have enough of a down payment saved up, these loan options might be the best way for you to buy a mobile home with no money down.

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