Buying a mobile home
Manufactured or mobile homes are popular choices for seasonal or vacation homes, though many also live in these homes full time. They offer a lot of advantages, especially as they offer the same amenities as a standard home but come at a much lower cost. That means you get more space for less money as well as the added flexibility of having a semi-permanent home. These buildings are also less prone to construction delays as they're often built off-site in a controlled environment. This also improves their quality.
The disadvantages of a manufactured or mobile homes include their quick depreciation in value and susceptibility to damage from natural disasters (not because they're low quality but rather because they are placed on temporary foundations). They can also be harder to sell if they're located on leased land.
While buying a mobile home is similar to buying a standard home, you have different considerations and a unique process to go through.
Pick The Right Size and Type
These homes are generally sold as either a single-wide or double-wide unit. Single-wide manufactured homes have a narrower frame and are therefore smaller inside. Rooms are usually connected to each other rather than separated by a hallway. A double-wide mobile home (the width is roughly equal to two single-wide mobile home units) looks more like a traditional single-family home with a corresponding layout.
Just like regular homes, modular homes come in all different styles and offer many options. Many companies offer show models for you to tour and that's a great place to start figuring out what you'd like for your own home.
Pick the Right Location
One advantage to purchasing a manufactured or mobile home is that you can choose where you put it. You can purchase property or lease land. If you're buying, ensure that there are no geographical or zoning restrictions - you'll also want to make sure the amenities you need are there. Some manufacturers of these homes also offer lots for you to purchase, much like builders of traditional homes. You can also opt to buy or lease land in a mobile home park. Remember that in this situation you may have to deal with a management company or landlord - but sometimes that can be to your advantage, as things like lawn maintenance and snow removal will be taken care of for you.
Pick the Right Manufacturer
Do your research on the home you're thinking of buying. Read reviews, ask around, and ensure that the company has insurance coverage. Check out Modular Homeowner's excellent article on choosing the right manufacturing company here.
Protect Your Home
If you finance your home, you will be required to purchase insurance. It's a good idea to get mobile home insurance either way - it's still an investment and it's still your home. These policies are similar to traditional homeowner policies, protecting you from natural disasters, damage from fire, and loss from theft.
However, you should be aware that there are some special considerations when it comes to mobile home insurance. For instance, mobile homes are more likely to be damaged by hail and high winds. For that reason, some insurance companies will add a dent clause. This is a condition that requires hail to actually punch a hole through your home, which limits the amount you can claim on this type of damage. Also, keep in mind that your home's plumbing is exposed which can lead to problems if your home is placed in an environment that goes through a lot of changes or extremes. Prevent problems by insulating the pipes or by adding a heating coil to prevent frozen lines and therefore the extensive damage caused by burst pipes.
Ensure that your entire home is covered under your policy, including the skirting. While this may seem like an unimportant part of your manufactured home, it can actually cost hundreds or even a few thousand to reinstall if there is damage to this area.
While comprehensive all-risk coverage is essential to protecting your home from the costs of loss or damage, you may want to consider a few add-ons to your policy. You can check out a Home Insurance Cheat Sheet for an extensive list.
During Transit and Seasonal Use
Many manufactured or mobile homes are built elsewhere and shipped to their final destination. It's a good idea to talk to your insurance broker about covering your home while it's in transit. While most insurance companies will cover you for the move, it's important to ensure you have coverage and understand your policy in case anything happens.
If your manufactured or mobile home is only used seasonally, consider a policy that offers off-premises contents coverage. This protects your personal property while you’re temporarily away from your home. Just remember you MUST notify your insurance broker if your home is only used seasonally, as some insurance providers will void your coverage if you’re absent from the home for more than 48 hours.
To have peace of mind and to protect the roof over your head—and everything else that’s underneath it - call your independent insurance broker to talk about speciality manufactured or mobile home insurance. They’ll help you get great coverage for your mobile home at an affordable rate.
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