Go to your financial institution before you even look at new manufactured homes. Find out what percentage you need to pay down, how much you can borrow and the terms. When I first talked to the manufactured home salesman, I asked how much I needed down and was told three-percent. I planned to pay ten-percent so I made a deposit. When I contacted my credit union I found they did not give loans on manufactured home for less than fifteen-percent down. Other financial institutions in my area asked for the same or higher. Up to as much as twenty-five-percent. And some places I contacted told me they wouldn’t consider a loan on a manufactured home at all. The problem was, and I told the salesman this at the time, I planned to put it in a mobile park rather than private property. Luckily the salesman was able to find a bank in Seattle that got the loan through a credit union in San Antonio, Texas for ten-percent down. I later discovered if I had placed the home on private property I could have gotten a loan for three-percent down.
My plan was to buy the home and a year or two later, buy land to place it on. This turned out not to be the best idea. If I would have talked to a loan officer first I may have been able to buy the two together. Not only could I have had a lower percentage down, but also a lower interest rate. This is because a manufactured home placed on private property is then considered real property and not personal property. And my payments probably wouldn’t be any higher than I’m paying now on both the mobile lot and home. Now I’ll have to pay to have the home moved. An extra expense I would not have if I bought them together.
It’s your house so don’t settle for something just to have a home unless you can’t afford the expense. Tell the salesman what you want in your manufactured home. You may have to pay extra for the things you want or they may already be included in the price. Most will come with a refrigerator and kitchen stove. However, you may be able to upgrade to a bigger refrigerator. A dishwasher may or may not be included. If it’s included you may be able to upgrade it, too. I wanted shutoff valves under the sinks and at the toilet. If one of these items needs repair, then I don’t have to shut off all the water. I wanted the dryer vent to exit straight out the wall rather than snaking around under the house creating corners where lint will quickly build up. This was only possible in certain models. I wanted a dishwasher. I also wanted a porch. I could have built a porch but if I move, it would have to be torn apart and moved separately. The one thing that I didn’t do, which I wish now I had done, was have the roof upgraded. I got the standard for the area in which I live. It will hold three feet of snow. This area doesn’t normally get more than that. But if I would have upgraded it to hold five or six feet, I would rarely, if ever, have to get on the roof in the middle of winter and shovel the snow off. Something that I do not look forward to doing as I get older. My intention is to live in the home for the rest of my life.
Look for an energy star home. It’s a good investment. Not only will it save on your energy costs but they are normally better built to meet the standards to qualify for an energy efficient home. Your local power company may give you a rebate for purchasing one, too. I receive $900 from my electric provider.
Be prepared to wait several months before your loan is approved. I started my loan procedure in late August thinking I would receive my new manufactured home by the end of September or early October. As it turned out the loan company checked and rechecked so many details that it was the middle of November before the loan cleared.
The things the loan company wanted was copies of my W-2 forms for the last two years; the most recent two paycheck stubs; a verification of employment on company letterhead; the last two months bank statements; a copy of my driver license and social security card. From the mobile park, a signed agreement for the new space as well as a release on the old space, a letter stating my rent was paid up to date and rating my on time rent payments all on park letterhead. Also they wanted a copy of my current mobile home title proving it was free and clear. Since I took part of the down payment out of my 401K, the most recent statement from my 401K account to prove I withdrew it rather than taken out a loan against it. I could not change jobs without approval from the loan company nor could I charge anything or apply for any other loans. This would have changed my credit rating status. I also had to provide the name and address of my homeowners insurance company (or the company which was to insure the new home).
I did not get my home until a few days before Christmas and was not able to move in until after the first of the year. If I would have know this, I would have started looking in February instead of August. The weather held out and the transportation of the home from the factory was done in one day. Too snowy or windy and the home could not have been moved.
Once your loan is approved you may be required to get permits from the state and county for placement of the home. Where I live the gravel under the house, the blocking, the skirting, the steps, the sewer hookup, anchors, and the electrical wiring from the source into the manufactured home all had to be inspected by either the state or the county. This is why you should hire professionals to do these jobs. You may have to purchase different permits for each item. I needed two permits–one for the electrical hookup and the other covered everything else. I had to provide copies of these permits to the manufactured home dealer to prove the home could be set up when it arrived.
Today’s manufactured homes are not like those of years past. They are better built. The government stepped in several years ago to stop companies from making poorly built mobiles. New laws were passed to insure proper insulation and building materials are used. But that is not to say all manufactured homes are top quality. Do your research. Get on the internet. Talk to people who live in the brand you want to buy. Look in the phonebook and find a company or someone who does mobile home repairs and ask what he suggests you buy. You may even want to contact a manufactured home transport company since most either setup homes or can recommend someone for you to talk to.
Make sure you know the laws in your state about placement of the home. My state has a law that requires the home to be on a concrete slab. However, if it is placed in a mobile park, plastic covering packed gravel, peaked in the center so any moisture collected underneath will run to the outer sides, can be used. It also has to be anchored to the ground.
Once you buy your new home and it is delivered, you are on your own for the setup. The cost of this is not included in the purchase price. However, if you get an estimate on the cost, or the dealer offers a setup package, you may be able to included it in the loan. A good suggestion here, if you don’t know a company that does this type of work, is to ask the salesman whom he recommends if they do not offer a setup package. The advantage is if something is not done correctly, the dealer will help resolve the problem. No company wants to loose their connection with a dealer since that is a part of their income. Keep in mind there are things these companies may not be able to do such as connecting the electrical power due to state laws. You may have to hire an electrician. This cost will not be included in the price of the manufactured home but may be included in a setup package.
A double wide will take longer to setup than a single wide since the two sides will need to be attached. Inside work to cover up the screws and joined area will have to be done as well. This, too, will not be included in the purchase price, either. Also any cracks in the drywall will have to be repaired. This is common since manufactured homes are moved. These things may be included the setup package, though.
Anything you are asked to do, such as keeping the temperature turned up to a high degree, do it. You are not asked to do these things just to run up your electric bill, but to make it possible for the needed work to be done.
Be sure to ask the salesman if someone will come out and check all the appliances to see that they are working correctly. This person should also check for water leaks and any other problems. It will be your responsibility to report anything that is covered by the warranty after this initial inspection. It’s your role to fix anything not covered by the guarantee.
If you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing, then you will want to put electrical heat tape on the pipe from the water source to manufactured home’s water connection. Somewhere in every new manufactured home there will be a rating chart showing what area the house is built for. But keep in mind no matter how well insulated the house, if the temperature is forecasted to drop close to or below the normal area cold rating, especially if wind is associated with it, it’s a good idea to leave one or more faucets running slightly. You do not want to have any problems with frozen pipes.
Manufactured homes, like any residence, has to be maintained. It will have to be painted every few years if it has wood siding. The roof will have to be checked and repaired when needed. It is recommended the underneath of the house be checked for water leaks and to use a hammer and tap in the blocking wedges at least twice a year.
A ll and all, a good manufactured home, well maintained should last for many years to come.