Cost To Downsize To A Mobile Home

These days, a lot of people are thinking about downsizing from a large, traditional home, to a mobile home, usually located in an enclosed community of similar homes. These places used to be called “trailer parks” and sometimes had shady reputations, but times have changed. Not only have the homes themselves changed, but the reasons for living in a mobile home park have changed.

Mortgage payments on your traditional home may have become overwhelming. Retirement funds may have shrunk with the recent stock market woes. Lots of people are tired of paying the high energy costs to heat or cool a large house, and if grown children have moved away, there may be no need for all that room anyway. Today’s Green Revolution may be motivating people to reduce their carbon footprints and help the planet by moving to a smaller house. College students, newlyweds, people just starting out in life—these are just some of the kinds of people who find mobile home living desirable.

They’re Not Really “Mobile Homes”

If you’re looking for a home manufactured any time after June 15, 1976, you’re not looking for a mobile home at all. That term was abandoned on that date, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created a set of standards known as the HUD Code. This code of standards applies to the construction, design, strength, durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency, and quality of all manufactured homes. The code also sets performance standards for heating/AC, plumbing, and electrical systems.

The idea of a mobile home is not that you can hitch it to your truck and drive it away, because you can’t. It’s costly and complicated to move a manufactured home from one place to another, although almost all of them are outfitted to be moved if necessary. The idea of “mobile” is that the house is manufactured in one place, transported, and then installed in another place. There are several types of these homes.

Manufactured Home

This is “a single-family house constructed entirely in a controlled factory environment, built to the… HUD Code.” [Manufactured Housing Institute, 2008]

Modular Home

It is a factory-built home that’s built in sections and then transported to the site. It is then lifted and settled onto the foundation and permanently anchored. The homes are built to satisfy only the state, local, or regional codes where the home will be located.

Pre-cut Home

Usually means a kit home, a log home, or a dome home, all of which are meant to be assembled on site, possibly by the future owner. Pieces are factory-cut to certain design specifications, transported to the site, and then assembled.

Mobile Home

A mobile home is any manufactured home produced prior to June 15, 1976.

For purposes of this article, we’re talking about manufactured homes that are found in a mobile home park or community setting. These neighborhoods often have identifiable personalities. Some prefer tenants over the age of 55. Some are known as great places for young families with children. Some are definitely upscale and have a long list of rules about what you can and can’t do with your yard and home exterior. And some are downscale, located in poorer parts of town, with residents who are often struggling financially.

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