What do I look out for when buying a used mobile home?

by VH
Tomorrow I will be viewing a couple used manufactured homes at an RV resort park. Despite the units being quite close to each other, the center grounds and lake are gorgeous, I'd own both the home and the little plot of land the unit sits on, and the monthly fee for the grounds, pools, clubhouse, my water bill, cable, and such is low for So CA. The home is similar to the one in this picture, as are most at the park, and all have about 400 sq ft of interior space. Most date from the 80s or so. I'm hoping not to soon find I have to shell out a lot for some major repair besides fresh paint. What in particular should I be looking for when I walk through those two units? I asked and the owners told me there is no problem with the roof, plumbing, and electricity; the owners seem like decent, honest seniors who are snow/rain birds grown too old or now widowed and no longer interested in making the long annual trip to CA when their own state gets very cold/wet. BTW this would not be my home, but mainly a place just to crash or take a swim when I'm in town once or twice weekly and too tired to drive back to my rural home. (Condos and apartments are too costly for this, as is staying at nice hotels, while staying in cheap hotels often makes me feel a bit unsafe. This 55+ RV park has gated security and other safety features.)
q what do i look out for when buying a used mobile home
Most units there look like this.
  15 answers
  • Rebecca Taylor Rebecca Taylor on Oct 13, 2017
    Hello, I would ask how old the high ticket items are like the hot water tank and furnace. They will be some of priciest things to replace. If they have not been replaced, have they been checked out recently.

  • Owning the home and ground is similar to a condo type situation. Get a copy of the by-laws, rules and regulations. Find out how property tax is paid too. Hire a home inspector that specializes in mobile homes and perform an inspection, just as you would do on a typical single family home. Even though the people seem nice and honest, do your homework, it is always buyer beware, especially in CA. My in laws were in 3 different 55 and over parks in San Marcos for many years and we were so grateful, as they do look out for each other. Haggle and negotiate as if any other real estate transaction. Keep us posted and if you need anything, we are here for you!

    • See 4 previous
    • So welcome! Buying into a manufactured home community is in my retirement plan. Once I get too old to maintain a regular home and have the social aspects while still having my own space and privacy. My in laws chose well, each place they had had a strong sense of community and they all looked out for one another. Sure they sometimes quibble about some things, like the maintence guy didn't get to something, or the pool guy is getting expensive, but what group doesn't? Overall an A+ option if you are willing to have an open mind about things. I do not believe they deserve a bad rap, but that is my opinion. You can have ticky tacky and bad neighborhoods with regular homes too - just a matter of perspective. I think you are making a smart choice. Take the time to get to know the residents - you will be surprised. One of my favorites was Friday Happy Hour at the pool clubhouse, man o man, those seniors know how to party! And even the ones that didn't drink were still having fun and were a hoot to hang with. Let us know if you have any more questions! I am so jealous! ☺😎❤

  • Christierei Christierei on Oct 13, 2017
    An older mobile should have a new coating of roofing tar on the roof. Sometimes, the mobiles get remodeled and have drywall instead of the standard panels. The drywall is much quieter and you can hang pictures on it etc.

  • Phyllis Shuler Phyllis Shuler on Oct 13, 2017
    look for stains seeping through ceilings or along base boards if any to make sure there was no water leaks. If any moisture had build up in warmer climates mold will start to form, can very much be a health concern.

    • Pla7352633 Pla7352633 on Oct 13, 2017
      Check the floors under all the windows. I purchased a used mobile home once and we didn't notice the floors were rotted under all the windows until the previous owners moved out. Back then, I was young, dumb, and trusting. They had furniture in front of all the windows to hide it. Old trailer windows either leak, or the condensation runs down them and rots the flooring.

  • Ebbjdl Ebbjdl on Oct 13, 2017
    Start by writing down all the questions you have, and ask them when your looking for a mobile home. I would get an inspection of the mobile home you are set on, provided the owner doesn't object. Since you covered most of what to ask, there are still unanswered questions. Don't jump in too quickly, be sure you feel safe about your choice. Also ask about insurance, if you take a mortgage, maybe you want to take insurance on the mortgage, etc. Good Luck!

  • Jus13565173 Jus13565173 on Oct 13, 2017
    No matter how nice the people are, no matter what the trailer appears have a professional inspection. My mobile home looked very nice. The inspection turned up five pages of what was wrong.

  • Erin Erin on Oct 13, 2017
    Check with the police department to see if they get a lot of calls to that park. You don't want to have criminal neighbors.

  • Carole Atson Carole Atson on Oct 13, 2017
    All of the above are great answers. The best answer is to get an inspection. If the owner objects, don't buy it. If the window sill doesn't have marble on it then their is probably water damage. Mobile homes are above ground so you usually don't have to worry about water there but water damage from above is always a possibility. if possible, talk to the owner about any repairs that have been made and when. If your not transporting the home, check out the neighborhood (take a drive by both day and night). Good luck

  • Carole Atson Carole Atson on Oct 13, 2017
    PS. Sorry, forgot to mention that if you are staying in the community be sure to check out the HOA. Some of them are VERY strict. You can't even hang out a flag.

  • Ela6604453 Ela6604453 on Oct 13, 2017
    The inspection is the best idea and make sure it includes the underlying water lines. Apparently the old PCV piping is not up to today’s standards and I had to replace all of the water pipes under my home within the first 6 months. Especially important if the home has been unoccupied for a while.
    I love mobile home living, but it has some unique differences.

  • Steve Woodward Steve Woodward on Oct 14, 2017
    "value",.. really what is it worth? are you buying the plot, and then paying a premium for the old almost worthless trailer.. trailers lose value rapidly.. they were never designed to be lived in,. just used and scrapped. get professional inspections and appraisals. Not someones opinion of what they think they are worth. Some communities restrict secondary sales and you may end up with a legal mess and an old trailer that you can not live in. (good luck. leaks / rot. take away from value)

  • Marie Marie on Oct 16, 2017
    We looked through various mobile home communities and learned a little about what we should look for and what we wanted from a community or didn't want. We bought ours "as is" turned out we had to put in a new air conditioner.
    Still we enjoy the camaraderie and quietness of our 55+ community.
    You might want to have someone out to check the air conditioner and also have someone come out to see if the home is level. One clue would be doors that don't stay shut or open.

  • Rebecca Lynn Rebecca Lynn on Oct 16, 2017
    Soft spots on the flooring! Dead Animals under the skirting, always make sure it is tight and no holes or animals will go in there and set up house.

  • Kfc7963750 Kfc7963750 on Oct 16, 2017
    Look for leaks in the ceiling. Also check the electrical system and the plumbing before you buy.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 14, 2023

    Make sure the mobile home is insulated, check for damage covered by paint-like a ceiling roof leak, the heating/cooling system,