Compared to a decade ago, manufactured homes are gaining momentum and demand. With more than 22 million Americans currently living in mobile homes, it is clear that the population has shifted and is happy with the option to purchase a mobile home.
Who wouldn’t be? Not everyone needs a 1+ acre yard or 4,000+ square feet. Some may have kids that have finished school and moved out to start their own families. Others may prefer a manufactured home to continue saving money to purchase their first single-family home.
It is an expensive world we live in 2022, with inflation reaching all-time highs. Having the funds set aside for a down payment on any home can be difficult in today’s economy.
This, plus the new modern-day options and upgrades available with manufactured homes makes the idea of purchasing a mobile home even more appealing to the masses.
What does it truly cost to own a manufactured home?
When that question is posed, it is not just the home we are trying to analyze. Other costs very similar to owning a single-family home can also be associated with owning a mobile home.
The rest of this brief discussion is designed to break down those details.
How Much Does a Mobile Home Cost?
When you purchase any home, the home is one piece of the total cost. Yes, it is the most substantial cost and requires the most significant down payment or due diligence to gain financing, but it is still only one piece of the pie.
We think everyone can agree with that.
In addition to the home itself, you have other costs that are associated. Some of these costs may show up monthly, and some may be a cash-out-of-pocket today scenario.
Others may be related to repairs and what I call “the unexpected,” such as mobile home maintenance.
If you are considering purchasing a mobile home, it is essential to understand the entire scenario you are getting into, both the good and the bad.
The total costs. Not just one piece of the pie.
Average Sales Price Nationwide for Mobile Homes
As of 2022, the nationwide average sales price for a mobile home price is $112,000.00. The cost of a mobile home and the median price vary based on the mobile home’s size and additional customizations or features.
Types of Mobile Homes (Single-Wide vs. Double-Wide)
The cost can vary substantially depending on whether you are looking at double-wide or single-wide mobile homes. Here is a look at the average price of a mobile home based on size according to the U.S. Census Bureau:
- Single–Wide Mobile Home Average Cost – $51,371.00
- Double–Wide Mobile Home Average Cost – $107,500.00
- Triple–Wide (Known as Multi–Wide) – $200,000.00+
Combining all these options when considering a mobile home creates the median or average price of a mobile home in the United States at $112,000.00.
Size and Features Impact on Price of Manufactured Homes
One consideration is the choice between a double-wide, single-wide, or even a triple-wide. Other options and features can significantly impact the total cost, too.
Nowadays, you will have more options than ever when shopping for manufactured homes. Options can include vaulted ceilings, high-end appliances, and even the amount of yard space available.
Of course, even some of the basics you opt for will also impact the total cost of a mobile home.
Here are some examples:
Bedrooms will typically be reflected in the cost because the mobile home’s size will increase. A lot of modern mobile homes will be offered with the following options:
Square Feet Can Impact Pricing
The amount of living space also begins impacting price. It makes sense. If you are looking for a mobile home that is twice the size of another option, it is going to cost you more.
We briefly touched on square footage when we discussed the differences between single-wide, double-wide, and triple-wide options available.
Based on the size of the mobile home, you can expect the cost of the unit to increase.
Other Features Often Added to Mobile Homes Inflating Costs
Other features can also make a difference in the cost of a mobile home. Some mobile homes will offer other higher end cosmetic upgrades, such as stone fireplaces.
Having a mobile home that has one bathroom vs. two bathrooms or more can also inflate the total cost of a mobile home.
You can also opt for a home with master bathrooms and walk-in closets. You can even opt for a mobile home community that offers an additional storage shed on the property.
This barely touches on all the options you could consider, which would impact the mobile home’s overall cost.
Other Costs Associated with Mobile Homes
Now that the basics have been covered, it is essential to understand that other costs will be associated with purchasing a manufactured home.
Some of the costs you may be able to avoid, and some are very common and more difficult to get away from.
Let’s start with where the home is going to reside.
Purchasing or Leasing Land for a Manufactured Home
Purchasing or leasing land for your mobile home is also an option during the purchasing phase.
Here is how it works.
With a land-lease agreement, the tenant does not have to be concerned with anything related to the land.
Land leases need to be renewed with landowners, and the costs will vary, like how it works when renting a lot for your home. Learn what is lot rent for a mobile home here.
However, typically with a land lease, you will not have to worry about associated costs or maintenance related items with your land.
Most mobile home communities will provide such services as part of the agreement. Learn what a mobile home community is here.
Think of a car lease or an apartment lease. While it is not the same, the same idea applies.
You are using the land at a particular cost for a specific amount of time and then will decide whether to purchase after the lease terminates or renew the lease.
Typically, this is referred to or used most frequently in “rent-to-own mobile homes” with the tenant and landowner.
Lot Rent and Mobile Home Communities
Lot rent and the cost of being in a mobile home community is another financial consideration to keep in mind when purchasing a home.
The costs of renting a lot will vary based on location and amenities, but typically will range between an additional $200.00-$700.00 per month.
If you are currently in the middle of a manufactured home search, talk to the owner of the mobile home park to understand your options and what is the most beneficial for your current situation. Learn how to buy a mobile home in a park here.
Property Taxes on Mobile Homes
Renting land or a lot for your mobile home does not give you full ownership or control of the land.
On a positive note, if you opt to rent a lot in a mobile home park, you don’t own the property, which means you can avoid paying property taxes. That will be the responsibility of the individual who fully owns the land.
However, when renting a lot or deciding to move into a mobile home community, it is essential to understand that strict regulations may be in place.
While the regulations are typically only designed to benefit the tenant and the overall community, they are still something that specific individuals may not want to participate in.
How to Purchase a Mobile Home
Now that you have an idea of the costs associated with purchasing a mobile home, it is time to understand how you go through the process of buying a mobile home.
In most situations, you will have to secure some form of funding unless you have the cash available to purchase the home outright.
The most common way used is financing and securing a loan for the property, which will have several options to decide between.
Financing Options Available for Mobile Homes
Want to know how to finance a mobile home? Financing a mobile home used to be much more challenging than it is today compared to purchasing a single-family home.
Regulations and guidelines are a bit tighter, and you will need to understand your options before beginning the process.
Here are some standard loan options you have when purchasing a mobile home.
Regardless of which option you choose, it is imperative to understand and read the fine print carefully and look over your retail installment contracts on the home itself before making any final decisions.
Loan Types Available for Mobile Homes
Manufactured homes are a popular option as it stands today.
People enjoy the tiny home idea (see tiny house vs. mobile home) or just do not have the cash ready to purchase a single-family home.
Due to the popularity increase of mobile homes, financing options have expanded.
Typically, your financing options will be provided by credit unions, specialty lenders, and financing with the mobile home manufacturer or community. Government agencies may also be in the mix when considering financing for a manufactured home.
Here is a look at your financing options when purchasing a mobile home:
VA and Conventional Loans
Some Government agencies are willing to help you gain financing for your home purchase.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), in addition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Housing Agency (FHA), can all be options for financing when purchasing a manufactured home.
To use these options for a mobile home, stricter guidelines must be met.
Additionally, FHA and VA loans would require your home to be permanently affixed to the land, and you could not lease your land. You would need the mobile home to be permanent and own the land it resides on.
These loan types will offer the hardest approval process, but also have the most favorable financial terms, including lower interest rates.
Affixing a mobile home to land can also help the mobile home to increase in value. Opposed to just allowing the mobile home to sit on flat land where the value either does not appreciate quickly and can even face depreciation. Learn other ways on how to increase the value of a mobile home here.
Chattel mobile home financing is also a viable option to purchase a mobile home.
They can often come at a heavier expense compared to other financing options you can opt to use.
Chattel loans are used for homes considered “capable of moving” or movable. A chattel loan is often used for manufactured homes, yachts, and other living quarters that can be moved.
They often offer shorter loan terms, reducing total interest paid, but also increasing the payment size.
Currently, chattel loans extend out 23 years with select lenders, and the best interest rate you can likely expect is in the ballpark of 6-9%.
While beneficial with lower closing costs, chattel loans may not be the best option for you if you can qualify for a traditional mortgage payment.
Chattel loans likely are not the best option if you are looking for the lowest possible monthly payment.
A traditional mortgage will typically extend up to 30 years, lowering the cost of each monthly payment.
Mobile Homes vs. Single-Family Homes
10 years ago, the thought of putting mobile and single-family homes in the same conversation did not make much sense.
Today, arguing a reason not to consider them together is challenging.
Manufactured homes can feature similar size and quality, and purchasing options are becoming similar to purchasing a single-family home.
Not to mention, the popularity is beginning to gain more and more traction with manufactured homes.
While it may be more beneficial to get financing on a single-family home, it is still money-saving to purchase a manufactured home.
Mobile home costs have certainly increased some over the years. With that said, mobile homes have also become much more accepted and can be just as good as any single-family home.
If you want to buy a mobile home, now is a great time to consider.
Manufactured homes can be a perfect fit for a good portion of the population, depending on your lifestyle and needs.
Manufactured homes come in various options and are produced at scale; and the quality and opportunity to choose a smaller living space or enjoy a manufactured home community has never been better.