Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

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TrevorJ
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:03 pm

Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by TrevorJ » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:41 pm

So, I figure you could use some context to know where I am comming from, but if you are in a hurry and just want to get to the questions, feel free to skip this section.

For some background, I am a contract engineer. What this basically means is that a company will offer me a position to design a widget. When the job is done, I get a bonus, and then they fire me. In general, these positions last about 1 to 2 years. I enjoy it because I don't get stuck in a dead end job, nor do I get caught up in alot of the office politics that a full time worker has to deal with. It also gives me alot of variety on the things I work on so I don't wind up bored, and contract work tends to pay better then a full time position.

The problem I have with this sort of arrangement is that I wind up moving often. I may only be in a town for a year, or if I can get a couple gigs in the same area 3-4 years at the most. But eventually, I have to move again in order to get my next position.

So then, what are my options for housing? Thus far, I have considered my options to be:
A - rent an apartment (what I do most of the time)
B - rent a home (did this once)
C - buy a home (haven't done this yet)

Renting an apartment works fine for what I need. I am a single adult and plan to stay that way for a while. So a single bedroom, single bathroom unit with a living room is all I need. I have lived in places as small as 625 square feet (about 60 square meters) without feeling cramped. I just don't have that much stuff. Other advantages are that small apartments are very easy to take care of. There isn't that much space to keep clean, no yard to care for, and all maintenence is somebody else's job.

The problem with renting apartments is:

1. I am basically throwing money away on rent.

2. I can't modify anything. If I want to paint the walls a certian color, or install a different lighting fixture, or replace something I can't do that. Which means I am basically stuck with whatever the owner deams good enough.

3. It is very difficult to find a nice apartment in the size I am looking for. There seems to be this idea in the industry that the only people who want nice appliances, or whirlpool tubs are people who also want 3 bedrooms and a two car garage. If your only looking for 1 bedroom apartments, then your lucky to find one with a working dishwasher (as in it actually washes the dishes rather then just getting them hot and wet). Likewise, many apartments also have thin walls, poor insulation, and the cheepest carpet that the owner can buy. For this reason, I usually wind up renting a 2 bedroom apartment, not because I need the second bedroom, but because it is the only apartment I can find that meets my minimum conditions.

Option B (renting a home) is a bit better then renting an apartment because they are generally higher quality, better insulated, nicer places to live. The problems are:

1. I am basically throwing money away on rent.

2. I can't modify anything. (See above)

3. They are alot more to take care of. Often times a rented home comes with a yard. I don't use it, I don't like it, and I either have to pay somebody to take care of it, or waste my time taking care of it myself. Also, rented homes have more bedrooms and bathrooms then I have any use for, so I wind up paying more for things I dont need, and spend more time cleaning rooms I don't use.

Option C is buying a home. This has the benefit in that I am not throwing money away on rent, and I can also modify the place to my liking. The problems are:

1. Its more than I want to take care of (same as renting a home)

2. I wind up losing more money on the resale then I gain in equity after only a few years. If you aren't familiar with how this works, then check out this link:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/busi ... .html?_r=0

Basically, realtor fees, closing costs, and time taken to shop for and sell the home make it such that if I move every few years, buying a new home is more expensive then renting.

So, for the past few years I have stuck to renting 2 bedroom apartments. But recently, I have started thinking about buying a mobile home, and taking it with me when I move to a new city. I would have to stick to renting a space in a mobile home park, but my rent would go down a lot. I could modify the home as I saw fit. I could put in the luxuries that I want such as nice appliances, whirlpool bathtub, nice carpet, good insulation, etc, without having to get a large 2000 sq. foot home or yard to take care of.

However, I am not sure if they make mobile homes that can do what I want. Many mobile homes I look at are just as bad or worse quality then 1 bedroom apartments for rent, and I don't know how difficult it will be to move the home (which I will need to do multiple times).





So here is the question portion of this post:

Can you give me any advice or information in finding a good quality mobile home that can be relatively easily moved.

By good quality I mean:
Nice appliances
Whirlpool/jacuzzi/soaking bathtub
Stain resistant, soft, long life carpet
Good insulation
Very durable construction(I want this to last a while)
Weather resistant (Should be able to handle high winds, snow, rain, etc. as I will be taking it into many different climates)

And by easily movable I mean it can be packed up and moved for a relatively low cost/effort. Also, the house should be sturdy enough that it wont fall apart and disintegrate, or need major repairs after each move. I anticipate it will probably cost a few grand to move each time, but I don't really know what a reasonable price would be. Nor do I know how things like home width/length affect the cost.

As far as the size that I am looking for. As I said before, all I really need is 1 bedroom, 1 bath, and enough space to live comfortably. I am not opposed to getting a second bedroom (or perhaps even a second bathroom) as I might be living in this a while and potential growth for a family, or just a space to house guests wouldn't be bad. I could also use the second bedroom for a hobby room (as I do now). To me, the relatively small size and easy transportability says a single wide. For reference, I was browsing and something like this looked like the sort of layout that would be fine:
http://www.factoryhomesclearance.com/im ... e/7014.jpg

The difficulty is that I don't know which manufactures sell homes like this. And I don't want to buy a home, have it installed, only to find out later that it will cost alot to move, and need major repairs after each move. Is there a specific company that specializes in rugged, high quality, luxury single units?

And for what it matters, I really don't care about this home looking like a site built home. I will be living in a mobile home park, with a long and narrow house. I don't expect to fool anybody about it's origins.

Many thanks for any help or insight you can provide into this matter.

rmurray
Posts: 1086
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 6:49 pm

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by rmurray » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:12 pm

Big order..A mobile home or properly called manufactured home is costly to move especially cross country. All manufactured homes should survive a major move without problems but the cost will be many thousands for even local moves. Cross country could well be tens of thousands..

There are some specialty creatures called Park Models that can be no more than 450 sq ft and could well meet your requirements. They would cost to move but not nearly as much.

Most folks who actually have this life style live in Motor Homes or large 5th wheel campers. Many of these with slide out sections are 500 to 650 sq feet. Most folks move them themselves with large pick up trucks or drive the motor home. Moving cost is little more than fuel costs. The units will survive moves very well. Rental locations can be very luxurious. Purchase cost is reasonable. Motor homes can be had as low as 100,000 to the VERY luxurious in the millions. 5th wheel campers will run from 80,000 to 250,000 plus a tow vehicle of about 55.000. Many of these will be extremely luxurious with high quality appliances, very fancy baths and lots of room for 1.

There are many full time folks in these that hire professional drivers to move the home from place to place. That cost is reasonable.

Celtlund
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:07 pm

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by Celtlund » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:15 pm

Murray is correct and a manufactured home built for one wind zone may not be able to be moved to another wind zone. Your best bet would probably be a 'travel trailer.' Even though it may not come with a jacuzzi you could probably find a park with one and a pool. You could get a good truck and save a lot of money by moving it yourself.

TrevorJ
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:03 pm

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by TrevorJ » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:05 am

I have thought about getting a travel trailer. Some of my fellow contractors (especially those who tend to take jobs for only a few months) own them and are fine living in them for a few months. And if I were just working for a few months and had a house to return to, I would definately see the appeal. But I was hoping to get something a bit more, how should I say, 'homey'. I don't want to sound spoiled and say that I need a jacuzzi bath, washer/dryer, or other such luxuries, but I would certianly like them. I want to be able to live in a home and have it feel like a place I would be willing to spend my life in, not something short term like an RV.

Does anybody know how size affects moving costs? Single wides seem to come in 4 widths, 11', 13'9", 15'6", and 18'. Presumably these are standard sizes because I see those same sizes used by many different models over different dealers. Would the skinnier models not be classified as wide loads and thus easier to transport? Does length and width have any bearing on transport costs, or is it the same truck, driving the same mileage, for the same cost regardless of size?

rmurray
Posts: 1086
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 6:49 pm

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by rmurray » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:56 am

I am basically from the manufactured home business and think they are a great housing for most folks needs.

I DO know enough to know your idea will be tough to since in today's world they are not as mobile as the old days hence the change in name from Mobile Home to manufactured home which actually happened in 1976 to reflect the reality of factory built homes; 90% are never moved from their original location.

Size does matter in bare transportation costs. There are 50 different states with 50 different sets of rules which means at this time only 3 sizes available the 18' homes are ONLY legal in the state of TEXAS on the highway. At this time all 3 of the others can be moved in most areas of the country. A few areas still have restrictions on the 16 wides that do not allow them in a few areas. I know there are areas in North Carolina that do not allow them.



Highway moving costs are by far the smallest cost of moving. Most folks seem to worry about highway moving cost. Generally they very small in relation to the proper installation costs. Over the road rules for wide loads vary widely from state to state and often within the state. Over width permit requirements and fees vary greatly across the country hence no rule of thumb per mile pricing possible. Transportation pricing is very location sensitive. Prices are quoted only from specific location to specific location. All states will require some escort fees as well. There will be 1,2 or 3 escorts required. Rear,... Front and Rear,... Front, Rear and height pole car . each of these will have a per mile fee.

Any case transportation are insignificant when compared to overall moving costs. Installation rules have been made the same on a national basis but local cost still very a lot. All areas now require a state licensed installation crew to get the building permit. Permit cost will very by thousands from area to area. Some states and localities have impact taxes. Florida comes to mind. GA has recently changed its rules to charge 6.5% tax to change title to GA for legal taxing.

Just moving a single section locally less than 25 miles can easily cost $ 10,000 turn key.


You probably should find a large RV dealer who has a large selection of inventory where you can see them in real life. Find an experienced salesperson, make him feel you are serious and capable. He/She should not mind spending the time to patiently work with you.

I have seen many RV's with full size washer and dryers and VERY deluxe bathroom accommodations...I have seen many with Jacuzzi tubs, some even with Swedish saunas. I have seen large RV's with multiple slideouts that have 14'wide living rooms (often with large picture windows and big sceen TV's) and bedrooms. I have seen many with island kitchen Jenaire ranges and convection ovens, large 20'plus foot side by side refers are common. Luxury is limited ONLY by your pocketbook. You can internet shop BUT you cannot get the feeling without walking in a properly displayed model. Find a large RV show or dealer and check them out. Don't try to budget yourself till you see some luxury models. Then you can decide just what is important to you and how much it will cost. 5th wheels are the nicest. Some even have garages to hold adult toys. custom golf carts, ATV's or 4 wheeler. Check them out. Unfortunately most travel workers that have a fixed home base usually skimp on price and have basic models. Most would quit the fixed base house if they would try full time living in a nice model.

TrevorJ
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:03 pm

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by TrevorJ » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:34 am

Thanks for the information. I will give more thought to an RV. I am just suprised that there isn't something in between a manufactured home and an RV. You would think the need for a truly 'mobile home' would still exist.

Anyways, if you can think of anything else to add, let me know.

rmurray
Posts: 1086
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 6:49 pm

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by rmurray » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:26 am

The item that is truly in between are the park models. These were basically developed for full time living in the space limited RV park. Most of these are never moved from their original installation. I think you will be pleasantly surprised about nice large RV's.
I first sold homes in the early 70's and do not ever remember a time with truly mobile structures. Actually the industry fought the image and worked hard to be an alternative permanent home.
GOOD LUCK with your quest.

starwatcher
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:55 am

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by starwatcher » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:29 am

Trevorl,

I am also a contract worker but have since "settled in" at my current job. It looks as if we're potentially secure at least long enough for me to reach some sort of retirement. Anyway, when I started my current job three years ago we bought me a 32' tag-along travel trailer with a single "super" slide. I was able to set up in the RV park in the Marine base nearby. This arrangement suited me very well for the six months we waited to move here permemnantly. If I were single it would still have been very comfortable to this day. After moving we now have the RV to use when we want to go glamping.

I can recommend the trailer but I think if you are looking for something more house like the park model trailers might be what you're looking for but they will be more expensive to move.

Celtlund
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:07 pm

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by Celtlund » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:41 pm

Aren't some Park Models small enough to be moved by the owner using a pick up truck or Surburban?

starwatcher
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:55 am

Re: Please help me find a nice mobile home that is actually nice and mobile

Post by starwatcher » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:30 am

For the most part park model trailers hitch and overall weight will exceed the capacity of any half ton or lesser pickup. You _might_ get away with it moving around a proberty but for safe hauling any distance more than a mile or two you would want a truck with the specifications that meet the needs. That would be a Chevy/Dodge 2500, 3500 or Ford F250, F350 etc . . . I don't think any of the non American brands make anything in this class unless you step up into the (semi) commercial MDT, HDT lines.

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