My husband and I are looking to move from a stick-built house to a manufactured home (our first) in the next few months. Our plan is to sell the house and buy something outright with the proceeds--most likely a used double-wide in the 1,400 square foot range, located in a 55+ park (we'd love a new home if we could find a place to put one, and do it within our budget, but that isn't too likely in this area). We're expecting to have somewhere around $100K to spend on a home, plus any work it needs. We're both fifty-something and this will probably be our final home (or at least the last one before The Home). We're not spending our kids inheritance because we don't have kids, so leaving an enduring homestead isn't a concern. Our priority is to get a home in a good location, something we really like and that suits us for the next 15 - 20 years, give or take-and one where we won't be dealing with an inordinate number of headaches and costly repairs, above and beyond normal upkeep.
We've found an home that has a lot to like, and a few things that concern us. It's a 1978 Barrington (which is a Fleetwood line, if I have that right?) double-wide. The interior is seriously dated and grubby and worn. But the owner (who hasn't put it on the market yet) says she's going to ask under $18,000 for it, and at that price we could afford to do a lot of sprucing it up and making it over to suit ourselves! We like the park, and the rent is very reasonable. And the location is gorgeous--it's at the end of a street, with a neighbor on only one side, a nice-sized yard surrounded by trees, and right over the back fence is a river (and it's not considered a significant risk for flooding-we checked with the county, and FEMA).
We have some time to decide--the owner is still moving out and cleaning up and won't be ready to sell it for another month or two. If we do seriously consider the place, we would of course get a very thorough professional inspection before making any decisions. But I keep wondering, what's the likelihood of finding a 40-year-old mobile home that doesn't have a lot wrong with it, beyond aesthetics? We're not very handy, and my husband is disabled, so we'll need to hire somebody to do most of the work it needs. The last thing we need is a money pit that keeps demanding more and more work just to stay livable.
So...we'd love to hear from folks with experience buying and rehabbing older mobile homes. I tend to get ahead of myself and I'm already remodeling this place in my head, but I'm doing my best to be realistic. Is a home this old likely to have significant structural problems and be more trouble than it's worth, even at a bargain price?
What specific things should we look closely at, with a home this age and from this manufacturer? We're in a Seattle suburb, and yeah, it does rain a bit here, so I imagine water damage and mold are on that list! Any other advice?
And does anyone have suggestions for finding a home inspector who has adequate expertise in evaluating mobile homes? I've looked around online and so far, haven't seen anybody in this area (greater Seattle, south King and Pierce Counties, Washington) that advertises this as one of their specialties. Can anybody recommend a local inspector, and/or suggest how to find one who's experienced with older manufactured homes?
Is there anything else we should know, or consider, before we decide about taking this on?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!
Industry pros offer their experience in manufactured housing to help first time buyers to make informed decisions with confidence and peace of mind.
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