Mobile Home Ownership - The Lifestyle of Owners Who Live in Mobile Home Parks

Home is where the heart is.
Home is where the heart is. | Source

Mobile Home or Manufactured Home?

Although the general public classifies homes with wheels as “mobile homes”, The U.S. Department of Human and Urban Development (HUD) classify all mobile homes as Manufactured Homes. Manufactured homes are homes that are constructed at a factory and then transported to another location where the home is placed on a foundation to be permanently or semi-permanently mounted.

Personal Mobile Home Ownership Experience

My husband and I purchased a mobile home in a 55+ mobile home park to live in while our retirement home was being built on some property that we purchased six months prior to beginning construction. At the time construction started, we lived about a three-hour drive from the property. It became tiresome driving from our current location to the property to meet construction workers and to work on the property. We decided that we could oversee the development of the property better if we moved closer to the property.

Why Do People Buy Mobile Homes in Mobile Home Parks?

Living in a mobile home park gave me an opportunity to talk to people and receive candid responses to the question of why they decided to move to a mobile home park. I talked to residents about what made them decide to own a mobile home. They were eager to respond and their reasons were varied.

  • Cost: The majority of the people I talked to spoke about the low cost of ownership. They were able to pay cash and own their home free and clear. Space rent is lower than any mortgage they would have to pay for a contemporary single family residence.
  • Temporary: Some people said they were living in their mobile home as a temporary residence. They would live in the mobile home until they could save money to build or purchase a regular contemporary single family residence.
  • Seasonal: Surprisingly, a good number of people living in the mobile home park live there on a seasonal basis. For example, in the mobile home park where I lived, the majority of the residents are duck hunters who only live in the mobile home park during duck hunting season. For the rest of the year, the mobile homes remain vacant and ready to receive the owners for the next duck hunting season.
  • Community: Many people like the idea of living in a community that offers a lifestyle they can enjoy. Often, mobile home parks have community areas where residents can gather and spend social time together. This is especially true with the 55+ communities where the home owners enjoy being in the company of other senior citizens. There may be pools, spas, and other attractive amenities for the home owners to enjoy.

Enjoy swimming in the community pool.
Enjoy swimming in the community pool. | Source

Mobile Home Value

Most people believe that mobile homes depreciate like cars. This belief is not necessarily true. Mobile homes located in parks that have desirable amenities and are well-maintained tend to hold and often increase in value over time.

This is especially true for mobile homes built after June 15, 1976 when The U.S. Department of Human and Urban Development (HUD) began mandating and enforcing federal standards for the construction, design, performance, and installation of manufactured homes to assure their “quality, durability, affordability, and safety.”

This mobile home is designed with a modernized kitchen.
This mobile home is designed with a modernized kitchen. | Source

Mobile homes use to be built for easy transportation, keeping the weight lower. In the past, mobile homes were not built as well as they are built today. New rules and regulations require mobile homes to be built with better quality. Just like with contemporary stick built homes, it is not unusual to see open floor plans, vaulted ceilings, and skylights in the mobile homes built today, thus helping mobile homes hold appreciable values.

Naturally, supply and demand affect the actual market value of mobile homes, along with space rent and the age of the home.

The Trailer Trash Perception is Real

Since the day my family members heard that I moved into a mobile home park, some of them started referring to me as trailer trash. They were embarrassed that they had a family member living in a trailer park.

Perception:

In order to meet my personal retirement goals, I quickly had to get over the stigma that I personally associated with living in a mobile home park. Like many people, I considered mobile home owners to be (shall I dare say) “trailer trash.” However, since living in a mobile home park, I have come to my senses and I am here to say that the negative trailer trash connotation about people who live in mobile home parks is a myth. Mobile home parks are merely a community of people living a preferable lifestyle like any other community of people.

People who maintain negative references about those who live in mobile home parks have not taken time to learn about the new laws that require mobile homes to be built with higher standards. They have not done their research. Perhaps, they (like me) developed their impression of mobile home owners from watching too many television shows and movies depicting mobile home residents as irrational, flamboyant characters. Sure, as in any community, those type of people exist, but for the most part, homeowners in mobile home parks are responsible, kind-hearted, neighbor-minded folks.

Owning a Home in a Mobile Home Park

Before concluding, let me point out some major pros and cons about owning a home in a mobile home park.

Pros

Here are some common benefits to owning a mobile home.

  • Lower Cost: The cost of home ownership is usually less than owning a single family residence, condominium, or townhouse.
  • No Shared Walls: Unlike with a condominium or townhouse, you do not have to share walls with a neighbor.
  • No HOA: Generally, there are no Homeowner Association (HOA) fees.
  • No Property Tax: In many cases, you pay no property tax. Note: Sometimes, a home owner may register a mobile home on the property tax roll, thereby incurring a yearly tax fee.
  • Income Tax Write-off: Home ownership provides shelter and oftentimes, this shelter is an income tax write-off. Talk with your income tax accountant or attorney to verify whether or not you are able to write off your mobile home ownership.

Enjoy a relaxing moment on the putting green.
Enjoy a relaxing moment on the putting green. | Source
  • Community: Enjoy community living in a secluded area of like-minded people. This is especially true in 55+ communities.

  • Amenities: In many cases, mobile home parks include upscale park-like living with resort-style amenities such as pools, spas, tennis courts, golf, and more.

Cons

Here are some common negatives to owning a mobile home.

  • Financing: It is difficult to get financing. The amount required to put down on a mobile home purchase is greater than with a conventional home purchase. In addition, the interest rate tends to be higher and the loan term is generally shorter. The combination of the above factors result in a relatively high monthly loan payment.
  • Leased Lots: Most mobile homes in California are on leased lots. Just like with regular home ownership in a planned unit development, prospective owners must agree with the terms and conditions of the park. In addition, prospective buyers are required to be approved by the park manager prior to finalizing a purchase.
  • Rent Increases: Park owners are in the business of making money, so if you live in a mobile home on a leased lot, there is a possibility that over time the rent could increase beyond your capacity to pay.
  • No Sub-leases: Most parks do not allow sub-leases, so if you need to rent out your home, you may not be able to do so.

Should You Own a Home in a Mobile Home Park?

Mobile home parks have the ability to satisfy your need for shelter, privacy, and community living. Consider the following thoughts to help you decide whether or not owning a home in a mobile home park is right for you.

  • If you are over the age of 55 and do not have young people living in your home, then a 55+ community might be a good solution for you.
  • If you have young children who need a place to play, search for a mobile home community with parks and play areas for children.
  • If you want a place that offers privacy, look for a gated mobile home community. A gated community can offer the added security of containing young children and pets.
  • Additional privacy can be offered with a “premium lot.” A premium lot may not necessarily cost more, but it offers additional privacy in the sense that it does not contain public access utilities such as the gas and electric meters, septic tank, community fire hose, and more. Having utility access items on your lot means you must keep those certain areas of your lot accessible at all times. If you have a gate on your property, you would not be able to lock your gate because you need to have public access utilities accessible at all times.

    A lot that does not house public access utilities means you would not be bothered when the meters are read or the septic tank is emptied or when the fire department needs to use the fire hose, You would be able to lock your gate, giving you additional privacy and premium enjoyment of your home.

    Also, a premium lot is one that is located away from other disturbances, such as it is located away from the highway and away from the train tracks. It is also considered to be a premium lot if it is located near the community park.
  • What amenities are you looking for? Golf? Tennis? Swimming pool? Find a mobile home park that offers these amenities.
  • Lower priced homes may be found in mobile home parks that do not have special amenities. Since park owners do not have to spend additional money to maintain amenities, they can keep the cost of the lot down. If you do not need special amenities, then you may opt to look into purchasing a home in a lower priced mobile home park.

Choose a mobile home neighborhood that is right for you.
Choose a mobile home neighborhood that is right for you. | Source

Choose the Best Mobile Home Park for You

Look for and choose the best mobile home in the best community for you. Aside from the considerations listed above, look for homes on lots that have been improved by the people who already live or have lived there before you.

If you do not enjoy spending time maintaining a yard, look for lots with low maintenance landscaping. Look for lots with automated sprinkler systems.

A home that has been modernized or painted recently means you can be relieved of that chore for a while.

An air conditioning system is a real advantage in mobile home parks located in extremely hot or cold areas. Ask the homeowners questions such as the age of appliances and the roof.

Owning a home in a mobile home park should no longer have the stigma it once had many years ago. Pay attention to your needs and then choose the best mobile home in the best mobile home park that satisfies as many home ownership requirements as you need.

The Luxurious Style of Today's Mobile Home

© 2016 Marlene Bertrand

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Comments 30 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Ms Dora, yes, stigma is the main issue I had about living in a mobile home park. For the longest time I refused to live in a mobile home park because I looked down on them. But then I thought about how it was only temporary and would serve a purpose. It turned out to be a good decision because I met some incredible people in the community and now that it is time to move on I find myself sad about leaving. So, this hub is basically to say that living in a mobile home park is not so bad. I am so glad you were able to see my point. Thank you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 months ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for the education. You've done some very positive advertising here for mobile home parks. There's so much that I did not know. Stigma would be the last thing on my mind if I lived in a neighborhood like the one in your picture.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Nadine May. I have heard of caravan parks, but never really knew what they were. Thank you for sharing about alternative home styles in your area. I am curious to learn more about them now.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 4 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Thank you so much for that interesting article. So far as I know we do not have mobile home parks in South Africa. We do have caravan parks where sometimes people stay permanently, but that is purely for financial reasons. The photos you added looked very nice.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello ChitrangadaSharan, it is so good to see you here. Thank you for your feedback. I have to admit that I am glad to have had the experience of living in a wonderful mobile home park. The truth is it was like living on vacation full-time.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 4 months ago from New Delhi, India

A very well written and well researched hub about mobile home park. I like the idea of mobile homes. It sounds like a good idea to think about, especially in the later part of life, when one has successfully finished all their Worldly responsibilities. It is good even for those who want to enjoy a quiet vacation.

You have shared some useful and important information in this hub and it will be beneficial to many.

Thanks for sharing!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you DDE. I hope it helps give people an alternative to consider when looking for a home to live in.


DDE profile image

DDE 4 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

You shared important information. Your idea is useful and will surely help those who need to be informed.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, Matt Easterbrook5 for the confirmation. My goal was to share my experience and to dispel notable myths, for sure.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Temporary living works out fine, however, Surabhi Kaura, many people do choose to live permanently in mobile homes and enjoy it as a wonderful lifestyle because of the community they live in.


Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

Matt Easterbrook5 4 months ago from Oregon

Great article and thanks for sharing. You eliminated a lot of myths of mobile home buying and living. Plus, enjoyed reading about the pro's and con's.Thanks again for writing it.

Matt


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 4 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Right, Marlene. Of course I wouldn't think of it as a permanent home. lol. But, yes, a fun place for solace... for vacation... away from the crowded areas.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Yes Surabhi Kaura, do explore the possibility. You just might enjoy it. For me, it was always a temporary solution, so maybe that is what made it more fun.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 4 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Really? Aha! Perhaps when I get married after 4-5 years down the road, I will tell my would-be husband to get me one. He he. It would be a good idea to explore beforehand (smile).

But, yes, over here, you have listed the pros and cons, and it helps to the future buyers to make a wise decision.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Surabhi Kaura. Thank you for your feedback. You are definitely right about it being a great solution for someone who wants to live in a mobile home as a self-treat. I can say for a fact that I truly enjoyed living in a mobile home park. It worked out very well for me.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 4 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Hi, Marlene. That is a very well-researched hub here. I wasn't aware of this earlier on. Perhaps my uncle would know, as he is into real estate. So thank you for writing about this informative hub. I actually like condominiums now. I did not like it when we first moved from our old home. There are so many good memories attached to our old home. Hopefully, will move back by this September. I also like cottages. We had two in India, and now our ancestral home is the one that is the main one in Punjab. It’s so beautiful… made of marbles, bricks and glass.

I like the idea of mobile homes. It's a good idea to think about, especially when one is done from their personal responsibilities, or just wants to enjoy a sound vacation (a self-treat kinda thing).Blessings and Love.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your positive feedback, Seira Girl. I agree with you - that it is time people lose the negative attitude about mobile homes. I am glad you see this hub as informative. I hope it does the job of helping people understand that owning a mobile home can be a wise choice.


Seira Girl profile image

Seira Girl 4 months ago from North Carolina

Informative and very well written hub Marlene! Ad a website designer, I have designed sites for many mobile home dealers, aND have learned quite a bit about that amazing industry and how far mobile homes have come in quality and style. It is hard to believe there is still such a stigma attached to them, and we need to continue to educate people otherwise, as you have so beautifully done in this article! Best wishes and two thumbs up!!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Manatita, I think you are right about money. But, am so new to not having it that I still fear it. The people around me are quite special and the blessings are richer. I have more with less. I am afraid that the more money I have, the less humble and less dependent on the Lord I will become. God is so good to me. I am so blessed to have people like you in my life. Thank you for your faithfulness and always being here when I need to receive a refreshing view of life. You are a reminder of the Goodness of God. Many blessings to you.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 months ago from london

What a beautiful testament! Nothing else matters. Nothing else. Of course we need to feel this Grace or God in others too. I'm sure you know all this.

So good to re-connect, Marlene. All's good really, even the money. Don't let anyone else tell you different. Just perspectives...or should I say motive...purpose ...focus..just semantics really. Again, you know what I mean.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

You're the sweet one, manatita44. Thank you for your kind words. The truth is, I have lived a life filled with wealth - monetary wealth. There was nothing I could not afford. I remember one year, all in a matter of three weeks I purchased a huge home in an exclusive neighborhood. I threw the furniture inside the house without taking time to arrange it. Then, I packed two suitcases - one for a Caribbean cruise and the other for a trip to Hawaii. Then, I got on a plane to fly to Florida to get on a cruise ship to the Caribbean islands. On the return flight, I had my daughter come to the airport where she handed me the Hawaiian suitcase in exchange for the Caribbean suitcase. I slept overnight at the airport and then caught the next flight out to Hawaii.

That was a fun time in my life. But, now, my friend I live on the other side of monetary wealth. The Lord giveth and He taketh away. Through an economic turn of the times, I ended up destitute. Yes, I have even had the opportunity of visiting food pantries.

I have been humbled. When I had money, I may have been a nice person, but I placed value on things that did not matter. I always had the biggest house, the newest car, all of that. But, now I value relationships. Now, I have the smallest house, the oldest car, and I don't vacation lavishly anymore. But, all my bills get paid each month without stress and I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I guess I say all of this to say that I am not so full of myself. I am, however, full of God's grace. I am glad to have learned what is truly valuable in life.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 months ago from london

Full of yourself? Not you, Marlene, not you. Lol. You're a cute sweetie. A loving child of the Divine. Praise be!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello manatita44. It is good to see you. Thank you for your compliment. It seems like a lot of what I do these days bring a life learning experience. Things I would never have done in the past, I am somehow put in a position to do now. My attitudes are changing and I am becoming less "full" of myself. I am being moved toward living in the moment and it feels right.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 months ago from london

A step forward in the evolution of Consciousness, perhaps. Yes, I can imagine them not being so 'stuck up' not so 'full' of themselves and with greater empathy and sympathy.

Invaluable article I'd say, for would-be buyers. Glad your're moving on. Grow old gracefully. LOl. Great Hub!


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Ericdierker. It is good to hear from you too. I've been away too long. After living in a mobile home park, I have developed a whole new attitude toward that style of living. The people are generally nice people who are happy - maybe because they don't have a huge mortgage to pay. It's so affordable. But, truthfully, before settling in, I had to get over a major hurdle regarding my negative attitude.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello word55. It is a great idea for retirement living, especially when living in a community of people who are of retirement age. Also, if a person picks a community with special amenities, it can be a really fun place to live.


word55 profile image

word55 4 months ago from Chicago

Hi Marlene, I like the idea of living in a mobile park home commùnity. What a great retirement idea! Thanks for sharing too!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great writing and great to hear from you Marlene. Funny how mobile homes are not getting a better rap in the ecology area. They certainly leave a smaller "footprint". We were raised to look down our noses at the trailer trash. Really strange. Last I checked regular people live in them.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your compliment, Bill. After I got over my uppity attitude, I discovered the mobile home park to be a fun place to live. Now, as you ask about the road trip, my husband is looking at RV's as I type this. I've seen too many RV's to date and now they all look the same. I just gave him the go-ahead to purchase whichever one he likes. As soon as we get that RV, we are on our way. I'm so excited. I already started my travel blog and I'm having fun with that until we hit the road.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

I think there's a difference, too, between mobile home parks and trailer parks. Here, most trailer parks are, indeed, trashy places, while mobile home parks are like you describe, pretty nice places that are affordable alternatives. Great insights and information here, Marlene. Now, when do you start your road trip?

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