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Before Buying a New Mobile Home Test Your Salesperson

Updated on March 6, 2012

Dealing With the Right Salesperson is Crucial

The only thing standing in your way before purchasing your new manufactured (mobile) home is the salesperson. This is the key person that should assist you through the complete process of purchasing your new home, providing a lender and following through with all the questions you will have. Right off the bat, you want to get it right and beware that many things that can and will go wrong when laying out your hard earned money for a mobile home if you're not paying attention. Unsuspecting buyers don't realize the pitfalls that can leave them reeling financially after the sale.

Let's get organized here and deal with first things first.

Never leave a deposit on a new mobile home until you know for sure you are a qualified buyer through a lending institution.

Never, ever stroke a check to an individuals name at a dealership for any purpose. All checks must be made payable to the name of the company (dealership) from where you are purchasing the home. The only time you would write a check to an individual is if you are purchasing the home directly from them.

Base your selection on family size/needs or future family growth. Something else; Unless you love mowing, try to have a lawn that doesn't take hours and hours to mow, otherwise you will become disenchanted quickly. Also, keep in mind that the further off the road you set the home, means the greater the expense when it comes to a preparing a stable driveway.

Always keep in mind that additional costs are automatic.

You see the price listed for the home, but haven't thought about the extra cost to complete the installation. Here are some additional costs that you should be aware of and they are nearly always in addition to the base price of the manufactured home.

Cost for setting up the home by a licensed mobile home installer.The dealerships generally have a set charge between $3500-$5000 for a double wide depending on length and width of the home. In reality, they may only pay out 75% of that to a licensed installer, thereby profiting from the set-up.

Add to that; steps, skirting, electrical hook-up and air conditioning installation.

All of a sudden that $50K you thought your new mobile home would cost is looking more like $75K+ by the time the added necessary elements to the mobile home are included. Once in a while you will find a mobile home that has a big sign attached to it that reads "$54,999.00 set up on your lot with steps, skirting and a/c." This is certainly a better indicator of what to expect as far as a final price. But don't forget to ad the tax. The tax at 6% equals an additional 3K.

The cost to improve land, in many cases, can equal the cost of the home itself. A high quality salesperson will be able to get prices for land improvements based on the location of your new home site. Mobile home dealerships have tried and true subcontractors that they deal with on a daily basis. These subs can access information based on the parcel identification number (pin) of your property and are able to give you some pretty close estimates. Make sure your salesperson contacts them for the estimated costs.

Mobile Home Salespeople Rarely ask the Right Questions

And this can cost you dearly in the end. I haven't seen one yet that has a check list to when it comes to estimated costs for all the improvements to your land. To be totally efficient in cost estimation, a salesperson worth their weight will visit your property and take note of potential costs related to the purchase of your new home.

Example: Let's say your property lies along a paved road. Is there a ditch between your property line and the paved road? If there is, the road department is going to demand you put a culvert pipe with mitered and concreted ends. This is so you have safe access to and from your property. The cost can be between $2000-$3500. If your mortgage is already approved, then you may have to pay for that driveway out of your own pocket. There goes that great ride-a-mower you planned to purchase.

List of items you'll need in order to get an accurate cost estimation:

  • Is your land zoned to allow a mobile home?
  • Does your property require land clearing?
  • Is your property hilly and required loads of fill dirt to be trucked in?
  • Is there an existing well on the property that needs a new pump or rewiring?
  • Approximately how deep will the well be?
  • Is your soil suitable for an in-ground septic system?
  • Is your lot large enough to to meet the set-back requirements for your home/well/septic
  • Will it need additional land clearing along the property line for lift poles by the power company?
  • Does your property need a culvert pipe for ingress/egress? If not, is stabilization required that you don't get stuck in the easement.
  • Do you live in a flood zone? If yes; Are you required to have a surveyor's benchmark elevation and a finished floor elevation? Will you be expected to buy flood insurance?
  • Are there wetlands on your property? If there are, The Department of Environmental Protection will likely visit with you on your land to determine where you can and cannot build.

Take this list with you when purchasing a new mobile home. If you haven't purchased land yet, ask your dealership if there is property that they know of where you can put together a land/home package. You might be able to get a bargain. Buying land can be tricky. There is a lot more involved than what you may think. Choosing the wrong piece of property can really cost you big time. Don't be put in a situation where the cost to develop your home site is well beyond what you can afford. It may pretty, but it can get ugly real fast.


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      Christy Massey 13 months ago

      We have put a deposit on a new double wide. He has only come off the price $2k and is asking $112k. I know he can go down but not sure the reasonable price to ask for. Can you help?