Common Unexpected Costs Of Mobile Homeownership

The cost of buying a home can be deceiving. You have to have a future mindset as much as possible when buying a home. If you’re stretching your budget just to afford a monthly home loan payment – you probably need to save more before buying. You need to consider more than just the monthly payment when buying a home. If you do not budget for home expenses in addition to the monthly payment, you could possibly end up falling behind on payments or not being able to afford the typical expenses associated with homeownership.

So, as is true with most things – planning, budgeting and education is the best way to prevent future issues! Let’s look at some of the hidden costs of homeownership.

Moving and transport. Buying a mobile home is a great choice. Too often people who are moving their home to a piece of land don’t fully consider the expense of moving and installing the home. This is an expensive process and if the home is not moved and installed properly it can lead to damages and additional expense. Be sure to evaluate all your options such as financing your home delivery and installation costs into your loan amount if permitted by the lender you choose, finding a skilled company to handle your move, and hiring a contractor who can prep your land for a home, water, and electrical.

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Be sure a professional preps your home and land. Here footers being filled with concrete.

Utilities. You may be familiar with paying monthly utilities as part of monthly rent. However, as a home owner, the utility accounts will now be in your name. That means you are responsible for paying the entire monthly bill. So before moving in it is always wise to ask the previous owner or a neighbor what they typically pay in the winter and summer for utilities. This will help you to budget for utilities as part of your monthly expenses.

Repairs. Every home requires maintenance and repairs over time even with a new home or a home that is in great shape. It’s good to save each month toward a home repair and maintenance fund knowing that repairs will eventually be needed. The cost of repairs from ordinary wear and tear will add to your expenses, but saving as you go should help keep you covered.

City/ County taxes. As a homeowner you are responsible for paying local property taxes. Property tax payments are something homebuyers often forget to consider because they are usually paid as part of a mortgage escrow payment – which most people never quite understand. Here’s our explanation of escrow to help you out.

Trash/recycling services. Whether you are living in the city or a suburb, you’ll probably have some sort of trash service which you will have to pay for as part of your local property taxes or as a separate bill. Even if you do not have a trash service because you live in a rural area far from a city,  you’d probably rather pay someone and hire a service to come get your trash instead of having to make frequent trips to the dump yourself.

Potential lot rent. If you live in a mobile home park and own your home but not the land it is on,  lot rent is an extra monthly payment that will need to be considered and budgeted for.

Read More About Unexpected Costs!

4 Ways to Help You Shop for a Lender

Shopping for a mortgage lender can be a bit intimidating but if you know what to look for and the right questions to ask, you can find a mortgage lender and a loan program that are a good fit for you. When we began our own search for our first home purchase we picked the first lender that was recommended to us. I wish I would have felt empowered to shop around. There are so many options and you should find the one that best fits you – not just make a choice you feel you have to make or are told to.

Let’s look at how you can search for a lender and get the information you need as well as get your questions answered.

  1. Start with people you trust. Ask friends, mentors, parents for help as to what lenders they may be familiar with and who they would recommend you choose. Press into their good experiences and find out the most important things on your must have list. It may be an interest rate you’re looking for, a particular loan type you may be eligible for, or a local lender.
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    Ask friends and family about their home-buying experience to find the best options out there.
  2. Get a basis for where you are at. Know your credit score, income, what you have in savings etc. This information will be helpful to know when you’re asking questions of potential lenders and you’ll definitely need it for pre-approvals or pre-qualifications. Using a mortgage calculator that takes your information into consideration can give you a good starting idea of what your monthly payment may be for loan programs that you may qualify for.
  3. Contact 3 lenders. This is the number suggested by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  You are welcome to contact more or less, but this is a good average. Inquire with some lenders and tell them your situation and ask what they could offer.  If you apply with them, lenders will pull your credit report to help them give you the most accurate read of what they may be able to offer. But if you’re not ready yet, you don’t have to apply to ask them your questions.
  4. Make a list of pros and cons and find your best lender. Draw out a comparison chart and see how things line up. Choose a lender that listened to your concerns, answered your questions and was willing to work with you to find the best loan program for you.

Take your time in choosing a lender. Be empowered and find what options there are for you. The loan you get matters and you should enter homeownership feeling like you made the right choice.

Read More In-depth

6 Ways to Increase Space in Your Single Wide

A single wide home is a great choice in homeownership. For many they are a perfect fit, but for the growing family, the collector, or the person that likes a good amount of cozy, personal touches – you may feel the need to think about your space creatively. There’s plenty of space available to you – sometimes all you need is a bit of perspective to help you realize those spaces.

Let’s dive into some ways to make your space work better for your lifestyle!

  1. Practical furniture. Do you have bulky pieces about? Is your couch too large for the space? Thinking about the size and placement of your furniture is the pinnacle to creating space. Place your furniture in a way that agrees with the room or covers dead space.
  2. Shelving for days. Use shelves to increase storage and take your decor up. If you’re unsure how to hang things well on your mobile home walls learn more here. Get the more about different ways to hang items here. Make the most of your space with sturdy shelves.
  3. Expand your closet. If you’re closet is sparing, try investing in a rolling clothes rack. You can also work inside your closet to utilize the space that is already there, read more here.
  4. Add levels to your kitchen cabinets. Your cabinets may feel full, but are you using organizational shelves? If there’s space above your plates or mugs you can add those shelves with the four legs that are usually wire on the top for maximum stacking. There are also great towel bars, and thin, hanging baskets that may fit over cabinet doors.
  5. Use the doors. Over the door hangers are your best friend! Use them! From shoe racks designed over the door to spice racks – this is a major space saver!
  6. Organization station (catch all). Find a center with a desk, bulletin board, and calendar to serve as the place for all mail and new items in your home. This can serve as a transitional space for items and be used to keep random items in one place.

We hope these ideas help you get organized and allow you to use and make space you didn’t realize you had available!

Get More Ideas!

 

5 Ways to Give Your Mobile Home Windows Some TLC

Your windows are the eyes of your home. You’ve probably heard a version of that before. Yet, it’s actually pretty true. We see the outside world from our windows and we look into the heart of our home through windows. There are so many ways to work on your windows and improve your living space. If it’s been some time since your worked on your windows, we’re here to give you ideas!

For some of these items you’ll need to consult a professional based on your knowledge of the task. Some items also may require you to exercise caution.

How about shutters? Adding shutters to the exterior of your mobile home can add dimension and flair. If you don’t want to spend the money, you might research how to make your own with painted pallet pieces. Make those windows stand out as the start of the show!

Repair your screens. This is an easy do-it-yourself project. Allow full use of your windows and protect your home from pests! Learn how to fix your screens here.

Repair your window. Fixing the window on your own most likely be cheaper than buying new windows. This leading home site walks you through the process of repairing your mobile home windows. A lot of window repair involves removing/replacing glass – proceed with caution or ask a professional. Keep in mind paying someone for the labor will increase cost.

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Windows being made in a manufactured housing factory. 

Weather stripping/ caulk. Both of these items are also not super expensive to do, and you can apply them to all your windows, usually on the interior of the window. They provide a tight seal and may increase your energy efficiency and give you a cheaper AC/Heat bill. Who doesn’t love that?

Clean your blinds/exterior of mobile home windows. This may sound silly and easy but this is a big help to your space. My blinds are so dirty and they need a good wipe down, strip by strip. It freshens up your space and it’s amazing how much light you didn’t know could come in after those windows are clean. Plus, it’s a good health practice.

We hope that this helps you spend a little time on the maintenance of your windows. It’s so important as it start to get hot and wasps are out to protect your home and your family.

Freshen Up Your Window Treatments!

7 Simple Tips to Modernize Your Manufactured Home

Does your decor need a face lift? Looking to freshen up your space, but don’t want to drop your wallet? There are so many ways to make your home trendy without the price tag. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration. We’ve catered a list that will fit all your mobile home decor dreams!

Here are some affordable ideas to get you started:

Play with color. Use that fun color on your kitchen cabinets or invest in a bright couch/ couch cover. Paint is a great way to modernize your space and break up the wood grains/ wraps found in many mobile homes. Crisp white and off white are in with inviting, country kitchens. Try painting with a kit!

Add plants! Both fake and real add a homey feel! Fake trees in a basket with lights can create a great mood. Plus, it’s a great space filler for small or awkward areas. Start with some herbs!

Hang lightweight blankets. Fabric can make walls look so much more interesting. If a blanket is too heavy for your walls, try getting some fabric cut at the store and then hang it for some added flair. Not sure how to hang it? We’ve got you covered!

Bring the outside in. I love this one! It’s sort of like having plants in your home, but it goes a step farther. Think branches, pine cones, moss (I’d recommend fake moss) etc. Celebrate your favorite outdoor vibe. Be sure to let items sit in garage or outside of the house for a bit. You may also need to clean or treat some items to preserve them or make sure they are bug free.

Use bookshelves to fill your walls. Hanging a lot of items on the wall can be annoying. But if you have a few focal bookshelves you don’t have to worry about weight, or only hanging items that are flat. Plus, they are versatile, and you can move them and switch up what they display.

Add some quotes/words. Words and statements are a great addition to your home that gives a little reflection of what you value, what matters to you, or what you hope to encourage visitors with. Chalk boards and chalkboard paint are a great option for the indecisive or person of many phrases.

Introduce textures. The simple and basic monochromatic can feel very sleek, but you might feel like something is missing. Adding some texture can help break up the monotony and add some fun! You can try wainscoting a small space, a space bit of wallpaper, curtains or blankets with bold patterns.

We hope you’re ready to get started and add a little more personality to your home. Remember you can always update a room at a time or just one space!

Here’s More Inspiration!

How to Increase the Longevity of Your Manufactured Home

Many people try to predict the lifespan of a manufactured home. While some estimates can be accurate, it’s good to consider them through a wide lens. Some claim a manufactured home has a lifespan of 30 – 55 years. While this can be true, there are many factors to evaluate: Is it a pre-1976 mobile home? When was it built? What materials were used? Has it been kept up? Where is it located? Is it exposed to harsh weather? The list goes on. So while 30-55 years could be an average for many  homes, it’s not fair to generalize about the lifespan of any particular manufactured home without evaluating many other factors.

It is better to focus on ways to increase the longevity of your home instead of accepting a timeline that may not even be accurate. Let’s look at how to best care for your home.

Keep it dry! Water can damage all homes. Manufactured homes are no different. Water damage that is left untreated can deteriorate your home over time and significantly shorten its lifespan. Be careful of ceilings and floors. Covering ceilings with paint is not a fix. Don’t ignore dampness. Deal with it as quickly as possible. We’ll help you reduce moisture in your home!

It’s vital to ensure that your home is placed and installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Be sure to use a licensed manufactured home installer and other trusted professionals.  These professionals take the soil conditions into consideration, along with drainage, and just being sure that your home is properly prepped and installed. Knowing if your home is being installed properly can be hard when you’re not aware of the process yourself. Be sure to ask questions. Making sure your home is placed and installed properly can add years to its life.

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Level and smoothed footers help create an even pier and beam system.

Over time your home can settle. This settling often results in your home becoming uneven. Re-leveling your home can be done by a professional. Traditionally, if you have a pier and beam system – they measure the height of the beams and raise the home to the level that it needs to be at. This correction may prevent cracks in the walls and other structural damage  which could shorten the lifespan of your manufactured home.

Be timely with your maintenance. That’s right! Schedule it, write down when each task is completed, and keep up with them. A manufactured home benefits so much from being maintained at the right time. If you notice something out of the ordinary, address it as soon as possible.

Manufactured home roofs are important to protect. Some types of roofing need to be coated yearly. While other types may need to be inspected periodically for problem areas. It’s important to know the kind of roof you have and care for it accordingly. Read here for more about repairing your manufactured roof.

Find More Maintenance Inspiration!

We hope that you’re able to utilize these tips and potentially add years to the life of your manufactured home! Remember, you can positively impact the longevity of your home!

Protecting Your Manufactured Home Roof

Protecting the roof on your home can significantly impact its longevity. There are various types of roofing styles and materials for manufactured homes. It’s best to know what you’re dealing with, so you can best work on your roof.

Most common types of roofing

  • Flat
  • Pitched

Flat roofs are found  more in older homes, whereas pitched roofs have become more popular due to draining advantages and the ability to hold a higher roof load. Both types are built on support systems called trusses.

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Trusses in a manufactured home roof. 

 

Most common roofing materials

  • Steel/Metal
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Composite
  • Rubber/plastic (TPO)

These types are according to a homeowner inspiration site, read more about their definitions of these materials here.1

Each roof type and material will require unique maintenance. The most common advice with yearly maintenance, depending on the type of roof you have, is to apply a roof coating. An article from a mobile home site,2 recommends using some type of “elastomeric resin.” Applied properly, this should protect the roof from water as well as provide reflecting protection. Choosing a white coating can also increase the effectiveness of the roof coating. This helps your roof reflect heat and avoid the bubbling which may occur with TPO-sealed roofs. This is most commonly used in the south where heat can be especially damaging. It’s important to remember to pressure wash and clean the roof before applying the TPO resin as it will stick to the dirt and not be as effective, also according to the article.2 Caution should always be taken when working or accessing a roof.  Safety first!  Also, when in doubt, consult a professional to determine how best to maintain your roof and whether you can perform the work yourself.

Sometimes it’s not the most helpful option to just coat the roof yearly. Some manufactured homes would respond better to a new roof being placed on top of the existing roof. Read about the most common types of trusses and when they are used from a leading mobile home site.3 Some trusses are not designed to be roofed over. For homes that can hold some weight, a roof over  can be a repair option. However, the roof of a manufactured home has weight and support limitations which can make repair challenging.  Check with an expert before starting a roof over if you are unsure whether your roof can withstand the extra weight.

We hope these tips help you care for your roof, and understand better how your roof is built and what it’s made of, too. Remember to consult a professional unless this is your specialty.

Keep Up With Your Home!

References

  1. Hunker. 26 April 2019. Types of Roofing for Mobile Homes. https://www.hunker.com/13417859/types-of-roofing-for-mobile-homes
  2. Mobile Home Friend. 3 March 2019. Do Mobile Home Roof Coatings Really Work? https://mobilehomefriend.com/do-mobile-home-roof-coatings-really-work/
  3. Mobile Home Living. 20 Feb 2018. The Best Self-Supported Mobile Home Roof Over Designs. https://mobilehomeliving.org/best-self-supported-mobile-home-roof-over-designs/

How to Plan for the Expense of a Home/Yard Project

You know those home improvement shows where the person gets their home totally renovated for free? That’s the dream, right? For the rest of us though, we need a practical alternative. Say you want to add a fire pit to your backyard, update your kitchen cabinets, or install new doors throughout your entire home. All of these are great ideas and can add some serious flair to your home for years to come. Yet, most of us  simply cannot afford to do these things without putting together a financial plan to pay for the improvements.

Planning for the expense of a home improvement project is a little different even if you are already budgeting for expenses.  So, how can you plan to pay for an improvement sooner instead of  later? Time to jump in!

Set the budget. Do your research to get a good estimate on the cost of materials, labor, and future maintenance. If you  want to cut some cost and you have the ability and knowledge about how to complete the project,  save the cost of labor and do it yourself. Search the internet and talk to people at your local home improvement store to find out more about your project and decide if it is something that you should tackle yourself, or if you need to hire a professional.

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Schedule your savings!

Save 10 percent more than your budget number. There are always unexpected additional project expenses. Plan for it and your plan can go off without a hitch.

Skim off the top. Ideally, with every paycheck you can set aside an amount that you are comfortable with that will be used for your project. This requires you to know how much of your paycheck you need for everyday expenses and  bills. So if you don’t budget, wait until all of your expenses and bills are paid and then transfer part of what is left over from your paycheck to savings.

Cut or reduce unnecessary expenses for a few months. Whether it’s coffee, classes, or some other non-necessity – stop paying for it for a bit and put the money you saved toward your project budget.

Thrift/scrap/used parts. Look at discount stores for parts you need for your project that may cost less than at other stores. Keep your eyes on local garage sales and and scrap yards for pieces you can use. You may also already have something you could re-purpose to fit the task as well. Think creatively and you can cut some of your cost.

If you are receiving a tax refund, use part or all of it toward your project. This is always helpful.

Ask for it. Is your birthday soon? Mother’s day? Father’s day? You get the point. Ask for part of your project budget as a gift if people ask you what you’d like. Revamping your kitchen? Ask for a bit of back splash.  Materials adds up when gifted or donated in smaller quantities and as a bonus friends or family know they are giving you something you’ll both use and enjoy.

We hope these ideas help you make your next project happen! Depending on how much your project will cost and how quickly you can save,  we suggest planning on saving for at least 6 months to a year for your project.  This may not always be enough time to save, but it should be enough time if you utilize as many  of our saving strategies as possible.

Help Me Start A Fire Pit!

 

8 Must-Have Yard Tools for the New Mobile Homeowner

New homeowners need a lot of items to keep up with home maintenance and to save on things they can labor themselves. The upfront cost can be a lot on a new buyer. Consider saving up for each item and purchasing as you have funds and as it’s needed. As warmer weather is coming, we think about our yards and the help they need to stay kept. Let’s look at some items that will help you conquer your yard!

Check Your Yard Before You Start!

  1. Garden hose. This is a must for cleaning driveways, watering plants/landscaping, and with the proper attachments – cleaning your vinyl siding. Plus, it’s great, cheap fun for those long summer days at home for the kiddos!
  2. Rain garden/ long drain spouts. It’s quite important to be sure your yard drains well. Especially if your mobile home is not on a permanent foundation. If you notice pooling in your yard or slushy spots after rain consider redistribution ideas. Rain gardens use rocks and or absorbent plants to keep your yard healthy. Long drain spouts carry water farther from your home and foundation to keep puddles at a minimum.
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Make your yard the place for the weekend! 
  1. Lawn mower. This one is obvious. It’s so much cheaper in the long run to mow your own yard than to pay someone.
  2. Hedge shears. These handy little gadgets are good for all the in-between work. Keep your landscaping under control and deal with little issues in a snap! Operate carefully and use safety precautions.
  3. Rake. Whether your yard is covered in leaves or sticks you really can’t clear your yard without a rake. Leaving all that debris in your yard is bad for it, too.
  4. Solar powered path lights. These are a lifesaver, especially if you live in a rural setting. From getting home, to spending time outside, to friends visiting. These lights can guide your cars safely to your home.
  5. Skirting guard. If you’re weed eating or moving near your skirting, you need a skirting guard to protect your siding from holes and dings. Torn skirting is bad news for your home as critters and cold/warm air has direct access to piping.
  6. Weed eater. These are great for those annoying, hard to reach areas, edging, and carefully maneuvering around landscaping. Please follow all safety instructions and familiarize yourself with the machine.

As you spend more time in your home you’ll realize other items you need. You may also start to do gardening which will require some extras. Please be sure to use all tools with care, learn how to use them, ask a trusted individual to help with tools you’ve never used. Safety first!