Advice from Homeowners to Potential Homebuyers

When we asked some homeowners what they wish they’d known before they purchased a home, we found a theme: researching and understanding the responsibility behind owning a home. Get started with the advice below –

With the internet providing unlimited resources – we have the opportunity to be very informed buyers. However, that also means we might get some bad or inaccurate advice. Therefore, it is wise to be thorough in conducting your research. Ask parents and peers and don’t be shy in calling mortgage companies and asking questions.

Also, it’s good to be prepared for the pitfalls of owning a home. Repairs and updates to a home shouldn’t deter you from owning a home, but you need to have an idea of the cost and time you’ll be spending to keep your home in good shape.

Check out mobile home options!

Manufactured home with steps leading to the front door.

Research:

General –

  • Read blogs, check Pinterest and Google
  • Research the builder of the home you want to purchase. Read reviews. Check into negative reviews if there are any. Compare them to other builders.
  • If safety is a priority to you, check crime rates in the area you would like to live in.
  • If you have kids – look into the school districts and what they offer.

Home Specific –

  • Ask if the title is clear.
  • See if an escrow account for payment of taxes and insurance is available or required through your lender.
  • Check into interest rates and compare them, also see if it’s a fixed rate that will not change during the term of the mortgage.
  • Find out what the estimated annual homeowner’s insurance and property tax payments will be.
  • Look into the history of home and lot in the public land records.

Responsibilities:

Think you’re ready to make a home purchase? Dig into these first-time homebuyer resources as a next step! Have your own homeowner advice? Interested in something specific? Email us your input at facebook@vmf.com!

Mobile Home Types Listed on Vmfhomes.com

If you’ve spent any time on our website then you’ve seen that we as VMFHOMES.com we categorize mobile home types as land and home and home only. While those titles are somewhat self-explanatory there are some details about them that may not be. So, I’m going to explain what each type is made up of and what you can expect from that property type.

Land and Home

A land and home option is just how it sounds – it’s a sale of the home and land together. This could be a home on a permanent foundation, but it doesn’t have to be, as it just depends on the specific listing. Some customers like this option because it can save you the step of coordinating the moving and placing of the home. It’s also usually move-in ready, too! No two land and home listings are the same.  Acreage may also vary. 

This can be a perfect option for someone looking for their forever home and to settle in with family!

Home Only

  • Home only listings can be a little less cut and dry. This options is just the home and it does not include any land in the sale price. Also, VMF doesn’t deliver, move, install or set up the home, which means it is the responsibility of  the customer to find and coordinate this aspect of the process. Fortunately, we usually can help with finding a licensed professional in most areas. We ask customers to keep this extra cost in mind when purchasing as well.
We have more homes that can be moved to your land!
  • Home only listings are typically on another piece of land and have to be legally moved to the land you plan to place the home on. Or the homes are located at a local home center. 
  • Sometimes the home will be located in a mobile home community/ park. In these situations, it is typically up to the park and the property manager to decide if the home can be moved because there was most likely an existing agreement in place. Sometimes the park might work with the new owner and negotiate the terms under which the home may stay (or leave), but this really depends on each specific situation.
Mobile home communities are a great option for affordable housing!
  • There are also other potential situations, but I’ve mentioned the most likely scenarios. If you have a question about a home only listing you can request more info on the website, send us a message, or give us a call.

This can be a perfect option for someone with family land, land of their own, or someone with a flexible situation.


Understanding how we list these options can help you better navigate our site. I hope that this helps answer some of your questions and lets you know what to expect when you are searching for a Vanderbilt preowned home. Please let us know if you have further questions or need clarification on a specific home.

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Choosing and Using a Snow Roof Rake on Your Mobile Home

Snow is beautiful but can be hard on your home. However, with a quick response you can avoid issues and enjoy your snow day. When thinking about snow and our homes we often keep to the ground. We shovel the driveway and the front steps. We make it so our car can move safely if need be. Yet, we can’t forget about our mobile home roof. Snow can become quite heavy, especially after rain or if it’s in large amounts. The weight of the snow can add stress to your roof load.

This is where roof rakes come in. Rakes are an invaluable tool for homeowners in moderate to heavy snowfall areas. There are many different kinds and price ranges, so you aren’t limited when choosing a tool.

For best use of your rake, you’ll want to remove the snow as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more the snow has a chance to become heavy or build up ice. You’ll want a ladder and/or an extendable ladder as well as a spotter to help you. Exercise caution and do not climb on top of your roof.

There are plenty of styles, but you’ll want to probably choose one that allows you to pull the snow toward you. You don’t want something that you have you lift as this is very arduous and unsafe.

This popular home website does an amazing job explaining the types and makes some rake recommendations you can check out.

A tip echoed by mobile home websites is to choose a rake with bumpers or corner protection so that it doesn’t scrape and damage your roof. Be sure to keep an eye on this when purchasing.

For the technical types, check out this home website that has broken down all the factors of a rake and what the potential options are.

Check out this Snow Removal Infographic!

*Infographic by: Rachel Mersinger*

We hope that this helps you learn how to better care for your mobile home roof in winter! We also hope it helps you find the best solution for you. Remember to read all instructions before you start, practice caution when using your rake, and be of good health when operating.

Fall Mobile Home Maintenance Checklist

We’ve now arrived at fall and life just got a little more beautiful. With the change of the seasons, we want to check in with our homes and see how they fared the previous season as well as prepare them for the next. Fall is the time we want to make sure our homes are properly sealed for the coming colder air. We also want to ensure our home is ready to handle more heat inside.

Let’s unpack some easy maintenance items and get your mobile home ready for fall!

  • Clean gutters. This is the most common tip for fall! You may want to wait until the leaves start to drop, but you could start now! Make sure they are hooked up correctly, and if your gutter drain has any damage, be sure to repair it.
  • Add caulking. Checking to ensure your windows are sealed is a good place to start. Then you can move to the bathroom and check around faucets and shower heads. Then you can check other problem spots you may notice.
  • Check smoke alarms. Change those batteries! Be sure all your alarms are wired and working properly. You’re going to be lighting candles, using the oven more, and probably adding light and warmth to your home.
  • Put the garden hose away. If you leave it out, it may make a ring of dead grass for next year. Most importantly, you don’t want it to freeze and bust the pipe.
  • Clean your fireplace. It’s good to make sure your fireplace is ready to be used if you have electric or gas, but even more so if you have a log burning fireplace. If you have a damper, you want to properly remove it and check the structure of your fireplace as well as check for creosote. Creosote should be removed during a chimney cleaning.  Consider consulting a professional.
  • Repair/ replace skirting damage. Did you accidentally hit your skirting while weed eating? Are there some holes in your skirting? Repair that with skirting tape or get a new panel!
  • Gaps around/under doors. As heat is generated in your home, it may cause your doors to swell or your doors may just have never been level. Try placing a door snake underneath to fix the gap.

Keep Your Home Energy Efficient!

Happy fall! We hope these tips help you prep your home for the season! Now that your home is ready, it’s time to decorate!

 

Oakbur Quill Co.

How to Build Your Credit

Credit. It’s a six letter word that packs a punch. It helps us buy a home, allows us to learn financial responsibility, and sometimes it gives us a little more freedom than we were ready for. If you’ve had a bad experience with credit before – take a deep breath and relax. Your days of fearing a number are over. You are in control of your credit – not the other way around.

So you’re thinking, “Where do I start?” Whether you have no credit or bad credit – understand that building it doesn’t happen overnight. Just like building anything else, it’s a brick by brick process. Let’s jump in!

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Credit can be intimidating, but there are plenty of tools that can help you!

Get organized This is the key. Without it the cycle continues. Buy a calendar or make one just for your bills. This will help you become aware of your due dates so that you make a habit of paying on time. Set reminders on your phone and/or computer. Do all three – remind yourself however you need to. Keep a wall of post it notes with payment dates.

If you get paper statements—highlight what you owe each pay period. Keep a file folder with “To pay” and “Paid” labels. If you don’t have paper statements—keep up with upcoming payments on a whiteboard. This is the easiest way to tackle debt and stay on track. It’s important. Make a system and stick with it.

Set your max spending (and stay under it) Credit cards and loans are great—they allow us the opportunity to own something we probably couldn’t before. Yet, they sometimes can feel like free money. Where we get in trouble is when we forget we have to pay everything back—with interest. So how do you control that spending?

Discipline. Give yourself a ceiling. For example, a card or company may allow $500. Tell yourself, my max is $100 and stick to it. You will still build credit and you teach yourself how to be responsible. Credit is designed to prove you are financially responsible. Use it to learn money maintenance and focus on necessity spending instead of purchasing luxury items.

Pay your balances in full when you can and maintain only a few accounts.

Keep up When it comes to your credit and payments—you are your own advocate. Know where you stand.

Consider getting a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user (Secured /Authorized user) Not all credit cards are the same. So if you struggled with one variety—don’t feel discouraged. There are more options. One option is a secured card. With a secured card you pay a deposit to hold the card. Your credit limit is the amount of your deposit. Essentially, it’s a safeguard should you fail to fulfill your payments. It’s good discipline because then you understand how much money is behind your card, and you have a strong incentive to make payments because you pay into it.

Another option is to become an authorized user on someone’s credit card. Find someone who is first and foremost financially responsible. The best person to do this with is someone you can learn from. Think of them as a credit mentor who can help you spend well and keep you accountable.

Start Evaluating Your Debt

There are many other ways to build your credit. These are just to get you started. Don’t wait.

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VMFHomes.com Consolidates Facebook Pages for Better User Experience

You may have noticed while reading our blog that we have a great website with a huge inventory of mobile homes. Over the years, we’ve looked for the best ways to evolve and connect our customers, who are potential homeowners, with resources that fit them.  Facebook is a reservoir of growth and sharing, so it only made sense to put our products where our customers were.

couple looking a computer
We hope that this will make it easier for you to find your forever home!

We regionalized our Facebook pages into multiples pages, “Used Mobile Homes of the Midwest”, is one example. This served us and our customers well for a while as we were able to advertise to the areas specific of those who liked the page. This was quite important as we have homes across the United States, and we wanted to serve customers with solutions in their area.

Our “Used Mobile Homes…” pages were the best way, we felt, to share inventory on social media. Now, we’ve found an even better way to share our inventory. We are combining all the pages into one page: “VMF Homes”. This will allow us to share everything we have with you, and it will be easier for our customers to find our brand. This will also streamline our ability to respond to you, update pricing, and give you the best information.

Keep an eye out for changes! Also, go ahead, if you’re a fan of our older pages, and like VMF Homes today!

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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.

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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/

Why You Need to Consider Thermal/ Wind Zones When Purchasing a Used Manufactured Home

When purchasing a used manufactured home it can be easy to forget to check that the home is built to the specifications required for the location where you’re moving the home to. Manufactured homes are built to satisfy certain construction requirements based on the geographic location of where the home will be sited. This means, while one can enjoy the convenience of a mobile home, you must also consider to what standard it was built.

Make sure the home you’re purchasing was built to meet the wind zone requirements for the location where the home will be installed. There are 3 zones as you can see below. You can move a mobile home of a higher zone to your location, but you cannot legally have a home of a lesser zone placed in a higher zone location. For example, If I live in Tallahassee, FL, I am in a location within wind zone 2. Say I’m trying to purchase a mobile home from Northern Alabama that was built for that Alabama location in zone 1. I wouldn’t be able to move the Alabama wind zone 1 home to my location in Tallahassee because my location requires a home that can withstand 100 mph winds and a zone 1 can only withstand 70 mph winds.

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Understanding wind zones is vital to the placement of your mobile home.

Next, you want to be sure your thermal zone equates to the area where your home will be located.  Thermal zones are broken down into 3 zones, the most Southern coastal areas being a lower number 1 and cooler Northern areas being a zone 3. Thermal zones are based off of u-values, which gauge how much heat passes through different building materials. However much those materials “leak” measures how well the materials insulate the home. U – values are based off thermal zones and the interior temperature being a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit. All of this complicated definition to say thermal zones are like wind zones in that they need to match or be a higher u-value to be placed in lower numbered zone. For example, a home in Michigan is a thermal zone 3 and can be moved to Texas, a thermal zone 1, but the opposite cannot happen.  Homes designed and constructed to a higher thermal zone can be installed in a lower thermal zone, but a thermal zone 1 home cannot be installed in either a thermal zone 2 or 3 area.

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Thermal Map from MHI.org

We hope this was helpful in defining what wind and thermal zones are as well as helping you consider them  before you purchase a home and have it moved. Be sure you know what your location allows and needs in terms of a manufactured home being moved to a piece of land.

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Oakbur Quill Co.