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.

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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!

Visit Our Page!

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

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.

Get More Homebuyer Tips!

 

Oakbur Quill Co.

What First-time Buyers of Pre-owned Mobile Homes Need to Know

Purchasing anything used can be a frugal and prudent choice. I commend you. In a society that loves the latest and greatest, you’ve stepped off the beaten path and decided to make an investment in an affordable home. But even knowing all that, you’re still nervous, right?

I was you, just months ago – scouring the internet, asking anyone who would listen, and quizzing my lender about terms that made little sense to me. If this is your first homebuying rodeo, you don’t have to take the ride blind. We’re unpacking the things you need to know because, you need to know.

  1. The amount you’re pre-approved for (don’t shop without it). I know what you’re thinking. Shopping is a click away – it can’t hurt to start browsing, right? Wrong, it does hurt to shop without a price guideline. Then you begin your entire homebuying process ruled by emotion and want instead of practicality, efficiency, and affordability. Your pre-approval will give you the max amount you can borrow from a lender you choose to finance your home purchase. Seeking pre-approval may impact credit – it could negatively impact your credit so you do need to plan to avoid multiple pre-approvals which can be seen as risky credit behavior.
  2. You need to save more than you think. Your down payment will take some saving for (if you haven’t already). Think about $3,000 – $10,000 depending on the cost of your mobile home and the loan amount you want. It’s good to keep your credit card payments up to date while you’re home shopping, you can still use it, but making large purchases on credit should be avoided.
  3. The facts about the home’s history. Ask current or previous owners for details about the home or home and land that you are purchasing. If you want to own the place, you want to know what you’re getting. Before you sign a purchase agreement, do things like:
    • Check out the data plate for the pre-owned, manufactured home (located under kitchen sink or master bedroom closet).
    • Ask if the title is clear and check with the county recorder’s office to find out if there are any liens on the property.
    •  Find out if the home site shares a driveway
    • Ask for a copy of the survey
    • Check for any softness in vinyl and carpet flooring/ water damage to ceilings
    • Know the thermal zone, roof load, and wind zone the home was built to as this will determine whether or not it can be moved to your area. Homes are built to specific building requirements to be able to withstand certain climate conditions.
    • Visit the home site at night and during rush hours to understand traffic patterns and after it rains to check for any standing water on the property
    • Ask about foundation and flooding in yard
  4. What kind of home insurance you want. Mobile home insurance is a big deal and there are many forms of coverage. Knowing the area around you is important as well. Is your potential home site in a flood zone or prone to flooding even if not in a flood zone, an earthquake area, or near a place that gets sink holes? Protection against these risks are often not included in common home insurance, so be sure plan to add them to your policy if needed.
  5. The details of your mortgage. Don’t be afraid to ask your lender hard questions. It is their job to articulate your loan details to you. Don’t be intimidated. Finance companies can often charge fees that could be negotiated, or are for services that aren’t needed, but if you don’t know about them you can’t help yourself.
  6. What you’re willing to put into home maintenance. Homes don’t do well when they just sit neglected. Are you willing to improve a fixer upper, are you willing to take care of your yard, or are you willing to do other monthly tasks? Be sure the nature, location and condition of your home fits the amount of work you’re willing to do.
  7. Paperwork and documentation is your new part time job. The entire process of homebuying and borrowing calls for lots of paperwork. You’ll have to send in a lot of documents (tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, etc.) to your lender and real estate agent (if you have one) as well as sign many items. Be prepared and don’t get discouraged. The information you must provide will not always make sense. Ask for further explanation about what you are being asked to provide or sign.

Check into these items and you’re on your way to home ownership. The point is to find a home that will give you the financial freedom to enjoy your new lifestyle not be burdened or surprised by it. Use the tools in your tool belt and always be willing to look into other resources. You can do it!

Get More Homebuying Tips!

Oakbur Quill Co.

9 Spending Habits that Will Change the Way You Shop

We’ve all had a long day where retail therapy has felt like the solution to our blues. While it may be instantly gratifying, we usually end up with something we don’t need and a case of buyer remorse. So instead of repeating these habits, let’s look at some easy ways to reduce our spending and buy smart when we do go to make a purchase.

1. Plan. Ask yourself, “Is this a planned purchase?” Now this isn’t to say you can’t grab lunch when that meeting runs late, or that you can’t get something on a whim. This is to say you should limit those times. Working off a budget demands discipline and spontaneous spending throws a wrench in that.
2. Imagine it in a month. Obviously, food and other items are exempt here. Think to yourself, “Will I wear this in a month?” Are you going to be bored with the item, buy something new to replace it, forget about it? If so, chances are it’s not a good investment.
3. Improvement test. Test your purchase. What will it add to your life: clutter, an avenue to buy more things to support it, nothing, or make you happy for a bit? Again, these are not valid improvements. Yes, this encourages you to buy based on practicality instead of desire. It’s not a ton of fun now, but when your savings allows you to buy that new car for your growing family it’s totally worth it.
4. Check your emotions. Buying on emotion can be a bad way to gage necessity.
5. Keep your receipts from the days purchases. Write down how much you spent after adding up all your receipts. This will help you realize how things add up.
6. Actually balance your checkbook. It’s not a lost art.
7. Learn to change your mind. When you check out and things are more expensive than you thought, put stuff back or ask for things to be taken off. It’s okay to even walk away. You are not obligated, unless it’s a service that’s already been performed.
8. Research. Having an idea of prices before you buy something is so helpful and keeps you realistic. It also can keep you from wanting something you don’t need or can’t afford at the time.
9. Put the credit card away. Emergencies, planned purchases, or gas to keep your credit going these are the only things you should routinely put on your credit card.

Keep Saving!

Reward yourself along the way as you learn to do more and more of these! See how much you save as you implement practices to shop smarter. Have a friend do it with you so you stay accountable. Set your intention before you begin. Are you wanting to change spending to take care of debt, save up for something specific, for a new family member, or are you just wanting to lead a less emotionally spending life? Find your motivation.

Making a Fire Safety Plan for Your Family

Fires cause devastation quickly. The best preventative measure you can take in your mobile home is to have a plan for such disasters. It’s never as easy as the question, “What one thing would you grab if your house was burning?” Real fires don’t give you the option to hesitate. Give your family peace of mind and a plan at the same time. Here are some ways to be ready:

  1. Have an exit strategy. In the moments of a fire you’ll be clouded by adrenaline and panic – so try to agree on a preventative exit strategy. Will every person exit individually? Will one parent help one child, while the other helps the second child escape? Will siblings help each other leave the home? These things are important to decide. Obviously, an actual fire may change what you are able to do, but sticking to your plan can help save lives.
  2. Establish a common meeting place. Is your meeting place a tree or the mailbox? Is it outside a neighbor’s house? It may be smart to have a backup as well in case one meeting space is compromised or unreachable due to the fire.
  3. Know how to access the situation. If you wake up to smoke or a fire and you can’t see the source of it – you’ll want to take a quick assessment. The first thing is if your room is filled with smoke and the floor is clear, drop to the floor, as heat rises and the smoke should be thinner at a lower level. Is your window clear and accessible? If your door is closed, do not grab the door knob. Use the back of your hand to check to see if the door is hot. If not, you can probably open the door, but stay low. If the door is hot, head to the window. If you can easily exit it – do so. If not, open the window as far as you can and grab a blanket or pillow sham to wave out the window so firefighters know where you are.
  4. Don’t be sentimental about items. Leave it behind. It does not matter. Going back into a fire or delaying your exit because of an item can cost you your life and it simply is not worth it. It can be replaced. If it’s a memory – you’ll make new ones.
  5. Map it out and do drills. Draw/write out your strategy and keep it on your fridge or where your family can revisit it. Twice a month try walking out your plan and talking through possible snags and how to remedy them. Be sure your kids understand and are comfortable with the plan.

Learn More Fire Safety Tips!