Things to Consider When Buying a Used Mobile Home

Many people shy away from buying used homes in general. They are intimidated by the work that could potentially go into fixing up a home or living in a place that may have exceeded its warranty. These are valid hesitancies, however buying used also opens the door to many positive possibilities. We’re going to explore a little bit about what it means to buy a used mobile home. It may be more of an exciting journey than you were expecting!

You can make it all your own – Personalization is such an important factor in homeownership. It really is true in the world of manufactured homes today that you can create the home you want. Mobile homes are versatile in more ways than one. If you purchase a fixer upper, you can start from scratch essentially and make the home into a place of your dreams.

Check the data plate – All mobile homes have a data plate located within their interiors. It’s usually under the kitchen sink, in the master bedroom closet, or utility room electrical panel.
You want to check this out in any home you consider. It tells you information about how the home was manufactured, including important information like the wind zone, roof load, and other items you need to know as a buyer.

Enjoy your dream location – Mobile homes are after all – mobile. If you don’t want to be confined by what’s already been built or a specific location, then this may be a good option. As long as the home’s condition does not prevent relocation and relocating the home will satisfy local requirements, you could place your home by a lake, in a holler on the mountains, and anywhere in-between. Many people also like the ability to place a home on family land. You should be aware that moving a mobile home could be costly – local movers in your area should be able to provide estimates.

Beautiful kitchen in a manufactured home

Set up and delivery – You want to be sure to find out what the seller offers, if anything, in the way of set up and delivery. Sometimes it’s included in the cost and sometimes it’s separate. It’s also important to use a reputable professional mover. Do your research, especially if you choose your own.

Price difference/ fit your budget – There’s no doubt one of the perks of mobile homes is the price. They typically cost less than site-built homes per square foot, especially when used. They won’t hit your wallet quite as hard, and instead of always resorting to renting – they offer the ability to own a home and stay in budget.

Less money to fix up/ maintain – Since mobile homes are manufactured that means usually that they are built with more economical materials, meaning that they may be less expensive to repair or maintain. This will all depend on your specific model, but will usually ring true.

Rental power – You might be considering a mobile home as secondary housing or as an investment opportunity. In this case you could purchase a mobile home to rent out to friends or tenants.

Check Out First-time Home Buyer Tips!

A used mobile home may be the choice for you or it may not be, but it’s always smart to evaluate all your options when purchasing.

 

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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!

Understanding How Your Credit Can Be Good News for Your Interest Rate

So you’re taking on a mortgage, or considering it – congratulations! Also, good job. Educating yourself in financial matters is super smart (though seriously daunting and intimidating sometimes). When it comes to interest rates, it can be easy to dismiss the steps you can take to try and get better rates. However, there are many things you can do before even applying for a mortgage to improve your ability to get a lower interest rate.

It begins with keeping the following in good standing: credit, debt, savings, income, and other assets.

Having a low interest rate is likely going to be important to you in the long run. While a high interest rate may be easy to overlook when purchasing a home, you may feel the financial impact of a higher rate down the road. A higher interest rate will result in you paying more over the lifetime of your mortgage2.

Good credit can result in lower interest rates when you go to purchase a mobile home2. Many people don’t realize how important it is to keep your credit score up or to work on getting into a good credit score range.

When applying for a mortgage or preapproval, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report and to promptly correct errors1. You should avoid doing anything that may negatively impact your credit throughout the process of purchasing a mobile home; this includes applying for new, additional lines of credit1.

While your credit score isn’t the only key to a low interest rate, it is one of the key factors2. Your credit report is the main record lenders have of how you spend money. It tells them whether you pay on time, if you pay what is owed, and how consistent you are. It’s riskier for them to lend when your credit score is low in terms of your perceived ability to make payments. It’s similar to a school giving a better scholarship based on grades. While it’s not always fair to those who really have to work for a high grade versus those who are naturally good test takers – both got the same grade. The same is true with credit. If your credit has seen better days, you can improve it with hard work.

Another key factor is your debt1.  A lot of debt may deter a lender from lending to you, or may negatively impact the terms of the loan. Lenders calculate your debt to income ratio, so you definitely want to pay off as much debt as you can before applying for a home loan. Many people only see their home as an investment and not as debt, which it is. A mortgage is probably the biggest loan you will have in your life. Owning a home can be rewarding, but it is also a big responsibility. The best thing to do is either consolidate or pay off debts that you can, or at least have proof that you can consistently pay towards your debt while also making your mortgage payments.

Your savings and income may also impact your interest rate and the terms of our loan.  Starting to save is obviously amazing when considering a mortgage. It also can look good when your interest rate is being decided. Savings can demonstrate to a lender that you can pay your mortgage payments. This can also be shown if you have consistent income. Having a steady job or creating a savings budget could help you when trying for a better interest rate. Assets such as land, cash settlements, etc. could also positively impact that way that you appear to a lender.

Understanding your credit is the key to reaching for a better interest rate. Don’t just accept a high rate. You’ll pay for it later. Do what you can to make your credit shine!

Start Improving Your Credit Today!

  1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 16 August 2018. How does my credit score affect my ability to get a mortgage loan? https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/how-does-my-credit-score-affect-my-ability-to-get-a-mortgage-loan-en-319/

2. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 16 August 2018. Seven factors that determine your mortgage interest ratehttps://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/7-factors-determine-your-mortgage-interest-rate/

First-Time Homebuyer Resources

So, you’re wanting a place to call your own? That’s exciting! Have you done your homework? It’s going to take some preparation and research to purchase a home. We want you to be well-informed and encourage you to be your own advocate while researching and making home purchase decisions.

We’ve gathered some resources and information about being a first-time homebuyer and have provided them below. While by no means all-inclusive, we’re  hoping these resources will help get you started!

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Homeownership is closer than you think. Get creative with your options!
  • You’re probably familiar with FHA Loans. Loans insured by the government, more specifically the Federal Housing Administration. FHA Loans generally require lower down payments but do require the payment of mortgage insurance premiums which protect the lender if a borrower defaults.
  • If you’re an active or previous member of the military, a VA Loan may be something to consider. Loans offered to credit qualifying veterans, or their surviving spouses if service and entitlement requirements are met. There is a VA loan no down payment option.
  • If you’re interested in living in a rural area as designed by the USDA Rural Guaranteed Housing Program: a USDA Home Loan may interest you. USDA loan programs are designed to improve and grow rural areas and you don’t have to have a farm.
  • If you’re interested in living in an energy efficient home, you might want to consider programs that finance energy saving home improvements as part of the mortgage. Some are offered to first-time homebuyers.
  • Lastly, check your local home loan options! Inquire with local lenders who know the area in which you would like to live for financing options. You might be able to find a local down payment assistance program, or other alternative program that fits your needs!

Consider a Mobile Home!

Still on the fence? Wondering what you’ll gain by being a homeowner? Check out these benefits of being a homeowner!

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Saving for a Down Payment

Investing in a mortgage is a big step. It’s one of the biggest financial steps an individual will take in their lifetime. So it’s important to weigh it carefully. Don’t be discouraged by the size of the choice – instead be encouraged by the variety of resources you can tap into.

Down payments will vary among lenders and in amount, depending on the loan program, type of loan, home price, credit score and budget. Below we’ve crafted some questions that will help you evaluate and analyze your ability to save for a down payment.

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Be ready for your down payment by asking yourself these important questions.

  1. Is now the time for me to purchase a home? In a society that favors the word “now” over the word “later,” this question may seem silly. But it’s not. Purchasing a home means saving consistently, making payments, paying additional bills, maintenance responsibilities, and more. Check out listings near you and see what’s out there. If you aren’t in a place where you can save or you haven’t been saving. It may be time to wait. Be honest with where you’re at.

     2. What down payment can I afford? The possibility of purchasing a home is exciting. However, often our eyes are bigger than our wallets. It’s important to be practical. Consider how much you can pay out of pocket for a home. That may mean going with a cheaper home or being stricter with your spending.

     3. What monthly payment does my income allow? Simple. How much do you or your household make in a month? What will your house payment do to that number? If it doesn’t cover the cost now – it won’t later. Consider picking up odd jobs or making a bigger down payment, or trying the next question.

    4. What changes in spending do I need to make? Everyone needs to evaluate their spending before purchasing a home. Sometimes we need to prioritize the way we spend money. Leisure spending may not always be an option. If purchasing a home is a goal, consider how you can cut spending or alter your habits.

Get Savings Tips Now!

    5. What method will I use to save money? Automatic saving accounts are the most widely recommended method of saving. Usually free, they can be drafted from your pay without effort from you. Banks sometimes have programs for first time buyers or you could invest. You could even try putting a dollar or change in a jar or bucket every day and depositing it every so often.

     6. Do I need to ask for lower rates? If you’ve tried everything above and you still need some wiggle room – evaluate you bills. Are you paying high interest rates on credit cards? Has your car insurance been the same for a while? Consider calling and asking for lower rates. This could put more money in your pocket.

Congratulations, you’re doing your research and preparing well! Are you ready to start saving or do you need to work on one of these questions?

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All Things Credit: Fact vs. Fiction

Credit is complicated. There are no two ways about it. The best approach to dealing with credit is to educate yourself. This takes time and sometimes it means making mistakes, but don’t let the past dictate your future, push forward.

If you’ve had a hard time with telling the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to credit — this sheet is for you.

Fact:

– Credit reports list your payment history

 – Credit reports from the three nationwide credit bureaus can be obtained free once a year

Credit scores are separate from credit reports, however credit scores are typically generated by credit bureau reports

If YOU check your score, it does not lower your score. If a lender does, it can lower your score

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When it comes to credit, do you know fact from fiction?

Fiction:

– The number of credit cards a person has boosts their credit

– The higher the income, the better the credit

– Paying bills late will always lower your score

– Bad credit is forever

From fiction to fact…

“The number of credit cards a person has boosts their credit”

Your credit score does not factor in how many credit cards you have, but it does factor in credit card balances, credit history, late payments and the amount of credit card balances in relation to total available credit. Having more credit cards provides an equal opportunity to pay on time and to miss payments. Again, it all goes back to responsible and timely spending. It’s the quality of your spending, not the quantity (it’s the amount being charged, not the number of credit cards).

“The higher the income, the better the credit”

How much income a person makes does not correlate to how they spend it.   Your credit report shows if you pay your bills on time and the frequency in which you do so.  While making more money may help you meet your payments, a credit score is dependent on how you practice financial responsibility.

“Paying bills late will always lower your score”

Don’t make paying bills late a habit. Most credit card lenders provide a grace period after the due date to make a payment. However, when paid after the grace period late payments are generally reported to the credit bureaus and can lower your score.

“Bad credit is forever”

Bad credit does last, but not forever. It usually ages off credit reports after 7 years, but that time can be extended if you have been through bankruptcy. That’s a good amount of time, but you can pay off debt.

Start Building Your Credit!

When Paying Ahead on Your Mortgage Can be Beneficial

When we started our mortgage, I was shaken up by the number of years and total of payments behind owning our home. It seemed so big, and I could only see it getting bigger with interest. In the first year of owning, we tried to simply get used having our monthly payment. But after researching I wanted to be a little more proactive in paying off our home.

Pre-paying your mortgage is situational. It’s not a one size fits all, but it can save you a lot of money in interest if you are in a financial position to do it. For me, it makes sense to pre-pay an extra fifty dollars a payment to cut time and interest off my total amount owed. Let’s dig in and look at when paying ahead can be beneficial.

If you’ve found your forever home. If you know you plan to stay in this home for a long period of time, then paying it off faster may be worth it. That way you are putting money into something that will benefit you and your family for years to come.

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If you’ve found the place to call home, you’ll feel more at ease in investing in it. 

You’re in a financial situation where you can focus on debt. When you boil it down, the difference between paying off your mortgage sooner or later is when you want/need to have more money. What I mean is that if you are in a tight spot financially now with lots of bills and financial responsibilities you probably would benefit more from paying your regular payment.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of bills or financial responsibilities and you’ve got savings you may want to pay down your mortgage debt now. This may give you less money in the future, but you also will have less debt. It’s always a catch 22. Moral of the story: if it won’t hurt you to add even 10 dollars a month, it may be worth considering. If it’s going to hurt you financially it’s not worth it – this is voluntary, not mandatory.

You want to eliminate as much interest as possible. In light of my own financial philosophy, reducing the amount of interest I pay over the life of the loan is a major motivation. Interest is a quiet debt, and for that reason I like to address it head on. The extra amount you end up paying by letting interest compound is significant. So, whenever I see an avenue to reduce my mortgage debt and the amount of interest I owe on that debt – I’m willing to do it. Even if it means having less money to spend now. I’d rather have less or no debt now than more money, but everyone is different.

You have some savings. It’s important to have some cushion. If you’ve been able to save, then pre-paying may also be appealing to you. That way you’re not spending the only money you’d have for emergencies and you are focusing on prioritizing your funds. Many people recommend having 3 – 6 months of earnings in savings, but this isn’t realistic for everyone. You should know based off your budget how much you might need if an emergency happened, and you needed enough money to last several months without a paycheck.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it does cover some of the main motivations behind pre-paying your mortgage. Remember the amount does not have to be big. You’d be amazed what pre-paying 10 dollars a payment for a year could do to decrease the total interest you will pay on your mortgage loan over time. Would pre-paying be a good option for you?

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How to Help Prevent Your Mobile Home’s Foundation from Shifting

Mobile homes that are placed on pier and anchor foundations can be vulnerable to shifting if they are not set up properly or not maintained. It is a good idea to discuss your home’s foundation with your licensed installer before your home arrives.

The main cause of sinking foundations is due to the ground shifting. This usually happens when the weather changes. Freezing temperatures, rain, and humidity all effect the dirt underneath your home and change it by expanding and contracting.  While you cannot control the weather, preventing moisture from accumulating underneath your home will help prevent the soil and foundation from shifting. According to a Manufactured Housing Research Alliance publication, these are some of the main preventative actions you can take.

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The best prevention is being aware of how your home is being placed and having communication with the team that is doing the work.

1. Shed Water

Ensure that your property can shed water. When your land is being prepped, make sure the land is graded so that water will shed away from the home.  If not, water could pool underneath the home causing damage. It is also important to be sure your gutter downspouts drain water away from the home.  Gutter downspout  extensions can be attached to the end of the downspout after your home is placed.

2. Ground Cover

There are a few other things that deserve your attention underneath the home. A proper ground cover under your home will help prevent moisture in the crawl space from entering the home through the floor. Make sure this is installed when the home is initially placed and have the barrier inspected by a professional periodically.   Have the vapor barrier repaired or replaced if the inspector finds any tears.  Do not attempt to inspect or fix the vapor barrier yourself.  Only a professional contractor should go under your home.

3. Skirting

Lastly, it is important to  keep your skirting in good condition. Skirting keeps critters out and protects the underbelly of the home (pipes included) from the elements and moisture. If you notice a hole or have damaged skirting– consider investing in an update.

There are reasons other than water or moisture that can be the cause of your homes’ sinking foundation. However, these are the most common and preventable reasons. Once your home settles, it can become un-level. Look out for creaking floors, sticking doors, and buckling in the walls or floors. These could be signs of a foundation issue. We hope this helps!

These items are designed for professionals. So please ask your contractor or those placing your home to be sure these items are done by someone who can expertly and safely perform them. Doing these items incorrectly can damage your home.

Your Home From Water

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!

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