How to Clean Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is the exterior material used for most mobile homes. However, its popularity isn’t limited to mobile homes – many manufactured homes and site built homes utilize this versatile material. Even though it’s relatively easy to maintain, vinyl gets dirty pretty quickly.

Below are some practical ways to clean your vinyl siding. Most options are cheap and use household items/ cleaners.

First things first – before you begin utilizing these cleaning solutions and methods, be sure you test one small area of the siding before taking on the whole project. There are many different types of siding and you want to be sure your siding reacts well.

vinyl siding on mobile home

The Basics—

In a resource section of their website, The Vinyl Siding Institute – America Sides With VinylSM, recommends using a soft cloth or regular long-handled brush with soft bristles to clean vinyl.  It is suggested that you should clean from the bottom up and cover any brick on the home below the siding to prevent possible staining from runoff.

For mold and mildew, The Vinyl Siding Institute recommends a water/ vinegar mixture that is 70/30. For small areas,  Windex ® or a similar commercial cleaner can be used.

The following can be used for Stubborn Stains—

1/3 cup powered laundry detergent

2/3 cup powdered household cleaner

1 quart liquid laundry bleach*

1 Gallon of water

**Please exercise CAUTION when making any cleaning solution and be sure to NEVER mix bleach and ammonia.**

If you’ve got a garden or great landscaping around your home, you want to be sure to preserve the area while cleaning.

For a mixture that is Landscaping friendly—

Some websites suggest using a gallon of water mixed with a much smaller amount of an eco-friendly cleaner like oxygen bleach.

If these solutions aren’t for you – there is always pressure washing. It’s a little pricier to rent the equipment, but paired with one of the cleaning solutions above it will make for a powerful clean!

Pressure washing—

Most expert sites agree, that when pressure washing, it is best practice to pair with a cleaning solution. Be sure to tend to landscaping accordingly. Also, when washing keep the sprayer eye level for best results. This keeps water from getting behind the siding.

We hope this has been helpful!

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Energy Saving Tips for Your Mobile Home

Do you wince every time the utility bill comes in the mail? Do you feel like you could be saving energy and cash? Saving energy can get expensive with new appliances and products. Often those are great investments but for those on a tight budget they aren’t realistic solutions.

Below are ways you can have a more energy efficient home without spending a lot. Feel free to research more – there are tons of resources on this topic! Make it a goal to try 5 of these tips consistently and compare your bills for the next few months.

Air Conditioner: Turn your COOL/HEAT up or down when you are at work or gone from the house for a while, depending on the season. Then put it on a comfortable setting when you are at home. Consider improving or adding insulation.

Check Out Insulation Options!

  • Air Conditioner Filters: Replace them when suggested.
  • Doors: Purchase door draft stoppers “snakes” that will ensure a snug seal and keep air from escaping or entering.
  • Leave bedroom doors open for maximum circulation.
  • Windows: Caulk windows to seal them. Use a caulk gun to apply, a scraper to remove old caulk, and a flat tool to spread it out on the window seam.
  • Open windows to utilize outside air – great in spring or fall!
  • Fireplaces: Board up the flue or install doors to the front of the fireplace to keep air from getting in from the outside.
  • Outlets: Use a power strip and switch it off when you’re gone out of the house for a while. Plus, it’ll give you more outlet space!
  • Dishes: Hand wash and air dry dishes in between meals, then when you have a lot to wash use the dishwasher. Open your dishwasher and let dishes air dry instead of using the drying function.
  • Washer: Machine wash clothes on cold – it costs less and colors are less likely to bleed.
  • Lighting: Invest in energy efficient bulbs like CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp).
  • Fans: Use box or rotating fans to circulate air and keep the temperature regulated.
  • Roof: Install a roof cap or apply a roof coating to reflect sunlight and reduce heat

Want to invest into making a more energy efficient home? Compare bills after trying these ideas and use the money you saved to start a home savings account. Then try to save that amount every other month. Next time you want to make a bigger purchase you’ll have some cash set aside!

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

The Truth about These Mobile Home Myths

Many opinions and ideas have been taken as fact when it comes to mobile homes. But as manufactured housing continues to evolve and gain popularity, it’s important that these myths are eliminated.

If you’ve seen one model, you’ve seen them all.

Maybe 30 years ago this statement had some grounds, but not now. Mobile homes are no longer built all the same. There are a wide variety of models with traditional to upscale layouts and materials. Mobile homes are evolving and changing.

Just look at the popularity of small manufactured homes. The whole idea of smaller homes is to provide a small, efficient space. There are mobile homes for a variety of budgets and lifestyles.

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They are starter homes.

A mobile home can the home you live in all your life, especially now. In the past, mobile homes were sometimes considered transitional, temporary housing. Today, they are an investment for many families.

We are often told we have to have a bigger or more expensive home and that we should not be satisfied with the first home we buy. But when it comes to your home, you decide. If you love your home, then you love it. You don’t have to have a bigger, newer home. Your home has character. Your home is YOURS.

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Your forever home is right here.

Mobile homes aren’t built well.

Manufactured homes are built indoors, which helps to protect the home from weather during the building process. Also, mobile homes are typically built on sturdy, steel frames. They are built to comply with federal HUD Code building requirements, which enable builders to build with consistency and quality. Check out code standards.

They are not built to withstand storms.

No home is indestructible, but manufactured homes are built with weather in mind. Manufactured homes built to HUD Code must be built according to which wind zone the home will be located in. There are three wind zones based in the United States.  Coastal areas are in the highest wind zone, Zone 3. Zone 3 homes are built to be able to withstand 110 mph winds. Wind Zone 2 are built to withstand up to 100 mph. Zone 1 homes are located in more interior areas of the country. In these areas, the threat of hurricanes is much lower, so Zone 1 homes are built to withstand lower wind speeds. Get educated about wind zones!

Can Mobile Homes Build Equity?

Why Checking Your Credit Report is the Best First Step

Honestly, I didn’t care about credit until I went to buy a home. Then it mattered – greatly. Unfortunately, I found it to be true “no credit is equal or worse than bad credit”. It’s a good idea to check out your credit score and report before buying a home. After reviewing your credit report and score, you might choose to pursue a home purchase or you might try improve your credit score first.

By law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Unfortunately, some folks don’t know this and end up paying for what they didn’t have to. Also, some websites claiming to sell credit reports and scores are not legitimate. Be sure to check out this site to be sure you don’t get fooled by an impostor website.

You can visit one website to get your free credit reports from the three major credit reporting companies – AnnualCreditReport.com. You’ll have to input some of your personal info to retrieve your report. This is the same if you call or mail your request. If you create a myEquifax® account, you can get two free credit reports a year.

Credit reports offer you a lot of details – from debts and when you paid them to old addresses. Plus, things like payments, accounts, and actions within them that you may not know about. That’s why credit reports are always good to look at– because they may show information about potential fraud or identity theft and things that you may not be aware of. This may help you protect your credit score and history by letting you see whether all the information and account details are accurate. Then, if they are not, you can freeze your credit, place a fraud alert, or dispute inaccuracies.

What you may be surprised to find out is that credit reports do not list your credit score! Weird, huh? You’d think for sure it would.

According to Equifax®, there are a couple of ways to see your credit score.

  1. You can contact your credit card company or bank as sometimes they may provide your credit score to you as an account feature.
  2. You can purchase your credit score directly from any of the three major credit reporting companies.

Find More About Credit Scores!

How Escrow Accounts Work and Why They Rock

If you have a mortgage, then chances are you’ve heard the word escrow thrown around a time or two. But what is it exactly?

An escrow account is a helpful tool built into your mortgage. It allows for funds to be collected monthly to pay for your homeowner’s insurance and/or property taxes. By your mortgage collecting escrow, it ensures that your insurance and property taxes are paid in a timely manner. The benefit to you is you don’t have to worry about fronting hundreds or thousands of dollars all at once for your homeowner’s insurance or property taxes.

The formula is typically simple for finding the amount owed. Let’s say both insurance and taxes are escrowed from each monthly payment. The monthly payment is found by taking the total amount paid to both insurance and taxes for the year and then divided by 12. (The 12 is for 12 months.) That’s it! That would be your monthly payment in addition to your mortgage! Please keep in mind, some lenders may use another calculation that varies slightly and is also permitted by the law. Be sure to contact your lender if you have further questions as to how your escrow is calculated.

Occasionally, your escrow payments may increase or decrease. If that happens, either your insurance or taxes have changed. This will affect what you pay monthly. In most loan types, this is the cause of increase or decrease for monthly payments.

All in all, escrow accounts allow for your insurance and property taxes to be paid on your behalf without much extra work on your end!

What is Escrow_ (2) Final final

Researched and created by Rachel Mersinger

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4 Things to Do When There is Flooding Around Your Mobile Home

When rain happens in droves in can be a threat to any home. If there’s a flooding situation – a mobile home with skirting will need to be checked and serviced appropriately. Since mobile homes are often not on a permanent foundation – caring for them looks a little different than with a site built or home on a slab. The good news is – if you act fast during flooding in or around your home – you may have exponentially less to fix.

  1. Call your insurance agent and file a claim if you have flood insurance or coverage that may cover the type of damage that has occurred to your home. Filing a claim will help you understand what damage may or may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance plan. You can then take action to have damage repaired that is not be covered by your insurance. Or this may be a good time to get flood insurance to protect against future flooding.
  2. Respond to damaged areas quickly. Don’t let water sit. According to a relevant release from FEMA, the best response is a quick one. You’ll want to talk with a licensed contractor before you decide whether the repairs are something you can handle on your own or if you will need to hire a contractor. A contractor will recommend removing wet/damaged flooring in the home if needed. If water is under the home, they advise removing the skirting so the water that’s trapped can evaporate and dry quicker. Removing wet flooring and removing skirting, if done correctly, can help to minimize further damage.
  3. Install a sump pump. Chances are you may already have one and the flooding was just too quick for it. If not, a sump pump can help to avoid water damage under your mobile home. They work to redistribute water from under your home to a new location. Learn about how a sump pump works.

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    Watch water nearby your home during a flooding event as water may rise to reach your home. 
  4. If you handle water damaged materials yourself, always wear protection as not all  rain water is clean. It could likely be contaminated from the sewer. If you plan to somehow displace water or handle minor repairs yourself wear gloves and take other necessary precautions. Please consult a professional before attempting any repairs yourself.

Flooding can impact your home in a variety of ways. Play it safe, smart, and respond in a timely manner to protect your home from further damage by eliminating water soaked materials and diverting standing water. Water can cause permanent damage and more than likely it will happen where you can’t see it. Protect your investment. We hope these tips help you.

  1. FEMA. 23 July 2019. 16 July 1999. 3 Jan 2018, updated. Flooded Mobile Homes: Damaged or Destroyed? -Timely Response Can Make All the Difference. https://www.fema.gov/news-release/1999/11/16/flooded-mobile-homes-damaged-or-destroyed-timely-response-can-make-all.

First Steps to Selling Your Manufactured Home

Perhaps you’re ready for something different, another location, or just another manufactured home. Prepping your home might feel overwhelming. It certainly can be! Yet, we want you to go through the process with as much ease as possible. Time to prep your home!

If it’s time to sell your mobile home, you might be wondering where to begin. You’ll begin at the same place any homebuyer does – making your place look clean and fresh. You want the buyer to be able to imagine themselves there so avoiding bold style choices, colors/patterns, and lots of personal touches will allow them to dream up their own ideas.

A quick way to make your manufactured home more appealing is to pressure wash or clean the siding. Dirty siding makes a home look quite aged. Check out this easy how to on how to clean your siding!

Do light repairs. If you have been saving and can do some more moderate fixes, by all means go ahead. If you’re a little more strapped, try fixing easy things that don’t cost much or that you can perform the labor on. This leaves the buyer with a better visual, and they see you did work to maintain your home. Check out these quick and easy upgrades!

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Being sure your home is ready for a new owner is very important when prepping to sell.

Be sure to understand how your home will be listed. Is it a land and home or are you selling a home only? A home only is also sometimes called “chattel” (this is just an industry term for a manufactured home that is not affixed to land and the title has not been converted to real property). There are also ways to sell a home in a park/community.  Check your community’s rules and your pad rental agreement for information on how to sell your home if it is located in a manufactured home park.   Manufactured homes have to be affixed to land and have the title converted to  real property to be sold as land and home. If not, you are selling the home only. Not sure if your home is real property? Check out this informative article.

Begin considering how you will list the home. Will you have a real estate agent, list yourself, or auction the home? Research and call around to agents to see what commission they charge and decide if it’s  work you think you can do yourself. Ask yourself if you have time to commit to showing your home, covering the usual processes, and getting documents signed. If you decide against listing it yourself, be sure to find a real estate agent who specializes in manufactured housing.

Consider how you will price your home. This is best done by considering the homes around you. How much are they selling for? What condition is your home in? Many who sell by owner obtain an appraisal to determine how to price their home and obtain or pay for a buyer’s inspection to help the buyer feel confident in their purchase. These may not be necessary, but they can help you accurately price your home and secure a buyer. Learn more about how they work.

Don’t forget curb appeal! Landscaping and the area around your home are extremely important. Clean up clutter, keep your grass cut, plant some shrubs – make the place lovely! People do judge the book by the cover – give them a good cover!

We hope this helps you prepare your home for a quick and easy sale! Learn more in depth about the manufactured home sales process!

Selling Without An Agent?

 

How Well do Manufactured Homes Stand Up to Storms?

Storm season is on it’s way and you might be wondering, ‘how will a mobile home hold up’? It’s a common question, and not one that can be answered out right as there are a variety of storms and many types of manufactured homes. However, we can take a moment to look at preventative measures you can take as a homeowner and how mobile homes have been built to withstand storms.

Manufactured homes are built with the elements in mind

To begin, we need to look at the HUD Code for manufactured housing, which was implemented in 1976, and how it impacted how these homes are built. Mobile homes are built to comply with certain wind zones, thermal zones, and roof load requirements. These are all standards that help homes withstand certain forces. Wind zone requirements help your mobile home withstand hurricane force winds and are based on the location of the home. Thermal zones have to do with heat leakage in the home, and roof loads are based on how many pounds of snow a roof can withstand per square foot.  Roof load requirements also determine the build of the roof such as flat or pitched, etc.

Manufactured homes and their ability to withstand the elements

The Manufactured Housing Institute has provided information regarding the ability of manufactured homes to perform as well as site-built homes when it comes to storms and harsh weather.  According to the information, this attribution is said to be connected to the fact that manufactured homes in wind zones 2 and 3 are built to withstand the equivalent building code requirements as site-built homes.

Preventing damage to your mobile home

There are a couple ways you can actually prepare your mobile home for severe weather. One is ensuring your home has the appropriate tie-downs and anchors. Then you’ll need to be sure they are installed correctly and fix any that are broken or not properly placed. It’s also advised to have storm shutters, or heavy-duty shutters to protect your home. Another good way to prepare for storms is to make sure than any structures that are attached to the home are improperly installed as carports and patio roofs are likely to be the cause of home damage in high winds.  If you live in a place prone to tornadoes you could also consider building an underground shelter. Don’t forget to be sure your home is protected by your mobile home insurance. Most plans don’t include flood coverage – this is quite important if you live in a moderate storm area.

Storms cannot always be predicted and the level of threat from a storm is not always understood or appreciated. We aren’t meteorologists, so we would never advise you to remain in your home during a life-threatening storm.  We are saying, however, that you may come back to your home after a storm and find that your home survived much better than you thought it would. Manufactured homes may surprise you in their ability to withstand storm damage until you know that they are built with the elements in mind.

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