4 Ways to Help You Shop for a Lender

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

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

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

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

Read More In-depth

6 Ways to Increase Space in Your Single Wide

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

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

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

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

Get More Ideas!

 

Four Easy Ways to Freshen Your Home’s Look: A Simple Guide to Creating Curb Appeal

Whether the home is new to you or you have been there for some time, it is always fun to get your hands dirty and spruce up the outside of your home to give it a fresh look.

Power washing your home rids your siding of all the yucky crud that has found itself attached to your home over the years. It is good to try to do this once a year, if you can, so it doesn’t build up and become a time-consuming chore. Remember, when using a power washer, or any tool, become familiar with the user manual and make sure you follow all safety procedures.

Tip: Don’t have a power washer? Try to borrow one from someone you know or see if you can rent one from a local establishment.

Once your home is sparkly clean, if you don’t have much life in your front yard, consider a flower bed! If you choose perennial flowers to plant, they will come back every year – minimum effort there! Annual flowers are great too though! (My favorite ones are Snap Dragons). They will sometimes reseed and come back for you. This helps so you don’t have to worry about replanting every year.

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Make your home inviting with some curb appeal!

Tip: Don’t know what to plants work in your area? Check out your zone and see what plants thrive in your area!

Consider using mulch or stone to help keep the weeds down. This will make your job weeding through out the summer time easy and quick. Since the weeds won’t be well rooted, it’ll be an easy pluck for the unwanted plants.

Tip: If you decide to mulch, remember to mulch yearly. It will help to keep your flower beds looking fresh and keep any weeds that try to find their new home there away.

Maybe weeding isn’t your thing and you know you won’t have the time or energy to maintain a flower bed. You can always have potted plants. You won’t have to worry about a larger surface area to weed or worry about buying mulch or stone for it!

Tip: You can bring these plants inside to help save them from the cold or frost which will give your plants (annual or perennial) longer lives!

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Sweeten up the view with some plant life!

A little bit of effort to the exterior of your home can make a big difference and brighten up the outside of your home all season long!

Work on the Interior of Your Home!

 

5 Ways to Give Your Mobile Home Windows Some TLC

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

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

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

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

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

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Windows being made in a manufactured housing factory. 

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

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

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

Freshen Up Your Window Treatments!

Your Mobile Home Summer Social Calendar

Ready. set. summer. The weather gets warmer and the days get longer, so make sure to look at the ultimate summer social calendar to give you and your family a fun filled season. Summer time is the sweetest time. More time with your kids, more things to do, and more things to see.  With this calendar guide, you won’t miss a beat. Were here to help you kick start summer the right way and continue to have a good time!

Father’s Day Weekend: Most dads love spending time outside and time with family. Dedicate this weekend to doing something dad really wants to do! Whether its going on a hike, hitting the water, or a weekend trip, make sure to dedicate the weekend to him and all he does for your family! It won’t go unnoticed.

Forth of July: The Fourth of July is the biggest social event of summer. Who does love celebrating freedom and our country? Plan your fourth of July accordingly, because it will be the best! The perfect 4th of July party is spent full of games and activities, followed by a cookout and firework show. This year have the neighborhood party at your place! All the kids, parents, and neighbors can come over and enjoy the holiday together.

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Make small, healthy snack cups for kids to grab!

Back to School Party: Once summer starts to dwindle down and school is right around the corner, throw your kids a party to celebrate an awesome summer and school year to come. While this celebration is bittersweet, it’s always best to end summer on a BANG! Create a day full of slip and slide, water games, ice cream and sweet treats!

Ice Cream Social: After the first day of school, throw an ice cream social to let to neighborhood kids socialize all together one last time! Celebrating the first day of the new school year is perfect. Kids can mingle with there new and old classmates, all awhile creating the ultimate Sundae. Feeling competitive? Have a ice cream Sunday competition and base the ranting on looks, flavor, and creativity! Give out a fun prize at the end.

Get Your Deck Ready For Summer!

7 Simple Tips to Modernize Your Manufactured Home

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

Here are some affordable ideas to get you started:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s More Inspiration!

4 Reasons You Should Buy a Manufactured Home

Manufactured Homes, the Next Big Thing in a Housing Crisis?

These days the cost of living is expensive. So expensive in fact, we are experiencing a record low number of millennials buying homes! According to Urban.org, only 37% as of 2015.1 The Reason? Buying a house is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

The average cost for a new traditional stick-built home with land according to the U.S. Census Bureau, costs $376,000 as of March 2019.2 The average cost as of December 2018 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, for a new double wide without land was $106,000 and $52,100 for a new single wide without land.That is a huge difference! The other option? Renting. Don’t get me wrong, renting has it perks, but when it’s time to plant your roots, it just isn’t ideal.

The biggest drawback to renting is that you do not have the potential to build equity. A manufactured home, however, can potentially be a good investment particularly if the home is permanently affixed to land. When renting, the monthly rental payment becomes a permanent monthly expense as long as you rent. A mortgage, however, has an end date. If it is within your budget, you can also make extra payments toward paying off your mortgage loan ahead of schedule to eliminate having a monthly mortgage payment even sooner. I don’t know about you, but my mortgage is my biggest expense each month.

If you are an animal person like I am, remember that your home is your pet’s home too! Owning a home means you have more freedom with how many pets you can have.  It is not uncommon for rental agreements to either not permit or limit the number of pets you may have in your rental home. Rental agreements may also limit the breed, size, or weight of dogs. When looking to move to Tennessee, it was hard to find a rental to live in that would permit my cuddly 84-pound Rottweiler Lab mix. This also meant we didn’t have a yard for her to go run and play in. While it meant fun trips to the dog park, it also meant standing in the cold rain for bathroom breaks. We were also always perpetually worried the owners would decide one day they didn’t want to rent to pet owners. Now, Sadie has a nice fenced in yard since buying our own home.

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Find the place where everyone feels at home.

Rentals also limit your ability to make your home feel like your own. Rentals deter you from putting holes in the walls for hanging pictures, updating or remodeling, even painting. Home ownership offers all those freedoms. The sky is the limit for what weekend project you’ll find yourself getting into, whether it is a bathroom remodel or planting a garden. Plus, what’s the point of watching all those home improvement shows if you can’t utilize your inspiration from them?

With this all being said, buying a home can be expensive, unless you know what to look for. So, what is stopping you from purchasing a manufactured home? They are more popular now than ever, and for a great reason. They provide the same features you are looking for in a traditional stick-built but cost less! Just imagine, sitting on your front porch sipping your sweet tea or coffee as you rock in your rocking chair, owning your own home for less than you expected.

References
1. Urban Wire. 11 July 2018. The state of millennial homeownership. https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/state-millennial-homeownership
2. United States Census. 23 April 2019. Monthly New Residential Sales, March 2019. https://www.census.gov/construction/nrs/pdf/newressales.pdf
3. United States Census. 8 June 2018. Average Sales Price of New Manufactured Homes By Region and Size of Home By Month of Shipment. https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/econ/mhs/average-sales-price.html  

How to Increase the Longevity of Your Manufactured Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find More Maintenance Inspiration!

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

Protecting Your Manufactured Home Roof

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

Most common types of roofing

  • Flat
  • Pitched

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

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Trusses in a manufactured home roof. 

 

Most common roofing materials

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Up With Your Home!

References

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