Living in Mobile Home to Save Money – Find Out How?

Is living in mobile home to save money something feasible?

Yes, but on few conditions otherwise you will lose money buying a mobile home

When I first got married, I acquired a mortgage and bought a condo

Everyone told me this was wrong decision as I bought it for short term

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living in mobile home to save money

Anyway I realized that when I tried to sell it

Bottom line, living in a mobile home to save money is not true all the time

That's why in this post, I will talk about living in mobile home as a way to save money

What is mobile home?

Mobile home is premade structure built on a permanent chassis

It gets transported to site by either being towed or using a trailer

Most of the time, mobile home settles in one place for long time or permanently

Is mobile home similar to trailer home?

Yes, mobile home has many names and what is used equally is trailer home

You can call it park home, static caravan, RV, residential caravan, manufactured home, motorhome, trailer, trailer home or house trailer

What are mobile home sizes?

Mobile or trailer homes come in 3 sizes

  • Single about 15 feet wide
  • Double about 26 feet wide
  • Triple upwards of 45 feet wide

Is living in a mobile home worth it?

Sometimes living in mobile home to save money is worth it

First, I will list the pros and cons of living in a mobile home

Then I will list a scenario when it is really worth it

Pros of living in a mobile home

Overall pros of living in a mobile home is its affordability

Not all families are able to afford buying home at least at the beginning

1- Cost is significantly low compared to buying home or town house

2- Affordability as you can easily live in due to its price

It would be great if you own the land

3- You don't pay property tax if you don't own the land

But you pay HOA (Home Association Fee)

4- Small yards if you don't like taking care of garden

5- You can upgrade, paint or completely remodel your mobile home anytime

6- Location to parks that sometimes conveniently located near a pond or lake

7- You can have your pet as they are allowed

Cons of living in a mobile home

Those living in a mobile home got a stereotype attached to them

But If you don't care how people think of you then check real cons of mobile homes

1- Mobile homes go steep and depreciate in value quickly than regular homes

The average life of any mobile home is 15 – 20 years

This means if your home is 15 years it will be hard to sell

But if you own the land, the price will increase a little bit year after another

Not because of your mobile home but because of the land you own

2- You have to pay rent for the land you have your mobile home on

It is still cheaper than renting an apartment

3- Mobile home setup in parks take long time to sell

As I mentioned above there is a stigma associated with mobile home ownership that can turn off buyers

4- Old mobile home is hard to move sometimes you pay more than the mobile home price itself for just moving it

5- You can add amenities to your trailer home and change a little of the design inside

But it is limited plus the roof looks crappy

6- Sometimes mobile homes have poor insulation especially old homes

Most replacement you have to buy from retailers specialized in mobile homes because of its odd size

When is mobile home really worth it?

As I said earlier mobile home depreciates in value quickly

Since the lifetime of any mobile home is 20 years maximum

To start living in mobile home to save money really worth it

You have to do the following

1- Buy mobile home which is little bit older like 3-5 years and live there 3-5 years there

2- If you own the land this will be a great asset

At least you don't have to worry about your mobile home depreciation

3- If you will rent the land then take a careful look by driving through in the park

Make sure it is safe from crime and drugs

Check this park at 8 am, 2 pm and 2 am weekdays and weekends

4- Check insulation and pipes below the mobile home as these pipes are exposed to weather condition and so they are prune to rust and decay

5- Pay your mobile home amount in full

Or if you are short of cash then consider paying it from a very low loan

Is living in mobile home cheaper?

Yes it is cheaper in the short term if you spend 3 to 5 years to live in

So living in a mobile home to save money in the short term is good

Assuming you have not a very old trailer home

You don't want to lose your money when selling it

And manage to get a loan with decent interest that doesn't break your back

Is buying mobile home a bad investment?

Buying a mobile home for long period more than 5 years is bad investment

Specially if you don't own the land

Imagine taking a loan for $50,000 and after 10 years your mobile home is worth $25,000

A surprising fact, during the first 5-8 years you are paying more interest than principal

Plus you end up selling your mobile home for loss

You did not make any investment here

In fact, you lost money and the amount you saved will be decreased to compensate your depreciated value

How can you turn your mobile home to good investment?

The only way is to buy an old mobile home with good insulation

Place your trailer home on your own land

If you buy a mobile home for $5,000 and sell it for $1,500 after 3 years

You lost $3,500 in 3 years which is equivalent to $97 a month as rent

At the same time, you save money in good short term bonds

Later sell your home and the land and buy regular home

I assume you would have a decent amount as a down payment for your home

If you cut $1,400 for 36 months that's equivalent to $50,400 plus interest on invested money

Is it cheaper to live in a mobile home or apartment?

Living in a mobile home to save money compared to living in apartment can only be true in the following cases

If you buy a decent mobile home for let's say $25,000 and live in for 4 years

Then you will sell it for $10,000 – I am assuming low numbers to entice buyers and to show the difference in price compared to apartment

This means, you have $10,000 loss in 48 months which is about $312.5

If you rent an apartment, average is $850 a month

This means you save at least $500

What is cheaper than buying mobile home and rent an apartment?

What is better from buying mobile home or renting an apartment is to rent a mobile home

You can get a hybrid plan between both

Let's say you rent a trailer home for $350

This is more than $312.5 but you forgot that you have to make a monthly payment for your loan

Let's say you pay $5,000 as down payment and borrow a loan for $20,000 with 6% interest for 10 years

This comes to $170 a month extra so renting a mobile home is cheaper than buying it or renting an apartment

What to look for when buying a mobile home?

Unfortunately buying a mobile home is kind of a challenge

Because living in mobile home to save money can be a dream come true

Or nightmare of losing your hard earned money

And your plan to save money for your dream home

Things to consider before buying mobile home in park

1- How much you will pay for HOA (Home Association Fee)?

Keep in mind, most of these parks when charging for HOA they charge an amount that includes all of your utilities similar to Condo fee

I remember I was paying $480 in my condo fee

But I didn't regret it as this fee covered heat/cool air, electricity, water and using all the amenities included in the Condo

Like swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, 2 tennis courts, library, entertainment room with 2 tennis table and patio on the fifth floor

2- Does the park include common area you can use?

3- Does your park have gated community?

This will make it very save to live in

4- Is it safe for your friends and relative to visit and good space to park their cars?

5- Can you own the land after some time or it will stay as lease?

6- Make sure you are buying a used mobile home to get a good deal

I am not sure if I describe mobile homes to cars

In cars, once you take it on the road you can lose easily 10% from its price

Same thing for mobile homes, enter the market with used mobile home to negotiate a better deal

Things to consider before buying mobile home in private land

Just by owning a land will change how your mobile home looks in the market

In case when you decide to sell it as I've never heard of anyone buying mobile home for permanent living

1- Make sure the land is not expensive

If you got a mortgage, it will dedicate $23,000 towards the land

2- If you acquire a mobile home mortgage, it will be a maximum of 20 years

3- How much you will pay as a property tax for the land?

4- Don't forget to check your neighborhood safety and crime rate

5- Check the school ratings if you have kids going to school

6- Make sure you can connect electricity, water and sewage system

7- Check the internet connection in your area

8- How much you will pay for garbage or recycling?

What is the best month to buy a mobile home?

In mid summer, during the week of Thanksgiving and the whole month of December

You don't want to enter a bid competition for mobile homes

That's why you choose the above 3 times of year where all buyers are busy

What credit score is needed to buy a mobile home?

To qualify for a FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan you need to have at least a credit score of 580 and 3.5% down payment

With credit score of 620 you will be qualified for conventional mortgage

How can you increase the value of your mobile home?

There are many ideas to choose to increase the value of your mobile home like

1- Buy the land where you have your mobile home on

You have a value for the land while your mobile home depreciates steeply

2- Replacing your old windows and doors with energy efficient upgraded ones

3- Change your old skirting and siding

Also I recommend to read about living in a tent to save money


Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.