To make a long story short, I live in Austin and have been an apartment renter for about 4 years now. Due to the housing market and Covid, apartments are now about 1,700 for a 2 bed 2 bath (I currently only pay 1,120). I don’t want to pay that for a property I’ll never own, so I applied for a loan and was pre-approved for 220K. Unfortunately in Austin, that won’t buy much of anything. So one option is buying a house that needs some work, an hour away from Austin.
The other option my wife and I are considering is putting a manufactured home on an acre of land that was given to us by my father in law. It sounds like a no brainer because manufactured homes look nice, are cheaper, and the land we’d be on is only a 15 minute drive from Austin.
The only reason I’m here, is because doing some research, it looks like manufactured homes aren’t always a great idea, but right now we just need a place to live and can’t afford to pay 1,700 for a place we’ll never own.
So there’s nothing really bad about manufactured homes if you go through the steps to make them real property. You have to put down a foundation and install all the utilities.
The utilities may sound like a no brainer but the big thing is the foundation. As another user said, manufactured homes often get lumped in with trailers, and that’s because it’s not uncommon for people with manufactured homes to just plop the house down and not put in a foundation. The foundation, though, is what makes the house real property and not personal property from a legal perspective. That’s a biiig deal for lenders and for buyers down the road, and for how much the house can actually appreciate.
I lived in Montana for a while and a bunch of houses there are manufactured and plopped onto ranches. So long as you put a foundation down, it’s usually not worse than a similar sized house.
But you also want to make sure the materials can withstand whatever weather it’s going to be subjected to.
Also sorry for saying long story short and then typing a long story anyways
I live out in a rural area. There are plenty of manufactured homes out here. They are on real foundations, unlike a mobile home. They are also generally much higher quality building materials. The “hidden” costs are bringing the utilities out to the home, foundation, and driveway. If that all meets your costs, then I say go for it!
If you own the land and you don’t mind loosing value over time, then go for it.
I definitely wouldn’t want a 2 hours daily commute.
Manufactured homes get lumped in with mobile homes frequently. The bad rap on both is that they lose value like a car instead of holding/gaining value like a house. That is certainly going to be true of a “trailer” in a “trailer park” where you don’t even own the bit of land under it.
Putting a quality manufactured home on an acre of land that you own is a whole other ballgame. If you decide to go this route, I would suggest that you put the home on half the land in such a way that you could potentially build a house on the other half in the future, and rent the manufactured home (or subdivide the acre and sell it).
Manufactured homes typically do not resell well, if this is going to be your “Forever” home than it could be the best choice for your family.
If you plan on moving after only a few years be prepared to possibly have a remaining balance on your loan.
Ideally you could secure a construction loan and have an actual house built on this land. But since you have don’t have anywhere to live this probably isn’t the best option, especially since supplies are still tight and the timeline on a new home construction is probably ridiculous.
Also, how much is the acre of land you were given worth? Would you be able to afford something much closer to town if you sold it?
Manufactured homes have come a long way. I’d go that route and then sell it later on if you want something better.
Just my 2 cents on renovations, they always sound like a better idea going into it. Once you start uncovering other things that need to be done, which you almost always will, then it just becomes a perpetual money pit that you’re devoting all your nights and weekends to, not to mention living in it. It can become a very debilitating experience after a while.
Financing a manufactured home is like financing a car because the trailer isn’t a permanent structure. They are a great alternative to stick built or even modular homes because of the price point.
They do have some unique challenges though like insuring and financing them. A bank will not likely finance a land purchase because there is no tangible collateral for them so it’s considered funding an investment (I think) and you will not be able to use a traditional mortgager to finance the trailer.
I’ve seen people call “manufactured” homes different things. Are you specifically talking about a “trailer” type home? Or a modular home that looks like a regular traditional single family house?
If you’re talking about a trailer, just know going into it that it won’t appreciate the same way as traditional real estate. However being in a good location on an acre of land sounds like a pretty sweet deal. I’d probably choose this option and just make sure you’re investing well since you won’t have a big real estate asset like some people do with their homes.
Getting utilities will be your biggest headache.
Not cheap either.
Now there is a mobile home in a nice neighborhood in Lakeway for sale right now.
It’s in Apache shores on Whitebead. I think they want 218k but it’s a little high you could prob get them down. Idk if that’s something your interested in
I’m in the UK so don’t know too much about manufactured homes, but how much can you select the bathrooms, kitchen etc?
At least a doer upper you can bespoke it perfectly to your wishes.
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