Can You Turn a Mobile Home Into a House? 9+ Essential Steps

Transform your mobile home into a dream house by relocating it, getting certifications, laying a foundation, and updating fixtures and finishes.

can a mobile home be converted to house

Let’s straighten out one thing – your mobile home is already a house. You just have to go through a process to make it official.

So, let’s transform your mobile home into the house of your dreams.

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To-do list for pre-transformation

Mobile home with American flag, front lawn and clear blue sky.

Do a little research

Before the magic happens, you need to do a little homework. 

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  • Once converted, the transformed home may be subject to taxes. You will want to check for state, county, and local tax changes.
  • Older mobile homes (before 1976) don’t meet federal and development standards for converting a mobile home into a house. 

The Uniform Manufactured Housing Act 

The federal Uniform Manufactured Housing Act requires two things from a mobile homeowner looking to convert a manufactured home into a traditional house.

Get your paperwork and certificates in order

Certifications and other paperwork are probably the most frustrating part of transforming a mobile home into a house. But it has to get done before you start building.

HUD certification

You require HUD certification to show that the mobile home meets the requirements of the Manufactured Housing Act.

The certification will show that a home is eligible for conversion and meets minimum real estate standards codes.

Reclassification

The Uniform Manufactured Home  Act requires that a mobile home be reclassified as real property.

Once you’ve located the property you wish to build on, you will file the certificate of location.

Building permit

You’re required to obtain building permits to transform a manufactured home so that the government knows the whole process is up to code and safe.

Lay the foundation

A permanent foundation is what transforms a mobile home into a house and is the most expensive part of converting a mobile home.

You will remove the mobile home from the axles and wheels and place it atop concrete blocks

9 Steps to Transforming Your Mobile Home into a House

You don’t need an expensive professional or contractor to transform your mobile home into the house you’ve always wanted.

Step 1 – Demo process

  • It’s time to carefully start removing nails and screws used to hold up the wooden panels in the mobile home.
  • Use the claw of a hammer or pry bar to yank out the nails. 
  • You’ll need to wash the wood paneling with gentle dish soap to prepare it for primer and paint.

Step 2 – Use some putty to fill the holes

  • Apply putty to all cracks and holes with an easy-to-use putty knife.
  • Once the putty has dried, sand down the putty and paneling using 100-grit sandpaper. You want it smooth and flush.

Step 3 – Wipe surfaces down

  • Clean dust and other debris by applying paint primer to the wooden panel.
  • You’ll wait for the primer to dry before painting the panel with interior wall paint.

Step 4 – Install shutters

  • You will then install shutters across all of the home’s windows.
  • Shutters make the property prettier and protect the glass from stray rocks.

Step 5 – Pull up the old flooring

  • It’s time to start yanking up the mobile home’s carpet or laminated flooring.
  • You can use a utility knife to cut the edges of the flooring and your pry bar to pull everything to the subfloor.
  • Don’t forget to pull up all nails, screws, tack strips, and glue. 

Step 6 – Put down the new flooring

  • Sweep up the dust and left-behind fibers, and you can start installing your new floor.
  • You can start putting down the laminated floor or even hardwood, depending on the appearance you’re shooting for with your new house.

Step 7 – Replace the exterior doors

You’ll likely want to replace the exterior doors of the transforming mobile home for one of two reasons.

The old mobile home doors are weaker than the new house doors or want better looking doors.

Step 8 – Replace the light fixtures

If you live in a mobile home, you probably have a few globe ceiling lights that you want to replace with new light fixtures.

  1. Turn off the electricity to the house.
  2. Unscrew the light fixtures.
  3. Detach the fixtures.
  4. Replace with new, better, and brighter light fixtures.
  5. Flip the electricity back on and ensure it works and is installed correctly.

Step 9 – Update anything that reminds you of a mobile home

Don’t be scared to experiment when it comes to remodeling and renovating. 

You can add baseboards and super fancy molding throughout the house, replace countertops, and update the hardware.

Super-sized mobile home transformation ideas

We want to give you some extra ideas that will make you excited about beginning to convert your mobile home into a traditional house.

Another story

A second story doesn’t mean it has to be expansive; sometimes, you only need enough space for an office or at-home gym.

Adding another story doesn’t just add a room or two; it will add to the value of your property.

In all likelihood, you won’t be undertaking the construction process of the second story yourself. So, it is an expensive renovation project, but one that pays off.

And certainly, when it comes to the roof, you want a contractor in on that to ensure it’s safe and up to code.

Add a wing

You don’t want to build up? Build out. 

It’s easier to expand out than add a second story, which will still add to the property’s value. 

Add a pretty porch

Porches are lovely whether or not you’re making a complete transformation or not. And wrap-around porches are a popular design for when converting a manufactured home.

A wrap-around porch is a pricey project that requires a professional, but what’s cooler than a screened-in porch to make memories?

Landscaping

Updating the exterior of your home, especially the landscaping, is an affordable and quick way to add to the curb appeal when converting.

  • Plant different ornamental grasses, bushes, shrubs, and flowers to add various colors and textures regardless of the time of year.
  • Evergreens are a good foundation plant. It prevents your landscape from looking bare during the winter and fall.
  • Don’t forget to trim and keep up with the landscape. It is better to have no landscaping than a poorly maintained yard.
  • Landscaping isn’t just about flowers and greenery. Add walkway bricks and stones that lead to the doorway.
  • Or, plant a small garden with fresh herbs and veggies. It adds color, a pleasant aroma, and value to your new house.

FAQs about Converting a Mobile Home into a House

How do you turn a mobile home into a traditional home?

To turn a mobile home into a traditional home, you can begin by initiating the demo process and then proceed with filling any holes present. After that, clean up the surfaces and apply a primer. Next, install shutters and remove the existing flooring. Lay down new flooring and replace doors. Finally, replace the light fixtures to complete the transformation.

How do you make a mobile home not look like a mobile home?

To make a mobile home not resemble a mobile home, one can enhance its exterior by incorporating wider eaves and a steeper roof pitch. Additionally, installing larger doors can further contribute to the transformation, giving it a more traditional house-like appearance.

How do you flip a mobile home?

To flip a mobile home, the first step is to research and educate yourself on the process. Next, set a budget for the project. Then, find potential deals and assess the property. After that, create a renovation plan and obtain financing if needed. Proceed to renovate and repair the mobile home according to the plan. Finally, price the mobile home appropriately for sale.

Is a mobile home considered an asset?

A mobile home is indeed considered an asset, and it is a common option for individuals seeking affordable housing. However, similar to other assets, mobile homes require careful estate planning considerations. The complexity and confusion arise when attempting to transfer a mobile home to intended beneficiaries after the owner’s death.

Can you put brick around a mobile home?

Yes, it is possible to put brick around a mobile home. Installing brick as the siding and skirting can be a great upgrade for the exterior of your manufactured house. This aesthetic choice is not very common among mobile homes, so it will definitely make your home stand out.

How can I make my mobile home walls look better?

To make your mobile home walls look better, the simplest and most cost-effective approach is to paint them. By opting for a single color instead of an outdated pattern, you can swiftly refresh a room’s appearance. Painting becomes even easier if you choose to leave the battens, or strips that cover the seams, untouched and simply paint over them.

Do mobile homes depreciate?

Mobile homes do depreciate over time, typically at a rate of around 3-3.5% annually. Calculating the depreciation of your specific manufactured home can assist in determining its current value with reasonable accuracy. For instance, a mobile home that was initially purchased for $50,000 would have a value of approximately $41,000 after six years.

What makes a mobile home different?

A mobile home is distinguished by the date it was constructed, while a manufactured home refers to those built after a specific date. As per HUD, any factory-built home before June 15, 1976 is classified as a mobile home, whereas those built after this date are considered manufactured homes.

How to paint the interior of a mobile home?

To paint the interior of a mobile home, you can begin by removing the battens that cover the seams between the VOG panels, if desired. Next, make sure to prepare the walls by covering the floors and furniture with drop cloths. After that, apply a coat of primer to the walls before proceeding to paint them.

Can you build around a mobile home?

Numerous mobile homes are constructed in modular units, allowing for convenient expansion by adding an extra room when necessary. In the case of mobile home additions, the new room will be a distinct structure that is connected to the original home and sealed to establish a unified indoor environment.

Can you attach an addition to a mobile home?

The addition should not be physically connected to the main structure of the mobile home. Instead, it should be constructed as a separate unit that is capable of standing on its own. However, it can be positioned closely to the main structure and sealed with appropriate materials to create the appearance of attachment, hiding any gaps or leaks.

Can you build a garage next to a mobile home?

It is possible to build a garage next to a mobile home, and there are three options available for this addition. The first option is an attached garage, which is connected to the mobile home either by a roof or a shared wall. The second option is a detached garage, which is a separate and freestanding structure placed away from the home. Lastly, there is the option of a carport, which is a simple structure with a roof that is not fully enclosed.

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