7 Facts on Manufactured Homes Life Expectancy & Maintenance

Discover how the compact design and modern materials of mobile homes simplify upkeep and reduce maintenance costs.

are mobile homes easy to maintain

Mobile homes are basically little houses. The only real difference is that a mobile home is manufactured in a factory and transferred to a lot.

Let’s examine why mobile homes are easy to maintain and how they hold up against traditional homes.

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1. The materials are easier to maintain

You can customize mobile homes in a variety of ways. So, interior and exterior maintenance depends on the materials you choose to use.

A good example is – vinyl siding is easier to clean and keep up with than stucco siding.

2. The lack of basements or underground foundations

Traditional homes with basement foundations come with all sorts of issues that most mobile homes don’t have.

Drawbacks to basement foundations

  • The moisture is pretty bad. Basements and dampness tend to go hand in hand, depending on your climate and structure.
  • Beware of mold. The moisture that comes with basement foundations is the biggest threat. It causes rotting in the structure, and mold can lead to breathing issues.
  • Expensive to build and costly to maintain. Unlike a mobile home lot, building a traditional foundation doesn’t come cheap and requires long-term maintenance.
  • It’s really not a livable space. It’s wet, cold, and dark in the basement. You have to install lighting, humidifiers, and extra things even to make it desirable.
  • Radon exposure. Radon exists in the soil and dirt that a basement is built around. You risk exposure because radon can seep into a structure.

3. The cost of maintenance

Traditional homes with yards, foliage, etc., have the cost of landscaping to consider. It’s either invest in yard equipment or pay someone to do it for you.

The lot rent for mobile homes or the community fee sometimes covers maintenance fees for lawns and roads. If you prefer to do your own landscaping, there’s far less land to cover, sometimes far more potential.

Is it hard to maintain a mobile home?

Mobile homes are actually easier to maintain than most traditional ones because they are made in a government-regulated factory and designed differently than a site-built home.

4. Sometimes a mobile home is better built

A still-circulating myth about mobile homes is that they’re poorly made.

In all actuality, a mobile home is built according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations, which are strictly enforced.

While most home contractors are honest, there are instances where professionals cut corners and scam customers, which leads to poor construction.

Mobile homes are manufactured in a climate-controlled environment that is safe from bad weather and mold.

What is the lifespan of a mobile home?

A mobile home has the durability to last between 30 and 50 years. 

And while a stick-built home has stronger longevity, you’ll more than get your money’s worth investing in a mobile home because you’re avoiding land maintenance and taxes.

5. Mobile homes are green

Vacation mobile houses on a campsite with trees around

Mobile homes are manufactured in a HUD-regulated factory that uses the same techniques and regulated materials. 

Because of better installation, mobile homes use less energy, making the electricity bill far cheaper.

The energy efficiency of a  mobile home is one of the primary benefits of investing in one.

In some cases, an entire home has Energy Star equipment that’s eco-friendly and easy to maintain.

What are the disadvantages of buying a mobile home?

Regardless of the structure, there are always benefits and drawbacks. 

And mobile homes come with their unique disadvantages.

Land shortage and the steep cost

Available land in suburbia and low-populated areas is scarce. When you add that the land may not be accessible and need access, the site preparation may be cost-prohibitive altogether.

Stigma still baselessly exists

In many corners of the US, there is still a significant bias against mobile homes and communities. 

The improvements to manufacturing mobile homes and the regulations squash the mythology that somehow mobile homes are ‘low-income housing.’ 

But, mobile home discrimination still exists, and there are land restrictions in a lot of places.

So, you’ll need to check local, regional, and state regulations on mobile homes before you even begin the process.

Mobile home lender requirements are different

Mobile home loans work like car loans because they are considered real property. 

You can increase the appeal to a mortgage company by placing the mobile home atop a foundation or a basement, but we have already discussed why that’s not always the correct route.

For some, though, obtaining a loan for a mobile home is a more favorable option than entering a 30-year mortgage agreement.

Long-term appreciation

Stick-built homes tend to grow more valuable over time, while a mobile home loses value quickly (typically when it leaves the factory). 

The upside to a mobile home is that losing assessed value will likely mean lower property taxes.

What are the benefits of owning a mobile home?

We’ve looked at the reasons why mobile homes are easy to maintain.

Let’s look at the other benefits of owning a mobile home.

Great affordability

The loan process is more challenging with a mobile home, but for many, the affordability of a mobile home makes it a front-runner for living space.

On average, a mobile home costs $49 per square foot, while a traditional onsite home runs $107 per square foot.

Structural strength

Mobile homes are sturdier than most people think. 

The HUD code regulates the entire process, including:

  • structural design
  • construction process
  • fire safety
  • energy efficiency 
  • transportation from the factory to the site 

How much wind does it take to damage a mobile home?

The HUD code specifies that a mobile home must have the structural strength to hold up against 100-110 mph winds.

How long does it take to build a mobile home?

It takes a mobile home manufacturer 2 to 3 months to build one from start to finish. 

Long-term options

Mobile homes make fantastic starter homes for young families. It allows new homeowners to start small with the option of adding to the mobile home.

Some buyers go with the manufactured home option because they want to save money to invest in a stick-built home in the future.

And once they’ve found their dream home, many use their mobile home as a rental property.

Can you live comfortably in a mobile home?

A  buyer can choose the mobile home size and amenities, making it easy to find the one you’re most comfortable in.

You’re just as comfortable in a mobile home as in a traditional one. 

No construction required

Building and renovating homes comes with the headaches of changing deadlines and utter inconvenience.

With a mobile home, it only takes about 60 to 75 days from purchase to move-in day. And the installation is short and sweet.

While it can take almost a year to construct a home from the ground up.

Are mobile homes really mobile?

Most mobile homes aren’t mobile once they’ve been installed on a lot. Though, if you need to move, mobility is a plus. But as a general rule, a modular home isn’t mobile.

Some mobile homeowners add customized skirting decks, porches, etc., eliminating the ability to move them. 

And, of course, if you ground a home with a concrete foundation, the mobile home isn’t likely to go anywhere else.

FAQs about Maintaining a Mobile Home

What makes a mobile home different?

A mobile home is distinguished from a manufactured home based on the date of construction. As per HUD, a home built before June 15, 1976, is classified as a mobile home, while one built after that date is considered a manufactured home.

What is the life expectancy of a mobile home?

The life expectancy of a mobile home can range from 30 to 50 years if it is a HUD compliant mobile home that receives regular maintenance and repairs as necessary. The implementation of stringent manufacturing regulations has played a significant role in ensuring that mobile homes are now designed and manufactured to last for several decades.

Do mobile homes lose value quickly?

Mobile homes tend to lose value rapidly, similar to new cars, as they depreciate quickly once they are no longer in the factory. Conversely, stick-built homes typically appreciate in value over time, primarily because the owners of such homes usually possess the land on which they are built.

Why do mobile homes not last long?

Mobile homes do not last long due to various factors. One of these factors is the impact of the location in which they are situated. The longevity of a manufactured home is influenced by the climate it is exposed to. For instance, if a mobile home is located in a humid climate, it will deteriorate at a faster rate compared to those in dry climates. This is because the excess moisture in humid climates leads to rotting, necessitating more frequent replacements. Additionally, the materials used in the construction of mobile homes also contribute to their limited lifespan. Typically, manufactured homes are constructed using plywood boards or particle board sheets.

What is the upkeep on a manufactured home?

The upkeep on a manufactured home involves ensuring it is kept clean, both internally and externally, to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris. It is crucial to limit the presence of debris around the home as it can accumulate moisture over time, potentially causing extensive water damage.

What is the downfall of a manufactured home?

The downfall of a manufactured home is that it necessitates a foundation. Unlike campers or RVs, you cannot simply move your home to any desired location. Instead, manufactured homes require either undeveloped land or a designated space within a manufactured home community.

Does a mobile home need to breathe?

A mobile home does require proper ventilation. To ensure adequate skirting ventilation based on the square footage, you can use a formula (1:150). This means that for every 150 square feet of space under your home, there should be one square foot of venting. Proper ventilation is crucial for mobile homes.

How do you clean a mobile home roof?

To clean a mobile home roof, you can utilize a heavy bristle broom and water hose. If a pressure washer is not available, this method is effective. Additionally, you can employ a hard surface cleaner like Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) to eliminate stubbornly attached debris.

What increases the value of a manufactured home?

Increasing the value of a manufactured home can be achieved by making energy-efficient improvements such as upgrading doors and windows, as well as performing regular maintenance. It is important to involve a professional throughout the process, whether you plan to sell the home or live in it for the long term.

How do you winterize a manufactured home?

The process of winterizing a manufactured home involves reversing the ceiling fans, inspecting the water heater, allowing the faucets to drip, ensuring the heat is never turned off, providing sufficient skirting, cracking open closets and cabinets, caulking doors, windows, and more, as well as applying heat tape to water pipes.

Why do mobile homes crack?

Mobile homes crack because the frame flexes slightly when encountering bumps or potholes on the road, causing the wallboard, which is weak and stiff, to crack instead of bending under stress. This occurs because the bounce from hitting a bump or pothole is equivalent to a sudden increase in weight, causing the frame to flex while the inflexible wallboard above it cannot, resulting in cracks.

Should I live in a trailer to save money?

Living in a trailer to save money can be a wise decision, especially if you choose to reside in an RV park for an extended period. By opting for long-term stays in RV parks, you can take advantage of various discounts offered. The most substantial savings are typically available for stays lasting at least a month. Additionally, since you won’t be frequently driving your RV, your fuel expenses will significantly decrease.

Is it safe to live in a trailer?

Living in a trailer can be safe as long as you take the necessary precautions. It is important to be well-prepared for potential challenges such as electricity, weather, animals, driving conditions, and access to healthcare. If you are not adequately prepared for these long-term challenges, living in a trailer can become difficult.

Which state has the most people living in trailers?

The U.S. state with the highest number of people living in trailers is Texas, which had 137,460 manufactured homes as of December 2021. Florida and Louisiana had 50,761 and 46,381 homes respectively, following behind Texas.

Why are mobile homes so popular?

Mobile homes are popular because they now come equipped with contemporary safety and security features, making them a desirable choice. Additionally, they are energy efficient, leading to long-term savings on utility expenses. Moreover, their updated design and durable materials contribute to reduced costs for replacement or repair.

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