REPLACING YOUR CURRENT HOME WITH A NEW ONE
Replacing your older home with a new manufactured home is nearly always an absolutely transformative experience; a “new lease on life,” for sure.
But the process is not easy. It’s full of requirements (federal, state, sometimes local governments, and the many requirements imposed by park managements). There will be delays, design compromises, fix-it needs after delivery, your moving needs, plus the related financial impacts. But, in the end, most people say it was worth it.
We can’t emphasize how important it is to prepare before you make any commitments. Research your options. Talk to people who have already done this. Talk to real estate agents such as us who have a wider perspective on the process and the market implications of it. (We’ve actually been through the process ourselves.)
Questions to ask:
What brand did you buy and why? Manufactured homes come in a wide spectrum of quality, designs, and available amenities.
Who was your manufactured home dealer and were you satisfied with him/her? This is extremely important. Like real estate agents, dealers are not created equal. A good one welcomes and answers your questions and makes the process transparent and streamlined. He or she will help you work with your park management in meeting park requirements. A bad one avoids or sidesteps your questions, is vague about costs and your options, is unaware or dismissive of your park’s requirements, and can make the process a complete nightmare. Again, ask folks who’ve already replaced a home.
Questions for your dealer might include:
What warranties come with not only the home but the installation? Who will be responsible for making sure all park management and state requirements are met?
Actions to take:
Engage your park management as soon and as completely as possible. It is the park management who will determine how much space is available for your new home and garden. Most parks have some version of architectural requirements for incoming homes and, like it or not, they will likely be involved in every step you take, every decision you make.
Ask your dealer, at the outset, for a complete list of your options and costs so you can make informed choices.
If you need to finance the purchase, talk about options with local manufactured home lenders as well as with your dealer.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of home manufacturer, you might consider traveling to wherever the homes are made to see the process for yourself and assess the level of structural quality.
Inevitably, your new house will arrive with some construction defects and damage from the transport. Make sure up front, through your dealer, that the manufacturer or house transporter or installer will be responsible for remediating these and that your dealer will work with them on your behalf. Sometimes the dealer will also contribute to the cost of the corrections.
Actions to NOT take:
Do not pay upfront fees to a dealer. Some dealers try to charge an “engineering fee” or “plan fee,” etc. Be very wary of such things. It seems these fees are actually just a way of making customers feel committed to that dealer before a specific home design is chosen and a purchase contract is signed. The buying process can be challenging – more so with some dealers than with others – and the dealer doesn’t want you go elsewhere.
Do not try to avoid governmental requirements. This will just cause headaches and, in the end, meeting them won’t make all that much difference one way or the other in the enjoyment of your new home.
Do not cover every square foot of your lot with house. We live with beautiful outdoor weather most of the year and this contributes greatly to the value and enjoyment of our homes. Even if you plan to never sell your home and to live in it forever, leave yourself some good outdoor space.
In the end, you’ll have a brand new home in a place where brand new homes cost far more than you will spend. And you’ll have a custom home you can enjoy for many years to come.