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Mobile Homes... and like that
Old 07-24-2012, 01:13 PM   #1
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Mobile Homes... and like that

A little while back, I mentioned that we live, part time, in a mobile home park in Florida. Based on a few comments (not mean or disparaging) I had the feeling that not everyone is aware that a mobile home is not motor home, and that the image of a mobile home may be quite apart from the reality.

Here's what some think... like an up north neighbor who let slip "Omigod... you live in a TRAILER?"



In reality, many mobile homes are closer to this, with as much as 1800 sq. ft. or more.



That said, Campgrounds typically have size limits for mobile homes, called Park Models(generally 12' x 34') similar to this:



Mobile Home Parks vary in size, age, and the level of activities that take place. If your future plans include "snow birding", before taking that big step of selecting where you'll live when the snow flies, it would be well to take time to investigate. Instead, our experience tells us that most newly retireds, come to Florida... spend a few days at Disney or Universal, and drop in to a few mobile home parks along the way, and make the decision... often paying for that by joining a lifestyle not suited for them.
We see that so often... Many of the people who finally find the park we live in, do so, after becoming disillusioned in their original choice.

Not all snowbird hideaways are created equal.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:41 PM   #2
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It's true that many people do not know that mobile homes can be affordable and comfortable dwellings for retirees, despite being lower cost than stick-built houses. There is nothing mobile about these homes, which should be called pre-fabricated. That said, I know that even true homes on wheels, meaning RVs, can also be a comfortable place to live. One just has to learn to live in a smaller and cozier place.

From what we have seen when visiting friends living in a mobile home park, the key is to be in a retiree community, where there are not poor working families with kids running around. It may sound prejudiced or politically incorrect, but very true.
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:46 PM   #3
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Two years ago we sold our "mobile home" when we moved to our "new" house. Although it was moved to the lot on wheels, we called it a manufactured home because it was more like that. Dry wall construction with taped seams and textured walls and ceilings. Two units of 900 sq ft each plus an added on man cave of 225 sq ft. Three bedrooms plus a den and the man cave. 2025 total sq ft. Granite countertops, laundry room, tiled kitchen, dining room and laundry room, screened lanai and a carport 12 x 30. I really liked it but was just not our style of living. We had about $150k invested and sold for $125. I didn't like not owning the land and our lot rent was $400 per month. To each his own.
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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We sold our 2800 SF home in DFW in mid-2006, have lived in our RV ever since. We don't move constantly, but usually stay at least a week in an area. We have been in NW California for 5 weeks, leaving tomorrow to slow-travel to Seattle.

Hardest thing was to get rid of a lifetime of "stuff". On the other side of the coin, the best move was to get rid of "stuff". It no longer rules our life.

Life is good.... We may never "own" another house. Unlike many others, the future isn't clear to us. We could afford to, just don't want to. That may change.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:10 PM   #5
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Just as I was writing about how nice it was living in a doublewide with lots of acres all around me and. Boom a thunderstrorm coming my way knocked the power out. I have a new battery in my UPS so I am good for an hour to run my network/router. I just hate going into the fridge for another cold one with the power out.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:11 PM   #6
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Perhaps you can add your experience to the following thread. Well, when you get your power back, that is.

without electricity for 48 hours now
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:25 PM   #7
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Down here we call those kinds of homes "tornado magnets".
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:56 PM   #8
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That could be a problem in part of the country. Where I am, tornadoes are unheard of.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:47 PM   #9
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I always think mobile homes still have wheels on them, whether or not they are moved around; manufactured homes don't; modular homes are chunks of manufactured homes put together.

You can have a permanent mobile home fixture at a campground? You don't have to be able to move it? Wouldn't that be a cabin then as in the photo above? These newfangled ideas!
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:11 PM   #10
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You can have a permanent mobile home fixture at a campground? You don't have to be able to move it? Wouldn't that be a cabin then as in the photo above? These newfangled ideas!
Yeah... We have a park model in the worlds largest family campground... 6200 units... Park models have been around since the mid 1980's. They come in on wheels, and can be moved, but hardly ever are... The newest models are quite attractive, and many are well built and insulated enough to be comfortable year round. We have an older model (1987) with a 400 s.f. add on sunroom, a 400 s.f. deck, and two 8'X8' storage sheds. Located on 110 ft of lake front. We own the land, and our total cost per year, including in ground sewer and water... is $1100 (campground dues)... plus $500 taxes and $450 insurance.

We lived there, 6 months a year, for our first 14 years of retirement. (Campground residency is a no-no to keep the campground status... so the maximum number of nights per year is 185). Our campground, though 90 miles from Chicago, (cold winter) is open year round... ice fishing, snowmobiling, skating etc. Sound like a zoo with 6500 units, but I was there this past weekend, and it was quiet as could be. Of the 185 units on my lake, only 10 were occupied. (there are seven lakes).

Anyway, off topic, but for an early retiree on a tight budget... a good possibility.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:15 PM   #11
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You can have a permanent mobile home fixture at a campground?
A "park model" can be moved by pros. They come in, jack it up and slide the wheels underneath, and down the road it goes. It's the same folks who move mobile homes.

The kind of campground we're talking about here leases spots (similar to a mobile home park) by the year or season. It's not a day at a time thing.

Both park models and mobile homes suffer from longevity problems. Both are usually ready for the junk yard at 30 yrs or so. Less if not well maintained. They're not usually considered equity builders but generally are much less expensive than quality stick built homes.

edit: imoldernu and I were "simulcasting." Note that he actually owns his land.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:25 PM   #12
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Yes, these are not as durable as normal homes, and their prices reflect that. As long as the home owners recognize that, it is not a problem.

Talk about moving them, I remember seeing on TV a mobile home park in California where the axles underneath the park models were not removed after the final move. The reason was some weird local laws that granted them lower taxes if the axles stayed attached.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Of the 185 units on my lake, only 10 were occupied. (there are seven lakes).

Anyway, off topic, but for an early retiree on a tight budget... a good possibility.

When I first moved to Florida I paid extra for a Lake view lot when really it was a drainage retention view lot which developers pass off as lakes .
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:28 PM   #14
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As far as manufacturing quality, the park version, mobile homes and manufactured homes are fairly even across the field - even though the manufacturers do not want you to believe that (IMO)...

The main player, depending upon the state you live in is taxes. If you have wheels - it is considered mobile and the taxes are cheaper... In some states the wheels are not required - it is by classification only, but in other states if the axles are removed - you are going to pay more in taxes...
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #15
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Guess I wasn't saying anything new...
Y'all seem to be pretty much up to date on this stuff...
...and... the "lakes"are pretty small,(ours is 27 acres). but nice

FWIW, I found an old website of Pics I took back in 2002... Not much changed, except for new facilities and roads... The trailer was our first "home" for a month, before we bought on the lake. The last pic was taken from my deck.
Woodhaven Lakes
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #16
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When we were first married a long time ago, we lived in a mobile home. Honestly we enjoyed it much more than an apartment. We had land all around us and more space. I really did enjoy it. I know they may not last as long as a standard house, but they do serve their purposes.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:39 PM   #17
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We own the land, and our total cost per year, including in ground sewer and water... is $1100 (campground dues)... plus $500 taxes and $450 insurance.

We lived there, 6 months a year, for our first 14 years of retirement. (Campground residency is a no-no to keep the campground status... so the maximum number of nights per year is 185).
I hadn't heard of this sort of plan. That could be a great option if there was a particular spot that a retired couple enjoyed visiting every year (to ski, fish, hike, go to the beach, etc). Even with the price of a modest MH it would be cheaper than a timeshare, you could stay longer each time, you could sublet to other families (if the park allows such--up to the 185 day total) to offset some of the costs, and always have a handy getaway spot.
Do families exchange time in their units at various spots ("Have 800 sq ft park home--will trade two weeks in the Smokies anytime for two weeks near the Atlantic shore this summer")?
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:28 PM   #18
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Long time ER folks the Kaderli's have a
Park model that is their home base out west somewhere in a 55+ community and have extolled the virtues of the lifestyle here often.

I have an RV and would not think it would be easily confused with a mobile home. My only beef would be depreciation. I wouldn't want to put a lot into a mobile home, because it is going to go down in value, like a boat or car.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:31 AM   #19
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Would you want them to put some crocodiles in there to make it look more natural? I think I'd like the one at the bottom. It looks, well, more impressive.
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
When I first moved to Florida I paid extra for a Lake view lot when really it was a drainage retention view lot which developers pass off as lakes .

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Old 07-25-2012, 12:11 PM   #20
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I think it will need Costa Rican friends.

friends.jpg
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