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Florida and double wides
Old 09-19-2007, 10:40 AM   #1
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Florida and double wides

I live in the Mid West and thought about buying a double wide in Florida to spend the winters. The prices are cheap, but they have monthly lot rental fees. Anyone have an opinion on this type of winter get away? i.e. location, 55 and older developments etc. Not sure I want to do this but I will be vacationing there in October so it would be a good time to look. I found many of them on the web, they look very nice inside.
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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If you search on "worry free housing" you should find a thread started by the kaderli's that talks about exactly this idea. As I understand it, this is what they do to have an inexpensive home base in the US as they gallivant around the globe. If something happens to the house, well, it was basically priced so low as to be disposable.
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:04 AM   #3
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My inlaws had one in a pretty nice community near Bradenton. There were lots of things to do there, my MIL really enjoyed the place. Man the lot rents/association fees get high, I think that the increases at my inlaws' park were based on inflation or 5% a year, whatever was higher. As you can see, the resale value is poor.

You might rent one for a season to see if you like the lifestyle. Here is the website for my inlaws' park: Hometown America Corporation
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:31 PM   #4
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When I was very young I rented a room in a "single wide" which was new and very nice. No doubt they've improved since then. One thing that really put me off was that the windows froze shut in ice storms.

I know a receptionist (small salary) who managed to get her family and kids out of a really dangerous neighborhood by buying a double wide within commute range. And a friend showed me where his friend moved near the ocean in a mobile home park--looked really nice. It's one way for people to stay near an expensive metro area.
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:57 PM   #5
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Very true. Mobile home parks are becoming nicer and a very viable alternative to living right downtown.
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:03 PM   #6
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I'd rent. As Martha mentioned, these homes typically depreciate rather than appreciate, or, at best, appreciate very little, and the monthly fees can be considerable.

If you buy, you'll have to live with always going back to the same place. And if you skip a year, for whatever reason, that would be a lot of monthly fees piling up between your visits.
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:11 PM   #7
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I lived in a singlewide for 8 years. I bought it new and lived cheaply while earning less than $30K. I paid off $26K in student loans, bought and paid for a car in 2 years, went back to school and earned a second graduate degree, survived a year of unemployment, and saved for a down payment on a site built house. The finances was the best part.

Many are not well built and unless you live gently, they do not wear well.(I keep hearing of improvements, but think lightweight aluminum and pressboard). The flooring, walls, etc feel very different than a site built home. They depreciate - like a car. I lived in a "family" neighborhood: better than most parks, but I didn't want to raise kids there. Senior communities may be different. You can get many upgrades that increase the price, but still cheaper per sq ft.

A co-worker has one at the coast - no insurance - sees it as a disposable home, and it is great while it lasts.

I wouldn't be eager to live in one again, but they have their role.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:52 PM   #8
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Many are not well built and unless you live gently, they do not wear well.(I keep hearing of improvements, but think lightweight aluminum and pressboard). The flooring, walls, etc feel very different than a site built home.
Excellent point. Frank rented one for a couple of years when he was working in Alabama, and I was amazed at how cheap and shoddy it seemed, as though any mechanical stress on any part of the structure at all would cause damage.

It was acceptable for a temporary dwelling, but I can afford (and plan to retire in) something FAR more substantial.
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Old 09-19-2007, 05:56 PM   #9
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I live in Florida so I've seen a lot of them .The really nice parks have a lot of activities and are well kept . The Bradenton area has many parks but so do most parts of Florida. Rent first to see if you really like the lifestyle .In hurricanes they are the first to be evacuated ,so plan on several nights elsewhere .
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:40 AM   #10
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I owned a double wide for several years. It had some very good features like it was inexpensive to heat and cool. There was R-30 in the roof, R-19 in the walls and floor. It felt like a substantial building. Mine had a fireplace two baths three bedrooms came with appliances, drywall tape and texture, good closets, up to date electrical panel and wiring.

That said there were obvious problems where fit and finish should have been better, the windows leaked, the the mgf placed a heating duct opening in the middle of the entryway to the laundry. Minor stuff really and I have heard of worse in subdivisions.

The biggest pain in the rump is being in a mobile home park. Either there are no rules or the rules aren't enforced or the are to many rules and you end up with rule Nazis driving you crazy. The resale of these houses is iffy at best it all depends on where it is what it is and who is handing over the money. Also the interest on loans for these things is out of sight, only a few places will loan money on a double wide in a park, think car loan!

For the right person in the right place this could be a deal, good cheap living, got me through a divorce and back on my feet, got lucky and sold it for what I paid for it and moved on to a townhouse and built up equity.

Oh, trying out the life style is the best recommendation there is 55 and over communities aren't for every one .... see reference to rule Nazis above.

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Old 09-23-2007, 07:44 PM   #11
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I have a friend whose parents bought a house trailer in Florida, about 5 mins from Daytona beach. I think they paid around $5K for it. It's needed a lot of work, which they've been doing themselves off and on, but for the price you can't beat it. I think the monthly lot rental is $300, and it's a fairly big lot. It's in one of those 55+ communties, but I don't think they were quite that age when they bought it. That community had some kind of thing going where they'd let something like 10-15% of the lots go to people who were under 55.

We stayed down there with some other friends about 2 years ago. It was a pretty nice setup, except that I'm 6'3", and tall people and the doorways of 70's house trailers are often not a good mix! I whacked my head a few times, mainly on the front door. I think it was the part where the chain that keeps the door from opening too far attaches to the frame. I also remember that we were there about a week, but the day we left, the cops pulled up and wanted to know who we were! I guess a neighbor looked out the window and saw us young whippersnappers packing up the car, and though something looked suspicious. And actually, I didn't mind. The cop was nice. Didn't try to shoot us. Or tazer us. I thought it was refreshing that the police actually responded that quickly, and that the neighbors actually kept an eye on what was going on.
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:59 PM   #12
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The biggest pain in the rump is being in a mobile home park. Either there are no rules or the rules aren't enforced or the are to many rules and you end up with rule Nazis driving you crazy.
This makes me laugh at a memory. A neighbor kept constant watch on our yard to make sure my cat came out only on a leash. No poo poo in her yard. But I did enjoy having an included parking spot; they are rare in apts. Correction, I mean rare in front of apt. buildings.
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Old 09-24-2007, 05:57 PM   #13
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Occasionally there are stories on the local TV news about a bunch of mobile home owners getting ousted from where they live because the mobile home park owner has decided to sell the land. I think this happens because the land becomes worth more to develop into a mini-mall or some other use than to remain as a mobile home park. This may just be a regional thing where I live, but something to bear in mind.

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Old 09-24-2007, 07:29 PM   #14
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Don't forget about the joys of a F5 hurricane vs a double wide

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Old 09-24-2007, 10:35 PM   #15
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Hon, it don't matter what you are in if a F-5 hits it, it is gone unless it is a bomb shelter.
Same with a category five hurricane. Both tornadoes and hurricanes in that group can knock over railroad cars, block buildings, rip trees out of the ground snap telephone poles like twigs. One might survive an F-5 tornado if your in a well built storm shelter or just plane lucky. A regular stick built house wouldn't stand a chance nor would a double wide.
Face it some weather it is best to get yourself as far away from the destruction zone as possible, save yourself and your loved ones get out of the way. Tornadoes are the worst they come at you so fast and there is so little warning, if your lucky you can get into a shelter if not hope your lucky.
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:36 PM   #16
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Hon, it don't matter what you are in if a F-5 hits it, it is gone unless it is a bomb shelter.
Same with a category five hurricane. Both tornadoes and hurricanes in that group can knock over railroad cars, block buildings, rip trees out of the ground snap telephone poles like twigs. One might survive an F-5 tornado if your in a well built storm shelter or just plane lucky. A regular stick built house wouldn't stand a chance nor would a double wide.
Face it some weather it is best to get yourself as far away from the destruction zone as possible, save yourself and your loved ones get out of the way. Tornadoes are the worst they come at you so fast and there is so little warning, if your lucky you can get into a shelter if not hope your lucky.
I'll never forget the "Palm Sunday Tornado" of '65 (Crystal Lake, IL): Newer houses were gone, the old old ones remained. It might have had something to do with location, but it didn't look that way to me.
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:51 PM   #17
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When I was a teenager I lived in one for 3 years in Miami and another for a year in Key West. My parents also later put one on a lot they owned in New Mexico and lived there full-time for 15 years. I really can't figure out why people are so against them. Maybe it's because they are cheap, and therefore sometimes attract the wrong element, but if you live in a well-run park, or put one on your own property there's no problem with that. The ones we had were solidly built. I can't remember my stepdad ever having to do any significant maintenance on any of them.

It's true that they won't hold up as well as a house in a bad hurricane, but there are plenty of places in Florida, away from the coasts, where your hurricane risk is pretty low. I'd rather live in a mobile home and have a small yard and four walls I can call my own, than live in a condo.
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Old 09-26-2007, 12:33 PM   #18
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I know a couple who have a grown daughter who is sort of incapable of supporting herself (low salary and depression). They bought her a mobile home and solved the problem of getting her out of the house. Over the years they moved her into three separate mobile homes until the father could no longer keep up with the maintenance. They then found an apt. for her. There is tremendous religious conflict in the family and I think it was a great solution, and no doubt, she is happier on her own. (Has this combined three recent threads?)
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:29 PM   #19
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Hi, good thread as many folks look at this option. We stay in central Florida Jan, Feb, and March in a rented home...We have looked long and hard at buying a double wide in a park...We researched all the models, looked in dozens of parks, mostly 55+ and still prefer to rent. Not because we are against it, just works out so much easier to rent for 3 months and not worry about the upkeep. If we were to stay 9-12 months in Florida, no question
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Old 09-26-2007, 03:21 PM   #20
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ted, what does it cost to rent for three months in winter?
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