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Thread: Purchasing Mobile Home as vacation property

  1. #1
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Purchasing Mobile Home as vacation property

    I have an opportunity to purchase a mobile home and land. The plan would be to use it as a weekend getaway type place for my wife and I. Bonfires, ride four-wheelers, cut brush, etc. I know some people have mobile homes as lake properties but I think I want it but am seeking some objective input.

    The mobile home is from 1992 and in very good shape. 2.5 acres, the home, and a decent wood garage for asking price of 20,000. I won't go that high but what is a reasonable price? It's in a small town about 20 miles away from me so it's close but far away enough to feel like a break.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    $20,000? You cannot even buy a parking space here for that!!! buy buy buy buy!!!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    location location location my friend
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Older mobiles aren't really worth much. A friend of mine had one in decent shape and he just gave it away (as in come take it off the property and its yours). BUT- I wouldn't have a problem living in one. They can be pretty nice. I would think the appropriate price would be pretty much dependent on the land. That's all local
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Have patience and do your homework

    I would first look at comparable property in the area with and without structures to figure out if the price is fair (though it sounds like a good deal). I also would caution against rushing into any second home purchases as it could become an albatross later if you can't unload it. Take some time to think it through. If the seller is too anxious to move it, there is probably a reason. And consider other associated costs - HOA fees?, road maintenance? utilities? and so on. Just so you really know what you will be forking over each year.

    You should also get an inspector to come look at the structure. Its not a lot of money to do so and even if you buy it as is, at least you know about any pending issues.

    Lastly (or maybe first) I would recommend looking at a few web sites about buying rural/vacation land. Maybe even visit some other comparable properties for sale to get an idea of the market. There is a lot to think about and it might be beneficial to make a list of desirable things you would ideally want in a vacation property: views, bodies of water (and potable water), proximity to home (sounds like that's a thumbs up for you), and so on. There are some excellent web sites out there with really sound recommendations (I googled "buying rural land" and learned a ton)

    We have been considering buying land (with or without structures) now for about a year and visited several properties. Out where we are, water access is huge. We almost bought the first place we looked at, but after a second visit, I noted a lot of forest health issues on that and surrounding properties as well as some other factors that gave me pause. I am so glad we stepped back and didn't bid on it. We did end up bidding on another amazing place, but couldn't compete with the other offers. I have learned a ton about both buying rural land and what it is I personally want in such a place. Its been an educational process for sure.

    I am not a big fan of mobile homes, but if the right place came along, I would consider it. It can always be a temporary place to live while you build something you really want (and then you can sell it!). And, really, once you get used to them, they are not all that bad (my wife's aunt and uncle live in one and I am always surprised by how not-awful it is. And its a lot older than 1992!)

    God luck. It does sound like fun!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    impulsive

    I'm impulsive, but for 20,000 if you're sure you'd enjoy it as a getaway just do it. If I had a shot at a trailer where I love to go I'd spend it (if I had it, which I don't). FWIW.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    As a cabin owner I don't think I would do this again. Chances are you are buying this at a market rate. When you consider how much you will pay in taxes, insurance and maintenance it may not be worth it. I know I spend thousands a year on this property between the roof furnace and septic, but I really don't use it much. I could have stayed in hotels, had more flexibility in location, and still saved money.

    Then again I do really like the place. The cabin is about 700 square feet and is done in a Frank Loyd Wright style with an big overhang firbird flared roof, and a knotty pine interior with cathedral knotty pine ceilings and a big fireplace. Big picture windows overlook the Huron National Forest.

    I hate my cabin, but love it too.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  8. #8
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    We have a family cabin in the woods near a lake that is a second home that is an investment so I understand the situations with a second home.

    This would be just for a night or two every month to get away. With it being a mobile home there is no investment side other than the land so I'm not looking to make money on it. At first I just wanted the land but the more I think about the mobile home the more it attracts me because without I can't stay the night at the property.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    The asking price isn't unreasonable, but like others have said here, you need to consider all the costs. Things fall apart quickly if you're not there a lot.

    I have a country house on a little over 5.5 acres of partially wooded land about an hour from the main domicile. I'm there almost every weekend and I have not had to invest too much in the house until this year when I had to replace the furnace and a/c but there are lots of other expenses including insurance, travel, clearing brush and fallen trees, mowing fields and lawn, heating, cooling, water, etc. I already had a pretty large tool collection but you'll inevitably start acquiring duplicates. While my property isn't really large, I still ended up buying a tractor with bush-hog mower and front-end loader to make the work possible. That's a fairly large chunk of change.

    One other concern about your possible purchase. 2.5 acres isn't very much for the 4-wheeler. BTW, do you already have a 4-wheeler? That's another expense. Unless you've got access to other property, you're going to feel hemmed in pretty quickly.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  10. #10
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Older mobiles aren't really worth much. A friend of mine had one in decent shape and he just gave it away (as in come take it off the property and its yours). BUT- I wouldn't have a problem living in one. They can be pretty nice. I would think the appropriate price would be pretty much dependent on the land. That's all local
    Very true. My aunt and uncle have one in a vacation community at the tip of the Thumb in Michigan, it's from the early 1990s or late 1980s and they need to either remove it from the property or sell it and let somebody else deal with it because the community is phasing out their mobile homes and going to all travel trailer lots. They have a few years to get rid of it or remove it and discovered that the trailer by itself is virtually worthless and it's in immaculate shape.

    Instead of spending ~$20k on a mobile home and a few acres that is not going to be an investment, how about an RV or 5th-wheel travel trailer (if you have a capable truck)? There are no property taxes or land maintenance issues and it allows you to take it anywhere in the country so it works for a vacation of just a few days or a few weeks. Plus, as long as it has a kitchen and bathroom, you may actually qualify for a deduction on your income taxes for the interest on the loan (if you take one out to purchase it) depending on your situation.

    Depending on the location of the 2.5 acres you are looking at, I would get bored going to the same place time after time for vacations (of course, if it's right near a large national park or something, that would be a different story).
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  11. #11
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    What is the land worth without the mobile home? 10k an acre or less seems like a pretty good deal to me. Farmers around here buy for around 8-9k and normal folk buy for much higher in the 15-20k range / acre.

    If the home is nice, it seems like a good deal. As long as you can sell the land in the future, with or without the home, I think you are looking good.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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