Living in MH while building

kats_meowApril 28, 2006

We have recently bought 3 acres of unrestricted land. Once we sell our existing house, we will build a new house. The issue is where to live in the meantime. We can rent a 4 bedroom house in the area for $2000 to $3000 a month and will likely have to sign a 1 year lease to get the lower amount.

We are considering buying a used doublewide and putting it on our land while we build our house. The advantages we see:

1. Cost -- I looked at some listings and found used manufactured homes in the $25,000 range. We would pay cash so it would be fairly much equal to paying rent for a year. Once our house was built we would try to sell it but even if we couldn't we would not be out that much more than renting.

2. We would be on our land and could oversee the construction much better than if we were renting elsewhere...even somewhere close. This is a huge advantage to us.

3. We have pets that we could have with us if we bought the doublewide. This might be more difficult if we were renting.

So...what negatives to this idea am I missing? I can think of a few...

1. Cost to move and set up the home would certainly be a few thousand I would guess.

2. To a certain extent I don't care if the doublewide has long lasting quality. It is truly disposable housing for us. But, it would need to be clean and safe to live in for a year. Can that be gotten for the price range we are talking about?

3. The timing may be difficult. We don't yet have septic or well on the property. We can't put it on now because (1) we don't have the cash and (2) if we do work on the property now and then sell our existing house quickly...doing the work could cause a daily in getting a construction loan (as bank won't give us money until time for some to file any lien has passed). So the plan would be to sell our existing house the meantime working on designing plans for the house we will bid. Once the house is sold, immediately apply for construction loan, then get the septic and well put in. The problem is that while that is happening we can't live on the property so we have to stay in a hotel or something. If we could do this (get the septic permit, and put in septic and well) within one month then that would be OK. But, if that took 2 or 3 months then maybe we are better off just renting a house instead....

Any thoughts?

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One thing to consider is that most mortgage companies will not let you close on the permanent loan if a Mobile Home is on the property. The reason given is that during a forclosure they will have to evict the person in the Mobile Home and dispose of it. The only way around it is to move the MH before the closing inspection or divide the land.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 5:03PM
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Hmm..that is interesting. I can understand that if you are renting out the mobile home. Not sure I understand it, if you are the only one's living on the property. How is that different from having, say, a garage apartment or a guest house?

Well, I guess I'll have to check into it. I guess we could get rid of the mobile home before closing on the mortgage...worse comes to worse we could just haul it off and throw it away....

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 12:52AM
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When the house is set, it's still going to have to pass code for driveway, sewer and water. The sewer and water will have to be used for the new house, so the location of the DW will have to be near the new house location. Will this cause a problem? Or, do you plan to throw away the well and septic, too? If that's the case, renting @ 2k per month will be far less money and headache.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 7:50AM
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I did this once in the 1980s. Even in a town with tight zoning and strict enforcement of buiding codes, they had no problem with granting the varience I needed to set the mobile home closer to the road then the setbacks allowed. The connection to the septic tank would never have met code for a permanent installation. (Too steep and above grade.)

I had to get the building permit for the permanent house first and promise them the mobile home would be removed within a year. They told me that if steady progrss was being made on the house, they would be happy to grant an extension of the 1 year limit. When the project was finished, I sold the mobile home for a bit more than I paid for it.

As an aside, a co-worker was moving to California at the time and needed a place to park some of his modest automobile collection until he settled in. I promised him that I would dutifully start and drive his mostly restored 1960 Bentley on a regular basis. The folks in the neighborhood who initially thought "trailer trash" when they saw the used mobile home being towed in were at a loss for words when I pulled the Bentley into the drive.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 3:28PM
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Bungeeii...I guess I'm not really understanding the problem you are raising. Yes, the septic will need a permit (actually it will likely be an aerobic treatment unit). We would plan to place it and the well in a location that would work for both the house and the mobile home. There is really no code for the driveway (this is an unincorporated area where there are very few regulations). The driveway will be a gravel circular driveway anyway.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 1:00AM
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Kats - Mobile will work I'm sure but lots of issues and expense. Have you considered building a permanent outbuilding like a detached garage that could be your residence until the house is done? That way no expense to move in then out the DW, all the plumbing etc could be set up from the get-go as permanent. I would think for 25K you could build a pretty nice garage. Just a thought. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 3:10AM
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Just make sure you consider the particulars of having both a temporary dwelling and future home flowing into a tank and field. Same applies for the well. Consider the power source now and in the future for the well pump. Speaking of which, where is the meter panel going to be? Is the power company going to come out and relocate for you later? Is that free?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 2:58PM
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When I did this, my electrician friend put up a short temporary pole with a meter on it. We wired the mobile home into that meter and when the electrical inspector gave his approval, the utility company ran the wire from their pole.

I had a makeshift series of 4" PVC above ground and covered with hay snaking down to the septic tank. I was able to reuse all the pipe later. The well was connected to the mob through a length of plastic pipe that was just left in the ground when the house was completed. The expenses for all these temporary hookups were minimal, especially when weighed against the fact that I was able to live on-site while I built the house.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 1:29PM
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Goodness, if you can afford to buy a doublewide just to discard later, take that money and build a barn or a garage with an apartment built in over it. That way you aren't out $25,000.
you will still have the barn after the house is finished and you can either rent out the apartment or use it as an office/studio.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 2:31PM
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>Goodness, if you can afford to buy a doublewide just to discard later, take that money and build a barn or a garage with an apartment built in over it. That way you aren't out $25,000.
you will still have the barn after the house is finished and you can either rent out the apartment or use it as an office/studio.

That assumes that a second permanent residence is permitted on the property under zoning regulations. Or that one wishes to be a landlord. (No thanks!) A mobile home while building is not considered permanent.

It is unlikey that the mobile home would have to be discarded. I had no trouble selling mine when my house was completed. There were a lot of serious inquiries. The buyer was someone who was planning to do the exact same thing did. (I even made a couple of bucks on the deal, making living there a profitable endeavor.)


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 5:46PM
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Reading on another forum about theft/vandalism on a new house just two weeks before completion. Living in the mobile unit on the premises should greatly reduce the incidence of vandalism. And if one is doing some of the work on the new house themselves, lots of extra work sessons of 30 minutes or so can be accomplished by living so closely.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 7:18AM
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Alt: Motorhome + storage shed.

Alt: Traveltrailer + storage shed.

Both are relatively easy to Move & Set up (contect to temporary utilities) and easy to Sell. The storage shed could be sold or repurposed in the form of a gardening shed, large dog house or kids playhouse, ect...

I've had many clients do this while the main house is being built when I worked in WA. Here in UT folks don't seem to do it - although it's perfectly legal in even our larger incorporated cities as temp housing but you do need to post a (removal) bond.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 1:38PM
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