Just moved into an older mobile home

todd43162December 31, 2007

Hi everyone I am new to this forum. I could not find any forums hardly at all for mobile/manufactured homes. This looks like a good site so here it goes.

I am living in a park in a 1967 Vagabond mobile home. It was very inexpensive(only a couple thousand dollars) and I need to move because of financial problems stemming from an illness.

The mobile home is small-about ten feet by 52 feet with a pull out section for the living room that is about 7 feet wide and 13 feet long..so the whole thing is maybe a little over 600 square feet. It has a raised porch that is 7 by 13, a covered patio that is 7 by 26, and a storage shed maybe 6 by 5 attached to the covered patio.

It hss the original paneled walls(in good condition), new appliances, new carpeting, and is in good shape inside and out(I cleaned inside and out and painted most of the outside before I moved in). I also did some landscaping(taking alot of plants from my old house with me)..putting alot in containers or raised beds(so I can take them with me if I leave here).

The reason I am posting is because I have heard so many negative things about mobile homes-especially older smaller ones-and this is the oldest and smallest in the park I think. I am really surprised that I like it alot, and it feels like a real home to me. It is designed well, lots of storage(the second bedroom was converted into a small multipurpose room with xtra storage) and is easy to take care of.

The lot fee is only about 265 a month, the park is clean and well maintained, there is good parking(2 spots for me), I am on a corner so I have only one immediate neighbor to my east(road to the south and west, parking lot for the park office to the north. alot of trees and space around it too. Friendly people..mostly retired around me, a few working people..not very many kids.

I was wondering if anyone had any comments, advice, etc. about this place. It does seem to be a little hard to heat, but since it is so small I am paying WAY less than the house I had. The lot fee, taxes, utilities, etc. are all less than the mortgage(without taxes and insurance) alone was. The place is nice, I intend on finishing the painting and doing some more landscaping, etc. I really like it especially given what I would have expected from such a small older mobile home. Even the bathroom is better and better designed than the one in the house I had. I furnished the place with my own(rather good) furnishings and I think it is pretty great actually-seems like a cozy cabin or something. And I actually LIKE the wood paneling-wall coverings, window treatments, picstures and furniture cover much of it anyway.

I just wanted to post this and see if anyone had any comments, advice, experience etc. to share since I am new to mobile home living. Does anyone know anything about this type, style, or year of mobile home?

Would appreciate any comments. thanks.

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I can give you a little input on older mobiles. Even tho mine is a double wide, it is a 1980 home. Had a choice of a newer one or this one but loved the layout & wanted to do my own decor.
Some things to check out & maybe upgrade (I learned the hard way)..is to check your hot water heater. If it's the original-you may want to replace it with an energy saver one.
If you have a water meter or even if not-the old pipes under the mobile tend to leak...causing high water bills, dampness under the home, etc. Good habit to check underneath periodically for any problems.
Also-do your toilets have a shut off valve on them? If not-it would be wise to put them on!! Check for leaky pipes under your sinks, etc-they can so damage your flooring. If you feel any weak spots in your flooring-you really should pull up the existing covering & replace the underlayment. That flakeboard spreads dampness, rots and then weakens your floors.
As for windows..if you cannot afford to replace the aluminum windows (assuming they are aluminum)..check your yellow pages for mobile home supply stores. Lots of time they have 2nd hand items they pull out of mobiles that are being moved out of a park, etc. I bought a used screen door for my slider for $30! Or watch your newspaper under home building items..people who renovate often sell their used materials, doors, windows, etc.
Not sure what state you live in, but here in FL-it's almost necessary to get this film on our windows to reduce heat & glare in the summer-sure helps!
Keep your gutters & roof cleaned, often. Check for any leaks or water spots towards the ceilings of each room..
As long as you keep up the maintenance on the main fixtures in your little abode..it will serve you well & you sound like you're really loving where you're at, good for you!!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 1:33PM
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In my rural area, the commissioners are trying hard to get rid of mobile homes. I have told these id**ts that people will provide for themselves housing if they can afford to do so. If self-provided housing is eliminated, then public housing projects become necessary. They still don't get it!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 7:08PM
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Thanks for the info Sharon. I am ok with the windows and doors-they seem fine and in good shape. I moved my furniture in the day they put in the carpeting(they did that in the am, I moved in the pm) and the floors were ok. The water pipes seem ok..everything underneath checked out fine, heat tape, etc. all ok. There was one leak where the main roof joined the pullout section roof, I repaired the roof and the inside ceiling and it seems fine now. I definitely will get a turn off for the toilet-there is none now and you are right about needing one.

I cleaned the roof and gutters-must not have been done in years..they were full of soil that had formed and seedlings were starting! This will be an annual cleaning but not a problem..have a ladder and can climb it lol.

One thing I have noticed is that all of the wood products seem to be either plywood or actual wood-there does not seem to be any 'particle board' or any of those wood products in the place-I think it may be old enough to actually predate the particle board. I have checked nearly all of the woodwork all over the place and have found only plywood or actual wood(fortunately). The only thing I have done to any of the paneling or woodwork just involved cleaning it, or refinishing some of the cabinetry(below the kitchen sink and the bathroom vanity. It was solid wood with some plywood and it refinished just fine. Just matched up the stain and it looks fine.

The kitchen is small(the dining area and kitchen together are maybe 10 by 13) but well laid out, and the corners have two solid wood curio cabinets built in that are in perfect condition. I am surprised that there is no buckling, warping or anything like that-the main problem with the place was it needed a good cleaning and the outside original paint had weathered some and needed redoing. But besided those few cosmetic things(and the new carpet) it really is fine and I am impressed for it being 40 years old. Hopefully I will not be posting about any number of unexpected disasters! lol.

Also the (small but functional) main bedroom is in the very back. There was a second small bedroom between the living room and the back(with the bedroom and bathroom). They completely took out the wall of the middle bedroom and left it open..and this widened hallway/open area leading from the living room to the back is much better than the two foot wide hallway that would have been there otherwise. The middle bedroom is now just an open storage area with a built in dresser and closet on one side, and cabinetry above and a large counter area below on the other side-where I can work on my artwork and stuff.

I guess I am really pleased with it so far, and it will be cheap to live here and I can save money once I get back on my feet financially. As long as I am single I do not see why I would want to move anywhere else actually. Too bad there is such a stigma about any kind of modular, manufactured, or (worst of all!) mobile homes or older trailer. And this is a trailer really..it has the flat roof and everything. So it will never look like a conventional home-but that does not mean it has to look like crap either. With the right touches, landscaping, painting, etc. it is shaping up really nicely. Maybe I will post some pics of it once I am finished with the painting this Spring.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 9:22PM
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By 1967, most mobile homes were 12' wide, measured outside. That park rent is very high compared to locally. Rents here are from $75 up to about $185. At $75, one gets water and the use of a community trash dumpster, mowing is by the occupant. I have a 12' wide 1967 unit, very nice and comfortable. $250 per month with water/sewer, lawn care, trash pickup, furnished. Equipped with range, refrigerator, washer/dryer, AC, bed, table, couch. It is very difficult to find good tenants. I know of no decent dwelling available in this area for lower price. If a person believes that they can afford $375 per month, they will look for a place at that price rather than renting one for $250 and putting $125 into savings each month. I do not know how they expect to really get ahead financially.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 1:22PM
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bus driver the $265 includes water and sewer, and trash as well..plus they are very good at mowing, keeping the place plowed when it snows, landscaping, etc. This place came with AC, washer and dryer(I sold my other ones I had), new oven/range, new carpeting, new refridgerator and microwave.
I had a two story house with full basement and two car garage and TONS of furniture so I gave away or sold alot, and just kept the best stuff for here. It is ten degrees out right now...and the furnace is running non-stop..but I know the heating bill will be way less just because the place is so much smaller(about 1/3 the size of my former home) and that place was 90 years old and drafty as hell-so I am not too bothered by heating bills. The other place ..when averaged out..was about 130 bucks a month..everymonth..for gas. Way too high for me.

I intend on staying here quite a while-since I like it and it is so much cheaper..Once I get back on my feet I can probably start banking some money and building up savings. I really am liking this downsizing now(even though it was forced on me by financial realities), and am trying to be postive about it and make the best of it.

heck this place is much better than I thought it would be, and easier to take care of too. I have found out personally just how much some people 'look down' on mobile homes though..especially the older ones that look exactly like what they are-no matter how well kept they are. too bad about that. Cannot stand snobs, never could.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 12:59AM
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Hey Todd...10 degrees? Brrrrr!! I am on the Gulf coast of FL and it's even FREEZING COLD here tonight..it's 36 degrees right now!! What state do you live in?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 1:13AM
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Sharon I am in central Ohio..and it is 9 degrees right now! Yikes! And I found out part of the problem with the heat/lack thereof. I had neglected to fit a storm window properly(it was hidden behind a blind) and the awning window(kind of like a jalousie window, but only 3 sections, and they are fitted all around with metal and a rubber part so they seal well) was slightly open. duh! lol

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 6:58AM
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If you need double pane windows, check out Habitat for Humanity. We have a local HFH that has a thrift store that sells second hand items and has a large selection of windows, doors, paint and who knows what else. Apparently they have these "Restores" as they call them all over the country. Have you looked into on demand water heaters (tankless)? Worth the price. My neighbor put one in and cut his electric bill by $100 a month, but then he has 6 or 7 people living there. Also you might want to have an electrician check out the breaker box. As far as your space rent, it sounds like you are at the lower end of the national scale. Around here in Modesto California, a big Corp. took over several parks and raised the rents to over $700.00 a month and many older fixed income people were forced to leave their own homes. Maybe you should join a watchdog group to keep an eye on this situation. I am lucky to have my own land, but many older people are at the mercy of the park owners. For more on this, check out www.modbee.com our local newspaper. Best wishes!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:26AM
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^^ I had been looking around online and had stumbled across that stuff in Modesto here:

That is outrageous. But having looked around online it appears that those prices are almost the norm for California. I would not have thought so for an area like Modesto though. I hope nothing like that happens here. The place is far enough out that it is not being encroached on by development and it seems to have a very stable history. At least I am only 44 and not on a fixed income and once I get back on my feet I at least have a choice of staying or leaving. Sickening how that company/corporation buying up all of those MHparks seems to prey on the elderly-knowing they have no choice. For now I am just going to appreciate how this place is clean, safe, cheap, and easy to take care of. Oh..and 'Paid for' is a nice thing to appreciate to. :)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 9:01AM
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Well I was incorrect earlier. My mobile home is a 1963 Vagabond 54SKDX. It is four years older than I thought..which makes it a year older than I am! yikes! Which makes me even more impressed about how well it has weathered the years.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 3:06PM
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I think you're right, in something that old there probably isn't any particle board. From my experience the most expensive thing you can deal with is having to replace the roof..possibly using a "roof over". The metal roofs will last almost indefinitely if they are kept coated. I would recommend that the roof be coated no less than every 2 years.
If water does get in it normally rots the wooden supports and the roof will sag. Then the only reasonable repair is a roof over....this will set you back a minimum of around $2,000...far more expensive than anything else you could have to deal with in the home.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 9:22AM
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