Arm yourself with some great information about buying a mobile or manufactured home. Victor Vargo has some tips for buyers below.
Compare Manufactured Homes - A Guide to Buying Manufactured Homes
Manufactured homes have become a great choice for first-time homebuyers. With housing prices being what they are, first-time homebuyers may not be able to afford a traditional home of the same quality that they can get in a manufactured home.
While manufactured homes used to be a real step down in quality as recently as 10 or so years ago, today's manufactured homes offer a quality option at a more-than-quality price. Nowadays, you can purchase a quality one or two-story manufactured home, one with cathedral ceilings and fireplaces, that is indistinguishable from a site-built home, but at a fraction of the price.
Granted, the value of such a home depends on whether or not you put it on your own land or in a "trailer park". If you own the land and have your manufactured home placed on a foundation, it's treated like a site-built home, including tax benefits and appreciation.
On the other hand, should you place it in a mobile home park where you simply rent the lot, you will not get all the tax benefits of owning "real estate" and the value of your home depreciates just as if you had parked your car on that rented lot. In that case, getting the shortest mortgage term you can afford is in your best interest so that you do not end up owning something worth less than you owe on it.
Regardless of whether you own or rent the land, though, when deciding what you can afford, make sure you factor in your "land" costs. If you have to pay $150/month lot rental, include that in "what can I afford to pay each month". Do not forget to include taxes, utilities, and insurance either. You may have fallen in love with a great manufactured home, but if the monthly mortgage payments mean you cannot afford to put it anywhere or pay the utilities...well, you cannot afford the home.
Just as important, make sure you check out the features of the home you buy. More than a third of manufactured homebuyers report plumbing problems, so you want to make sure you get high-quality fixtures, even if it costs a little bit more. Check where the heating and cooling outlets are and get those appropriate for your area. Make sure that the window and flooring options are appropriate. Cheap in the short term can be very expensive in the long run.
You should also make sure the electrical system is what you need, not what they want to sell you. As in an on-site home, the more electrical outlets, the better, and make sure you get a service higher than 100 amps.
Consumer Reports has an online brochure that can help anyone considering buying a manufactured home on their website. If you want more information, you should check it out.