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Finding Affordable Housing in an Expensive Place

Right now, the housing costs in Southwest Florida are sky-high. People from all incomes are thinking about fleeing to places with lower housing costs. But, in reality, the whole country is in the midst of a housing crisis. No matter where you live, it could be a challenge to find affordable housing. Fortunately, there's one simple option for housing that won't break the bank.

Manufactured Homes as a Solution

What's the solution to the housing issue in Southwest Florida and other areas of the country? Manufactured housing. And while most people are aware that mobile homes are an option, they dismiss it. They buy into the many misconceptions about mobile homes and parks.

In reality, living in a manufactured home community could be perfect for you. The cost of living tends to be much lower than it is for a rental or a single-family home mortgage. Consider this example:

You buy a 2-bedroom manufactured home for $3,000 down. Every month, you pay $600 towards a $30,000 home loan. On top of that, you pay $700 in lot rent. In total, you have $1300 in monthly costs. If you were renting a single-family home, you would be paying $2,000 or more and you wouldn't own the home. If you bought a traditional home, you might have a $2500 monthly mortgage. You also have all the expenses that come with maintaining a property.

Misconceptions About Mobile Homes

Because there is so much misinformation on mobile home parks, people don't consider it as a housing option. But living in a community isn't what you think. Here are some of the most common lies about living in communities.

Mobile Home Parks are Unattractive

When people think of mobile home parks, they often imagine rundown trailers and junk yards. While some parks aren't well-kept, many communities are beautiful. The community manager handles all the maintenance and makes sure everything looks great. Oftentimes, communities are nicer than traditional residential neighborhoods.

Mobile Home Parks are Unsafe

This is another lie. Although some parks are in rough areas, a majority of communities are very safe. In fact, some communities have gates and strict security policies. The park might have a security officer patrolling, or they could work with the local police to keep the streets safe.

With that said, you should research a community before you move in. Get to know the community managers and drive around the area at night. Additionally, consider the establishments next to the community. Are the shops and buildings nice, or run down?

The Homes Depreciate

When people buy a car, they know that the vehicle will never be worth as much as it is the day they buy it. People mistakenly think that this is true when you buy a mobile home. Although the homes aren’t structured the same as stick-built homes, they are still well-built and made to last. In fact, some of the homes built in the 70s and 80s are nicer than stick-built homes of the same age.

In mobile homes, there’s some more wear and tear than you might see in a traditional home. However, these issues are minor and you can repair them. If you maintain your home well, it could increase in value over time. This is particularly true for people who buy homes in areas that experience a boom in real estate. What was once a $10,000 manufactured home in a Tampa community 10 years ago could be worth $35,000 today.

You Can’t Finance or Insure Them

Another major misconception about manufactured homes is that you can’t get financing or insurance for them. Once again, this is a myth. There are financing and insurance options for this type of housing. However, you work with different companies than you would use for a traditional home.

If you shop around, you can find a lender that offers anywhere from 10% down on homes of any age. Typically, you need to find a home $15,000 or higher to be able to finance it. As far as insurance goes, you need to look around for the right company. You can work with a mobile home insurance broker to simplify the process, or you can do the research yourself.

Lot Fees are a Waste of Money

People often balk at the thought of paying lot rent every month. But when you think about the expenses of traditional home ownership, you might see the value in paying lot rent. Typically, lot rent includes community maintenance. It may even include lawn care and garbage.

When you live in a single-family home, you have high monthly maintenance costs. You need to either pay for landscaping or buy the equipment to do it yourself. Then, you have high insurance costs and external maintenance. Overall, lot fees can save you money and make your life easier.

Using Mobile Homes as a Stepping Stone

Your dream home might not be a manufactured home in a community. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from buying a home. Rather than spend thousands of dollars renting a home you’ll never own, you can buy a mobile home outright. You won’t get back the lot rent, but you will build up your credit and get equity in your home.

After a few years, you can start looking for a different home. Before that, you can work on boosting your credit and adding value to your home. When you’re ready to move on, you may be able to make money on the sale of your home. You can use the money you get for the mobile home as a large down payment on your first stick-built home.

Ultimately, manufactured housing is a gateway to single-family home ownership. In a time when affordable housing seems nonexistent, mobile homes give you hope for a brighter future. So, put your moving plans on hold and check out some of the communities near you. If you need help finding a place, click here and we can assist you.

Written by Danielle Hicks, owner of

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