So, you’ve decided you’d like to buy a manufactured or modular home, or perhaps you are considering retiring to a manufactured home community in warmer climates. This list of 10 easy steps should serve as an outline for this process and guide you through your journey.
1. Amenities. Whether you are looking at homes in mobile home parks or at manufactured and modular home dealers, make a list of ‘must haves’, ‘would like to haves’, and ‘can live with outs’. This will help prioritize what is important and either rule in or out a home model or a manufactured home community. This list may include things like a porch, mud room, or pitched roof for homes; or age restricted, family oriented, or proximity to work, school, the beach, etc. for communities as well as community amenities like playgrounds, swimming pool, etc.
2. Research the product. You are looking for a home that you will be living in for years to come, be sure you are happy with it. Using your list of amenities, research the manufacturers and models available, or manufactured home communities that are out there. Be sure to read reviews and evaluations from current and past owners, check the Better Business Bureau and other online resources to see if there have been any complaints filed against the manufacturer or community owner. Also, a good manufactured home dealer or community should have a website that gives you in-depth information about their organization.
3. Location. After you research the manufactured homes and modular homes that are out there, move on to the next phase of finding out where that home or community is available. Make a list of the availability, starting with the closest, it will help in the next phase of research.
4. Get your credit score. At this point you need to get your finances in order, and see what you will need in the way of loans. Manufactured home dealers and communities typically have resources for getting the pre-approval process started. It is a great courtesy to the sales person to know what your price range is before you shop through homes.
5. Zoning/CCR issues. For example, if you intend to add a garage or a storage shed, will this be allowed? Many manufactured home dealers are also builders or can work with builders to add amenities to your home.
6. Research the dealers or communities. Look for customer testimonials, check their website, and again check the Better Business Bureau and other online resources to see if there have been any complaints filed and remember a good manufactured home dealer or community should have a website that gives you in-depth information about their organization. Also, meet a manager. Sales persons will not be your contact after the purchase. Management provides services beyond the home sale. They are your best resource to learn about a manufactured home community because they work with the residents on a daily basis.
7. Visit the location. After you’ve done the initial research and made the list of potential dealers or communities, get out and take a drive. Visit the locations anonymously. Get a feel for the business, see how helpful the staff is, what the community looks like, etc. Take notes. At this point, tell them you are just browsing and avoid the hard-sell. Do this for all of the potential business that can cater to your business and compile your notes.
8. Lot Rent / HOA or other dues/fees. If you are purchasing a home in a land-lease community, be sure you are aware of what the lot rent fee is, as well as any Home Owner’s Association fees and what is included in them, for example, water, garbage, pet fees, etc.
9. Find a financial institution. Once you’ve decided what you need for financing, make a list of institutions that can help, and be sure that the dealers or communities on your short list are able to work with that institution. If it is difficult to get this done, don’t fear! Many manufactured and modular home dealers and communities have in-house financing or relationships established with other financing sources. You need to be honest with yourself, and find the best solution for you.
10. Insurance rates/availability. Be sure to have your insurance in place before the home is delivered, or you take ownership.
With a background in print advertising and marketing, Derrick Hachey now has over 10 years experience assisting clients in increasing brand and product awareness. He is currently a member of the ManufacturedHomeSource.com team which was formed in 2003 by experts in Internet Marketing who share the common goal of harnessing the power of the Internet to more efficiently connect potential home-buyers with dealers and communities in the factor-built housing industry across the country. Focused solely on Internet Marketing and how it can benefit the Manufactured Housing Industry for the past 3 years, Derrick has a keen insight into the strategic importance of the Internet as an essential sales and marketing tool.
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