One of the biggest shocks I saw was the enormous cost a mobile home can be. We are talking upwards of $300k, these mobile homes can get very fancy, similar to a high end luxury home. While that may work for some, it doesn't seem like the smartest option unless you have a lot of cash or it's a retirement dream and you sell your home. Plus, you can actually get these pennies on the dollar and and remodel to a luxury look for way less.
It will help if you're handy, but you do not always need to be. One thing is, for RV's get a mechanic friend or hire one to check the motor. For fixed mobiles, make sure you don't buy ones with a damaged frame, mold, and water damage. Stick with same rules you would check for a normal home. Most of these methods will work for mobile home RV's or fixed mobile homes. But some are focused on RV's alone. On to the subject!
How to Find Cheap Mobile Homes
1. The Traditional Smart Shopper - The most obvious, yet plain method we should cover first is just being a smart and patient shopper. Keep your eye on Craigslist, Auto Trader for Mobile Homes, google search used trailers and much more. You would want to cut out a dealer and do for sale by owner only. Be patient and low ball, there are many people who are sick and tired of storing it at $200+ a month. Some just want it off their hands and the plans for that cross country trip just aren't going to happen. You may get a ton of "no!" but you will get that one "yes" and have a great story to tell later. We are talking 50% to 60% off retail value at times. It may take months and lots of driving but some people don't need the money and are really tired of having it. Fixed mobile homes this method can work, but often a seller will use an agent.
2. Mobile Home Manager - For RV's visit a couple storage places near you, it is best to go in person for this. Some of these places may have for sale bulletin boards, or maybe the manager had some small talk with an owner interested in selling. Tell the manager you are a buyer or at least interested in purchasing one. Be very clear you aren't offering full price, but you are willing to take it off someones hands. A lot of the times there will be trailers that are unpaid for months and may end up in auction. Even ones with flat tires and an owner that doesn't know what to do. You can ask the manager if by chance this owner would sell his. Some people have even gotten airstreams this way for almost nothing at all.
3. Liquidations - There are people or companies who do very large purchase deals. Typically they focus on mobile home tax sales which we cover later. Overall, they can buy 30-40 of these in one day, usually fixed mobile homes. They buy them for almost nothing, just by paying of debt. Some of these may be abandoned or you might have to evict. It is not as hard as you think to find one of these guys. If you are good with google you should be able to land a good liquidators email within a few days. They prefer to sell these very fast, so the price is often way below value.
4. Land Buyers - Many land buyers who you can find all over the various land selling websites. Will at one point buy land with a trailer on it. These are people who are moving on, want to sell their land and have no place to take or store the trailer. It happens to just about every land buyer at one point. But all they are interested in is the land, plus they are probably in some other state. So, they give the RV away for free just to get it off their land. Often not knowing the condition of it, although it will most likely be a fixer upper. Some land buyers have clear rights to the trailer while others might require a legal process.
5. Tax Sales - Tax sales require some knowledge to navigate, so please don't just google tax sales and bid right away. It's probably best to buy a class online and get the basics down. Overall, they have actual exclusive mobile home tax sales at times. It is very important to pick the right state for this and know the rules of that state. In the right tax sale you should be able to get clear rights of ownership just by paying off the unpaid debt to the county. Also, at times you can land a very good quality mobile homes for almost nothing. But know what you are doing before starting this process, some of these have liens you will not be happy with. A lot of these are fixed mobile homes, auctions for RV's do happen but it will probably not be county ran.
6. Owner finance - This method will allow you to get a good mobile home but make low payments. So essentially you make payments of $200 or more and you have a home to live in. While this method can be pricier, it gets started with a mobile home for almost nothing. If you own some land outright, you can start living for $200 a month. A dealer can work as well, but often times you can get a better deal from owner financing. Make sure if you remodel anything you have good contracts and keep up on payments. The reason we opted out of bank loans is because you can often owner finance for less if you find the right seller. Some will take zero to little down, but also be careful fixing it up. If there is any strange balloons or things in the contract. You may be evicted for payment issues and not compensated for the upgrades.
Understand that most of the time you may need to fix up the trailer or fixed mobile a bit. Minor things like outdated appliances, furniture, floors are easy to fix. But things like the motor, hydraulics and overall body of it, you should try to make sure are in great shape. Restoring or remodeling mobile homes and RV's is not only exciting, but also creative. Some people make a living doing this, buying on the cheap and making the inside attractive. You can even flip these. It's a good way to get started in flipping homes for much less. Then move up to fixed homes for more profit when you know the process well.