I’m buying property with a mobile home, should it be inspected?
An informed buyer is an educated homeowner. Permanent built homes have similar and different features from mobile homes, also called manufactured homes. Therefore, the process to inspect a mobile home is different from standard homes. Mobile homes are built differently than standard slab or graded foundation homes. Specific details must be inspected and addressed not reviewed in standard homes. For example, here is a brief list of features that separate them and why a different home inspection is required. The walls and ceilings, plumbing, electrical, and required foundation are different.
How are these features different from standard homes?
Walls and ceilings are manufactured thinner and must meet a different level of inspection and contain less insulation than that required in standard homes. Ceilings and walls not insulated properly result in excessive use of your water heater and or air conditioner, resulting in higher electric expense.
Winds are a big issue with mobile homes than traditional homes. Wind can cause damage to a mobile home easier than a standard home because the foundation is not as secure. Mobile homes are strapped to the ground to resist wind damage. Florida has segmented wind zones, the strongest being level 3 and covers most of South Florida. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) utilizes special wind zones to establish the severity of high winds in the area that could affect the stability and integrity of a manufactured mobile home.
Structure is entirely different. A traditional home may or may not have a crawlspace and built upon a concrete slab or cement block footers, whereas, mobile homes mobile homes rest on metal legs that over time can rust. Other problems such as shifting, coming loose from the home’s main support beams, and weak piers occur over time. A traditional home structure made of concrete of course, will not rust like that of a mobile home frame.
Electrical features are different. Mobile homes have aluminum wiring, whereas, a traditional home uses copper based wire. If it is aluminum, then the wiring needs to be inspected and maintained. Duct under the mobile home tends to be more compromised than in a traditional home.
Plumbing lines are PVC or CPVC plastic piping. The water lines and connections over time are more vulnerable to repair start small leaks that result in expensive repairs due to uninsulated exposure beneath the mobile home. Repairs to pipes in a traditional home can also cause damage. Plumbing in a traditional home is fitted together differently, usually made with copper, and insulated. Therefore, such issues tend not to occur as often as in a manufactured home.