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Country Discussion Topics
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Modular home in the country
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Mary Lee    Posted 05-28-2004 at 23:02:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi, My husband and I have been looking for a home in the country(here in Pa.) and found a modular that is on a steel foundation, is this good? What kind of things should we ask about it and look for? The owner said he bought it in 1975. It looks in pretty good condition. We know nothing about a modular. Thanks....I just found this site.
Mary Lee

Mike in tn    Posted 05-30-2004 at 18:21:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
If it has a steel frame it is a trailer. If you buy it be sure that you get the title. Trailers have titles just like autos.

Hal/WA    Posted 05-29-2004 at 23:14:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
My understanding is that a modular home is a house built in sections in a factory and then carried on trailers to the final location where the sections are connected as they are set on some kind of foundation, with no provision to move it again. A mobile home is built on a steel frame with axles, wheels and tires and is designed to be set on blocks or some kind of foundation under the frame. Unless the axles have been removed from a mobile home, it usually is relatively easy to get them moved.

A modular home is usually on a conventional foundation and should be built to the same standards as a site built house.

So I wonder if the house you are looking at is actually a double-wide mobile home, rather than a true modular home, considering the metal "foundation". If so, I would be very wary. The standards that the industry had in the 70's were very low for mobile homes and they tended to deteriorate badly over time. I lived in one for a long time and found that I almost had to pay someone to haul it away to get rid of it after I built my new house. It ended up being worth almost nothing.

The mobile home cost a lot to heat until I added a wood stove, suggesting lousy insulation. I had lots of problems with water leaks and found that the floor decking was particle board, which kind of dissolved in a few places. I had to put Snow Seal on the roof every other year, or else I had ceiling leaks which discolored the ceiling board. I never could keep the mice out--there were just too many places for them to get in, but found that if I let cats live in the crawl space, I seldom caught a mouse inside. But I always had traps set. The windows in my mobile home were of poor quality and had to be weatherstripped to keep out the wind.

On the other hand, the mobile home didn't cost much to begin with (2 years old when I got it) and got me through a time when I didn't earn much money and was raising a young family. It was cheap living when I needed it to be.

But my experience with old mobile homes has been that they were pretty junky. And unlike most houses, they depreciate badly and might be a very poor financial investment. But a 1975 model should be about as low valued as one would ever get, assuming it is in fact a mobile home.

I would have a professional home inspection done. And I would make sure that the home inspector has experience with mobile homes. I would also do some research as to what such a mobile home is worth in your area. If the home is in good shape, the price might be very good or might be much more than it is worth.

Mobile homes can work out very well for people or can be a nightmare requiring constant attention. Find out how long it has been in the present location and learn more about the "foundation". It might be fine for you, just make sure you don't pay too much for it. Good luck!

Ron/PA    Posted 05-29-2004 at 04:00:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Good morning Mary Lee. The only thought I would have is to the wiring. Somewhere around the early '70's there was a problem with aluminum wiring. If the rest of it suits you then I'd pull the cover off of the breaker box and look for copper wires.
As to the idea of a modular, I wouldn't hesitate to buy, own, or live in one. Of course we put in a trailer here on the farm, so mebbe I'm not too picky (LOL)
While dealing with the new Uniform Construction Code about to be initiated here in PA. I found it interesting that the modulars are exempt from onsite inspection due to the heavy inspection process done at the construction site.
Welcome to rural PA. hope you find what suits you.

Mary Lee    Posted 05-29-2004 at 23:12:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank You Ron! You have helped me. This is a great site. I will have to hang around a bit.

Grove r    Posted 05-29-2004 at 03:21:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
The modular I live in is super, 'course, I guess even these can be built poorly depending on where ....'though I think the codes for these are probably as good as, if not better than stick built homes, insitu,...have lived in mine for twenty plus years, on a wood foundation, which some will say is no good, the steel that you mention, should be a plus....modulars and trailers are no relation....hope this helps, a little....R.E.L.

Mary Lee    Posted 05-29-2004 at 23:14:27       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank You for your input, I appreciate it. We will be checking out the place again tomorrow.

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