By Holly Glen Gearhart, Contributing Writer,
Looking for a housing bargain? Look no further than the growing market of used mobile homes for sale.
There is a growing trend among the 55+ crowd who are ‘downsizing’ from homes in which they raised their family to homes more affordable and manageable in retirement.
Saving money on your dwelling no longer means sacrificing living well, living beautifully, living green or living in one place.
Empty nesters are abandoning traditional brick and mortar or ‘stick built’ homes for the plethora of 55+ mobile home communities across the USA. What they are finding is a market of older mobile homes that, with a little elbow grease, can become their castle.
The 21st century mobile home park has evolved from its past reputation of seedy living and offers a great bargain if you are willing to get your hands dirty or have the means to hire younger backs to do the labor.
Because of their affordability, the market for used mobile homes in 55+ communities is hot. Some homes sell for as little as $2,000.
Keep in mind that a remodel or refit is ripe for a little experimentation. Go green; go stylish; go recycled building materials for that hip eclectic look. It is your palace, so make it your own.
Because of their modular construction, refitting these structures is relatively simple. Don’t like the kitchen? Rip out the cabinets, old flooring, stove and fridge. Replace them with free-cycled ‘finds’ or splurge on purchases from home stores. Do-it-yourself (DIY) kits for cabinets, flooring and lighting abound…and most manufactured homes are manufactured to save money while retaining style; look for the Energy Star rating.
A 600-square foot mobile home my seem a bit dinky, but as any Ikea shopper knows, small spaces can have panache.
Replace outdated flooring with bamboo, laminate or eco-carpeting; replace dated kitchen cabinets; update the bathroom(s). Master bedrooms can serve as master suites if you are open to knocking out a wall to expand the room—make two bedrooms into one huge room, or dress up the existing master bedroom and use the second bedroom for an office or study.
Prices are low and the availability high, which gives seniors an affordable way to stay close to services.
Where else are you going to live on a reduced income while staying close enough to the urban core to enjoy the culture of a big city? Mobile home lots rent for as little as $400 month and include amenities such as controlled entry gates, fitness centers and swimming pools.
Lot sizes vary but most are large enough to have a garage, shed and garden – it depends on where you buy. Access to the big city is the price-point, the closer to ‘town,’ the more expensive the lot and park’s amenities.
Who lives at 55+ mobile home parks?
Single households, two-person households and often households in which a child has returned to live with one or both parents. Residency is restricted; you or at least one member of you household must be over the age of 55 – that is written in stone. If you aren’t ready for assisted living or a nursing home this might be a good choice – senior services such as vans trips to events, doctor appointments even to the grocery store are available at some parks.
An added benefit of living in a senior mobile home park is community.
I’ve written extensively about the dangers of isolation on mental, emotional and physical health. Over 55 communities are aware of these dangers and structure the activities of their communities, addressing isolation with classes and dinners so people can meet; though no one will invade your privacy if that is your preference.
And since mobile homes are so inexpensive, you might consider buying more than one.
Set up a home for summer and another for winter in a warmer climate and become a “snow bird.”
When the leaves turn, pack up your car, lockup your local home and enjoy the national parks you pass through on the way to your home in the Carolinas or on the Gulf Coast.
Steps to take to find the perfect mobile home:
Find a place to live. There are several choices; buy a home in an existing park and pay a low monthly lot fee that includes security, community events and more. Or buy a mobile home and land package from a mobile home dealer. Another alternative is to buy property and move a used or new home on to it.
To keep your eye out for used mobile homes for sale, search the Internet for used mobile homes or 55+ mobile home parks, or talk to a real estate agent and let them do the legwork for you.
Once you’ve found your spot of ground and a home to put upon it, start feathering your new nest with finds from these local bargain depots:
Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitatskc.org/the-habitat-store/
The Reuse store: http://re-store.org/
Ballard surplus: https://www.facebook.com/BallardReuse
Goodwill Industries: http://seattlegoodwill.org/shop/locations/monroe
For ideas on how to dress your home up, see Makeover ideas on the Web:
And to bring the cost of power to a minimum, check out Mobile Solar panels: