Custom-built manufactured homes have emerged as a way for dollar-savvy Americans to enjoy the luxury and stability of homeownership at a significantly reduced cost. The process of personalizing this class of home has a number of benefits for single people as well as growing families.
The industry’s home-building organizations provide an opportunity to select options such two bedroom mobile homes floor plans, and high-end amenities among others. Such flexibility has been an attractive reason why the manufactured home industry has enjoyed marked growth. But such advantages must also be balanced against the location. In many cases, first-time buyers are looking for inexpensive land to put down roots.
Fortunately, manufactured home communities tend to be as flexible as the floor plans themselves. It’s essential to understand the available opportunities. Making an informed decision about manufactured home parks can make a significant quality of life difference for you and your family.
What are Manufactured Home Communities?
A manufactured housing community is quite similar to a traditional neighborhood. The distinct difference is that these home products are crafted at a specialized facility and transported to your plot of land. Although mistakenly referred to as “trailers” or “mobile homes,” manufactured homes are regulated by federal law and subject to specific guidelines and standards.
These prefabricated structures are transported and placed on tracts of land that may be individually owned or leased. But the common thread that runs through manufactured home parks is that all or most of the housing was custom-built off-site and transported to the neighborhood.
Owned or Leased Land in Manufactured Home Parks
Recent data indicates that purchasing a manufactured home costs approximately 40 percent less than a traditional house. That savings can also be improved in upfront costs by working with one of the many manufactured home communities that lease land. In a straight lease agreement, you may never actually own the property. But that may not necessarily be negative.
Consider for a moment that purchasing a far more expensive traditional home generally comes with higher upfront costs. These include upwards of a 20-percent down payment followed by 30 years of monthly installments. Securing a 20- to 30-year lease with an option to extend may prove less expensive and carry you through to the end of your days.
Other options include lease-to-own agreements. These tend to require some level of down payment followed by monthly installments. It’s not uncommon for lease to own sellers to price land above today’s value but below what you might spend on interest. These can be a cost-effective pathway to home and land ownership in a manufactured home park.
If you are in a financial position to purchase land independently, there are opportunities to reside in a neighborhood with similar or mixed types of housing. The decision to opt for leased, lease to own, or outright land ownership is one that weighs current financial agility against realistic long-term goals. But regardless of which option fits your lifestyle, there are tried-and-true benefits to living in manufactured home parks.
Benefits of Manufactured Home Communities
A discussion about these joint living communities has evolved from the unfavorable stigma of so-called “trailer camps” 40 years ago to enviable manufactured home parks today. Much of the difference has been driven by the quality of the custom-design home products. The rise in quality has prompted manufactured homeowners to come together in neighborhoods that resemble the more expensive gated communities.
Over the past two decades, cheap land leases have upticked to modestly priced communities that now offer a wealth of upscale benefits. These rank among the more attractive reasons why everyday Americans are flocking to manufactured home parks.
- Sense of Community: Manufactured home communities are loosely knit joint ventures with like-minded people. Some set age requirements making them perfect for our valued elders. Others tend to be oriented for singles and blossoming families. Residents tend to have a similar lifestyle and recreational interests.
- Affordability: With the risk of sounding redundant, one of the key benefits for low- and moderate-income families is the reduced cost of homeownership. Manufactured home parks help people who would otherwise squander money on apartment rent live in a neighborhood.
- Lifestyle Opportunities: Working people understand the need to adhere to a financial budget. Investing in a cost-effective manufactured home community allows greater flexibility with discretionary income. You can spend your hard-earned salary on a solo plot of land or leisure activities and savings.
- Outdoor Space: First-time homeowners often realize the benefits of having outdoor space of their own. Renting an apartment generally does not come with a yard to grow gardens or other perks.
- Pets: Another significant advantage of transitioning from being a renter to homeowner is owning a pet. Manufactured home communities generally allow pets as long as they are safely secured. You can even utilize options such as an invisible fence to give your beloved pet increased freedom.
- Amenities: When reviewing manufactured home parks, consider the important amenity options. Some come with community pools, recreation centers, and green spaces. If you are paying a homeowner’s association fee, be sure you get the perks that make sense for you and your family.
- Property Taxes: Many manufactured home communities roll property taxes into the lease or fees. By banding together as an association, you can reduce your portion of the property taxes considerably.
The manufactured home industry continues to see significant growth. By contrast, new home construction permits continue to lag behind demand on a national scale. These factors, among others, indicate that an increased number of manufactured home communities are likely to emerge.
Is a Manufactured Home Park Right for You?
Today’s manufactured home communities are mirror images of other neighborhoods and residential associations. They have many of the same costs and lifestyle benefits. These communities simply are less expensive than traditionally built homes. Consider price, amenities, and the demographics of an association. That being said, select a manufactured home environment that reflects your lifestyle.
Owner & Chief Executive Officer at Homes Direct
Ray Gritton has been in the manufactured housing industry for over 40 years when he started his first dealership in Modesto in the 1970’s. Since then he has worked for large corporations in charge of hundreds of dealerships and now owns 12 locations in 5 different states.