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Old 01-19-2011, 09:19 PM   #1
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Anybody familiar with mobile homes?

My wife and I would like to live out in the woods. I don't really think building a cabin from scratch is an option. I was thinking about buying a mobile home and puting it on the property. Anyone with experience with mobile homes have any pros/cons or advice for me? Thanks.

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Old 01-19-2011, 10:20 PM   #2
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I just got mine remodeled,I like the open air feeling to it!
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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The concearn I would have would be for your waste water disposal. How remote do you wish to live? Would you be able to install a septic system? Would you have enough land to have a well for water and still space for waste water?

I agree with you on wanting to live in the woods. I love the peace and quiet offered in that type of envrioment.

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Old 01-20-2011, 03:25 AM   #4
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I'm looking at 5 acres in the forest (at least 10 miles deep from the nearest town). I definately would like to add a septic and drill a well. I would only get property that I could do that on. I'm also looking to do some rainwater harvesting for a garden, puting up some solar panels, and maybe a wind turbine. I'm not going to be totally off the grid but would like to come as close as I can.

I was also thinking about propane for the appliances. What do you guys think about that?
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:42 AM   #5
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jk! Whatever it takes to accomplish your goals is good. Some of these new mobile and modular homes are awesome.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:21 AM   #6
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I love cooking with propane, another option would be natural gas, which I belive is available in the same tank style system.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:17 AM   #7
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  • Mobile homes are more prone to cockroaches. If you buy new, make sure that they don't use the glue with corn starch in it.
  • Power installation is expensive in remote areas. A mile of power cable installed can cost you upwards of $30K. Self installed is seldom allowed.
  • Wind turbines are great, but mostly 12 or 24 volt and don't work when it's calm out. A good inverter to ramp it up to 110 volt is pretty expensive.
  • Back-up generator. Get one.
  • Existing well on the property is always a good thing. In areas without any other habitation, there is a chance that ground water is not available and that's why there are no others living there. Surface water needs to be severely filtered because of dead things in the water.
  • If there is no road to your site already, you have to build the road. Just cutting down a few trees to allow you to Jeep in there won't cut it for the company delivering the mobile. Figure 15 feet wide on the straight sections and 25 feet on any turns. Trim the trees up to the height of the mobile on the wheels to prevent damage. Any soft spots in the road will need gravel to ensure the delivery truck doesn't get stuck, serious amounts of gravel.
There may be, and probably is, other things to tell you, but this will get you started. Best bet for remote living is to find a place with a well and power already there. Even if it is a run down p.o.s. you can demolish and move a mobile in. Remote usually means cheap, at least where I live it does, so buying something with a residence on it already is a good plan. The farther from the road, the cheaper the place. Work with a realtor who specializes in land in your area. Remember, living in the country is seldom as easy as living in the city, but it definitely has its worth.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:25 AM   #8
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From my realestate days, they don't hold there value at all(then again nothing in this market is) so if you planning to sell in a few years don't expect to make money, long term might be okay. I would look into modular home builders and see what you can find.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:41 AM   #9
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I have zero experience with mobile homes, but this one looks pretty sweet, although people may think it is an alien space ship.

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Old 01-20-2011, 01:40 PM   #10
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in florida, there are a lot of mobil homes. i've been in a few and they are very nice, but cheaply made and severe storms can damage or destroy them. i would look into a modular home or a "cabin kit".
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:56 PM   #11
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They are selling some new and used Katrina trailers in Louisiana for as little as $2,500. They are small enough to tow into the woods and some of them have water tanks and sewage holding tanks. Lot's of guys are setting up hunting camps with them here in MS.
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:23 PM   #12
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When we looked at putting a structure on the land I have in Harlan I looked at every option. One of the dozen or so log cabin manufacturers would be a much better choice. They are better insulated [which means less energy for heating/cooling], stronger [those 2X4 steel runners will flex unless you end up building a full foundation throughout the underpinnings], have a longer lifespan, easier to finance and are easier to sell, should you need to move [given an option more people who are interested in a remote location will choose cabin over trailer rather than trailer over cabin].
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:35 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the imput guys. Tearing down an existing p.o.s and supplanting it with my own sounds like a good option. I'm looking to be in the country but not 'deep' in the woods. The area I'm looking at is the foothills of Mt. St. Helens in SW Washington (Lewis/Cowlitz Counties).

I'm hoping to get this done without any financing. Our budget is in the 30k range. From what I've seen online there are plenty of mobile homes available. In fact, the over 55 parks seem to have a glutton of used mobile homes for sale (residents dying/moved to retirement homes everyday I guess). I just need to find a good one.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:22 PM   #14
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i am not sure the "retirement" mobile home are really mobile, they would have to be removed by crane broken down and put on special truck beds. remember they are only 2x3 construction.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by drjay
They are selling some new and used Katrina trailers in Louisiana for as little as $2,500. They are small enough to tow into the woods and some of them have water tanks and sewage holding tanks. Lot's of guys are setting up hunting camps with them here in MS.
The FEMA trailers or camp only. They can't be registered as a permanent dwelling due to the low wind sheer zone rating of the trailer. Lotta people bought them without realizing that. And you can buy water tanks for em for a couple hundred bucks. Great idea for Parkin one in the woods and see if you like it. I live 15 miles out of town on a dead end country road. Dig it. Not in a FEMA trailer btw. Lol
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:03 PM   #16
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i am not sure the "retirement" mobile home are really mobile, they would have to be removed by crane broken down and put on special truck beds. remember they are only 2x3 construction.
I'm looking at double wides so it would definately need to be 'split' in half and trucked to the location. I found a guy online in my area that would tear down, transport, and set up a double wide (up to 50 miles) for $800.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:22 PM   #17
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I'm looking at double wides so it would definately need to be 'split' in half and trucked to the location. I found a guy online in my area that would tear down, transport, and set up a double wide (up to 50 miles) for $800.
I dont know much about trailers, but that sounds strangely low for the amount of work at hand IMO..

Don't skimp out on your permanent residence, if you have to finance for a nice dwelling, or pay a mortgage do it IMO. I'd feel a thousand times better living in a well built cabin or modular home over a trailer. I lived in one before and I hated it, small and of course the feeling most people have about them. You arent that far away from a town so I'm sure finding a lot with power and septic won't be too hard. If you plan to live there the rest of your life get something that will withstand the abuses of years of climate and wear and tear. Trailers are cheap for a reason!
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:39 PM   #18
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I'm looking at double wides so it would definately need to be 'split' in half and trucked to the location. I found a guy online in my area that would tear down, transport, and set up a double wide (up to 50 miles) for $800.
When my parents had theirs moved, it cost them over $1400... but then again it had to be moved almost 100miles... and it's long(~72ft).

Their place is set on re-enforced concrete runners that fallow the frame of the house, and set on stands and strapped to the ground.

As far as septic goes, check with the county on code they will require a specific distance from the house. Also, check with the county on flood planes, you'd never know what's classified as a flood plane... and then you'd need flood insurance, but if being ground set is an option, do it. The less amount of space under the home the easier/cheaper it will be to heat it, but less space to crawl under and work in if ever needed.

Lots of little things to look at.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:47 PM   #19
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Not all mobile homes are the kind you see blowing away in an Oklahoma wind storm.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:12 PM   #20
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Not all mobile homes are the kind you see blowing away in an Oklahoma wind storm.
much like the ones in florida retirement communities. still they are cheaply made, and use cheaper materials, 2x3 and1/4 inch sheet rock. my parents lived in one, bought new. not made for longevity.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:19 PM   #21
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They are selling some new and used Katrina trailers in Louisiana for as little as $2,500. They are small enough to tow into the woods and some of them have water tanks and sewage holding tanks. Lot's of guys are setting up hunting camps with them here in MS.
Doesn't anyone read the news? Weren't most of those Katrina trailers condemned for formaldehyde contamination and subject to lots of lawsuits for medical problems? We wondered where they all went....

as for moving modular or mobile homes to the site...most likely (in most states, I think) you are going to need a poured concrete slab with reinforcement (rebar) X number of inches thick, gravel under that...and a driveway/entry road heavy duty enough to support the construction vehicles to build all that. Check your building codes-you MAY be required to make that long of a driveway 'up to code'...which can easily eat up your $30k budget before you even pitch a tent!
Friend of mine, 30 years ago...got smart. Bought some land, quite a few acres...logged it off. Had the lumber cut down, sized, etc. to build a post/beam 2 story house on another piece of property...so far..only purchase of land for cost...then started to slowly subdivide the logged off land as he needed more money to complete things and provide a comfortable living...you could consider that if the land has enough trees...find someone with a portable sawmill to harvest and cut the timbers right there-have your own place built and save a ton of money compared to buying a 2x3 or 2x4 stick/sheetrock house. Get a heavy duty, built for decades HOUSE or log cabin!
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:44 PM   #22
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no matter if you decide on a house or a trailer... you'll want to have the propery percolation tested.

Its called a "Perc Test" and it will tell you how easy or hard it will be for you to get a septic field to work.

Now is also a GREAT time to find some forclosures. In some cases, you can have a mobil home free if you can get someone to haul it out of there. You'll want to start by calling any local trailer parks you can find and ask them if they 1. have any trailers for sale that need to be hauled out and 2. ask if there are any forclosed that you could get a good deal on. The owners of the parks want them gone, if they are left there they cannot re-rent that lot until the trailer moves. Therefore, they loose hundreds of dollars each month and are more than happy to open up another feasible lot.

Here is a bit more info on the perc test;
The percolation test is designed to determine the suitability of a site for a subsurface private sewage disposal system (i.e. septic system). More specifically, a percolation test measures the ability of the soil to absorb liquid. Septic system designers use the results of percolation tests to properly construct septic systems.

The percolation tests are designed to simulate conditions in a septic system. The percolation test consists of a hole 6-12 inches in diameter dug in the area of the proposed septic system. The depth of this hole varies depending on the soils encountered but it is generally not greater than 24 inches. The hole is initially filled with water (presoak) in an attempt to saturate the soil, allowed to drain away and than refilled with approximately 12 inches of water. The rate at which the water drops in the hole is measured at intervals over a period of time ranging from 30-60 minutes. The uniform slowest rate of drop of the water level over a measured time interval is converted to minutes per inch and used as a basis of design in determining the septic system size. For example, if the water dropped uniformly 1\4 inch every five minutes the rate would be 20 minutes per inch. The Health Code provides a simple table that determines the size of the system based on the measured perk rate and the number of bedrooms in the home. The greater the number of bedrooms and the slower the percolation rate, the larger the system required.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:50 PM   #23
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I'm looking at double wides so it would definately need to be 'split' in half and trucked to the location. I found a guy online in my area that would tear down, transport, and set up a double wide (up to 50 miles) for $800.
Dis assembly and reassembly of a building is not a trivial task. As pointed out they are built with very thin cut wood, plastic and steel [even the good ones]. Dis-assembly and movement of a previously settled mass is just asking for trouble.

That said, whatever you do, don't skimp on your foundation. If you "have to pour 3", pour 6". If you have to dig 14" for the thaw line, go 24". For not much additional cost you will appreciate it in the long run.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:02 PM   #24
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I'm looking at double wides so it would definately need to be 'split' in half and trucked to the location. I found a guy online in my area that would tear down, transport, and set up a double wide (up to 50 miles) for $800.
i am no expert, but that and 14 hundred dollar price sounds to cheap. is taking apart and putting back together included? around where i live the crane alone, which charges by the hour, would eat those prices up.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:48 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the imput guys. Tearing down an existing p.o.s and supplanting it with my own sounds like a good option. I'm looking to be in the country but not 'deep' in the woods. The area I'm looking at is the foothills of Mt. St. Helens in SW Washington (Lewis/Cowlitz Counties).

I'm hoping to get this done without any financing. Our budget is in the 30k range. From what I've seen online there are plenty of mobile homes available. In fact, the over 55 parks seem to have a glutton of used mobile homes for sale (residents dying/moved to retirement homes everyday I guess). I just need to find a good one.
Have you ever thought about a yurt? They are a cool way to live in the woods off the grid.

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Old 01-21-2011, 10:46 PM   #26
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We are currently building an earthship (WWW.tirehenge.com) and hope to be in, and off grid by this fall. We currently have composing toilets, which could be an option instead of septic. If you are close to town you may have a rural water option. I prefer my well, but many like rural water. Whatever you decide be sure to check for any codes, permits etc you may need to have. Living in the country can be a challenge, but I won't be anywhere else.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:39 PM   #27
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My neighbor told me here in California (at least San Bernardino County - mobile home capital of Cal) they won't permit any mobile home older than 20 years to be moved and re-set up. May or may not be true.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:48 PM   #28
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We had a manufactured home before we moved here, it was nice, very warm in winter & had a swamp cooler for summer. Only thing is that in Utah lenders won't give people loans for manufactured houses unless they are on permanent foundation, don't know about anywhere else. They make some really nice ones now with much better quality fixtures & fittings
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:14 AM   #29
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Thanks for all the input. You guys have given me alot to think about. Cheers.

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