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11 Common Mobile Home Issues to Consider When Buying an Older Model

Most newer manufactured homes have been with better quality care vs those of the past. Even though manufacturers have to comply with strict standards for building a quality product, mobile home issues and repairs are still inevitable (just like any other new home). However, experts advise that if you are considering living in a mobile home, opting for a newer one is a lot wiser than settling with an older mobile home from the 1960s-1970s unless you’re okay with dealing with the following common issues.

We know that budget constraint is common and sometimes this leaves buyers with settling for old mobile homes instead of acquiring a newer one. However, these are the 11 most common issues you might have to address when living in an older mobile home:

CEILING REPAIRS. A lot of mobile homeowners have been willingly making their own repairs throughout the years, however, most are unable to carry out roof and ceiling repairs correctly. If done incorrectly, then you’ll run the risk of having moisture seepage and or damage from moisture. If not corrected over time, then water damage will give rise to additional problems such as wood rot, mold, and mildew.

While it is not bad to buy an older mobile home property, it is always safest to make sure you already had a run-through of the repairs needed including those in its ceiling framework or roofing before you seal any deal.

UNLEVELED HOME. The foundation of a mobile home differs according to its location and design. Some mobile homes sit atop a pier and beam foundation, though not so much in Colorado. Most of the mobile or manufactured homes in Colorado make use of concrete blocks that sit on top of a concrete pad. 

A mobile home’s foundation ultimately has an important role in making sure it does not sink. Basically, the foundation has to be sturdy enough and built on the right spot or a concrete slab to ensure that it does not sink over time into the deeper ground even under wet seasons. Purchasing a mobile home that has already slightly sunk is still okay, nonetheless. With the help of experienced mobile home levelers armed with the right tools and equipment in your area, this problem will be addressed in just a matter of a few hours.

UNALIGNED DOORS. One downside of buying an unleveled mobile home is how the interior or exterior doors’ alignment might be affected. In most cases, only one side or particular area of the home has a sinking foundation or is unleveled. This causes the home to be lopsided, consequently affecting how the doors line up. Although reliable home leveling and foundation repair services are available, still nothing is better than ensuring that the manufactured home in Colorado you will be investing in is already foundation-ready before you move in.

MISSING DOORS. Although this sounds like a minor issue, buying a mobile home with doors missing is definitely still an issue that needs addressing. Luckily, mobile home doors can be easily bought in mobile home supply stores, such as Westland Distributing in Lakewood or online at MobileHomePartsStore.com.

LEAKING WINDOWS AND/OR WALLS. When water finds its way inside your mobile home, it becomes a major problem. This is why water has been considered a mobile home’s natural enemy. Hence, if you are planning to live in a mobile home, you might want to make sure to seal all the potential water passages including exterior windows and walls. Also, make sure your gutters do not overflow or your roof does not leak. Otherwise, the moisture might find its way into your homes, creating wall molds or soft spots on your subfloors. If water has no place to go, then it can build up underneath your home, causing drainage/foundation issues, as the ground will shift. 

WINDOW CRACKS. Just because the windows of most mobile homes are made of plexiglass, glass, or plastic, it does not mean they can withstand time. Such materials can still crack or break eventually from cold temperatures or even with Colorado hailstorms. When cracks appear, urgent removal and replacement are necessary especially during wet or cool seasons. Having faulty windows is also a security risk if you live in a troubling neighborhood. 

HOLES IN WALLS. Holes in older mobile homes’ interior walls are common. The good news is, concealing these holes is an easy, cosmetic fix. It may not cost much to fix but such repairs can actually go a long way should you plan to sell your mobile home in the future. 

If you’re using paneling, then you find replacement pieces at your local hardware store.  If the paneling doesn’t match, then you can simply spread joint compound on the section to and float the walls to look like drywall.  

Alternatively, if drywall, you can patch up the area and sand it up so it’s a smooth surface. After that, just repaint the repaired wall. 

AMATEUR ELECTRIC. Having a DIY electrical repair at home instead of calling an electrician is tempting and quite possible. However, this undertaking comes with risks to health and safety. If the mobile home you are eyeing is older, then chances are one of the former owners has made DIY repairs to the electrical wiring. The chances are high that they did not follow code when making these repairs. 

Most older mobile homes have electrical issues. Whether it’s an outdated light fixture, loose wiring, short circuit issues or outdated switches, you’ll need to make electrical repairs.  Call a reliable Denver electrician nearby instead. Otherwise, there is a high chance you and your family’s safety can be jeopardized.

COOLING SYSTEM ISSUES. When purchasing an older mobile home, make sure to find out how old the cooling system is. Whether the home is using a swamp cooler, has window units or a central a/c system, it’s important to know if they work properly, if repairs are needed or if you’ll need to replace them soon. 

We’ve found that if the home is from the 70s, then chances are it has an outdated cooling. Most of the homes that we’ve fixed up have had to require new systems. If it’s a swamp cooler, make sure they covered the unit during the offseason.  No matter how good they took care of an evaporative cooler, time will always cause rusting to the water liner tray. If the tray is leaking, then it’s best to not try to patch it up. You’ll end up ruining your roof.    

QUESTIONABLE PLUMBING. A lot of mobile homeowners perform their needed plumbing repairs but this does not guarantee the quality of service that can withstand time. Consulting or hiring a professional plumber is always better. Licensed plumbers can also help in ensuring your hot water heaters are still functioning well.

MISSING INSULATION. As a mobile home buyer, one of your major tasks is to check if the insulating system is still intact underneath it. Basically, the mobile home must have a layer of thick insulation underneath, supported by water or vapor barrier (aka “liner”) to block the moisture from coming in. Most barriers are black or dark blue in color and you will find them stretched along the underside of a mobile home. If you’re is damaged or hanging, you’ll need to call a mobile home repair professional to make the fixes. Most handymen won’t be familiar with these types of repairs. 

There may be a number of repair issues you will have to deal with in buying an older mobile home but in general, these common issues are still manageable. Nonetheless, to make sure you get the best value of your investment, it pays to be aware of these potential problems beforehand. Knowing these issues will give you the upper hand when price negotiating.