tell me about mobile home parks

I’ve never lived in one but I am looking to move and the rent is cheap. I may actually qualify for one that is age restricted :dubious:

now, I realize there would be a huge difference depending on who owns the place and who manages it and who your neighbors are - duh - so I’m looking for talk about very general stuff:

is it better than an apartment, where you can hear your neighbors through the wall?

does it make sense to try and buy a trailer, rather than rent? could you even get a mortgage on a used one?

it looks like utilities work like in apartments: you pay for electric and gas while water/sewage/garbage is included.

and, yes, I realize tornados will have you in their sites. :rolleyes:

I lived in one for two years when I was in my 20s. It was rent free in exchange for me doing some repairs and maintenance while the owner was living elsewhere.

It was awful in rain (noise) or hail (NOISE). On windy days you could feel the wind. In the winter it never felt “warm” inside. Neighbors playing loud music was a problem. Neighbors in general were a problem due to the socioeconomics of the situation. On any given day, some neighbors were fighting, someone was being beaten, someone was screaming. A dirty three year old wandering around alone in a saggy diaper was something I learned to ignore/accept. An age-restriction might help.

On the positive end, it was cheap.

My parents developed a mobile home park. It was a nice place to live: landscaped, paved, big plots. They only rented to retirees and childless adults, so it had a nice atmosphere. Some of the trailers were quite nice, more like manufactured homes than mobile quonset huts. So there are nice ones, though you might have to look around to find one. Many trailer parks inhabit the lowest end of the socio-economic scale, with all the attendant problems of drugs, crime and drama filled domestic lives.

My sister lives in one, she’s been there for 25 years. She owns hers outright, and pays more for her lot rental than I pay to rent my apartment. The trailer is liveable and adequate for her needs, but has no value. She can’t even donate it to a homeless family, because they can’t afford to pay the lot rental. When she moves away, all she can do is abandon it, and then be liable for the disposal cost of having it hauled off the lot.

It is a nice and well-maintained property, she has a big and nice yard in a pleasant location, respectable law-abiding adult neighbors and she has enjoyed living there. But her purchase price, decades of maintenance and repairs, and lot rental have left her with nothing of value.

interesting variety of responses!

that’s the thing - I know there is little value to an old trailer - and they aren’t actual mobile - but there is some value, isn’t there?

and I ask that because there are a bunch offered for sale and pretty cheap. I know my Mom bought a brand new one for winters in Arizona in a lovely park (all elderly) and when she died it went for very little money so someone got a fantastic deal.
Kayaker, sounds like you had a bad trailer (tin can?) in a bad park but you were young and it was free. a good trade off, maybe.

Yes, they have nearly nil resale value. The good news is you can buy used for next to nothing then sell again 2 or 5 or 10 years later for almost the same nothing, having very little of your money tied up during the interim.

The very bad thing to do is buy new thinking you’ve bought an asset. You haven’t.

I lived in trailers for about 18 years. Both were in excellent situations, as far as trailer parks go. The first one cost $195/month rent, was situated between two fishing ponds, was furnished, and included water and lawn service. It was a 1960’s 10x60. I lived there from '84 to '92. The second one was from '95 to '04. It was a 16x80. I had a mortgage on it, twenty years at about $220/mo. The lot rent included water, but climbed from $80/mo to $150/mo while I was there.

Not sharing walls was great. The sound of rain never bothered me. Mobile homes tend to depreciate about as badly as cars do, however. Another problem with them is HVAC. Heating for the second one was an electric furnace, and heating bills in the winter were very high. This was in south Georgia, too- I’d hate to see the heating bill for a trailer where there is a real winter. A/C wasn’t so bad, especially after I painted the roof and south wall white. Before I painted it, laying your hand on the siding was impossible on a summer afternoon. After the paint, the siding was merely warm. I don’t know why most of them were painted dark gray!

There is a huge variance in mobile home parks. Some are as depicted on My Name Is Earl, and even worse, and some are extremely nice, well-maintained, and have paved streets and parking areas. The 55+ age-restricted ones can be very nice, and many of those have amenities such as tennis courts and golf courses.

In general, yes, most MHP tenants pay their own electricity, but not water and sewer, though some parks do charge for W/S. Like motorcycles, RVs and boats, it generally makes little sense to buy new, due to depreciation. The best deal is usually to rent a mobile home already situated on a pad where you want to rent. But you can buy a used one and have it moved by a trailer moving company, as they are indeed mobile so long as it hasn’t been installed on a permanent foundation and the undercarriage removed.

Are you necessarily looking for a place in a mobile home park?

You can also sometimes find mobile homes for rent that aren’t in a park. This might be on a large lot in someone’s back yard, like a guest house or granny-flat. Or, if you drive out in rural areas, you see lots of mobile homes on their own lots, where you might possibly stumble upon one up for rent.

I lived for three years in a 10x40 situated a ways back on a 120-acre spread up a mountainous road, in a ravine, in an oak-and-pine forest. The owner lived in his house up at the front, and my trailer was about a quarter mile back along a dirt path, around a bend so that the houses up front weren’t even visible. (There was a double-wide mobile up there too.)

It had all the necessities: Well water, straight from a hole in the ground. (Well, actually, from a tank that will filled with water from a hole in the ground.) Electricity. Phone. Forced-air propane heating (got a bit expensive in the winter, about $100/month, but $0.00 most of the year), got the place toasty warm in a hurry. Plenty of shade. Lizards and squirrels galore. Some chipmunks too. The occasional snake, possum, or skonk. According to local lore, there was also a resident mountain lion in the area. I think I might have even seen it once, a silent stealthy silhouette crossing my path in the dusk.

No neighbors close by. But as others have noted, even in a trailer park, you don’t have to share a wall or a floor or a ceiling with any neighbor. That’s worth it’s weight in gold right there. My take on the rain was: Soothing pitter-patter white noise in the night. The place was an old tin can, but everything was functional and it was comfortable and warm, even in the occasional snow.

Being in the woods, there were a bazillion flying insects and a steady flow of field mice. I set out snap-traps regularly and replaced them – that pretty much took care of the mice. As for the flying bugs, I left a light on in the living room at night, then all the flying bugs went there and left me alone in my bedroom.

A friend visited for a few days. He called the place a “dump”, which insulted me no end. It was comfy, quiet, and the surroundings were a Garden Of Eden as far as I was concerned. And the rent was only $450 a month (or maybe it was $350) for the three years I was there. I had to leave because of health problems and go back to civilization. Damn! I really felt (and still feel) like I had been kicked out of that Garden of Eden! That was 15 years ago and I still miss the place.

Maybe you could find a place something like that. Photo (emphasizing the beautiful surroundings).

I had to work as a health aide in some mobile parks and they were very tough place to work . They had dirt roads and were very muddy. Some people had nicer trailer but I sure was glad when I was done working there for 2 hours . I could never see living in one ! I didn’t like the way the mailboxes were so far from the trailers and they could be broken into really easy . Walmart wanted to buy out one park and people had to fight to save their homes. Most people were renting the land and some did own their own land.

Security can be an issue if you are in a not so great a park. Trailers are trivial to break into and drug users in nearby trailers will not hesitate to take advantage while you are gone.

thank you for all the great posts - I did visit the one park and could see it would be depressing. just slowly driving through I could hear a phone ring inside one trailer…

not at all, just looking at any option that is cheaper than what I do currently, rent a 3 bedroom house.

I knew a young couple (late teens) who rented half a mobile home, circa 1978. It was in Pittsburgh, in a small mobile home park that the owner had created on an otherwise unusable weird piece of property.

Their home was split in half, with bathrooms on either side of the dividing wall. A single dude lived in the other half. If you stood in the bathroom with the tv/stereo/voices silent, you could hear urine splashing in the neighbor’s toilet.

$75 a month was the reason they lived there.

What area do you live in? Do you need to be close to a city? In many parts of the country, you can buy perfectly livable houses for under $50K. The mortgage on that is super cheap, under $300 a month, and then you have an asset that isn’t just depreciating.

I have never lived in a mobile home but had a few friends who did. They were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Knew one person who lived in a mobile home park where the stereotype of “trailer trash” could have come from. Lots of drugs, domestic violence, and other crime, and the trailers and lots were not well maintained.

Another friend’s parents have a mobile home in a retirement park in Florida. It is very nice, all the trailers and lots are nice and well maintained. It is quiet as far as no loud music or traffic (the manager runs a tight ship), but the trailers are so close together that you can hear televisions from neighbors, and talking if they are outside.

So, TL;DR- mobile home parks vary greatly, there are some decent ones out there (especially if you are 55+ and qualify for one of those), but do your research and visit the parks.

One thing everyone who lives in a mobile home should be aware of: mobile homes are remarkably flammable.

This doesn’t need to be a deal-breaker: I’ve got lots of relatives who live in “trailers”. But they all are aware of the risks.

I don’t know what it is about mobile homes. I have heard that the wood dries out faster than frame houses or something. What I know is that when they burn, they burn fast.

Be aware of the risks. Make a plan. Know what you need to take with you on the way out if the place burns, and keep that stuff somewhere easy to grab.
And be thankful when you never need it.

That sounds like one of the better trailer parks. I’ve lived in a few. It’s educational.

I grew up in some of them and I liked them because their were always lots of kids there.

Flimsy half-assed construction is part of it. But a biggee is that the whole thing is raised 2-3 feet above the ground. Which makes getting a good draft under the fire real easy.

Compare a split log sitting on the floor of a fireplace versus sitting in a log-holder or grate in the same fireplace. Much better draft, much quicker fire starting, and much bigger, better fire sooner.

Inside the fireplace that’s good. Outside the fireplace, not so much.

My parents live in a retirement mobile home park (in the wintertime) in Arizona - they really enjoy it. Of course, they own their own lot and their association fees are reasonable (I believe it’s $800 annually, which covers water, sewer, and public-area maintenance, which includes a pool). Also, as part of their association fee, the association maintains a year-round presence and will keep an eye on the houses of those residents who spend their summers elsewhere and contact my mom if, for example, there’s a fire or flood and will call the cops if she gets squatters or something.

At least in Arizona, a lot of the age-limited mobile home parks are essentially secondary residences for folks to winter in and some of them are really very nice.

You could always look for a MHP with an HOA - ones with an HOA are considerably less likely to be the stereotypical trailer park trash variety.