Solaria's Mobile Home Blog

I've recently made a big change in my life, buying a mobile home! I've been talking about my DIY experience on the 32-Bit Cafe forum, but I found myself wanting to talk a lot more than I felt was appropriate for a forum, so I'm making some pages about my experience owning a mobile home!

I bought a 1983 trailer in February 2024 for 24,000! Two bedrooms, one bath, and a kitchen that is open to the living room. Fire place and oil fueled heat furnace, no AC. Good windows, drywall.

The House Hunt

At 24 still living with my parents I was itching to have my own space, feeling constrained by my small bedroom and moms hoarding tendencies that made the kitchen hard to use. I initially planned to rent with friends, but that kinda fell apart when I realized they were too picky for our tight budget (two of us had found the perfect place but the third one wouldn't go for it because he didn't feel safe going for a walk around there at night, as a cis man...).

I couldn't even begin to afford rent alone, making 15$ an hour when the low end is around 1000-1500$ a month. Depending on the down payment, a mortgage for a 125,000 house would be around 800 a month, which is doable. Of course not many houses are below 200k these days. This steered me to the realm of mobile homes, which are called manufactured homes by sellers who think mobile isn't classy enough, but you'll even see me call them "trailers" (not in a derogatory way, its just quicker to say).

I wistfully visited Zillow and looked at houses in my area every day, I gawked at houses on the side of the road as I drove. It was a yearning ache. I dreamed of a life where I could do things like bake and garden (very ambitious I know).

One day on Zillow at the work computer, I saw it. A trailer with a beautiful set of cabinets. Dark brown wood with glass that had those diamond shaped white lines on the glass. I couldn't imagine anything more perfect.

It was a burst of motivation I knew I needed to take or months would fly by before I had it again. There would never be a right time where I felt prepared enough, so I just had to jump in and figure it out as I went along. So got in contact with a realtor who is the mom of a friend, though you don't necessarily need one, especially not for mobile homes. But I hate all the phone calls and I simply don't have any experience buying a home, so I felt better having someone who is experienced and has contacts to help me.

The first trailer we looked at was the one listed on zillow with the cool cabinets in the pictures, about 26k in a small trailer park about 10-15 minutes from my work, and just a few minutes from one of my best friends! I wanted it to be the one. It was dissapointing. The kitchen floor was extremely uneven, the windows needed replaced, being damaged in some areas and over all not very sturdy looking. I can't remember too much else about it but there may have been water damage evidence on the walls. And it didn't even have the cabinets in the pictures. The park itself was meh, traiers along a long narrow loop of rather rough asphalt.

photo of a brown mushroom with lots of folds
pic from this wikipedia article on gyromitra esculenta which looks similar to the mushroom I saw in one trailer

One trailer was in a very pretty neighborhood with friendly neighbors, they were also trailers, but they were spaced more like regular houses along a standard road with larger yards and landscaping. The interior was a little dated but not bad. It would have been a viable option if I hadn't checked under the bathroom sink. The cheap wood making the bottom of the cabinet under the sink was soggy and sunken around the pipe and I saw what looked like a brown plastic grocery bag wrapped around the pipe in attempt to stop the leak. And then I realized. It was a large translucent brown mushroom fungus. Not the kind with a stalk and head, but the wrinkly folded kind. Needless to say that was a big no. It was priced around 37k.

Another one was also close to work and my good friend, priced around 50k. It was in a nice neighborhood, had three bedrooms even as a single wide, and was overall very nice! I based my styling of these pages on the accent trim I saw in this trailer ^^ I was fully ready to go forward, but before I had a chance someone else already snagged it. I can't blame them.

The worst and last trailer I looked at was also the most expensive at 65k. It looked fresh and new in the pictures so I gave it a chance. I went further and further into the woods before getting to the "street". It was a rough potholed road that winded up a hill. The other trailers there were rough too, it looked like a stereotypical trailer park. I frankly didn't feel confortable there as someone who is queer. It was a struggle before we even got to look inside the place, with the entrance door being stuck and it taking us a while to get it open. Two bad signs and I haven't even got to look inside yet. The inside was remodeled like in the pictures, but upon closer inspection it turned out that it was a cheap shoddy remodel. Most notable was water streaming down the wall where the washer is suppost to connect behind the shower. And this was freshly remodeled. Needless to say it was a no all around, bad location, higher price, poor pluming/structure.

The cheapest trailer I looked at was priced at 25k, but was orginally priced at 50k two months earlier, so I guess the owners were desperate to sell it. It was further from work and in town than I realized, but it was in a beautiful location, in the woods with a little creek down hill behind it and the other trailers. This may have well been the second trailer I looked at, but I'm not a 100% the order. Everything looked structurally sound, the exterior had nice siding (tho boring beige) nice solid windows. The bedrooms and dining nook had wood panneling on the walls, which I think is beautiful even if others think its dated. In said dining nook was even those cabinets I saw in the pictures for the first trailer, the picture must have been mixed up. I felt like this was the one.

But of course I looked at more trailers, the ones listed above before deciding. I even visited the first one again, but was again dissapointed. After the shitties trailer I took a second tour of my favorite one. I couldn't pass the oppourtunity up, I knew I would regret it if I din't go for it. Beautiful location, good condition for its age, and cheap! So I went for it!

Note that some mortgage lenders don't give out loans for mobile homes or loans less than a certain amount (one I talked to wouldn't give out a loan for less than 80k), but the good news is that there are mortgage lenders specifically for mobile homes ^^. I also had to be approved by the park owners, which I was a little worried about because it required prior rent experience (because in a mobile home park you pay lot rent for the land) which I don't have, but I was able to pay more on something like a security deposit to get past that.

(more pages to come!)