For the most part, mobile home repairs tend to be easier and more cost-effective than their site-built single family counterparts.
Since mobile homes are built in factories under similar conditions with similar parts, the same problems seem to pop up over and over.
Let me just mention quickly that we sell our homes to our tenant-buyers on a “rent-to-own” so we try to get them to perform some of the more cosmetic repairs since they are trying to buy it.
Common Mobile Home Investing Repairs
Here are 4 most common repairs that we perform in most of our investment mobile homes:
Many mobile homes use particle board instead of plywood as a sub floor throughout the home. The particle board is a cheaper material but when it gets wet, it expands and warps, leaving a soft spot that will eventually rot through.
So wherever there is water (bathrooms and kitchens), there tends to be issues.
We will tear out the flooring and sub-floor if the room has water damage and replace it with plywood sub floor and a vinyl or laminate flooring.
We did the flooring work ourselves in the first couple of days but after spending three months involving every weekend to put in the floor in one of our homes, I vowed never again.
Since then, we have used a handyman to install and are also looking into the professional flooring services for future flooring repairs.
I do want to mention quickly about dirty carpets. We have tried using carpet cleaning services for some of our dirtier carpets, but they don’t seem to do a great job. Most of the time they need to be replaced.
However, most tenant-buyers will still buy the home with dirty carpets and replace them over time, which saves us the upfront capital.
Outdoor Central A/C Unit
This is one of my biggest “pet peeves”. The majority of the time when we buy a home, especially if it is a REO, we have to replace the outdoor A/C unit because it has been stolen. Thieves will steal this unit for the copper content for a couple hundred dollar payday but are doing thousands of dollars in damages in the process.
Anyway, it’s just a part of this business, especially in lower-income housing.
The tip I want to mention is to buy a used A/C unit if possible. They can run ½ the cost of a new unit and run well. Many times, the A/C guy will take an owner’s used unit that still works and replace it with a new unit. He will then resell the used unit.
One quick thing: make sure the used unit has at least a one year warranty on it.
You will see two main types of roofs: metal and shingled.
When we buy homes with metal roofs, they almost always need to be Kool-Sealed (a paint that lasts for several years that protects the roof.) It tends to run us about $1,000 per home for the materials and labor although I don’t believe it’s very difficult for those DIY’ers.
As long as the shingled roofs don’t have any soft spots and the interior ceiling appears to be in good shape in every room, we don’t mess with the roof. If the roof does need work, we try to patch where we can if the patches will hold for at least 5 years. If you are simply renting your homes, you may want to look at replacing the roof when the shingles start showing signs of wear (20+ years).
Interior Wall Patching/Replacing
A nice feature of mobile homes is that all of the interior walls are non-loadbearing meaning that you can move the interior walls without worrying about the structural integrity of the home. We have seen many times where people have converted two bedrooms into one large bedroom.
The walls are also very thin and it’s common to see large holes in many of the homes. If the hole is smaller than a baseball, we tend to patch the hole; otherwise, we will replace the dry wall. The dry wall is fairly cheap after all.
However, we try to stay away from painting as much as possible as many of our tenant-buyers aren’t afraid of ugly walls and would prefer to choose the colors.
Mobile Home Investing Repairs Summary
Mobile home investment rentals tend to involve more repairs than when selling on a rent-to-own basis because tenants aren’t going to take as good of care of the home as a tenant-buyer. This is a major reason why we don’t do straight rentals.
In fact, of the 5 homes we have taken back, every one has been in the same condition or better than the day we first sold it.
Anyway, hope this helps. Do you have any other common repairs to mobile homes to add to this list? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW with your ideas or thoughts about mobile homes or repairs.