Remodeling a mobile home into a house? - Homesteading Today
You are Unregistered, please register to use all of the features of Homesteading Today!    
Homesteading Today

Go Back   Homesteading Today > General Homesteading Forums > Homesteading Questions

LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 01/17/05, 10:02 AM
mommymushbrain's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 388
Remodeling a mobile home into a house?

Anyone here done this?

We have a 60 x 14 (guessing there LOL) mobile home. We've discussed different option when we get ready to build here and this last was to take this mobile home and add on to it, then completely brick the entire thing when we are done.

Has anyone done this or have any advice on a good way to go about it?

Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 7,467
Will you ever be looking at resale value? You likely will have zero value on such a setup for resale or morgages, making this a more difficult property to sell or finance. But, you still will have built a good roof & exterior, so you have most of the expense of a real house.....

Just my random thoughts, for what they are worth.

Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: tn
Posts: 4,910
i know someone who did this. insurance on a trailer is double than on a house, due to the fire risk. insurance companies will always consider it a trailer, if it came in there on wheels.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Middle TN, Where the Hilltops Kiss the Sky
Posts: 1,586
A neighbor lady here in middle TN did this. Did a beautiful job too. She added a drive-in concrete floored garage, cut a large doorway into the trailer living room and put up large wood beams, added on and turned it into a "great room" effect, nice new roof over the whole thing. Built a large covered porch across the front, with atrium doors out of the "great room" on to the porch. When the neighbor lady died 3 years later, her grown kids sold it, and the realty folks told them, well yeah, it's nice, but it's STILL "just a trailer" therefore not worth much. So, I'd consider this BEFORE you go to the expense of bricking a place. As far as being a really nice place to live? Our Ms. Bettye's place was really nice and comfortable and no one driving by could tell it was EVER a trailer. I guess you have to decide if it's "worth it" or not.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 10:45 AM
Cyngbaeld's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Location: SE Missouri
Posts: 28,248
I have a cousin who did this. They owned the property free and clear. Added onto the MH over a period of time and did the work themselves. When he was injured in a work accident and was laid up for a long time (self employed) they were able to keep their home and did not have to worry about a mortgage. They have a garden and were pretty much self sufficient. They have lived there for years and will prob not sell. They do not care what the bank or realtors say about anything.
I believe in God's willingness to heal.

Cyngbaeld's Keep Heritage Farm, breeding a variety of historical birds and LaMancha goats. (It is pronounced King Bold.)
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 10:53 AM
SteveD(TX)'s Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 5,373
Originally Posted by Cyngbaeld
I have a cousin who did this. They owned the property free and clear. Added onto the MH over a period of time and did the work themselves. When he was injured in a work accident and was laid up for a long time (self employed) they were able to keep their home and did not have to worry about a mortgage. They have a garden and were pretty much self sufficient. They have lived there for years and will prob not sell. They do not care what the bank or realtors say about anything.

If you are looking at resale value, don't do it. Otherwise, go for it. If you need the space, and don't want to spend a fortune doing a new site-built home, why not? I'm a real estate appraiser, and did the ultimate no-no in my area once: I converted my garage in our suburban home into a den. Our house was only about 1,400 square feet, and we brought it up to 1,850 square feet. Cost me $12,000 at the time to do it. Did I get my money back? No. Was it worth it? Yes. Because we really needed the space, and ENJOYED the heck out of that den. It's like building a cordwood home, a straw bale home, or any other unconvential housing. No, not a good investment money wise. But living-wise, a GREAT investment.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 199
I've seen some great "conversions" like this over the past. Trouble is that the end result doesn't have much value. Like has been mentioned, a lender probably won't loan anything on the resulting structure.

Insurance is another matter. It's been mentioned, but I've had a "front row seat" to what happens when people try to insure these things. (I've got a good friend that's an insurance agent and I hang out at his office a lot.) The mobile home insurers don't like them because they're not "mobile" any more and the homeowners' insurance writers don't like them because there's a trailer buried in there somewhere.

The two companies my fried represents, Farmers and Foremost, won't touch them with a ten foot pole, so he has to send the people down the road. I guess some company will insure them, but the rates have to be horrific.

If having insurance on the structure and the contents, and all the other things a homeowners policy covers is important to you, this might not be a good move.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 11:15 AM
BCR BCR is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: WV
Posts: 1,026
There are two neighboring houses that are like this. They both have trouble with insurance, and I am certain one lied to the agent to get it insured. And it still feels/looks like a mobile home inside. They both still have the typical mobile home problems with freezing pipes, small crawl space, etc.

Maybe you could live in it while you build a more permanent home?
Make Equality A Reality
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 5,183
Remodeling a mobile home into a house

I've heard of someone who did this in our area. They completely built around the mobil home, and took out most of the actual mobile home itself after the house was built around it. I never heard of them having problems insuring it, but I did here that they have great tax advantages, because the county still considers the house a mobile home. If you are going to live there a while, I would say to do it. If you only plan to live there for the next 10 years or so, the resale value might not be good.
Michael W. Smith in North-West Pennsylvania

"Everything happens for a reason."
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 11:53 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2
HI, I did it with a 70 ft. x 12 and doubled it in size. In the new part put cathedral cielings in and also in the bedroom. I live in a area where land is going crazy its a mile to the beach and looks down a lagoon. The neighborhood is vacant 6mos out of the year and when the vacationers arrived they all ask me what I did with the mobile home that was there. In my state if you put a permanent foundation in you can turn the mobile home title in and get it reclassified to a class c house which is great for resale. I paid $22000 for the trailer which was red tagged and the lot ten years ago. I did the renovations for around 12000 and sold it for 165,ooo but most appreciation came from the lot which is only 75ft. x 150ft. but like I said looks down a canal that is bulk headed. If you plan on living there for ten years and need the room I say go for it, see what double wides in your area are going for as compared to a single. GOOD LUCK
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 144
Investment-wise, you're basically taking the cost of a lot of building materials and flushing them directly down the toilet. It will never appraise as a proper house and you'll have trouble selling it if you ever want to do that.

You will constantly be running into odd problems during the course of the project that are unique to the situation and are a big pain to deal with. In the end, you will have a building that is worthless (financially) and clunky. A potential buyer would have serious problems getting financing to buy it from you, which pretty much knocks the value of your property down to the land and the well.

I can't possibly imagine this being easier or less expensive in the long run than putting your money and effort into a seperate house on the property. Having a mobile home on the land, you are in a good situation to build a new house next to it in stages. You can save a lot of money and use a lot of your own labor in that situation. Maybe have a contractor put up a dried-in 400 sq. ft. shell and spend the next couple of years finishing it out yourselves. Then add on from there, with the mobile home being right on site for storage and extra space until you finally have the house you really want.

Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 12:44 PM
mommymushbrain's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 388
Thank you all for the perspectives!

First, we are not planning to resell in our lifetimes. We love our dead end road and 2 acres to do with what we want.

The one problem we keep running into in housebuilding out here, is this trailer is in the ideal spot to build. It is the highest spot of the land (which floods pretty badly during heavy rains). The only other high spot is right in the middle of a bunch of trees - which we do not want to cut.

I will definitely have to talk to our insurance company, as we are in a tornado prone area.

No matter what we choose, we are trying to keep our overhead costs down, as we hate having our possession tied up through a bank, and to keep it on high ground without tearing up too much of the land.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 01:21 PM
BCR BCR is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: WV
Posts: 1,026
I hear you, we live at the end of a dead end too. However, never say never. We have 10 x the acreage you have and are feeling the squeeze. A neighbor is selling 5 acres across from us for a house, a housing development went in next to us-with no access currently from our road...and there is talk of the county, which owns a right-of-way, paving and creating a throughroad once again, like it was 60 or more years ago. Soooo, this finds us often thinking we might want to sell out for the $ and try again elsewhere later on. Especially since this is a very large home and we might not always want that and health and other conditions that may come up.

So, I guess my advice is to still consider re-sale value as you can never know what might be in your future.

Are you saying you are in a flood plain? That takes some consideration as well. You might wish to have an elevated home in the long run.
Make Equality A Reality
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 03:16 PM
comfortablynumb's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
Posts: 4,808

this was a before shot I havent made new ones since the sunmmers facelifting.

but this is a 12x60 with a full house roof added after the house part on a foundation besude/connected to it was built. the front here your looking onto the 12x20 concrete slab patio, which has shicted from patio to garage to you name it over the years. the T1-11 is skinned the whole thing and I repainted it dark brown with black new barnwood trim, plus I added a 12x30 hay shed off the left side in back. (trailer in center, right side has a sick frame foundation 12x40 and the 12x20 patio, the left side has a 12x30 shed added with the roof just a continuation of the slope of the main roof)

it was done over time as parts were needed.
i just tacked on a 12x10 extentio0n out the backside... lol
nice part about dark colors it makes everything blend.
on a nice day i will take better pics its much nicerr now.

but the answer... sure where your building codes let you its fine. just build the additions right so they dont fall off. :haha:

this was before i decided to move in and the patio was enclosed, the house was full of hay and the patio was a machine shop. the big doors on the front was where i backed the trucks in to toss hay in my now living room.

yes I stripped and remodled it all inside, no hay.
well not much.

Last edited by comfortablynumb; 01/17/05 at 03:25 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 05:00 PM
In Remembrance
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,844
Can you do this as a two-step process?

1. Build on an addition to one side and roof over both, but keep the trailer as a separate unit.

2. Sometime in the future pull out the trailer and turn that part into liveable space.

Ken Scharabok
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 06:24 PM
mommymushbrain's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 388
BCR... while it does flood here, we are not techincally in a flood plain - only by 5 miles though. And while we are currently on a dead end road right now, you are indeed correct about "never say never"... I am pretty sure they are getting ready to put in a mini Mcmansion type subdivision on the main road that our dirt road connects to. My dream would be to be able to buy all this land that surrounds us currently. However, you have helped the idea of saving up money "in case" our neighbors decided to move out and sell. (I am very anti-social. :haha

ComfortablyNumb... WOW! That is great looking!

Ken... that is a great idea as well!
Reply With Quote
Old 01/17/05, 06:44 PM
comfortablynumb's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
Posts: 4,808
yes ken, my other home was made with this in mind but they never removed the trailer, it too was just coverted.

park the trailer, build your addition with heavier center roof posts, like you would build a post and beam barn skeloton. on the outer edge of the trailer, you have posts supporting the roof like a carport, with enough space to carefully tow the trailer out later on.
I dont see the real point in this action myself, if you have an addition and a free standing supported roof on a post and beam frame, why bugger with a trailer in your way? live in the trailer in another spot, build the house and remove the trailer when you move in.

my house abouve they intended to do that also, they built the addition 40x12 with its own roof. the roof was the wrong pitch, to shallow, and they built a larger roof over the old one and over the trailer, so half my house has a double layer roof.
I discovered that when i found a hole in the ceiling remodling the addition, when i crawled in it I foind a black shingle roof almost in new condition. i always wondered why the totally shot roof on that side never leaked! I reskinned the old roof with 5 rib sheet tin end to end... great stuff!

but yes, with the proper post and beam frame it is done now and then. you tow out the trailer and you have either a 12x60 carport or a half a house in need of floors and walls, but the post and beam frame holds everything up like a pavillion.

its pretty neat. I went fishing with her last spring at a local park, they had MASSIVE post and beam pavillions built. I was hourse looking them over. whe thought i was crazy.
I paced them out, 40 feet wide and 90 feet long, no posts inside to hold up the center all on 8x8 posts 8or so feet apart.
imagine this... its awesome. 3600 sqft of open interior, no posts.
I had ideas from a house in the center with a go cart track on the outer rim (under the roof, for rainy days) to backing a 12x60 into the center of the thing (14 foot tall cieling) and just living in a pavilion with 14 feet of roof on all sides.
we wont even get into what I had planned for the rafters above! the center peak to ceiling was at least 8 foot with the high pitch....
yes... a trailer in the center and catwalks allovber the 2nd floor!!!

I didnt even fish I was mesmerized with this building.

recently a 6 foot flood inundated the whole park... the pavillion stood up the water ran right thru it.

i tell you this is the idea of the century... pavilion living.

Last edited by comfortablynumb; 04/05/06 at 01:40 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/18/05, 11:50 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone 9b, Lake Harney, Central FL
Posts: 4,898
I know someone who had to repair damage from the hurricanes. He did not bother with permits, just replaced most of the mobile home with stick built additions over a concrete foundation. When he's finished, he will yank the remains of the old mobile home out and it won't look any different for arial photos but will last much longer and be safer.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/19/05, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 597
If you are going to do all the work yourself, I would say why not?

The materials if you scounge can't be that much. Most of these remodeling horror stories involve having contractors do the work. I doubt it would ever pay to have it "Proper Done". Many don't do that good of work anyway.

It is probably the same as most remodel jobs. Do a complete gut or try to work around the existing structure? All depends on the skills, job, materials laying around and limitations involved. You probably are going to have to duck some of the "Conventional Thinking", maybe even this idea of permits depending on the location.

Most of these type projects really come down to how bad do you want it. Being a mobile home it is probably decreasing in value with age anyway. Yup, insurance and resale is something to think about, but is a hassle with trailers in many cases anyway. And the resale thing isn't that important if you find the right buyer.

In the end, it can't be about money but do you enjoy living there and would this little project increase that enjoyment.

Just remember if planning on using brick the foundation and footings must be far more substantial. Don't know it would pay. Might be better off building a brick house from scratch, I would think far less problems.
Reply With Quote
Old 01/19/05, 04:16 PM
mommymushbrain's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 388
Hubby and I have discussed it and I have had him read this thread.

We have decided to go ahead and start on it this summer. We are going to start building on the west side - we'll only have to remove one tree in the entire process.

However, we are going to leave it where we will have the option of building over the trailer or yanking it out.

Thank you all for the input!
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:45 AM.
Contact Us - Homesteading Today - Archive - Privacy Statement - Top - ©Carbon Media Group Agriculture