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  #1  
Old 01/17/05, 10:02 AM
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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?

Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 01/17/05, 10:28 AM
 
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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.

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  #3  
Old 01/17/05, 10:33 AM
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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.

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  #4  
Old 01/17/05, 10:39 AM
 
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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.

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  #5  
Old 01/17/05, 10:45 AM
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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.

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  #6  
Old 01/17/05, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
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.
EXACTLY!

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.
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  #7  
Old 01/17/05, 10:53 AM
 
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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.

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  #8  
Old 01/17/05, 11:15 AM
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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?

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  #9  
Old 01/17/05, 11:27 AM
 
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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.

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  #10  
Old 01/17/05, 11:53 AM
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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

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  #11  
Old 01/17/05, 12:07 PM
 
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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.

-Jack

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  #12  
Old 01/17/05, 12:44 PM
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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.

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  #13  
Old 01/17/05, 01:21 PM
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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.

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  #14  
Old 01/17/05, 05:00 PM
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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

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  #15  
Old 01/17/05, 06:24 PM
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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!

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  #16  
Old 01/18/05, 11:50 AM
 
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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.

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  #17  
Old 01/19/05, 03:15 PM
 
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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.

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  #18  
Old 01/19/05, 04:16 PM
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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!

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  #19  
Old 01/19/05, 06:13 PM
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Nice place ya got there, Numb!

I can't say which is the best way to go in your situation, MommyMush, but I can offer one caveat.

I heard of a guy awhile back who had tried to make a 2-story house out of 2 singlewide trailers.

I wouldn't recommend it! :haha:

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  #20  
Old 01/19/05, 10:18 PM
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mommymush...I live in Arkansas in a trailer with a addition...just a bedroom and we didnt have alot of trouble getting insurance...now the financing was a different story..however...the thing is..when you start adding alot of additions..the bank will look at it differently..their most concerned with how easily can it be moved..they dont wanna finance something that someone can move and take off with easily...anyhooo the insurance was not a problem...ohh just a suggestion if the trailer isnt underpenned yet..I would be sure to brace under the doors..because the years cause sagging and draggin doors..

~Cindy~

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  #21  
Old 01/19/05, 11:04 PM
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This is a great topic. I am hoping to find a place farther out of town about five acres or so with a moble home would be great. I have been making plans on how to remodel and these ideas are very helpful.

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  #22  
Old 01/20/05, 12:11 AM
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Something to remember about unconventional housing: There are no hard and fast rules.

I am adding a mobile home (old government office trailer 12x60) to the housing cluster right now. I pulled it into place up against the back of our greenhouse planning on cutting a door into the side for access. Didn't like that so moved it so the end of the mobile home was against the side of the greenhouse and cut a door into the end for access. Now I have a straight shot throught the trailer of 60 feet and then the greenhouse which is (at present) 24 feet across. Thinking about pulling another one in on the other side and tying in the barn too but gotta get rid of a bunch of beetle ridden pines first.

This trailer had a large 24 x 12 main room with a 12x10 office on each end and a 6 x 10 bathroom with toilet and sink. Didn't want a bathroom in the trailer (that's in the greenhouse ) so took all the plumbing out and now the bathroom is a office. Kitchen is in the quonset hut that the greenhouse is attached to as is the library. Room connecting to the greenhouse is an office also. Large room is living room and other office is bedroom.

Next step will be to rebuild the greenhouse into a 12 x 16 two story and 12 x 16 bath and laundry area. Two story will be heat and plant room downstairs and bedroom upstairs.

I may also add a porch on the front of the trailer and workshop along the back. Building is what you make it. If something doesn't work, tear it out and do it another way.

FWIW

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  #23  
Old 01/20/05, 03:26 AM
 
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Be careful. The flooring is made of particle board in most mobiles...Only lasts about 10 years and that is without humidity problems. Also, our county outlawed mobiles over 15 years old for electrical wiring not up to new code... so be sure your wiring is way above code FOR A REAL HOUSE. I used to work for a rural housing non-profit. Seen some bad stuff for areas who want to cater as tourism and retirees and they hate anything that smells of a mobile home. Be sure you mobile is brought up to "above code" for a real house and it is cost effective to do it before you put in money for the brick, etc.... Better yet.. find a smallest modular you can afford... then build on to it. They follow "real" house codes. Unfortunately, mobile is just that. Mobile....

How do they know ??? Checking the history of building permits... Unless you are lucky enough to live in a VERY rural area with an unsophisticated local/county governement... it is very easy for them to figure out what you did. Most jurisdictions will let you keep your mobile forever under a building permit while you work on a real house. Best bet, add on separately, legal, and build out of your mobile as money allows. Good luck.

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  #24  
Old 01/20/05, 08:29 AM
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:haha: I have no plans for a 2 story home....


ArkLady, that is great that you got it done easily enough! May I ask what part of the state you live in? I am just wondering because I know this state is almost like different states in some places! LOL We are over near Ft. Smith.

Andalusianchik... thanks for all the cautions. I am not worried about the wiring, as my husband is a licensed master electrician and has already updated the wiring in this trailer.

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  #25  
Old 01/20/05, 10:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Scharabok
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 livable space.

Ken Scharabok
The best idea by far.

I had a friend do just this. They went in and set concrete piers on both sides of the trailer, and built a roof over the entire thing. They lived in the trailer, and built the addition as they had time and money. When the addition was complete, or pretty much livable, they pulled the trailer out, put in their floor joists and exterior walls where the trailer had been, and voilà!, there stood a standard house.

It takes some careful floorplans, and a lot of forethought, but you wind up with an appreciating asset, and something worth a lot more money. I never intend to sell, either, and have lived in the same house over 20 years, but if life has taught me anything, never say never!
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Old 01/20/05, 01:27 PM
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Willow,
Want to know what is even a scarier thought? A few years ago (maybe 3) we were in Mississippi to visit the in laws. We were driving by a mobile home dealer place and they were selling 2 story trailers!!! ROFL Im not kidding, they were making and selling them. I just could not believe someone would live in one!!

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  #27  
Old 01/20/05, 08:43 PM
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mommymushbrain...
I live in the Russellville area...not too far from you...about a hour from Ft Smith...RIGHT now that is...planning a move in the near future...my husband is a pastor, we are candiating for a church in NE Arkansas..

~Cindy~

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