Manufactured or Sitck-built

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Wags, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. Wags

    Wags Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 2, 2002
    Willamette Valley, Oregon
    We finally got the transfer to the much smaller town that we requested and are contemplating our options:

    1) Buy a manufactured home (10yrs or newer) on small acerage (2-3 acres)
    2) Buy a stick-built home (built in the 50's) on 1-2 acres
    3) Buy small acerage (2-3 acres) and put a new manufactured home on it.
    4) Buy 25 acres with a "structurally unsound" manufactured home.... cost would be comparable with the above - just wouldn't have a livable home.

    The sale of our present home will allow us to do any of the first three options and not have a mortgage. The 4th one would require a mortgage for a new home. Major fixers aren't an option as dh is not handy at all.

    And then there is the whole manufactured vs. stick built. And if we built, I'm not sure where we would live while having a house built, as rentals are almost non-existant and none of them take pets.

    Basically we want elbow room - and space for a few critters... chickens, goats, pony for the kids... etc so I'm not sure we "need" 25 acres...

    Figured if anyone knew about the pros & cons it would be you wonderful folk :)
  2. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 9, 2003
    Since building/fixing your own is out of the equation, I would suggest you hire one home inspector to provide additional data about options 1 through 3. It would be a challenge to move to a new location and find reliable contractors to help fix a home that is broken. A reputable inspector would be able to add important imformation from one set of eyes to help you choose. Stick built vs manufactured is pretty difficult to choose after the fact. Its different if you are starting at square one. Options 1 through 3 have the advantage of no mortgage (that alone is significant) and you could easily develop your homesteading skills to decide whether you want or need more acreage while you save money. Make certain the inspector looks for termites, or have a separate inspector after you narrow the choices. Good luck.

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    Don't need a mortgage. Avoid that like the plague! Unless the new manufactured home has a firm contract with it including set up and delivery, do not count on it costing what you are originally told it will cost.

    Does the land that you are thinking about putting a new manufactured home on have water/sewer? Need to get good figures on hookups, etc.

    My opinion, FWIW, would be the l950's stick built over the older manufactured home.
  4. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    We bought a new mobile and have had nothing but problems with it. Definitely the stick built is best. If you can live on your property in a RV while building that is best. That way you can see what is going on at all times. We did this and were able to also do the clean up and other things contractors would ordinarily charge for. We were our own contractors and were able to get bids on all jobs. Most worked out to our satisfaction. Avoid the mobile at all costs!
  5. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2003
    I agree with everyone... Dont buy a manufactured house. I bought one almost 3 years ago... A "KIT" manufactured house. I am still fighting to get warranty items corrected. The company(based in idaho) went bankrupt 1 1/2 years after I bought the house and the new owners of the company says they wont stand behind any warranty issues prior to buying the company.
  6. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

    May 10, 2002
    illinois but i have a homestead building in missou
    My vote is number three 2-3 acres is plenty to live comfortably and garden and keep a few animals. Build your own home on the land a bit at a time so you can pay as you go. Id avoid the manufactured home too.
  7. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2002
    I have never seen a mobile home that is 20-30 years old that I would want to live in vs a stick built the same age. Our nearest neighbor bought a new one with lots of bells and whistles and sheetrock inside 3 years ago. It was expensive. He has not had a great deal of trouble with it, but it now needs a new stove as the one it came with is broken. The siding is looking bad and will soon need to be replaced. He built a garage and sunroom and porches on to it and it looks really nice, but it is still a mobile home and depreciates in this part of the country. If you must go the mobile home route, then buy one that is 3-4 years old and has depreciated quite a bit already.
  8. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Aug 4, 2003
    Zone Unknown
    I bought land with an older mobile (10 years old) on it and am very, very satisfied, esp. since I paid cash and now have no mortgage.

    I paid next to nothing for the mobile --- but it is very, very solid. The people who originally purchased it went for solidity (good, thick plywood floors, good water heater, high wind rating, well insulated) rather than stupid details.

    Yet, some people go and spend $75K+ on a mobile and it starts falling apart almost immediately. :rolleyes: The money they've spent is for the stupid details and not solidity. That's the key, if you go this route.

    Bit by bit, I am going through and replacing some of the stupid details --- for example, the ugly mass produced trim, I'm replacing with real wood which I'll sand myself and poly. Some awful doors, I'm also replacing --- things like that.

    If you approach the care and maintenance of a solid mobile like the care and maintenance of a car or a stickbuilt, you'll be okay. Many problems I see arise when people spend huge amounts of money not for solidity, but for stupid geegaws --- and then fail to do any maintenance or repairs whatsoever. :no:

    In addition, you need to do your homework --- there are mobile home forums out there and also entire websites put up by dissatisfied owners which will give you an idea of what to stay away from, which manufacturers are downright lousy, etc.
  9. Tinker

    Tinker Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 5, 2004
    NE Ohio
    We have been looking for a place "forever". Although manufactured homes have come a long way in the past 10 years, they still do not seem to hold their value like a stick built, at least in our area. You have to do what makes sense for you, but I would buy more acreage (5-10 acres), maybe buy a camper or trailer to live in till you can build your dream home.
  10. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2004
    My BIL and his wife just bought a manufactured home and put it on 2-3 acres. They chose to do a lot of the staining of interior doors and tiling in the bathrooms, etc. themselves so they could save $$ and get the materials they really wanted. They had a chimmney put in (w/wall board over it for now)and he is putting in his own wood stove. However they had noisy neighbors build right next to them on the other side of hte property line (build in on your property so you won't be bothered by neighbors). They had already bought the land and knew approximately how much house would cost, even as they added better appliances, etc. There was still a settlement bill for extras. They also had to pay another company to come in and level land, fill and put septic in and don't know if basement (cement walk in) was included in house or if paid to guy who did land clearing, etc. The simple fact is when buying or building a house it always costs more than you think.

    What about buying a fairly new house - a few years old?

    It's beautiful and new, and they love it. They hired a contractor to put on a deck, porch and do other work to finish up what the MH company didn't do. They were happy with the company. I think you need to really do your homework there. Maybe do a web search on recommended/rated companies?

    I would also find a contractor and look at work he has done - even if this is considered rude, you want to know what your going to get for your $$.

    Although my BIL's house is really nice, i would have gone for a smaller house with better materials. The contractor threw together the deck - left nail holes in the railings and connected the balisters to the rail with a nail right through the railing. BIL had to sand and fill about a zillion holes.

    My hubby and I believe that it's best to go with better materials the first time around with any project you do. When we built our 18 x 18 deck, we used stainless screws and trex for the decking and railing and red cedar for the balisters - more expensive, but we haven't done anything in 6 years to it. He doesn't see anything wrong with MH if the company has been in business a long time and has a quality product - it will be a tight house. Every extra you want adds cost, so maybe do some yourself later like my BIL doing his own wood stove setup and hearth and the tiling he really wanted instead of linoleum.

    Also, my BIL was able to visit the factory where his house was built before to see how they worked and while it was done.

    Six years ago when my hubby and I were going to move to another state near by, we met with a "stick" builder and although we would have had a garage, more land everything in the house was going to cost more and more. We stayed.

    sorry for rambling,

  11. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    May 26, 2004
    for what its worth , the 25 acres with no home would be my choice, even if i werent handy, though the 25 acres leaves a lot to do ,

    25 acres would be my choice, because you can never have enough land ;) its terrible to want to raise a cow or something and only have an acre or so , so you have to buy the feed, cut back on goats, etc....and i dont like to use land that intensively .... its not healthy for it, and i find it a lot harder to have that peacefull feeling on just one or two acres, i know there are others here who do fine on it but, as for me and mine , and my personal experience with land , i like a absolute minimum of 20 acres
    that gives you enough room from the nearest neighbors, and you can raise extra animals to sell, to help pay for the ones you raise for yourself (no you dont really ""make" money, but it helps you break even)

    any option you have you will be dealing with a contractor , to get repairs done , or do outright building
    make sure to check out other homes they have done , and talk to at least 5 others they have worked with , check them out through the BBB check them out at the lumber yards and electrical stores, do they reccomend them ? do they have accounts in good standing, do they pay bills on time ? talk to title companys too, ask them about thier experience with the builder, do they handle the escrow process well, to they always seem strapped for cash ? is this the size/scale of project they can handle ?

    have you thought of the 25 acres and a used rv for a time , till you can swing into building your own home ?
    you know its fairly cheap to have a builder get you to the "dried in" stage, which is the foundation , shell and complete roof, you finish the interior, with insullation drywall, and flooring painting, which are the most expensive parts of home construction ((BTW, yes my hubby and I are builders)) depending where you are, a single story with full basement at about 1400-1800 sq ft, should be about 60k-80k to get to the dry in phase, assuming you do the work yourself, or have the local tech college students work on it , over a period of time , say a year or so , you will have about 10-25k in additional exp. to finish the home, and you can learn how to hang the sheetrock , mud and tape is fairly easy to learn how to do

    theres always the option of building a Fantastic small house, i have seen a couple/small family get by quite nicely on a farm with a home of only about 500-600 sq ft,
    since youre only inside on the farm in the morning when youre on the net, and at night for dinner and when youre sleeping, this is actually quite do-able,

    1 bedroom 10x10 , living room kitchen dining 10x20, bath 5x5 and laundry/pantry of 5x10 and youre set - make it with a nice big porch for summer timerunning the front length of the home,and entertaining guests
    heck even add another 10x10 bedroom, and youre really styling with still less than 600 sq ft....dont forget closets though, in a really small house, the closets are the key to keeping it clean !!!
    heres a link to a 600 sq ft home on full basement , so you could have another bedroom or two in the basement,...... effectively giving you nearly 1200 sq ft ...

    on the 25 acres ,
    you have several options which you may not have considered , the us dept of ag will help fence it , you just have to do the work , they give you the money for fencing, then its also zoned rural , so your barn and farm equipment are all part of the buisness, and a write off , plus depreciation if you need to put in a well, the dept of ag might help too, assuming theres no live water on the land, and you talk to a good agent they can help you put in the well for "livestock watering" , the only caveat with that would be , you would have to put the first tap going into the barn or stock tank , before the house :D , generally not a problem .....

    personally, i thin you could do the 25 without any mortgage at all,
    just my 2 cents
  12. soapgal

    soapgal New Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    From our own personal experience:

    I would recommend purchasing the 25 acres, and finding a way to make a home on it. We made the mistake of only purchasing 5 acres, and it is not enough. We also put a new manufactured home on it. We have not had any problems with our manufactured home, but I still wish we'd built an earth contact or basement type home. Much more energy efficient and lower maintenance in general.

    My advice, for the 2 cents it is probably worth:
    Buy as much land as you can afford to, and figure out the housing as you go along. Find something to live in while you build/have built something else.
    Good luck, and by the way, how old are you? Just curious.
    Carla :eek:)
  13. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2003
    Heres what one my aunts did. She and her dh had 3 small boys. they bought the land, prepared the homesite, got a septic, no well so they had to haul water in, got electric and built the foundation. then they set an older single wide on top the foundation for a few more years until thier finances were freed up enough to build the real house. For a while that single wide had a very large deck, LOL. She's passed away now but the house is still there, the 3 oldest built a deck off one end, where the land sloped. They also have a barn and horse run when boy #2 had a horse. I would say the house is at least 25 yrs old, lasted 5 growing boys, grandkids, loads of other family. My aunt had an open door policy, so you could imagine how much company she had. A double wide, even a very well built one, never would have lasted in those conditions. HTH
  14. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    May 11, 2002
    Now in Virginia
    I would say, if the 25 acres of land are all useable, go for that. See if they have power near by and if the have had it perked already.
    You do not have to use all of the land, but it is nice to have a buffer from your nieghbors.

    Stay away from the used/old manufactured homes... if you can. If you have to sell, they can be harder to sell for a good price.

    We were where you are now, 5 months ago.. Looking everywhere with in 1 1/2 hours drive to DH's work. Scary part you would not believe how spendy OR is.
    Anyway,, we looked and looked,, and just about gave up. We were down to getting 5 acres with no improvements and putting up a Yurt.
    But at the last minute... DH ran across this house and 14.40 acres.. Majority if it useable. It only has a small stick built house, fencing ,what there is of it, is Barbed wire, which is not good for horses. So we will be building fencing as we can afford it.
    Will take a good long while to get things like we would want it.. but the extra land is worth it.
    Sadly though,, we ended up needing a Mortgage,, wish it were otherwise. What we plan on doing is one or two extra payments a year, to help pay it off faster.
    For now, we are just glad for the roof over our heads.

    Honestly is up to you what you would like to do. Please let us know what you decide.
  15. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

    Aug 30, 2003
    As far as "manufactured" homes go take a look at SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) construction. I had a 3000 sq. ft custom design priced out at $120,000.00 plus labor. This included all materials necessary to make the home "weather tight" (i.e. doors, windows, roofing material, siding etc) and was a post and beam design to boot. While materials may cost a bit more, SIP construction generally cuts down on labor, the walls are built in a controlled factory environment meaning, among other things, that everything is square and if you so desire the interior side of exterior walls can be drywalled before shipping and windows can even be installed depending on the manufacturer thereby further cutting down on on site labor.

    "Precast" foundation walls are also available and are generally considered superior to foundations poured on site. Again, manufacturing in controlled settings produces consistent results. From what I'm told and have read, an average foundation can be installed literally in one day's time once the hole itself is dug and prepped. The single largest labor expense, in my opinion, would be the crane needed to handle both the foundation and house walls. After that, a crew of 2-5 men can theoretically have the house weather tight in as little as 3 weeks. After that, depending on local building codes, you could run electric, plumbing, interior walls etc. as you go meaning you could get bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen up and running first and then other rooms and do "finish" work as necessary. You may be living in a construction zone for a year or two but, in the long run, it may be worth it to you....

    Good luck !
  16. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    May 11, 2002
    Now in Virginia
    That is a good idea Mike,, my best friend, and two of my Aunts live in pre-fab houses.
    They all have had no problems with them, and like them a lot. They cost a little more than a single or Double wide, with much, much better quality, at the same time cheaper than most stick built houses.
  17. Wags

    Wags Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 2, 2002
    Willamette Valley, Oregon
    Thanks to you all for your opinions - you have definately given me something to think about. We are moving to the mid-willamette valley in Oregon from southern Oregon where housing prices have gone through the roof! The sale of our house here will finance the move. (It's doubled in value over the past 8 years!!)

    To answer your questions - I'm 40 and dh is 41. We have a 5 month old daughter and hope to add another child to the family before she is 2 years old. I work part-time from home via the interent so high-speed connection is a MUST for me.
    I just found a new listing that looks promising....a 1965 house with aprox 1600 sq ft on 1.8 has a 24x36 macine shed on it for storage. Its a foreclosure, so don't know that condition it is in. We might be able to purchase the adjoining 2+ acres which would give us a little more elbow room and a place to build later....

    Again, thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it!
  18. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    Wags, I would think you would find the real estate prices in the Willamette Valley to be as high as where you are, if not higher!

    Just a technical point: Manufactured homes *are* stick built. What you are trying to differentiate is between manufactured homes and *site* built homes.

    Personally, I would go for the larger acreage with the old MH on it. Even if DH isn't handy. Presumably it already has a septic system and a well, though you would do well to go the county offices and find out if you can still use them.

    If you buy bare land and put a manufactured home on it, you can expect to spend another thirty to fifty thousand dollars over the price of the home for well, septic system, foundation for the house, garage, driveway, getting electric in, well house, and so on. We just went through that whole rigamarole with this place we are in -- brand new, moved in this last March. This is a pretty good brand of Manufactured home, Fuqua, and it still has some little nitpicky things that weren't done right. It is a Good Cents home, so is well insulated. But, there is no way to make it work for solar heat. And barely a place to put a wood stove.

    I think over the years to come, it is going to be more and more important to have houses built to be as energy-efficient as possible, with as much passive solar as possible. That is one of the reasons why I would go with the land that has the old mobile home on it. If you start from scratch and build it yourselves, with you in charge if DH isn't handy and is working outside the home full-time, you can design and build a nice little solar home that works better for your family than an off-the-shelf manufactured or site-built home ever could. And it should have almost no utility bills.

    Definitely do whatever you have to do to avoid a mortgage. You can live on a pretty small income if you don't have a mortgage to worry about, and are able to raise much of your own food.
  19. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
    Buy the 25 acres.
    Take a loan on 22 of the 25 acres. (Legally separate the 2 parcels)
    Locate a home that is to be demolished/moved to make way for "progress" and have the house moved to 3 of the 25 acres. Set the home up with the "borrowed money" doing what you can to offset expenses while still having a place to live.
    The end results is you will have a stick built home on 3 acres for the price of a manufactured home and it will be paid for. Your income after meeting the essentials of life will be available to pay for the 22 acres and that 22 acres is all that will be "at risk". The 22 acres should afford a decent investment for the future and you will have the use of it in the meanwhile!
  20. peanutgreen

    peanutgreen Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2003
    I would choose #2. Stick built usually appreciates in value if you take care of it; mobile/manufactured don't (that I have ever seen). As you are living in the house, you can start to raise some critters on 1-2 acres, as well as a garden. It would give you a chance to decide if you want more land and how much more. And if you decide that you do want more, you will have the option of looking for the best deals because you won't be in a hurry to buy the first thing you find. If you decide to buy something else, you can take a mortgage on it and pay it off when you sell the house you already own (hopefully with some appreciation in value).