How to: Buy Mobile Homes in California

News / Consumer

Mobile homes continue to grow in popularity. Homebuyers who might not have considered purchasing a mobile home instead of a traditional tract home or custom-build are now looking seriously at this budget-friendly, upgrades-rich option. If you are shopping for a new home, follow this "How to: Buy Mobile Homes in California" step-by-step guide, and see what this segment of the housing market has to offer:

Step 1 Type "mobile homes California" into the search engine of your choice. Make a list of the manufacturers on the first page of results that offer not only an abundance of floor plans but also factory tours, as you will want to see the building process just as you would with a tract home or custom-build. Remove any manufacturers from your list that do not have a variety of models to see at different stages during construction.

Step 2 With the manufacturers that remain, explore their websites and look at the available models. Mobile homes typically range from one to five bedrooms, with square footage from as little as around 500 to more than 2,500. The most respected manufacturers post not only floor plans of their models with photos but also 3-D renderings; Factory Expo, in particular, excels in this area.

Start by looking for the number of bedrooms you need, and then browse the options to find a desirable floor plan. Manufacturers of the best mobile homes California has to offer will have a floor plan to fit the needs of just about any homebuyer. For example, if you have a family of five, the perfect mobile home will be one with a master bedroom on one end and three bedrooms on the other, allowing the adults their space and the children theirs. A retired couple, on the other hand, might prefer a one-bedroom that requires little maintenance with a sleeping loft for visiting grandchildren. Make a list of your five favorite models from each manufacturer.

Step 3 Explore upgrade options for your favorite models. With tract homes and custom-builds, upgrades can easily add tens of thousands of dollars to the purchase price. With mobile homes, upgrades come at much more affordable prices, especially when you consider that the base cost of the home runs tens of thousands less than that of tract homes and custom-builds. This allows buyers of mobile homes to get more house for their money.

For example, upgrade options for certain models at Factory Expo include hardwood floors, wainscoting, a box bay window, a stone fireplace, a computer desk, glass overhead cabinets in the kitchen and a chandelier in the dining room, plus appliances packages and bathroom upgrades. An appliance package can add a stainless-steel refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher to the kitchen, as well as upgrading the stove from traditional to smooth top. In the bathroom, upgrades can include elongated toilets and a separate fiberglass shower. Also, additional doors can be added to many mobile homes as an option.

Step 4 Schedule a tour at the most easily accessible manufacturer's home center. Factory Expo, in particular, has home centers throughout the country. Tours of the building process and models are available daily.

Step 5 Visit the mobile home center and take the construction tour first. You will be excited to see the mobile homes, but you want to make sure you leave time for the behind-the-scenes tour, as it shows you the quality of construction by the manufacturer. All manufacturers of mobile homes must adhere to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, but you want to buy your home from a manufacturer that goes above and beyond those regulations.

Step 6 Choose your favorite mobile home from the models and decide on upgrades, again keeping in mind that upgrades prove much more affordable with mobile homes than with tract housing. They also retain their value. This isn't always the case with tract homes or custom-builds, which are much more susceptible to the ups and downs of the housing market.

If you keep these six steps in mind, choosing your next home from among the many high-quality mobile homes California has available will be a fun and stress-free process. Another selling point of mobile homes is that you won't have to enter the offer and counteroffer process with a current buyer or builder. Simply choose the model you like, add the upgrades, and the home will be yours without any hassle at all.

About the Author: Albert Miller writes about mobile homes in California and other states for a variety of trade and homebuyer publications. He regularly visits the home centers of mobile home manufacturers. Most recently, he spent time at the Factory Expo center in Arizona and was impressed with both the construction process and the sales staff.