Are you in the market for a new home? A single-wide mobile home might be an excellent option for you. If you still need to decide why a single-wide might be a great option, check out my article on why single wides are growing in popularity as an alternative housing option.
This comprehensive guide will explore the hassle-free buying process for a single-wide mobile home.
We will touch on financing, choosing a lender, tips to get your finances in order, what to expect at the local showroom, and finding the home of your dreams. Finally, we will explore how to save money and the buying process steps through till the home is delivered to its final spot.
I will also share some negotiation tips and 3 IMPORTANT ITEMS with you when you talk price to the sales associate.
As a real estate agent, I work with buyers daily to prepare to find their dream homes. It may seem overwhelming, but I can assure you it does not have to be. I love helping first-time home buyers walk the buying journey and seeing their smiles when they get the key to their new homes.
- Single-wide mobile homes are an alternative housing option for those on a budget.
- It is wise to get clarity on your Finances before visiting a showroom.
- The process to have your new home set up should only take a few weeks.
- There are 3 important items you need to bring with you when you visit the Showroom.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate! I share a powerful Real Estate Agent negotiation tip with you.
- Watch out for potential sales traps when visiting a showroom.
Table of Contents
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I can earn commissions. If you decide to purchase through my links, it is at no cost to you.
What is a Single Wide Mobile Home?
A single-wide or manufactured home is a single-section home built in a factory and transported to a designated site. A single-wide is an excellent option for first-time home buyers, those with a more limited budget, or those looking for a getaway home. Typically the cost of buying a single wide is cheaper than renting.
It is no secret that the cost of housing has increased, and there are not enough affordable homes for sale. This is where the single wide comes in. A single-wide home typically has a lower amount needed to enter the homeownership world.
Technically, they are officially called manufactured homes since building standards changed in the 1970s. I still refer to them as mobile homes and use the terms interchangeably.
The Buying Process
Let’s dive into the buying process and make it as hassle-free as possible.
I broke the entire process down and made it easy to follow. I put a lot of thought into how to share the steps with you so you can make the best possible choice for your home. My goal is to help you work through the steps strategically so you can make an informed and educated decision and selection.
Home buying is very emotional. I see it every day. The goal is to let a clear head make decisions and let our emotions approve those decisions. Making an emotional decision when purchasing a home could cost you in the long run.
Stages involved in the purchase process
Step 1: The Land Selection
You have first to decide where the home will be placed. The home can either be placed:
- In a community with a leased lot (Sometimes you can purchase a lot in a community, so be sure to ask).
- On a piece of property you already own or will purchase;
- On a piece of land owned by someone else, like family members.
Navigating Land Options: Buying, Renting, or Leasing
Determine whether buying land, renting a lot, or leasing property suits your circumstances and budget. Consider factors such as location, amenities, long-term plans, and monthly costs associated with each option.
Researching Zoning Requirements for Placing a Single-Wide Mobile Home
Consult local zoning regulations and land-use restrictions to ensure your chosen land suits your home. Understand setback requirements, utility connections, and any specific permits or approvals needed.
Considering Factors for Ideal Land Selection
Evaluate factors like access to utilities, proximity to schools and services, neighborhood restrictions, and the overall suitability of the land. Prioritize factors that align with your lifestyle and preferences.
Tip: If you have decided to buy a piece of property, you may be able to finance the land with the home. Be sure to ask the lender.
Step 2: The Financing
Financing is a crucial aspect of the buying process. There are several options available, including loans specifically designed for manufactured housing. Getting your finances in order and determining your budget is crucial.
Creating a Budget
Start by creating a budget for your expense so you know what money you can spend on your housing. You want to be very clear on your money and ensure you do not put yourself in a situation where you can’t afford a temporary financial setback or emergency.
Getting clarity on your budget now will prevent you from caving into an emotional decision when some custom features start catching your eye in the home. Trust me. It will happen.
Remember – a house note won’t change – life will!
Here is an easy budget sheet from the Clayton Homes website.
Understanding Financing Options
Explore different loan programs for mobile home purchases, including chattel or manufactured home loans. Understand the requirements, interest rates, and repayment terms to make an informed financing decision. There are various lenders and financial institutions specializing in mobile home financing.
Preparing Your Finances and Documents for the Financing Process
Organize your financial documents, such as income statements, tax returns, and bank statements. Using a mortgage calculator can give you an idea of what amount you could spend to achieve a monthly mortgage you are comfortable with.
Apply for a loan
Here is some information on finding a lender.
Once you have decided on a lender, apply for a loan. The lender will guide you through what is needed to determine what you are pre-approved for. Once you have your pre-approval number, see the monthly note associated with the number.
Just because a lender says you are pre-approved up to a certain number, the monthly note may differ from what you would want. This is where clarity on the numbers comes into play. Get the clarity and stick to it.
Important Item #1 – If you decide a lender has approved you for more than you need, see how the monthly note changes if you would go up in increments of $1,000. This way, you will know if there is an upgrade you want and how the mortgage numbers would change each month.
Steps to determine how $1,000 increments affect monthly mortgage
Keep this information handy to refer back to later. Here is an example of one I prepared.
Here are the steps to assist you in determining how the numbers change. I used the mortgage calculator. My example is a preapproval amount of $175,000 with $2,000 down and a 5% interest rate. The lender estimates my annual property taxes will be $500, and my annual insurances are $750.
Note: Do not forget to include the cost of lot rent or the amount of the land mortgage, if applicable.
Step 1 – Enter the Home price, Down payment, Interest rate, Loan term, Annual property taxes, and Annual property insurance in the mortgage calculator
Step 2 – Change the Home price until you reach your ideal monthly mortgage note in the GREEN CIRCLE. You can adjust using the slider or type in the number.
Step 3 – Increase the Home price by $1,000 increments and document the new amount in the GREEN CIRCLE on your worksheet.
This is what my final worksheet looks like.
Step 3: The Must-Haves and Wish List
Identifying Your Essential Features and wish list items
Undoubtedly, there will be an extensive selection of single-wide mobile homes for sale. Single wides come in a few sizes and should have different floor plans. There are also many upgrades to choose from, as well as room configurations.
At this stage, you need to list your must-haves and wish list items which are important items #2 & #3.
If you are doing this with a partner, you want to ensure both parties communicate about their needs and wants. Make it a fun activity. The more clarity you get now, the better.
Do you want a big kitchen, a cozy yet spacious home, a lot of storage, and a separate tub and shower in the Primary bedroom?
Identify those must-haves and wish list items accordingly so you can refer back to them later.
Think through your lifestyle and daily routines. Make those notes as well. Do you entertain a lot? Do you host holiday events? Do you have a family home for the holidays? How will you utilize the space?
Step 4: The Online Search
Now the fun begins! The internet has much information to review, and many single-wide mobile homes are for sale. You should check out a few manufactured home brands and compare each against each other.
Utilize online resources to shop a selection of single-wide manufactured homes from the comfort of your couch. You can browse and compare available new and used (if available) home options. Use filters and search tools to narrow your choices based on location, price range, and features.
Clayton Homes as a customer portal to help with the search. You can enter your house criteria and your most important features. This can help you narrow down the choices. The 3D tours and photos may help you visualize the space.
I tested all these features, which were easy to use and helpful. Here are some home features you can select from to narrow your choices.
Clayton Homes sells not only single-section homes but multi-section homes. Their newer CrossMod Homes is also a great fit for those looking to cross between a manufactured home and a site-built home at a more affordable price.
If your budget allows, a modular home can be considered in your buying decisions. There are just so many to choose from once you start looking. That is why having clarity on the Important items mentioned above is crucial.
The single section typically has a lower starting price and is a perfect option for a first-time home buyer.
What I love about technology is you can almost walk through a house from the comfort of your sofa. It’s amazing.
The interactive floor plan feature on the Clayton Homes website is handy as it goes through the different areas that can be customized and allows you to view what is possible.
Make notes of what you like so that when you begin touring the homes in person, you already know what is possible.
Many dealers also have collections of homes that you can preview and get some great ideas from. Check out the Clayton Homes Favorite Homes.
Step 5: The Showroom Visit
Grab your three important items from above and get ready to have fun.
Tip: Since you know your pre-approval amount and have clarity on the financials, ask the sales associate not to show you anything above your price range. I can almost guarantee you will like something more expensive.
Now you have to visit a location near you. You may even visit a few locations offering different brands to compare them to each other in person. You want to be able to assess the products they offer and see which quality materials they use.
You could score some savings if you get lucky and visit a Clayton dealer during their Clayton Homes Clearance Sale!
Some vendors may have more options in stock than others. It is also a good idea to ask how long the build time is on homes ordered soon, as if one vendor is backed up with orders, you may choose another location with a shorter build time.
Note: Since you know your pre-approval amount and have clarity on the financials, ask the sales associate to not show you anything above your price range. I can almost guarantee you will like something that is more expensive.
Tip: Don’t fall for the potential trap. Some of the upgrades you want in your home will likely increase the base price, so if the only thing in your price range available is the single-section homes, they only shop single-wide mobile homes for sale. You do not need to step foot in a multi-section or modular home.
Benefits of Visiting a Clayton Homes Showroom
Visit a Clayton Homes showroom to experience the quality, craftsmanship, and wide range of options. Explore different floor plans and interior finishes, and visualize how the homes align with your vision.
Making the Most of Your Showroom Visit: Questions to Ask and Features to Assess
Prepare a list of questions for showroom representatives. Assess the quality of construction, materials used, and available customization options, and inquire about warranties and after-sales support. You should be able to get a price quote on the home you like on the same day.
Getting a Hands-On Experience and Visualizing Your Future Home
Take the opportunity to walk through the model homes at the showroom, paying attention to room sizes, layouts, storage options, and overall design. Visualize how your furniture and belongings would fit in the space and consider any necessary modifications or upgrades. Some buyers say the home feels spacious or the home is smaller than what I need.
If the location has a huge selection of single-wide homes, consider asking the sales associate for a home floor plan printout and make notes as you go. You can document the pros and cons of each home on the sheet to review later against your must-haves list and wish lists.
Listen to how you feel in the space and try not to be distracted by the furnishings. Sometimes, single wides can include staging, so be sure to take note of this if you are attracted to a house and need to know why. You want the staging to be focused on the rooms and amenities as larger reasons to like space.
Step 6: The Home Selection
Evaluating Floor Plans and Layouts to Suit Your Lifestyle
Carefully review the floor plans and layouts of the homes you are considering. Assess how the space flows, the functionality of rooms, and how well it caters to your specific lifestyle and needs. Include as many rooms in your assessment as possible, not just the main living spaces.
Customization Options and Upgrades Available from Clayton Homes
Inquire about customization options and upgrades Clayton Homes offers. Explore appliance packages, flooring options, cabinetry styles, and exterior finishes to personalize your home. It is important to take note a home without upgrades will have a less expensive starting price and a shorter build time.
The are some options you may be able to customize:
- coffered ceilings
- bench and built-in seating
- patio doors
- kitchen island
- farmhouse sinks
- upgraded refrigerators
- designer vent hoods
- coffee bars
- brushed chrome faucets
- granite countertops
- double sink vanities
- rainfall shower heads
- freestanding tubs
- basement stairwells
- tile showers
- entertainment centers
- decorative lighting
- upgraded cabinet hardware
- upgraded front doors
- decorative exterior accents
- washer and dryer
Balancing Budget and Features When Making the Final Selection
Consider your budget for your home purchase and ensure that the chosen home aligns with your financial goals.
Assess the value provided by each home in terms of features, customization options, and overall quality before making a final decision.
This is where your work in getting clarity on what you must have, wish you could have, and how the monthly note would change per $1,000 comes in handy.
Grab your 3 important items list and reassess them to help you make your decisions.
It is ok to negotiate and play hardball. The sales associates help you get everything you want at a comfortable price.
They also do not want you to walk out the door and get exactly how you want next door at the competitors.
That doesn’t feed their family.
Use this powerful real estate agent negotiation strategy – “I want to say yes and move forward today. What is holding me back is (this is where you explain your dilemma – don’t make it a long story, just short and to the point). What can you do to help me resolve that so we can get the paperwork started?”
There could be ways to make the deal work and create a win-win for everyone. Refrain from the cave and refer to those three important items if needed.
Be willing to walk away and let them come back to you.
Step 7: The Home Purchase
The sales associates are there to help you. They will guide you through the process hands-on and answer your questions. Be sure to ask any questions. There are no dumb questions!
Understanding the Buying Process and Necessary Documentation
Familiarize yourself with buying a new single-wide home, including the required documentation and legal steps. Gather necessary financial documents, identification, and any additional paperwork specified by the seller or dealer.
Each vendor your visit may have a slightly different process. The sales associate should be able to help you determine and ensure the home doesn’t require a special permit.
Tips for Working with Dealers and Sales Representatives
Maintain open communication with the dealer or sales representative throughout the purchasing process. Seek clarity on any concerns or questions, and ensure all agreements and terms are documented in writing to avoid misunderstandings.
Also, ask about any warranties offered by the company.
Tip: Read everything before signing! It could save you money in the long run!
Step 8: The Building Process
From Order Placement to Production: Steps in Building Your Home
Understand the building process, from placing the order with the manufacturer to the production stages. Familiarize yourself with the timeline and milestones of the construction process.
You can look at a Clayton Home Unbuilt below to see just how the home is constructed.
Timelines and Communication During the Construction Phase
Communicate with a sales associate for an estimated timeline for completing your home. Maintain regular contact to stay informed about progress updates, and address any questions or concerns that may arise during the construction phase.
Quality Control and Inspections to Ensure a Well-Built Home
Learn about quality control measures and inspections while constructing a home. Inquire about the manufacturer’s standards and any third-party inspections conducted to ensure a well-built, durable home.
Step 9: The Home Setup
If you are setting up your home in a community, this step is easy peasy. The site likely already has everything you need, like utilities.
If you are setting it up outside of a community, keep reading.
Coordinating Delivery & Home Placement on Your Land
Work with the sales associate to coordinate the delivery of your single-wide mobile home to the designated site. Ensure that the delivery date aligns with the availability of the land and any necessary preparations required.
Here is some excellent information on the home delivery and setup process with Clayton Homes.
Preparing the Site and Foundation Requirements
Prepare the site according to the foundation requirements for your new single-section home. This may involve leveling the ground, installing utility connections, and ensuring local codes and regulations compliance. The sales associate can help walk you through the process.
Ensuring a Smooth Setup Process
Collaborate with contractors and installers involved in the home setup, such as foundation contractors and utility service providers. Maintain open communication, provide the necessary information, and coordinate schedules to ensure a seamless setup.
The delivery day and moving in
The day has arrived to have your home delivered and for you to begin moving in your things!
Celebrate as your homeownership goal has been achieved.
Once settled in your new place, familiarize yourself with the necessary part of home ownership. Here is a comprehensive home maintenance guide to ensure your home lasts a lifetime.
Home Care Guide
There are tips from interior care to exterior care to ensure you have everything you need to know!
Tips & Tools Videos
Here are some other tips with videos included! Check them out as you sit and relax in your new home.
Frequently asked questions
Is a single wide the same as a mobile home?
People often shorten “single wide mobile home” to just “single wide”.
What is the biggest single wide?
18 feet wide by 84 feet long.
How much do most mobile homes cost?
This will depend on which features, floor plan, and upgrades you choose. Budget for at least $80,000 on the low side.
What is the size of most single wide mobile homes?
16 feet wide x 80 feet long.
What are the benefits of buying a new mobile home?
Buying a single-section home can be an option for those looking for an affordable home requiring less maintenance. These homes can come with many rooms and amenities, just like larger double or triple-wide homes.
What should I consider when shopping for a home?
When shopping for a single-wide home, consider factors such as the floor plans to choose from, quality of construction, and the manufacturer’s reputation. Consider your budget and any specific requirements or preferences you may have.
Can I make changes to a new mobile home?
Yes, you can change a single-wide home. However, it is important to note that any changes may require approval from the manufacturer and could impact the home’s warranty. It is recommended to consult with the manufacturer.
Are there any restrictions on where I can place the home?
Placing a manufactured home may be subject to local zoning regulations and restrictions. You should check with your local authorities or a professional real estate agent to ensure you comply with applicable rules and regulations.
Can a manufactured home be considered a permanent residence?
Yes, it can be considered a permanent residence. Many people choose to live in these homes on a long-term basis. However, check with your local authorities for any specific regulations or requirements regarding permanent residence.
Can I view homes through 3D tours and photos?
Many dealerships offer 3D tours and photos of their options. These virtual tours and photos may include a detailed look at the features and layout of single-section homes from the comfort of your home.
Can the floor plans be customized?
Some manufacturers offer the option to customize the floor plans of homes. However, this may be subject to additional fees and restrictions. Inquiring with the manufacturer or dealership about their customization options is best.
What should I do if I have issues or questions?
If you have any issues or questions about your home, contact the manufacturer or the dealership from which you purchased the home. They should be able to assist you with any concerns or provide the necessary support.
In conclusion, buying a single-wide mobile home can be easier with a well-planned approach and a thorough understanding of the process.
Following the 9-step guide we’ve outlined, you can confidently navigate financing, land selection, online search, and showroom visits.
Consider your must-haves, evaluate your options, and make informed decisions when selecting and purchasing your home.
From the building process to the home setup, staying organized and working closely with professionals will ensure a smooth and successful journey toward owning your dream single-wide mobile home.
Let the fun begin!