Properly installed and maintained, mobile homes can provide very comfortable housing. Improperly installed and poorly maintained, mobile homes can be uncomfortable, difficult to repair and often unsafe to live in.
Mobile homes are usually mounted on grade-level wooden or concrete blocks, with the trailer wheels removed. They are typically skirted with vinyl or aluminum siding, or painted plywood sheathing. Mobile homes are sometimes installed on concrete block foundations, and it can be difficult to determine whether the foundations are mounted below the frost level, because the crawl spaces are normally back-filled to grade level. We've seen the odd mobile installed on a full-depth, finished basement. From an occupancy point point of view, there is essentially little to separate such installations from many other manufactured homes.
Mortgage lenders and insurance companies generally request storm tie-downs for mobiles homes in most areas, unless they are bolted to foundations at least 5 feet deep.
Experienced home inspectors ask the same fee for mobile home inspections as for traditional homes. Although mobiles tend to be smaller than the average house, they do take as much, and sometimes more time to inspect. The same is true for most cottages. We frequently hear "It's only a small cottage", or "It's only a mobile, why should it cost as much to inspect, as a house?"
We do a number of mobile home inspections every year, however they account for less than 2% of our total volume. The following are some of the points that we pay particular attention to, some of which are specific to cold-weather climates. There are certainly more items than listed here, to check for - but these are some of the more critical items that come to mind, which are specific to mobile homes.
In our search for standards information...
More notes regarding the installation of mobile homes...
Notes on Moving Mobile Homes...
The Bottom Line:
Properly installed and maintained, mobile homes can provide very comfortable housing. They are relatively low-maintenance dwellings, and are considerably less expensive than traditional homes of similar floor area. Improperly installed and poorly maintained, mobile homes can be uncomfortable, difficult to repair and often unsafe to live in.
Visit www.mobilehomerepair.com for more consumer info about manufactured homes.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.