Many people planning their new adventure in Florida often look toward purchasing a mobile or manufactured home. The purchase of a mobile home can be an affordable way to make your residence in the Sunshine State. If you are looking at this option, here are some tips to help you with your decision.
First, take the time to do some research. We started our search a year before we made our purchase. We knew what our budget was and searched in areas that had nice places we could afford. How do you find areas of the state that are in your budget area? We searched on Zillow and used filters. It was easy enough to tell from the photos if the houses we were looking at in a given area were houses we could see ourselves living in. We also were told that places north of Tampa were fairly affordable. Our filtered searches confirmed what we were told.
If you do settle on a mobile home living situation, there are two mobile home ownership options in Florida. One is where you own the mobile home, but not the lot. In this park you will pay lot rent. The upside is you can buy the mobile home at a low price. The downside is lot rent can go up and you will never be free of a monthly housing expense. Many times lot rent can cost the same as financing a home where you own the land, which brings me to the other option.
Some parks or communities offer mobile home ownership where you buy the mobile home and the land underneath it. This option is usually the best. You will probably still have a HOA fee, but that is usually affordable and covers community upkeep, garbage removal and security.
Second, decide if you want to be in a gated community or mobile home park. If you find this option attractive, you will have to watch out for age restrictions. Many parks and communities are 55 plus. This doesn’t mean if you are not 55 you can’t get into one of these communities. Many have bylaws where they allow a certain percentage of people under the 55 threshold to become residents of these communities. Also, usually if one person in the residence is over 55, the other family members are able to live with the over 55 resident. Before you purchase, make sure you do check over the community bylaws very thoroughly.
When you find the place you can see yourself living in, make sure you find a reputable building inspector to thoroughly go over your property to make sure there aren’t any defects. Things that should be checked include the roof, the air conditioning, the moisture barrier and soft spots in the floor. You will also want a pest control company to come out and inspect the home for insects and termites. Manufactured and mobile homes are not immune to termites.
Make sure you study the community. Does it have a pool, tennis courts, a golf course or other things you may want to enjoy. Since many parks are over 55 communities, they often offer many fun amenities to keep you engaged and active.
If you are looking to relocate and plan on buying a mobile home, you may wonder if it can be financed. If the mobile home was built after July of 1976 it can be financed. After July of 1976 Fanny and Freddy implemented the HUD Tag System. The unit has to have a HUD tag on it to inform you of the units exact year, make and model and serial number. If the unit does have that tag on it, it is safe to finance. The best option is a conventional loan.
If you are looking to move to Florida there are a few online realty services that can help you with your search. We used Zillow.com and Realtor.com. We used various filters to refine our search. We actually included standard homes as well as mobile and manufactured homes.
One last thing to look for when searching and that is the term “Turn Key.” Turn key means the place is fully furnished, probably has all appliances and would most likely include dishes and cooking utensils. We did not know the sellers we were working with were very motivated to sell. When we viewed the home, we fell in love with the furnishings too. When we made our offer, and we were hoping we would have a chance to negotiate for the furniture that was in the place. The seller accepted our offer and gave us everything in the unit. Since we were not planning on fully moving down for over a year, this made it very convenient for us to just take a trip down for a week. This saved us a huge amount of money because we did not have to furnish the place and this also allowed us to rent the place out when we were not there which helped cover the mortgage and utilities.
There are many options when looking at moving to Florida. If you are considering making the move start your search early. The online realty services can be very helpful. Use the filters the online realty services offer to narrow your search. Be patient and if you find something that interests you, do some research of the area. You can then ask for a realtor to contact you through the online services. Be prepared for a number of contacts as soon as you hit the request button. The most important thing is to ask questions.