I have 25 – 30k saved for a down payment and am thinking about buying a mobile home in Pinellas.

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I have 25 - 30k saved for a down payment and am thinking about buying a mobile home in Pinellas.

You are not going to be able to finance the vast majority of mobile homes in Pinellas County. They are old (1960s-1980s usually) and they are not able to be financed, unless the seller is willing to hold the note. No bank finances old mobile homes, especially old mobile homes in condo ownership which is most of parks in the county.

If you find a bank that will finance a 1978 mobile home please let me know, I will make hundreds of thousands of dollars in short order.

Mobile homes are also by their very nature a money losing proposition. They depreciate in value, because they are a vehicle, not a house or condo. They are also more susceptible to decay, rot, soft floors, etc. just by simply existing in a humid environment.

Condos and Homes also need maintenance and refreshes as well, but mobile homes are REALLY vulnerable to it. It’s rare to feel a floor almost give out from under you in a home or condo but mobile homes of this vintage it’s rare NOT to find a really soft floor.

Newer mobile homes, sure, they can be financed… but again, they lose value soon as you buy it, so you’re throwing money away, and you still need a place to put it (vacant land is also usually a cash only purchase, which there isn’t much of in Pinellas). Plus the number of newer mobile homes on lots for sale in Pinellas County is maybe a dozen or so at any point in time, and they tend to be on their own solo lots and thus cost in the $250k – $400k range because land is so expensive now.

And again, I repeat this again.. you would be paying all that money for a depreciating asset that is extremely difficult to sell.

There’s two types of mobile home parks. Resident Owned (Condo or Co-Op) and Lot Rent.

Lot rent is what it sounds like. You own the mobile home but rent the land under it for typically $600 – $1000 a month. Moving these older mobile homes costs about $5000 or so if it’s even doable, because again they’re so old they’d shake themselves to pieces and need the wheels and axels completely redone. So that’s not feasible in most circumstances.

With Lot Rent you are at the whims of the owner. They can jack the lot rent up whenever the lease is renewed, and even just sell the entire property out from under you to a developer. Which, sure, maybe you own the mobile home but because you can’t economically move a really old mobile home they usually just get bulldozed.

Resident Owned you will have some ownership in both the mobile home and the land. Condo fees are typically $300 – $600 a month depending on amenities and location. And are raised as needed / with a vote of the association which you are a part of. If a developer comes along, you can vote with or against the association to sell, and if it sells you will get paid a chunk of money.

To buy a lot rent mobile home is usually $3000-$10,000, even if updated, which again illustrates that depreciation. To buy a resident owned mobile home in Pinellas is around $50,000 – $200,000 and remember that will almost 100% certainty need to be cash. The mobile home is worth a few grand, all of the value is in the land.

These older mobile homes in condo ownership are one of THE most difficult things to sell, because someone has to have enough cash to buy it outright AND prefer the mobile home life over a condo or single family home which can be financed…. which most buyers DO NOT.

With 25-30k you can 1000% buy a house or condo which will hold it’s value and have good resale. You can technically buy a house with $5000 or even less if you leverage first time buyer programs, and with a great mortgage broker you will know the budget / monthly payment to stay within.

There plenty of condos in the sub $120k price point which will keep you within your budget, hold their resale value a lot better, be easier to rent if rules allow, may even appreciate, and will be easier to resell if you choose.


Kyle Sasser

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