Guidelines when purchasing a used mobile home.
The guidelines used for this article was put together by the moderators and forum users. This article was written to give you some insight as to what to look for before you purchase a used mobile home.
Tools needed for your inspection:
A bright flashlight
Small hand held mirror
What type of roof, pitched, dome, rolled metal, roof over, shingles. Does the roof appear to be straight, any dips, sagging. Are all shingles in place. If you are able to get on the roof check the condition of the sealants around all roof penetrations. Is there an over hang, vented or non vented.
What type of siding is there? Vertical metal aluminium siding, vinyl, wood, something else? Are there any holes, warping, missing peices, rust, missing fasteners? If the siding is wood, is it starting to deteriorate?
Pex is the prefered material. Inspect all fixtures. Are there shutoff valves at every toilet, sink, tub/shower. Is there a main shut off valve easily accessible in case of emergency? Inspect, toilets, tubs/showers and sinks for current and past water leaks. Does everything drain properly. Look for small cracks in the base of tubs and showers. If the home is currently set up have someone be in the home and turn on all the water and flush toilets while the other person is under the home watching for possible leaks. Look underneath vanities real closely. While under the home check for a heat tape installation if applicable for your area. City sewage or septic tank?
Are they original to the home? Typically they will be single pane in aluminium frames with storm windows on the inside. Open and close every window to ascertain that they open and close without binding. Binding may mean the home is not level. Check for all screens and storm windows for cracks. Is there any water damage between the windows on the sills. Check closely at the top of windows between panes to make sure of no damage there either. On the outside of the windows/doors make certain the caulking is in good condition, not cracked and peeling. Check all exterior door entrances for leaks, typically the floors will rot out in these areas. Check all doors interior and exterior that all hardware functions properly, open and close smooothly and that the doors stay in the open posistion. Do the exterior doors show signs of rust?
HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING:
What type of units are in the home? Are they orginal to the home? How old are they? If possible run each unit for a complete cycle and go to each register and check the air flow and the temp. Are any maintenance records avaliable? Who services the units? Are the data sheets still available in the furnace closet? What type of ducts are there, aluminium or flex? Inspect the ducts using the flashhlight and hand mirror. Place the flashlight in the first duct and the mirror in the next, use the mirror to look for debris, collapsed or holes in the ducts. Continue down to the last register. You might also be able to see this from under the home. Make sure that crossover ducts for multi sectional homes are in place, no large dips/sags in flex, or crushed/separated aluminium ducts. No ducting should be laying on the ground. Make sure everything is sealed. Where are the registers located, down the center of the home, near the exterior wall or in the ceiling?
Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected by a professional. It is not uncommon for people to burn wood in these.
What is the entrance panel rated? Type of wiring, aluminium or copper? Are GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) outlets near every sink? You may have these outlets outside near doors or under the home as well. If multi sectional home make sure the electric is connected to all sections. Check outlets for function, sometimes wires come loose behind them.
WATER HEATER, WASHING MACHINES/DRYERS
Is the water heater gas or electric? If gas make certain that it is MH rated? Where is it located? Do you have an access panel? Check the floors in this area for water damage. Is the heater in good condition, not rusty/corroded, straps in place? Check the temp. relief valve, and is it piped to under your home then outside. What size tank? If this is a gas unit is it properly vented?
Washing machine /dryer
Check the floors under these units, this means pulling the unnits out from there posistions. This is an area that generally recieves water damage. Have the floors been replaced, currently show signs of weakness, rot, soft, spongy? Remember there location as you will want to check under the home for any damage in this area.
The dryer vent needs to be vented under the home then to the outside. The vent pipe should be aluminium and with few bends as possible.
Check every square foot of ceiling area. Are the panels free of water stains, mold/mildew? Are they saging, show signs of repairs. Recently painted ceilings may also be a sign of hiding past water damage. Check inside all cupboards and closets as well.
Finished floors is up to your descretion as to what is acceptable. I am only reffering to sub floors, this is what is under the vinyl or
carpet. OSB ( orieneted strand board), particle board or plywood. Plywood is the best. Are there any noticeable low/high spots, soft/spongy areas, maybe even holes. Make sure to check in front of exterior doors and all windows. Step on the areas and bounce lightly. Walk every square foot of flooring, including under all furniture and appliances. Alot of ice makers have been known to cause major water damage, as well as dish washers. When under the home check for floor joist size.
This is the area where multi sectional homes are jioned. This includes the floor, walls and ceiling. Are all these surfaces flush/
level to one another? No large gaps, water leaks,stress cracks. If there is then the home is either not level or was improperly set up.
UNDERBELLY, FOUNDATION & SKIRTING
The foundation, is it permanent, frost line footers, blocks/peirs? Are the blocks in a straight column, no cracks, leaning, and hard wood shims between the blocks and the steel I beam? Does the home have outriggers? Any moisture present, either from leaks or from ground moisture? Is a vapor barrier installed? This is sometimes required by code. It is nothing more than a sheet of 6 mil plastic laid corner to corner, end to end of your home. Is there adequate venting, one vent for every 150 square feet. Is the underbelly fabric/board in good repair? No rips, tears or missing sections. No insulation hanging down or pipes/ductwork. Is it clean under there?
No garbage or being used as a storage area. There should be nothing under your home. Any signs of rodents or animals living under there?
Again, check inside all cupboards and lower cupboards for water damage. Do all your drawers and doors work properly? Check the drain and look for water shut offs. Appliances, do they work?Remember to check under all appliances as well for floor damage.
The most notorious place for water damage! Again, check all fixtures for leaks. Are there shut off valves? Exhaust fans, are they there and do they work? Are the vented to outside the home? If the bathrooms have carpet check the flooring real closely around the tub/shower and base of toilet.
ADDITIONS & DECKS:
If the home has an addition it is best ot have inspected by a professional. Typically mobiles with additions come with alot of problems. But, while you are there you can look for the obvivous. Is there water damge/leaks, uneven floors, stress cracks? How was the home attached. What type of foundation?
Free standing, in some areas it is code they not be attached to the home. If they are it can cause major damage.
In closing I hope you find this article informative and helpful. Remember this is just a guideline to help you in your future purchase. It would be impossible to list every variable to every home.
I would like to Thank all those at MobileHomeRepair.com for thier contributions.
If you still have further questions please post them on the Repair forum.
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