One of the most attractive aspects of mobile home ownership for many American consumers is the comparatively lower price points that such units are available at when compared to single-family homes. However, many think that the only thing that’s assessed with a mobile home’s value is the mobile home unit itself. While this is certainly a big part of determining a mobile home’s value, it’s hardly the only factor, as things such as dwelling, land and the neighborhood come into play as well.
This post is designed to give you a comprehensive overview of how mobile home value is assessed and what resources you can check for further information on mobile home values. It’s important information to know, whether you’re looking to sell, buy or just have the details handy for your convenience.
Factors in Assessing a Used Mobile Home’s True Value
So just what factors impact the real value of a mobile home? Like we said in the opening, it’s more than just the condition of the unit, improvements that have been made to the unit and the type of unit it is (though those factors certainly matter). Here’s a closer look at these aforementioned factors and more:
- The mobile home unit: Double-wide? Single-wide? According to Cost Helper, it’s estimated that a new single-wide mobile home is worth up to $37,000 and a new double-wide mobile home can carry a value of more than $75,000. Keep in mind that these are estimated mobile home prices for new homes, and obviously things like depreciation and upkeep will play a role in home values over time. Conversely, mobile home updates and improvements can help boost values or help a mobile home retain value.
- Improvements: A big part of the mobile home unit aside from upkeep and overall condition are any improvements that you’ve done to it. Here’s a look at some of the more common improvements and their potential return on investment:
- Siding: Vinyl and fiber cement help improve curb appeal, reduce utility costs and come with an 80 percent-plus return on investment (ROI).
- A deck/porch: Decks help to increase outdoor gathering space, while a porch can actually increase total living space if it is enclosed. Though they may be expensive to construct, the potential ROI for a 16 x 24-foot space is upwards of 90 percent.
- Bath/kitchen: A simple modernizing of the bathroom and/or kitchen areas can do wonders to the value of your mobile home, with an ROI of anywhere from 70 to 80 percent.
- Land: Unlike the mobile home, which will likely depreciate over time, the land actually has the potential to increase over time. Yes, it’s that important of a commodity, largely because there’s only so much of it to go around. In fact, in many cases, the land will actually eventually be worth more than the mobile home itself. This doesn’t just apply to mobile homes, but to any type of home.
- Location: You know what they say about real estate – location is everything. And while a mobile home may not be a conventional piece of real estate and also offers the unique ability to be transported to another location, the location that it presently occupies plays into its value. This is especially true if it is fixed in that location. For instance, is the mobile home located close to schools, hospitals, shopping and entertainment venues? These are important to potential buyers, so such homes will have higher values. What about crime rates, average income and the availability of public transportation? Those are three more factors that can influence value. Finally, there’s also the appearance and condition of other, similar mobile home units in the area. Pay attention to these comparatives, as your unit is likely to be valued similarly.
- The neighborhood: Like we said in the previous point, the condition of similar-sized mobile home units in the area or neighborhood you live is a good indication of the value of your home. If the homes are kept up well and there’s considerable curb appeal in the neighborhood, that’s going to help home values in that area. Similarly, if your mobile home is nice, but your neighbors’ homes are not, it’s not going to fare well for your home value.
Resources for Finding Mobile Home Values
So what’s the best way to discover the value of your mobile home? Check the books! Yes, while the book resources typically don’t take the value of land and other factors into consideration, they’re a great way to get an idea of what your mobile home unit is worth. Here’s a closer look at some of the top resources you should turn to if you’re interested in determining your mobile home’s true value:
- The NADA Manufactured Housing Appraisal Guide: You’ve likely heard of the Kelley Blue Book when it comes to assessing the value of automobiles. Think of this NADA resource as the mobile home equivalent. You simply just browse the book and search for the type of mobile home that you have. You’ll then be presented with an easy, comprehensive step-by-step guide for calculating its value.
- NADAGuide.com: The only problem with the aforementioned Appraisal Guide is that it can be a tough text to come by and you need the proper year’s text to accurately assess your home. A more convenient resource is NADA’s website, NADAguides.com, where you have the option to purchase a few different types of reports through a special Home Appraisal System. A standard basic used home value report costs about $20, and a more advanced report with more accurate values of various features costs about $50. The basic report is more intended for consumers, while the advanced report is better suited for real estate professionals and appraisers. Both reports will take factors such as the year your home was built, the manufacturer, the home’s size, the location and other features into consideration when conducting the value report. Reports are calculated instantly. Please note, however, that NADAGuides’ reports don’t factor in the value of the property your mobile home is on, which can be important if your mobile home is fixed to a particular piece of land.
- Research comparables: We’ve already touched a bit on this earlier in this piece, but comparables, or comps, can give you a good general idea of what you can expect your home to value at. In fact, it’s common practice for realtors to analyze what similar homes in the area have sold for when determining what to price the property at. In a sense, comparables are able to provide information that a book cannot when it comes to the neighborhood and greater area where a mobile home is located. And while it’s unlikely that you’ll find an exact match of your specific mobile home, just try to come as close as you can in terms of size, year of manufacture, land, amenities, location (try to pull comps within a half-mile of your property) and condition. Also be sure to try to find a recent sale, not something that was performed years ago, for better accuracy. You can see our guide on finding use mobile homes for sale here.
- Hire an appraiser: If you don’t trust the books and can’t find (or are unwilling to find) comparables to your mobile home, your next best option is hiring a professional appraiser to value your property (such as DataComp.) Though costly, this is generally the route to take to get the most accurate assessment of your mobile home. When selecting an appraiser, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Make sure they have experience valuing mobile homes. Every appraiser is different, and you don’t want a rookie when it comes to mobile home assessment.
- Make sure the appraiser is either certified or has a state license.
- Consider contacting a realtor or a professional appraiser association if you’re at a loss for whom to hire.
- Make sure the appraiser plans to visit the property and doesn’t just try to attain information from you on the phone. Ensure you’re available to meet with him/her to answer any questions about the mobile home or area.
- Expect to pay around $500 for a professional appraisal. While this may seem steep, also consider that you’ll likely be getting a report that’s far more detailed than what you’d attain from NADA.
- Other online estimators: Though the jury is out as to the accuracy, there are many other websites that you can peruse to gain further insight into what your property is valued at. Most just require that you enter your address and answer some basic common knowledge questions about the home that you’re listing. Like we said, we wouldn’t take any of the findings from these sites as the be-all, end-all, but it can never hurt to get too much information. On that note, we’d suggest browsing these sites in addition to one of the other methods listed in this piece:
- Chase Home Value Estimator: https://www.chase.com/mortgage/mortgage-resources/home-value-estimator
- Redfin: https://www.redfin.com/what-is-my-home-worth
- Bank of America: https://realestatecenter.bankofamerica.com/tools/marketvalue4.aspx
- Eppraisal: http://www.eppraisal.com/