Considering Many Repairs - Is it worth it?

Repair help for the do-it-yourselfer.
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Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:50 pm

Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:42 pm

My wife and I have lived in a mobile home for the last 3 1/2 years. We're planning on staying here another 3 years while I finish my master's degree. It's a 1971 Brentwood single wide. We're finally in a financial situation where we can do some repairs/maintenance that we can't put off any longer.

This includes:
- painting the exterior, which is starting to fade
- new rubber coating on the roof, which hasn't been done in at least 4 years, if not longer
- new skirting, that I'd like to insulate - the current skirting has chips in it, is starting to sag, and is not insulated
- and probably the biggest one - new flooring/subflooring. I can tell that the particle board under the carpet is in terrible shape. There are several sags throughout the house, and one spot where I'm not sure there is anything anymore.

Are we crazy for doing this to a 41-year-old mobile home? What kind of cost can I estimate? Are there hurdles I'll run into that are unique to mobile homes? I'd probably pay somebody to do the painting, rubber coating, and skirting, but think my dad and I would try to tackle the flooring to keep it somewhat reasonable.

The mobile home is in a mobile home park right next to the college, so most people don't seem to have any trouble selling their place. There are newer places in the park, but there are also a lot of places as old as ours.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated!

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Greg S
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:13 am
Location: Kingston Ontario Canada

Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:30 am

A 40 year home is marginal at best, value is ?????
The cost of your proposed work is likely more than the value of the home (depending on your market) and you will likely not get the investment back if you sell in 3 years.
Why do you wish to replace the roof, is it leaking or showing major signs of deterioration. A roof should easily last 10 years if properly installed.

Aside from the flooring the rest of the work you mention is basically cosmetic. Don't waste the money insulating if you are only planning to stay 3 years it will cost far more than you will ever save in heating costs.
The skirting can easily be repaired and straightened by any home owner and need not be replaced, the home is too old to warrant the cost of replacement for a short term stay.
Paint the house yourself, it is the easiest of all the projects you have listed and will save you hundreds of dollars.
As far as the flooring is concerned I would suggest you do patch repairs in the worst spots and leave the rest.

You should put the minimum amount of money and effort into a 40 year old home you are not planning to remain in long term. In my opinion at least. You will not see any return from your investment.
An individual must enforce his own meaning in life and rise above the perceived conformity of the masses. (Anton LaVey)

Posts: 383
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:53 pm
Location: Steuben County, NY

Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:34 am

Does the roof leak now? Is the home in decent condition otherwise?
What you have going for you is that the home is in a college town, so you can be pretty sure of selling it for a decent price when you leave. I would fix the floor first, as it is a safety concern for you living in it, then do the roof, unless the roof is now leaking, in which case do that first. Make sure your new skirting is properly ventilated to control moisture underneath, as that can contribute to the floor decay.
Do the painting yourself. It's the easiest thing you have listed, and will save you $$.

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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:50 pm

Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:03 pm

Replying to some questions -

Not thinking about replacing roof - no leaks that we're aware of - but we were told to have some sort of coating or something put on every 3-5 years, just to be safe. Maybe I misspoke when I said rubber coating? I've heard it's not a big undertaking to have somebody do that? Or is it something else that we should put on every 3-5 years, or do we have bad information?

Some of the improvements I'm thinking would bump up the resale value. Dealing with a lot of female students who move in and those cosmetic things make it look a lot more appealing to them. My wife was in that boat when she originally bought the place before she was my wife!

The skirting doesn't have any vented sections that I can think of (not currently home), and it got chipped up badly when I used my weedeater around the place for the first time. Is it really cheap skirting, or can you not use a weedeater around any mobile home skirting? I'm not sure what else I'd use, I guess!

1987Commodore is right - in a college town, right next to the vet med school, so there is a new class of 150 vet students looking for places to live every year. This mobile home park is the closest - by far. It's a 3-10 minute walk, depending on where you live in the park. The next closest residential area is not even within walking distance at all. It's a unique area that makes the park a perfect place for vet students (my wife is finishing up this May) and doubles the price of mobile homes there compared to anywhere else. I'm fairly confident that if we can get it looking nice and make it look like it should last another 4 years for the next vet student to purchase after we're done, we can find a buyer.

I'm just interested in getting the most back out of it as we can after we're done. It was a nice place that appeared well-kept when we purchased it - new paint throughout, new carpet, hardwood, and linoleum throughout, and new hot water heater. We've kept it nice, but really need to catch up on some maitenance, for sure.

Since it's in a unique place, that means these homes go for double the value than most other places I've seen. That means we paid double the value to move in - which was still a way smarter move than the rent for an apartment in a college town. But I dont' want to take a hit on selling it to somebody off the park if we're the low man on the totum pole and other houses are more attractive when the new school year is getting ready to start and all the graduating vet students are selling their places too. I want to make sure I'm competitive - I guess I'm saying.

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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:14 pm

Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:11 pm

At first glance yes, it does sound crazy to blow lotsa money on a 41 year old MH. However, it also sounds like you have location going for you, so renovating might make alot of sense. It's simple math to figure out, just look at comparable MHs that have been renovated in your area and what they sell for. If a renovated MH can't get more than $20k and you want to spend close to that, then don't bother. However, if they get higher prices then go for it - but go all the way. It's far easier to sell any home, mobile or not, that buyers can walk in to and not have any work to do, and it pays off in the selling price and speed of sale.

So, like this:
Un-renovated it can sell for $20k, but may take time, or
Renovated, it sells for $40k quickly, and it costs $10k to renovate
Which makes sense? Consider your time required as well.

The other possibility, depending on your park, is to simply replace the home. You can sometimes pick up pretty decent used mini homes that "must be moved" for cheap. You'd have to get rid of yours of course which might not be easy. Something to think about. They are "mobile" homes, after all.

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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:57 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:28 pm

Just to add a few thoughts. First, I agree with Greg S to keep your investment at a minimum. Selling the home in 3 or even 5 years will make it hard to recoup costs.

But on the painting and roof re-coating, these are actually maintenance items that would be needed on a much newer home with the same type of roof. I don't see this as investing per se, but due maintenance. The lesser expensive latex roof coatings like Henry's Elastomeric and Kool Seal (standard, not premium) should be recoated or at least checked every 3-5 years, depending on the amount of movement in the roof metal. You want to top-coat BEFORE peeling and cracking occurs. Multi-coat systems can last much longer, but the top coat may need maintenance to stretch out the lifetime of the entire coating. Products like Liquid Roof and other liquid EPDM products can last 10-15 years.

Painting is also a maintenance item that is usually needed or at least beneficial in selling and/or living of any home.

The soft spots in the floor are repairs. The fixing of the wood components is not expensive or terribly difficult to do. Replacing vinyl flooring can get pricey. Carpet is just pulled back for the repairs and then reset. The important thing here is to find out why they went "soft". This is usually caused by a water leak of some kind. I have seen bathroom floors get soft just from too much water getting on top of the floor and I have seen spots on 5/8" particle board floor just break under extreme weight, maybe a 300lb guy showing you how high he can jump or something, but most times it is a plumbing supply leak. Anyways, certainly needs repair.

I wouldn't want to try keeping up with the Jone's as far as eye appeal goes. Make the place nice, clean and tidy and sell it at it's market value. Not everyone looking for a mh in your park will have the same price ranges.

Today is PERFECT!

All information and advice given is for entertainment and informational purposes only. The person doing the work is solely responsible to insure that their work complies with their local building code and OSHA safety regulations.

Posts: 383
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:53 pm
Location: Steuben County, NY

Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:46 pm

For resale, the main thing is that the floors are solid, and the roof doesn't leak. Hopefully, the entire floor does not have to be done, just spot patches. If there are a lot of small patches, it will likely be easier to do the whole room. Once you find the proper product, coating the roof is really like painting. Do both yourself and save the labor charges. The teenage girl next to us coated her roof by herself last summer.
When it is time to sell, give the place as much curb appeal as possible. Make it clean, maybe plant some flowers.
Assuming the skirting is vinyl, high powered weedeaters are guaranteed to perforate it as the plastic ages and becomes brittle. I am planning on replacement with metal. For now, Roundup is your friend.

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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Weedsport, NY

Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:19 pm

Hi & welcome. The first question is how much of the work are you planning on doing? Labor costs can be a make or break factor in renovations. If you are planning on doing the work yourself I would say GO FOR IT!!!! Most of the work you are talking about is basic maintenance.
This is about the best time of the year to be up on the roof, warm enough to coat but cool enough that you don't bake doing it.
Floors are a must. If you have bad spots they need to be fixed. You really cant tell for sure just how bad they are until the carpet or other flooring is up. It's not a hard job but it IS time consuming.
Skirting, Weedeaters LOVE them!! They will chew holes in any vinyl skirting, that's why I use metal. You can do a patch job for now, you want the skirting tight with no holes for the winter to keep critters out.
I would wait til next year to paint, you may be able to just give it a good washing to bring it back unless you want a change in color.

"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

Posts: 191
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:16 pm

Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:55 pm

Hi to all ?'s yes. The painting the mh is easy and to add a new skirting w insulation and the floor all easy DIY repairs.
I have a?'s is the MH at WVU?? if so please private message me as my dd will be moving to WVU next fall for grad school and I need info on the different parks in the area.