Internachi certified professional inspector
A Look at Mobile Homes
There are many myths about homes I see floating around and one I want to address today is the idea that mobile homes (also known as manufactured, mini or trailer homes) are poor quality and are a bad idea to purchase. The truth is more complicated than that but, in some ways, mobile homes can be better quality than site-built houses. Even the name mobile home is a bit of a misnomer as they are not easy to relocate once the building is in place and utilities are hooked up.
Nova Scotia, like most of Canada, requires mobile homes to be built to CSA-Z240 MH Standards. In plain English, this is basically the building code for mobile homes. Furthermore, as these homes are transported from a remote factory, they are often structurally stronger than their site-built counterparts.
Pros of Mobile Homes
The biggest advantage is the lower cost of ownership. Given that real estate price increases are nothing short of insane in the Halifax area now, a mobile home is a reasonable option for a young family. Given their small size, they are also cheaper to heat or cool as they are only one level. The electrical and plumbing systems are generally of good quality, and the safety concerns are overblown: mobile homes are required to have two separate doors, escape windows and smoke detectors. Modifications that can increase the spread of fire (such as tearing out interior walls) generally cannot be made. My research has shown that manufactured homes have a significantly lower chance of catching fire and are easier to escape in an emergency.
Mobile Home Drawbacks
The biggest challenge is that few areas allow mobile homes, especially in the city. There is unfortunately still a stigma that “trailer parks” bring trouble and are unsafe: both are untrue, however, this mentality is slowly changing for the better. Mobile homes are usually harder to finance as they are often not considered real estate for banking purposes and usually require several additional fees be paid such as monthly lot fees. Since they do not have a basement, they also require specific tie-downs (which is NOT something a homeowner can do) and need to be checked regularly that they are level. Finally, mobile homes, unlike traditional homes, are usually considered a depreciating asset and are generally not considered a long-term investment.
Are They Hard to Inspect?
There is a concern among some home inspectors that mobile homes are too difficult to inspect and this is simply not true. While there are limitations that an inspector must work around (usually no attic access, no way to verify anchors are properly footed below the frost line, tight crawlspaces etc.) there are just simply homes like any other. Do they have concerns? Absolutely, but that can be said about literally every single home I have inspected. If you are considering a mobile home, rest assured that these are as safe and comfortable as a traditional house. Just don’t forget to get that home inspected by a qualified professional such as your favourite Inside Edge home inspector!