Why do people choose to live in a mobile home?
This question, when asked in an online mobile home repair forum, received 161 responses in four hours. Below, I summarize what the respondents said.
Affordability was the universal answer, but the reasons less expensive was important come in many flavors.
Commitment to a mortgage free life. Several posters made it clear they WOULD NOT sign up for a large mortgage. Not having a monthly mortgage payment, or rent,eliminates a huge drain on your monthly net income.
Forced by circumstances. Sudden, life-changing events, such as a sudden divorce or the death of a spouse, forced many into a housing choice they had never considered and did not especially like. Mobile home stigma is alive and well. To their surprise, most of these people soon found themselves happy with their circumstances.
To escape apartment living. Apartments come with thin walls, noisy neighbors, pet restrictions, lack of space for kids to play, and no place for a garden. A well chosen mobile home park may provide them. If the savings on rent allow you to buy your own land, you ensure all of them.
As a stepping stone to a site built home. Some posters used all their money to acquire the land on which they planned to build their dream home. Buying & renovating a handyman mobile home was a way to quit paying rent on an apartment or move out of their parents’ home. After they had lived in the mobile home for a while, and renovated it to their satisfaction, they decided they didn’t need the big house with its big mortgage.
Downsizing for retirement. There is a joke that goes, “True freedom is when your last child leaves home and the dog dies.” It was common for posters to realize they no longer needed that big house and they wanted to live closer to the children and/or grandchildren. With no need to impress, a small mobile home was perfect.
Freedom from rent increases. Rent increases, sometimes substantial, are a fact of life for tenants. This is true for mobile home park occupants and apartment or single family home residents. Buying a run down mobile home park, improving it, and substantially raising the rents, is a well-known technique for making serious profits. Buying land with a liveable mobile home is an affordable way for some to avoid this trap.
Stigma. “Trailer Trash” is still stuck in people’s minds. Most never ask themselves if moving to a mobile home might be the best fit for their circumstances.
Those who can get past the “Trailer Trash” stereotype have an opportunity for a lifestyle which might not be possible if they are stuck on the “Great American Dream.”