8 Tips For Buying A Mobile Home
How To Get the Best Deal on a Mobile Home
Do you find yourself thinking, “I wish buying a mobile home was easier?” Buying a new home is certainly a journey, but that doesn’t mean it should be a difficult one. Below are some tips and warnings to help make this process a little bit easier and enjoyable.
Do Your Research
Nowadays the internet will tell you just about anything you need to know. Information is out there, so dig around to learn about the home and the company selling you the home.
All homes are built to the same Federal HUD standards by the same factories, so what really makes the difference is going to be the company who sold it to you. Read the customer reviews . Not just the good ones, but the bad ones too.
If a user gives a 1 star with no review it can be fair to assume a troll is at hand. If there is a bad rating with a valid negative review, that is something to look into further. Read to see how the company responds to the reviews, especially the negative ones. This will give you insight into how that particular company deals with problems.
The internet has given buyers a lot more power in the negotiating process than they used to have. Use your power to your advantage. Shop around online and visit several locations that catch your eye before you make a buying decision.
It is important to price compare and dig into the details as to what exactly is included in that price. This is an exciting journey for you and your family, but try your best to not let your emotions get carried away. Take your time to do your research and do not allow yourself to get pressured. Remember its your home not theirs.
Negotiate the Total Price, Not Monthly Payment
Mobile home companies are not the bank. Only a licensed loan officers can give you a true monthly payment. Estimations can be given, but only a loan officer can give you the detailed information you need to make that educated decision.
It is important as a potential home buyer to negotiate the actual price of the home and not the monthly payment, and when we say price, we mean the “all in” price, not the price of just the home. Especially if you own your own land, there can be a lot of additional costs like water, septic, and electric hookups.
Negotiating the total price of the home is the best way to get an “apples-to-apples” comparison on pricing when you shop around. Your sales rep can hide behind his or her “estimated interest rate” to get you a monthly payment you like, but then blame the bank when the payment is higher than expected because the actual interest rate is higher. They can’t hide when you demand the bottom-line all in price for the home with upgrades, delivery, set, and land improvements.
Since most companies in the factory built housing industry do not publicly post their pricing, it can be easy for a sale rep to increase the price of your home to meet your desired monthly payment. If you get the best price on a model you are interested in, then your monthly payment will be the lowest it can be on that home.
Be Ready to Walk Away
“Walk Away Power” is your greatest tool. You may have fallen in love with a house, but just about any mobile home model is sold by multiple dealers. Here is the secret, dealers fear your walk-away power. If you leave the dealership, they feel you likely will never come back.
Time is on your side. Many dealers will try the trick of “I can give you this deal today only.” That line is almost never true. So ask “Why?” Then keep on asking “why” the price is good only for a day until you get a satisfactory answer.
Or you can just tell them, “If you are a reputable dealer, this price should be just as good tomorrow as it is today, so I am going to sleep on your offer, and if the offer isn’t good tomorrow, I didn’t want to do business with you anyway.”
If you really want to have fun, if you don’t like the conversation, just stand up and get ready to leave. You should notice an immediate change to the conversation, but honestly, if it takes threatening to leave the building, did you really want to work with these folks anyway? Those kind of folks are quick to take your money, but not always quick to help you after the sale.
Remember It Doesn’t Cost Money to Talk To The Bank
Banks do not charge to run an application for a loan. There’s a long-standing myth that when buying a mobile home, you need to put money as a deposit/fee just to have the bank review you app. It’s just not true. If someone demands a deposit early in the process, you probably should just walk away.
The only case where you may want to put down a deposit is if you are wanting to purchase a stock model. In this case, you may be able to take the home off the market by putting a refundable deposit down with the company before someone else gets that particular home. It is best to keep your money in your pocket until you are comfortable with the final numbers from the bank and the company selling you the home.
There Is No Such Thing As A Stupid Question
There is no silly question when it comes to deciding on the right home. If folks had all the answers then manufactured home retailers would not exist. It’s a house not a t-shirt after all. So don’t feel embarrassed or like you are a bother to the person who is helping you with one of the most important financial decisions of your life.
If you ask a question and you don’t understand the answer, keep on asking questions until you understand. If you feel your sales rep is giving you the runaround, or worse, doesn’t actually know the answer him or herself, then find someone else.
A reputable dealer should freely answer any questions you may have, and they will ensure you understand the answer because they know understanding creates a better buying experience. If your sales rep does not know the answer, then it is fair to expect them to find it and get back to you. Asking questions not only helps you get the answers you need, but also helps you learn a little more about the company you are working with.
Listen To “Uncle Joe,” but Only a Little
Everyone has that one person in their life who is an “expert in everything” that we’ll refer to as Uncle Joe (or yours might be Aunt Jo). He or she bought a mobile home before and they “know” how it is or how it should be. We live in a world of change and almost every industry is changing rapidly.
Hey, let’s admit it. Even know-it-all ” Joe” may be right on a couple of facts. He or she may also have had a good experience and be able to refer you to a sales person he or she liked working with. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, so we don’t have to throw everything he or she says out the window as long as you remember “Uncle Joes” are the experts on their personal experience, but not necessarily on everything.
From how things are priced to application forms, the manufactured housing industry changed a lot even just over the last few years. Your family “expert” may have insight as to what they went through when buying their mobile home, but to know exactly what your experience should be could be a whole different story.
It is important to remember that this is your family’s home, not your family “expert’s” home. While you may not be the expert, you owe it to your family and yourself to make choices that are best for you by educating yourself about buying a home.
Call Before You Visit
One of the easiest ways to see the service level you will get is by finding how helpful a dealer is over the phone before you ever step on a dealer’s lot. Most people would like a few questions about a home answered quickly over the phone without the hassle of getting trapped in a sales office for hours.
Since COVID-19 hit, a quick phone call is preferred more than ever over a dealer visit. Honestly, why can’t dealers share pricing information over the phone? Does the price magically change when you step on their parking lot?
The reason dealers don’t like to give you prices over the phone is they know it is too easy for you to comparison shop. No, they don’t need to pull your credit to get the best price. No, you don’t need to tour the home to get the best price. And, no, you certainly don’t need to be held hostage in a sales office to get the best price.
For crying out loud, why is it so hard to get a price over the phone? Because over the phone, the dealer is only left with giving you their best price with no “padding” to keep you from buying from someone else. But isn’t that what you want? The best price from a highly rated dealer without a whole lot of hassle?
Do all the research you can both online and in person with a potential seller. For more information on the home buying process, download our FREE Home Buyer’s Guide by clicking the link.
As always, our team is happy to answer any questions you may have to help you make the right decision for you and your family.