Monday, March 10, 2008

Inspecting a Mobile Home Part I

Before you decide to buy a mobile home, you will need to make sure you have taken the necessary steps to inspect it throughly - inside and out. Know what you're buying before you make the purchase.

Most of the information about the home can be obtained before you even leave your doorstep. When talking to the seller on the phone, here are a few questions to ask that will help you decide whether or not you want to take the trip out there to inspect the home:

1. How old is the home?
2. What is the size of the home?
3. How long have you lived there? (If they have lived there less than 3 years, usually I find the home to be in poor condition)
4. Tell me about the inside of the home. Is there any fix up work involved? How is the plumbing, electrical, a/c, etc?
5. Do they have pets? What kind of pets?
5. What known issues have you had? Have you done any repairs lately?
6. Tell me about the outside. How's the roof? Have you had any leaks? When was the last time you replaced the roof?

Ask as many questions as you can beforehand. Depending on how much fix-up work you want to do, decide whether or not you want to proceed. (If you are new to the mobile home business, I highly recommend going out and inspecting as many homes as you can just for the experience).

Before going out to the home, be sure to wear comfortable clothes and the appropriate footwear. (No open toed shoes here!) If the home is located out in the country, sturdy shoes or work boots work well as there may be mud and/or dirt terrain. Also, I've had to spray on a coat of insect repellant when going out to the country. One last thing, be sure to bring a flashlight just in case there are some hard to see places. Last of all, you want to bring a notebook and pen. Be sure to jot down all your notes during the inspection!

When you get to the home, greet the seller and pay attention to everything. Let the seller do most of the talking - you'll be surprised how much you'll find out about the home by just listening and observing.

Personally, I like to start on the inside of the home. Let the seller walk you through. Again, let them talk. The seller will probably have some stories to share with you about the different areas of the home. Be sure to ask a lot of questions. Remember, you are the one with the most interest as you are the one buying. Act as if you were going to live in the home yourself. (If you are going to live in the home, the more you need to be diligent with your inspection).

Usually, the seller starts in the living room area since it's closest to the entrance to the home. Pay close attention to the ceiling - are there any water spots? Ask if there have ever been any leaks. Also, look at the carpet. What is the condition of the carpet? Any water damage? If so, ask what the seller plans to do to fix it? Look at the walls. Are there any holes or patches? Point out anything to the seller that may look like it needs fix-up work. Ask the seller what they plan to do. Will they fix it? Or, are they willing to give a discount if you take it "as-is?"

Next, the kitchen is usually the next area since its often near the living room. Check all appliances - refrigerator, dishwasher, etc. Make sure they are all in working order. Ask the seller which appliances are staying and which ones they are taking with them. Check the plumbing. Run the water and make sure there are no leaks under the sink. If there is a leak, point it out to the seller and ask how long it has been going on. If you see a bucket or small bowl underneath the sink, it's a red flag. There may have been plumbing issues for quite some time. Again, ask the seller what they will do to fix the problem.

After going through the kitchen, the seller will probably take you down the hallway towards the bedrooms and bathrooms. On your way, check the heating and a/c unit (if applicable). Find out the make and model as well as the age. Is it the original unit that came with the house? Or, did they replace it? When was it replaced? Have there been any issues with the heating and or a/c unit? If so, what are they and what will the seller do to correct them?

If you see a laundry area when going down the hallway, ask the seller whether or not they will be taking their washer and/or dryer. Usually, sellers do take their units with them but there are other times they do not. If you are able to buy the mobile home with the washer and dryer unit, it adds value.

Next, view all the bedrooms. Again, pay attention to the ceiling and carpet looking for any watermarks. If you see any watermarks and/or water damage, point it out to the seller and ask how it got there. What will the seller do to fix the problem? If not, are they willing to discount the price? Look inside all the closets. Make sure all the lights work. Look underneath the beds and behind furniture to make sure there are no hidden holes or damages to the floor and/or wall.

Once you've inspected the bedrooms, you're off to inspect the bathrooms. Again, pay close attention to the ceiling and carpet (if any) looking for any water spots and/or damage. Flush the toilets. Make sure they are working properly. Run the tub. Run the water and check underneath the sink to make sure the are no leaks. Again, if you see a bucket underneath the sink it is a red flag. There has been on going plumbing issues here. Also, check the cabinet underneath the sink. Make sure the wood is sturdy and it is not rotting and/or coming apart. Usually, this is the case with particle board wood and/or wood that has water damage (i.e. leak from pipe).

After you have inspected the inside of the home, make sure you have written down everything you have noticed. If there is a back door, open it and make sure it works. This will take you outside and you will be ready to inspect the outside of the home.

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