How Can You Find the Value of a Used Mobile Home?

By Anjannette ConnerLast Updated April 22, 2019
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Modern housing comes in many forms, ranging from tiny studio apartments to sprawling multi-level homes. First popularized in the 1940s when the government set up mobile home parks near manufacturing plants to house workers, mobile homes have transitioned through many phases over the years. Today, you can find mobile home communities filled with small, economical models as well as lavish models that are larger than many traditional homes.

Whether you're looking for a used mobile home to use as housing for a vacation getaway or for permanent housing for your family, it’s not usually hard to find options in any state in the U.S. Just as you would with any other type of housing, you want to learn about the market in your area to make sure you pay a fair price for a used mobile home. Let’s take a look at some tips and resources you can take advantage of when looking for mobile home prices. 

Do Your Mobile Home-work

Before making any large purchase, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the overall process as well as typical market prices. When you want to figure out the value of a used mobile home, do your homework to learn important details, rules and requirements related to the mobile home market as well as just exploring prices. Will you have to consider specific zoning restrictions for mobile homes, for example? 

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When you start looking for price information, don’t forget to consider which manufacturers' homes and models hold their value better than others. Learn more about the factors that can add to a home's value or detract from it. If you’re willing to be flexible about where you live or you’re searching for a vacation mobile home, find out which regions of the country have higher mobile home values than others. To make the best financial decisions, soak up all the information you can before you begin your search.

Armed with information, arrange to inspect any mobile homes you’re considering. Closely examine the exterior of the home and make notes about any issues you find as well as the condition. Spend some time in each room inside and make notes about what you find there as well. Be sure to look for any special features that add value as well as problems that drag the value down. 

Check the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Value

For many years, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) guide has been the gold standard for determining mobile home values. If that seems strange, keep in mind that a mobile home is technically a vehicle of sorts, even if you never plan on “driving” it anywhere. To find current price information for different makes and models, visit the NADA Manufactured Homes website and request a report for the mobile home you’re interested in purchasing. You will need to know the manufacturer, model and year in addition to entering some basic information about the area where the home is located.

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The basic used home value report includes all the details you need to buy and sell with confidence, including the value minus depreciation, but the information isn’t free, unfortunately. Basic reports for consumers cost $30 per mobile home, so you probably want to be seriously considering a particular model before using this service. 

Contact a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are undoubtedly valuable resources for establishing a used mobile home's value — when the realtor is working for you and not the other party. A qualified realtor in your area will be familiar with typical market values and have access to exact figures, but make sure you consult a realtor directly instead of taking advice from one who is actively trying to get the best price for another party. You may also be able to find mobile home prices on real estate websites, but keep in mind that the prices listed there are asking prices and not necessarily real values. 

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If you haven’t already settled on a particular make and model, the realtor can provide general figures for recent mobile home sales in a particular area. You can then use that information to determine where you could afford to purchase and examples of models you could expect to find in that area. 

Hire an Appraiser

If you want a completely independent third party's opinion, you could hire an appraiser to help you evaluate properties you’re considering buying. Of course, this will cost you more money than other options, but an appraiser has the training and knowledge necessary to evaluate positives and negatives to determine an accurate figure for how much a home is worth. They also provide assessments of repairs that need to be made, which can help you avoid unpleasant future surprises after your purchase. 

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Although hiring an appraiser isn’t cheap, if you’re serious about buying or selling a mobile home, getting an independent appraisal is just as important as it would be if you were purchasing more expensive real estate. Additionally, if you plan to finance your mobile home purchase, an appraisal will most likely be required to complete the financing.

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