Although the prices of housing can increase and decrease at a drop of a hat, mobile homes consistently cost less than stick homes.
They differ from stick-built homes in a few ways.
One of the reasons many people buy mobile homes is their affordability.
If you’re wondering why mobile homes are as cheap as they are, then there are a few reasons behind it.
Here are 10 reasons mobile homes are cheap.
Why Are Mobile Homes So Cheap? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Building Materials
The cost of a home comes down to the type of materials used in its creation.
Stick-built homes use hardwood, cement, and other expensive materials during their construction.
These types of homes tend to last for many years as a result.
Mobile homes use cheaper materials.
They tend to opt for vinyl over hardwood.
They also use galvanized steel to make them lighter and easier to move around.
Plastic is another big part of the manufactured home.
It’s cheap to make and easy to use.
Since there isn’t as much cost that goes into the production of a mobile home, it can sell for a lot less to generate a profit.
With a stick-built home, since the costs are high, the seller has to sell it at a high enough price to cover the expenses and still earn a generous profit.
That said, it is possible to find mobile homes that are expensive.
Some homes can sell for around $300,000 if they include luxury materials like hardwood and granite.
In most cases, however, the mobile home builder uses cheap materials to bring down the price.
Mobile homes are cheap because they use cheap materials in their production.
2. Financing Is Difficult
Another reason that mobile homes are cheap is that they have to be.
Not a lot of banks will finance a mortgage for a mobile home.
That’s because mobile homes have a bad reputation for owners who default on their mortgages.
Mobile homes are also sometimes difficult to resell.
Because of their cheaper nature, people tend to buy new mobile homes rather than used ones.
This means the bank either loses out on money or doesn’t make as much as it could with a stick-built home.
That’s why banks will try to steer their clients towards homes over mobile homes.
Manufacturers are aware that banks don’t like to finance mobile homes.
Because of this, they try to make mobile homes affordable to allow people to save up for them.
They also make it affordable so that mobile home parks have an easier time buying them than selling them through a financing system with their residents.
Mobile home parks usually offer financing services to interested residents who want to buy a home in their park.
They’re also aware that banks won’t help mobile home buyers out.
Instead, they’ll act as a bank and lease the mobile home out to any interested party.
They may have a few stipulations like the party needs to pay a downpayment or a deposit, but in most cases, they’re happy to work with the individuals to find something that works.
They’re only able to do this because the mobile home is cheap to begin with.
Mobile homes are cheap because banks won’t finance them, leading the manufacturers to drive down costs to sell to whoever can afford the low price.
The size of the mobile home also influences its price.
Larger mobile homes, called double wides, are more expensive because they use more materials in their production.
Smaller mobile homes, called single wides, are less expensive since they don’t require as many materials.
Some manufacturers also offer different styles of mobile homes.
Some may have a porch, for example, while others may feature a larger bathroom.
These little changes can influence the overall size of the mobile home.
That can then change how expensive or cheap the mobile home is.
Most mobile homes tend to average out at 1,184 square feet.
Doublewides can increase this by doubling the size.
Considering that a house of the same size usually sells for a lot higher, the mobile home is still a cheaper option.
When it comes to comparing mobile homes, however, the smaller the home is, the cheaper it is.
One of the reasons mobile homes are cheap is that they’re mass-produced in a factory.
The method of construction is different between a mobile home and a stick-built home.
A mobile home has various parts made in a factory.
Because the floor plans are basically the same, the factory can produce these fabrications quickly.
All the parts are then assembled to form a mobile home.
Automation plays a large part in building mobile homes.
While human workers are present, it’s the factory’s machines that do most of the heavy lifting.
This allows them to produce several mobile homes at one time.
This is different from a stick-built home, which is hardly automated at all.
Human workers complete its construction.
Stick-built homes are not mass-produced.
They’re built to order.
Even in a subdivision that requires homes to have certain square footage or look, the actual floor plan tends to differ from house to house.
It’s these subtle differences that make it impossible to automate the stick-built home’s build.
Otherwise, the factory would have to change its settings for every new home.
That’d end up being more costly than it was worth.
Building stick-built homes by hand is far more costly than mobile homes because it takes more time.
Mobile homes are cheap because they’re able to be mass-produced in factories.
5. Construction Worker Expenses
Another cost of stick-built homes that makes them more expensive than mobile homes is labor.
Mobile homes are cheap because they only have to pay the factory workers and delivery drivers.
Since most of the process is done through automation, they need fewer workers than in other industries.
They also don’t need to pay them as much as construction workers since they work in a factory and are not skilled trade workers.
A factory also has a set number of hours.
Each laborer has a shift that they stick to.
This isn’t the case when building a stick-built house.
You need several different types of construction workers or workers who have experience and training in different fields.
For example, you’ll need an electrician, a plumber, a roofer, and a general carpenter to help build the home.
You also never know how long the job is going to actually take.
Weather, tool problems, missing materials, sickness are all delays that can drag a construction project on even further.
This means that the house is going to be even more expensive because the laborers need their payment for the extended time.
They’re basically contracted to work on that project and can’t work elsewhere until the project finishes.
These laborers also practice skilled trades which means they have higher wages.
In the end, it costs more to build a stick-built home because of labor expenses.
Mobile homes, on the other hand, are cheap because the builders don’t need to pay as much for their laborers.
6. Transportation Costs
Mobiles get their name for their ability to easily travel anywhere.
You may have even seen a truck carrying a wide load on the highway before.
Mobile homes are able to sit on a chassis and attach to a truck for delivery.
They’re light enough to transport on most highways and most streets.
In the end, the cost of transporting mobile homes is a lot cheaper than stick-built homes.
They’re made to be transported.
This also means that people can buy a mobile home from one area and have it delivered to their location even if they’re several states away.
Stick-built homes, on the other hand, are expensive to transport.
It’s usually not possible to pick up a home and transport it if it’s stick-built.
That’s because the home connects to a stone foundation beneath it.
Without the foundation, the home would lose its support and crumble.
They’re also typically built for that specific location’s needs.
Instead, the bulk of their transport costs comes from the delivery of materials.
Most construction companies will order a set number of materials that they’ll need to complete the build.
They don’t have those materials on-hand in most cases.
They then have to wait for their suppliers to fill the order and transport them to the job site.
The problem is that those materials can be heavy and expensive to transport.
This ends up making the stick-built home a lot more expensive since the cost of transporting its materials adds to the build price.
If it’s a large home that needs a lot of materials, then the transport costs can become very expensive.
Mobile homes, on the other hand, are a lot cheaper since they’re lighter and built for transport.
Instead of using several different trucks to transport it, in most cases, only one or two trucks transport a mobile home.
Mobile homes are cheap because it’s cheap to transport them.
7. Less Expensive Site Preparation
Before a stick-built house can even start its construction, the site has to go through a preparation process.
Sometimes the land needs raising to avoid flooding problems.
Sometimes trees need clearing.
In most cases, some form of foundation needs building.
Stick-built houses need a full concrete foundation.
This gives the home the structure it needs to keep from falling.
This type of site preparation is expensive.
Concrete is expensive, and to make a full foundation, they’re going to use a lot of it.
Even preparing the site for construction can cost several thousand dollars.
That isn’t the case with mobile homes.
They don’t require a full concrete foundation because they’re made to be movable.
Mobile homes only need a slab foundation or a concrete pier foundation for its support.
Not only does this use a lot less concrete, but it’s also faster.
The yard also receives less damage during the preparation process.
At most, you may have some truck tracks in your yard.
A full concrete foundation requires a lot of work and tools.
It makes more of a mess of your yard, which means more expenses to fix the yard afterward.
Mobile homes are cheaper because they take on fewer site preparation costs and fewer clean-up costs.
8. Bulk Appliances And Furniture
Unless you’re buying a pre-owned home, there’s a good chance that you’re going to need to buy most of your appliances and furniture yourself.
This can quickly become expensive since appliances can go anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
If you want to fully furnish your home, then you can look at spending a lot of money in your initial move-in period.
That isn’t the case with mobile homes.
One of the benefits of buying a mobile home is that they usually come furnished and with some appliances.
Manufacturers are able to buy in bulk, which means they save money, too.
While this means you’re likely going to have the same furnishings as a bunch of other people, it also means your home comes fully furnished and ready for you.
You can always switch out appliances and furnishings over the years.
Considering that the price of a mobile home is already lower than most stick-built houses, the fact that you also get them fully furnished for a price that’s still cheap is incredible.
Mobile homes are cheap because manufacturers can buy furnishings in bulk and at lower costs.
After buying a furnished mobile home, you don’t have to pay more money on appliances and furniture.
9. Simple Designs
One of the trade-offs with buying a cheap mobile home is that you don’t get a lot of variety with the design.
Manufacturers have an interest in keeping costs cheap.
Because of that, they stick to simple designs.
All the designs are also the same for each manufactured home.
It’s also worth mentioning that each season sees a new design or floor plan.
While you may share a design with anyone else who bought a 2021 mobile home from the same manufacturer as you, you may not have the same design as someone who bought a mobile home in 2020 or 2022.
Some people find the basic designs off-putting since it doesn’t fit their style.
However, you’re always free to add paint to the walls and put in your own flooring over time.
Mobile homes utilize simple designs to keep their costs low.
In return, they’re able to keep their prices low.
Because mobile homes use cheap materials in their production, they don’t have the greatest durability.
They won’t do well in a tornado or hurricane, for example.
Because of this, manufacturers are aware that most people will either have their mobile homes destroyed or fall into disrepair within a few decades.
They’re not a long-term investment like stick-built houses.
That said, you can sell used mobile homes, but the price for used mobile homes isn’t going to be as high as the price for a stick-built home.
Unless you happened to inherit or buy your mobile home for extremely cheap, you’re likely to going to sell it at a loss compared to what you spent to buy it.
Manufacturers are aware of this, and that’s why they keep their prices low.
They’d prefer their customers to buy a new mobile home instead and try to make their prices as affordable as possible to encourage repeat purchases.
Mobile homes are cheap because they don’t last as long as stick-built homes.
Advantages Of Buying A Mobile Home
There’s no question that buying a mobile home is a lot cheaper than buying a stick-built home.
While there are some disadvantages of a mobile home, there are plenty of advantages, too.
Some advantages of buying a mobile home include:
- Saving money
- Less debt
- Transportable home
Since mobile homes cost less money upfront, you’re able to save money that you can use elsewhere.
Maybe you want to invest a bit extra in the mobile home and put in some new flooring.
Maybe you want to buy a new car.
Buying a mobile home lets you do more with the money that you saved.
That also means you don’t take on as much debt when you buy a mobile home.
Whether you get a loan or get financing elsewhere, the debt you take on is usually lower than the debt you take on from a stick-built house.
Another advantage is the fact that you can transport your home.
If you’re someone who wants to have a summer and winter home, then you can always transport your mobile home from one location to the next.
Finally, most mobile homes end up in small communities.
You can develop friendships and find yourself in a new community that welcomes you.
Mobile homes are a lot cheaper than other types of homes because of the materials they use in their construction and their simple designs.
Since they’re primarily made in a factory, manufacturers are able to make their production process efficient and save on labor costs.
There are several advantages of owning a mobile home beyond saving money like being able to move your home anywhere you want and taking on less debt.