With the cost of real estate and property soaring each year throughout the world, more people are turning to renting cheaper alternatives. For most people, this means deciding to rent an apartment. Although this option presents several benefits, it is expensive in the long run. You might end up spending a lot with no equity to show for it.
Other people prefer to live in a manufactured home. These structures also present some benefits, including a lower cost, but still have some drawbacks. This leaves many people undecided on which is the best option to take. In this article, we will look at mobile home vs. apartment and identify the differences between them to determine the best option for you.
Mobile Home vs. Apartment
Let’s look at the differences of owning a manufactured home vs. renting an apartment:
Depending on what you are looking for, both mobile homes for sale and rental units could be affordable and cost-effective to you. For instance, if you look in the long-term, a mobile home could be cheaper since you only buy it once. On the other hand, an apartment will be cheaper if you don’t plan to buy a house and are on the move a lot, such as for job reactions, thus needing to be flexible.
Mobile Home Prices
There are very few houses that can provide a better bang for your buck like a manufactured home can. The average cost of manufactured homes include:
- Single-wide unit homes (600-1,300 sq. ft.) will cost you about $40,000 for a brand new one, and about $25,000 for a second-hand unit. You will save more going for second-hand homes.
- Double-wide unit homes (1,400-2,700 sq. ft.) will cost about $75,000 for a brand new unit, and around $50,000 for a second-hand one. Again, you will save a lot opting for second-hand homes here.
- For triple-wide mobile homes (>2700 sq. ft.) you have to pay around $100,000–$250,000 for a brand new one, and over $50,000 for a second-hand unit. You will, again, save by going for second-hand homes.
The price of a manufactured home can vary depending on age, model, features, condition, aftermarket upgrades, location, and amenities. The average rental price of a double-wide unit is about $500 per month, and that does not include the cost of the lot it sits on if it is in a manufactured home community.
In most cases, a manufactured home will be located in a mobile home park, where you will pay around $300 per month. You will also pay for additional services in a mobile home park, including water, but will also have communal amenities to enjoy.
The average price of renting apartments in the U.S. is $1,200 per month for a one bedroom apartment for rent. This price is much lower compared to the purchase price of buying a mobile home, especially if you don’t plan on staying somewhere for long. Living in a manufactured home that you have purchased is, however, cheaper in the long run.
Amenities and Activities
Most apartments are located closer to towns and cities. On the other hand, manufactured homes that are located in mobile home parks are typically far from the downtown areas. This means that apartments will be found closer to work opportunities, malls, schools, hospitals, and other conveniences. Within an apartment complex/community itself, you will also come across recreational facilities, such as gyms, shopping centers, grocery stores, clubhouses, and onsite swimming pools.
Manufactured housing is found in more quiet areas away from the city. This means that it would be hard to access some basic social amenities, such as restaurants and swimming pools. However, if you love a quiet environment, then manufactured homes may be for you.
When it comes to gaining equity, both options have their benefits and drawbacks. Many people living in manufactured housing environments own their homes. This is mainly because these homes cost less compared to other comparable options. The benefit here is that buying a mobile home presents extra equity, which you can leverage as collateral to get loans or sell in the future to get your money back.
However, the challenge here is that a manufactured home is considered personal property, similar to a vehicle. This means that it typically loses value the moment it leaves the factory. For instance, manufactured homes are known to depreciate at around 3% per year. Let alone, you may need to take out a personal property loan in order to purchase a manufactured home, which has higher interest rates.
On the other hand, few people actually own apartments. Unlike manufactured homes, most apartments are available for rent, not purchase. This means that tenants are not gaining equity in the form of an accommodation or a house. They simply spend money on rent without expecting any returns.
With that said, if you happen to own an apartment that is located closer to the city, or an up and coming neighborhood, it could prove to be a great financial asset. In these locations, prices skyrocket by about 10%.
It is common to think that mobile homes easily fall apart and require constant maintenance due to negative stereotypes. While it is true that mobile homes need some TLC regularly to stay in good shape, it is not as bad as it sounds. In fact, with just a few manufactured home maintenance tips, you can easily take care of most maintenance needs in your manufactured home.
The most important thing to look out for is the cracks that develop after settling. Since mobile homes are built using wood, it is also important to focus on water damage. However, the good news is that the materials used to develop manufactured homes are easy to work on and are more affordable than ones used for stick-built homes, making the maintenance process easier and cheaper.
When it comes to living in an apartment, your landlord will be in charge of most maintenance activities. Thus, there is not much that you need to do except let the landlord know of the damage to your unit. Many landlords don’t like their tenants doing maintenance on the apartment anyways. With that said, this could mean a delay in maintenance.
Privacy and Space
Space and privacy are by far the main benefits of mobile home living. For almost half the average monthly rent of an apartment, you can find a spacious community where you have your own space/private yard and personal home.
Are you worried about having neighbors upstairs who tap-dancing every evening? How about those neighbors below who love watching the television on full volume late into the night? Or those neighbors who normally listen to your conversations? This is never a problem in a manufactured home, where you will have a separate space from everyone else and no shared walls. Learn how to deal with noisy apartment neighbors here.
Manufactured homes can be very spacious from the inside. For instance, a double-wide unit can get up to 2,700 sq. ft. It normally has a kitchen, a foyer, a utility room, 2 or 3 bathrooms, a deck or patio, and at least three bedrooms.
For apartments, more space means paying out more money. The average rental space in the United States is falling and sits at 900 sq. ft. at the moment. This standard apartment already costs more than standard travel trailer homes. If you aim for more space, you will be forced to incur more costs. Apartments are, therefore, not ideal for growing families. If you rent an apartment, space should not be among the top priorities.
Let’s start with a bombshell: Mobile homes are not mobile anymore. Well… not exactly.
They technically are still mobile, but they are not moved nearly as often as they used to be. Travel trailer homes have been officially named manufactured homes since the ‘Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1976.’
Manufactured homes are rarely moved more than once, which is from the industry to the plot/lot of land where they are supposed to stay. People then pay a lot rent for the piece of land where the structure is located.
The main reason for this is that moving a mobile home nowadays is expensive, so some people prefer to sell and buy a new one. You can also harm the mobile home structure while moving it. So, when it comes to mobility, a manufactured home is just about the same as an apartment.
This means that getting a new job that requires shifting or becoming tired with your current location is not reason enough for you to consider travel trailer homes above an apartment.
We believe that this article has highlighted the financial, lifestyle, and general differences of owning a manufactured home vs. renting an apartment in real estate. Some prefer living that avails them access to important amenities, while others prefer the more spacious and quiet nature of mobile home parks.
Even though mobile homes can offer you an exciting living experience, these options also present certain challenges and are not for everyone. We, therefore, recommend that you proceed with renting an apartment since it offers access to valuable amenities at a price that is not very far from manufactured homes. However, it would help if you carried out enough research before settling on the perfect solution. We hope you succeed in renting the best homes for your family.