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Old 05-01-11, 08:08 AM   #1
BrianAbington
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Default reusing an old home

Need some thoughts on my plan.
Due to some family issues I am now required to move back to the midwest.

I will have a chance to live rent free for a while with family while I reestablish my self back in the Omaha area.

Once I get into a good job/school I want to save up and buy a home.

Land with at least county power is often found for $3,000-$5,000 for 1/2 to a full acre depending on how close to Omaha it is.

What I am considering is buying a small lot and once I have purchased the home to be moved, over several months dig out as much basement hole as I can by hand then rent an excavator to get the last bit down to 6 ft or so. This is mostly be used for storage and a place for water and electrical to be out of the main house.

Have a foundation poured then put an older home on the foundation.

Periodically on craigslist there are double wide trailers that someone had on their property they longer need because they built a new house...they often are selling for $1,000-$6,000.

Cost to move seems to average around $4,000

Once it is moved to the lot I would gut the inside put in new flooring plywood if needed...remove and recycle the old metal siding and roof. Then replace with plywood, new siding, new windows, build a roofover with 3' overhangs.

I would gut the interior and add 8" to all exterior walls (8"top and bottom plates, 6" inner studs, with 2" gap between inner and outer studs forming 12" walls)

Blown insulation in all walls with rockwool in air gap around living room to sound proof from any neighbors.

Since most mobile homes have no inner support walls I could in theory rearrange any rooms in any way I wanted. (trade the place of the utility room with a bedroom, eliminate a 4th bedroom to extend the living room..etc...)

I could also give the master bedroom a 6" wall dividing it from the rest of the house. Same with the utility room so you would never know the washing machine was running.

I would also install a tankless water heater remove all old HVAC components and install a minisplit system for HVAC.

I figure I could do all of this for under $20,000 if I did most of the work my self.

This keeps the mobile home from going to a junkyard in pieces and allows me a cheap way to obtain a home and land I own myself and turns it back into a healthy home that is more efficient that it was ever intended to be.

Also on another note because I know some one will tell me to just rent a back hoe and spend a weekend with it...I want to dig by hand because this gives me time to replenish money that was spent...also I think I am at a point in life were I need to put that kind of physical labor into my home to really emphasize the fact that I am doing this for my self.

Anybody else done this?

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Old 05-01-11, 10:51 AM   #2
Ryland
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Mobile homes are a poor shape to start with and you are more or less going to be rebuilding everything anyway so why not save the time and the money and start from scratch? you can build the shell of a house really cheaply, within your $20,000 budget and have a space that doesn't have the flaws of a mobile home shaped house and most mobile homes have 3" thick walls, lots of partical board and you could buy one, take it apart and sell the scrap metal out of it and at times come out ahead, I just think that half way in to this project you are going to be asking your self why you are doing it this way.
As I said, you can build a house for cheap because what costs alot in a house are the bath room and the kitchen, the shell of the house is pretty cheap, sure doors and windows cost a bit but you are going to need to replace those anyway as mobile home doors and windows are pretty bad.
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Old 05-01-11, 04:25 PM   #3
BrianAbington
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Well a long rectangle is not really that bad of a design. And I'm not looking for an old unit from the 50's unless it was something really special. I'm looking for something 1980 and newer when they actually had a building code to meet.

The fact that I can rearrange the inside to how I want is what is really appealing.

I lived in one in Iowa and it was a 1969 POS at 50 ft long was a bit on the small side But I liked the layout. The bedrooms and living room/kitchen dining area were completely separate.

I would try to avoid a 14x50 unit... If I could find a 24x80 that would be ideal.

My whole point is to redo everything so any catches in old parts would not matter because its all coming out anyways.

Plus recouping money from selling the old windows, recycling the old siding and roof, plumbing, and wiring. I'd try to sell the old fixtures unless they have a heavy MCM look that I want to retain. So it has potential to off set it self quite a bit.

I'm looking for a complete home not just a structure for $20K
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Old 05-01-11, 06:05 PM   #4
Ryland
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I've done remodeling most of my life and altho I suppose you can find a decent mobile home, I would rather get one from the 50's then one from the 80's as it will be built better, but it's most likely going to cost you more to redo a mobile home in to a decent house then it would cost to build from scratch.
If you really want to get to your chunk of land quickly then buying a mobile home and living in it for a year or two while you build a house next door to it might be the way to go, but from the work I've seen done on mobile homes, there is so much partical board in them that it's like trying to repair a card board box that has been left out in the rain, the best thing you can often do is not mess with it or it will start to crumble in your hands.
After all, what part are you hoping to save from the original structure that is going to save you money?
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Old 05-03-11, 02:30 PM   #5
gasstingy
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When we built our home, I first bought a 16x64 MH to live on the property while we built. It was a bargain. I spent about $8500 on the MH, including all repairs/upgrades and sold it for $7500 when we moved into our new house. We lived in it for almost a year and a half for about $1000. I wouldn't say I'm a big fan of the MH, but your plan could very well work.

You can site the MH for passive solar. As you rebuild the outside walls, you could put in enough good windows to see some benefit there, your overhang would provide the shade to minimize the summer sun heat. You can add solar light tubes. Your insulation plan is good. However, before I would go to that effort, I'd check with a real estate broker and ask what I'd have to call it if I wanted to sell it later. If you have to call it a remodelled MH, your resale value wouldn't be as high.

OTOH, I am almost finished with the outside of my garage / workshop project and my expenses are about where your total budget is, and I have yet to do anything inside. What I do have is a 24 x 36 building, sited for passive solar, with an upstairs room that is 16x36. If you ignore the opening for the stairs, we have a bit more than 1300 sf. When I started this project, I thought I could dig my own footer. That plan didn't work for me. Lots of backbreaking work {my day job is behind a desk} and before it was over, I hired a backhoe for $400 and it was done in no time. I plan to build my own cabinets, what few I'll have and I visualize spending another $5-$8k to finish it. It's a good bit of money, but I'm happy with the way it is turning out.
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Old 05-16-11, 10:03 AM   #6
Ryland
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Right, I agree with reusing an old building, but with a mobile home you have to look at how much of it is going to be saved and reused, the original post stated that it would have a foundation (basement?), as would a new house, that doors and windows would be replaced, along with roofing and siding it seems, mobile home walls tend to be 3" thick instead of 5" to 7" so the walls would need to be made thicker for more insulation, that is why I asked how much this plan would really save and if the end structure is going to be what you really want, because rebuilding an existing building like that can end up costing as much if not more then starting from scratch and because of the waste in making things fit, can use just as much material as you would starting from new.

My garage is a good example, it has a flat roof that leaks, garage doors that need to be replaced a dirt floor and the foundation walls are cracked and falling apart, so we could re-pour and repair the foundation, pour a floor, strip the walls down and insulate them, strip the roof off and put a peeked roof on and save our old garage, but at that point the studs are going to more or less be all that's left, so is it worth saving the old building so we can salvage 40 studs? it might be because it also sits right on the property line so we wouldn't be allowed to build a new building without greater set backs, but the environmental savings in salvaging those 40 studs would not be worth the environmental savings of building a building that is better insulated and better built from the ground up if we were able to make it super insulated and fix the flaws that the existing building has as part of it's design.

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