Inspecting Mobile Homes
Pre Fab homes or Mobile homes are becoming more common in the post pandemic economy. Indeed, these homes are ideal for a single homeowner, single parents or empty nesters.
Troy's Home Inspection has done plenty of these inspections. In addition to the other systems of the home, Mobile Homes need the following, to have particular focus on
1. Water Damage
Water is a natural enemy of mobile homes. During a mobile home inspection, always check under every exterior window, as well as on the entire interior perimeter of a mobile home. Overflowing gutters, a leaking roof, or holes in the siding may lead to moisture entering the mobile home and problems/mold in the wall cavities.
I will check for signs of water damage on the roof, interior ceiling and the walls.
2. Floors and Foundation
A mobile home’s foundation varies from area to area and home to home. Local mobile home movers may follow current local codes—or they may not. Some areas allow for your investment mobile home to sit atop a pier and beam foundation, while others allow concrete block supports atop crushed rock. Still others allow for additional foundation options.
Generally, though, mobile homes do not sit on a traditional foundation, unlike stick-built homes. This means that the bottom side of the home isn’t shielded from the elements. You might see soft spots on the floors—they’re one of the most common mobile home faults. Don’t panic. Soft spots can be remedied quickly and easily. A soft spot is just a piece of the subfloor that has rotted over time for any number of reasons, including appliance leaks, window or roof leaks, or faulty plumbing.
We will ensure get a good look underneath the mobile home itself. Any Home Inspector that does not climb under your mobile home is not doing a proper inspection!!
Additionally, if the foundation is not sturdy enough, situated correctly, or on a concrete slab (permanent foundation), a mobile home’s support may sink slowly into the earth over time. Soft ground or wet weather can speed up the sinking.
3. Vapor Barrier
A mobile home’s vapor barrier functions as the first line of defense from the elements beneath the home. Most mobile homes don’t sit on a foundation, so a vapor barrier is affixed to the underside of the home. This vapor barrier may be a dark blue or black color, and should stretch along the entire underside of the manufactured home.
However mobile homes in WNY should have vapor barrier on the GROUND as well, running along the entire unit and protected by hardy working skirts to prevent the barrier from getting damaged.
4. Air Conditioning Units
Mobile home air conditioning units can also be a costly repair. To truly know how the AC is running, you’ll have to test it. But the general appearance of the unit can gauge its remaining usable life. Start by noting the date of the furnace and air conditioning unit—old units may need to be replaced.
Some mobile homes were not manufactured to have air conditioners, so it should be a big red flag if you see window air conditioner units. If you see window units, you can assume you will be spending a good chunk of money up front to pay for an AC system.
5. Doors and Windows
We check doors and windows for improper seals. Any area of the home exposed to the exterior is at risk for moisture intrusion. When you close an exterior door, look to see if any visible daylight peeks through. If you can see light, chances are that you will have to replace the seals.
Some mobile homes tend to have only single-pane windows, so be sure that the functionality of the windows checks out and that everything can close and lock properly.
Make sure the doors and windows close properly, too, during your mobile home inspection. In sinking mobile homes, the main front and back doors may not line up or close correctly.
Electrical and plumbing inspections are best left to the professionals, but there are a few simple checks that can ensure you’re not buying a total lemon. Pick up a receptacle tester—available from most retail stores for less than $10. You can plug the device into the wall outlet and check the functionality of the wiring. The testers help determine the probability of incorrect outlet wiring for an outlet.
Aside from checking the outlets directly, you can research local electrical codes to ensure that your breaker panels are in compliance and that you have the correct types of outlets in the appropriate locations. Remember, it’s common for mobile homeowners to make their own electrical repairs. You may see electrical outlets that do not work, extension cords running across the home, wires hanging from ceiling electrical outlets, and other obviously “amateur-style” repair jobs—all of which are red flags.