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Manufactured Remaining Economic Life

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Doug in NC

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Jan 17, 2002
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North Carolina
What is the expected economic life of manufactured housing? Less than 30 years has to be explained, but in my opinion and based on my experience, most manufactured homes aren't going to be suitable for habitation when they are 30+ years old (considering the way most I have seen are maintained, or should I say are NOT maintained).
 

RSW

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Tennessee
Some site built homes may not last 30 years if they are not maintained. Who is to say that a manufactured home won't last 40-50 years.
 

Mr Rex

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M&S goes from 30 years for low quality multi section up to 55 for excellent quality.

FWIW, some manufactured homes are better built than some of those KB Homes with the Martha Stewart endorsement not too far from you.
 

David Beasley

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North Carolina
M&S goes from 30 years for low quality multi section up to 55 for excellent quality.

FWIW, some manufactured homes are better built than some of those KB Homes with the Martha Stewart endorsement not too far from you.

Yeah, I read somewhere that to get some of those KB/Martha Stewart homes to sell, the builder/developer had to kick in $10k Rooms To Go gift cards with the sale. Yes, 10k, $10,000...I thought it was funny given that Martha's name was all over them.

Also, read on a local blog/forum for relocating people (to the Raleigh/Cary/Morrisville area) that they were shocked when they arrived to look at the homes for possible purchase and realized they were in the approach/takeoff zone of RDU.

Glad I don't work in that market...Live near it...but I don't work it thank goodness.
 

Caterina Platt

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Certified Residential Appraiser
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New Mexico
Hi Doug,

I live in a bit 'o trailer world (don't hit me Jo Ann! :)) and have lived in several myself. I'll share what I can.

Much of the expected life is dependent on the original quality of construction, and obviously, the care of the occupants. They are indeed more fragile than your typical site built.

Average to fair quality units, I'm leaning towards 30-35 years total life. Good or better quality, I have no problem with 50 or even 55 total life. That is considering leaving the unit with most of it's original fixtures, etc. As I'm sure you've seen in your travels, you can walk into a mid 80's average quality unit with much of the original equipment/fixtures and pretty much see the end of the line in another 10 years. I've been in good quality units, say a Solitare or orignal Lancer from the mid 70's/early 80's, and have no problem seeing another 25-30 years. That is even with much of the original cabinetry, wall coverings, etc. because it was just better quality material to begin with.

In those average quality, older units, I make a comment about the necessity of good owner maintenance and replacement of fixtures as necessary in order to achieve stated remaining economic life. When it's less than 30, it is. We're in uncharted territory as it's only been 32 years since the HUD minimum construction guidelines were established. You'd be hard pressed to find 40 year old mobile homes in existance that hadn't been thoroughly rehabbed in order to stretch a few more years out of them. We all have to guess on this one, but I'm betting 90% of the mobile homes that were manufactured in say, 1970, are no longer inhabited as living quarters.
 

CURT VAN HOOSER

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Nov 3, 2003
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California
Look in the Green section of the NADA Manufactured Housing Cost Guide, part 3, page 4. There you will find a Condition and Remaining Life Adjustment. Depending on condition and quality, the highest number/range I see is 60 - 67 years. The lowest, 28 - 34 years.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

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Jan 15, 2002
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Texas
From experience, how many have you seen many mobile homes over 40 years old? 1976 is the cut off for HUD codes which is 32 years now, but I do see quite a bit of early 1970's mobile homes in the lake areas. Does the fact that we don't see many 40 year old mobiles mean estimated life should be 40 years?
 

Caterina Platt

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Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Mexico
Hard to say, Tim. The few lower quality pre-HUD units most of us run into in my part of the world exist primarily through 'life support'. They've been extensively rehabbed and often encased within a site built add on. Love to find those during inspections. :leeann:

I lived in a 1970 Bolin in college, and I can tell you that thing probably didn't last beyond 1990 without extensive rehabbing. It was a POS when we got it in 1983. Aluminum wiring, crank out jalosy windows, 2X3 exterior walls. The windows required duct tape to stay closed in a wind storm and the roof was ready to blow off like a sardine can.

The HUD codes, in my opinion, did not have a significant change in life extension for the units that were upper quality prior to their enactment. There were good quality brands out there prior to June 1976, and we still have some of those around.

What did change as a result of the HUD code standards were the 'entry level' cheapie models. Those are the ones in which I feel the jury is still out on their true economic life. These are the units where many of us are a bit concerned about stating 30 years economic life minimum when you're already 20-25 years into the actual age. We had a 1985 Liberty which was very average in quality. It would have been in it's twilight years about now had we not gutted it back to the studs, replaced extensive subflooring, stuccoed, new windows, etc. In it's original state, no way would it go beyond another 10 years, let alone 30.
 

CURT VAN HOOSER

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Nov 3, 2003
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Licensed Appraiser
State
California
I have seen a few very old mobiles. Some have been, and are being, very well maintained. Many manufactured homes are very well built with quality materials. There is no reason (I can see) why they shouldn't have long lives as long as they are maintained properly.
 
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