Whether you live in a mobile home full-time or only stay seasonally, you’re probably already well aware of the perks of mobile home living. It’s like living in a factory-built home, except you get the added benefit of taking your home anywhere you’d like. Mobile homes, also referred to as house trailers, park homes, or trailer homes are prefabricated structures that can be transported to sites. They can be left permanently, semi-permanently, or be moved from time to time per park regulations.
Read on for a few of our top tips for mobile home living in the province of Alberta. Whether you’re new to owning a mobile home or this isn’t your first time living in a manufactured, portable home, these few tips will probably go a long way.
Tip no. 1: Get insured.
The first piece of advice we can give you? Get insured. Mobile home insurance is a necessity, not only due to the peace-of-mind that it provides you, but also that you could find yourself out thousands – even tens of thousands of dollars – if someone was ever injured on your property or their property was damaged while you were towing/moving your mobile home. It’s not legally required unless your mobile home is self-propelled and not towed, yet still greatly recommended. Key features of mobile home insurance include liability coverage, if someone is ever injured or hurt on your property, emergency vacation expenses, and replacement cost for the personal property contained within your mobile home. For added coverage, you may also purchase (for an increased premium) items like guaranteed replacement cost, extra coverage for valuables, etc.
Tip no. 2: Practice proper installation and setup.
Improper installation or setup can seriously ruin your good times, and incorrect installation can account for up to 80% of warranty complaints. As such, you can probably imagine how important it is to ensure that your manufactured home is adequately installed. Most mobile homes are built upon a cambered chassis, meaning that the metal is created “curved” to distribute even weight around the home. You can ensure best setup and drainage to avoid water pooling under your mobile home. It’s recommended that the grade beneath a manufactured home have roughly a 5-6” slope around the first 10 feet surrounding the home. This means there’s about ½” per foot.
Tip no. 3: Your roof is your first line of defense.
Like any home, mobile or permanent, your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. If you have a flat metal roof, consider recoating this with an aluminum-based roof coating every other year. During this time, do your due diligence and check caulks, sealants, and patches, replacing anything that may be appearing cracked or brittle. If you left it to fester, water could seep through and cause even more major damages to the rest of your home.
Most mobile homes without eaves will require a J-channel above the windows and doors to behave as a gutter, filtering out water. If you’re still in the process of purchasing a mobile home or are planning to re-roof, look for a home with 8-12” eaves for the most adequate water drainage.
Tip no. 4: Handle water damage risks from inside the house.
Each source of water in your house should be equipped with an emergency shutoff valve. This means your dishwasher, washing machine, faucet, and tub. Mobile homes often have ventilation issues in their plumbing systems as a result of their simplified designs and much smaller pipes.
It’s not a bad idea if you live in a colder climate like Alberta to use heat tape to fix frozen water lines. Be sure to install these before your pipes freeze, however, as they’ll be useless once the cold weather has settled in for the coming months.
Tip no. 5: Purchase wisely.
When purchasing your mobile home for the first time, do your research! Not all mobile homes are built the same way. Note: double wide homes will have two titles, one per section. Single wides, as their name might suggestion, have only one. Never purchase a mobile home from someone who does not have a legal title in-hand with their full name on it. Note: in Alberta, you won’t legally own your mobile home until the title has been registered in your name. If you are purchasing a pre-owned mobile home, get an online or in-person appraisal done – it’s worth the money!
There are typically 3 levels of mobile home quality. Obviously, the most affordable homes will have cheaper materials and be more prone to breakdown and issues. Mid-grade homes are built more like your average site-built homes, and luxury grade homes are a step above the rest.
Also, purchase your insurance wisely! A mobile home salesperson or company is probably an option, but not your best bet. Instead, purchase your mobile home insurance through a third-party mobile home insurance provider. They’ll have the best rates and be able to work with you one-on-one to determine your insurance and coverage needs.
Hopefully, these few tips have given you some insight into what issues to look for in mobile homes, how to purchase wisely, and how to live most comfortably. Just a little mindfulness can go a long way!