Renovating mobile homes--is this a good guide?

I found this article on remodeling a mobile home:

When you buy a property, do you guys get deep into remodeling the vacant homes, or…?

That does not look like a good book on renovating mobile homes. Some of the photos are of RVs, some are of site-built homes. I don’t agree with some of the things they say.

Yes, those of us in this business typically renovate the abandoned MHs. It can be difficult to find someone responsible to renovate a home themselves. Most folks who respond to ‘handyman specials’ just make the homes worse while they live in it and never actually do any repair. Renovating a MH is not really different from renovating a site-built home. Call local MH dealers and other MHPs in your area and ask who renovates MHs. You’ll want to do a decent, but not over-the-top job on your homes. Then sell them for $1,000 - $2,000 down on a RTO agreement.

My 2 cents worth,



@216mobilehome After 23 mobile home flips, I can say the move-in condition is the typical condition of the home you want and can sell.

  • no holes in floor and walls
  • plumbing is good
  • the electrical system is good working condition
  • appliances (fridge and stove)
  • good roof (no leaks)
  • no smell in the mobile home (usually you have to repaint the interior with oil based primer and new paint)
  • the heating system is good working condition

I agree with @Jefferson. It is hard to find somebody responsible and if you find him. He will disappear in couple days or weeks.

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We are trying to change the reputation of a turnaround park to a community after being neglected for many years with the previous owner.

What are the key items that park owners focus on when rehabbing an older 2 bedroom 1 bath POH’s? We have explained to the contractors that the finished product needs to be safe affordable housing. We can’t invest a ton of money in each unit however they do need to be upgraded in order to attract better residents.

Flooring, roof, plumbing, electrical, heating, windows, exterior doors, carpet, vinyl and painting

Do you pull down the old paneling and replace with drywall?
Overlay the entire floor or bad sections with new OSB subfloor?
How much does the typical remodel cost for labor? Materials? The range seems to be very large.
How long do you typically do a RTO contract?
For the RTO agreements who is now responsible for minor and major repairs?
How much do you charge above lot rent?

Thanks for the input and help.

Doug -

We typically:

  1. save the wood paneling, if possible. If it’s full of holes or otherwise damaged, then yes, overlay it with sheetrock (don’t bother pulling it off)

  2. replace only the bad sub-floor portions with plywood, but OSB works too

  3. pay $2,000 in parts and $2,000 in labor for the typical home remodel (this would be interior only - e.g. no roof replacement for these prices)

  4. RTO 1970s/80s homes for $495/mo. over 3 years (this includes lot rent), RTO 2000-and-newer homes for $650/mo. over 5 - 7 years (again, that would include lot rent)

  5. hold tenants responsible for repairs under $300, and we pay for larger repairs, but finance those (e.g. residents must pay for longer to pay off what we put into the home if they are unable to afford their larger repairs)

  6. charge at least $200 above lot rent

Hope this helps,



Remember this line, “If you bait for rats, you will attract rats”.

I recently tried to sell a 1983 model 14x70 3 bedroom with a bath and half for $1500 and couldn’t. It even had vinyl windows! Problem was it needed floors throughout and I couldn’t find a capable buyer even at that low of a price. What I was attracting was folks that wanted to know if they could make payments on the $1500! That’s what I mean by rats.

So I repaired the floors and installed new floor coverings and made it a decent house and sold it for $7000 cash and got a great family to boot. They couldn’t get me the money fast enough because they were afraid someone else would buy it out from under them.

Did a similar thing with another house in the park, sold it for $7500 cash. Nobody really wants to live in junk…well except for rats.

When you try to sell a fixer upper you will get the bottom of the barrel buyers usually and as Jefferson stated, they lack the ability to fund and see the project through and will many times make it worse because they don’t know what they are doing.

I will typically spend $2000-$3000 in rehab costs plus $1800-$2300 in floor coverings. I probably over rehab though as I usually will upgrade all the fixtures and cabinet pulls to brushed nickel. I have accent walls in the living room and master bedroom as well.

My park needed quite a bit of turnaround in residents and reputation so these are the steps that I have taken to attract a higher quality resident. I’ve done 3 rent credit deals like this this month all for $2000 down/$575 per month on model years ranging from 1987-1995. I also have 2 more homes already spoken for that I am setting up.

FYI, I’ve bumped my rent credit agreement repair clause to $1000 and tell them that unless the Furnace or A/C goes out it’s their responsibility. They know what I’m providing is a good deal for them and I’ve gotten no push back on this.


It makes a big difference to mobile home look when you have new floor covering. Typically we use vinyl tiles which can be installed in one day by one guy (whole mobile home). Typically pay $1 per square feet for materials and $200 per day (labor).

Andriy, so you vinyl tile the entire home, bedrooms living room and all?

Here are some recent rehabs I did on our park facebook page, tell me what you think:


When we reno to flip we have two priorities. First the exterior because that is the face and image of the community. What goes on inside peoples homes no one sees as being the standard of the community. New windows if necessary, vinyl siding soffits and proper peaked roof. The roof is important as domed roofs scream trailer park.
Second the interior. All walls and ceilings are painted. If the walls and ceilings are in bad shape we drywall. For the floors we put down sheet linoleum in the kitchen and bath, click flooring in living room and hall depending on the lay out and carpet in the bedrooms.
We will also upgrade interior doors and baseboard as required.
The extent of the reno depends on your targeted resale value however our community home prices are generally very high so others will likely put less into a reno than we do.
We always re-level the home prior to doing any reno work.

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@Coach62 If we need to replace flooring in any mobile home we own, we install vinyl tiles. Here are some tips:

  • if you have an uneven floor, you should install 1/4 OSB on it to level everything up and install tile.
  • patch any big holes in the floor
  • use vinyl tile adhesive. I know vinyl sticky tiles have the glue on it but id does not hold good.
  • if you replace flooring in each space you can use different color tiles in corridor, bathroom and kitchen to contract space. However, it is not necessary.

Why do we do vinyl tiles instead of using carpet and/or linoleum?
If you sell the mobile home for cash. There is not difference. If you rent it using the rent program, the mobile home might get back to you. It is expensive to replace carpet and linoleum after bad tenants. However, it is easy to replace 1-5 vinyl tiles.

This is only our way and it work in our area. I do not think this method will work in Malibu mobile home park :slight_smile:


Thanks for the article!

I did not see any interior photos there. Am I missing something?

One thing about bathroom flooring is it must be sheet vinyl or some such continuous material so water does not leak through the joints and rot out the wood sub flooring.


This is a great thread and thanks for resurrecting!

I don’t understand what you are saying with the continuous – where do you “break” the continuity of the sheet vinyl in the bathroom? If water spills on the floor of a bathroom, where is it supposed to go?

Water leaking under the sink (or at the dishwasher), this seems to be something I’ve seen over and over. A latent leak in piping in the kitchen and you wish they would run out onto the floor to be more visible instead of slowly rotting the wood however they drain. But they’re in cabinetry that you can’t patch underneath. Do you put something here of a “will show any leaks” nature?


The way you protect the floors in bath and kitchen is to run the sheet vinyl wall to wall before any cabinets or tub are installed. At the wall you apply calking to seal the flooring against the wall. You can then place your cabinets and tub on top of the vinyl.
The flooring should then be calked along the tub but not along the cabinets. If there is a leak it stays on the floor and/or runs out the front of the cabinets on top of the floor.

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Back in my green days I had a 12 unit 2Br 1Ba apartment building with wood floors. Put 12" x 12" Armstrong vinyl title on the bathroom floors. A few years later I had to tear out all the rotten sub floors and replace them. Later I learned the Uniformed Building Code prohibited what I did, for obvious reasons.

Another bathroom point: Never caulk between the toilet and the floor. If it is leaking you need to know about it before it rots through.

I’ve seen dozens and dozens of cabinets under sinks rotted out. After my novice period, whenever I bought an apartment building, I had my crew go through and put sheet vinyl on the cabinet bottoms under the sink and run the vinyl up the cabinet sides about 5 inches. We did it in such a way so if the trap was leaking the water would run out the front of the cabinet and get the tenant’s feet wet. Then, maybe they would complain so we could fix the problem.

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Sorry Randy_CA, I’ve recently cleaned up my park’s FB page and removed those sold homes. Feel free to reach out if I can be of any help.

To modify the look of your mobile home you need to have it remodeled and it can be done with the help of professional remodeling contractors.