Moving my first home - Posted by Dan (MD)

Posted by paula on April 12, 2003 at 24:45:48:

Hi Doc, I appreciate all your advice on dealing with set up contractors,and if i wasn’t one myself it would have perhaps been even more helpful, but if youve read my previous posts you’d be surprised to know that my huband and I are in the set up business. Licensed, bonded and insured in the state of florida. We own a toter, we weld tounges, and we lag the double wides together, rack 'em, sack em and package 'em. Then down the road we go. See, the laws in Florida for all this is very complicated and makes these things very expensive. We are the #1 hurricane capital of the world. Mobile homes + hurricanes = disaster. That’s why when someone off the street needs a move and set up we have to charge high in order to cover all our costs and still make a profit. That $5500.00 is surely not what we pay…heck…to move and set up one of our homes for us, by us, costs us approx. 1/2 that, not including permits. $5500.00 is the going rate here and even if you show the abilitlity to NEGOTIATE with us, sure, we’ll work with you, but realistically we would only be able to come down to maybe $4800.00.Bottom line. We deal with all kinds of people…wheeler dealers, cons,pros and hard working people too.But still…no matter who we deal with…our costs stay the same and our time is very valuable. In your area, do you have to get a bobcat to put the anchors in or can you simply use an anchor machine?Or are anchors not even required? That can make all the differnece in the price right there alone. Very time consuming and costly.If you know anything about Florida we have a lot of Coral rock to drill through here. And by the way, the ones that come to us to set up thier homes who are honset and humble and act like they really need our help…those are the ones we’ll go out of our way to help even more, any way we can. The ones that come to us acting as if they could give a rats butt if we ever get to them, those are the ones that we would rather not even deal with. People don’t seem to understand just what goes into setting up a home, especially with Florida codes. SO remember people, if your dealing with a set up company, especially in Florida, remeber to treat them with utmost respect.Without us, your homes couldnt even be… If you only knew what goes on behind the scenes and what is actually involved, then you’d know wer’e worth the weight in gold. By the way doc,no offense, you think like a mobile home dealer, if the set up company gets hungry enough, they’ll do it for my price, or if they have to make a payment on that toter, the’ll come down, but you’ll be surprised that some of contractors that have been smelling the glue for way too long by putting in your sewers have woken up and realized that WE will start selling as well and we wont need your pennies to scrape by anymore because we will be making your dollars…and we have the edge. Us contractors that have been setting up these homes and giving deals for years,wont be in need to be giving those deals anymore because the dollars that you’ve made in the past while giving us pennies, now can be our dollars too. If you can’t beat 'em…join 'em. Again, thanks for all the advice. Best wishes…Paula

Moving my first home - Posted by Dan (MD)

Posted by Dan (MD) on April 07, 2003 at 22:04:07:

I’m having difficulty finding my third deal so I have been looking into moving one…

The home is a mid 70’s, I’m pretty sure it has aluminum wiring which really concerns me, it has a screw in circuit breaker box which I think needs to be replaced. It also needs a water heater, and some floor work. I have an offer of $750 in and I think it’ll be accepted (his last offer was 1500 and it’s been on his cousins lot for 4 years now vacant). Once it’s set up and fix then I can sell it for around $7000-$7500 without too much difficulty.

It’s 10 miles south of my bread and butter park, but I’m a little nervous about moving it. From what I can tell after digging in the archives, it’s going to run around $2000 to get it done, that really seems pretty high, but enough people have been repeating that so I guess it’s a pretty good estimate.

So what advice do you have for me? I haven’t committed yet, so I could still be talked out of it, but I think I want to give this a shot.

I was planning on doing the tear down myself and as much of the build up as I can, but is it worth it or should I hire it out?

What kind of traps do I need to avoid?

Thanks for your advice.


Re: Moving my first home - Posted by Dan (MD)

Posted by Dan (MD) on April 08, 2003 at 15:14:09:

Thanks for the info, haven’t made a decision yet as to the move, but I will let you know how it turns out if I do it


Be sure that the park you want to move it to… - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA

Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA on April 08, 2003 at 12:21:11:

…will accept a mobile of that age and condition. If they approve it, get it in writing. What a shame it would be to buy it, tear it down and move it to the new park and have a PM say he has changed his mind.

Take several photographs of the mobile before you buy it and show them to the park you want to move it to. A picture may be worth a thousand words, if your mobile is older, in great condition, but exceeds the general age limits of the park. Age limits are not set to control age, but to control junk. If yours is real nice, and will upgrade their park, say so, and ask for an exception to their age limits.

In my area some PMs will require that you repaint it before reselling it. You may need to figure this into your costs too.

The post by Joe C (AK), below has some excellent advice in it.

Regards, doc

some more thoughts - Posted by Philip

Posted by Philip on April 08, 2003 at 06:06:39:

My first (of 2) deals was moved. But I had the chance to be completely out of the deal when the home was moved. It was a 86 model with pressed wood siding that a local park owner said would fall apart. That didn’t happen at all. Everything was fine.

The buyer paid for the move. I explained everything up front about selling as is BEFORE the move. Luckily everything went well.

I don’t know about the old ones though. I have seen posts here about dont move with alum. wiring.

Good luck,

Some thoughts - Posted by Don-NY

Posted by Don-NY on April 08, 2003 at 24:18:43:

First it has aluminum wiring and screw in fuses. I think it is an early seventies or even late sixties. 1976 or so was the HUD law year. What plumbing does it have copper or polybutylene? If it has poly figure replacing at least 5-10 under floor connectors that crack during the move. Oh yeah and don’t forget that there is a chance that the furnace will not survive the trip without a cracked heat exchanger so add $800-$1000. $2000 will only cover the teardown, hauling,and leveling around here. Figure another $1000-$1500 for utilities, skirting, new front steps etc. Did I talk you out of moving it yet?

Re: Moving my first home - Posted by Joe C. (AR)

Posted by Joe C. (AR) on April 08, 2003 at 24:11:40:

I have done several moves to do “Lonnie’s”. The best way to start out is find a mover or two who will go out and look at the home and site it occupies before you buy. This will give you all the info you want about the move and some you haven’t considered.

First there are site considerations which can add significantly to costs. Trees and obstructions not present when home was moved onto site can be an issue as well as tight turns, fences, soil conditions etc. I’ve had to bring in bulldozers and tree trimmers on occassion. This must be factored into your buy price. Site worries are not usually a factor when the home is in a mh park.

Second, with homes over 15 years old, structural and/or frame deterioration can be an issue.

Third, the mover can let you know what the charges will be and how much you can save by doing some of it yourself. He will also let you know what “is not included” with a move. Usually you will have additional costs over and above his charges. If you are planning on reusing the steps for instance or the underpinning, the heights may not be usable at new location. Some utility hookups may require a contractor etc.

Make sure you have a place to “park” it before you buy.

Even when you cover all these bases unforseen things can happen, which can add cost.

Having said all that, my most profitable deals have been the ones I have moved. When a home has to be moved, it’s just an old “trailer” to most. Cheap to buy and not in real high demand. When you get it set up and ready, it becomes “affordable housing”. That’s “value added” and with financing for your buyer, you can get paid handsomely for it. I once bought a 16x80 3/2 for $1000.00. and I’ve bought several 14x70-80’s for $1000-$1200. All sold for more than $10k and $15k for the 16x80.

My advice is that if you have to move one, it doesn’t cost much more to move a newer, bigger one and you can buy them for just a little more money, if they have to be moved. The profit potential is higher and the risk of a unforseen high cost move is not that big an issue. Also, when you find a mover that you can work with, stick with him. Let him make some money on the easy moves and he’ll treat you right when you get a tough one. After a few moves, you will become proficient at “seeing the unseen” when you look at a home.
Joe C. (AR)

Re: Moving my first home - Posted by pete(AR)

Posted by pete(AR) on April 08, 2003 at 10:36:58:


How much should I figure for utility hookups(i.e. electric and water) in a mobile home park? I know it will cost about 500-1500 to move a mobile home depending on what needs to be done. Thanks for the info and i do agree there is profit potential in moving homes.

Re: Moving my first home - Posted by Paula

Posted by Paula on April 09, 2003 at 17:46:10:

I was just reading these posts and i noticed that most people say it costs no more than 2000.00 to move a amazes me that where you live its 500-1500 WOW! What part of the state is that in. Here in Miami, it cost 4,ooo. to break down, move, set up only. That’s with everything going smooth and there are no obstacles. And for the water and sewer, and elecrical hookups another 1500.00.It’s really expensive here, I guess because of the high risk of hurricanes, inpectors are real picky on what goes into installing them. So youre looking at 5500.00 average.Thats only if its a single wide…and double wides…ooooo…forget it…8K-10K for complete installation. you guys are lucky!

Re: Moving my first home - Posted by Joe C. (AR)

Posted by Joe C. (AR) on April 08, 2003 at 13:45:23:

Every situation is different so I can’t give you an exact cost. In a park, the water and sewer is not usually a problem and you can probably do it yourself or have the mover do it.
Electric will probably require an electrician depending on locality. Figure $100-$400 depending on materials required.
For gas, a plumber may be required. Again $100-400 depending on the situation.
Also consider the A/C. If it’s a “split system”, where the freon had to be discharged to move it, an hvac technician will have to re-install ($150-$300).
These are ballpark prices for this area.
Joe C. (AR)

There is a big difference between… - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA

Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA on April 11, 2003 at 12:07:29:

…wholesale and retail. It sounds like you have been given retail or super-retail prices. Its up to you to learn how to get real wholesale prices.

Paula, it kind of hard to explain sometimes without people getting offended, but I’ll try.

I’m sure you have heard it said that if a woman who knows nothing about cars, takes her car to a shop for a repair estimate, she will often be quoted a higher price than if a man, knowlegable about car repairs, took the same car in for an estimate at the same shop.

It really doesn’t make so much difference, if it is a guy or a gal who is getting estimates for mobile home repairs or moving and setup etc. The contractors you are talking to will immediately and without exception , begin trying to size you up. I.e. they will ask you a few question designed to determine your level of knowlege (or ignorance), your urgency, and the size of your pocket book (er, I mean moving budget). There is one, logical, overriding principal to their pricing policies: CHARGE WHAT THE MARKET WILL BEAR. Unfortunately you came accross as a $3,000-$5,000 customer (mark).

It takes GREAT skill to get a contractor’s best price. This is SALESMANSHIP under a different name (buyersmanship). Same skills needed. You need to sell the contractor on giving you his lowest price. He needs to sell you on paying you his highest price. Unfortunately, in your case, he won.

I understand that there will be price diferences from area to area. There will also be differences from time to time, depending on how busy all of the contractors are. If the are all extremely busy they will collectively take advantage of this fact by all charging the maximum price no matter who you are. There will be other times when they are are slow and hurting for business. These are the times when knowlegable buyers collectively take advantage of them, buy negotiating hard for the lowest prices possible.

some potential buyers just ask contractors how much it will cost. Those are the ones who need to make sure their noses are in working order. Other customers take the time to explain that the are “in the business” of dealing in mobiles and therefore need (deserve) only their “wholesale rates”. Make this real clear. Learn all of the “buzz words” that indicate that you have at least seen a mobile home before. For example if you refer to “a floor’ or a toter” or to “setup” and teardown costs" you will sound like you at least know where the front door is. Be prepared in advance (like a reap professional) to immediately answer the questions: Are the wheels and axels there or already installed-ditto for the hitch. You need to sound like you really ARE in the business and sound like you know what you are talking about.

Let people know in ADVANCE of taking your estimate that you need to get 3 estimates. If you leave the impression that you are a retail buyer, only interestated in getting one estimate you will only get one, their highest one. This is one of the biggest mistakes new people make.

Learn about their time presssures and how busy their REALLY are (not just what they tell you—read between the lines and talk to others in the industry). Be sure YOU are not under time pressure yourself. If you are in a hurry to get ANYTHING done you will pay twice as much. Learn how to bluff when you are in a hurry and try to sound like you have all of the time in the world even if you don’t. I often tell contractors that I need a super wholesale price, BUT I am not in a hurry and they can use me for a fill-in job on any day (during the next week or so) when they have a cancelation or no work for some other reason.

Thousands of books have been writing on salesmanship. Maybe we could all benefit by reading one or two. Remember buying and selling require the SAME skills. It all comes down to bluff, puff, and NEGOTIATION.

Why is it that we will spend years trying to learn how buy mobile homes wholesale but so willing pay retail for moving and setup services?

Regards, doc