I got a question from Jessica of Weaving Rainbow (she has a blog as well) about the positives and negatives of mobile homes and manufactured housing. I have had the pleasure of living in three mobile homes. One of these was actually half-house - someone had ripped off the side and built half a house off of it haphazardly. Putting mobile homes onto houses seems like a popular thing to do in Montana.
Anyway, I've also looked into manufactured homes. We were looking at purchasing some land one time and looked into those prefab houses that they truck onto your property. They are basically a mobile home with drywall and are stacked on top of each other or fit together to make a bigger house.
Mobile homes today are amazing and don't resemble the tin can above. However, they are still mobile homes. Their construction is light, and they wear out. They burn down faster than a regular house, which can be a hazard. I have very sensitive ears and in two of the mobiles I lived in I heard a very quiet buzzing which turned out to be bad wiring getting too hot and burning a hole slowly through the wall. Admittedly they were old and a newer one won't be prone to that, but it is a downfall of cheapness.
Mobile homes are inexpensive, and easy to put down anywhere. If you plan to keep it for a while they need a concrete slab, but that's pretty much it. They are also much more insulated than they used to be, and so you save energy compared to the old metal ones.
If I had to choose any option for putting down on a piece of land, I would buy a bus (oh I'm not biased, lol) until I could build a house, or I would go straight to the prefab house. OR I would build a cob house instead of getting a prefab if I had the bus to live in for longer. Some areas have bylaws on how long you can stay in an RV while you build, but if you can do that then a bus is better than an RV because it is cheaper and also better for winter. The reason I say this is that although mobiles are nice, in the end a house, even one of those modular prefab ones, lasts longer, feels better, and is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
If you've never looked at cob as a cheap and sustainable housing option, check Wikipedia for a quick introduction.
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