About ten or eleven years ago, we decided that we had spent enough time renting a home and decided to start looking for a home to buy. The longer we researched and tried to find exactly what we wanted, the more we looked and figured the finances we started to question why we would want to end up paying twice what the home is listed for and being stuck in a payment for at least 15 years. For some people this works, but for the future we were looking towards the mobile home is the best option. New mobile homes these days can cost as much as any other house. They are full of goodies but depreciate very fast. With this in mind we decided on a used mobile home.
One of the big driving forces behind this decision is a life plan to travel. Now that the kids are grown we are going to potentially spend a lot of time driving around the country and need a reliable vehicle to do that traveling. Living here gives us some breathing room on car payments. That is another blog post that will be coming soon, lets just say we do have a nice vehicle and will be making an epic trip. As much as I would like to spill all of those details now this post’s point is that we chose to live in a mobile home because it is inexpensive and can be generally reconfigured any way you want. It would not be that hard to move the bathroom into the living room, thought I don’t know why you would want to do that.
On to the mobile home.
In 2012 we purchased this mobile home for $24k using a 4-year personal loan. We made two decisions on the remodeling before buying this place. Number one was that we would not make any improvements until the loan was paid off. Number two was that any significant internal remodeling would start after our three children had grown and moved out.
We did minor repairs as needed but did not start inside remodeling until this past year. The projects stalled many times for many reasons, right now I think it is about 25% complete. We have had to replace one whole bathroom that was already in bad shape. That was a full gut and replacement. We contracted that job out, but after paying that bill, we decided we would do as much of what is left on our own with the Internet’s help.
Well, let me take a couple steps back. We did have a nice 12ftx24ft patio installed in the front. Below are a couple images of the building of the patio and the finished patio. We contracted this work out to a local group, which is always a scary proposition. But, in this case, everything worked out and we have a nice well-built patio.
And the last couple of the patio are from Christmas 2019. I went a little crazy on the lights but in the end it looked so cool in a picture. This year will be bigger and better with a light show synchronized to music using a Raspberry Pi, stay tuned for that project.
After the patio was built we waited a handful of years before doing any other major work. The first thing we did was to replace an ugly wall that had mirrors that straight fell out of 40 years ago. I did not think to start taking pictures until after we had pulled the mirrors down. Hence, the first picture you will see here is where we had cut holes in the wallboard to add extra supports for the television mount. Pretty much every time I take down a wall to add a new panel or any other kind of work, I will add more support inside the wall. This offers no more support to the structure, just extra surface area to hang shelves and such.
In this case, along with the holes for more supports I cut the panels in specific locations so I could run a wiring box to carry all of the hookup cables for the television or anything else I decided to put there. There are 2 network cables, 3 HDMI cables, and 3 power cables that run between two junction boxes. The smaller holes to the left are behind a bookshelf where all of the electronics sit.
In this next picture my two sons are fitting the wallboards while I am at work. You will notice that we taped the pieces of panel that we removed back in place. There is a reason for this, some people do it this way some people swear against it but I decided to leave the old panel up for two reasons both have to do with insulation. One is sound insulation, the other is thermal insulation. If you remove the walboard and do not replace it with anything before putting up the new panels you more or less create an echo chamber. Because we liked the look what we ended up putting on this wall is actually Tarkett laminate flooring which is very hard and resonates if there is nothing behind it. Since my office is right on the other side of that wall I need all of the sound insulation I can get.
We learned a few lessons here. First is that a normal saw blade can not cut laminate flooring. We burnt up 2 miter saw and 4 or 5 jig saw blades before we figure that out. And this stuff will actually throw spark as you are cutting it. Also since we did not have a lot of money to buy tools then, there were no air guns involved. We hammered all of those panels in by hand. Actually my sons did 75% of it while I was at work one day. This was also the middle of winter, no sawing in the house, that was interesting. One warning here, when you cut laminate flooring it throws a very fine dust into the air, when I first started cutting this I was wearing safety glasses but no mask; wear some kind of mask or other breathing filter when cutting this stuff, I coughed for about 2 days after breathing that dust.
And below is what it looked like right after it was complete before we installed the bookshelf where all of the electronics go. Amusingly the white piece on the right is still white. We are trying to figure out how to blend it into the wall. Plus, just to do that one angle, I would have to buy a whole box of flooring; it’s not quite worth that.
And finally everything built and a television hanging. This was probably about 4 years ago. Since then the ceiling and walls have been painted, there is a complete new front door including casing, and last but not least a new ceiling fan. Oh and the top of the new wall has been trimmed now, I will have new pictures in a future post.
We have a lot more work to do here and I am working on more posts to go with this, currently our focus is the kitchen and laundry room. Keep an eye out for those posts because there is a message here.
After we paid off this mobile home it only costs us a little over $200 per month to keep it on this landing. This fee includes trash service, water and sewer service, along with a centralized propane system so we do not have to pay to lease our own tank. This is a community of about 100 permanent residents but it can increase to 250 – 300 in the summer because part of this landing is a camp ground, so it is not like we are all alone. For us it was either this or $1500+ per month house payment for 30 years. In the end I like this better.
Sometimes things can feel a little tight with neighbors so close and having a slightly smaller than normal yard. I have thought about leaving here many times over the last 8 years. But I just have to think about the cost difference of a home mortgage and just step down the back of the patio and remember I can look at this any time I want or need to.
And I can do this whenever I want to.
And last but not least we can not forget our lovable Terrier Willow.
That is all for now. Check back for more progress updates on our remodeling and just my new path in general. Monday starts stage 2, and when we hit stage 2 your are going to see some serious stuff. (Nerd Pun There)
Genius ideas generally do not come from normal minds, control it, don’t let it control you.