A mobile home inspection on an older model identified a number of building systems that had failed or were in distress. How should a buyer approach such a purchase?
No it’s not a misprint. The buyers needed a property condition assessment on a 1972 mobile home that would take them beyond their initial first impressions and contracted my services for the home inspection. I don’t shy away from mobile home inspections as this is a viable housing option for many folks, especially when the average cost of housing in the region is above one million dollars.
This particular property was located in the Vancouver region, in a well kept age restricted +55 park, the lowest priced property within 100 km of downtown Vancouver. My client was looking for a residence, not a ‘fix and flip’.
A realtor had purchased it from the estate for a quick flip. It had not been lived in for a while. It was listed for several months. A ‘’stink bid’ had been previously received and rejected. Power and heat were turned off on a cold January day. Floor rot below the kitchen counter and around the hot water tank. Rodent droppings throughout. Bathroom could easily pass as a movie set for ‘Animal House’. Avocado kitchen stove that appeared to have never been cleaned. Carpeting with Rochart Chart staining.
Obviously the property was in distress. Here is what I looked for beyond the obvious.
- Original condition – Yes. This is a great starting point as there has not been any attempt to apply lipstick.
- Signs of abuse – No. Whoever the original owner was, they did not have an anger management problem, or a need to ‘bash-in-the-drywall’ or just for fun ‘kick-out the door locks’ or a pet with incontinence.
- Electrical panel – Passed. Breaker panel with spare capacity.
- Water Damage – Yes. Unfortunately the subfloor will have to be replaced in the soft spots. However the damage appeared to be localized.
- Roof Leak – No. There was no staining anywhere on the ceiling.
- Windows operational – Yes. There was no signs or rot or staining around the windows.
- Natural gas forced air furnace condition – Unknown.
- Hot water tank condition – Failed. Replacement required.
- Kitchen & bathroom cabinets condition – Acceptable. Surprisingly the doors and shelving units could be readily reconditioned.
- Floor coverings condition – Failed. Replacement required.
- Nose test – Passed. No detectable mold, mildew or pet smells. Yes it’s subjective but based on experience, I do not discount it.
- Crawl space – Passed. Too many issues to discuss in this post but suffice to say that it was acceptable for the age.
- Exterior steps and balcony condition – Passed.
- Exterior parking surfaces and underneath mobile – Passed. Asphalted throughout.
Overall I considered the property redeemable with a major allowance for the unknown. The buyers proceeded with the purchase because the price was right and had budgeted for the renovations.
Lesson Learned: When a purchasing decision is not obvious and takes you outside of your comfort zone of understanding, it’s appropriate to pay for knowledge and a skill-set that you do not have. In this case, a professional home inspector can provide a buyer with much needed feedback to support the final “go-no go” decision.