Is a mobile home a bad investment? (5 reasons why)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is a mobile home a bad investment? We will talk about the pros and cons of owning a mobile home. We will also tell you how to buy a mobile home and what to pay attention to before signing the contract. 

Is a mobile home a bad investment?

Whether a mobile home is a bad or good investment, will depend on the use you are planning on giving it and, of course, on your personal circumstances. Still, there are some general pros and cons of buying a mobile home. Let’s see them. 

Mobile Homes: Advantages and Disadvantages

AdvantagesDisadvantages
A very low purchase costAn opening period can be limited in time and does not necessarily cover the whole year. Generally, outdoor hotels (the official name of campsites) are open from April to October.
20% VAT recovery on purchase (on some deals).Rental of the plot between 3000 and 5000 $/year.
You can move it across the county if you wish soCharges which may be extra: water, electricity, gas, Wi-Fi.
Maximum services for holidaymakers, generally with the most starred campsites: swimming pool, restaurants, mini-market, etc.Some campsites do not allow you to directly manage your property. It is absolutely necessary to go through their reservation centre against the modest sum of 30% to 50% of your turnover.
No property tax, no housing tax.Once you are installed, it is difficult to change your camping mobile home or to put it in your garden (it is forbidden).

Why invest in a mobile home?

The advantage of investing in a mobile home is that you can buy for a relatively small amount compared to real estate in general.

Indeed, it is possible to buy a used model for 12,000 euros, which is the price of a small car! If you opt for a new mobile home, it will instead take around 30,000 euros to make your purchase.

The advantage of investing in this type of property is that you can definitely decide to enjoy it a few weeks a year. You will then have a base for you and your family.

The rest of the time, you can decide to sublet your mobile home to holidaymakers. In this way, you will be able to amortize the various costs associated with your purchase. If you optimize your occupancy rate, you will be able to go on vacation for free and, why not, earn some money!

If you decide to take the necessary actions to properly fill your schedule over the entire campsite opening period, you can consider repaying your mobile home in around seven years.

Indeed, a property that costs 24,000 euros and generates 3,200 euros in profit per year will be fully reimbursed in just over seven years.

This means that after this time everything you can earn will be profit.

How to buy a mobile home?

There is one point that is even more important than the price of the mobile home itself: the campsite contract.

Depending on your goals, not all campsites will be suitable. For example, some campsites prohibit the subletting of your mobile home to other people! This means that, if you had planned to rent it out while you’re not there, you won’t be able to do so.

Likewise, other campsites simply refuse the owners.

You are a tenant of the land and owner of the mobile home: By the very definition of leisure camping, we are the owner of a property: the mobile home, but also the tenant of the land. This means a few different constraints than when you are a full owner of real estate and the land.

We must be aware of this to understand that we are subject to internal regulations. For some people, this is a lack of freedom and they feel like they are losing control hence the point of being comfortable with the concept.

Can you make money with a mobile home?

If your goal is to become an annuitant by owning a mobile home, then you might be sorely disappointed. Indeed, do not dream: a mobile home will allow you, at best, to earn a few thousand dollars per year.

To achieve this, you will have to make efforts:

  • Carefully study the campsites contracts,
  • Get involved in order to minimize your costs,
  • Maximize your profitability with a few tips,

If you are prepared to put in the effort, then it will pay off a lot to buy a mobile home.

Anticipate and take the time to define your goals! Not all campsites are created equal, they all work in a different way!

Often, caught in the euphoria of buying or after falling in love with camping, many people decide to buy a mobile home on a campsite without taking the time to study the contract.

They then find themselves in a situation where they do not have the opportunity to do what they want. Once the contract is signed, it is too late to go back!

Most of the problems encountered are the result of a lack of anticipation, and therefore the fault of people who have poorly prepared their project.

What is the lifespan of a mobile home?

You have to change your mobile home every seven years. We often hear that the lifespan of a mobile home is seven years. After this period, you must change it. But is this really true?

In fact, this is a far too common misconception.

What you should be aware of is that some campsites require owners to have seven-year contracts. After this time, several things can happen:

  • The campsite can ask the owner to remove his mobile home,
  • They can decide to no longer manage the property. It will then be up to you to take care of it directly,
  • The contract can also be extended, if your property continues to meet the criteria of modernity and standing of the campsite,

When properly maintained, a mobile home can last up to 30 years. Of course, this requires regular repairs. You will also have to renovate it so that its layout and equipment correspond to current standards.

Contrary to popular belief, you can continue to rent your mobile home which is twenty years old at the same price as a new one. For this, you will have to respect two essential conditions:

  • Maintain your property in perfect condition,
  • Being present in a campsite with many advantages,
  • Remember that, like in traditional real estate, the environment takes precedence over the rest!

When to buy a mobile home?

There are better times than others when you want to buy a mobile home. For example, at the end of the season, before the campsite closes.

Generally, the campsite will want to bring in cash and get rid of its stock before the annual closure, at the end of the season. If you manage to position yourself at the right time, you will be able to carry out great operations.

Is it bad to live in a mobile home?

It is not necessarily bad to live in a mobile home, but it does have its disadvantages. Buying or investing in a mobile home is often the consequence of one of the following three objectives:

  • Buy a mobile home to have fun regardless of the annual rental rates;
  • Buy a mobile home to combine pleasure and reimbursement of expenses;
  • Invest in a mobile home for profitability.

Interested in investing in a mobile home? Here are some figures:

  1. Take a second-hand mobile home (5 years old) with 3 bedrooms, which you equip in “high-end” standing, installed in a 4-star campsite.
  1. You rent your plot for around $4,000 per year.
  1. This mobile home was bought for $25,000. You recover 20% VAT on this purchase, i.e. $5,000, so your mobile home costs $20,000.
  1. By starting from $2,500 in profits per year, you have reimbursed your mobile home in 8 years ($2,500 * 8 = $20,000).

To compensate for the inevitable hazards, and the few refreshments necessary, a few thousand dollars are subtracted, which gives between $10,000 and $15,000 in potential profits over the duration of the operation.

The bottom line

We have listed the undeniable advantages of owning a mobile home. Clearly, there are certain benefits that alone can achieve goals that you set for yourself or your family. Obviously, buying a mobile home also comes with a few drawbacks that you should be aware of. 

What do you think? Are mobile homes worth it?

FAQ on Is a mobile home a bad investment?

Is it good to buy a mobile home?

The advantage of investing in a mobile home is that you can buy for a relatively small amount compared to real estate in general. Indeed, it is possible to buy a second-hand model for $12,000, the price of a small car!

Why not buy a mobile home?

The biggest disadvantage of the mobile home is that it depreciates, it would be hard to resell and costly to maintain, especially during winter.

What is the difference between a bungalow and a mobile home?

The difference between a mobile home and a bungalow is the structure of the facades. The bungalow is in waterproof canvas while the mobile home is in insulated PVC panels.

Can I live permanently in a mobile home?

Yes, it is possible to live permanently in a mobile home. It has its pros and cons, and it is a decision that one must think about well. The most important thing to consider is where you’re going to place the mobile home. 

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