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6 Reasons I’m Excited To Buy A 40 Year Old Mobile Home


We bought a 40 year old mobile home last week.

What are we thinking??

I have to tell you, buying an old mobile home wasn’t really my plan.

This blogger and her husband are buying an old mobile home - 40 years old! - so that they can live on their farm debt free! She's super excited to do the renovations themselves even though it looks like it needs a ton of work!

Gabe and I had talked about buying a mobile home, so we could get moved out the farm debt-free. Essentially, it would give us a place to live where we could take our own sweet time saving up to build a house, without paying rent in the meantime.

I agreed that it was a good idea, but secretly, I had kind of hoped that we would move to Stephenville instead, which would make it easier for our kids to participate in homeschool group activities, Crossfit Kids, and put us closer to church.

Then this trailer fell in our lap.

I just happened to log into Facebook and see a brand new listing for an old “livable condition” mobile home. I tagged Gabe in it – just in case he might be interested in it – and he set up an appointment to go look at it.

The next morning it was ours.

Despite the leaking roof, sagging floors, crumbling kitchen drawers, and 1970s faux wood paneling, There were several reasons we went for it:

    1. It was cheap – $1,000 to be exact
    2. It came with two large steel-framed porches, a steel-framed carport, and sheetmetal skirting, that, together, were worth the purchase price alone.
    3. We liked the layout of the trailer. Most single-wide mobile homes are pretty similar, but I definitely liked the placement of the laundry room better than our last home!

On the way home, Gabe asked me if I was excited, and I told him I wasn’t sure yet, but the more I think about it the more my answer is YES!

Check it out - this blogger is excited about buying an old mobile home so they can fix it up themselves!

I’m excited about a 40 year old, run down mobile home. So weird, right?

But I haven’t gone crazy – at least, I don’t think so – I have good reasons!

It Gets Us Our Own Home

After 7 years of renting houses, I long for a place that is mine, where I can express my style – or more accurately, develop my own style – without asking permission.

Over the last few years, we have talked about buying houses, mortgages, and even forgetting traditional housing, and going mobile in an RV (still love that idea!)

But the bottom line is, we want to live on a farm, and we don’t want to go into debt.

Buying a mobile home will pretty much get us everything we want – on a small scale. 😉

This kitchen will definitely need a lot of love! Just one of the issues with buying an old mobile home that this blogger is about to tackle!

It Gives Us Renovation Experience

I have a keen interest in flipping houses, but absolutely zero practical experience. I’m looking forward to renovating our own house, to get an idea of what all is involved, and how much it will cost.

This kind of knowledge might be handy when I’m 60 or so and finally have the funds to try house flipping. 😉

It Gives Us A Family Project

We’ve talked about building a house in the past, but the idea has always scared me for the simple reason that I once heard some contractors talking about the divorce rate amongst couples who attempted to build a home from scratch. It’s stressful, and people butt heads. A lot.

I’m not concerned so much about becoming a divorce statistic, but I am thankful to start with a smaller project at a trial run.

It keeps us out of Debt

We have worked really hard to save some money over the last year and a half, and while we don’t have enough money to buy a house outright, we have the money to buy, and renovate this mobile home.

Even if the reno costs more than we estimate, we’ll be able to do it piece by piece as we earn the cash, rather than going into debt for it.

It gets us out on the Farm

It’s hard to farm when you have to drive from town out the farm to take care of animals and gardens. I’ve missed being the crazy goat lady! And of course, Gabe would like to get cows again to add to our pig and duck collection (and it sure would be nice to have the beef again!)

We’ll have a more efficient house

For the last two years, we’ve been living in a 120 year old, 2,100 square foot farm house. I’m not complaining about having a rood over my hear for sure, but you’d have to try really hard to have a more poorly set up kitchen, the bathrooms are tacked on, leaky constructions (remember, bathrooms weren’t built into houses 120 years ago!), and without central heating and cooling, the closed floor plan is incredibly hard to heat or cool, not to mention expensive.

Mobile homes tend to have more efficient kitchen set ups, open floor plans that are easier to heat and cool, and this one in particular will hopefully be well insulated when we’re done with it.

A part of me is afraid that we’ll be crowded in a such a small house, the other part of me knows that we can easily downsize, and that once we do, house cleaning will be SO much easier!


We spent all day yesterday getting the house ready to move – disconnecting and dismantling porches, and removing skirting, and boy am I sore! But I can’t wait to get the home home, and get to work on it!

Renovating an old mobile home isn’t for everyone, but for this stage of our lives, it’s the best choice for us – and if it’s the best choice for you too, let me just encourage you not to let a societal stigma stand in your way.

P.S. Read part two of our mobile home renovation by clicking here, and part three by clicking here. Also see How We’re Managing Meals While Renovating.

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  1. We have lived in mobile homes for most of our 48 years of married life. The only thing about an older trailer is to have the wiring checked. Most fires in them are caused by faulty wiring. We live on 5 acres and have a large garden. I shop at Aldis ans Save A Lot mostly. We also use Food for Less. It is a 60 mile trip to Aldi and Food for Less, but I try to make those trips when we have to be in town. You can save on groceries when the need arises by using common sense. Making a menu and grocery ists are a must to save. The only other thing about mobile homes are the need for a storm shelter. You can make your storm shelter double as a fruit cellar to store home grown veggies.

    1. Thank you! I keep saying “This is going to be so fun!” and then thinking “…or a complete disaster” LOL!

  2. We bought an old mobile home. When it was paid off, we bought a burned mobile home from insurance company for $300.00. We pulled it in front of the old one, and connected them with a big archway cut in both. Years later we built a roof over them and closed them in with siding. We added rooms across the back and a big, long front porch. Finally, we have a nice home with a crafts room, office, 3 bedrooms, music studio in the back built-on rooms, 2 1/2 baths. We did it ourselves and it is debt-free.

  3. Oh, Elise, I recommend watching the wonderful episodes of “Little House Prepper” on Utube. Bob and Elizabeth moved into a 250 sq ft trailer and they have films of exactly what to do and not to do during renovations, You can’t go wrong watching their shows. God Bless and keep us all informed! We love you!

  4. Kudos to you and your family ! I want a cabin somewhere but in a golf community that’s acceptable too, for now ( I get free golf on any of the 5 courses here in exchange for a few hours of paid work ).

    Since my last of three sons started college I have converted 2 bedrooms – 1 into a craft room and 1 into an indoor greenhouse. If I want a fresh tomato or green besn to much on ,I pick it and close the door.

    As a widower it fits my needs until I can start using my raised garden modules.

    Stock up on bandaids, pain relief and kick back when you need to.

    Good luck and have fun !

  5. good for you….i live in a 39 year old Mobile Home…after my divorce i rented an apartment but had to work two jobs to be able to afford the rent. My daddy bought this mobile home from a relative and moved it to where i live now. he completely gutted the master bath…i have friends tell me my bathroom is nicer than in their stick built house. he redid all the wiring and plumbing…. i would advise you to have the wiring checked in yours….the thing i like best about mobile home living…..taxes are nothing on one this age….tax value for my outbuilding is 3800…tax value on my mobile home..0….best of luck to you and enjoy the journey..

  6. We did something similar. We didn’t buy a mobile home, but it was a small older home that had been abandoned for at least 10 years. When we went to look at it the front door was open and all the animal kingdom was welcome. But we were able to buy a property in the country that had everything pretty much everything we were looking for at an incredible low price. My husband fixed it up real nice and you would never know how awful it was in the beginning now 🙂 Good luck with your home!

    1. That’s so awesome! I think moving a house is a fabulous idea if you have the means to renovate it. Love that it worked out for you! 🙂

  7. Love this! I feel the same way. I want to get out of renting and be in my own space. I couldn’t care less if it’s a mobile home; my husband feels differently. So we wait until we can afford a “real” home. Be thankful that you and your husband are on the same page.

    1. Yes! I am SO thankful! I know a mobile home isn’t for everyone, and I hope that your’e able to buy a home soon. 🙂

  8. We live in a mobile home with an addition but it’s actually a 79 if I’m remembering correctly. At first, I wasn’t for it. It was always going to be the in between trailer until we could afford a doublewide payment… Last year we decided that investing in it would cost less. We did laminate flooring, new windows, painted, new furniture, etc. It had several leaks so had to replace walls and added a tin roof but it’s worth it, trust me! Just a warning, a lot of the times when you’re fixing a small problem, you find more so be prepared for that. Since we have almost the same trailer feel free to ask any questions, I’ve been through the ropes lol I hope you have fun with it! I can try to get before and after photos if you’re interested. Just email if you want!

    1. Thanks Bobbie! My husband always says “you have to fix three things before you can fix one”, so I guess we kind of expect it to be more work than it looks like.

      I’m glad to know it’s worked out for you!

  9. Absolutely wonderful! Debt free is always best and the lessons that your children will learn and take to heart are limitless. Have a wonderful time learning, leading and living in your “new” old home.

  10. Years ago we lived in a rural area and I kept trying to convince my hubby to sell our home and buy a much larger and at a fraction of the price, mobile home but alas the marriage ended, sold our home for a loss and I bought the kids and me a mobile in a park built in the 70’s. I LOVED it! Very similar to yours with a large family room addition and lovely back deck. I renovated, decorated and enjoyed every part of it. Years later I sold it for a great profit and rented again, eventually ending up in another mobile lol. Now I’m in a big city and long for the days near the dairy farms by the sea, in our little mobile home. xo Best of luck to you and YOUR new home!

  11. Hi Eliese, I bought a 1978 mobile home 2 years ago and almost finished redoing it. It looked like your’s, all dark walls, cabinets etc.Take off a sheet of paneling and check the insulation. Mine has enough for my area of CA. I did kitchen first, used Kilz PRIMER SEALER(not just primer) before painting white. The other rooms, I just sheetrocked over the paneling, had it textured. I do all I can, painting, etc.hire the stuff I can’t do. You can paint the paneling, Wash walls with tsp.then Kilz before painting.Use a sponge mop to wash walls with.
    New doors, and replacing windows as budget allows. My windows have to be custom made, little more expensive than basic size, but best $ you will spend.I also moved walls, added little wall in kitchen. Had to put in wood floors where you have them a I already. I also had to replace central heat/air. I paid $25 k for mine. You made out like a champ!! I love my mobile home. People say it looks like a little cottage inside.
    I am in a park, wish I could be in country like you. if I can be of help, feel free to email me. Have fun! Wanda

  12. We live on the east coast of Canada now and when we were looking for a place to live, I saw “mini homes” everywhere out here. They build them locally and you can see them being built at the factories. Turns out they are mobile homes.
    Last year we bought a 43 yr old double wide pink mini home on an acre of land right across from the Ocean.
    We have already taken a wall out, the home is supported by the marriage wall down the middle and the outer walls, so it’s much easier to remove walls to open it up.
    Our wiring is aluminium, not ideal, but we are told as long as the connections are good and the proper factory ones, there is no need to replace our wiring. We do have to insulate as the walls are built right to the edge of the floors so there is usually just the panelling, vapour barrier, minimal insulation, then your outside wall and siding…not much help in 100 mile winds.
    We are also changing the heating from an electric furnace to a heat pump. At 1000 square feet, a heat pump will heat it comfortably at half the price.
    The other great thing about a mobile home is the fact that I can load it on a truck and take it anywhere I want to go!
    Enjoy your adventure..we can’t wait for spring in Canada to start re-insulating ours. Most of our panelling was covered with plain wallpapers or painted so we were lucky that way and we currently have an open spot in the floor and ceiling tiles where the half wall used to be. lol That’s how I can see what was in the outside walls now.. I love my bigger living room and am getting used to the gaps until we replace the floor and ceiling.
    We also have to jack up the corners yearly..it hadn’t been done for a few years so it took a while to get it level again because it was put on topsoil fill originally. All of the plumbing and well pump are under the house and wrapped or insulated but hubby wants to move it all in to the house eventually. We love it and the best part is.. it’s ours!
    Have fun! It’s pretty hard to go wrong given they last so long even after moving them around.

  13. I think this is awesome. Your electric bill will probably come way down. I have a suggestiontthsuggestion though. My husband is a contractor so I love the whole renovation ideas. Change the window out in mobile homes you loose a lot of your heat or air there. Or you would have to hang insulated curtains. Then that would block your view of your farm. Congratulations on your new adventure.

      1. A big help for us is the Habitat Restore. Both of ours get all kinds of new windows from lowes and other places.

  14. We inherited an old trailer with an addition from my in-laws. It is near the coast and we use it on weekenss. My husband and I are both 50 and so is the trailer,lol. Over the last 2 years we have renovated and fixed it up. We hope to retire there someday. I live our little beach shack ! Best wishes to you in your adventure.

  15. Good luck with your new home adventure! Please keep us posted on how the new home battle goes.i enjoyed the post very much.

  16. Hi, Sandy Pittman again. I hope you show us all your renovations as you get them done. It is such a fun thing to see the transformation and it is really fun to be the ones to get to enjoy living with the results. We love to do that stuff. You will make good memories th at you will talk about for years.

  17. Thanks you pretty much deceive every aspect of my life including church, crossfit and homeschool groups! Haha!! We live on my parents property in my childhood mobile home and it’s way too much of my childhood to be mine! But my husband and I are thinking of remodeling and making into what we would love an keeping us on our family land and live the life we want with little money spent. Thanks for the encouragement! ❤❤❤

    1. I of course should have proof read this better. I meant decribed not deceived, you did far from that! ?

  18. We did the same thing, 36 years ago; paid off the trailer, bought land and moved the trailer there. Paid off the land and built the house. I worked full-time while hubby built. Moved in two weeks after our second child was born. It was all worth it for the kiddos to grow up in the country!
    Hope you love it and building goes quickly!

  19. Hi,
    I found your blog on Pinterest and would like some more updates on your mobile home. We decided to do the same thing. I currently have it gutted and everything but the kitchen and our bedroom rewired. Next is plumbing.Id like to see more of yalls story on this. 🙂

    1. Yay! Good luck on your project! I’m hoping to get an update posted next weekend. We’re currently working on replacing all the floors and some of the ceilings via a contractor-friends. So unglamorous! Haha.

  20. THanks for the inspiration. I’ve been hesitant to go this route but it really is the best financial option, and the smart way to go.
    Nice to read about someone with a like mind!

  21. I actually think this is really a great idea. Young enough to build that home. ) Husband & I are ready to sell out, buy an older m/H, more land for our couple of horses & just fix it up! We see all the yrs we stressed over having Things wasn’t so important as just room to breath)),& not owning the other person. Blessings to you guys!!

  22. From my understanding they aren’t covered by insurance for anything inside and are prone to water leaks in which the floors will buckle.

    1. Foremost Insurance will Insure structure and contents. I know because that is what I have and my home is a remodeled 1984 double wide that was considered a tear down. We initially bought it for the 4 acres as an investment… but decided to sell our 3400 sq ft brick home and downsize to 1243. We now own everything land, structure, and our cars. We have an orchard and huge garden. Best decision we ever made!

    2. Obviously this person never stepped foot in a mobile home or only thinks of mobile homes as trailer park homes. I’ve owned two mobile home parks and have owned 2 to that our kids live in. If you have get a mobile home that has good bones you can remodel and renew an older home for $2-3k – including replacing all the mobile home decking (OSB floors) to regular subfloor. I prefer the tin can models with metal roof and sides (regular siding and regular shingled roof with gutters are ok but I’ve had a few of those that leaked and got mold into the home). The tin can models are great if painted and the roofs cool sealed every 7-10 years, you can have a home that can last as long as a regular home. If you replace all the plugs, light switches on an older one you bring any fire risks down.

      Foremost, Farmers and State Auto cover individual mobile homes, there are others as well. Also, we’ve used Foremost our mobile home parks for years but started out with State Auto.

  23. Good for you! I did the same thing in retirement. I have really enjoyed doing the fix up. Trailer Diva’s!

  24. I think it is a great idea and I enjoy reading about what you are doing with it. I’ve been wanting to something like this.

  25. I would like to see photos or videos of the kitchen. The before picture is my kitchen set up exactly.

  26. Nice blog post. I highly recommend https://mobilehomeliving.org/

    Also, yours looks like ours which we bought new in 1980. Is it a Skyline? It’s not a Cadillac, but a good solid Chevrolet. We raised our two sons in it, and now are helping raise our 2 grandsons, too. Also, we moved it 5 times, not including the original set-up.

  27. Hi. Just found your blog. So, is your mobile home update complete? I’d love to see the completed project but can’t seem to locate it on your site. Thanks.

  28. I have the exact same a me home! I’m also renovating the entire thing! I would love to get in contact with you guys!

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  30. I can’t seem to find a recent update. Did you ever replace the other panel walls with drywall? If not, did you know you can texture over it to get the look you want for much cheaper than replacing it? Just thought I would throw that out there.

    We sold our house and are buying a 40 year old mobile home (sight unseen, yikes!this weekend so finding this blog was timely. We also have to weld the tongue back on so I’m glad to see it’s possible before spending all day traveling there

  31. Great purchase! I inherited a 50 yr old double wide /own the land. I painted every in of paneling as long as you use a quality paint that has primer included and a flat paint it will look beautiful. Alot of it I hand brushed cause of groves. Good luck, can’t wait to see the final finish

  32. We’re with you dear and it is alot of work and money. It seems to be one thing after another,maybe those are surprises! We’re a retired couple so any improvements can be hard on us. Do keep what your doing going! Good job and thank God they are paid for!!

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