How to begin
About 10 years ago my Dad decided to sell his Double Wide Mobile home on the other side of the state and retire in his current home ( a mobile home on property) at the Lake, it was a nice home with a nice view. He had put it up for sale, after 6 months could find no buyers. I came up with a great idea and said, “Why don’t you buy some property and put in on there and sell it like that?” My Dad has always been one to keep busy and by this time my husband was laid off from his job so he could help. Since I had helped him build a whole house when I was 15, I thought easy peasy! My husband had been a mobile home mover and setter in Florida so he had all that experience to back him up.
Dad started looking for property around his current home, since it hadn’t been sold over there, he might as well bring it over here to sell it. He finally found the perfect piece of property about 2 miles from his home. It was 2 acres of semi-wooded property and it even had a partial foundation on it. Because it had a well and drain field on it, that would save some money so the cost of the property seemed worth it, though a little higher than Dad wanted to pay.
It was up to me to find the mobile home ‘toters’ (these are semi-trucks with a special fixture on the back that attaches to the mobile home tongue) which I seemed adept at doing, with my knowledge of what it was that I was looking for. I finally found a local company that was within our price range. Moving a home can be expensive, but if you know how to cut costs, there is a lot you can do to help out. Since they have to pull the road permits, that is also figured in the cost. I got that all set, now it was time to prepare the property for the home. As long as Dad knew we could do it, and a company to move the home, he could feel comfortable buying the property.
Information given you
He made his purchase, so we could start working. First he had to get building permits, this was done at our local ‘planning and zoning’ department. He had to write a plan of what it is he was doing, so they could approve it. In our County this was the way it is done, in your County it may be different. The best way to find these services is to look in the phone book, under ‘County’ begin there, make phone calls. Someone will know where to direct you. You will need to find out if Mobile Homes are allowed in your County, some allow single wide mobile homes, ours does not.
Once you have your plan in place they will certainly tell to you make some changes, this is just the way it is done. Maybe it makes them feel as though they are earning their pay. No matter how perfect you think you have done it, he will find something wrong.
You will need to know the measurements of the home you are putting on, edge of roof to edge of roof, not the square footage. You will need to know the type of foundation you are putting on, in some places they don’t allow you to use a ‘floating pad’. Each area of the county will require certain zoning codes, so they will tell you how many blocks high you need to go, when building your foundation.
Wells, drain field and septic tank
Because the property already had a well we didn’t have to put one of those in, but we did need to make the drain field bigger. The size of your drain field is dependent on the amount of bedrooms in your home. So my Dad had to arraign for some one to come and make this one bigger. To do this you will need to locate a local excavator. Your building and zoning person will contact someone from the health department to come out and ‘perk test’ your property to tell you where to put the drain field. Your excavator will be the one to put it in. They will scoop out the land, put down sand, then pea gravel on top of that, then nestle in your drain pipe. This is flexible material with ridges and lots of holes. This will then be covered with more pea gravel, then dirt and over that possibly straw to keep the dirt in place. Each excavator has his own way of doing it. This is also the person who will put in your septic tank. The septic tank will be closer to your home than the drain field, and both will be connected.
At some point you will need an electrician to come and hook up your electricity, even if it’s just putting a box on a pole in your yard. You will need electricity to run your pump for your water, unless you just have a hand pump at this time. For the purposes of other power tools, it would behoove you to have electricity.
Let us re-cap so far what you will need: Property, Mobile Home with measurements, building permits, foundation, well, septic tank, drain field and electricity.
Foundation for your home
Building the foundation will require some knowledge of cement work or at the very least a willingness to learn, if you are planning on doing it yourself. You can rent a cement mixer for this or use a wheelbarrow to mix the cement in. If you are the only one using it, the wheel barrow is just fine. At this point you should have your well in, so you can have water.
Preparing for the move
Once you have your foundation in place and everything ready, you can bring in the home. Now this is where you can save some money. If you know how to split apart an already setting home, this will save you close to $3200 maybe more depending on what is attached to the home. If your movers have to do it, they will either do it themselves or hire it done.
This entails preparing it for the move itself, attaching the tongue, cutting the ridge cap, removing front and rear siding, removing drain pipes, removing any awnings, removing decks, removing skirting, disconnecting all anchors, disconnect pigtail (electricity) which is underneath the home. You will also need to have good working axles and tires for the move and these will need to be put on. Sometimes your movers will have these, you may have to ask. Mobile home tires are all the same, the wheel has no hub, just bolts to attach it. For this process you will needs tools. Wrenches, hammers, cutting knife, crowbar, come along, double headed 16 penny nails, roll of heavy duty visquine (20 feet by 100 feet), furring strips, 2 ladders and hydraulic jacks.
For the inside you will need to separate the carpeting and remove any wood on the seam of the home. If you have been currently living in this home and all your ‘stuff’ is still there, you will need to take pictures down and remove any shelves from the walls and wrap up anything that could be broken, as the home is bumping along on the road. Move anything away from the center of the home. Other than that, all of your stuff can stay there. No need to pay movers!
Once the home is separated you will need to cover the opening of both sides with the heavy duty visquine and furring strips using the double headed 16 penny nails. You will roll up the visquine around the furring strips and nail it to the wood area of the home. This should be made as tight as possible. It helps if you have a strapping young person to assist you, otherwise plan 2 or more days to do it. Your movers will hook up to the tongues and take it away!
Give it a try, you could be the Queen of your Double Wide trailer!!
Now put the puzzle back together!
Once it arrives at your new property you will need to put it back together in the opposite order in which you took it apart. Now you can see why it would save you a LOT of money, cause this is a lot of work! The only other things you will need for putting it back together is a carpet seamer and carpet tape, possibly a few trim nails for putting the inside wood back up.
My husband is very good at this and truly enjoys it, at one time (many years ago) he had the record for setting homes in Dade County, Florida, by setting 52% of new homes. So he has taken this knowledge and used it in our current State of Michigan. I have helped him move and set 4 homes, in his spare time.
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Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on May 21, 2011:
In Michigan one does not need to be licensed. To move one you have to have road permits and a special truck called a toter. To drive one you must have a CDL. To do a tear-down or set-up you do not have to have a license, just the knowledge.
earl windham on May 21, 2011:
you are not licsend to move a mobile home or to set one up.
Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on September 12, 2010:
Thanks! I have done this several times so I pretty much know what needs to be done. I hate surprises when it comes to that. As I was writing it I was humming that song and thought 'Why not?' so I added it!!
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on September 12, 2010:
This is an Excellent Hub. You have shared a lot of information that you don't find until "after" the experience!
P.S. I love the video!!!!