Is It Better to Buy Land or Pay Lot Rent in a Manufactured Home Community?


Many prospective manufactured home buyers take one look at a community’s lot rent and think it would be better to purchase land for their home instead.


However, this process is anything but cheap—or simple!



roy and lily from four star homes youtube
Four Star Homes Vero Beach sales agent Roy Manno, along with wife Lily, at the annual company holiday party.

Four Star Homes Vero Beach sales agent Roy Manno took a deep dive into this exact subject on his YouTube channel and provided the research for this article.


“If you’re looking to purchase land to put a manufactured home on…that kind of project really is going to appeal to a younger audience that has very, very deep pockets and a lot of disposable cash,” said Roy.


He added, “This is not something I would recommend to senior citizens.”



Manufactured Home Purchase


Whether your purchase a brand-new home directly from a manufacturer or an existing home from a seller, it will need to be transported and installed on your lot.


But before you can do that, you need to purchase and prepare your land.




When looking for land on real estate websites, you might already know to search specifically for residential properties.


brand new manufactured home four star homes central florida

However, the properties listed might not be zoned for manufactured homes. If the land is located inside city limits, it’s most often not zoned for manufactured homes.


You can go through the red tape and frustration of trying to have the zoning changed, but most likely that will fail.


Typically this forces buyers to look for property outside of town. So what’s wrong with that?


Not only is country property cheaper, but just imagine having no neighbors, no HOAs, deer, and other natural wildlife making their way through your yard. Just absolute peace and quiet to do whatever you feel like. Sounds like the perfect scenario to put your brand-new manufactured home.


However, there is one catch.


While there is often land for sale in all different price ranges, here are the two words you have to watch for on every one of these listings: unimproved land.


What does that mean? It means it’s a piece of property that has absolutely no utilities and hasn’t been cleared of vegetation.


This is where the fun begins.


Making the Land Purchase


Be prepared to pay cash for whatever parcel of land you choose, plus all of the other expenses that go along with it.


You might be thinking you could take out a loan for it. It is possible, but it won’t be a traditional mortgage, VA, or FHA loan. What you’d be applying for is called a land loan, and they are not that easy to get. Why?


Land loans have a higher-than-average default rate and banks don’t want to get stuck with land that they’ll never sell. Getting these loans is difficult, and there’s always a good chance that your loan application will be denied.


Hiring a General Contractor


Unless you have extensive contracting experience, you’re going to need to hire a general contractor who will take charge of your entire project. They will be able to do a lot of the work but also subcontract what they can’t do.


A general contractor will want some upfront cash before the project begins.


Water and Sewer


One of the first things you’ll need to figure out is whether or not you can use city water and sewer. This will be determined by how far the water lines are from your property.


If they’re close, count your blessings! You will still have to pay, but you’ll only be charged by the foot to run those lines into your home. If you can’t get city water, be prepared to dig a well and install a septic tank. (More on that later.)


The contractor may suggest having the land surveyed first. They will put markers down to establish your exact property lines and help determine how leveled your land is. It will also help determine how much land needs to be cleared out in order to put your house, septic tank, and well if you need it.


Clearing the Land


manufactured home land lot

Once the boundary is set, they can begin to clear the land of all the bushes and trees.


The amount of land you need is determined by the size of the home you plan on installing and the orientation. Where you want your front door facing or driveway placed are two of the things to be considered.


Typically, you will be looking at an expense of $2,500-$4,000 to have the land cleared. After that, the land will need to be leveled. Many times this may require a truckload of dirt fill at additional cost.




Water Well and Septic Tank Installation


If you weren’t lucky enough to get city water and sewer, it’s time to start digging your well.


manufactured home bathroom

Companies specialize in digging wells, and they generally charge by the foot. It typically takes between 200 and 300 feet before reaching groundwater. Once you have water, it needs a place to go after you use it.


The septic tank installation starts by digging a big hole in order to properly bury the tank. The county you are buying in may have different codes or restrictions concerning septic tanks, but you can count on a tank starting at about $1,500.


None of that includes the excavation and everything else needed to run the lines from your home to the tank. Plan on spending at least $4,000 for this job, but depending on codes, tanks can run upwards of $10,000.


But wait, there’s more, and it’s not getting any cheaper!




manufactured home kitchen over range tile backsplash

Electric service is connected to your home by your local electric company, which is determined by how far your home is from the nearest electrical connection.


If the nearest power lines are close, great! If not, it will cost considerably more.


There may be other items that need to be paid for like a new pole or an additional transformer. If you want underground power lines, that will also cost more.






Your local cable company will need to run similar lines for their service. This is an additional cost to pay for.




You will need cement for what’s called “footers” or “pads”. These pads are imperative to make sure your manufactured home is securely set and correctly leveled.


In addition, you need to consider other things such as driveways, sidewalks, patios, or even a pad if you want to add a shed.


Cement companies charge by what’s called a “yard”, but it’s not the measurement you’re thinking of. A yard will cover about 80 square feet of cement laid down 5 inches deep. You can expect to pay anywhere between $143 to $167 per yard.


Cement has unfortunately seen drastic price increases over the past year. Additionally, a lot of the overall cost is determined by how far the cement truck has to travel to get to your land, plus labor.


Is that it? Unfortunately not.




You will need separate permits and inspections every single step of the way in this process.


The cost of the permits will depend on the type of permit and the county in which you’re purchasing. These permits can range anywhere from $5-500.


The inspections will all have a cost, too.


After you have purchased and potentially improved your land by clearing, leveling, and adding utilities, you will need to hire a plumber and an electrician to make sure everything is connected properly.


If you want any extras such as a carport or storage shed, these items will also incur additional costs.




Aside from the financial aspects of purchasing land for a manufactured home, there are other headaches you might have to deal with.


Weather, permit, and subcontractor delays, as well as delays caused by material shortages and failed inspections, are just some of the issues you could face.


The Alternative


When you purchase a manufactured home in a community, yes, you will typically pay a monthly lot rent.


beautiful manufactured home in central florida

However, you won’t have to spend a ton of cash upfront like you would with a land purchase—especially if it is unimproved land.


In most cases, these modern manufactured home communities are well-kept and full of amenities such as a pool, tennis courts, fitness center, library, clubhouse, and even golf courses!


Some communities, like Continental Country Club, are resident-owned. However, there is often still a monthly fee, similar to an HOA, that includes services like lawn care and trash as well as access to amenities.


At Four Star Homes, we have hundreds of listings of manufactured homes for sale in communities throughout Central Florida.


If you’re ready for a hassle-free manufactured home buying experience, contact us today.


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