What is a Used Pre-Hud Mobile Home Worth?

Determining the worth of a used mobile home that was manufactured over four decades ago is difficult and subject to numerous variables. Generally, a mobile home of pre-HUD Code vintage is only worth what you can get someone to pay for it, and that number may be more or less than its estimated value, depending where and how sited, condition of home, how many interested buyers are out there and the sales prices of comparable homes in the area. 

There are about 9 million owner-occupied mobile/manufactured homes and 1.5 million rentals, for a total of 10.5 million U.S. housing units – that’s 8% of our U.S. housing stock, according to a compilation by American Housing Survey: 2011 in conjunction with the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.


It is believed about one-half of those existing factory-built housing units were produced prior to the 6/15/1976 U.S Congressional passage of the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act (HUD CODE), and are correctly “mobile homes.” A “manufactured home” built after that date will display a red certification on the exterior of each transportable section, validating that home is correctly a “manufactured home’” When discussing worth and value of used homes we are referencing pre-HUD “mobile homes,” not “manufactured homes,” a legal distinction that will have a dramatic and negative influence on the value of the mobile home.



It’s one of the oldest sayings in the real estate industry, also applicable to mobile homes and manufactured homes, “what are the three biggest rules of real estate? “Location, location, location.” It’s just not a tired old axiom! It is undoubtedly the #1 factor in determining the worth of a used mobile home.

Sited in a mobile home park: In-place value will vary significantly depending upon where the park is located and the availability of vacant park spaces in the surrounding areas. 

In and around major urban centers where there have been little or no new park construction for many years, older mobile homes may have in-place values that will be in the tens of thousands of dollars and maybe more, based upon location, size, condition and supply, and demand. Check out our recent post: “1970’s Mobile Home in Rental Park Listed For $1.95 Million Might Be a Bargain. 

The age and condition of the older mobile home will not significantly affect the in-place value. The resale price would have to conform with comparable homes sold within the mobile home park and similar parks in the community. The mobile home park may require that mobile homeowners or buyers make repairs to and/or additions to exterior accessories to allow the mobile home to remain in the park upon resale. The cost of relocating the mobile home out of the park most likely would exceed the intrinsic value of the home.

Sited on private property:  In the U.S., 65 percent of manufactured home residents who own their mobile home or manufactured home also owns the land that it is sited on, more often than not in rural areas.

However, seldom are pre-HUD mobile homes actually attached to real estate, and as such do not have added in-place value. The value and sales price will be dictated by other factors such as condition, location desirability and ground lease terms. In some rural areas without a lot of recent sales, determining mobile home worth can be difficult.

Pre-HUD homes not attached to the land, usually cannot be financed through regular lending institutions. This means that a buyer will have to pay more for their financing from a secondary source or pay cash. Either way, it decreases the value of the home.

In the unlikely event that a pre-HUD mobile home has been legally affixed to the real estate parcel upon where it is sited and the title has been surrendered, the home becomes an improvement to real estate and cannot be sold separately from the dirt it is permanently attached to. Affixture of post-Hud “manufactured homes” are much more common than pre-Hud “mobile homes.” The value of home/land can be determined by a licensed real estate appraiser with comp comparisons with similar real estate conditions.

When seeking to purchase a new “manufactured home,” utilizing the used “mobile home” as a trade-in –  in lieu of a cash down payment – is the best way to get tangible value for the older home.

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