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Why I bought a new manufactured home  RSS feed

 
Posts: 29
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
5
solar woodworking
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I haven't seen any posts on this on this topic so here goes. Last year we moved into new manufactured home and love it. Here are some of the reasons why we chose to go this direction even though I have been a licensed general contractor and a certified green builder till I retired last year.

The home we chose is energy star rated, not just the appliances, the entire house. Working with the manufacturer we designed the interior layout including the kitchen. There is led lighting throughout, low flow faucets and toilets, R19 2x6 walls, R36 ceilings and R30 floors insulation. Though we needed to get a permit most all inspections are done at the factory. We chose a perimeter foundation with a crawl space instead of the standard lattice type stuff. Attic venting that controls the temperature and humidity. We also chose not to have any finished flooring except bathrooms that needed to be finished to satisfy the HUD codes. My wife and I installed bamboo flooring everywhere else except the mud room where we installed natural slate salvaged from one of my past construction projects. The factory uses fsc certified wood and built tighter than any common stick built house. Yea, there is some shoddy craftsmanship but nothing that I can't fix or live with. The home did come with a 14 month warranty.

We moved in 6 weeks after it was delivered. Had I built my own comparable house it would have taken over a year if I did all the work myself and would be very hard pressed even at that and to do it at the price we paid and living in cabover camper for over a year is not something either one of us looked forward to.  Being over sixty my priorities are more for developing the land for growing, animals, soil building etc. not building another house...I'm over that!

My wife and I however sacrificed for years to buy land and the house debt free and save enough to live out our lives on our new homestead. Regrets? Yes, some, we could have done this sooner. We probably saved more than we needed to. I know..right? Neither of us has the stamina we once had. Lotsa woulda coulda shoulda's but that's life and we all have those.

 
pollinator
Posts: 464
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Jack,

Congrats on your place! I am a firm believer that perfection is the enemy of the good. My house is not what I wanted, but it was on the property when we moved in and is VERY efficient. I would love to design and build something to post on here, but I have three expertises and none of them are in that realm. Know your design limitations!

Enjoy your place, advance the community in your area. This is enough until it isn't. As you move through life you can progress and adapt, but being out of the debt cycle is amazing and liberating.  I am not even there, I still have a mortgage and will for the next ten years! Bloom where you are planted and use it to inspire your next step. I love Paul Wheaton's efforts, but I am encouraged you are willing to celebrate going from WS1 (Wheaton scale 1) to WS2.  I see so many people hesitate to take the first step, but every great adventure starts with a first step!

Judgement is a luxury afforded to those who haven't failed, we say in the business... All confetti from here dude!




 
 
Jack Tassoni
Posts: 29
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Thanks TJ,  a house is a must have even though I am only inside to eat and sleep and cook. Otherwise working in and on the barn or out still figuring my land layouts, swales, animal pasture, gardens etc. it sure is easy to get brainlock on what to do first but I think improving the soil is first with mulch and swales. But not having to build a house lets me get to the things that are more important to me.
 
pollinator
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any pictures ?
 
Jack Tassoni
Posts: 29
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Hi David, The first picture is some of the old pear trees. They must have deep taproots, never irrigated. Two other photos are of stone walls my wife built. She had never ever built stone walls before!
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Pear trees
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Stone retaining wall
 
Jack Tassoni
Posts: 29
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Another wall right outside the house. This will be for flowers and herbs. We have owned the land for 8 years and mostly just chopped and dropped existing ground covers and collected rocks...lots of rocks!!! We are in a high fire danger zone and keep the vegetation in check as much as we can.
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Wall outside house
 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Jack Tassoni wrote:Hi David, The first picture is some of the old pear trees. They must have deep taproots, never irrigated. Two other photos are of stone walls my wife built. She had never ever built stone walls before!



That stone wall is just beautiful.
 
Jack Tassoni
Posts: 29
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Thanks Todd, I'll tell my wife, she is very proud of her walls. Ok, one more pic of the house and the garage, barn, workshop. Not exactly permie poster child type of building but it is what I know best. We just finished the barn/garage.
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House and barn
 
gardener
Posts: 1186
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Jack you got a great place man! I really like your stacked stone wall, it takes a lot of skill to make those.
 
pollinator
Posts: 211
Location: wanderer
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Ooo... nice OBS 7.3 Jack! Great veggie candidate
 
Jack Tassoni
Posts: 29
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Thanks James, that one retaining wallmy wife built by the truck took 3 months but is about 2ft. thick, 40" tall and 30 ft. long. As she said while building it "3 steps forward 2 back". She learned as she went. It is holding back about 3 ft of backfill and still not one loose rock.

Loxley, Good eye!! my obs runs great and gets great fuel mileage for such a large truck. I only use it about once every 2 weeks, mostly for local material runs or helping others to move stuff with my trailer. I can't even remember how long it's been since I've had to get fuel for it.
 
Loxley Clovis
pollinator
Posts: 211
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Jack Tassoni wrote:Loxley, Good eye!! my obs runs great and gets great fuel mileage for such a large truck. I only use it about once every 2 weeks, mostly for local material runs or helping others to move stuff with my trailer. I can't even remember how long it's been since I've had to get fuel for it.


Glad to hear it's still running strong. With how little you use it you may even be able to grow enough of your own fuel to propel it! :-)
“The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." ... “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time.” -Rudolf Diesel, 1912, inventor of the diesel engine - the original diesel engine ran on peanut oil.
My 7.3 has been running veggie for several years & several thousand miles now. If you ever would like to chat about vegetable oil as fuel feel free to PM me. :-)
 
pollinator
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I think that was such a reasonable decision! You want to live and not to build.
 
garden master
Posts: 4778
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Wolf and I just this year bought a new MFG. home, 60 ft. long 14 ft. wide, fits us perfect and saved me a years worth of time to build. We made the purchase with a turn key stipulation and it only took 3 days from start to finish and they built us a new road bed so they could deliver the home.

Love your place Jack. The new homes are sweet, we have R33 in the roof and R22 in the walls, E glass windows and all the other niceties I was going to have to save up to install. Our energy bills are almost as low as when we were in our 18 ft. travel trailer but it is a lot more comfortable.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 1092
Location: Green County, Kentucky
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Your wife did a great job on those stone walls! 

I also compromised on our next dwelling (well, on this one, too -- it's a 1971 double-wide).  I would really have liked to build a passive solar zero-energy house, but I have a severely mentally handicapped adult daughter and a fifteen-year-old granddaughter living with me, and like you, couldn't see my way clear to basically live camping out for the year or more it would have taken to build even a small house.  If it was just me, I could have done it, but not with these two.  So we have (paid for as of last week) a small, old farm house, still in need of some work, on about two and a half acres in Kentucky.  Moving in about three months.  It's structurally sound, has a new metal roof, and two barns, and plenty of room for us to do permaculture.  It's not ideal, but we'll be able to move in within a couple of weeks after we get there (have to put down new flooring and completely gut and re-do the non-functional bathroom); it's paid for (yay!!); it's at the end of a dead-end road with only one other house visible from the property.  So it's good, it will work, and maybe someday we'll be able to do better, but until then, this one will do just fine.

Kathleen
 
Jack Tassoni
Posts: 29
Location: California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Hi Bryant - I am truly impressed with the new homes. They build them well with very little waste and from my perspective little involvement with the local building department. In California that is a BIG plus!

Hi Kathleen, you can always add onto your home. A sunspace/greenhouse add-on can be done with little or no disturbance to the main residence. Used patio doors are really inexpensive or free. If you have rocks on your property they make excellent flooring and foundations as I'm pretty sure you can numerous examples in Kentucky. In addition to providing good thermal mass.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Green County, Kentucky
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Jack Tassoni wrote:Hi Bryant - I am truly impressed with the new homes. They build them well with very little waste and from my perspective little involvement with the local building department. In California that is a BIG plus!

Hi Kathleen, you can always add onto your home. A sunspace/greenhouse add-on can be done with little or no disturbance to the main residence. Used patio doors are really inexpensive or free. If you have rocks on your property they make excellent flooring and foundations as I'm pretty sure you can numerous examples in Kentucky. In addition to providing good thermal mass.



Thanks -- I do plan to add a greenhouse on the south side of the house (providentially, that's where the vegetable garden will be -- not all house sites are laid out for that to work as well).  And I plan to add a trellised patio on the north side, where the front door is.  We also have two good-sized barns, and several small buildings that were used as chicken coops, dog pens, etc.  So there is plenty to work with.  I'm looking at tiny houses for design ideas, even though this house isn't that small.  So it will work for us. 

I did look at one bare lot (actually, it had a manufactured home on it that would have had to be removed, so the well, septic, etc. were already in place), but when I checked on prices for a new manufactured home to fit the existing foundation, it would have cost more than I could pay cash for, and the quality of the MH was poor.  I don't know if anyone sells the good MH's in Kentucky or not.  (It was a Clayton, with the paneled interior, rather than a sheetrock interior.)

Kathleen
 
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I wish I could say the same.

When my Palm Harbor mobile home arrived, the doorhandles were broken, back door was damaged enough to need replacement, one of the showers didn't work, and more than half the screens were missing, water dripping from plumbing inside the kitchen cabinet. Doors wouldn't close properly, bathroom cabinets were crooked, light fixtures missing, no caulking in the bathrooms or window frames or door jambs, about thirty items in all. We called to complain (7 year warranty they claim, but good luck collecting on it), and Palm Harbor doesn't actually build or repair anything--they are just a clearing house for other company's products, like a car seller.

So PH sent my request to ClearWater who is contracted to address any compaints with the house during those seven years. CW hires a bunch of pot-smoking knuckleheads to go out into the world and jerry rig the slop jobs that let go a little too early. (Yes, one of them was hitting it WHILE working on my house.)

They brought the wrong screens once, and never came back. I called (PH again, because you're not allowed to call CW directly or they don't get paid), to complain of the long list of things. They came back with a door..it was the wrong one, and never came back. Every time they leave, pass or fail, that's it--there is no record of who's been where or whether a repair took place, and no one has any intention of coming out unless you complain again.

Another time, a guy came and took a whole wall panel off in a bedroom to see why the shower wasn't working...couldn't figure it out, and blamed it on my "bad water pressure coming off the landlord" (it wasn't.) I was pressured into signing his work order, even though he did not do what he was sent to do. He frantically explained that the form didn't mean that he "fixed it," only that he was "here." I should have told him to go F- himself and I'll sign when the damned thing works. (but I am nice and did not do that. I regret it now.)

Sink in bathroom slowed down more and more until one day it stopped working. I disassembled the faucet. When the plumbing was installed (with small dia. red pex line), no one had bothered to flush the red plastic sawtrash out of the lines before putting on all the fittings--so this shredded shit had collected in the faucet neck until water just wouldn't go through.

Taking out the wall myself, I found the same to be true of the shower fixture, only this is one-piece plastic molded junk that cannot be disassembled in any way--so I bought a $100 real brass shower fixture, American Standard or something, and tried to install it--only to find that since the walls are based not on 2x4s but 2.5x1.5!!!, There is not ROOM in the airspace to hold a real shower fixture. I had to carve out the eggshell-thin wood and drywall (which couldn't be even 1/2"), to make a little room to contain the valve. The wall bulges now on both the bedroom side and the shower side.

The extra special, anti-everything siding (guaranteed for umpteen years too) has warped on the sunny side of the house, the panels coming far enough apart to push a Sharpie through. Every time I called PH, they've never heard of me before. They can't imagine why I am calling...it's just the most astonishing thing. ...Who are you again?

I stopped calling about the door, the mushrooms under the sink, and all the rest. I eventually went and bought light covers myself. My image for the exchange with these assholes over the course of the first year of my ownership is that dirty, ignorant young man with his yellow-toothed grin.

If I was half the man Al Pacino was in Scent of a Woman, I'd take a flame thrower to this place.
 
Ruth Stout was famous for gardening naked. Just like this tiny ad:
five days of natural building (wofati and cob) and rocket cooktop oct 8-12, 2018
https://permies.com/t/92034/permaculture-projects/days-natural-building-wofati-cob
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