A large number of current mobile homes in the US were manufactured and installed in the 70s and 80s, and are nearing the end of their lifespan. Older homes, especially those that are run-down and in poor condition, can have a negative impact on the desirability of surrounding homes and the entire park. If you are considering remodeling or replacing an older home, there are number of important factors that will impact your decision. There's no one right answer that applies to every situation, but understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each option will give you the insight to make the best decision for your situation.
The first factor to consider is exactly why you are planning to replace or remodel a home. If you are looking to increase the value or income generating potential of a park you own, replacing an older home will may provide a better return on investment compared to remodeling it. A remodeled older home will provide some increase in value, but not as much as putting in a new home. Newer homes tend to be larger and have better floor plans, so older homes have limitations that can't be solved by remodeling. If the home lacks an adequate number of bedrooms or bathrooms, a remodel to solve those issues may be impractically expensive - or simply impossible. And if you are planning to own the home for many years in the future, a new home will have much greater longevity when compared to an older remodeled home, preserving the value of your investment for much longer.
The condition of the home is another important aspect of the decision. If the older home is still in good condition, is large enough, and has a good floor plan, remodeling can be the better choice. A remodel can be an affordable way to update a home and make it more desirable, as long as the home is structurally sound and doesn't have any major problems. On the other hand, if a professional inspection of the chassis and foundation of the home reveals structural problems, replacing the home is a wiser choice.
If you own a mobile home park and are looking to remodel or replace homes within it, you should consider the overall standard you wish your park to meet. You may want to establish a set of requirements for the appearance of homes in your park, and these requirements may influence your decision regarding remodeling vs. replacement. Remodeling a home to conform to a certain external appearance could be very costly, making replacement the more attractive option. Similarly, if the home is in a park that you aren't the owner of, the park's standards might influence your decision.
The size of the lot where the home is located is also crucial to the decision. It's important to have a qualified professional come out to measure the size of the lot, and get approval from park management before remodeling or replacing. If the lot is small and can't fit a larger home, then remodeling may be a better choice. New homes tend to be larger, and require larger lots. Replacing an old, smaller home with a new, larger home will be a better investment because it will general more rent or a higher selling price. But if the lot can't accommodate a larger home, you may have trouble finding a new home to fit the lot, and remodeling may be a better way to increase value.
Budget will always be an important factor in any decision to remodel or replace, so consider the budget you are working with. If you are able to do a lot of the work yourself, remodeling can save a good bit of money, though obviously it will require quite a bit of time and effort. If you'll need to hire a contractor to do all of the work, the cost of a major remodel can quickly become quite high. Though replacing the home will generally cost more than hiring a contractor to remodel, the overall value and return on your investment will generally be better.
Related to budget is financing - specifically what options do you have for financing a remodel or replacement? Financing options will vary depending on your decision to go with remodeling or replacing. Refinancing an older home may be the only option to get cash for a remodel, while there are typically more options for financing the purchase of a new home.
Finally, consider the mobile home housing market in your area. In most areas, newer homes command higher selling prices and higher rents sufficient to justify the greater investment involved in replacing an older home. But certain markets won't support rents or sale prices high enough to make the investment of replacing a home worthwhile, making the less expensive option of renovation a better choice. It's essential to know your local market, because it can have a major impact on your decision to renovate or replace a home.