Mastering Land Purchase for Manufactured Homes: Expert Insights from ECM Homes

You may hear a lot these days about people downsizing or relocating to live in manufactured homes. This really comes as no surprise to us. First, we’re in the manufactured home business in the Pacific Northwest, but we’ve also seen manufactured homes evolve into upscale homes with high-end finishes, amenities, you name it. We’ve sold hundreds of manufactured homes to customers in Washington State counties such as Kitsap, Mason, Jefferson and Clallam. But even more so, we’ve developed hundreds of properties and we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to maximize your land purchase and ensure you get a property that not only suits your new home, but is one that you will love.


The Potential Challenges in Land Purchases for Manufactured Homes

As we work with various customers on helping them to find and maximize their land purchase for their new home, there seems to be a common theme and some misunderstandings about what makes the perfect plot of land. First and foremost, customers seek something serene and beautiful. And we certainly can’t blame them for that. The Pacific Northwest offers some unmatched scenery, so why not try to maximize your view?

Aside from that, manufactured home buyers look for affordability, location, access to local stores and healthcare providers, etc. They look to ensure their land purchase is large enough to accommodate their home. Yet, one thing that tends to cause frustration, especially when waiting until late in the game, are zoning requirements, utilities, etc.

Here are the things you need to be aware of to maximize your land purchase for your new manufactured home:

  • Zoning Requirements: Ensure the land is zoned appropriately for manufactured homes. Check with local authorities for any specific regulations or restrictions.
  • Utility Access: Assess the availability and cost of connecting utilities like water, electricity, sewer, and internet services. Consider both the immediate and long-term costs. We’ll talk about this a bit more in the next section.
  • Location and Accessibility: Look for land that is accessible via main roads and close to essential services such as grocery stores, healthcare facilities, and schools.
  • Land Size and Topography: Make sure the land is large enough to accommodate your home and any future expansions or additions. Consider the topography for building suitability and potential landscaping needs.
  • Environmental Factors: Check for any environmental concerns such as flood zones, wildfire risk areas, or land with protected species that might affect building permissions.
  • Future Development Plans: Research any planned developments or changes in land use in the area that might affect your living environment in the future.
  • Community and Lifestyle: Consider the community and lifestyle supported by the location. Look for environments that match your lifestyle needs, whether it’s a quiet rural setting or a more vibrant community setting.
  • Legal Clearances: Ensure there are no legal encumbrances on the land like liens or disputes. Confirm that the title is clear and transferable.
  • Soil and Ground Conditions: Evaluate the soil quality and ground conditions to ensure they are suitable for the foundation of a manufactured home.
  • View and General Appearance: While not a necessity, consider the overall look and feel of the location. A good view can create a more desirable living experience and potentially increase the property value and this tends to be one of the top priorities we see from our buyers.

Doing Your Diligence on Utilities During Land Development

A lot of homebuyers get caught off guard regarding the utility requirements (and costs) associated with land development when purchasing a manufactured home. We typically suggest that our buyers work with a real estate broker that has this type of experience. Not doing so can result in surprise expenses—big ones—that are best avoided. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do this alone. ECM Homes has a real estate broker on staff that can help you with this very thing.

Here are some other things you need to know about utilities for your land plot, to prevent costly mistakes:

  • Start the Relationship with Your Real Estate Broker Early: Engage a real estate broker with experience in land and utility issues as soon as you begin your land search. Their expertise can guide you through the utility setup process and help avoid costly mistakes by ensuring all necessary factors are considered from the start. In fact, they can help with all of the things listed below, too.
  • Understand Utility Availability and Costs: Research what utilities are available on the land, such as water, sewer, electricity, and internet. Understand the costs associated with connecting these services, including any development fees or assessments.
  • Assess Existing Infrastructure: Determine if the land already has essential infrastructure or if new installations are required. This can significantly impact the overall cost and timeline of your land development.
  • Consider Alternative Solutions: For remote or undeveloped areas, consider alternatives like septic systems, wells, or even solar power, but be aware of the regulatory and practical implications of such systems.
  • Plan for Future Needs: Ensure that utility services are not only adequate for current needs but also scalable for any future development or expansions you might consider.
  • Check for Easements and Rights of Way: Identify any existing easements or rights of way that could affect where and how utilities are installed. This can influence the layout and design of your home and property.
  • Engage with Local Authorities: Early engagement with local planning and zoning authorities can provide insights into utility-related requirements or restrictions specific to your area.
  • Review Long-term Costs: Consider the long-term costs of utilities, not just the immediate expenses. Factor in potential rate increases and maintenance costs when planning your budget.

Have a Land Expert in Your Corner

When purchasing a manufactured home, it’s important that you have a land expert in your corner. That’s why working with ECM Homes is so beneficial. We have experience scouting on market and off market properties that are suitable for any one of our floor plans. Don’t leave it all up to chance.

Work with a reputable seller that knows the ins and outs of land requirements for manufactured homes in Washington state. Contact ECM Homes today to get started.