MHI Lessons 23: Mobile Home Roof Repairs For Mobile Home Investors – Guest Chris

podcast moible home investing subscribe

Welcome back,

In today’s Mobile Home Investing Lessons Podcast episode #23 we’re talking to active mobile home investor Chris about his positive and negative roofing experience. From the very beginning Chris has asked questions and taken action daily to help others and make a name for himself in his local market. In less than 2 years Chris has helped over 18 sellers move-on with their lives, and 18 buyers find homes to own. Some of these 18 mobile home roofs were weak, older, and not as safe as Chris would like before reselling his properties. In today’s 33-minute podcast we’ll talk about some of these common repairs and tips for your own mobile home investing business.

Some reasons Chris will tackle roof problems and pay for a new roof to be placed over the existing one:

  • Lower purchase price of subject mobile home.
  • Low competition if mobile home roof is moderately or severely damaged.
  • Access to more leads.
  • Chris knows his buyers will be paying him for 5+ years of cash-flow. Chris wants his tenant-buyers to be safe and happy while paying full-price for his mobile home over time.
  • More interested buyer and higher sales price.

Listen to the Show on iTunes (Or listen below)

Click here to listen on iTunes.

In this episode we cover:

1:50 Quick background and Chris’s opinion on dealing with roof issues.

4:01 At what point of repairs do you completely redo the roof?

7:00 What condition do you find some mobile homes at with roof issues?

8:34 Tips for roof inspection.

10:43 Types of mobile home roofs.

11:24 Podcast intermission

13:10 Some roofing repairs

14:45 Chris’s experience with roof repair materials

17:50 Chris describes his process to add a metal roof over an existing roof.

19:05 Selling a home and dealing with roofing repairs

22:35 Chris’s creative fix to solve a tenant-buyer’s roof troubles.

23:40 Have you ever fallen through any roofs?

25:40 Do you used licensed and/or insured roofers in town?

28:06 Considering your exit strategy while investing.

29:03 Purchasing homes at a discount.

30:45 Chris’s experience dealing with mobile home shingle roofs.

32:34 Advice for other mobile home investors.

Step 1: Identify your situation (for investors)

A. You already own the mobile home and it’s filled with a buyer/renter: If you are currently the mobile home homeowner then it is wise to use your insurance to help fix any serious roof and ceiling issues. If insurance is not available then a decision must be made to:

  • Use your own money to fix the roof issue (if insurance proceeds are not available).
  • Borrow money to fix the roof issue.
  • Depending on your paperwork it may be the buyer’s responsibility to fix any roof issues. If so, aim to check-in regularly on your buyers if they are planning to fix the roof issues themselves or are using a local contractor.
  • Consider a win-win approach to working with your tenant-buyers already living in the mobile home and paying you monthly. As described in today’s podcast episode Chris offered his tenant-buyers to make him monthly payments for the cost of the new mobile home roof he installed. Over time Chris makes a profit on his energy and the roof repair.
  • If your buyer owns the home and is paying you monthly, consider checking with your local state’s government for housing repair assistance programs for lower income individuals in which your tenant-buyers may apply.
  • Leave the issue alone and live with the problem. In this scenario the problem likely only gets worse for you and the resident.
  • If the home is vacant and you do not want to make repairs you may try to resell the mobile home in “As-Is” condition. Aim to disclose all needed repairs to your new buyers.

B. You’re under contract the purchase the home: If you have already agreed to a price/terms with your mobile home seller before the roof repairs were discovered then a decision must be made to:

  • Back out of the mobile home deal with the seller.
  • Ask for a lowered price due to the new repairs just discovered. This method is ideal.
  • Ask the seller to pay for the problem fixed by a licensed roofer. This is not as likely due to the seller needing to sell in the first place, therefore the seller’s money for repairs may be limited/gone. Additionally, as active mobile home investors we aim to be one-stop-shops for sellers with problems.
  • Proceed forward with the sale as agreed and purchase the mobile home in As-Is condition

C. (Most likely) Looking at home before making a purchase offer: As an active mobile home investor this is the most common scenario you will witness/evaluate ceiling concerns and structural roof problems. Remember to…

  • Inside the mobile home lift up ceiling panels (if possible) to feel for wetness. Bring a flashlight to look for mold, wood rot, and mildew.
  • While inspecting the investment mobile home aim to always look for ceiling leaks in every area of the home. Bring a flashlight to look in closet corners and dark rooms.
  • It can be wise to visit a mobile home you are considering buying after a local rain storm.
  • Make sure to push walls from the inside of the home to check for wobbliness where vertical wall studs fail to join the horizontal floor joists due to severe wood rot.
  • On the outside of the mobile home consider peeling away exterior siding panels (if loose) to feel for wetness.
  • Look for missing or damaged metal flashing where the exterior walls meet the roof.
  • Consider using a ladder to climb to the roof. Inspect for holes. Be aware of missing or full gutters.

Related video: Inspecting a Used Mobile Home – What to look for?

Step 2: How bad is the mobile home roof problem?

As an active mobile home investor there are a few things to consider then evaluating mobile home roof problems.

First, what does the mobile home roof issue/problem look like? Make sure to take pictures to provide to a mobile home roofer for estimates or an experienced investor for advice. Ask for advice at your local real estate investors club if unsure about repairs.

Notice: As the author of this post, I certainly do not want you investing in any risky mobile home investments due to lack of experience or help. If you are unsure of specific roof repairs for a mobile home you may be evaluating please feel free to send an email to support@mobilehomeinvesting.net with all questions and ample pictures of the roof and ceiling.

Second, has the damage spread to more areas of the mobile home? Example: Has a roof leak gone unfixed for months/years and significant water damage spread to the entire home inside? Or did the leak just happen and seems contained to one room? Or has it already been fixed?

  • Only minor ceiling leaks in a single area: Likely very manageable.
  • Minor ceiling leaks in multiple areas: Likely manageable.
  • Visible hole(s) in roof: Manageable, however it is vital to look for additional problems in roof, walls, ceiling, floors and more due to water getting inside the home. Your exit strategy will certainly come into account here depending on your rehab budget and expected profit.
  • Sagging roof: This home is likely not the path of least resistance in your local area. However if the purchase price and resale profit numbers make financial sense then replacing the entire roof and rebuilding all damaged roof trusses could still be very profitable. Pro Tip: As an experienced mobile home investor, this author usually will pass on a mobile home with a seriously sagging ceiling. A very minor degree of sagging may be expected in older homes however this is on a case-by-case basis. If you have any specific questions please email pictures and questions to the email address above.
  • Tree fell on roof: This home is likely not the path of least resistance in your local area. However if the purchase price and resale profit numbers make financial sense then replacing the entire roof, walls, and rebuilding all damaged roof trusses could still be very profitable. However in most situations this would likely be a "pass" for most investors in most areas.

Related video: Mobile Home Investor Q&A #6 – Deals on wheels

Step 3: Identify the roofing material?

Metal: Many singlewide and doublewide mobile homes from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s are metal roofs.

Rubber/Tar: You will notice some mobile home roofs seems to be made of tar paper or a black rubber membrane coating the surface of the mobile home roof. This is a covering of liquid tar, liquid rubber, or some other material (see below) that has been layered over the metal roof for the past few decades. If you remove enough layers you’ll eventually find the original metal roof.

Shingle: Many newer mobile homes come from the factory with single roofs. These mobile homes can closer resemble traditional site-built homes with their shingles and pitched angle. Be aware it may be wise to only have 2 layers of shingles on a mobile home at once. More than 1 or 2 layers of shingles may cause the roof trusses to fail under the weight. With that said this author has seen a mobile home roof with 5 layers of shingles and still holding strong, this however is obviously not ideal.

TPO: Also known as thermoplastic polyolefin. This is a single-ply reflective roofing product that stretches and fully adheres to the mobile home roof, gutters, and vents.

Roof-Over: This is a general term used to describe an complete new roof installed over an existing mobile home roof. These new roofs can mimic the same slope as the original roof or form extreme slopes based on the owner’s preferences. See picture below.

Other: Did we miss a mobile home roof type? If so please let us know in the comments below.

Picture credits and thanks go to: www.mobilehomerepairs.com, www.mobilehomeliving.com, www.mobilehomesell.com, flatroofingnyc.com, garbar.com, sunshineroofing.com, and private investors

Step 4: Is the mobile home roof worth fixing?

Do you spot fix the repair or completely replace the roof? This is certainly on a case by case basis. Does it make financial sense to spend the money to completely replace the roof or only fix what is needed? These questions can only be answered by knowing the repair costs, time involved, ideal exit strategy, time of the year, your future buyers, the home’s location, and more.

Get multiple estimates: Aim to secure quotes from 3 mobile home experienced roofers and 3 mobile home handymen, 6 in total. Know what questions to ask before calling any handyman or roofer. These questions include, but are not limited to: mobile home experience, cost, turn-around time, licenses, permits, references, estimates, outsourcing, contracts, next steps.

Remember that the insulation and ceiling must be fixed as well. Your future buyers typically want a safe, dry, and mold free home to live in.

Pro Tip: Older model mobile homes may have 4’x14′ ceiling panels that do not exist any longer or are not easy to find. As a quick fix for these older mobile home ceiling panels, you may use 1/4 inch drywall or interior mobile home wall panels (the faux wood type) flipped over and painted white. Add trim or plastic strips between ceiling panels to finish. These can both be found at nationwide hardware stores near the lumber departments.

Protect yourself with proper paperwork: Before starting work or paying any money to a contractor/handyman always make sure to have a written contract between your roofers and yourself. All number should be listed and a complete scope of work be planned out with deadlines and penalties should the handymen get delayed.

Related video: 50 Tips while working with mobile home handymen

Step 5: Mobile Home Roof Maintenance

Whether you are selling a mobile home for payments or simply renting it out there are steps to help keep your mobile home investment looking good and remaining secure. Make sure to consider…

  • Visually inspecting roofs during summer and fall.
  • Let residents know to act quickly whenever they see roof leaks.
  • Let residents know to remove leaves and debris from roof and gutters on a regular basis.
  • If your mobile home's roof is flat, curved, or metal it may be wise to add a coat of white Koolseal to your roof yearly. This helps lower heat inside the home while plugging up any small tears or pin-holes cause by falling debris, small branches, small rips at the metal seams, etc. Other products (liquid or peel-and-stick types) exist for plugging and covering larger roof holes. This may be outsourced to your handymen if the mobile home is rented.

Pro Tip: As an investor know that many of your residents are likely not going to proactively buy and add a Koolseal type product to their roof for maintenance. If these residents are making payments to purchase the home and they are prudent then they may take these preventative steps, however many will not. If you ever get a home returned to you consider inspecting the roof and adding a fresh white coat of Koolseal to a mobile home’s roof. This adds protection and a clean look to the roof.

Related article: Mobile Home Koolseal

In conclusion mobile home roofs should not intimidate you as an investor. If these repairs do seem scary this is likely due to a lack of experience, access to qualified handymen, knowledge of materials or repairs, and more. This is common for all newer folks and we all started here. However this fear should ideally be overcome with knowledge, clarity, answers to your questions, and experience. If you have any specific questions please comment below or email directly to support@mobilehomeinvesting.net.

Do you have a specific roof issue? Please comment below so we all may help.

10 Comments

  • aaron armstrong

    Reply Reply November 1, 2017

    Hi Jon, This was very helpful. I havnt bought any homes yet but want to soon. Do you look at mobile homes from the 60s and 70s? Thank you sincerely

    • John Fedro

      Reply Reply November 2, 2017

      Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for reaching out and connecting. I do hope this article and podcast was helpful to you in some way already. I absolutely do look at mobile homes from the 1960s and 1970s. I try to judge each mobile home on a case-by-case basis. With that said if you are aiming to buy or sell a mobile home with bank financing then you may be limited to homes 20 or 30 years old at maximum. I hope this helps and make sense. As always, if you ever have any follow-up questions or concerns never hesitate to reach out any time. All the best.

      Talk soon,
      John

  • Joe Myota

    Reply Reply November 1, 2017

    Hi John,

    Great podcast! Great job guys! This is definitely good timing for this one cause Im looking at 2 moible homes now both with roof leaks and Im not sure that to do. After listening to the episode I have a few questions Im hoping you can help with. The first is about redoing senior home roofs? Is that something you would consider? Also when adding a new roof to the current one do you need to fix the original roof and problems before adding the new roof? Would you mind if I sent you some pictures to look at a get your opinion? That would be super helpful buit I know yo’re busy.

    Thanks again

    • John Fedro

      Reply Reply November 2, 2017

      Hi Joe,

      Great to hear from you. Thank you for the kudos. I am super proud of Chris as well. Thank you for listing your questions as this definitely helps me answer them. With regards to senior mobile homes I absolutely invest in them depending on the home, time of year, area, etc. Some of these mobile homes definitely have needed and will need roof repairs. With that said I definitely make these roof repairs if needed. This is something that we ideally should fix before reselling to our end-users. The answer to whether you should consider investing in senior parks is definitely, “it depends”. This definitely depends on your goals, availability to senior parks, supply and demand, time of the year, what else is available, and other factors. However if the numbers work out you should certainly consider it. If you have any homes your debating feel free to send me over an email and I’ll be happy to give you my thoughts on it. With regards to fixing repairs before you install a new roof… All damaged insulation should be removed and replaced and the roof should ideally be quickly patched This patch will help soundproof the home a bit more from the new roof. With that said the intention of the “roof over” or new roof is to be a silver-bullet and cure-all to roof problems. With that said it is still my opinion that the roof should be patched in the issue corrected prior to the new roof being installed. With that said I’m curious if others disagree or agree. I hope this helps and make sense. Definitely feel free to send those pictures over. Always happy to help if I can. As always, if you ever have any follow-up questions or concerns never hesitate to reach out any time.

      Talk soon,
      John

  • Lui

    Reply Reply November 2, 2017

    Nice video and good timing! This is definitely more great information to pass along.

    • John Fedro

      Reply Reply November 3, 2017

      Hi Lui,

      Thanks for reaching out and connecting. Very glad to hear that this information has been helpful to you thus far. As always, if you ever have any follow-up questions or concerns never hesitate to reach out any time. All the best.

      Talk soon,
      John

  • Bill Neves

    Reply Reply November 9, 2017

    Hi John

    Thank you for the podcast. Great point about debris causing water problems. We sold one to a lady a year ago. It was in a park that had a lot of large trees over most of the park. Nice shade, lots of leaves.

    We had replaced aluminum with vinyl windows. She showed me that there was water coming in the living room.

    Bad window install? Tracked it down to the gutters full of leaves. Water overflowed the gutters, got under the eaves, ran down the wall and into the home. Park manager said he tells everyone and it’s a common problem.

    Nice guy Bill replaced her windows sill that got ruined and asked her to clean the gutters. Not fixing next time.

    Thanks again for the tips.

    • John Fedro

      Reply Reply November 11, 2017

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing that story with us. I definitely took a few things away from that story. Whenever mobile homes have big trees over them I’m definitely more aware that there may be potential roof leaks scattered around the home. It was very nice of you to replace those windows even though it sounds like she may not have appreciated it or clean the gutters. I definitely agree with the manager that water overflowing gutters and running into the homes or running in behind the windows is a common issue with these mobile homes. With that said with some due diligence it is not too difficult to try to prevent these issues moving forward once we purchase the home and sell to our tenant-buyers.

      Something I used to do better was send regular letters to all my tenants and tenant-buyers letting them know of regular yearly maintenance on their mobile homes. This would include cool ceiling the roof, cleaning the gutters, changing the AC filters, etc. However nowadays I really only send a winterization letter to people in the winter months letting them know how to properly winterize their mobile home if they leave it to go on vacation so that the pipes don’t burst or freeze.

      Thank you again for reaching out and commenting. As always, if you ever have any follow-up questions or concerns please never hesitate to reach out any time. Thank you for being a valuable friend over the years.

      Talk soon,
      John

  • Andrew McBurney

    Reply Reply November 16, 2017

    Hey – great article here! I was trolling the internet looking for roof inspection related content and came across you in Google. Not versed in the world of mobile home investing, but this was a good read nonetheless.

    • John Fedro

      Reply Reply November 17, 2017

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for reaching out and connecting. I do hope this article and podcast was helpful to you in some way moving forward. If you have any thoughts or improvements never hesitate to reach out any time. Additionally, never hesitate to reach out with any questions or follow-up concerns you ever have. Always here to help if possible. All the best.

      Talk soon,
      John

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field