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  • Writer's pictureJustin Tahilramani

Innovative Mobile Home Investing: What's Old is New Again

Home that Sandhills REH Relocated and Setup in Sanford, NC
Sandhills REH Owned DW Mobile Home

In the face of North Carolina's ever-rising housing costs and growing demand for affordable housing, investors are increasingly looking to unconventional solutions. One such solution gaining traction is the acquisition and relocation of used mobile homes. This strategy offers a unique opportunity for investors to capitalize on a rapidly changing market while addressing a critical need for affordable housing.

North Carolina's Housing Market: A Snapshot

Median Home Price: $345,000 (Zillow, October 2023)

Renter Population: 33.5% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020)

Affordable Housing Gap: Over 1 million households are facing housing affordability challenges (National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2023)

Mobile Homes: Why North Carolina is a Prime Market

Affordability: Used mobile homes offer a significantly lower entry point compared to traditional single-family homes. In North Carolina, the average price of a used mobile home is $20,000 (Mobile Home Living, 2023), compared to the median home price of $345,000.

Strong Rental Demand: With high renter populations and an affordable housing gap, North Carolina presents a strong market for rental mobile homes. The average rental rate for mobile homes in the state is $750 per month, providing investors with a consistent income stream.

Relatively Low Regulatory Limitations: Compared to other states, North Carolina has more lenient zoning regulations for mobile homes, especially in secondary and tertiary markets. This makes it easier and more cost effective for investors to navigate the process of setting up and managing mobile homes on individual lots.

Relocation: A Strategic Move for Investors

Land Acquisition: Purchasing land outside of high-priced urban areas allows savvy investors to secure affordable land and infill lots that are zoned for mobile homes by right. This means that there are no requirements to request re-zoning or a special use permit prior to applying for permits.

Greater Control: By owning the land, investors are able to implement various strategies such as retaining ownership of the land and home, selling the mobile home and renting the land back to the new homeowner, and the ability to generate income while holding the land for future re-development.

Challenges and Considerations for Investors

Zoning Regulations: While North Carolina regulations are relatively lenient, it is crucial to carefully research local zoning regulations and obtain necessary permits before purchasing land or setting up a mobile home.

Financing: Financing options for mobile home investments can be limited compared to traditional real estate. Investors should explore various options such as private lenders, SBA loans, or specialized mobile home financing programs.

Management: Developing and managing a portfolio of mobile homes requires dedication and expertise. Investors should consider hiring a professional manager or acquiring the necessary skills to handle acquisitions, set up, maintenance, resident relations, and bookkeeping.

The Future of Mobile Home Investing in North Carolina

With the rising demand for affordable housing and the growing acceptance of mobile homes, the future of this investment strategy in North Carolina appears promising. As investors become increasingly aware of the potential returns and social impact, we can expect to see more strategic acquisitions, relocations, and renovations of used mobile homes, contributing to a more diverse and affordable housing landscape in the state.

Investing in used mobile homes and relocating them to land you own can be a lucrative and socially responsible venture. By carefully navigating the market, understanding the challenges, and implementing a strategic approach, investors can contribute to addressing North Carolina's affordable housing crisis while achieving financial success. Remember, due diligence, careful planning, and a commitment to responsible development are key to unlocking the full potential of this innovative investment opportunity.

Comparing Mobile Homes to Stick Built Homes – The Numbers Don’t Lie:

Location: North Carolina

Mobile Home: Single-wide, used, ~ 980 square feet

Stick-Built Home: ~ 1,100 square feet


Cost Breakdown:

Mobile Home:

Home Purchase: $20,000

Land purchase: $15,000

Delivery and setup: $12,000

Utilities connection: $8,000

Total initial cost: $55,000


Stick-Built Home:

Purchase Price: $137,500 (based on $125/PSF)

Closing Costs: $3,000

Total initial cost: $140,500

Mobile Home Rent: $925/month* 12 months = $11,100

Stick-Built Home Rent: $1,195/month* 12 months = $14,340


ROI Calculations:

Mobile Home:

Annual Gross Income: $11,100

ROI = $11,100 / $55,000 * 100% = 20.18%


Stick-Built Home:

Annual Gross Income: $14,340

ROI = $14,340/ $140,500 * 100% = 10.2%

Purchasing and setting up a mobile home is significantly less expensive than purchasing a stick-built home in North Carolina. However, it's important to understand that this strategy is designed for Cash Flow and NOT Appreciation. Stick-built homes typically appreciate at a faster rate when compared to mobile homes.

Additionally, stick-built homes are generally considered to be more durable, easier to maintain, and have a longer lifespan than mobile homes.


It's important to remember that this analysis is based on several assumptions, and actual results may vary. Investors should conduct thorough research and consider their individual circumstances and risk tolerance before making any investment decisions.


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