Tiny House Living: Buying a Park Model
I am new to park models but recently obtained a lot in Southern California and have tried researching what the best manufacturer is but there seems to be limited information and most of the reviews are negative as to quality. Do you happen to have better info on which manufacturers are best and do most require you buy thru a middleman. Thank you.It is a very good question don't you think. How do you make sure that the park model you buy is the best, the sturdiest and will fit your needs?
I have lived in the same park model for over 9 years now. It was built in 1987. In the world of park models, that is very old. But, fortunately, ours as a Cadillac in it's day. Even so, we do have to upgrade and repair a little all of the time. Here is how it works,
While the frame of a park model is very similar to a stick built house, the finishes are very light simply because it needs to be moved down the highway to be placed in it's location. When it is parked, the wheels remain underneath so that in the eventuality that it is sold to be moved, they can be remounted and used again. There are several reasons to leave the wheel underneath. In Arizona this affects the way your home is taxed. This type of home is not intended to be "permanent" in its location.
However, all the plumbing, electrical etc. is usually satisfactory and will last a very long time.
I do know that factories offer tours to prospective buyers. I do think that seeing the structure in the stages of being built is a good idea if you are buying new. You might take a look at Park Models direct online. RVIA has a guide that could be valuable. I also looked at the webpage with the links for more information here or here.
But here is the deal...I think that buying a park model is very like buying a new car. The quality is dependent on the amount you are willing to pay and on what you can afford. AND once it is driven off the lot it begins to depreciate in value. The tweaks made to the model (added on porches, paint or decorations on the interior) can slow that depreciation process.
Buying a used model and having it moved may be a good choice. You can buy one for very little here in Arizona so I assume California is the same. Then you can use the amount you save to made the home just what you want. But you have to have the resources or ability to do that.
I am also a fan of the Tiny House movement. There are several builders including one in Portland that builds beautiful little houses. The TV show Luxury Tiny Houses is featured on DIY (I think).
As always, it is all about the research. Being well informed is a good thing. I have recommended that people simply rent a unit for a small length of time to get a feel for what they are in for. I love living in my tiny house and could do it year around.
|Front porch was added after we purchased. It is decorated for Christmas.|
|We opened the wall between the bedroom and Arizona room|
to make a large open private space.
|We have removed the awning and repainted|
the exterior, replaced the window and trimmed them out.
It has changed the character of the park model.
|Front porch at night.|
|Every surface has been painted. We have since|
put a dishwasher in where the small white cabinet
sits under the kitchen counter.
The simple fact are:
- Yes you can skip the middleman and find a manufacturer that will sell to you direct.
- Finishes are not "cheaper" as such but they are designed for a movable unit. They require upkeep.
- Be careful about reviews. Unreasonable expectation are often the problem. Get some kind of guarantee from the manufacturer and be sure to choose one that has been around for a while. Here in Arizona Cavco is a well respected manufacturer...not perfect but someone like this business is probably a good place to start.
That is what I know. Good luck to all of you.
Links to other posts about Park Model Living.