How to Move A Mobile Home

Moving a mobile home is a unique transportation experience. Despite the term “mobile” in the name, these homes are not exactly easy to move, and they don’t enjoy being moved either. Generally mobile homes are not moved and most mobile homes have only been transported once, from the factory to their current location. Therefore, it’s crucial to take the time to do it correctly on the rare occasions when a move is necessary.

Unlike an RV, which can be moved from point A to point B with ease, moving a mobile home requires careful planning, professional help, and an deep understanding of the process. Though it can be expensive, the cost of a poorly executed move can be even worse. It can result in complete loss of the home or persistent problems over time due to poor installation.

There are many things to consider when moving a mobile home, and taking the proper precautions can help you stay safe from potential risks. In this article we will cover the steps involved in moving a mobile home, things that can go wrong, and some tips for mitigating these risks.

The Design and Mobility of Mobile Homes for Transportation

When people witness a mobile home being transported down the highway, they are often astounded by its size. These homes can be as long as 80 feet and as wide as 18 feet, but they were actually designed to be moved. Unlike stick-built houses that were never intended to be transported, every mobile home is built on a chassis that includes steel beams running the entire length of the home from front to back. This chassis has axles and wheels on the underside and the floor of the home on the top side. The front of the chassis features a steel “V” known as the tongue or hitch, which connects to the transporter’s truck.

One of the first noticeable differences between mobile homes is the number and positioning of axles and wheels. This can vary depending on the manufacturer and the weight of the home. While moving a mobile home is possible, it is not an easy process, and many interior and exterior features do not transport well without reinforcement or removal. Despite being designed for mobility, mobile homes would rather not be moved at all and are best moved with caution and careful planning.

How to move a mobile home

Steps for Moving a Mobile Home

Documentation for movement of the mobile home

Before moving a mobile home, it is typically required in most states to provide evidence of paid property taxes. To avoid unnecessary delays, it is advised not to postpone this task and to get it done beforehand. Failure to provide proof of paid taxes is a frequent cause of hold-ups in relocating mobile homes, which is entirely preventable. It is recommended to verify the outstanding taxes owed prior to purchasing the home to prevent any unpleasant surprises during the move.

There are several other important documents and permits that need to be obtained to ensure a smooth and legal move. These may vary depending on the state or county you’re in, but typically include:

  • Moving permit: In many states, a moving permit is required before transporting a mobile home on public roads. The permit will typically specify the route to be taken and any required safety precautions.
  • Building permits: Depending on the state or county regulations, a building permit may be required for any modifications or additions to the mobile home.
  • Insurance: It is essential to have insurance coverage for the mobile home during the move, in case of any damages or accidents.
  • Other documentation: Depending on the state, there may be additional paperwork required, such as a bill of sale, title or registration, or a certificate of occupancy.

Preparation for transport

When preparing a mobile home for transport, there are several steps to take to ensure that it’s moved safely and successfully. One of the most important considerations is choosing a reputable and experienced transporter. Do your research and choose a company with a good reputation and positive reviews from previous customers. Once you’ve chosen a transporter, it’s essential to get a written estimate that outlines all the costs associated with the move. This will help you avoid any unexpected costs or surprises. You should also ask about their insurance coverage to ensure that your mobile home is adequately protected in case of any damages during transport.

Communication is key when working with a transporter. Maintain open communication throughout the moving process, ask questions, provide any necessary information, and be available to answer any inquiries they may have. This will help ensure that the move goes smoothly and any issues are addressed promptly. It’s also important to be prepared for potential delays. Moving a mobile home can be a complex process, and unexpected delays can happen. Work with the transporter to find a solution if any delays occur.

How to choose a transporter

To find a reliable mobile home mover, there are three main sources of information that you can explore. Firstly, you can check the local yellow pages, which often have a dedicated section for mobile home movers or transporters. Typically, this section will provide you with three to five names to contact.

The second source is the internet, where you can search for mobile home movers in your town using websites like MHBay.com or a simple Google search. This can yield one or two additional options beyond what you found in the yellow pages.

Try contacting mobile home dealers to find out which movers they use to move the homes they sell. These movers tend to specialize in moving new, expensive homes, and are often the most reliable and professional.

Avoid using unlicensed and uninsured movers, such as a neighbor or friend with a truck. Doing so could result in significant costs that may exceed the value of your home. Instead, stick with reputable moving companies that have the proper insurance coverage to cover any damages that may occur during the move. By taking the time to research and choose a reliable mover, you can ensure the smooth and safe transport of your mobile home

The actual movement

When moving a mobile home, the driver typically maintains a low speed. This is because hauling such a large object is hazardous, and the driver needs to maintain control over the load. Additionally, even if a truck follows the transporter to warn other drivers of the oversized load, the driver is still concerned about narrow or low areas of the road, like bridges, that may not accommodate the mobile home’s size. By moving slowly, the driver has more time to assess the situation and stop if necessary.

Maintaining a low speed is crucial to prevent damage to the mobile home itself. At high speeds, wind can peel back the exterior or break windows, causing significant harm to the home. There’s also a risk of damage to the interior contents of the home due to sudden jolts or impacts from the road.

Home Installation

Upon arrival at the destination, there are a few things that need to take place. These include positioning the home on the lot, leveling it, anchoring it, removing the tongue, wheels, and axles, reconnecting all utilities, re-skirting the home, and installing stairs and/or a deck. This phase of the move requires the most effort and expense and usually cannot be completed overnight.

Although the process may seem straightforward, it’s prone to problems and disappointments that can be exceedingly expensive. Therefore, let’s now explore the right way to complete these steps.

Termination of the existing lease and notice of moving the home

If you are planning to move your mobile home, the first step is to initiate the process of terminating your existing lot lease, if applicable. Most mobile home park leases require at least thirty days advance written notice before moving out. If you fail to provide timely notice, you may risk forfeiting your deposit. Therefore, it’s important to ask your park manager or review your lease to determine the required amount of time.

Additionally, you should contact your local taxing authority to verify whether there are any outstanding property taxes on the home. If there are any unpaid taxes, it’s crucial to pay them immediately and obtain a paid receipt. In most states, you cannot transport the home or obtain a permit to transport it if any property taxes are owed.

It’s also worth noting that some parks may have specific conditions or restrictions regarding when a home can be moved. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of these and communicate them to the mover.

Termination and removal of utility connections

Give advance notice to all utility providers (water, sewer, trash, electricity, gas, cable TV, telephone, etc.) and set a firm cut-off date before the mover arrives to move your home. Don’t wait until the last minute to shut off utilities. If you don’t give enough notice or get the date wrong, you may need to stay in a hotel or deal with delayed movers. It’s best to hire a knowledgeable, insured individual to disconnect the utilities to your house to avoid potential accidents. Attempting to save money by doing it yourself can result in costly mistakes and dangerous situations. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Raising the home with jacks and connecting the axles, tires, and tongue.

Moving a mobile home involves complex and dangerous processes that requires professional expertise and equipment. For instance, jacking up the home and attaching the axles, tires, and tongue is not a task for amateurs. The weight of the equipment is quite substantial, and attempting to do it without proper knowledge and tools could lead to disastrous consequences. In fact, I strongly advise against trying to do it yourself.

Prepare the interior to move

Before the move, you should prepare the interior of your mobile home for the potentially severe shaking and jostling it will experience. In essence, the movement it endures is equivalent to an extended earthquake. To prevent damage, survey each room and identify items that may break, such as glass in ceiling light fixtures. This glass should be removed, as well as any expensive light fixtures that hang down, particularly if they are made of stained or leaded glass.

Additionally, ensure that cabinet doors, particularly those with leaded glass, are secure, and closet doors are fastened. Other items, including toilet tank tops and shower doors, must also be secured. Take care to secure anything else that could break or suffer damage due to violent shaking

Setting the Mobile Home

After the mobile home has been delivered to its permanent location, it must be secured to the ground. This process involves blocking, setting, leveling, and tying down the home, as per state or national installation codes. Setting the home is a crucial step that ensures even weight distribution and support using concrete halite blocks and other foundation tools. During the process, the wheels and, in some cases, the axles and tongue are removed.

Once everything is level, the installer fastens the home to the ground using a series of anchors that tie to metal straps under the home known as tie downs. It is essential to locate all utilities before beginning the process, as the anchors can easily sever any nearby utility lines, causing significant damage. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to identify these lines, and the installer will likely hold them accountable for doing so. It is recommended to consult with the park manager for assistance in this regard.

How to move a mobile home

Tips for managing repairs and renovations before or after a move for your mobile home

Managing repairs or renovations before or after moving a mobile home can be overwhelming, but with proper planning and execution, it can become easier. Firstly, inspect the mobile home thoroughly before the move and identify any necessary repairs or renovations. Create a checklist of repairs and prioritize them based on their urgency and importance. Hire a reputable contractor who has experience with mobile homes to perform necessary repairs or renovations. You can also consider doing some of the smaller repairs yourself to save money, but ensure that you have the necessary skills and tools.

You should coordinate the timing of repairs or renovations with the move so that they can be completed before or after the move. After the mobile home is in its new location, conduct a final inspection to identify any additional repairs or renovations that may be needed.

What can go wrong when moving a mobile home

There are several common occurrences that can negatively impact your mobile home move, including:

  • Paying the transporter upfront: It is advisable not to pay until the job is complete to ensure that the job is done to your satisfaction.
  • Poor selection of transporter: Selecting an inexperienced or unqualified transporter can lead to damage or delays during the move.
  • Failure to prepare the mobile home for transport: Neglecting to prepare the home for the move can result in damage to the home or items inside during transport.
  • Inadequate arrangements for the move: Failing to make proper arrangements for the move can lead to delays.
  • Ripping out utilities during the move: Utilities can easily be torn out of the ground during the move, causing significant damage and delays.
  • Placing the home in the wrong spot: Incorrect placement of the home can cause difficulties during the setup process and require additional work and expense.
  • Improper reinstallation of utilities: Using unapproved or unprofessional individuals to reinstall utilities can lead to issues.
  • Moving the home without expertise: Moving a home without adequate knowledge or experience can result in severe damage to the home and items inside.
How to move a mobile home

What are some ways to reduce the risks involved with moving a mobile home?

Ensuring that you comprehend the procedure, risks, and expenses involved with moving a mobile home can help put your mind at ease. The following are preventive measures to avoid unnecessary expenses and anxiety that can come with moving a mobile home:

Prepare your home for the move effectively

You should take the necessary steps to prepare your home for the move, such as packing your belongings properly and ensuring that everything is organized and labeled correctly.

Choose your transporter carefully

Choose a reliable and trustworthy moving company to ensure that your belongings are transported safely and securely.

Understand your insurance

You should be aware of the insurance policies that cover your belongings during the move. Ensure that you have adequate coverage in case of any damage or loss.

Know the destination

You should research your new location and become familiar with the area to make the transition easier and to avoid any surprises.

Remain with your home

Keep a close eye on your home during a move to ensure that everything is being handled properly and that nothing is lost or damaged.

Keep everybody informed of your progress

You should communicate regularly with anyone involved in the move, such as the movers or family members, to keep them updated on the progress of the move and to address any concerns or issues that arise.

Keep a positive attitude

Stay optimistic and focus on the positive aspects of the move to help reduce stress and make the experience more enjoyable.

Advice for Cutting Costs When Moving a Mobile Home

Here are some tips for cost-effective mobile home moving:

  • To save money on moving a mobile home, consider doing some of the preparation work yourself, such as removing skirting, decks, and awnings, as well as any other obstructions that could impede the move.
  • Obtain the necessary moving permit in advance, as some states require proof of tax payment before issuing the permit. Reputable movers may be able to help you obtain this permit.
  • Notify the mobile home park that you are moving. Ensure that you have given proper notice and paid all rent owed to avoid any unnecessary holdups during the move.
  • Do not try to save money by disconnecting utilities yourself, as this can be dangerous and could result in costly damage to utility lines or personal injury.
  • Consider negotiating with the owner or manager of the mobile home park you plan to move to. Mobile home parks love filling vacancies and may be willing to pay a portion or all of the costs associated with moving your home to their location if you plan to stay long-term. Approach the owner/manager and ask if they will offer any discounts or incentives. If they are not willing to provide any, consider finding another park that is willing to do so. This strategy can also be effective if you are looking to move from a park you dislike to one with better amenities or lower rent.

Final Thoughts: How to Move a Mobile Home

Moving a mobile home can be a complex and costly process, but with the right preparation and approach, it is possible to save money and ensure a smooth move. It is important to do the proper preparation work, obtain the necessary permits, and contract with a reputable mover. Additionally, negotiating with the owner or manager of the mobile home park you plan to move to can result in significant savings. By following these tips and being proactive in your planning, you can minimize the stress and expenses associated with the move of your mobile home.

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