Twila Palmer - Westford Real Estate | Westford, MA Real Estate, Chelmsford, MA Real Estate

Brightly colored tulips, roses and carnations sway in the wind at the front edges of some of these homes. Roofs are generally flat, exteriors made of wood or vinyl siding. Neighbors may know each other so well that they communicate on a first name basis. Stores, businesses and entertainment venues are moments away in some of these communities. What is this community? It's a mobile home community.

What you might not know about a mobile home

Millions of Americans live in mobile homes. Demographics of people who own mobile homes range from young singles to working parents to retirees. People who grew up in a mobile home could have developed a fondness for the homes and prefer to buy and live in a mobile home similar to how their parents or grandparents did.

Price and mobility are other reasons why people choose mobile homes as their primary residence. Size, design and amenities influence the cost of a mobile home. But,it's possible to get these homes for less than $50,000. As a tip, pay attention to interest rates, as they can be higher than longer term mortgages. Also, although the homes are mobile, they must meet local zoning regulations.

Manufacturers must adhere to guidelines established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Similar to traditional houses, it's possible to get a custom-designed mobile home, a house that meets the buyer's specifications.

Build options are single wide and double wide. The square footage in a mobile home can exceed 500, easily offering as much space as a one bedroom apartment. Larger mobile homes top 2,600 square feet. Larger mobile homes are designed with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Once inside a huge mobile home, you might not feel like you're in a mobile home.

What to look for in a mobile home

There are plenty of features and build options to consider when shopping for a mobile home. If you want to have a home built from the ground up, look for a manufacturer who specializes in building mobile homes. Look for a manufacturer who knows how to construct a mobile home so that it can withstand strong winds and hard rains. However, even the best constructed mobile home could suffer extensive damage during extreme weather conditions like a tornado or a hurricane.

Whether you have your home built or buy an existing mobile home, visit several model mobile homes before you sign a mortgage. Get a firsthand feel for the different floor plans that mobile homes are built with.

Siding on mobile homes is key, as a better quality siding can protect a mobile home from mold and bacteria. Siding can also help to keep pests from entering a mobile home. Wood and vinyl siding aren't the only options. Other types of mobile home siding are fiber cement, stone, aluminum, plywood and cedar. Some manufacturers combine two or more materials to develop a durable, quality mobile home siding.

Thick, insulated walls can keep your home cooler during warm months and warmer during cold months. If you love the outdoors, look for a mobile home that's designed with porch or a deck. Some mobile homes have wraparound porches, similar to the porches that were built on Victorian houses during the early 1900s.

Kitchen cabinetry, living room and bedroom space in these homes can be spacious. It all depends on the total square footage of the home. There are also two story mobile homes. Shop around. Pay attention to the way the home feels, smells and looks. You just might find your perfect starter house in a mobile home.