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Mobile homes not so mobile

Virginia Edwards is so frustrated with the lack of sales prospects for her mobile home that she jokingly said she’ll be willing to accept anything.

Edwards, 59, and her husband Larry, 62, live in Olympia Glade Mobilehome Estates, mere steps away from her parents, who also are trying to sell their home. The Edwards residence has been on the market for nearly a year – without a single offer.

Several “For Sale” signs stand along Edwards’ block alone. The signs indicate the large numbers of mobile homes for sale locally – a scene repeated in many communities.



“It’s tough and especially here,” said Edwards. Property rent increases, move-in fees, income requirements and credit checks pose costly obstacles to anyone moving into the park, she said.

Their home is one of 101 mobile homes listed for sale by the Nevada County Association of Realtors. Listing prices range from $12,000 (460 square feet) to $514,000 (an upscale, 2,200 square-footer).




Making matters worse, many residents of mobile homes are like Edwards’ parents: Living on a fixed income, feeling squeezed by rising property rental fees and seeing their homes depreciate in value.

“We would like to get what we paid for it, but I don’t suspect we’d ever do that,” said Roy Hammock, Edwards’ father.

Hammock, 85, and his wife Bernell, 82, paid $72,000 for their home three years ago.

They would like to move into a home they’ve purchased in southern Illinois, but want to sell their home here first.

The couple will move into their Illinois house if they “live long enough,” Hammock said. The Hammocks’ daughter said she lives nearby to help care for her father and her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s hard to get by,” said Hammock, who receives a $550 pension monthly; a labor union covers some medical expenses.

Buyers could face a difficult time coming up with the mortgage, depending on the home’s age and whether they qualify in several other categories.

“Just the qualifications required by mobile home parks are a stumbling block,” said Dick Law, of Paul Law Realty.

Competition from other senior living communities and strict age requirements also make it difficult to get into mobile home communities, Law said.

Locally, Citizens Bank doesn’t offer a mortgage for mobile homes older than 20 years, said John Lenz, Citizens Bank branch manager in Nevada City.

Typically, those purchasing a mobile home can get a 25-year mortgage for a home built after 1993 and a 20-year mortgage for a home built after 1988, Lenz said.

To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gmoberly@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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