A mobile home (a.k.a. manufactured or modular home) doesn’t travel from one place to another. Instead, it’s a house built in a location other than the land where it will ultimately stand. Like a site-built home, a mobile home requires proper site preparation to ensure its integrity and livability.
Preparing land for a mobile home costs $3,500 per acre on average. However, site preparation costs can range from over $1,000 up to $25,000. Depending on location, local regulations, land type, and similar factors, prices can go below or above that range.
Below, I’ll break down each factor that affects the price of site preparation for a mobile home. That way, you can decide which factors should matter to you and which ones you can trade-off.
Government Fees Can Bump Up Site Preparation Costs
Before you can prep a site for your mobile home, you need first to obtain the necessary permits from the local authorities.
For example, the authorities may conduct a “site plan review” (a.k.a. “site development plan”) on the site to determine the feasibility of any construction on it.
They will check the soil percolation rate, whether asbestos is present, what tax laws apply to the structure you will construct, and other factors.
Your cost will also depend on if you’re going to add a substantial addition once your new home is set in place.
Additions such as:
- Outbuildings, such as sheds or barns
- Large additions to your home
- A greenhouse
These additions require special permits and could add to your preparation costs.
Overall, prepare to shell out around $2,200, or more, for permits and other government fees.
Smoother Land Is Less Expensive To Clear
If you build your mobile home on land free of obstructions and even terrain, you don’t have to worry about expensive land clearing and grading costs.
However, you have to contend with trees and uneven ground in most cases.
Removing trees doesn’t only involve cutting them down.
You also need to dispose and process trees, such as turning them into mulch, in an eco-friendly way. All in all, tree removal and disposal costs about $200.
Once the trees are out of the way, you’ll need to cut, fill, and level the land until it reaches a continuous grade.
By grading the ground, you ensure the smooth flow of runoff water and the comfort of everyone who lives in your home.
But if this isn’t possible, or you live in a mountainous area, you’ll end up paying a lot more to make the ground even enough to set your house down properly.
The Type of Site Foundation Matters
Different mobile homes require different foundations. Some of the most common include:
- Pier and beam: A house with a pier and beam foundation uses cement cylinders attached to the home’s steel frame to stand. It’s the most common foundation for mobile homes because it’s easy to install and flood-resistant.
- Slab: As its name suggests, a slab foundation consists of a single slab anchored to the house. It’s cheaper than a pier and beam foundation, though some local authorities may require an additional inspection to check whether your home should have a pier foundation instead.
- Crawl space: A crawl space foundation, also known as a pit foundation, has a 4’ (1.22 m) space below your home’s base. That extra space is ideal for keeping termite infestations at bay.
- Basement: Basement foundations double as reinforcement for your home and extra living space. It’s one of the most expensive foundations, but it also increases the area, and, by extension, the value, of your mobile home.
How much the foundation of a mobile home costs depends on the type of foundation you choose.
Regardless of which one you pick, ensure it’s a good balance of affordable, durable, and beautiful.
Note: If you live in an area where tornadoes are very common, you’ll want to consider building a basement foundation. It can save your life, and perhaps part of your investment as well.
Hourly Labor Rates Matter Too
Of course, houses don’t build themselves.
You need help from construction workers specializing in site preparation for mobile homes.
If you’re paying laborers hourly, you should budget between $1,000-$2,000 per day.
Also, give about one to two months for construction to complete.
Utility Hookups Should Be Added To the Cost
Last but not least, you need utility hookups.
These should be as close to your home as possible because the farther away they are, the more expensive they will be.
Expect to pay around $10K-$30K for utility hookups.
And you can’t skimp on this either, as you need electricity, gas, and water to comply with legal requirements.
There’s no one-size-fits-all cost to prepare a site for a mobile home.
If you want accurate price estimates, consult a licensed general contractor specialising in building mobile homes within the local area.
Cheers, tools owners!