Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

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pax4235
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Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by pax4235 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:46 pm

Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Let's say you have a 100k+ job in the Bay Area and don't want to commute 1-2hrs+ every day for work. I've saw on YouTube people sleeping in trucks, RV's, etc. Do a lot of people also buy mobile homes? I see that mobile home prices are ~150k in the Bay Area right now. There are even many by Stanford and that have price cuts. That seems like a better housing alternative than 700k-1mil+ homes in the area, and even renting in the area.

Is it best financially to sleep in trucks/RV's, buy a mobile home, rent, rent further away, or buy a house further away? I am asking for a friend who may be getting a job in the Stanford area but doesn't know what the best thing to do for housing is but is looking maybe for the cheapest/most convenient possible options.

open_circuit
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by open_circuit » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:49 pm

Certainly some have tried this. The story of a Google engineer who lived in the parking lot for a while in a box truck comes to mind.

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-e ... ot-2015-10

pax4235
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by pax4235 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:53 pm

open_circuit wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:49 pm
Certainly some have tried this. The story of a Google engineer who lived in the parking lot for a while in a box truck comes to mind.

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-e ... ot-2015-10
Wouldn't a 100-150k mobile home be more comfortable? It should be cheap for those working and making 100k+ in the Bay Area no? Why aren't the prices of mobile homes in the Bay Area much higher (like 400k+) is what I am wondering.

Hypersion
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by Hypersion » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:55 pm

Where would you park this mobile home?

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:59 pm

Hypersion wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:55 pm
Where would you park this mobile home?
Thus is the problem. You park it on a $1.2 million lot. :wink:
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Pajamas
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by Pajamas » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:02 pm

Zoning.

GCD
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by GCD » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:03 pm

My MIL was executor for a friend who died recently. She sold his 1950s, less than 1000 sq ft house on no lot for 1.3 million and it was a bidding war. The buyer bid the 1.3 with no contingencies, no inspection, and paid cash. In other words, in addition to the 1.3 they were willing to eat whatever random thing popped up that was wrong with the house. This was in Fremont, CA, right near Stanford.

I think the problem you would find with a mobile home is there are few places close in to set one down. There is no free land to put one on. If by mobile home you mean a single-wide or double-wide trailer. If you mean an RV/5th wheel of some type, that might be different.

Given house inflation in the bay area, it wouldn't surprise me if that $150K mobile home would go for $20K anywhere else. I think the reason more people don't buy mobile homes is they just don't exist. There aren't a lot of trailer parks mixed in with multi-million dollar houses.

The problem with living farther out is that the commutes in the Bay Area are a real grind.

Circa 2000 I lived in the Oakland Hills. Paid $450 a month to live under a parking slab that the owners had slapped plywood around and called it an apartment. It had three leaks in the "roof" and when it rained I had to sleep on the floor because the apartment was so small I couldn't put my bed anywhere that it wasn't under a leak. Your friend might be able to find similar housing if he wants to go "hobo" and live in someone's loft in their garage or something. That's the only way I can see finding cheap around Stanford.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by jeff1949 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:04 pm

You may be able to buy a mobile home for $150k but the space rent would probably be astronomical. It was when we looked into this for space rent in the San Diego area.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by livesoft » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:15 pm

Years ago my grandfather lived in a single-wide manufactured housing (aka mobile home that was not really mobile) in Santa Barbara. He had lived in a few different homes around Los Angeles before ending up in Santa Barbara for the rest of his days.
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by wrongfunds » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:41 pm

I asked my friend who has a very nice house in Las Gatos if I could park my mobile home on his property. He was NOT amused!

I suspect there are town ordinance against having trashy trailer park in high priced area.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by cbr shadow » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:12 pm

I looked into this recently. My wife and I are high earners in the Bay Area at thought we would only be here for a short while at first. We now love it here and won't move away, so this ended up being a non-issue.

But anyway, I was looking into what would be the cheapest place to live and found some mobile homes for $100k. This was somewhat permanently placed on a tiny lot next to lots of other mobile homes, but was close to the ocean which was cool. It was pretty dumpy, but we could put another $50k into it and make it a bit more livable. $150k compared to $1M for other homes is pretty enticing! Anyway, after some research I found out there's a catch.. $100k buys the home, but the tiny lot that it sits on costs $3,000/mth in rent. No rent control so that number could go up whenever they wanted. No thanks, I'll just keep renting an apartment.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by boglegirl » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:14 pm

jeff1949 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:04 pm
You may be able to buy a mobile home for $150k but the space rent would probably be astronomical. It was when we looked into this for space rent in the San Diego area.
This. I thought it would be fun to live near the beach, and you can buy a mobile home for as little as $80k. But the space rent is $2200/month! After deductions, etc, my mortgage costs me less. And I'm sure the Bay Area rent is even higher than Orange County and San Diego.

https://www.redfin.com/CA/Huntington-Be ... me/5128917

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by GCD » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:17 pm

boglegirl wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:14 pm
jeff1949 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:04 pm
You may be able to buy a mobile home for $150k but the space rent would probably be astronomical. It was when we looked into this for space rent in the San Diego area.
This. I thought it would be fun to live near the beach, and you can buy a mobile home for as little as $80k. But the space rent is $2200/month! After deductions, etc, my mortgage costs me less. And I'm sure the Bay Area rent is even higher than Orange County and San Diego.

https://www.redfin.com/CA/Huntington-Be ... me/5128917
Yeah, same deal for living on a boat. Slip fees have the same effect.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:31 pm

cbr shadow wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:12 pm
But anyway, I was looking into what would be the cheapest place to live and found some mobile homes for $100k. This was somewhat permanently placed on a tiny lot next to lots of other mobile homes, but was close to the ocean which was cool. It was pretty dumpy, but we could put another $50k into it and make it a bit more livable.
Really? I know someone who bought a pretty dumpy (my description) mobile home in the central valley for about $3000. The rent of the land underneath it was pretty cheap, too. But I don't know why a trailer would be so much more expensive in the Bay Area. Maybe she just got a really good deal, I have never really looked into used mobile home prices.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by Hyperborea » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:44 pm

GCD wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:03 pm
My MIL was executor for a friend who died recently. She sold his 1950s, less than 1000 sq ft house on no lot for 1.3 million and it was a bidding war. The buyer bid the 1.3 with no contingencies, no inspection, and paid cash. In other words, in addition to the 1.3 they were willing to eat whatever random thing popped up that was wrong with the house.
Possibly planning to tear it down and build fresh so they didn't care about the house itself. However, it's pretty common to have no contingency offers in the Bay Area at this time. Usually, the seller gets a home inspection in advance and presents that to the buyer. That's about as good as any other random home inspection the buyer would do.
GCD wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:03 pm
This was in Fremont, CA, right near Stanford.
Being in Fremont and being "right near Stanford" are contradictory. Fremont is about as close to Berkeley as it is to Stanford - i.e. it's close to neither.

As for mobile homes, the big issue is where to put it. There are some trailer parks but most of them are on the periphery of Silicon Valley (south, south San Jose; Morgan Hill; some parts of the east bay) and they have a high monthly rent for the land. There are a few older ones in the central part of Silicon Valley and they are all either in bad locations and/or are being closed out to be redeveloped into apartments, townhouses, and condos.
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by 123 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:46 pm

Living in mobile homes is just not generally part of the "dream" lifestyle in the Bay Area. Sure, there are some mobile home areas in the Bay Area but in "the thick" of Silicon Valley they are rare. People are willing and able to buy condos and SFHs.

All that said there is a lot of interest in "Tiny Homes" in the Bay Area as their probably is elsewhere. For the most part "Tiny Homes" is just a currently trendy name for what we used to generally call travel trailers and (sometimes) mobile homes. They are like mobile homes in that they are usually prefabricated housing (on wheels) but not intended for frequent moves.
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by countofmc » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:52 pm

About 7-8 years ago, I found out a co-worker was renting a mobile home in a mobile home park. He was/is a highly compensated tech worker. He was trying to save as much as possible to purchase a home close to work, which he did. That home has probably doubled in price since then, so it all worked out for him.

Also, there is a pretty constant stream of news lately discussing how more and more people are forced to live in mobile homes, but this is more due to necessity rather than a lifestyle choice.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by chevca » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:10 pm

If it's anything like Seattle, they do... they're called homeless people. :happy

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by GCD » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:26 pm

Hyperborea wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:44 pm

Being in Fremont and being "right near Stanford" are contradictory. Fremont is about as close to Berkeley as it is to Stanford - i.e. it's close to neither.
You're right. My bad. I was thinking East Palo Alto for some reason. :oops:

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by knowledge » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:29 pm

If you recently bought a $1M piece of land, you'd want to make sure that nothing impinged your land value. So you'd certainly make sure that any trailer park would not be allowed, or if one already exists nearby, you wouldn't mind that land being redeveloped into something else.

And so the short answer is "zoning".

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by tch_usa » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:40 pm

Some people have RVs that they park along the front of Stanford's campus. However, their stories aren't very happy: https://www.topic.com/life-inside-the-r ... con-valley

Additionally, there is a mobile home park in Palo Alto: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/05/18/ ... -is-saved/

There is also one in Mountain View right near Google's campus: https://goo.gl/maps/A1tbYtMNsRH2

However, the space in these is limited.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by aaronl » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:48 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:02 pm
Zoning.
This is all that needs to be said.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:50 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (where to live).

tch_usa, Welcome!
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by tch_usa » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:00 pm

Thank you, Lady Geek! Glad to be here.

Also, OP, the housing situation in the Bay Area is a Gordian Knot of competing, entrenched and emerging interests that is difficult to untangle. If your friend ends up taking a job near Stanford compensated at the 100$k+ level, he or she might be able to figure out something clever to save on rent. But in all likelihood, he or she will be paying >~2000$/month in rent.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by Hyperborea » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:25 pm

pax4235 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:46 pm
I am asking for a friend who may be getting a job in the Stanford area but doesn't know what the best thing to do for housing is but is looking maybe for the cheapest/most convenient possible options.
I think the best option for your friend is to consider how much they are willing to pay on rent and pick a place as close as they can get for that amount. If they don't want the hassle of driving then I would suggest living as close as possible and walking/biking. It's really going to be a tradeoff between cheapness and convenience since Palo Alto is the epicentre of the housing price madness in the Bay Area. It's also unsure what other requirements your friend has (family etc) but given only the two requirements you list then renting a room in a house/apartment would be the best option. I did that in the Bay Area many years ago as an intern during grad school.

If it's too expensive for them to live close (walking/biking distance) then consider living along the Caltrain route (go south) and live near a station. Stanford is very close to the station in Palo Alto. Stanford also has shuttles that run from the station to the campus.

Another option is to live along El Camino Real (the main road up and down the peninsula). Then take the VTA bus to Stanford. There is an express bus that stops less frequently but subsequently goes quicker. I've taken this route to commute to one job I had in the past when I lived on the route and worked very close to the route.
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:07 am

Mobile home parks are not insulated from the rising real estate costs in the Bay Area. See this LA Times article from about a year ago to see some of the financial difficulties Bay Area mobile home parks are facing: http://www.latimes.com/business/technol ... story.html

When you include the monthly cost of the space rental at a mobile home park, the purchase price of a mobile home does not look like as good of a bargain compared to renting. The value of Bay Area real estate is really in the land, and you don't own the land when you purchase a mobile home. You're renting the land and "parking" your mobile home on it.

It might be less hassle for your friend to rent, perhaps splitting the rental costs with a roommate to keep things more reasonably priced.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:13 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:31 pm
cbr shadow wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:12 pm
But anyway, I was looking into what would be the cheapest place to live and found some mobile homes for $100k. This was somewhat permanently placed on a tiny lot next to lots of other mobile homes, but was close to the ocean which was cool. It was pretty dumpy, but we could put another $50k into it and make it a bit more livable.
Really? I know someone who bought a pretty dumpy (my description) mobile home in the central valley for about $3000. The rent of the land underneath it was pretty cheap, too. But I don't know why a trailer would be so much more expensive in the Bay Area. Maybe she just got a really good deal, I have never really looked into used mobile home prices.
The Central Valley of California is a vastly different real estate market than the Bay Area. The Central Valley is about the closest thing you'll find to the Midwest without leaving California, including a vast array of agricultural land and low cost-of-living communities. It's particularly easy to find cheap mobile home parks in the Central Valley. There is no comparison between the two areas.

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by anoop » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:38 am

This thread reminded me of Tom Shadyac, a Hollywood director who downsized from a 17000 sq ft mansion to a mobile home park.

But it turns out that mobile home park in Malibu has lots that go for upward of $1M.
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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by jpsc » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:55 am

You forget that a lot of 150K salary comes with a 300K-1M stock options portfolio.
So people can afford to buy those 1.2M home. Otherwise, how would anyone buy a house ?

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by TravelGeek » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:50 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:13 am
The Central Valley of California is a vastly different real estate market than the Bay Area. The Central Valley is about the closest thing you'll find to the Midwest without leaving California, including a vast array of agricultural land and low cost-of-living communities. It's particularly easy to find cheap mobile home parks in the Central Valley. There is no comparison between the two areas.
Trust me, I know that (former resident of the Bay Area for 20+ years). I was just surprised that a mobile home (the physical moveable property) would be so much more expensive when located in the Bay Area. The dirt underneath it obviously costs a lot more, whether owned or rented. So I looked at mobile homes for sale in the particular Central Valley community and found prices varying from $25k-$100k. So not that much different in the end and the $3k sale I heard about must have been a very exceptional case (or not true).

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Re: Do/Why don't a lot of people by mobile homes in the Bay Area?

Post by dcabler » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:56 am

An old high school friend of mine and her husband live in a mobile home in Daly City. Met them in SF a few weeks ago. She's a teacher and he's semi-retired. Seems to work for them.

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