Welcome to the Jungle

Spent some quality time with Mom on Saturday driving around Orange County, looking at parks. Mobile home parks. Cuz that’s what’s in my price-range (barely: there’s a problem when a single mom can’t get financing for anything over $40,000 yet doesn’t qualify as low-income for apartments). We’ve decided that before we look at homes, we need to look at the neighborhood; who cares if there’s a 1990 or newer 3 bedroom home for $39,900 if there’s a lot of blue dots living across the street.

So I’d heard of a place from one real estate agent that we decided to check out. Nice enough park, but the low-end of the pricing started over $120,000. Anaheim Hills will do that to you. We were lucky to meet a real estate agent there who had a flyer with different financing companies listed; hallelujah! As we were driving around the park, we found a few homes that were empty and only had a phone number on them. The agent on the other line of that phone number pointed us to another park in Anaheim on the other side of the 55.

We found SO MANY homes in this one park! Many with flyers (thank you, agents, for keeping your flyer boxes stocked up!), but also many without flyers, which meant I got to feel like a creeper taking pictures of the flyer that is stuck inside the flyer box, or better yet, taking pictures through the windows of the homes (only if they were unoccupied; I’m not THAT crazy).

We’ve learned so far that the newer the home, the easier it is to finance; if the home is old now and it’s hard to finance, imagine how hard it’ll be to sell in 7-10 years because the next buyer can’t get the financing! And we’ve learned that you definitely can’t judge a book by its cover; pretty much all manufactured homes look the same from the outside. The skirting might be a little different, (and we check it to make sure it’s not falling apart), but the outside just doesn’t really tell you much about the inside. And the inside can be misleading!

One house I fell in love with when we first started looking around is too old. You’d never know it by looking at it; the previous owner did a fabulous job of remodling and keeping it in good shape. But 40-year-old wiring is just that. The kitchen might have a ton of cabinets and the windows actually have drapes and the master bath might have a vanity, but do I really want to have to replace wiring and such all the time? Plus, again, the financing would be hard to secure.

It just seems so hard to find what I’m looking for. I’ve got my eyes out everywhere, and I’ve been trolling a bunch of different realty sites and manufactured home sites, but I can’t seem to find anything that has just what I’m looking for:

  • Newer (hopefully only as old or younger than me)
  • LOTS of kitchen cabinets (have a TON of PC stuff that needs to come out of storage)
  • At least 2 bedrooms, but also needs an office, so either a 3 bedroom or a 2 bedroom with an enclosed porch/office thing.
  • 2 bathrooms
  • A porch. Not a tiny landing that a folding chair barely fits on. I need to be able to set my grocery bags on the porch while I fish my house keys out of my purse and not have my fruits and vegetables go rolling down the stairs into the street.
  • A carport covering that doesn’t look like it’s gonna get smushed by my mom’s truck (a lot of them just have really low overhangs for the parking)
  • Decent floors that don’t feel like a trailer; ya know how they just “give” differently than a regular house? Some feel very temporary.
  • A nice neighborhood where my neighbors aren’t scary and my commute to my daughter’s school is less than 15 minutes away (would really prefer less than 10 minutes away).
  • Central air and heating
  • Less than 50% of the outside portion of my rented space to be grass/plants; really, I can’t keep agriculturally-related things alive. That and Em would just love to have a ton of chalk-drawing space!
  • Low-ish space rent. There’s a really nice neighborhood not far from my house…with +$1400/month space rent! And that doesn’t include anything! I really need my total expenses on the house (space rent, mortgage payment/utilities) to be less than $1500. It’s do-able, just hard to find.

So, welcome to the jungle. I’m sure everyone’s house-hunting journeys are just as hard, but this just seems impossible! And I haven’t even asked for a loan yet!

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