Well, at this point I am thoroughly confused.After many many weeks of thinking that we would do it, without ever getting around to it, yesterday we finally drove over to the next town to visit the dealer of some manufactured homes.We saw two out of the 5 on the lot that would have been quite suitable for us (if we had a garage added -- an extra expense). The prices sound fabulously low compared to stick-built house prices and yet....As we talked with the guy and learned more and more about it we learned some pretty interesting and eye-opening things.First, the price of the actual house is low -- yes -- compared to stick-built houses.Secondly, your home could be ready (even with upgrades and modifications) in just a matter of 3 to 4 weeks.THEN come the other considerations.You have to have a lot or acreage (land of some sort) on which to place the home. $$$$$The site has to be prepped. $$$A septic system has to be designed for the land. $$$$Septic system has to be installed. $$$$Water has to be provided for. $$$Power has to be provided for. $$$(I would heat and cook with propane, so that wouldn't be a problem any more than any other house -- so I'm not really counting that.)A driveway has to be built. $$$$$A garage has to be contracted for and built to attach to the house once the house is in place. $$$$$Once the house and everything is in place and you move into it, it would be taxed no differently than a stick-built house. $$$$ UNLESS - you park the home in a manufactured home "park" where you "rent" the land it sits on. If you do that (at a ridiculous fee for monthly rental -- as much as we paid in Alabama for an apartment) the home will then be taxed differently and will actually be depreciated each year so the taxes would steadily go down.All I came away with were $$$$$$ in my eyes -- and they didn't represent any savings as far as downsizing our home for total retirement.I'm not sure now what, exactly, to do in the event that things work out such that we would want to "cash out" this house and find something a lot less expensive (that still meets our needs) that would allow us to invest the difference for a nicer retirement.So right now... we are still making house payments (though we could easily pay it off tomorrow if we choose to) and thinking that we will hunker down here for a few years to see what happens.Our house is not the least expensive in the neighborhood -- to be sure. But it's not the most expensive, either. Some, right down on the water, are going for over a million. But we have a great water view even with some obstructions (trees) and the view alone makes the house very desirable.I'm just pretty floored by the expense of getting a manufactured home ready for occupancy. It certainly burst my little dream bubble of living cheap (but still nice). Anybody have alternate ideas (except for living under a bridge, that is -- which, as we all know, is Cliff's favorite suggestion)?AM
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