The Ultimate Guide for New Manufactured Homeowners
Florida is experiencing rapid population growth, with an estimated 26 million people by 2030, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Florida’s residents include everyone from retirees and seasonal residents to young couples and families. However, not everyone who lives in Florida can afford (or has a need) to buy a traditional home. That’s why manufactured and modular homes have become a popular option.
As Florida's largest suppliers of manufactured housing, Jacobsen Homes has learned what questions new homeowners typically ask. In this guide, we cover everything you, as a manufactured homeowner, would need to know, from property tax exemptions to pet registration. Although this information is most relevant to manufactured and modular home buyers, just about anyone living or moving to Florida can find useful information here.
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Manufactured Home Buying Tips
If you’re in the market for a new manufactured or modular home, there are several steps you can take to find the right option for you. First, read about the differences between manufactured and modular homes. You may find that one choice makes more sense than the other. Next, choose the location where you want to live and start browsing homes at model centers in that area. You can narrow down homes based on how many bedrooms they have, or their square footage, or whether they are single, double, or triple wide. You can also view the most popular floor plans to get ideas for what might work for you.The retail centers and communities will be able to answer any questions you may have about financing options, and research financing tips to help you make a smart investment.
Which Types of Floor Plans are Available?
Manufactured homes are sorted based on size and features. Small manufactured homes are single- or double-wide homes with two to three bedrooms. Large homes start at 1,400 square feet and range from two to five bedrooms. Luxury manufactured homes can be upgraded with luxury features, such as kitchen glass or tile backsplashes, granite countertops, and laminate flooring. As a first-time homebuyer, it is helpful to consult with the manufacturer to learn the details of the different floor plans available and which are best suited to your budget, style, and everyday needs.
Finding a Manufactured Housing Community
There are manufactured home model centers and communities across the state of Florida. These are located in all five geographic areas, including North Florida, Central West Florida, Central Florida, Southwest Florida, and Southeast Florida. Whether you want to live a beach life near Miami Beach or the Florida Keys or be around the nature of the Everglades or the Panhandle, you can browse manufactured and modular home communities in all locations. Keep in mind, housing styles and costs of living vary by location, so consult with a local model center to view the floor plans available in your area.
Many first-time homebuyers choose manufactured homes because they want ample living space. Moving from an apartment or other smaller residence is easy with the right planning. Start by labeling moving boxes to fit your new home’s layout. For example, if you are upgrading from one bedroom to two, divide the bedroom materials into separate boxes for each new room. The same applies to bathroom items. For retirees who are downsizing, it may be necessary to sell, donate, or discard unwanted items to eliminate clutter. At the same time, keep in mind that your manufactured home may have more cabinets, garage space, and other storage than you realize. Sometimes it pays to hold onto an item to see if you have space for it.
Establishing Florida Residency
When you move to Florida and plan to make it your permanent residence, you will need to establish residency by filing a declaration of domicile with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where you live. You can pick up a declaration of domicile by visiting the clerk of the circuit court in your county. In most cases, you can also find the declaration form online by searching for “declaration of domicile clerk of the circuit court [county]. Florida's residency guidelines are outlined in Florida Statutes Section 222.17. The state also sells a Florida Residency Guide if you want more information.
Updating Voter Registration
Once you move into your new home, you can update your voter registration. Your address will determine which electoral districts you belong to. You will find information about voter registration, updating your address, and more from the Florida Division of Elections. In general, one of the easiest ways to update voter registration information is while updating your driver’s license.
Driver's License Change of Address
Within 30 days of moving to your new manufactured home, you will need to update the address on your driver’s license or state-issued ID Card. You can do this online or at a DMV office in the county where you live.
Post Office Change of Address
Once you purchase a manufactured or modular home, you will be given a move-in date when the house will be ready. You should change your mailing address to correspond with that move-in date. The post office has an online form that lets you forward mail for individuals or families temporarily or indefinitely.
Property Tax Exemptions
First-time homeowners and new Florida residents can apply for property tax exemptions and other benefits to reduce their tax liability. Exemptions are available to property owners who meet specific criteria, including those with disabilities, seniors, and veterans or active duty military service members. However, some exemptions apply more broadly, including the Homestead Exemption (Property Tax Exemption for Homestead Property). Under this exemption, if you own a permanent residence for yourself or your dependent (including a manufactured or modular home) by January 1 of that year, your property can receive up to a $50,000 homestead exemption. That exemption covers $25,000 for all property taxes, school district taxes included, as well as up to an additional $25,000 (with more limitations) if the property’s assessed value is between at least $50,000 and $75,000. More details about the Homestead Exemption can be found in Florida Statutes Section 196.031 or by visiting the property appraiser in your county.
One of the benefits of upgrading from an apartment or condo to a manufactured home is a yard for pets. If you are relocating your pet to a different county, remember to follow the local guidelines for pet registration. The same applies if you adopt a new pet. Most counties in Florida require dogs, cats, and sometimes other pets at least four months old to have a rabies vaccination and a pet license tag.
Lawn Care and Gardening
Living in a manufactured home gives you the opportunity to have custom landscaping. One place for design ideas is the Pinterest Mobile Home Landscaping board. However, you should also be mindful of community standards where you live. Some homeowners’ associations have guidelines for lawn care. Gardening is another activity many manufactured homeowners enjoy. Depending on where you live in Florida, the climate is conducive to growing many plants, fruits, and vegetables. Another advantage to homeownership is having a garage or the space for a shed to store lawn mowers and other equipment. Other exterior features that add curbside appeal include skirts and porches.
To learn more about manufactured and modular homes in Florida, contact Jacobsen Homes to schedule a tour or get more information.