Jennifer Hopkins

Manufactured home is everything they wanted

By Jennifer Hopkins

A new manufactured (mobile) home was the affordable housing choice for Diana and John Freniere.

Diana and John Freniere lived the real estate roller coaster of the last recession. They owned a nice home in Boscawen, but couldn't afford the payments after their adjustable-rate mortgage ballooned to 12% interest.

They couldn't refinance because John was out of work with a medical injury. They couldn't sell and move because real estate values had dropped. Their mortgage bank finally agreed to a short sale, allowing the Frenieres to sell for less than they owed on the loan.

Frustrated and disappointed, but running out of choices, the Frenieres sold their home and rented an older manufactured (or mobile) home near their daughter and grandkids.

After several years renting, they wanted to own their own place again, be independent, and stop answering to a landlord. Of all the options they looked at, they decided to move a brand-new manufactured home into Pine Ridge Estates, a resident-owned community in Loudon. Diana had lived in manufactured homes in her youth and as an adult. She knew their maintenance and upkeep was easy.

New manmufactured home

Diane and John Freniere's home shortly after it was delivered

John and Diana worked hard to qualify for a Welcome Home Loan, which covered the costs to transport and install the home. Since they didn't have any debt after the short sale and didn't use credit cards, they also didn't have any credit score. Instead, the Community Loan Fund accepted alternate credit, documenting 12 months of four different bills all paid on time that showed they were dependable borrowers.

Their new place is a beautiful three-bedroom, two-full-bath, double-section (sometimes called double-wide) home. The kitchen and living room are connected in a homey space with a tall cathedral ceiling. Their big yard contains a shady spot for family cookouts.

"Just look at mobile home living now. It's not like it was back in the old trailers from the '70s," said Diana. "You don't have to go $200,000 or $300,000 in debt. We wanted a small home that was easy to take care of and easy to heat. We could have bought more, but this house really has everything we wanted."

Home buyers choose manufactured homes for lots of good reasons, including affordability, easy maintenance, and building quality. Though mortgage loans are very hard to find, we're happy to support manufactured-home buyers like John and Diana with real fixed-rate mortgage financing.

John and Diana's new house is a family hub. They host family birthday parties and last Thanksgiving had dinner for 15 people, including three adult kids, their spouses, and five lively grandkids.

Diana says, "There was plenty of space, everybody was comfortable. Obviously they like it everybody wants to hang out at Mom and Dad's house now."

Diana says the best thing about the new home is the security of knowing it's all theirs. They worked hard to make sure their last mortgage experience would never happen again.

"Now I know my payments won't go up. We used to have an adjustable-rate mortgage that went sky-high. With this house, we know it will always be affordable. No matter what happens, if there was ever an injury, or someone was out of work, I know we can afford this."

Jennifer Hopkins is the Single-Family Housing Program Manager at the Community Loan Fund.

NMLS #395262. Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department.