How much does it cost to move a mobile home?

Plan to spend a few thousand dollars

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Where are you moving to?

white mobile home with plants on the side

A single-wide mobile home costs $4,000 to $10,000 to move locally, according to industry websites and experts we spoke with. Although relocating safely and legally is a complex and expensive task, it's doable with the right help. Understanding the factors involved in this process will ensure this complicated job goes off without a hitch.


Key insights

Moving a mobile home is not a do-it-yourself job, and you’ll need to hire a reputable moving company.

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The distance of the move and size of your mobile home are the two biggest factors affecting costs.

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Some factors, such as the age and condition of your home, may make it cost-prohibitive to move.

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Cost factors

There are several factors that affect your total costs, including the following:

  • Size: A single-wide mobile home (also called a manufactured home) is the cheapest to move since you only need one truck to haul it. Double- and triple-wides can shoot costs up dramatically since they have to be split up and moved separately. Longer and wider units usually require a pilot car, police escort or a scheduled road closure, depending on local regulations.

    Joyce Cubio, vice president of Ernie’s Mobile Home Transport in Marysville, California, explained how these costs can add up: “If you go over 12 wide you automatically have to have a pilot car on a California state highway, and some highways may require two pilot cars. If you get over 14 wide, half the route may require one pilot car and the other half requires two.”

    A professional moving company understands how complex these local laws can be and will map out the most efficient and cost-effective route. Cubio summed it up: “It all just depends, and you have to add it all up.”

  • Weight: Movers will also use weight to determine shipping costs, and the heavier your mobile home the more expensive it can be to ship. Heavier homes require more fuel and materials like tires and tow hitches which will increase your cost.
  • Age and condition: If your manufactured home is older, needs repairs or has tires that need to be replaced, you’ll have to address these issues before it’s safe enough to transport.
  • Distance: The farther you have to move your home the more expensive it will be. And although local moves are less expensive than long-distance ones, you can expect a high price tag regardless since similar preparation, equipment and permitting is needed no matter how far you’re going. Another factor that influences your total mileage is the height of your home since you may have to take a less direct (and longer) route to avoid low overpasses or bridges.
  • Permits and inspections: Because manufactured homes are so large, there are regulations about where and how they can travel. This requires securing permits from the cities, counties and states you’ll pass through. In addition to transportation permits, there are also set-up permits and inspections you’ll need when your home is reinstalled. This is often a service your moving company will handle, but you should confirm this ahead of time. Some mobile home movers only secure transportation permits and leave installation permits up to the homeowner.
  • Transport-only vs. full-service move: A transport-only service is responsible for loading your mobile home then conveying it and delivering it to the new location. A full-service company can take care of the entire process including disconnecting and reconnecting utilities, re-leveling, performing under-house repairs, reconnecting double-wides or reinstalling exterior features like porches, awnings and skirting.
  • Insurance and liability: When you work with a professional mover they’ll provide you with liability insurance and this should be included in your quote. However, you may decide to purchase an additional policy for more coverage. Reach out to your insurance carrier to see if you can get a supplemental policy that will cover your home during transit.

Moving a mobile home vs. buying a new one

Since relocating a mobile home can be so expensive, you should examine the costs and benefits to make sure it’s in your best interest. In some cases, you may be better off selling your old home and buying a new one after you move. Below are a few circumstances that can make the cost of moving prohibitive.

If your home isn’t up to code

In 1976, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued stricter safety, construction and transportation standards for manufactured homes, commonly referred to as the HUD code. And although it's not technically illegal to move a mobile home built before 1976, you may have a hard time finding a company to do it.

Robert Spencer, owner of K&E Transport, said that although it does transport these older models, it can’t legally set them down anywhere if they haven’t been updated through the HUD renovation process. “There’s a checklist the owner can use that gives the requirements for what it takes to get a non-HUD unit back up to HUD specifications. It’s a big step, and they really don’t want you to do it because those older homes can be unsafe,” he said.

However, Spencer went on to say that many customers choose to make these changes given how expensive housing is these days.

If you're moving to a stricter HUD zoning area

The HUD code also includes regulations on wind, snow and roof loads, and your mobile home has to meet the standards for the area you’re moving to. For instance, Wind Zones II and III (located primarily on the South and East Coasts) are considered high-wind areas, and if your mobile home was only designed to withstand a standard wind load (Zone I), you aren’t legally allowed to move it there.

If your overall cost is too high

Consider not only the money you’ll spend moving but the stress, time and hassle it will cost you too. If selling your current mobile home and buying a new one later can save you days or weeks of work and inconvenience, you may want to look into other options outside of moving your current home.

If you’re ready to downsize

If you’re currently in a double-wide and have been thinking of downsizing to a single-wide, the prospect of a costly cross-country move might be the impetus you need to sell.

Why it’s not a good idea to move your mobile home by yourself

Even for the most experienced DIYer, moving a manufactured home on your own simply isn't an option. Unlike a recreational vehicle that has its own engine or travel trailer designed to be towed behind a pick-up truck, a mobile home must be moved by a licensed mover that has the required transportation permits, proper equipment, and trained drivers who can navigate the roads with such a large load.

Additionally, any truck hauling interstate cargo with a gross weight of over 10,001 pounds must be registered with the USDOT and comply with all federal regulations.

Reasons to hire a reputable and established moving company

With a job this big, you’ll want to work with a well-regarded mover that can assist with several important tasks:

  • Planning out the most efficient route while factoring in restrictions on the height, weight and width of your mobile home
  • Securing the required transportation permits from the county, state or highway patrol
  • Coordinating any pilot cars or police escorts and scheduling these well ahead of time
  • Providing insurance and liability coverage for damage that may occur during transit
  • Having the right equipment for the job, including tires, hitches, axles and trailers
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting utilities during full-service moves

Tips for moving a mobile home

Moving is always a lot of work, but there are plenty of things you can do to ensure a smooth experience:

  • Obtain your title certificate and county tax assessor’s certificate ahead of time to prove you own your home and are up to date on your taxes.
  • Only work with licensed companies. Ask upfront about their experience moving mobile homes similar to yours and request references.
  • Get all quotes, contracts and insurance information in writing.
  • Make any needed repairs before your move, like checking and fixing tires, repairing loose siding or securing shutters and shingles.
  • Take pictures of your home before you move in case you need to prove that damage occurred during transit.
  • Research the rules and regulations at your new location well ahead of time. If you’re moving into a mobile home park, review all the rules and reach out to the county or city to learn what local codes with which you’ll need to comply. If you're moving to private land, ensure the ground is properly graded and the site is prepared for delivery which includes getting zoning clearance, setting up a septic system and connecting to utilities.
  • If you’re currently living in a mobile home park, provide enough notice to your landlord so you don’t violate your lease agreement, and ensure your rental agreement is in place at the new park you’re moving to.

Ways to save on your move

Moving is expensive, no matter what. But here are a few ways to save:

  • Compare moving companies by getting at least three quotes.
  • Do any prep work you can like removing exterior stairs, skirtings, window air conditioners or awnings prior to the move.
  • Ensure the tires, axles and hitches are all in working order.
  • If you’re handy, you can hire a transport-only mover, but you’ll be responsible for obtaining setup permits, disconnecting and reconnecting utilities, and then scheduling an inspection.
  • Pack up and move all your belongings yourself. Anything that’s not secured in the home should be moved separately since contents will shift during transport and any added weight will increase your costs.
  • Move during the off-season (roughly October through April) when rates may be lower.

Where are you moving to?

FAQ

Do I need a permit to move to a mobile home?

You’ll need multiple permits to move a mobile home, but this is highly dependent on your location.

Joyce Cubio, vice president of Ernie’s Mobile Home Transport, Inc., based in Marysville, California, explained that “most counties are their own jurisdiction so you have to get a permit if you’re traveling on their roads. So if you’re on a state highway then [the California Department of Transportation] handles that, and if you have to jump off and enter another county you’ll have to get another permit from them.”

You’ll also need permits for setting up your mobile home in its new location.

How do you disconnect a mobile home?

Mobile homes are connected to lines for water, sewer, gas and electric, and these have to be disconnected before transport. Start by contacting your utility provider ahead of time to let them know you’re ending your service, and they’ll walk you through your next steps. Sometimes the homeowner will have to do this on their own, but it may be included with a full-service move.

How do you set up utility hookups at a new location after moving?

If you’re moving into a mobile home park, the utility hookups should already be there, but you should verify this is the case ahead of time.

A full-service mover may reconnect everything for you, but if they don’t you’ll have to hire a plumber and electrician to do the work. If you’re moving to a private plot of land, you’ll be responsible for contacting the local department of planning to see if you can access public utilities, then you’ll need to work with a contractor or engineer to install and connect them.

How big of an impact can local regulations have on moving a mobile home?

Local regulations can definitely make your move more complicated. There are both federal and state HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) codes you’ll need to comply with for setting up your mobile home, though all state codes must meet or exceed federal HUD standards.

Depending on where you’re moving, the county inspector may have to verify your home meets state minimum requirements, and you won’t be able to move in until the home passes inspection.

Is it a red flag if a company says they don’t handle permits?

This depends on the type of permit. A professional moving company should obtain all its own transportation permits, but depending on its scope of service, it may not be responsible for installation permits or inspections.

What is a setup permit?

A setup permit (also called an install permit) is issued by the state or county with jurisdiction over the land on which your home will be placed and authorizes you to set up and connect to public utilities.

Do you need an inspection once at the new location?

This depends on where you’re relocating. Some states or counties require an inspection once you set up at your new location, or your new mobile home park may require an inspection once everything has been reconnected.

Bottom line 

Relocating a mobile home requires a professional moving service to make sure it’s done safely and legally, and this can be quite an expensive undertaking. As a mobile homeowner, you’ll want to look carefully at the costs and benefits of this service to decide if it’s ultimately worth it.


Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR), “3280.305 Structural design requirements.” Accessed April 16, 2024.
  2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Do I Need a USDOT Number?” Accessed April 17, 2024.
  3. International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, “Manufactured Housing and Standards.” Accessed April 7, 2024.
  4. Manufactured Housing Institute, “HUD Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards.” Accessed April 16, 2024.
  5. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards.” Accessed April 7, 2024.
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