What is Involved in Installing a Mobile Home?

Jul 30, 2018

"I ordered a mobile home and it arrived today. Why can't I move in tomorrow?" When a mobile home is delivered for a new homeowner, it is easy to think that home should be ready for move in right away. Installing a mobile home is actually a project that requires a major coordination. 

Even though a mobile home/manufactured house is pre-fabricated in a factory, many things need to be done before you can move into your new house. Installation of a mobile home involves many parties including contractors, city administration, city inspector, and our maintenance staff. These parties have their own schedule and timeline and installation process has many steps that are dependant on each other. We work closely with all of them to ensure your home is installed properly and in a timely fashion. Most importantly, we coordinate the whole process when you purchase the home in our community.

In short, the process of ordering, building and installing brand new manufactured home is very similar to buy a new construction single family home.

Ordering Home

The first step is ordering a home from our builder. There are a lot of options to choose from - size, number of beds, number of baths, floor plans, exterior, interior, cabinets, sinks, faucets, air conditioners, etc. 

At Hillcrest Estates, we pre-order homes with quality features and options that would meet most of our residents' need. If our pre-ordered homes do not meet your needs, we can always custom order a home with us. 

Mobile homes typically take less than a week to build, however the builders have backlogs or orders to fulfill. As of writing this article in July 2018, our builder's backlog is about 3 to 4 months.

Once a home is built, it is moved by licensed mobile home transporter from the factory to our community. 

Preparing a Lot

While a home is being built, we prepare the lot for the home. 

First, our staff clears the lot of any vegitation or debris. Then we have to locate underground utilities. We coordinate with Digger's hotline to locate public utilities (electric and gas). With information from the utility companies and using utility detector, locators mark the underground utilities. Then our staff locates water and sewer lines. Location of utilities, lot size, grading will determine installation method and sizes of homes allowed for the lot. We also clear the sewer lines if the lines have not been used in a while. Then we grade the lots to prevent water from collecting under the house. 

Sometimes a lot cannot be used for a home for various reasons such as size, slope, and location of utilities. 

Setting a Home

When a home is delivered and lot is prepared, we create a foundation and set the home on it. We provide two options for a foundation - frost protected foundation and helical pile system. In each installation method, we follow instruction provided by home builder and meet standard set by HUD (Housing and Urban Development Department), DSPS (Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Serivces). 

Frost Protected Foundation system uses insulated skirting on porous ground material to prevent frost under the house. For this system, we do the following:

  • Spread a layer of gravel under house and water proof plastic cover  
  • Create foundation using concrete blocks and pads
  • Level the foundation
  • Anchor the home
  • Install Insulated skirting (Basewall) 

Helical Pile System uses galvanized steel helical piles, which provides superior support for the home. We do the following:

  • Drill helical piles into the ground
  • Place home on top of the piles
  • Spread splastic cover
  • Connect the I-beams to the piles
  • Install regular or insulated skirting (Rapidwall) 


Connecting Utilities

Once the home is set, we connect all of the utilities to the home. This step requires the most coordination. In Wisconsin, electricity, sewer, and gas need to be connected by licensed contractor of respective field. First, the utilities are connected to the home by each contractor. Second, the connections are inspected by the city. Third, electric service is turned on. Fourth, contractors make the interior connection. 

External Utility Connection

Electric - We work with with local electrician to provide necessary service to the home. These include: setting/upgrading electric pedastal, trenching from the meter to the home, connecitng home to the service.

Gas - We work with local HVAC to connect the gas line to the home. The work includes: trenching line from gas meter, connecting gas line to the home

Water - We work with a licensed plubmer to connect the water to the home. During this step, we insulate the water lines with heat tape to prevent pipe freeze. 

Sewer - Plumber connects the sewer for the home. 

The connection typically takes 1 to 2 weeks depending on the availability of our contractors. In a busy season, they can be delayed more. 

Initial Inspection

Once the utilities are connected, the city inspector reviews the connections and verifies that they meet the building code.

Turning on Electricity and Gas

Upon completion of inspection, the respective contractors notify Eau Claire Energy Cooperative and Excel Energy to turn on the electric and gas.

Interior Utility Connection

Once the electric service is turned on, contractors are called again to complete any interior connections. HVAC connects and tests gas appliances in the home, which can be furnace, gas stove, and water heater. Air conditioning unit can be installed at this point. Electrician or plumbers can be called if there are any remaining work for them.

Skirting and Building Deck/Steps

Once utilities are connected, skirting and decks can be installed.


You can choose either fiberglass steps or wooden steps/decks. Fiberglass steps can be ordered and installed. If you have chosen wooden deck/steps, we will coordinate with carpenter to build them.


We will install skirting that can was chosen for your installation. We provide three options

  • Regular skirting - this can be used for helical pile foundation
  • Rapidwall Insulated Skirting - this has added insulation layer and can be used for helica pile foundation
  • Basewall Insulation Skirting - this is used for Frost Free foundation. 


Getting Certificate of Occupancy

Once the installation is completed, we contact the city of Altoona for final inspection. Once the inspector provides certificate of occupancy, you can move in to your new home!

Doing a Walkthrough

Once the home is ready for you, we will do a walk through on the home to address any issues. 

A new home, whether it is a mobile home or regular stick-built home, will settle over some time. As it settles, you may see some signs such as cracks on a wall or doors not opening or closing. We expect a home to settle for 60 to 90 days. Upon this time, we will come back and address the issues. 

The new homes are under warranty for a year for defects. We will address them as well.