Prefab & Kit Homes, Modular Houses, Mobile Homes in Malibu

In our ongoing quest for reasonable real estate in Los Angeles …and the possibility of beach front property, husband and I have recently been pondering The Heathercliff Estates in Malibu. Now, by “estates” I mean a gated community of pre-fab {mobile} homes at the top of the cliff …above the ocean.

Right, not as luxurious as it sounds. But honestly, why not? I mean, look at this place below. IT’S ABOVE THE BEACH …and it’s about $400K. Where else in California could you actually live on the beach for that price?

It looks like a house right? …and it’s 1600sq.ft
…look at that kitchen!

see the entire listing hereI mean, we could buy it now and still be able to save money ….and it could even become a future second home at some point …that we could rent out to friends in the summer, etc.

But for some reason, I just can’t get that white trash mobile home dweller stereotype of my mind. I know it’s wrong but I’m not sure I could get over it.

… I mean, look at how close it is to the beach
….I lived at Zuma when I was a kid!

The drive to work may be long but the house sits right next to PCH, and who wouldn’t want to drive along the beach three days a week to go to work? I think I could handle that?

. . . and I’m not sure why but these super modern modular home kits {below} don’t give me the same “mobile home” feeling ..and really, I don’t know why . .. they’re the same thing …but smaller and more expensive!!


Zamore Kit Homes on Apartment Therapy
So, I’m asking you, dear fabulous readers …what do you think? Do any of you live in a modular or prefab home and have any advice or pros/cons for us to ponder?

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on these …good and/or bad please.

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Noodlegirl

    April 25, 2009 |

    I think it is fabulous! My bf’s mom lives in one in Ashland Or. When we first heard that she bought one we were no too keen on it. Recently she got sick and we moved from Hawaii to be with her for a year and let me tell you I was and still am super impressed with the house its at a wonderful neighborhood the house is super cute I love it!

    I think you got something going on there like you said for that price heck and the pictures you posted are wayyyyyy fab!

  • Taryn

    April 25, 2009 |

    These kit homes absolutely blow me away! I love HGTV, and watched a show just about the kit homes. Although I do not know enough about them to offer you any advice on quality, etc., I do know that once it’s all put together, they can look like multi-million dollar homes!

    Also, I wanted to throw in a BIG THANK YOU for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! I love your blog, and it just meant so much to see that you came on over to pay mine a visit!


  • Nicole Marie

    April 25, 2009 |

    um absolutely the mobile home practically on the beach is awesome!! that stainless steel kitchen is no where near trailer park trash. and I’m pretty sure Matthew mcconaughey in a mobile home on the beach and he’s loaded.

    it would be a perfect second home eventually maybe. the only thing is you probably don’t own the land so if the developers decide to sell in 10 years you wouldn’t have rights to the land. so just look into that.

  • Char

    April 25, 2009 |

    these are fabu and do not remind me of “trailers” at all. And beach? I’m so there. not a thing wrong with it at all.

  • kelly

    April 25, 2009 |

    I think its a fabulous deal. 400k in malibu by the beach. I know sometimes theres that nasty..aire “mobile home” makes you think TPT (trailer park trash) but those pre fab houses are so sick. and you’re right you could always rent it out or if you are sick of the hills heat…just pack a beach bag and you and the hubs can relax at the beach!

  • Maegan

    April 25, 2009 |

    These comments are great …I really love hearing your opinions! …and really good point Nicole M.

    Another thing I just thought of is since we wouldn’t own the land, we wouldn’t really have to worry about mud slides and losing our homes/property, right? …that happens so often in Malibu

    AND …there’s a pool and gym, etc…in the community . {not that I use a gym …lol}

  • I Like Stuff

    April 25, 2009 |

    I think they’re a great idea! They put up a bunch of these in New Orleans after the hurricane (kit homes) and I saw some of them and they were perfectly adorable! Not slipshod-looking at all.

    Forget white trash–white trash DOES NOT live on the beach in Malibu. These are in a different category entirely.

  • OHN

    April 25, 2009 |

    Living in the Midwest, the cost of CA real estate always blows my mind.

    But honestly if you want to live there, don’t think twice. The way it is laid out it isn’t white trashy at all 😉 Trust me, I live in Ohio, the promised land of white trash.

    You guys are young and life is short. HAVE A BLAST!

  • The Things We Carried

    April 25, 2009 |

    I would live there in photo 1, in that first cottage like place!

  • Megan

    April 25, 2009 |

    THAT is nowhere near the trailers that are in VA. I have always said, “i will NEVER live in a trailer” but I would live there in a heartbeat!!

  • Jill

    April 25, 2009 |

    My husband and I seriously considered a weehouse.
    I think they’re very cool…waterfront property would make them even cooler!

  • Joy De Vivre Design

    April 25, 2009 |

    I think the first one is adorable and looks like a cute little cottage by the beach.

    The second one is cool and reminds me of Mies Van der Rohe.

    Both are a great deal to be so close to the beach. I really doubt that with them being priced at $400,000 you will have to deal with any of the trailer trash stigma.

  • Kate

    April 25, 2009 |

    The house by the beach is fabulous! I’d live there in a heartbeat, though I assume the commute from Malibu to Maryland is a little further than I’m willing to drive each day.

  • Danielle

    April 25, 2009 |

    I grew up in Malibu and had some friends that lived there. Not bad at all. It’s a pretty community oriented place, from what I recall – so, if you’re ever thinking of having kids – I think it’s a nice place for that too. You can’t beat some of the views a few of those places have on the bluffs. Malibu + trailer park = doesn’t really exist.

    And the drive isn’t bad at all! I actually lived in Topanga Canyon and went to Malibu High School – so I had to make that drive every day. It’s pretty fortunate to see dolphins in the waves on your drive to work. 😉

  • Gwen

    April 25, 2009 |

    Coming from the Midwest I would only consider this “trailer” white trash if it were surrounded by broken down cars and picnic tables with drunk friends passed out every where (yes I have a friend that has a trailer and that is the exact picture). This trailer you are looking at is just a great starter home in my opinion.

    Another option for a kit home is Rocio Romero homes ( We took a trip and looked at them in person and when we finally sell our house (probably in 3 years) they will be top on our list. They are a little pricey since I want everything customized and bigger but I love that they are all metal & glass exterior. Check them out and let me know what you think!!!

    Have a great Sunday!!! XOXO

  • Fashion Fille

    April 25, 2009 |

    tag, you’re it! (aka i tagged you at my blog. :)))))

  • Snarky A.

    April 25, 2009 |

    You had me at “right by the beach” and “seeing dolphins on the drive to work”. To be able to get a place by the beach for that price is awesome! Being able to live somewhere you want now, and still save money for the future is great. And so it having it as a future 2nd home.

  • Erienne

    April 25, 2009 |

    Absolutely fabulous idea! Right by the beach, amazing options for the kitchen (hello!), and a decent price for living practically on the beach. Great option for a future second home, getaway, rental for friends, etc. Love the modern feel of that kit home but that “mobile” was fantastic too! Hell, anything near the beach works for me ; )

  • Hello Lindello

    April 25, 2009 |

    Hello! I can see how you can’t get over the trailer home thing, but these are completely different in my book. This place looks amazing & easy to maintain. Its like your own personal condo, but better since you don’t have someone a wall over AND the beach! Hello…go for it! Thanks for stopping by Hello Victory by the way = )

  • rachel elizabeth

    April 25, 2009 |

    i LOVE it! and really. modular does NOT mean mobile home, it just means it was once in pieces and not built on site. 🙂 so no worries. it’s absolutely spectacular. and you have a good point, i would DIE to drive the PCH to work every day. god, i miss cali.

    if you need any real estate advice or have any questions, you can feel free to email me if you’d like. i have been in real estate for five years and even though it’s in jersey, theres similarities. i can also hook you up with a good realtor if you don’t know someone. 🙂

    /sales pitch. god. i need a new job.

  • K.Line

    April 25, 2009 |

    Modular homes are all the rage in Scandinavia – and who doesn’t love everything about that part of the world. I think the little community is adorable – this is not in the same universe as a trashy trailer home.

  • drollgirl

    April 25, 2009 |

    holy fucking moly!!! 400k in MALIBU?!?!?!? i had no idea! and these are pretty cool!

    i used to work for some fuckwit architects that made prefab homes. they can be pretty awesome.

  • brooke

    April 26, 2009 |

    ooohh i like and think it is so cute! i really love the yellow…totally makes me think beach cottage! my grandma has lived in a modular home since i can remember and i always thought it was fabulous!
    1 – on the beach
    2 – affordable
    3 – 1600sq ft
    i say jump in!

  • brooke

    April 26, 2009 |

    okay now that i looked at the rest of the photos i am blown away…those built ins! that bathroom…all those windows!!! and that bar….love it.

  • ~alison

    April 26, 2009 |

    So funny…because when we were looking – I wanted to live at Top o’ Topanga which is the exact same thing for the exact same price -but not as close to the beach…and the homes were quite AS cute as the one you posted here. Chad – was like “no way in hell” – but I kept saying “why not”…so that is what I say. WHY NOT? (Except that you would be SOOOOOO far from me! and we would probably not see each other anymore… ; (

  • Mommy In Pink

    April 26, 2009 |

    Holy crap, that is the nicest mobile home I’ve ever seen, I’d totally live in one, if it meant I lived at the beach…I say go for it!

  • Kez

    April 26, 2009 |

    I think that it looks AWESOME inside. And the location sounds amazing too.
    I would just do what I can with the money I have and make it the home I want. If it looks like a mobile home from the outside, who bloody cares? When people visit they’ll be blown away by your awesome decorating skills and all of those floors and appliances!

  • Kelly

    April 26, 2009 |

    I think the mobile home on the beach (esp in Malibu)sounds amazing. Seriously, who cares? Call it budget chic. GO FOR IT!

  • Jasmine

    April 26, 2009 |

    i totally say GO FOR IT! those houses look downright adorable. i would much rather have a “mobile” home in an incredible location than a huge amazing “house” in some middle of nowhere small town that i wasn’t into. location is key! and these are cuuuuute! and there’s a pool and gym on property?!? sweeeeet!

    i can totally understand the stigma of a mobile home – the whole white trash thing would turn me off a bit too, but can the “white trash” population even afford a $400k mobile home in malibu? i think those types are probably looking elsewhere.

    i think i might have seen some sort of home renovation show about one of these mobile homes in malibu…not positive though.

    anyway, super exciting! i hope you guys at least visit the property (if you haven’t already) and look into it more!

  • janettaylor

    April 26, 2009 |

    YAY! AH!


  • Courtney at Blogging Matilda

    April 26, 2009 |

    Do it, do it, do it, owning a home is the bestest, most liberating feeling in the world and anything on a beach never depreciates in value…..

  • Gem

    April 27, 2009 |

    I think they look amazing! I’d live in one for sure.

    If you want to live there, and you like the homes, I say go for it 🙂

  • Jayci

    April 27, 2009 |

    So, I grew up in a mobile home and it sure as hell didn’t look like that! & i am NOT trailer trash 🙂 I think pre-fab homes are thought of differently now days. Malibu? The beach? Beautiful home? Go for it!

  • Robin

    April 27, 2009 |

    a place by the beach that is affordable….why WOULD you wait? Go for it, I would in a HEARTBEAT! This isn’t your typical trailor park. Do it:-)

  • Erin

    April 27, 2009 |

    Ummm…wow for the “mobile home” one! That place looks super nice but, I too, am not sure I could get over the whole “mobile home” thing. I’m not going to lie though…that felt a little “snotty” to type!

  • JGeb

    April 27, 2009 |

    I can understand trying to push out the stereotype thang, but these homes are incredible. Right on the beach…does it get any better than that? I wish I could give you advice on quality and such, but they’re just plain gorge and you should go for it!

  • Anonymous

    April 27, 2009 |

    My boyfriend and i looked at a mobile home when we were looking to buy our first house as well. I thought is was fabulous. We didn’t end up buying the place but it was def an option. But as for the land. I live in Canada and I am not sure if it is the same here and there but you def own the land as well!

  • GamecockQueen

    April 27, 2009 |

    OK being from the armpit of South Carolina I totally share your disdain of mobile homes, but dang! those are pretty darn cute!

    I like the original, not the modern ones. Adorable!

  • Poshbride

    April 27, 2009 |

    Hi Maegan, my husband’s partner has a home (mobile) in the Heathercliff Estates and we go there every year for a bbq. It is so beautiful and Everytime we walk around the area, I find a new beautiful home that I cannot believe is mobile. I would definitley consider buying there 🙂

  • BakerGirl

    April 27, 2009 |

    I adore the modern pre-fab homes and if I had the opportunity to move into one here in the South…I’d be all over that like butter on rice!!!

    These look seriously amazing and the whole beach thing makes it even more breathtaking! Hell yeah, I’d go for it!

    The only thing I would watch is how many units they are planning to put on the plot of land they are developing… if they stack them on top of one another it will truly be a modern trailer park!

  • Holly

    April 27, 2009 |

    beach property is beach property, you have to start somewhere! i guess it depends wholly on who your neighbors are if the place is gonna give off that “white trash” vibe or not!

  • Hanako66

    April 27, 2009 |

    they are pretty awesome…the only bad thing is that you generally do not get to purchase the “property” and although the structure is 400k, you have to pay a monthly fee to lease the space (Hub and I saw a similar listing in Huntington Beach a few years ago).

  • Rachel

    April 28, 2009 |

    Do IT!!!!!

  • Penny

    April 28, 2009 |

    That first house is absolutely gorgeous,and just the fact that it’s so close to the beach,is a major plus point.I say go for it!Lots of people are making the change to homes like these,and I mean,who are we kidding?These are more luxurious than most houses are!

  • Wanderlusting

    April 29, 2009 |

    In Canada the land comes with the home, so I would look into that, it seems in the states it either comes with the land or you leas (ironically my apartment in Canada is on leased land)…either way, I would move there in a heartbeat! So gorgeous, beachy and cute. I command you to buy this home! Or I will (once I pull 400K out of my ass :P)

  • Sandra

    April 30, 2009 |

    I have a friend that lives i nthose homes in Malibu and let me tell you. the location is everything and once you’re inside you cant even tell the difference! I say go for it. Living that close to the beach is good for the soul…and baby making!

  • Mademoiselle Frou-Frou

    April 30, 2009 |

    really?! is that all it costs?! i’m moving there too! 😉

  • Girl Japan

    May 1, 2009 |

    They look more like a Modern Rancher or Brady Bunch meets 2001- very cool, if the material is fabulous, (man look at that space), by the beach ….. I think it is fabulous darling.. REALLY-

    400k is not cheap, it is all about making it your own, that is luxurious, really far better than when I used to live in the hills in a house that looked like stilts were holding it up was like 500k or something.. but seriously there are far better options, more modern and damn… near the beach… near the beach.

  • Anonymous

    March 1, 2010 |

    This doesn’t look like a trailer, because it isn’t. It’s a modular home. Modular homes are built to the same codes as a stick built home, possible even better because there is more wood in the construction of a modular home so it will survive shipping to the site. There are no wheels under modular homes. They are built in the factory then crane lifted onto a flatbed truck in units and then put back together on site. Trailer are mostly metal construction and have wheels mounted to a metal frame so it can roll from site to site. They are titled like a vehicle and depreciate in values whereas a modular home appreciates like a stickbuilt when it is put on permanant foundation.

  • kit homes

    November 9, 2010 |

    These kit homes absolutely blow me away! I love HGTV, and watched a show just about the kit homes. Although I do not know enough about them to offer you any advice on quality, etc., I do know that once it’s all put together, they can look like multi-million dollar homes!

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