N4T Investigators: Buyer beware when shopping for used mobile ho - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Buyer beware when shopping for used mobile homes

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Your home is your castle, or at least that's the way it's supposed to be. Though, for one Tucson man, moving into a place he found online turned into a tough lesson in due-diligence.

Michael Spillman's search for place to live at a price he could live with brought him to Craigslist. He found a mobile home last November, the asking price just $800.00. He offered $400.00, and it was a done deal.

“We were scraping by. We had scrimped and saved enough to get in there. Borrowed from friends,” Spillman said.

Spillman says the place near Campbell and Limberlost was old, but seemed to be structurally sound.

“It obviously hadn't been lived in for a little while. We went in. The dirt was extreme, like a pile of dirt everywhere,” Spillman said.

Spillman also told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, the manager assured him things were in working order.

“They did say that the plumbing worked, both water coming in and the sewer. They did say that the electrical worked, and the appliances inside worked,” Spillman said.

However, according to Spillman, when he turned on the water to the unit, trouble began to flow.

“Right away there was a leak going into the toilet, so I had to turn it off. Then I discovered that toilet wasn't working, so I had to replace it,” Spillman said.

Spillman told the manager about his concerns, but things didn't improve.

“Her response was pretty much I’m doing what I can, and sorry, but it is what it is,” Spillman said.

Erica Hardwick, with the Southwest Fair Housing Council says that with any sort of real-estate transaction, whether it's buying or renting, its buyer beware.

“Talk to friends, talk to family, and get some advice. Know what you're getting into.

Make sure that you have paperwork; have documentation. Have someone look over the documents. Don't jump into this immediately. Take your time,” Hardwick advised.

Hardwick also says deceptive practices by people selling mobile homes are not uncommon.

Although, in Spillman's case, it's not entirely clear if the problems were actually disclosed.

“I wasn't sure where I was going to live, but I couldn't live there,” Spillman said.

So, Spillman packed up and left in July, leaving unpaid rent and the mobile home behind.  

“I just felt unsafe,” Spillman said.

If you have something you'd like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to check out, email us at investigators@kvoa.com, or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tip-line at (520) 955-4444.

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