Wholesale vs. Retail Selling Your Mobile Home & How to Get the Best Price
Selling a mobile home might seem easier than selling a house but with little information available and almost no data transparency for the market, it can be extremely difficult for owners to accurately price and value their home. Despite that, thousands of mobile home owners must either guess the value of their home or pay high valuation fees to get a better estimate of the final sale price. In fact, mobile home pricing isn’t standardized and even new models can be priced differently depending on the sales lot. And, while you can do research to find list values for similar homes to your own, these often don’t reflect actual sales data, and there is no way for you to get that information.
This means that as a mobile home owner, you must be able to research and make the best decision for your needs in order to walk away with the highest profit from the sale. Your primary options are to sell via the traditional retail market, which functions similarly to selling a home, or to sell through the wholesale market, where a broker will directly purchase your home for a wholesale price. Each of these opportunities has its own pros and cons and it is important for you to understand the distinctions and opportunities of each to make a good decision.
Because selling is often more cost effective than choosing to move your mobile home, it is crucial that you be able to earn the maximum profit when you sell your home. This guide will help you to understand different valuation methods and markets so that you can make the right choice for your home.
The Value of Your Mobile Home
Mobile homes sell for various prices which are affected by the mobile home itself, the lot, the condition, the park, the community, original manufacturing standards, the size, category, and even whether you’re including furniture in the sale. Because there are so many variables, most online quotes are an estimate and won’t reflect the full actual cost of sale. However, you can check the value to decide how much you can sell it for using one of two methods; market value and appraisal.
We provide market value reports for $5.99 for a retail report and $1.99 for an additional wholesale report. This report is generated based on our extensive database of mobile homes for sale around the country and we use information to compare the condition, amenities, park, and demand in the area to create a comprehensive value range that is similar to a bluebook value, but not as model specific. We include a full report on your home as well as comparisons, allowing you to easily see what you can potentially sell your home for.
A full appraisal will give you a much better idea of what your mobile home is worth on the retail market, but it will not be cheap. Most appraisals cost between $250 and $400 and include a full inspection where the appraiser will examine the square footage of the home, the condition, the park, the heating and cooling, and details about the park, and other factors to create a detailed report that reflects repairs, issues, and a general overview of the retail value. Real-property mobile homes are appraised using the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, Form 1004C. However, if you rent a lot at a mobile home park, there is no standardized form for appraisal.
No matter what your market value or appraisal, you should be cautious about setting that as your asking rate. The actual sales value for mobile homes can vary a great deal and can range from as little as a few hundred for very old homes that cost owners too much in monthly rental fees to over $250,000 for triple wide or larger homes on owned property. While final sales prices typically range between $5,000 and $15,000, the exact rate will change a great deal depending on your specific home, your local market, the park, and other details. Used double and triple wide homes can sell for significantly more, as they hold their value better, but are often more difficult to sell, because the asking price is higher.
However, no matter what your situation, your final price will ultimately depend on your market and how you choose to sell your home. One of your most important decisions will be whether to sell retail and list the home yourself or sell directly to a broker for a wholesale price, and each option has its own pros and cons for costs.
Selling a mobile home yourself means either connecting with a real estate agent or listing the home yourself, marketing, showing the home, handling paperwork, getting permission from the park, and if you’re moving away before the sale, continuing to pay rent and fees for the home. Just like with selling a house, you set a price, accept bids from interested buyers, and eventually make a deal to sell the mobile home. You keep all the profit, and you get the maximum sale price for the home.
However, while this option is outwardly advantageous, retail sale has a number of disadvantages that you should be aware of before you choose to sell your mobile home in this way.
Most people choose to do a significant amount of comparison research online to see what they can sell their mobile home for. Chances are, you’ve already looked around to see what mobile homes are selling for and may even have an idea of what your home may be worth.
Unfortunately, this kind of sales comparison won’t always work. First, you have to factor in homes that are in similar condition, with similar upgrades and interiors, and in a similar park or surrounding. Typically, unless the home is in the same mobile home park, from the same year, with the same upgrades or modifications, any online listing won’t accurately reflect the sales value of your home. You can use these listings to get a ballpark figure of the asking price you can use when listing your home for sale, but it won’t be completely accurate. It’s also important to remember that your manufactured home may not sell for the asking price.
Market Demand – If you are in an area with a high volume of mobile homes on the market, you have a much smaller chance of getting your asking price. In most areas in the United States the number of used mobile homes outstrips the market, meaning that there are more sellers than buyers, which means that you might have to reduce your price a great deal to make a sale. On the other hand, if there are only a few other sellers, your chances of getting your asking price are much higher.
The primary benefit of using the retail market is that you can potentially earn more money by getting the full retail price. However, it is not guaranteed, and you have to consider the factors that affect the pricing to see your actual profits.
- Age: Older homes lose value, are more difficult to finance, and typically sell for much less.
- Make and Model – Some brands are more desirable than others. If you are going through a real estate agent, your mobile home will be assigned to First Tier or Second Tier for pricing based on the make, model, and manufacturer.
- Size – The size, number of bathrooms, bedrooms, etc., will affect the sales price.
- Condition – The better the interior and exterior condition of your home, the higher the value.
- Improvements – Have you factored any improvements or upgrades into the cost.
- Problems – Are there any issues or problems? Old appliances, leaks, loose boards, and damage all lower the sale price of the home.
- Park Rental – The park rental fee will affect your ability to sell. Check with the park manager to see if there will be a fee increase for the new owner, and factor that into your sales price.
- Community – A quality community will raise the asking price for your home, so be sure to factor in amenities and services offered with the park.
- Time to Sell – Your mobile home may take anywhere from a few months to over a year to sell. Most buyers will consider all of their options, including regular homes, before purchasing a mobile home, and you will likely have to sit through several house showings, several inspections, and multiple price negotiations before making a sale. Most interested buyers will hire an inspector to review the home and use that inspection to place their bid. In most cases, it is very difficult to obtain financing for a used manufactured home, especially on a park lot, so most banks won’t help your buyers to make the purchase. This can considerably slow down your time to sale, simply because buyers must either take out a high interest loan or come up with the capital in cash in advance. This difficulty stems from the fact that mobile homes are considered property and typically registered as motor vehicles, even though most of them are never moved.
- Costs – There are numerous costs associated with selling your mobile home and you should factor them into your final decision. You can typically choose to either sell the home yourself, which usually takes longer unless you have a friend or family member who is willing to buy it, or use a real estate agent, who will help you to prepare, photograph, and list your home to find buyers. Most realtors typically charge around 6% of the final sale value in fees. However, not all realtors are willing to work with mobile homes, so you may be forced to handle the sale on your own.
- Park Rental – If you are unable to live in the mobile home until the sale, you must factor direct park rental costs into your calculations. While you probably already know the rates you pay, the average park charges between $180 and $300 per month for the lot. This will add up significantly if you take a year or more to sell the home. You also have to factor in required repairs, any maintenance on the home during the period, whether or not you have to continue to pay for utilities, and any other demands (such as insurance) put on you by the park.
- Marketing – If you are selling the home yourself, you will have to pay for marketing out of pocket. While there are free and low cost marketing resources, you should factor marketing in as a cost.
The most difficult step to selling a mobile home on your own is getting park approval to make the sale. Most parks will deny your request to sell if you have poor credit or a criminal background, need repairs on the home, and sometimes if they are selling mobile homes themselves.
You should also consider that many mobile home parks have their own homes and developed units for sale. This means that your sale may be directly competing with the interests of the park and the manager may actually steer potential buyers away from your mobile home and towards a vacant home that they are selling themselves. This can greatly increase your sales period, especially considering that selling yourself means finding someone who wants to live in your park, and competing in a market that is usually tilted towards the buyer and not the seller. Because there are more mobile home sellers than buyers, the process can take a long time, even without competition.
After the sale, you will still owe realtor fees (if applicable), attorney fees (for the paperwork), any taxes, any money that you still owe on the home, the cost of title insurance, and any repair costs or standing dues against the home.
When should you use the retail market? If you are confident in your ability to sell your home quickly, have a newer model home in a quality park, and can get permission from your park manager, you may be able to make a profit. However, it is important that you take the time to review your costs to ensure that retail will earn you the most money.
Selling a Mobile Home Wholesale
Wholesale is the process of selling your mobile home to a broker who will move the home and then sell it to a buyer to be provided at a lot of their choice. This option is advantageous for a number of reasons and can be the better option for many mobile home owners. Like with retail, there are several considerations and drawbacks and you should take care to consider all of your options before you make a decision.
Wholesale allows you to sell quickly and without the hassle and additional costs of retail, but for a significantly lower price.
Most wholesalers will inspect your home and then make an offer based on the same conditional factors you would include during pricing a home for the retail market. However, this bid is usually significantly lower because of several factors. Most wholesalers must move your mobile home off of the lot in order to purchase it and sell it elsewhere, meaning that they must take on high moving costs for transportation, permits, licenses, unhooking utilities, and preparing a new lot in another location. These costs can be high, and they are all directly subtracted from the offer that the wholesale broker will make to you. Most wholesale buyers also don’t pay retail price, which means that the final value will be lower than the retail, even for the wholesaler. While the price you are quoted will vary depending on the moving costs associated with your home, it will be lower than retail value. However, you can greatly benefit if you are living in a less than ideal area, as brokers do not factor in the condition of the park, amenities, or the community, only the mobile home itself.
Time to Sell
One of the largest benefits of wholesale is that you can sell your mobile home very quickly, sometimes even on the same day you receive the offer. This can be very advantageous if you need funds quickly to handle other financial issues or to put a down payment on your new home in another location. In some cases, brokers will be willing to purchase your mobile home upfront and allow you to move out at an agreed-upon date, which gives you the time to use the money to put a down payment onto your new home.
Unlike with retail where you must market, show the home, and ask permission from the park, selling wholesale is fast and painless. The wholesaler will offer a rate and if you accept they will immediately close the deal. This sale will go through immediately and parks cannot stop the sale due to repairs needed and cannot deny the sale as the home will be moved off the lot. You also won’t need an attorney or park mediation, because it is a two-party sale between you and the broker.
Selling your mobile home directly to a broker allows you to make a sale quickly, avoid issues with the park, get money quickly, and move on with your life. While you will earn less money upfront, you won’t have to worry about additional fees, park issues, or waiting a year or more to sell your mobile home, and you might walk away with more profit. Direct sales are ideal if you can’t sell quickly, have high rental fees to consider, or need the money from the sale upfront to invest in a new home or opportunity.
Choosing Your Sales Process
Selling your mobile home means making key decisions regarding how, where, and how quickly you want to make the sale. If you want to make the most profit, you should sit down to consider your options, do the math, and make a decision that offers the most value to you. Because the average time to sale is 9-12 months and sometimes longer for a mobile home, you should calculate at least a year’s worth of park fees, any repairs that you might have to make, the cost of maintenance for the home over that period, advertising, marketing, and other details.
Hopefully this information can help you to make the best decision for your needs.
Good luck selling your mobile home.