Selling your mobile home and keeping the land.
It’s time to say goodbye. Warm feelings gushing up in your heart, remembering the days of old, filled with joy and sorrow.
Reader: “What are you talking about?”
Writer: “You know.”
Reader: “No, I really don’t.”
Writer: “Selling your mobile home of course!”
Perhaps you’ve never had to do it before, but selling a place that you have lived in for a while is a big deal. We want to specifically address a frequent question of mobile homeowners, “Can I sell my mobile home while keeping the land?”
When do you own the land your mobile home is on?
Most often, when purchasing or moving into a mobile home, the building is situated on a lot in a mobile home park. This land is not yours, and it cannot be bought.
However, you might own both the mobile home and the land if:
- You bought both the home and the private property it sat on or
- You acquired land, purchased a mobile home, and then moved it onto the land.
Why keep the land?
This is a question that may have several answers depending on your specific situation. Let’s go over a couple of the reasons here:
- Mobile homes always depreciate in value. Even if you upgrade and remodel, your mobile home will never be more valuable than when you originally bought it. Eventually you may want to keep your land, which has greater value, but sell your mobile home as it will not be an investment in and of itself.
- The property is out in the country, but you are moving into the city for now. You decide to sell the mobile home and have some extra capital on hand when you relocate. But you decide to keep the land for future use.
- You are wanting to build a brick and mortar home in place of the mobile home.
- You have a lien against the land itself, but not against the mobile home.
- You are wanting to sell the mobile home first, then sell the land separately as that will increase the likelihood of selling your property at a greater yield.
Difficulties with keeping the land but selling the mobile home.
There are a few things to consider when thinking about selling your mobile home and keeping the land. These challenges fall under two categories: selling struggles and legal issues.
Selling your mobile home can actually be quite difficult, not for you necessarily, but for the buyer of your mobile home.
- Having an older mobile home is pretty common for those who own the land the mobile home is sitting on. Older mobile homes are not as desirable in the current market, especially when a new, or newer, one can purchase for a reasonable price.
- The value of the mobile home is drastically cut down when selling it separate from the land, since the land is what maintains, or increases, the value of the home.
- If you have moved the mobile home two or more times, the likelihood that the home can be insured is almost zero for the buyer.
- The buyer will have to arrange and pay for the moving of the mobile home. Also, if your home is a double-wide, or the home can be split in two, then the price of transportation may be doubled. However, if you agree to pay the cost of transportation in the contract, it will likely be a selling point for the buyer.
- If the insurance company does agree to cover the mobile home that is being bought from you, they do not cover transportation. The buyer will need to purchase that insurance separately from the moving company.
However, if your mobile home:
- Is relatively new.
- Has only been moved once.
- Is a desirable three bedroom model, the hottest ticket on the market, or
- Has been well maintained and does not need any repairs prior to moving.
Then your mobile home still has a chance of being snatched up quickly!
Besides the challenges dealing with making your mobile home an attractive option on the market, you will have to deal with some of the unique issues that arise with selling a mobile home and keeping the land. For example:
- If the mobile home has a lien on it, you will have difficulty selling it to anyone other than US Mobile Home Pros.
- If the land’s legal description includes the mobile home, then you cannot sell it separately, since legally the home and land are considered one property. Also, if they have the same title, then they are being taxed together as one property, creating another issue.
Let’s deal with the legal issues first, as they can be the greatest hindrances.
As far as the tax and title issue, you will need to:
- Contact the local tax office, treasurer, and a property appraiser in your county.
- Notify the above person that you desire to change the classification of your mobile home from “real property” to “personal property.” Real property is what the home would be considered if it is on the same title as the land.
- Fill out the various papers and documents needed for the process. This will vary depending on the state and county you live in. Basically, the paperwork tells the state, “Hey! The land and the mobile home mean two different things for me, so my taxes will be different for them too.”
- Have a new title reissued by the state.
The county clerk and the property appraiser are the experts. Both of them should be able to help you navigate the messy swamp that is “government paperwork.”
The solutions for practical difficulties with finding a buyer are quite basic. Keep up the maintenance of your mobile home. Since transporting mobile homes tends to cause some damage during the move, you’ll make it is easier on the buyer if you do not have any prior issues due to neglect.
We have an ongoing maintenance series to help your mobile home live a long life. The more life your mobile home has, the more likely it will be bought!
Selling the mobile home
Ready…set…go! Wait. “How do I go?” Legally you are set to sell. But how do you go about actually selling the mobile home? There are three avenues to selling: doing it yourself, use a realtor, or sell it to a company that buys mobile homes.
Independent? Lone wolf? Go-getter? Optimist? Whatever you like to call yourself, you’ve decided on selling the mobile home yourself. Here are the steps we recommend you follow:
- Clean your mobile home and make sure that any needed repairs are taken care of.
- Take a look at the market in your area. Notice what is selling, what is not, what are the characteristics of mobile homes that fly off the shelves, and how much the homes with similar specs are going for. Understanding the market is what allows you to price appropriately for the demand in your area. It’s also helpful to have a property inspector look at your home. Obtaining a property valuation form may get you one step ahead of other sellers.
- Advertise! Put out signs wherever you can. Take lots of pictures of your home. Make listings online to increase the chances of reaching a greater number of people. Advertise in your local newspaper and “dime” edition papers. Many of them offer online options as well, so take advantage of their services and spread the word!
- Be available. Multiple viewings and inspections are common when a person is about to make a big purchase. Make sure you are available. The openness of your home will increase its attractiveness.
- Close the deal.
- Transfer the title to the new owner.
- Some states require that you provide a certificate of occupancy.
- Issue a bill of sale. This is the final and legally binding step to making the sale official.
These simplified guidelines should get you moving in the right direction. Check this WikiHow page for a little extra detail, and more tips. Each step down the list is one step closer to selling your mobile home.
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Having problems with closing the sale? Not sure on how to negotiate in those moments that matter? Maybe you have no idea about how to put the fact that your mobile home is for sale out into the big world of potential buyers.
If you fall into any of these categories, or you just feel that the time you would have to spend doing any of these is not worth it, a realtor might be your answer. They really are the clutch hero when you are struggling to close the deal!
These companies are in the business of buying mobile homes. So the struggle of finding a private buyer can be solved by getting in contact with a company who is always looking for eligible mobile homes to buy.
For example, our company, US Mobile Home Pros, outlines our simple procedure from the first contact to the transaction.
Fill out our quick 3-minute form and upload a few pictures if you have some. Information you give is not of a sensitive nature, but we still keep it in the house and don’t sell it off to other companies. Think of it as the first date, we’re just getting to know each other!
Step 2: Get a range offer.
We’ll email you a rough idea of what we could offer you. The range is based on the information you provided and our experience selling similar mobile homes in the past.
Step 3: Finalize home details.
We will collect detailed information to narrow down our offer. Upload a few more pictures, tell about specific features about your home, which gets our agents ready for the first visit to your home.
Step 4: Sign a purchase agreement.
We’ll sign an agreement and give you a down payment. This document will protect both of us, and more importantly, puts everything in writing so that there are no misunderstandings in the end.
Step 5: Close the deal.
Upon our closing date we will exchange the remaining funds for the keys. This final stage includes any last minute details not addressed yet and setting the appointment for the final walkthrough and exchange of remaining funds for keys.
There are other companies that also provide similar services for mobile home sellers. Do your homework, and choose the one who fits the need you have.
It may seem like a lot of hurdles to sell you mobile home without also selling your land, but with the steps above, you should have no problem accomplishing your goal!
Just to recap, here are the two major hurdles to selling a mobile home separately from your land:
- If there is a lien on the mobile home (including if the lien is against both the land and mobile home).
- The mobile home and land are on the same title, and taxed together as the same entity.
Once these issues are taken care of with the help your local county clerk office (specifically the second one), all you need is to prep your mobile home for selling (dealt with above).
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*Save $250 per year, on average!