The unique nature of mobile homes leads to a multitude of gray areas. For instance, not all mobile homes count as “real estate” because they are not permanently grounded. Just thinking about all these possible stumbling blocks might send your head spinning and give you cold feet!
In this ultimate guide to buying and selling, we will help you overcome those obstacles effortlessly, and you will look cool while doing it (queue the explosion in the background). For the complete novice, we will help you confirm whether you have a double-wide trailer, help you estimate its price (or at least mention relevant factors), point out common mistakes, and give you tips on financing.
What is a double-wide trailer?
Mobile homes have always come in two size categories: Single-wides and double-wides. Recently a third, even larger variety has made its way onto the scene, triple-wides. Mobile homes or trailers are divided among these three groups by their dimensions, although each type usually comes with relatively the same room allocation and layout.
Here are the typical dimensions for each:
- Single-wide: 8 ft. (5.5 m) or less in width and 90 ft. (27 m) or less in length.
- Double-wide: 20 ft. (6.1 m) wide or more and are 90 ft. (27 m) or less in length.
- Triple-wide: Anything bigger than the above two. These trailers can get really huge.
The typical double-wide comes with 3 bedrooms, 2 or 3 bathrooms, a kitchen, a washroom, and a dining or living area (or both for bigger models). This makes them the perfect size for a small or growing family and comparable to the typical family real estate.
How much do double-wide trailers cost?
We should start this section off with a disclaimer: Without a proper and professional appraisal of the home, there is simply no way to accurately give you a spot-on figure with any degree of certainty. There are simply too many factors, and each has a massive impact on the price of a mobile home.
These are just some of the most important questions you should ask:
- How old is the mobile home?
- Has the home been moved? If so, how many times?
- What is the general condition of the home?
- How badly do you need to sell or buy a home?
- What are the specific features or amenities of an existing model?
As a rule of thumb, double-wides with the room layout we discussed go for upwards of $50,000 to under $100,000 for new models. Used or second-hand prices are heavily influenced by the above factors, but should always be less.
Potential buyers should be aware of other possible running costs, especially if the home is in a park. We will go into more detail in a later section.
How to sell a double-wide trailer?
There are many reasons why you might want to sell your mobile home. Many people want the comfort and appeal that traditional homes offer. Others want to avoid their park’s levies and fees. Some have to move but just aren’t willing to take on the hassle or risk of transporting a mobile home, especially across great distances.
Whatever your reason, there is a market for mobile homes. Many people are attracted to this lifestyle outside the big city. With prices much lower than traditional, stick-built, suburban homes and for the same size and comfort, there are more than enough reasons to buy a mobile home. Make sure you get the value for your home.
What to keep in mind
We mentioned that selling or buying a mobile home is not always the same as real-estate. Here are some special considerations you should bear in mind before you go about attempting to sell your double-wide:
If you own the land that your mobile home is on you will need to decide whether you want to sell that too. If you plan on keeping your land, the mobile home will most likely need to be moved. You can offload the process onto the buyer, but it will be a huge deterrent for them. Also, be warned that a home loses a lot of value when it’s moved.
HUD stands for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The HUD code, as it’s called, is a set of standards that determine how a mobile home should be built and has a list of criteria a home must meet. If your home is not HUD compliant it will be near impossible for the new owner to get financing and it will affect your home’s price dramatically. The article, HUD Laws and Mobile Homes, covers the topic in depth.
Condition of the home
If your home needs some repairs (common areas include the roof, window and door frames, skirting, and foundations), you have a choice to make. Many buyers are looking for a deal and might be more willing to buy the home at a lower price but do the repairs themselves. For others, it might be a deterrent. Negotiating around these issues is a must.
Many mobile home parks require a notice period before a home is moved off the property. Also, most parks retain the right to determine who is allowed to live in the community. As such, any potential buyers will need to be approved.
If you have not fully paid off any liens or mortgages on your mobile home, you cannot hand over ownership to the buyers. You will also be left to pay for a home that you are no longer living in. It is possible to come to an agreement by which you receive a monthly sum from the buyers which you use to pay off your mortgage. Then you can hand over ownership later.
Some states place a tax on selling your mobile home. Check your state for their tax information, such as exemption policies.
Mobile home titles, Bill of sale and Home occupancy documents
Some or all of these documents are required whenever you sell your home. They are as much for the buyer’s benefit as yours, and you should make sure you have them and store them safely.
How to sell your double-wide
When starting the process of selling your mobile home, these are some of the steps you should follow. Not only will following these steps make the process easier and less stressful but they might get you a better price too.
1. Inspect and fix up your home
- Do it yourself
There are many common issues that mobile homes are prone to over the years. Many of these are easy enough to DIY if you have some experience. Common problems to look for and repair are:
– Roof leaks
– Damaged window and door frames
– Water damage to walls and floors
– Foundation that is not level
– Electrical problems and hazards
- Call the professionals
There are many services you can easily find with a Google search that will inspect your home and fix any problems you want. You can expect an inspection to cost around $300. The repair cost depends on the problem and its scope
2. Appraise your home
While you are at it, you should also do some research to get an estimate yourself. Try and find similar models to yours and check their prices. Calculate the home’s value based on the average depreciation (3-5% per year). Tally any needed repairs. Factor in whether the home has to be moved or not. Do all this, and you should start to get an idea. Many online sites that buy mobile homes provide an appraisal service as well as moving quotes.
3. Find a channel to sell through
- Through an agent – Finding an agent might feel very tempting. A seasoned agent will know what goes for what and can guide you on what paperwork you need, put you in contact with appraisal and moving services, etc. However, you should beware of many agents overcharging on these package deals. You will also have to be willing to part with the commission fee of around 10%.
- Through a mobile home reselling agency – These companies are in the businesses of buying and selling mobile homes. As such they provide appraisals, inspections, moving services, and you have the benefit of dealing with professionals.
- On your own – With great power comes great responsibility. Yes, you are not beholden to anyone and get to keep the full sum you receive for your home, but you are responsible for advertising your home and finding a buyer, showing your home, and getting all your requirements together.
- To your mobile home park – Many mobile home parks buy mobile homes owned by their community members when they move out. These transactions have many benefits for the park as well as the seller. For one, the park has a vacant home to sell or rent out immediately, and they have full control over who moves in. For the seller, it eliminates a lot of the extra worries, like moving the home or finding a buyer.
4. Prepare your home
Before you show your home to potential buyers, it’s important to put its best foot forward. Inspect your home, repair any visible flaws, and dust off all your surfaces. Remember, first impressions are everything.
5. Show your home and meet the buyers
Showing your home to buyers should serve a dual purpose. First, to show the home to buyers and hopefully seal the deal. Second, it gives you a chance to meet them. You should make sure the people you do business with are reputable and have the funds to complete the transaction.
How to buy a double-wide trailer?
Making a significant investment, like buying a home, is never an easy choice, even for a mobile home. You should have noticed by now that it is not the same as buying a piece of real-estate. It comes with its own set of specific pitfalls and challenges.
For a helpful source on how to buy a home and do so affordably, read How to Buy a Mobile home Without Breaking the Bank.
What to keep in mind
Mobile home stigma
Unfortunately, there are a few stereotypes surrounding mobile homes that rear their ugly heads from time to time. “Mobile homes are unsafe; mobile homes only depreciate in value; trailer parks are filled with unsavory individuals; mobile homes provide a lower living-standard than stick-built homes.” Chances are you have heard most of these before. In most instances they are untrue, and you only have to look around at how many people live happy lives inside their mobile homes.
Mobile home parks
Most homes are planted inside of mobile home parks or communities. When you buy a home inside of one, you will need to make sure that you and the park regulations are compatible. You should also be aware of any back lot rent or levies you will be obliged to pay
How to finance
There are four main types of financing available if you are purchasing a double-wide. All four have their own prerequisites, requirements, and rules. You should do some research on your own on each option to make sure you choose the appropriate one that’s best for you. Double-wides are much easier to finance, and there are more options available than for single-wides. The same goes for a home that’s permanently affixed to the property.
Basically, the Federal Housing Institute takes on some of the risk themselves so that lenders will give you a loan. FHA Loans come with plenty of requirements, concessions, and maximum loan limits based on the type of housing.
Chattel mortgages might be easier to get but have two considerable cons. They have higher interests rates and shorter terms. It’s hard to see any advantage with this kind of financing.
These loans are the same as FHA loans but are made available by the Department of Veteran Affairs. As you might have guessed, you will need to have served in the military and be able to provide proof to meet the requirements.
You can get a regular loan but the terms and credit checks are strict, and there are usually high down payments. The lender might also demand collateral.
How to buy a mobile home
The surest way to not get hoodwinked out of your hard earned money is to become knowledgeable about mobile homes. The most important thing is to establish exactly what you want and need and to not deviate from that. Amongst others you should look out for:
- The number of rooms and layout.
- Extra features and amenities.
- Average price.
- Reputable manufacturers (if you are buying new).
- Park regulations.
- Moving requirements and price.
2. Find out where you can buy
- Private sellers: When buying from a private seller, you should take extra care to ensure HUD compliance, that all the ownership documents are available, and that the seller is serious and reliable.
- Mobile home resellers: This is probably the safest way to purchase a second-hand home. These companies usually take care of HUD compliance, provide moving services, and repair the home if necessary before selling it on.
- Agents: An agent might know all the ropes when it comes to buying and selling mobile homes but beware. You might get overcharged, especially on package deals. Using a local agent means you won’t have to go through the hassle and expense of moving the home long distances.
- Mobile home parks: Some mobile home parks also sell their homes. You should make sure you accept the parks regulations and if you are allowed to move the home out.
- Repossessed auctions: You can find some amazing bargains here. Banks or lenders usually just want to cover their losses which lead to fantastic deals on occasion.
3. Meet the buyer
You should make sure the seller is ready to sell and move before you commit to anything. If you found the home for at a low price, now’s the time to fish out the seller’s motivation for selling at that price. Moving a home is a huge drain on money and time, and many people would rather sell their double-wide on a something-is-better-than-nothing basis if they suddenly have to relocate.
4. Inspect the home and HUD compliance
Be sure to scrutinize the home before you buy. Whether or not a mobile home is HUD compliant plays a significant role in whether you will receive financing and impacts the home’s value. Check the home’s HUD plate and ask when the home was last inspected for HUD compliance. If you are worried, get your own inspector and ask for permission to assess the mobile home.
5. Moving in!
Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork from the previous owner, like Mobile home titles, Bill of sale and Home occupancy documents. Don’t forget the keys!
We hope this guide has been enlightening for both mobile home sellers and buyers. Of course, we could elaborate each topic to exhaustion, and so it is important that you do your research when buying or selling a home. The best armor you can wear is information.