What To Look For From A Mobile Home Buyer & Questions To Ask

by Mar 23, 2018


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In this article, we want to help individual mobile home owners who are considering the possibility of selling their home to a manufactured home dealer or broker. These types of companies buy homes and sell them on at a profit.

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This approach is appealing for a number of reasons:

  • You don’t have to find a seller yourself (or deal with time wasters and scammers).
  • In many cases, you don’t have to worry about additional tasks like disconnecting utilities, transporting the home, etc.
  • You often get a fair price with minimal haggling.

These benefits don’t mean that you can immediately trust every dealer you come across. In the following sections, we will show you what you should look for in a dealer and what questions you should ask before choosing them.




Do they compare prices?

Price comparison sites are becoming popular with good reason. At the click of a button, consumers can compare potentially hundreds of quotes and pick the lowest one. As such, many dealer sites now provide price comparisons as part of their quotation process.

Like all things in life, you sometimes get exactly what you pay for. So, don’t always be immediately sold on the lowest bid. You never know at first glance what is or is not included. We’ve all faced the frustration of excitedly clicking on an unbelievably low price only to be annoyed when the extra costs start piling on.

Additionally, the reputability and reputation of the company should play a role. Working with a substandard service will leave you frustrated and stressed throughout the process.That’s why quality businesses don’t mind making price comparisons even though they risk exposing their potential customers to lower bids. It shows that they have confidence in their brand and their service.

Most of the time, a customer agent will tell you why their service costs more than another company’s and show you the benefits of working with them.

What services are included in the sale?

When you sell your mobile home, there are a few things that need to happen. The utilities need to be disconnected, the house needs to be prepared for transport, and then it needs to be lifted onto a truck and transported to another location.

Moving mobile homes

Of course, in some cases, a mobile home reseller like the one we are talking about may buy and sell the property without moving it. In those cases, you should make sure that they commit to paying any rent from the moment the house is transferred to them.

In most cases, these mobile home buyers or brokers will offer these services. What you need to establish is whether they take on the burden of the cost involved with all these extra steps or whether it’s on you.

Moving a mobile home is a very costly procedure that can add up to $5,000 or even $10,000. Even a local move of no more than a few miles will most likely be over $1,000. Relative to the price of secondhand mobile homes, that’s a significant amount.

If the mobile home buyer does not openly state on their site whether they include these services for free, you should contact them. Since this will have a noticeable impact on how much you walk away with, it should play a significant role in your decision-making.




Are the mobile home buyers licensed to buy/sell manufactured homes?

Anyone who wants to make a profit buying and selling manufactured homes need to be licensed to do so. What makes this a little tricky is the fact that licensing and registration is done at state level. This means that you have to check with your local state whether or not they’ve authorized that company to sell manufactured homes.

Any trustworthy buyer and seller of manufactured homes should gladly give you their licensing information if you ask. However, you can always double check with the relevant state authority.

In most cases, the law does not yet differentiate between mobile homes and manufactured homes. So, you will need to keep your eyes open whether that is the case or not in the state you want to sell the house.

Are they registered with consumer protection agencies?

Nowadays, there exist many consumer protection agencies. They usually have two primary goals:

  • to promote the interests and fair treatment of consumers
  • to build trust in the industries they operate in

They are typically non-profit, non-governmental organizations so that people won’t have reason to be suspicious of their motives. Their status distances them from most sources of bias. In the U.S., the most popular and most reputable organization of that type must be the Better Business Bureau (or, the BBB).

The Better Business Bureau

Their vision is “An ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other.” To achieve this, they try to set standards for businesses/industries and encourage best practices. They do this by:

  • educating consumers and producers
  • celebrating marketplace role models
  • calling out poor business behavior
  • creating a trustworthy community

The BBB gives businesses that meet their criteria for fair, honest, and sound business practices a BBB certificate of excellence. Usually, websites of companies that have this display it proudly in the form of an image of a badge with the BBB logo. Other organizations offer similar badges.

Additionally, the BBB lets users post complaints about businesses and collates them in one place. If you are worried about a company’s reputability, you can look for any issues attributed to them on these sites.

Customer feedback

This ties in with our previous section. While you are checking for companies’ reputations on consumer agencies, you should also try to determine the general consumer feedback they receive. Most companies do have a testimonials section on their site where they relate real stories. However, there is no guarantee that they didn’t just cherry pick the best.

Consumer agencies like BBB and others almost always have a reviews area where you can find feedback and ratings for a company. Additionally, you can find ratings and reviews by checking out their social media accounts on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. General user forums will also have real-life accounts if you look for them in search results.

You will be able to quickly find or establish a trend when you look at these underlying questions:

  • Are their ratings (usually 5-star) low or high?
  • Are threads on forums mostly positive or negative?
  • How many people with negative initial encounters reported that their problems were solved?
  • Could you find any instances of the company in question directly reaching out to address customer problems?
  • Can you find any mention of them on sites like www.ripoffreport.com or have they been identified as a scam on sites like BBB or government consumer sites?

What personal information do they need?

holding cell phone

Collecting some level of personal information is standard for almost any type of business. In most cases, it’s fairly mundane information like your name, surname, telephone (or, cellphone) number, address, and email. It should be apparent why this basic information is needed.

Most of these are simply needed to make it easy to stay in contact, address each other personally, and just to do business. It’s certainly not out of the ordinary for a company to ask you for this kind of information when you register with them or ask for a quote.

What you should check, however, is that they have a privacy policy in place. You should find a link to this page at the bottom of the homepage of the website but might have to dig around a little in the T&C’s, ‘About Us’ page or around the site.

Privacy policy

A privacy policy will disclose what they will and won’t use your information for. Although not so common in this industry, it’s still not unthinkable that a mobile home dealer will sell your information online to interested 3rd parties.

This usually isn’t too malicious. In most cases, it will lead to some spam emails you can unsubscribe from or block. However, some people would feel uncomfortable having their information flowing freely about, and you never know where it might end up.

In most cases, these dealers share your information with other providers for comparisons or to get you the best quote. The information will then become subject to the relevant provider’s privacy policy.

A privacy policy should also outline the following:

  • Whether they track user data for their website
  • A cookie policy
  • User access that allows for registration and logins
  • Whether they use your data for advertising purposes
  • Their marketing policy

On top of these details, they will also need information about the home which goes without saying. To get an accurate estimation of the value of a quote they will ask you for quite a lot of info which could include:

  • The manufacturer and model of the home.
  • The age.
  • The overall condition.
  • Photos of the home’s interior and exterior.
  • Any modifications made to the standard home model.
  • Whether the home has been moved before and its history.
  • It’s current location.

Always read the T&C’s!




What is their process?

To give you faith in their process, it should be easy to find an explanation of the buying process on the dealer or broker’s site. Knowing what step you are at and which one is up next will make you feel secure and help you prepare for each step ahead of time.

Be very cautious of companies who seem to be making incredible claims that seem hard to back up. Acquiring a manufactured home takes time and needs to go through the appropriate processes. Anyone claiming to offer immediate sales, very little paperwork or some kind of expedited process should be approached with caution.

Most important of all is that you don’t hand over your keys before you have been paid the full amount or have signed a document detailing how they will compensate you. Furthermore, don’t trust anyone that doesn’t give you an adequate amount of time to go through their agreements or to have a lawyer look it over.

Lastly, if the dealer or broker seems to place way too much trust in you and do not follow due diligence, you should also take that as a cautionary sign.

The standard process usually goes something like this:

  • Tell them about the house – You provide them with basic personal and contact details as well as information on the home. This will be general info like the model, layout, condition, etc.
  • Get a range offer – Within a few hours to a day, the dealer should send you a quote that’s a rough estimate. Based on this you can decide to continue or not. A good dealer will be open to any questions you might have and tell you whether the quote is likely to improve or not as you provide more information.
  • Submit more details – In this step, you will provide them with much more exact information on specific aspects of the home for them to narrow the price down even further. The more details they have, the tighter the final range offer will be.
  • Inspect the home – If both parties are satisfied so far, the dealer will send an inspector to view the house in person and clear up any final details. You will also be informed of the final offer price.
  • Complete the deal – Some companies commit to paying you the entire sum before you hand over the keys. This is obviously preferable as you won’t have any further worries about being paid the full amount. Depending on the individual dealer, they might already pay you a share of the money before the final offer and then pay the remaining amount when you close the deal.

Handshake

What contact details do they provide?

This might seem like a silly detail to get hung up on. However, the contact details a company provide to give you a slight insight into how established and reputable they are. On any decent dealer site, you should be able to find an email, phone number, and physical business address at the very least.

In fact, in many states, you can’t get registered as a manufactured home dealer if you do not have a physical address. You should be instantly suspicious if you can’t find one.

Enjoy working with a reputable mobile home buyer!

You can never know 100% for sure how your experience with a business will pan out. However, by following some common sense steps like the ones we discussed here, you will stand an excellent chance of finding a trustworthy mobile home buyer. We hope this article helps make the sale of your mobile home an easy and painless experience!



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