Wondering how to sell a mobile home? For starters, you should know that these days, they’re called manufactured homes (but we’ll use both terms interchangeably since many people are more familiar with the original moniker). And while you might assume selling this type of home is just like selling a traditional home, it isn’t—and you’ll need to adjust your approach accordingly. Here’s how to sell a manufactured/mobile home, and how it differs from your usual real estate deal.
If you own the land under your manufactured home, selling both won’t be much different from selling a traditional home. However, if you don’t own the land your home is on and you’re selling just your mobile home, this changes the game in a big way.
“If it is properly secured to land and being sold with the land, it would be considered real estate or real property,” explains Chandler Crouch, broker of Chandler Crouch Realtors in Fort Worth, TX. “If the mobile home is not being sold with the land, it is considered ‘personal property,’ or chattel.”
About half of the people who live in manufactured homes own the land their homes are on, so it’s very common to sell a manufactured home in what’s called a “lot lease” situation—where the home is on land leased from someone else, usually in a park or community. If so, keep in mind that the administration of the park will have some veto power over whom you sell your home to, so you need to get the administration involved, too.
The financing options for buyers of lot lease manufactured homes are also different from those for traditional real estate. Here are four kinds of buyer financing you’ll want to consider.
Find out what selling options are available for your home. Enter your address and answer a few questions to get started.
Selling any home is about finding the right price, one that will help you find a buyer quickly—and avoid languishing on the market for weeks or months—and one that (hopefully) makes you a profit. With a mobile home, you’ll need to consider two separate factors: the value of the land (if you own it), and the value of the mobile home. Typically, the value of the land will go up over time, while the value of the mobile home goes down.
“Mobile homes depreciate like cars; however land appreciates,” says Crouch. This National Appraisal Guide is a great resource for determining the value of a manufactured home. You can also pay to have it professionally appraised. It might cost a few hundred dollars, but the appraiser can help determine the value of the home as it’s currently situated.
If you’re using a real estate agent, you should find one who specializes in selling manufactured homes, because it’s a different certification than a traditional agent. This professional will list your property on the multiple listing service, which feeds into nationwide sites such as realtor.com, which will spread the word to buyers far and wide.
However, if you decide to sell the home yourself without an agent, you’ll need to do a lot of legwork—starting with advertising to make sure people know your home’s for sale. Talk to your park owner, who might have ideas, and wherever you list, explain what kinds of financing you are able to accept, as well as the price, location, square footage, age and make of the home, and any other pertinent information.
Once you find a qualified buyer, go through the inspection process, and get the funding in place, it will be time to close. If you’re selling the home and land below it, your closing process will be similar to a traditional home’s process; if you’re selling only the home, it will be more like selling a car (and you might need to visit the DMV with your buyer to get the job done).
In either case, you will transfer the title to the new owner when the money has changed hands. If you are doing owner financing, make sure your name is added as a lien holder when the title is transferred, and remove the lien only after the loan is fully paid off.
Audrey Ference has written for The Billfold, The Hairpin, The Toast, Slate, Salon, and others. She lives in Austin, TX.