Selling a Mobile Home


Wants to Sell

We are a military family who bought a doublewide mobile home four years ago. We have not paid extra principle on it at all because we were trying to pay off other loans first. Now we are about to be sent somewhere else, which we hadn't expected since my husband was previously in a non-mobile position. How can we sell our mobile home before we leave? We have a year and a half before we have to go. Please help give us some ideas. We owe quite a bit on the land and the house.
They are on separate notes.

Some Steps to Take

Because you have some time to do so, you can try to sell it on your own, otherwise known as a "For Sale by Owner". Give yourself until about 6 to 9 months from the date you need to have the home sold depending on the real estate market in your area, then if you can't sell it go to a Realtor.

Basically you need to do some homework and get an idea what homes like yours have been selling for lately (not the asking price, the sold price). You can get this information at your local government tax office. Price your home correctly not too high and not too low. The mistake most people make is to price the home on what they think they need to take out as a profit. Then it just sits there.

Next is to prepare the home for sale. Curb appeal is essential. Approach your home and see what you can do to make it look appealing from the street. Landscaping, window treatments, front door are all eye-catching areas. Inside make sure the home smells nice, no animal smells. Carpets should be freshly cleaned, walls cleaned or freshly painted and bathrooms and kitchen should be spotless. Put in the brightest light bulbs your fixtures allow, people love well-lit homes. Lastly, no clutter. If you have too much furniture, put in a friend's garage or store it somewhere. People try to imagine how their furniture will fit in your home and will have a hard time if it is wall to wall clutter.

As far as advertising, use all the free ads you can run, the base newspaper, etc., then take out a small ad in the local paper. Take a picture of your home and go to your local Staples type store and let them help you put a brochure together. This should have a picture of you home and the features of your home on them. See if a base store or credit union will let you place your brochures at their waiting area. For safety reasons, always make sure appointments are made with potential buyers while both you and your husband are home. Let your neighbors know your home is for sale and when people are stopping by.

Good Luck and thank you for your service to our country.

Companies Buy Mobile Homes

My husband is a sales manger for Fleetwood Manufactured homes in Fruitland, ID. The company buys mobile homes from people. I don't know what the circumstances are or anything, but a simple phone call might help you. They might buy your home from you. You can call 1-800-821-0410 or you can call your own local Fleetwood Homes store or might even try any other manufactured homes company.

Refinance into One Mortgage

My suggestion to these people would be to refinance the two notes into one mortgage. Since the mobile is on land, it would qualify as a single-family dwelling. There may be some requirements by a lender as to a pad, skirting etc. That information could be obtained through HUD. This would make the home much more marketable, as the payment would probably be much less than the two payments. Also, if they refinanced with a new assumable loan, buyers could possibly buy their equity for less than they would have to pay down on another property. When they applied for refinancing, they could include any required upgrades in the loan. Mobile homes on their own lots are far more in demand than mobile homes with space rental.

Perhaps You Could Rent It

You could do several things. Start with an ad in a buy-sell bulletin. These sell for around $.75 where we live and you can usually run an ad for free selling by an individual. Have it priced to sell. It sells better if it's take-over payments. Make sure you transfer it into their name. That way you could possibly keep the land if you wanted. Next step would be to try to list it with a real estate company. If you can't sell it, you could possibly rent it through the realtor to another military family, which should give you some good renters, as they would be responsible for paying for any damages. Also, realtors are usually more careful about who it's rented to. This way if you decided you wanted to come back you'd still have your house/land.

Base Housing Office

As a retired military person, I know that there are times when military couples have quite a wait to get into government quarters. When we were in San Diego, we lived in a house that belonged to a Navy man who was transferred to Hawaii, but he wanted to keep his house. It was rented through the Base Housing Office and the standards for occupants were as stringent as the ones for base housing. This is an alternative you might consider.

Options to Consider

There are several variables that may impact your situation:

1. Make sure the manufactured home is considered "permanently attached", according to your state regulations. Someone in your county tax assessor's or building permits areas should be able to direct you to this information. Once you make sure it is permanently attached, if you do not intend to keep the land with hopes of someday returning, building, etc., you should have the tax assessor come out and assess the home and land together, assuming you are now being taxed separately. This will open up the mortgagable market to which you may sell, making your home pass the first step to qualify for FHA mortgaging. Other factors will involve appropriate skirting, distance from property lines, accessible by publicly maintained roads, water and sewage system availability and proximity.

2. Research a lender online who handles manufactured housing, or contact a licensed mortgage broker to assist you. If you advertise your home with the offer for "financing preapproval available", it will be more attractive. Arrange with the broker to do prequalifications for you, perhaps even to send you copies of applications you can provide interested prospective buyers. Good brokers will help you because it provides prospective business to them. If your prospects are prequalified, it protects you from having lots of totally unqualified buyers tramping through your house and taking time away from prospects who are actually able to purchase.

3. Do not neglect to advertise in Thrifty Nickel or Dandy Dime-type publications. Your market for manufactured home buyers can be reached to a greater extent, generally, and is more economical than the local newspaper, depending upon the location of your home being in a suburban manufactured subdivision or in a more rural setting. Also, check about listing online. There are probably For-Sale-By-Owner sites which serve your area and may cost you nothing to advertise.

4. If you are able, be prepared to assist in creative financing. Perhaps you have a prospective buyer who can only get qualified through the financial institution for 85% of the amount needed for the loan, and only have 10% down. Could you possibly carry a "seller second" behind the first mortgage if the buyer income-qualifies to make the second mortgage payments to you for the remaining 5%? Again, a broker can direct you in how to draw up the separate contract if the lender agrees also to allow a seller second--- something which would be known upfront when first choosing an appropriate lender for that buyer. These contracts are recordable and enforceable, and in certain instances, if your financial situation allows, will enable a buyer to qualify and close on your house.

Sit down and think about all these things, create a priority-project list for your marketing plan, and get going on the initial phases as soon as possible.

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