There are many reasons why a mobile home owner would choose to legally join their mobile home with a plot of land. Think of a mobile home Title and the Deed to a plot of land two separate things? They are! A mobile home that sits on land may still be separate in the eyes of the state, taxing departments, homestead exemptions, housing credits, bank financing restrictions, etc, until someone goes through the process of physically and legally joining the two together. It is only then that the home and land are given one legal description and a single tax/folio ID number.
Mobile home buyers have a hand-full of choices when it comes to mobile home ownership. Will you purchase a mobile home from a dealer or private seller that must be moved to a piece of land you own (zoned for mobiles) or a preexisting mobile home park (many parks will give discounts or free lot/pad rent for new owners moving homes into that park)? The land must be properly zoned for manufactured housing with all utilities previously installed (water, sewer, electric, etc) for the mobile to be affixed to the home. Or perhaps you will purchase a mobile home on land that has or has not already been joined together in matrimony.
Anchoring or Hurricane Straps: When heavy winds blow mobile homes are especially vulnerable. However with a few simple heavy duty straps wrapped around the mobile home and secured safely to the Earth you can sleep safe. Get more instructions and a visual chart here. Anchoring laws varies from state to state. No matter where you live it is important to secure you mobile home properly to your foundation.
Change Insurance: It is important to change your insurance policy to cover real property. Mobile homes located in parks or not legally affixed to land are considered personal objects, similar to your automobile. If proper insurance is not covering your property at the time of a claim you may not be completely insured.
All utilities connected: If your mobile home is new to the plot of land which will be its home, you will need to have all the utilities connected and approved by the county code department before the utilities companies may be turned on.
Code Inspector: Depending on the modifications made to your mobile home, a code inspector may need to approve proper measures and codes were followed to connect your mobile home to the ground and utility lines. Code inspectors will look at anything from exterior electrical and sewer connections to correct foundation and deck construction. If no modifications were made to the home and land, and you simply are wishing to join the two ‘legally’ together, there may be no need for code permits to be pulled. Contact your local government and always follow local laws; pinching pennies here can cost you big down the road.
Property Taxes: In most cases you can expect your property taxes to adjust. A mobile home not affixed to a piece of land must pay a vehicle registration tag every year similar to an automobile. Once a mobile home is affixed to land you can forget about paying a registration fee and now must pay an increased property land tax bill (yearly).
Proper paperwork filed: It is hard to believe but some states do not yet have an established filing procedure for converting personal property to real property. State by state the paperwork to legally attach your mobile home to land can be quite easy to mildly complex. Some states require the owner to simply hand over the original mobile home Title and sign a single form certificate; other states require new Deeds to be created and proper land surveys be drafted. Please call your county ‘Property Appraiser’ to learn more.
Removing hardware: You may be required to remove the wheels, axles, and toe hitch from the mobile before attaching the home to land. This process should be done by a professional that will pull proper permits and follow local laws.
Close in the base: A mobile home attached to land will typically be layered as followed from the ground up: Earth, Cement slab or concrete blocks, steel beams that run along the bottom of the home, and finally the mobile home itself. The point I am making is that everything underneath the mobile home can be pretty ugly from a curbside view. No one wants to see a bunch of cinder-blocks, exposed pipes, and A/C ducts when they are walking home from a long day. It is for this and other reasons that some type of ‘skirting’ must usually be constructed around the mobile home base. This is not only for aesthetic reasons but to keep animals from damaging delicate pipes, wires, and duct work. Brick, vinyl siding, aluminum, wood, lattice, stone; the materials you are allowed to use may vary from region to region or park to park. Remember to allow for enough air to flow underneath your mobile home to prevent mold, moister, and heat to build up underneath your newly attached mobile home.
– John Fedro
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.