5 Things You Likely Don’t Know About Mobile Home Electronic Liens & Titles

by | BiggerPockets.com

Imagine a world where your state’s manufactured housing department and individual manufactured home lien holders can communicate at lightning-fast speeds and without the use of the US mail or bulky paper. This world exists — for over a decade, across the country different states have been adopting electronic liens and titles as a part of their business protocol. During this short article, we will be discussing the advantages, disadvantages, and interesting facts concerning electronic mobile home liens and titles.

What is an Electronic Lien & Title?

The Electronic Lien and Title Program is a method by which your State’s Department of Revenue, Manufactured Housing Department, Division of Motor Vehicles and lending institutions (lien holders) can exchange vehicle and title information electronically.

Advantages When Using Electronic Liens & Titles

Have you noticed your bank asking you if you want to switch to receiving all your monthly statements and updates via email instead of traditional mail? This is because toner, paper, stamps, and labor are significantly more costly than sending information and data electronically. Many states have adopted electronic liens and titles to save budget costs and expedite service. By transferring data electronically, a lien may be released or new title issued in mere moments, compared to hours or days using current paper titles and the US mail.

Related: How to Focus on Your Next Big “One Thing” for Mobile Home Investing Success

In the event a lien holder wishes to release a lien, a form may be emailed and submitted electronically directly to the state (or via a third-party service provider) at the push of a button. This speed only serves to expedite the title, lien, or payoff request. Additionally, depending on the third-party service provider, the mobile home owner may be able to log in online to view a copy of the title and lien.

Storing titles online also leads to a reduction in title-related fraud, theft, and forgeries.

Disadvantages When Using Electronic Liens & Titles

Bureaucracy can sometimes be slow. Electronic liens and titles are not uniform across the country. In some states the process to release the title is quick and does not require much attention from government bureaucrats. Likewise, some states and counties take a lengthier and multi-step approach to releasing liens.

For this reason, in some areas you may not or will not be able to release a lien and sell a mobile home in the same day. This may be due to the current day of the week, a backlog of files, waiting on the US mail to deliver your title, etc. For these and other reasons, the Electronic Lien and Title System does have its share of opponents and critics.

5 Things You Likely Don’t Know About Mobile Home Electronic Liens & Titles

  1. States offering an Electronic Lien and Title program include: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  2. Some states make this program optional for lenders instead of mandatory. In these states a traditional “paper title” and lien may be used if preferred by the lender.
  3. The states that issue electronic liens and titles as mandatory are Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Virginia.
  4. A state makes the ultimate decision if it will adopt the Electronic Lien and Title System, thereby essentially forcing all lien holders acting in the state to comply and adopt electronic liens and titles.
  5. Each state with an electronic lien and title program has a customer service hotline to call for more information and questions.

How to Release a Lien in States That Use Electronic Liens & Titles

The program varies from state to state and lender to lender. A few months prior to your scheduled or planned loan-payoff, confirm with your lender or loan service provider the procedure you and/or the company will take to remove the current lien from the title and provide you with an updated free-and-clear title.

Related: 4 Common Mobile Home Title Issues (& How to Best Fix Them!)

In some areas the lender will have a limited number of days to send the newly paid-off homeowner a “Release of Lien” letter. The homeowner will then take this “Release of Lien” letter to the local mobile home titling agency or Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain the free-and-clear title. In other states an email will be transmitted electronically from the lender or the lender’s third-party representative directly to the state. The state will then electronically release the lien on title, and the homeowner may then request a paper title be mailed to a home address or picked up in person.

In conclusion as an active mobile home, it can be important to know the process by which liens you are holding and/or paying will be released once paid-in-full. The more clarity you have during the payoff transition process, the more comfort and clarity you will be able to provide your buyers and sellers during these same times.

Have you worked with electronic liens and titles in your state? Any questions about how this works?

Leave your comments below!

About Author

John Fedro

Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a 4-bedroom mobile home inside of a pre-existing mobile home park. Over the next 11 months, John added 10 more mobile homes to his cash-flowing portfolio. Since these early years, John has gone on to help 150+ sellers and buyers sell their unwanted mobile homes and obtain a safe and affordable manufactured home of their own. Years later, John keeps to what has been successful—buying, fixing, renting, and reselling affordable housing known as mobile homes. John shares his stories, experiences, lessons, and some of the stories of other successful mobile home investors he helps on his blog and YouTube channeland has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest here and on other prominent real estate podcasts, authored a highly-rated book aimed at increasing the happiness/satisfaction of average real estate investors, and spoken to national and international audiences concerning the opportunities and practicality of successfully investing in mobile homes.


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