Mobile Home Deal, Not in a Park

9 Replies


I have an opportunity to purchase a mobile home on 1 acre of land in East Texas. This is a lake community and the subdivision has both mobile homes and SFHs. One acre lots are very desirable in this area and prices are increasing. The mobile home is 1999 double wide and appears to be in good shape (on the outside, I haven't seen the inside yet). It does not have a permanent foundation, but wheels are off and it is anchored. Additionally, I purchased a lot with a house on it that adjoins this lot. Like many others, I am having a hard time getting a loan for this property due to the mobile home. My plan is to rent it out and then maybe someday sell it and build one or two houses on it. 

1) Is this a reasonable plan?

2) Is it better to try and find a lender that will finance both (I have heard that land ag banks might do this?)

3) If I can't find financing, should I pay cash for the home (I am not excited about spending a lot of my capital on it) and then finance the land?

4) Any other solutions to this that I am not thinking of?

Thank you in advance for your help!


Manufactured home financing is easy- even a single wide built after 1976 can go FHA. You will need to finance the property separate from your current home as the lots are separate.

What foundation does it have? Sounds like augers and they never filed a 433A. Perhaps part of your offer includes getting the legal status filed to permanent (need photos to advise, to file you need the manufacturer name, serial number (like a DMV tag in the water heater area usually), pay the fee, have county stamp it and it's recorded.  Seller has to file this and cooperate before you close as the title is in seller's name. Is there a lien on the property? Read about Texas Manufactured Home Standards here is a long one:

If your long term plan is to build other houses on this lot you need to find out from city/county planning if this would ever be allowed. If it's zoned with restrictions to be SFR you have to get a variance, hearing where opponents can stop you... Once you have the lot as 433A single family it's filed and taxable as real estate, so there is that issue as well for changing to units.

As is today: a lot with manufactured "car" parked on top it's not available for conventional financing. You can get a loan on the unit by itself, without the land but not conventional rates. OR get a hard money loan on just the lot. Since the structure is right now considered like a car, you cannot tie a loan and secure over land and "mobile"  Consider that value of used manufactured home 1999 double wide isn't very high. What is value of the lot alone? Septic?

Here is another option. If they/you have title to the home (will be separate from the land and will list the VIN #) and you don't want to deal with it, look for parks in the area that are looking to fill lots. If the home is in decent shape and can be moved it should have a value of at least 18K (again dependant on condition). Right now new homes are still taking 6+ months for orders to be filled so used stock is in high demand. If the current owner can't/won't sell it, maybe you can find a buyer and sell it at closing much like a flip. 

A spin on that option is to look for a park that may be accepting homes into it. You may even find one willing to pay a moving fee or part of it. Have the home moved to the park, you pay the lot rent, rent the home out and collect rent above lot rent.

You end up with a lake lot that is mobile home free and you make some money as well. 

Just trying to think outside the box a bit :)

List, Screen, Lease, Get Paid, Manage.
No Better Place to Lease Your Place
Owners rely on the #1 rental site to get the best results from their rental properties.
Get Started Now

Hi @Emily Thompson. I don’t mean to pour cold water on your idea because it could turn out to be a fantastic investment. However I want to tell you that in my 21 years in full-time real estate investing, the three mobile homes I bought to rent out were three of the four worst investments I ever made in my life. Two of them ended up being hauled off to the junkyard. One of those was a rent to own and it still went poorly in the end.  

I would say the key to having a better experience than mine would be extreme tenant screening, high deposits, and regular inspections. You need to be a great, involved, passionate landlord.

On the other hand, mobile home parks and self storage are my two favorite investment types. Owning a mobile home park usually means leasing dirt and infrastructure out and providing a wonderful place for tenants to live.  

Note that I’m not alone in my perspective. Most people I talk to who buy mobile homes to rent out have bad experiences. Happy Investing!

Thanks everyone for such thoughtful replies!

@Caroline Gerardo I am not sure what type of foundation it is, I was just told the wheels were off and it is anchored. I have just texted her real estate agent to find out about the 433a, but I am assuming they don't. Interesting fact- the county tax assessors list it as "real" property... It is on a septic system. The value of the land.. that is a tricky question. About 5 years ago, 1 acre lot in this area (unimproved) would sell for about 20-30K. Now, I have people telling me its worth 60-100K. They are asking 140K for home and land, which sounds very high to me and I don't plan on offering that, but I am pretty sure someone else with more cash would probably pay that. This area is becoming very popular and it a short walking distance to the lake with boat access, however, there are still some rough neighbors and unsightly mobile homes in the area. 

@James Dickens Those are great ideas, thank you! So, would you pay cash for it upfront and then sell to a park? The only problem, is that I wouldn't have any cash flow on the land until I figured out what to do with it. I know this a good buy and hold option, but it seems like it might be wise to see if new home construction costs come down a bit?

@Paul Moore I hear you and it is a worry of mine. I know this is a good investment property as 1 acre lots in this area are becoming scarce, I just haven't quite figured out how to get cash flow from it. Unfortunately, I am new investor and don't have the experience or capital to leap to a mobile home park yet! Additionally, I bought another lot that has a house on it from the same person (the lots connect) and it needs some serious remodeling. So, I was hoping for a little cash flow while I am working on the other property. 

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts! Please let me know if ya'll have any more ideas!

@Emily Thompson You may want to check with a few mobile home dealerships. They may have a few referrals for you in terms of lenders since they work with these types of lenders all the time for their land-home packages. In the past, I've found them to be good sources of information for market research and referrals. Also, you may want to check with your local manufactured housing association to see if they have any lender referrals for you. Other avenues include local banks and credit unions. Hope that helps! 

@Emily Thompson If the manufactured home is deemed real property with the land, it sounds like it has been de-titled. In that case, the reason you a having a hard time finding financing for it is because any local bank lending on it should meet Fannie Mae guidelines, and investment manufactured homes on real property don't.

In any case, I think you are putting the cart before the horse. Get the first property, the one you bought that needs more repairs versus expected, the adjacent property, cash flowing first. Then purchase adjacent if you can and still on market.

If I was the Seller's agent, I would do the same. After you bought first, encourage you to buy 2nd property.

@Emily Thompson If you want to turn the Mobile Home yourself it would most likely work best if you put filp deal in place before you make your purchase. That way you can pay for the deal and then get paid the same day. You should be able to set up the closing to do it all at once. It will take some planning but can be done. 

As far as having an income property you are correct, if you sell the mobile home then until you put something back on it you have cash for the sale of the Mobile Home and an empty lot. So if you are buying the lot to make money and not for your personal use here are some other suggestions.

1. Keep the home on the land and rent it. Of course, this one has been covered already and some good suggestions have been made on how to go about that. 

2. Keep the home on the land and Air B&B it. If it's on the Lake and it's a nice place then make it into a vacation destination. This could also lead to better ROI if you want to do the extra work or pay someone to manage it for you (less ROI but still an option).

3. Take the $ from the sale of the Mobile Home and put another building on the property. Home, duplex, tiny home, a few RV's (if the community lets you use this option), Shipping Containers, or purpose-built storage units. or put gravel down and fence it and use it as an open but fenced RV/Boat storage area. 

4. Flip the land for a profit. It may be that the land will be worth more without the mobile home on it (Some people can't see past the mobile home issue so they don't value the land as much).

5. If it has water access build a dock and rent dock spaces to people who don't have direct water access. 

If I think of any more I will let you know :D


@Steve Milford Thank you, Steve. This is helpful information and explains some things that weren't making much sense to me. I had no idea that buying a mobile home could be so complicated! I think you are probably right, I should get the other house fixed up first. It seems to me like it might take them awhile to sort through all of this. I am still waiting to hear back from the owner's realtor about the title, etc. 

@James Dickens Thank you, James! These are fantastic ideas! I plan on doing short term rental on the house I bought and see how that goes. If it goes well, then I might do the same with the mobile home. The subdivision has a POA, so I don't think I can put a storage area there, but I could likely put a house or two on it. I also like the idea of just selling the land if I can get it for the right price.

Thanks again for everyone's input. This has been very helpful!