What's the deal with bill of sale? no title

8 Replies

So what's the deal with a home available for sale without a title? Situation is park owner wants to sell a home without a title.  Current resident just up and left about two weeks ago. Park owner said they can sell with a bill of sale.  And I want to buy.

Spoke to a local investor and he said this is common.  My question is why? Is it simply because the owner just don't want to pay tax on it?  How normal or often does this occur?

Thanks in advance.

LOL that is funny!!!  Because it take's $3k to $5k to sue the prior owner for abandonment then to get the home title via several paths per your states mobile home abandonment title reclaiming steps.

Don't buy a MH without the title.  The rotten park manager is pulling one over on you.  The prior owner STILL OWNS THAT HOME and can come and move it if he wants.  Rare but possible.

Good you asked!!!

OTOH you might google for your state the repercussions for using another person's property for gain.  In effect you'd be squatting in the prior owners home, renting it out.  I'm not recommending this but I might take a FREE  MH from a park manager.   

Maybe the Lonnie Deal folks will chime in on this one re buying MHs no title also just taking cheap to free MHs from managers and renting them anyway.  I can't recommend taking MHs without titles since it has legal issues.  IMHO just walk away a bit more educated.

@John Fedro

Hi guys,

No matter what state you're investing in this definitely seems to happen from time to time. In fact it is not a matter of if you will see the situation, but more of when you will see it.

I think you nailed it Curt. When a new buyer takes ownership of a mobile home they sometimes get lazy or cheap and never transfer the title from the seller into their names. This might have been a recent transaction or it may have happened a few years ago. Additionally, when this seller goes to "sell" the home they may sell it and the new buyer may not know enough to demand that Title/ownership be placed in their name.

So in short you have this ongoing process of an "owner selling their" mobile home to a buyer simply via a Bill of sale. The only issue with this is that a Bill of sale does not alone convey ownership nor do the residents/occupants/park managers even have the authority to sell the home they do not legally own.

Additionally, like Curt mentioned, the likelihood of the previous owner coming back to demand possession of their mobile home is highly unlikely. With that said if you do decide to move forward on this property and take control of it, you will be operating in a gray area (illegal area) of REI.

What I mean by this is that you could (technically, not legally) simply take control of the mobile home with a bill of sale. If the park manager is the one selling the home or they are aware of the title issue then you could take control of the home via a Bill of Sale, however keep in kind you still wouldn't be the owner. Next, you clean up the home and sell what little interest you have in the home to your new tenant-buyer via another Bill of Sale. Again, this tenant-buyer or buyer would have to be aware they are not getting clear title to the home, but instead they are simply getting a bill fo sale. Basically, you would passing along the problem for a profit. Some ignorant buyers will be okay with this, and others will not want to move forward without receiving clear title.

So, in a perfect world (again technically, not legally) this would all work smoothly and everyone would be happy. However, for sure your state does not want you doing this. You will be selling a property that is not yours and profiting from a property that is not yours. Like Curt said, this park manager is likely trying to pass the problem on to you. 

If at all possible have the park aim to get clear title on the home or aim to track down the actual owner of record. As investors we often times have to go the extra mile to close certain deals. However this ability to solve problems is what makes us valuable as real estate investors.

I hope this helps a bit and makes sense. There is a lot more I can say on the topic, but this should answer most questions. Again I would suggest that you pass on this deal and stick to mobile homes that you will be receiving Titles to when you purchase them. If you have any follow-up questions or concerns never hesitate to reach back out.

Talk soon,
John Fedro

In Montana mobile homes older than 1976 do not transfer by title.  There is still paperwork to be filed, but it is not a title.  We file a "Change of Ownership Form" with the State.  Taxes must be current in order to transfer.  Could it be something like that?

wow, thanks everyone for chiming in... @John Fedro , @Curt Smith ,

@Shelli Callan .  

I have not move forward with this deal.. Suppose to have another phone call soon so I'll try and convince the park owner to go legit and go through the process.. From my little research so far it's part DMV vehicle abandoned process and part tenant eviction process.

I'll update this thread as I go along...

One of the problems with forums like this is that:

  • People writing in often fail to give enough information;
  • The topic is often requires a state specific answer;
  • Really good answers may require really detailed information from the person posting the question.

If that is not done, considerable time gets wasted getting the information, or people settle for really bad answers which other people then read and also settle for. For example:

 @Thang Cao originally posted a question about buying a home with a bill of sale only. He later posted additional information about abandon home issues and eviction issues. He did not post the state but might assume that those replying would assume it was North Carolina based on his BP area identification. Unfortunately, it might not be. 

@Curt Smith was quick to identify what the poster described as something to be avoided, as was @John Fedro . What was impossible to do was to discuss corrective solutions or even the specific difficulty of reaching those solutions.

Abandoned homes can be, in some states, a very major and very expensive issue, but it varies from state to state. In some states, the title authority will recognize a durable power of attorney to transfer a title with a lien, and in others the local municipal authority is the only entity recognized by law and the title authority to apply for a new title free of liens. In a few states, any licensed dealer can apply for a "lost title", and many many higher dollar single section homes magically appear "from out of nowhere" in those states, usually because of unpaid taxes in some other state.

BP is a valuable resource, but it has its frustrations.

@John Fedro

"but when you'll see it"

So true, I own 3 maybe 5 doublewides with bad home titles bought from HUD or banks who never retired the title or sued the owner at foreclosure time. I was "dumb" once re this issue and let banks dupe me into taking their problem. So I speak from first person experience. LOL

I'm hiring this MH title lawyer in GA.  She may do other states?

Wendy A. Owens Law Office of Wendy A. Owens, PC 111 E. Oglethorpe Avenue Savannah, Georgia 31401 Tel: 912-239-9888 Fax: 912-239-9777 Cell: 912-210-0901

Thanks @Ken Rishel and @Curt Smith for replying to the thread.

Almost right after my second post, the very next phone call to the same park manager reveal that she has already sold the single-wide to another person.  I'm sure I will run into this problem again in the future, but at the moment I have not pursue research and not planning on putting any more time or resources to this matter.  

To Ken's point.. Yes this (thread) is North Carolina specific.  I'm sure once I get to work with a few more park owners, they probably have better answers.

Originally posted by @Thang Cao :

Thanks @Ken Rishel and @Curt Smith for replying to the thread.

To Ken's point.. Yes this (thread) is North Carolina specific.  I'm sure once I get to work with a few more park owners, they probably have better answers.

 Once you are committed to this, joining the North Carolina Manufactured Housing Association might be a very good idea. Brad Lovin, their executive director is a good guy with lots of resources and knowledge. 4911 Departure Dr, Raleigh, NC 27616 (919) 872-2740.

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