What is the exact process to buy/sell mobile homes in Washington State

15 Replies

I have several mobiles in mind and plan to make a contingent offers on both (subject to inspection).

I know that they are personal property and so not subject to some Real estate taxes.   My assumption on the process is:

  1. Draft offer
  2. Assuming offer is accepted 
  3. Get inspection
  4. Assuming inspection is what I think it is
  5. Write the person a check
  6. Fill out a bill of sale
  7. Go to Dept of Lic.  Pay whatever sales taxes they have on the sale
  8. Its mine free and clear

Things I don't understand:

  1. Is there any property tax due yearly?  If so how would I know if its not current?
  2. Are there any other fee's /taxes I haven;t mentioned?
  3. thanks

It depends on whether you're buying in a park, or with land. Whether title has been eliminated. Whether it will be relocated. 

If you are buying a mobile with land it generally operates fairly similar to a real property transfer. You will need to execute a mobile home excise tax affidavit and pay property taxes. If it is not title eliminated you will also need to transfer title. 

If you are just buying the mobile home and relocating it you may need to pay sales tax. Check out DOL's website.

Thanks Brian, planning to buy one in a park. I assume that's just the tax on the sale, right?

@Bryan R.  are you experienced in mobile home purchasing in Washington State?  It would be great to have a local mobile home investor to bounce ideas off of.

TJ, I am also interested in mobile homes.  Good post.  Did you listen to the Bigger Pockets Podcast about mobile homes?  Pretty awesome bit of information! http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/06/19/bp-podcast-075-fedro-mobile-home-investing/ 

@Aaron Ramm  I haven't but I have been researching this for a few months. I definetally read up on Fedro's website quite a bit.   I have 4 homes (in parks) in my sights and plan to make contingent offers at the end of this week. The reason for my post is that people keep referencing property taxes, which doesn't make any sense to me.

Anyway, I'll try to post back on how things go.

@TJ Sherrill @Bryan R. @Aaron Ramm  

I used to do stick built deals. I've just completed my 27th mobile home deal. I have bought and sold several in ID and WA states. Currently, living in Vancouver, WA and doing biz there now.

Once you decide you want to do the deal and inspection is ok...

If you buy through a realtor, their office, or title company, will typically take care of the paperwork. 

These steps are for WASHINGTON state, if you do it yourself. Other states, though most are similar, will vary. This is IF the mobile is in a park, and NOT on a foundation. Foundation and on land eliminates the title. In that case, it's real estate.

1 - Taxes - There is annual property tax and an excise tax on home sales in WA including mobile homes. Excise tax in most counties (but not all) of WA is 1.78%. This is the responsibility of the SELLER.


We just sold one for $20k and gave the buyer a check for $356 to cover excise tax to take to the tax assessor's office. $20k x 1.78% = $356.

Property tax on stick built houses is much higher, of course.
Mobile home taxes are $60-$200, for the most part, based on what I've had to pay for under $20k deals. This must be paid up front when buying a mobile home.

2 - In order to buy and transfer ownership in a park. Always get the sale cleared with the park manager first. Most parks require rehabbers, contractors, investors, who buy and sell, to qualify just as a resident homeowner would need to. If you buy before getting park approval, things can go sideways for you.


3 - I usually put $100 down with a contract having escape clauses in it. This gives time to research the deal. If you decide it's no good, you forfeit $100.

4 - Check with the county tax assessor's office. You can check for liens and make sure the prop tax has been paid or is due.

If tax is due, collect that from the seller, when you buy or YOU will have to incur that expense yourself. Assessors office will give you a form with the amount due to show seller.

5 - Once you are sure you want to buy it - Have them fill out, or do it with them, a
REAL ESTATE EXCISE TAX AFFIDAVIT form. This releases rights to the home.


The seller signs this document AND the title.

6 - You can go with the seller to the county tax assessor's office to do the paperwork. Or have them fill it out and you take papers to the assessor's office.

Once you pay taxes, prop and excise, the clerk will give you a receipt showing they are current.

7 - Take that receipt form, with the title, to Department of Licensing (DOL) where you get car licenses and tags. Currently $34 to register.

NOTE: Again, collect the excise tax from the seller or YOU will need to pay it in order to get the form to take to DOL.

8 - Register the unit and you are on your way. Title will arrive by mail in 4-6 weeks.

9 - NOTE: If you think you may do a quick flip deal, you can pay $50 and get the title issued immediately, instead of waiting 4-6 weeks.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

Couple follow up question @Bill Neves  

1. one of the homes is on a concrete foundation in the park.  Any idea how that is classified?

2. is it possible to find the parcel number to check taxes without having spoken to the owner?


1 - Foundation in a park may or may not be classified real estate, since the land is leased from the park. County courthouse - assessors office will tell you.

2 - County courthouse - assessors office will tell you.

@TJ Sherrill Did you ever do this deal, what happened, how'd it go?
@Aaron Ramm Did you end up doing any MH deals as well?

I'm a mobile home investor in Tacoma, I'm looking at deals all over Pierce, Thurston and King Counties however. Love networking with other MH investors. Give me a call anytime 206-226-0113. Cheers!


@Bill Neves I know this is a little dated but this is a great rundown of the process.  Thank you.

I'm a mobile home investor as well. I haven't done a deal for quite a while though. My deals have all been in Bothell only on owned land.

I'm wanted to ask here if anyone has a contact to dispose of an old mobile home. In the past, I have lucked out and found people who had use for obsolete mobiles that cannot legally be moved for use as a dwelling in Washington State but this time I will likely need someone to remove the home from my site and demolish it.

@Bill Neves , Thank you!  I'm buying a mobile in a park from a friend for the cost of her back taxes, which is less than $1300.  I was curious as to how much I'd have to pay extra for  title transfer, etc.  I know this post is 3 years old so I'm sure the fees are just a bit more, but you definitely put me in the ball park!

@Nikki Thurston First off, I have a daughter, Nicole, who spells her name Nikki, so awesome name.

Title transfer in WA is currently $86 (if purchase price is over $10k) to be mailed in 4-6 weeks. If you plan to sell it right away, you'll want the title immediately. They'll do it on the spot, for $50 more. Just have to ask.

You pay the tax at the assessor's office first. They give you a receipt. Take that receipt and the signed title from the seller to DOL Dept of Licensing (same office as cars licensing) and they'll take care of the title transfer. Some counties have both offices in the same building. Some don't.

Good luck!

@Bill Neves , Thanks for the updated info!  I'm buying it for less than $2000, so very good to know the fee will still be less than $100.  The home needs a lot of work, so every penny counts right now!

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