Repository Sales and Mobile Homes in PA

2 Replies

In searching the Forum topics, I've found threads on repository sales and threads on mobile home buying and selling.  What I haven't seen addressed is the idea of buying mobile homes (MH only in trailer park, therefore no deed, just title) that are in a repository sale.

In going through the repository list in a neighboring county I noticed a couple dozen mobile homes that are in MH parks.  These can be had for anywhere between $400-$2000 a piece.  After doing some reading, I like the idea of buying and then selling them with seller financing.  

My questions are as follows:

1.  Would a quiet claim be needed in these instances?  

2.  Assuming these are still in the MH parks (still just going based on a list, haven't gone to look to see if they're still in place) any reason the park owners/managers haven't removed these things or purchased them?

3. Any estimates on total costs incurred from the legal end?

Seems like this could be a nice cash flow situation, but too many questions remain.  Thanks for any insights you can provide.

@Jon Behlke

1. I haven't looked into this in a while, but I recall there being a specific process for transferring title after a tax sale with PennDOT. If I recall correctly, the process differs depending on whether the mobile home is anchored to the underlying ground. 

2. Some possible explanations: 

  • It's generally expensive to move mobile homes. Depending on the situation, it can go from a few thousand dollars to five figures. So the moving cost alone can easily exceed the cost of the home itself. 
  • Doing seller financing at any reasonable scale will probably require you to get compliant with Dodd-Frank and its progeny. 
  • Many mobile-park owners just don't want to do anything with the mobile homes themselves.
  • Some mobile homes are just not valuable enough to waste time on it due to neglect and age.  
  • I recall at least one case where the owner of the mobile home continued to live in the home after it went through the tax sale process (didn't get sold). The owner remained and just continued to pay the lot rent. My legal involvement in that matter had nothing to do with that issue and I don't know enough about mobile-home investing to say whether that's a common occurrence. But since squatters sometimes end up in tax sale homes, I suppose it could happen. 

3. Hard to say and will depend on the situation. I don't know if you need a quiet-title action, but the costs to complete one can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars (say around $2,500) to six figures depending on the facts. It's also worth noting that the "quality" of the title action itself matters as well. I've seen many people obtain what is basically a worthless judgment for various reasons. 

If there is a squatter, you may also need to bring an ejectment or trespass action. Will also cost a few thousand dollars depending on how hard the squatter wants to fight. 

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

A lot of times the park owner is just waiting for someone to purchase it, so then they can come after them for the back lot rents. Even though you were not the one that has not paid the lot rents and they can not technically make you pay it. They can very easily make it very hard for you to occupy or sell it until the unpaid lot rents are paid up. So let’s say the owner stoped paying taxes and lot rent for the past year. $300 per month lot rent plus some late fees the park owner could very easily want you to pay 3-5k to them before you can re-rent it. Or they just don’t want to deal with this particular home anymore because it has been such a problem and as soon as you buy it they tell you, you have 30 days to move it, also around a $3000 cost on a single. So you really need to talk to the park owner first and see what the situation is. Ultimately with MhP’s the park owner makes the rules and you do not want to fight them. As a MHP owner this is just my opinion and something extra to think about.

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