A common question I am asked is what steps are needed to complete an accurate closing on a mobile home on rented land inside a mobile home park. The answer is surprisingly simple by real estate standards. Mobile homes within parks may offer the single easiest form of real estate acquisition for cash-flow seekers.
Concerning traditional site built homes, a good rule of thumb is 30 days for most closings that require a new mortgage to buy, and a week or more if purchasing ‘All cash.’ Unlike most forms of traditional real estate that require the chain of title be meticulously checked for correct ownership prior to closing; free and clear mobile homes within mobile home parks can forgo this cost/time and can close within minutes.
Most mobile homes bought and sold inside of mobile home parks are done utilizing ‘All cash’ or owner financing. That is to say when you are planning to purchase a pre-owned mobile home in a park, you are most likely paying cash or arranging owner financing to purchase the home. In addition you will notice that many of the mobile homes you visit inside a park will be free and clear, without a mortgage or lien on the home.
1. Clear Title: Does seller have clear title to sell home? If the mobile home is free and clear of any liens or encumbrances the sellers will have the original mobile home title in their possession. Look closely at this Title and confirm the seller is who they say they are. Many states do not require a Title need be notarized before a transferring ownership; so double check the seller you have been negotiating with is in fact the owner on the Title.
If there is a “Lien” section on the title make sure there are no existing liens. If this lien section is blank, the title is ready for signing by both the buyers and sellers. Many states will not return a Title to an owner until the mobile home is paid in full. This is similar to purchasing an automobile, your bank holds the title until you have paid the bank back your car loan debt; the same is true for mobile homes located inside parks. If the seller has possession of the Title, it is more than likely free and clear of any debt.
2. Bill of Sale: A Bill of Sale is the simple-mans version of a HUD-1 closing statement. A bill of sale describes the terms of the sale, how much was paid today, if there will be any liens for the purchaser, if the home is warranted, which fixtures/appliances are included in purchase of the home, etc. The Bill of Sale should also include the mobile home’s year built, vehicle registration number and make of home.
3. Note or Promissory Note: This form is optional and is to specify in detail the payment instructions and seller financed amount and terms. This form is only created if you are purchasing a mobile home via owner financing.
4. Location: If you are paying ‘All cash’ for your mobile home investment property you may close anywhere which is most convenient for you and your seller. However if you are utilizing owner financing to buy, I always recommend you close at a title company or law office, even though it is not necessary to do so. There are two main reasons for this title office closing when planning to make payments to a seller in exchange for his/her home: 1. You will be able to use the title company’s or attorney’s notary services if needed. 2. A closing inside a title company or closing attorney’s office portrays a professional closing by a professional real estate investing company.
If you have never looked at mobile homes for investment purposes, look now. The opportunity and need for affordable housing and ease of use has never been greater.
– John Fedro