The great state of Texas is known for sometimes doing things a bit differently than the rest of the country. In similar fashion, transferring a mobile home from seller to buyer is handled differently in Texas than in any other state. If the mobile home seller has clear ownership, then be prepared for a streamlined and typically easy process moving forward while closing.
1. Purchasing From a Dealer
If you are purchasing from a manufactured home dealer or mobile home dealer, then nearly all the paperwork will be handled for you by these professionals. You will simply need to show up on the day of closing with proper identification and payment for the home. Confirm with your dealer or sales agent what documents you need to bring to closing.
2. Purchasing/Selling Private Seller to Private Buyer
What is a statement of ownership and location?
In 2003, Texas did away with traditional mobile home paper titles and adopted a more internet friendly solution. In the place of a mobile home title, Texas now has Statements of Ownership and Location, more commonly known as an SOL. An SOL is a form created and printed by the state of Texas and mailed to a mobile home owner soon after they close and file with the state. In addition to this physical piece of paper, known as an SOL, the ownership records are stored online in a public record for everyone to see.
Unlike traditional mobile home titles, an original Texas SOL is not needed in the same way a Title is needed to close. The seller may not even have the original Texas SOL in their possession; it may be lost or misplaced. As long as the online ownership reflects the current owner, then the current owner is the current owner.
A searchable online mobile home database
Texas has created a user-friendly mobile home database for anyone to search through looking for specific mobile home details. Before purchasing a mobile home, an interested buyer may easily search through these online public records to find if the subject mobile home has any active liens, to verify the age, size, and previous owners, and much more.
No titles at all?
There are still a few mobile home titles floating around Texas. These are from current mobile home owners who have owned their mobile homes since before 2003 and have not switched their homes’ Titles over to an SOL yet. When these homes inevitably sell or transfer ownership, their information will be added to the online database, and a new SOL will replace this current mobile home’s Title(s).
In many states you will not need to close at a title company, escrow agency, or real estate attorney’s office when dealing with a mobile home inside of a park; this is the same in Texas. In Texas you may meet at the subject property to sign all closing documents.
The seller(s) and buyer(s) will want to sign at minimum a Texas SOL application and Bill of Sale. The SOL application may be downloaded online from the state website. The Texas SOL application will help transfer the home from the current seller to the new buyer. The SOL application also details all the pertinent information about the mobile home, the seller(s), the buyer(s), and even the closing details will be made public record.
Keep in mind there may be additional closing forms required. Examples of when additional forms or fees are needed may be if there is no current HUD seal currently on the home, or if there is a new lien being placed on the home, or if the mobile home is being moved from one location to another. See the SOL application instructions here for a more detailed outline.
We just signed papers and closed. Now where do I go?
Texas makes this simple. Unlike other states you will not need rush to the local DMV, DOT, Town Clerk, or other manufactured housing title transfer office in your state to transfer ownership. Instead you will simply mail the signed SOL application, Bill of Sale, and transfer fee to the Department of Housing and community affairs located in Austin. Please allow 15 days or more for the paperwork to be processed and your new Statement of Ownership and Location to be generated.
Friendly Customer Service
Having personally called every states’ (or group of states’) Manufactured Housing Division or office, I can attest that in some states it is easier to get your questions answered than others. Having called the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs multiple times, I am continually impressed by their politeness, professionalism, and promptness in getting a real person on the phone immediately. Any questions you need answered about a particular property or sale details should be directed toward the Texas Department Housing and Community Affairs at (800) 500-7074.
In conclusion Texas’s mobile home closing procedure is a bit different than other states; however, it is still just an ABC process to understand and follow. The mobile home public record search feature is a concept most states may hopefully start adopting. It is time states start treating mobile homes more like actual homes and less like vehicles.
Have you ever taken possession of a mobile home in the State of Texas?
Let us know about your experience with a comment!