Selling a Manufactured, Modular or Mobile Home is easier than you think. There is a formula for success. That formula is based on planning, preparation, choosing a sales agent, determining the price and launching a marketing campaign. The first step is to make your home attractive to buyers, creating a competitive price for a quick and profitable sale and showing the home to potential buyers. House hunters look at dozens of homes, so your home needs to invite them to ownership better than the competition. Attracting and pleasing buyers brings a higher sales price and quicker sales.
If you own the land under your Manufactured Home, selling is similar to a site-built home. If the home is permanently secured (by code)to and being sold with the land, the process falls under the guidelines of real property. If the land is not sold with the home, it is considered chattel or personal property. A large percentage of people who live in Manufactured Homes own the land, but it is very common to sell the home in a “lot lease” situation. The home is in a park or community with rules and administration in place. The administration or association has some veto power over the sale, so they must be included in the transfer of ownership.
Everyone wants top dollar, but the real magic is finding the right price that attracts buyers quickly and brings a profit. Research and know what comparable homes sold for within the last six months. Consider age (older homes are more difficult to finance), condition (and what it will take to bring it to top quality), improvements, shortcomings, square footage, appliances, roof, air conditioning, view and general condition. You will be required to provide the buyer with a tie-down inspection certificate. Know amenities of the community and restrictions (i.e. Senior parks). Know how many homes are for sale in the community and if there are still new homes available in the park. Homes that stay on the market for weeks or months lose value and are harder to sell as time elapses. The two factors to consider are:
If you are selling the home with land, it is recommended that you have an appraisal performed by a licensed real estate appraiser that is knowledgeable in the valuation of manufactured homes. If you are selling the home only, there are resources available like MobileHomeValuesDirect.com that can assist with the research in what to price your home at.
If you are selling a manufactured home with land, you will look to a licensed Realtor®; for a manufactured home in a manufactured home community you will want to work with either a Realtor® or a licensed manufactured home retailer.
Plan to interview two or three sales representatives and do not make your decision while sitting with an agent. You will sign an agreement giving your agent exclusive rights to handle the sale for an agreed period of time. An agent’s qualifications include license and bond, ability publish listings on an industry web site and advertise and the ability to devote time to, show the home to buyers and negotiate the sale. Experience in the sale of Manufactured Homes is imperative. References from previous and current sellers indicate the true abilities of the agent. The agent presents a marketing plan, including where, when and how often your home will be advertized. Are Open Houses planned? Commission is negotiable, but you want to make sure you are offering as much as other homes on the market to obtain excellent results from an experienced sales agent.
In some communities, community a licensed retailer will handle the resale of homes. Communities have rules governing the placing of “For Sale” signs. Some communities mandate signs be inside the home in a window. The community often controls the flow of prospective buyers, so community sales representatives are often the best choice because of their knowledge and experience. If you are considering working with the community’s sales representative, ask how many pre-owned home sales they handled within the last year. Ask the length of time on the market and the frequency of advertising. Ask if the agent cooperates with outside agencies and the percentage paid to other firms. It is important to know that this cooperation often brings a buyer and competitive price more quickly. Be aware that some sales representatives will not handle low-priced, older and units in bad repair because the profit margin is too small. Some communities only work with seniors, so it is important to research agents, agencies and experience of potential listing agents.
Unseen challenges in the process of offering, negotiating a sale and closing make it easier to employ an agent for many prospective sellers. The energy involved in the process is more than an easy throw up a sign and sell. Although it saves commission fees, you will have to personally pay for advertising and normal selling expenses. The negotiation, preparation of a sales contract and the closing process are often the undoing of “For Sale By Owner” transactions.
If the home is in a Manufactured Home community, make sure the home can remain on the leased lot before offering the home as a package transaction. If the home is located on private land, it can be sold by direct negotiation with the buyer or by hiring a licensed sales representative working through a licensed real estate broker.
Another way to sell a Manufactured Home is to advertise with one of the online Manufactured Home marketplaces. There are multiple Internet sites to bring buyers and sellers together on a state-by-state basis. Advertising rates are usually reasonable and some sites guarantee the ad will run until the home sells. Buyers expect flyers listing with a photo and all features. Laws do vary from state to state, so it is very important to have an attorney review the contract if you are not working with a licensed agent. Unless you own your home with no mortgage, it is critical to check with your finance company to find out the pay-off amount before beginning the “For Sale By Owner” process.
Because many Manufactured Homes are not permanently affixed to foundations and classified as “chattel” or personal property documentation such as property title is necessary. Because the structures are also dwellings, various occupancy documents are frequently necessary.
Mobile homes not classified as real property (affixed to a permanent foundation) have automobile-like titles issued by the DMV or other state agency (i.e. in California HCD handles registration). Like selling a car, when the transaction is complete, the buyer signs and registers the title at the DMV.
Evidence of the sale of a piece of personal property is demonstrated by a bill of sale. If your Manufactured Home is classified as chattel or personal property, you will need to provide a notarized bill of sale. Lenders making purchase loans require title and notarized bill of sale.
Like any dwelling, most states and municipalities tax Manufactured Homes. States like California assess all homes like real property. Other states tax Manufactured Housing like automobiles. Homebuyers must be provided with evidence of paid state or municipal property taxes.
States like California require Manufactured Homes to have certificates of occupancy. If the state requires such a certificate, it must be provided to the buyer before the property closes. Many states require parks and homes to pass periodic fire safety inspections. Lenders require the documents to close on loans.
The actual sale is simple for most owners. If the home resides in a park, all rules and by-laws must be met for unit sales and transfers. If the buyer intends to move in after purchase, ensure that transport is provided for well in advance of the close. Moving any size of Manufactured, Modular or Mobile home is complicated and requires precision preparation.
Financing options for buyers of lot lease Manufactured Homes
FHA Loan:A limited number of lenders will finance Manufactured Homes with a traditional mortgage based on very strict FHA guidelines. These guidelines require a home inspection and that the buyer sign a minimum of a three-year lease with the park.
Chattel Loan:A chattel loan is like an auto loan, but designed specifically for Manufactured Homes. The lenders who specialize in this type of loan have guidelines, but are not as strict as FHA, but they do require an inspection.n every sale of a residence, the details and preparation predict how quickly and effortlessly the transaction can be. Keep in mind that questions and delays require negotiation and willingness to be flexible to proceed.
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