I am often asked about mobile homes that are for sale in my area. At times the potential buyers do not realize that the home is in a rental park and not in one where you also own the land under the home. This sometimes happens when they tell me they saw a mobile home for sale for only $25,000 that was beautiful and large. This immediately sends up a red flag for me since that is WAY below what a good home will go for today. In almost every case, it is in a rental park where you are just buying the mobile home, NOT the land underneath it. Big Difference!
In general, homes on rental lots do not appreciate the way a mobile home on its own land will. You also have little control over the park rules, rental fees, and other regulations. The park owner will TELL you what they are, end of story. It is also possible that at some point the park will be sold to new owners who may, or may not want to continue using the land as a mobile home park. If the latter occurs, you can imagine the fun that ensues. Not pleasant to think about getting your home moved somewhere if it comes to that. In addition, though the initial costs may seem cheaper, in a very short time the rental fees will pile up. It is not unusual for the monthly rental fees to be just slightly under what mortgage payment would be on a similar home. With rent at the end of the year you have nothing. With a home where you own the land, you will have likely built up equity in the property.
Also keep in mind that when you go to sell a mobile on a rental lot, in most cases, it will fall on your shoulders or those of the park management to do the selling. These homes are NOT considered to be real estate, and hence, real estate agents cannot sell them for you. No ads from us, no entry into the Multiple Listing System, no mailings, etc. Only if a real estate brokerage also has a "dealers license" can they sell these homes since, in the eyes of the State of Florida, they are considered to be vehicles. The best way to get the highest price for a home is to use an agent who will promote the living daylights out of it. With homes on rental lots that avenue is likely closed to you.
If you are driving through a park, sometimes you will see a sign stating that the homes you see do not include the land under them. But often there is no such warning. One way you can tell is by looking at the windows.
This sticker has to be purchased each year, just like the annual car registration decals we have to put on our license plates. As with your car, the state collects a fee for the new decal each year. If you see these stickers in a mobile home's window, it is likely located on a rental lot. If the home is a double-wide mobile, there will be TWO decals, one for each half.
If instead the home is on a lot where the owner of the home also owns the land under it, you will likely see one of these decals in the window. This means the home is attached to the land and is considered to be "real property" or real estate. There is no yearly decal to purchase and you pay your taxes via the county tax collector, not the motor vehicle tag office. You will get a deed and your name will appear on the county tax rolls and in the public records of the county where the home is located. As with the decal above, if the home is a double-wide, there will be two RP decals visible. A triple-wide should have 3 decals.
So when you are in Florida looking for a mobile home to buy, check the windows for the decals. They are normally a pretty good guide as to whether or not the home is in a rental park or rather is being sold with the land. Other states may have varying regulations and norms.
If you are searching for a mobile home on its own land in the Zephyrhills, Dade City, or East Pasco County areas of Florida I can also help you. Just call me at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org You are also very welcome to visit my webpage at: www.jelwell.century21bnr.com You will find a lot of useful information there as well as links to my Florida Real Estate Weblog, my Zephyrhills Bulletin Board, and more.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida