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When Buying or Selling a Mobile Home w/Land, Make Sure Your Title Company Can Handle It

P2010276A few months ago I had a buyer who was looking for a mobile home that came with its own lot. I found her one in a nearby subdivision that was priced at just $49,000! Very low for that area. Apparently the owners had not paid their HOA fees and the homeowners association had taken over the property. It had been bought by a flipper who was also a real estate agent in Tampa. He painted the interior and exterior, and had laid down new flooring throughout the mobile.

My buyer put in a offer that was accepted and we went into escrow. I asked the agent if he had the titles to the mobile. He said he had no paper titles since there were RP (residential property) stickers on the home. He said that meant that the home's titles had been retired at the motor vehicle department, and there were no longer paper titles.  Now, it is true that banks are frequently asking that the titles be retired and the homes be permanently "attached" to the land. But an RP sticker is no indicator of this. Homes with paper titles still have RP stickers. I spoke with the title company he was using for our deal and found out that this company had also handled the agent's purchase of the mobile. They informed me that they already told him that the DID NOT check on mobiles at all, not the titles, not liens, nada.

I had a title company I normally use do some checking and it turned out that the agent did indeed have the deed to the land. HOWEVER, the titles to the mobile home were in the possession of a holding company. That meant that for practical purposes, the home had been separated from the land.  The agent owned the lot and the holding company owned the mobile home. When I told the owner-agent this, he did some checking and found out he would have to pay an additional $6,000 to get the titles back. A costly error that reduced his profit considerably. I recommended to him that in the future if he bought other mobile homes he might want to consider using a title company that was familiar with that type of property and sale. I do not think he was going to take my advice.

Whether your are a real estate agent, a seller or a buyer, I recommend that you consider that same advice. If the title company the seller or buyer is using is not familiar with the procedures for transferring the deed AND the titles of mobile homes, as well as having the ability to make sure you get clear title to everything that you are purchasing, you may wish to change title companies. These are big investments. You should do all you can to make sure that there are no problems after the sale concerning the title on the land AND the mobile that sits on it. Would not be a pleasant surprise to wake up some morning to see a truck out front ready to tow your home away!

For more information or questions about this topic please call me at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at: jelwell1@tampabay.rr.com 

I also invite you to visit my website: www.jelwell.century21bnr.com

John Elwell - REALTOR

CENTURY 21

Bill Nye Realty, Inc.

813-783-4444

Licensed in Florida

 

Comment balloon 2 commentsJohn Elwell • September 03 2007 10:00PM

Comments

Oh my, I just put in an offer on a double wide without a permanent foundation. We are asking that $5,000 be placed in escrow for the permanent foundation to be installed post closing. I am not sure the bank is going to approve this, I guess everything is worth a try whats the worse they say? NO?
Posted by Rebecca Savitski, NC Real Estate Listings (BSR Real Estate Group) about 12 years ago
True. If the bank is requiring the foundation, they probably will not want it installed after closing. I have the same problem with FHA when they want longitudinal stablizers installed. The seller does not want to do it until he is sure the sale has closed, and the bank wants it done ahead of time. I hate handling mobiles that go FHA. Here in Florida they do not have to have a permanent foundation has long as the have tie-downs that meet local and/or state codes. You may be surprised, sometimes banks get generous, haha. Best of luck.
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) about 12 years ago

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