Why are manufactured homes so difficult to finance?

socaldisneydudeMay 21, 2007

My fiance and I live in Southern California where the current real estate prices are strating to calm down and stabilize but the price of a home is still unatainable to someone who only makes 50K per year. We have gone to a few manufactured home sales lots and have seen so many different makes and models that really convinced us that buying a manufactured home would be the way for us to go. Not only were the homes really, really nice but they were so affordable!

Well, we talked with several agents and one of the first things they ask is about our credit. My fiance has yet to establish any credit and my credit has taken a few very hard hits a few years ago due to some unexpected job loss. Needless to say our credit score was less than desirable. Once they find out that we don't meet the miniumum 700 credit score they tend to dismiss us like we were only wasting their time, which I'm sure we probably were.

I just don't understand why a person would need such a high credit score to buy a manufactured home. If I had such a score, wouldn't I be looking at real homes rather than manufactures homes? I was under the impression that manufactured homes were geared more for lower income individuals like us.

So perhaps someone in the manufactured home financing industry can answer my question. Why is it so difficult to finance a person with less then perfect credit?

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First, will the home be in a park on a rented lot or on it's own land on a permanent foundation? That makes a BIG difference.
If it's on your own property you should have more success in getting a regular mortgage.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 7:01AM
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If you had a substantial downpayment, the financing would be much easier. Simply put, once you have lived in the unit, it is a used mobile home. If you defaulted after a few months, the seller has not even recovered the cost of delivering and setting up the unit, and then is faced with the expense of moving the unit back to the sales lot and selling it at a loss. What about your history would convince anyone that this is unlikely to happen? The seller will sometimes continue to pay park rent for a few months and try to resell the unit where it is. The seller does not finance the unit, but the actual lender probably has a recourse clause that lets them recover from the seller (dealer) any losses incurred if you default and do not pay. So the seller (dealer) has a big stake in selecting those to whom credit will be extended. Having some savings gives buyers big advantages. You have more choices if you have some ready cash. Substantial cash reserves can be created by eliminating beer, cigarettes, sodas, bottled water, snacks, etc. Put that money in an interest bearing account.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 8:20AM
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So I would be better off buying my own land and setting the home up on a permanent foundation? That was something we really want to do rather than living in a trailer park. What kind of costs are involved with getting the land ready for the home?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 5:23PM
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The costs are the exact same as a "regular" house. Lot clearing, well, septic, foundation, driveway, etc.
When we had our modular set the costs were as follows.

Lot clearing and hole for foundation: $12,000
Foundation: $14,000
Well: $3,500
Septic: $2,500
Driveway (100 ft): $2,000

The cost of the land is of course not included.
Up here an acre now costs about $60,000. But in other areas of the country an acre may cost $250,000

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 6:55AM
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Banks loan money at a rate based on risk. The HUD homes have cost banks a lot of money. A foreclosed HUD home will sell at a depreciated price. The history of foreclosures, storm damage, fires, structural damage and depreciation on mobile homes is much higher than site built or modular. The fact is HUD homes are inferior.if a person builds a home they are forced to abide by building codes. However a person can buy a substandard mobile home and the local inspection board cannot prohibit it because it is a HUD home and the Federal government CAN and does over-rule local building code. Accept the fact that mobile homes are junk and life will be easier. I spent my earlier years in a mobile home, it served a useful purpose as a stepping stone until I could do better.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 10:21AM
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I noticed that the SoCal person sidestepped my suggestions. I lived in a small mobile home (500 square feet) (paid for) and we needed more room. Had been saving all the money possible. Started looking for a lot to build. Everyone turned me down- property not for sale. Local fellow got in big trouble with far too many things bought on credit- with monthly payments. House, car, truck, TV, pool table. travel trailer, boat, etc. Offered to sell me his house for about market value. Wife did not like the house, so I declined. Two weeks later he came back with lower price for his equity with assumable mortgage. I paid him $2500.00 and we moved in. No loan fees, no closing costs. Just took over the payments. Wife still did not like the house but liked the price. Within a month, two of the lots I wanted to buy earlier became available and I bought both of them- for cash. Sold my mobile home for $2100.00- it was nice, but small. That re-established my savings. Some years later, 30 acres adjoining our place became available at a reasonable price. I bought it the next day- for cash. Having some savings gives one many opportunities, choices, and freedoms. Having debt is enslavement.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 1:09PM
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The fact is HUD homes are inferior.if a person builds a home they are forced to abide by building codes. However a person can buy a substandard mobile home and the local inspection board cannot prohibit it because it is a HUD home and the Federal government CAN and does over-rule local building code.

This may be true where you live and it is true when purchasing a used mobile home. But up here ALL homes must meet Vermont specs in order to be sold and lived in. The Vermont specs always trump the HUD MINIMUMS. Hud may say 2x4 24" on center for exterior walls. But our specs specify 2x4 16" on center as the minimum. And most manufactured homes up here today have 2x6 16" on center. But in PA you can buy a modular from Shorten Homes in Scranton with 2x4 24" on center. Because Pa's standards are lower than Vermont's.
Yes some mobile homes are pretty bad. But you gat what you pay for. And the purchaser of the "used" $200,000 double wide near us got a VERY nice home.
State specs can indeed trump HUD specs. As long as the state specs are greater than HUD's.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 7:20AM
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Christopher, you are wrong, this is the law. The intent of this law is to allow an owner to move his home to any state that he chooses to as long as it is placed in an area zoned for HUD.
A. National Manufactured Housing and Safety Standards Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. § 5401 et seq.
The National Manufactured Housing and Safety Standards Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. § 5401 et seq. (hereinafter, "the HUD regulations") provides a national set of safety standards and building codes for manufactured housing. It applies to the construction or manufacturing of all manufactured homes in the country and requires uniform standards with which all manufacturers must comply. It contains detailed construction standards regarding building materials, wind loads, utilities and systems, and so forth. They are, in sum, building and safety regulations, much like a building code.
B. Preemption of Local Government Regulation
The Federal Courts have repeatedly held that local government regulation of manufactured homes may not intrude upon the standards for safety and building of manufactured homes set out in the HUD regulations. They contain a preemption clause which makes clear that local governments may not impose restrictions on manufactured homes to the extent that they would conflict with or compromise the construction and safety regulations dealt with in Federal law.
An example of how preemption works is seen in the case of Scurlock v. City of Lynn Haven, Fla., 858 F.2d 1521 (11th Cir. 1988). In this case, the city of Lynn Haven adopted a requirement that manufactured homes comply with certain local or state building codes. Failure to satisfy the building codes meant that a manufactured home was not permitted in the city.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 2:47PM
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I didn't sidestep the suggestion. The fact is that there is essentially NO money leftover after all bills are paid. Here is a breakdown of the bills I have to pay every month.

Rent: 1300.00
Truck Payment: 500.00
Insurance: 200.00
Mothly fuel cost: 160.00

at the end of the month I have about 60.00 left for groceries. Needless to say I eat alot of cup o noodles and generic brand food.

Now how exactly amd I supposed to save my money when I barely have enough left over to eat?

and by the way i don't smoke or drink so I don't waste my money on those two habits.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 4:28PM
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I worked a second, part-time job for 28 years. We also lived, in 1963, in a place that rented for $15.00 per month. Certainly not fancy, but we saved about $60.00 per month by doing that. First rule to rise above poverty: Get married and stay that way.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 8:35AM
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To save, or to increase the rate of saving, one must increase income or decrease spending. It is best to do both. There is no other way to do it! That is an expensive truck! It is a depreciating asset! A cheaper vehicle, paid-for, could have only liability insurance and cut out about $650.00 per month of payments. Finding a rental rate of even $100.00 per month less would help, but I do not know your housing market. Spending all of one's income on payments each month dooms one to doing that for a lifetime. And a few missed paychecks (layoff, sickness) means serious trouble. I am just trying to help- these things worked for me!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 9:13PM
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This is becoming a rehash of a thread that died a long time ago.

You believe all manufactured housing is substandard and I do not. I know what is around here and many are VERY nice homes that INCREASE in value.
So let's agree to disagree, OK?

I'm gone.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 7:46AM
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Stick to the point bus-driver. This is about manufactured homes not your moral views of household finances.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:24PM
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Ok, Mary. So the mobile homes are purchased with what? That brings us back to the original post. The folks want to buy a mobile home but cannot with their present financial situation. Your suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 7:54AM
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This was the question
Why is it so difficult to finance a person with less then perfect credit?

You contributed part of the answer in your first post and bigdee's first post also contributed part of the answer.

I assume its the same reason that used car interest rates are higher than for new cars - more depreciation and more risk.
They're in California - I can't imagine living there on 50,000. Your suggestions one time were borderline ok trying to be helpful. To keep hammering on him is not. He hasn't posted his life biography here so you don't know all the facts. He shouldn't have to post his life biography. He asked a question about financing. Its not my place to question his truck payment. Or tell him what to do. On these forums its best to stick to the question.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 11:24AM
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So what are your suggestions in answer to the original post? Perhaps we all could learn from them since most of mine are not helpful nor useful. Explaining why does not really help change the situation. They want to buy a mobile home.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 11:35AM
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As far as I'm concerned he didnt ask for suggestions.
He asked why its hard to get financing for a mobile home with bad credit. Answer - because banks assume your a risk and because you have bad credit they have you over a barrel and know it. Yes if you had better credit you would look for a house, but you don't, therefore to get any kind of loan they can charge you more.
IF he had asked - how can I improve my credit score - you give suggestions which is different than telling him to live his life the way you do. But he didn't. And BTW I've never been married and I have done pretty well. But he doesn't care how I did it, I wouldn't presume to tell him he should do what I did.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 9:23PM
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Now, I have to say, were I in the position of asking that question, I think tips on how to improve my credit score and/or financial situation would actually have been appreciated--certainly more appreciated than members appropriated my question to argue their differences of opinion...

Having been a divorced, impoverished, single mother with a terrible credit score not so very long ago, my only contribution would be to suggest that expenses can almost always be reduced and income almost always increased if you're willing to be creative and make compromises. A manufactured home can be a great compromise to a stick-built home, especially if it allows you to live within your means.

Benefits of having bad credit:

1. It forces you (hopefully)to live within your means, unless you fall victim to predetory lending practices.

2. Nobody WANTS to steal your identity!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 9:54PM
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Chapter one of the book.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 7:35AM
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1. Consumers are "upside down." Unlike real estate, which usually gains value, mobile homes lose value over time. They depreciate like cars. Thus, the trailer can wind up at zero value when the consumer still owes thousands of dollars.
2. Mobile homes are not considered good credit risks. Most mortgage companies won't write loans on mobile homes. Therefore, there is less competition and consumers are more likely to get a bad deal.
3. The interest is paid back first! Many mobile home buyers don't realize that, like all mortgages, they will pay back virtually all of the interest on their loan before the principal goes down.

Combine all three of the above and it's apparent that taking out a big loan over a long period of time on a mobile home is almost certainly to end in grief. You should only consider buying a mobile home if you can afford to pay a large amount of the purchase price in cash and finance the rest of the purchase with a traditonal personal loan, rather than a secured mortgage.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 5:46PM
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I would call a Clayton Manufactured Home Dealership. They have their own financing in place. They build 2x6 exterior walls and are very nice. I use to sell Clayton Homes and they are not just for low income or bad credit. I sold homes to very wealty people. I have had both. I built a a home lived in it 10 yrs sold it and bought a Clayton Home and love it. In the state of Az manufacured homes are real estate and keep up with the current market as long as it is on private property and not in a park. As you can see site built homes have depreciated as well.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 9:31AM
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A mobile home in good standing and in good shape can gain value in some instances but it is more common for them to hold even if taken good care of. What the lenders are afraid of is the risk and it is huge. IF a mobile home is defaulted on they drop like a rock in value. On a modular or stick home or anything that is a permanent part of a lot or land that is foreclosed on will not drop near as much value. It is a huge loss if a mobile home is defaulted on. I purchased a 1991 Champion Atlantic 16x80 used in 96 for 21k and had 28k in it by the time I was moved in. Lived in it till 06 and sold it for 14,500. My base payment was 240 a month for 3 bedrooms 2 baths with 2x6 walls vaulted ceilings and shingled roof. Did I lose money in my investment? Yes, was it better than renting? Very much so and now I have a new home with a full basement. They have their place and they in some instances and areas do appreciate in value.
My MH was appraised at 18,000.00 at the time I sold it for 14,500 but I wanted to get it sold so I took the hit. So by value I had lost 3,000.00 in value over 11yrs while making a 240.00 house payment! For a single guy you can't get any better living for the money. I loved it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 3:32PM
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Quote Kzol:
Benefits of having bad credit:

1. It forces you (hopefully)to live within your means, unless you fall victim to predetory lending practices.

2. Nobody WANTS to steal your identity!

LOL, so true! Not to mention that the current recession is less of a shock. Meaning that while others are having to learn to do with less, those of us with bad credit already know how to do that.

Bad credit stinks, but there really is a bright side to everything.

Here in Michigan I was told once that the problem with financing MH's is that if they have their wheels the loan you get is basically a really big car loan, since it has a vin #. But if it's on a foundation (crawlspace or basement) you can get an actual mortgage. Of course this could be totally off, but at the time it made sense to me.

Socal, I'm in the same spot as you, so I wish you luck!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 8:41PM
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We are in a completely different era now with real estate. The ones that appreciated the fastest are now going to depreciate the fastest. I fully expect that housing prices adjusted for inflation could go down to historical norms or lower due to the glut of houses on the market. What goes up WILL come down.

So during this economic climate, buying something cheap and saving money will allow one to upgrade down the road for less money. Historically speaking houses keep up with the rate of inflation, they don't become slot machines that provide easy money. Those days are over.

A manufactured home could be a good choice, but I would only do it if you get it really cheap and old, like under 10k, or you just buy one already on it's own lot.

I bought one built in 2003 on it's own .65 acre lot with a newly built 2 car garage and got a very good deal.. the parent bought it for the kids who divorced and left, now the parents are selling it. They weren't looking to make a huge profit or anything, so I got a deal.. a nice home, garage, land, for one times my annual income.. I'll have it paid off in 2 years max, and can then save money for the time traditional real estate prices come back down to planet earth, not to mention property taxes.

I've always been someone who prefers something small and energy efficient though... many of the houses built in the last few years are simply too large with too much square footage, which drives up property taxes and heating costs.. I simply wouldn't want to buy one. An older house, or perhaps a modular on a basement might be better in my case... though older houses are pricy to heat, they are built well for the most part.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 12:05PM
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I really wish people would use correct terminology. When someone asks why financing a manufactured home is so difficult I do nt think the respondents need to start calling it a mobile home. The term mobile home is no longer used...they are manufactured homes. We own one,in Michigan and are trying to sell it right now. It is on a perm poured concrete full daylight basement, on 13 acres, 5 bedrooms, Renovated kitchen brand-new appliances cabinets flooring bathroom remodeled glassblock radiant floor heating soaking tub...heated 30x40 garage/ shop, 16x 20 hay barn, outdoor riding arena, wooden round pen, back 5 acre asture, front paddock with loafing shed, four season water pump..the list goes on and on. anywhere else this would be way more than what we are asking.100x150 trails, hunting, had two offers but people are saying they can't get financing. I tend to think the banks are telling them not to buy a "doublewide". Absolutely crazy thinking to me. They should be allowing people to buy affordable homes like mine so as to get the market up for manufactured homes. But what they are doing is the opposite..causing people like myself to not be able to sell our gorgeous property. Moving to west palm beach, husband already moved there,,transferred for his job,, so I'm stuck trying to sell my horse farm.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:26AM
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You seriously think a 5 bedroom doublewide on 13 acres, with outbuildings, pastures and trails for being a horse farm is an "affordable home" in Michigan right now? Beautiful Victorians 100 to 135 years old in old established neighborhoods are selling for 50k to 110K.

You have well over 100k of value in land alone, I am betting, and I would be amazed if you are asking under 250K for your property. Maybe 500K. Not many people want a horse farm, and even fewer can afford one.

Try advertising in a magazine geared to homesteaders.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 11:53PM
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More helpfully: have you got the Certificate of Permanent Affixture and had it recorded on the deed to the land? This makes it real property and not a manufactured home anymore.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 12:13AM
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I have been trying to purchase a 4 bedroom mobile on 14 acres. NO one will finance it. I wish real estate agents would tell sellers that they have to have a permanent foundation before they can sell it.Unless you have CASH there is no way to purchase this kind of property. Believe me I have done the home work. Also I found out that the mobile has to be 60% of the value of the land. If it's not you can not finance it. I even tried to buy it for land value only but that has to be a hard loan which has a lot higher interest rate. Go figure. I am at a stand point here. I think that even if the seller puts a permanent foundation in loan companies will have another excuse not to loan on such property.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 3:04PM
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If you buy a modular instead of a manufactured home (at least in IL) it is financed exactly as a stick built home since it is basically the same thing. The fact that it is stick-built in a factory is a real plus because you don't have the settling problems over time that you have with a home built outdoors on a foundation.

I have owned both and definitely recommend a modular.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Ryse, I fail to see how a modular house is going to stop a foundation from settling. Be that modular house on a full basement, a flat slab, or on piers that foundation is going to settle and the house with it. Weight on dirt does that, no way around it except building footings that reach down to bedrock. And that is cost-prohibitive.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Ok, it seems as if everyone is giving HALF or PARTIAL answers... I'll attempt to explain it in baby steps:

#1. A Manufactured Home built after 1976 is considered "PERSONAL PROPERTY" aka "Mobile Home" if it is NOT placed upon an actual foundation and is not recorded on the land deed... So if you build a foundation and own your land and put them together on one deed, then it is considered REAL ESTATE in all 50 states. If it's on blocks, or just sitting on stilts, it's considered a mobile home, (REGARDLESS OF HOW IT'S CONSTRUCTED)

#2. Manufactured Homes and Modular Homes are built almost exactly the same way... both are built in a factory, both are built using 2x4 studs or 2x6 studs, BOTH can have all the same amenities as a home that is being STICK BUILT out in mother nature and they both can be built to the same standards as a stick built home... the difference between the two is that a modular home means that it is built in multiple sections, where as a manufactured home can be one section or many sections, but a modular home is rarely ever just ONE SECTION

#3 The question was asked "why is it so hard to get a loan for a mobile home" The factors that are at play are:
-Buyer's Income
-Buyer's Debt to Income Ratio (which looks like the biggest issue here)
-Credit History
-Price of the Mobile Home/Manufactured Home
-Down Payment or equity in Land Owned

To answer the question, one has to take all of these into account... the first step in qualifying for a loan is to look at the debt to income ratio... If they are spending more than 40% of their income on other bills, then they are NEVER going to qualify for a loan of ANY type... it's just the way lending works... So if their debt payments are $1500 a month, with these guidelines, they would only be able to purchase a home that would not exceed $350 a month in payments. Now at that payment, you would only be able to purchase a home (regardless of regular, mobile/manufactured or modular) that would not exceed $35,000 in cost. That would be the total amount of your LOAN, not the total cost of the desired building and property... we're talking permits, surveys, land work, septic systems, well's... the whole 9 yards... permits ALONE can cost more than $30k in california...I recently moved from there for that VERY reason... so if you are looking at a home that is over $100,000 with an income of $50k a year and you have debt, its going to be next to impossible to get a loan from ANYONE.

Unfortunately lenders don't care very much that you are paying $1300 a month in rent. That's not a good indicator of credit-worthiness. It's the debt to income ratio that is the killer there.

There ARE programs in California in certain cities that will help you purchase a home with your past credit history and with your income, but it's not going to be an easy thing to do... they want you to go through their special program to evaluate you and see if you are able to meet the requirements that they place upon you before they will help you with down payment assistance, state funds, etc, but they are there. You might want to consider a CALHFA type of loan or one of the urban development loans that many cities are offering if you move to their small town (unfortunately they are usually out in the boonies)

In other states, the requirements are not as harsh and don't have as many permit related expenses, so it might be easier to qualify.

I will say though, that someone did mention your current debts. I know from firsthand experience because I used to ALWAYS have a car payment and I never seemed to OWN my own vehicle... you never get ahead that way unless you make more money and don't upgrade your car... If you were able to make some sacrifices where your money goes, by looking into trading your Truck down to something less expensive-preferably something that you could save up for and buy for a couple grand, then that would be the biggest improvement to this whole equation and might help you qualify.

As far as the quality of a home goes... manufactured homes can be built with the same exact specs as a brand new stick built home... so anyone's arguments otherwise are incorrect.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:49AM
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Close, but no cigar.

Manufactured homes have the frame as part of the structure, and modulars do not. Modulars are designed and constructed to be trailered to the site and craned onto a foundation. They are meant to be exactly like a site built home. There is no title.

The dealer nearby has a wide selection of manufactured homes. Single wides, double wides, ranches, capes, and even a log sided cape with a 8/12 roof pitch. But they all have the metal frame as part of the construction.

Where I live, modulars are the most common form of construction due to the short building season. It can snow on Columbus Day and as late as Mother's day.

A few years ago I was looking at refinancing options. each and every company I looked at said they would not give equity loans on manufactured homes. It made no difference whether or not it was on a permanent foundation. Personally I didn't feel that was right, but those were their rules, not mine. They would finance the home like a regular mortgage if it was on a permanent foundation, but not give equity loans.

Don't get me wrong. There are some very nice manufactured homes around here. Before the crash, a double wide on a foundation and property sold for over $200,000.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 7:41AM
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Sitting here drinking my coffee and this post caught my eye. As the owner of a manufactured home I had to reply about the equity thing christopherh spoke of. There are to many variables to state you cannot get a home equity loan. I live in Indiana and bought a foreclosed DW on 3 city lots with a full poured basement and 2 car garage. I paid cash for it so not sure about how difficult to finance it would have been originally. But decided it needed so much updating that I took out a home equity loan with no problem. It appraised for about 3 times what I paid for it one year later. So there are so many different circumstances here that one cannot say, that you CANNOT do this or you CANNOT do that. Each circumstance may or may not work out.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 8:03AM
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Mobile homes depreciate and fast. Even if you own the land the home itself still comes down in value. And if you buy one for $50K be prepared to live in it for life. Whoever buys from you will have to have the cash on hand because banks won't lend them money to buy your home and if you rent a lot what you own is a debt if ever increasing lot rents and property managers that tell you that you have to follow the rules, while you see neighbors breaking them and they are ignored.

They don't allow pit bulls here. I've seen 2, One may have been visiting.

They don't allow boats or trailers in the parking lot, I've seen both,.

They don't allow you to park on the street or grass. In fact nurse Rachet came around one day and put a notice on my friends car to move it or be towed when I had friends over the 3rd time in a year.

So I ask why the people across from me were allowed to have young people who parked 2 cars on the street. She lied and said that it was because they were being evicted. So why are my other neighbours allowed 2 park 3 cars on the street for a total of 5 cars? She says they are in rh process of moving. yeah right.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 10:53PM
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For anyone who believes manufactured homes are trash, here's a listing in Pennsylvania for a 3 BR 2 bath home in a community of like homes. My sister in law lives in this 55 and up community.

They bought the house they live in with proceeds from their last home, and took out a reverse mortgage on the balance. They have no kids so they have no worries about leaving the home to somebody.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 8:32AM
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