There are basic methods of completing a mobile home purchase agreement, depending on whether the mobile home is independent of real property or tied to it. Use a contract of sale when the mobile home is sold without land ownership, and an affidavit of affixture if the mobile home is tied to land. Writing the purchase agreement is as simple as filling in the blanks on the right form. Once written, record it at the secretary of state.
Mobile Home as Personal Property
Mobile homes are built and then moved elsewhere, such as to vacant land or mobile home parks. When mobile homes are not tied to land, they are considered personal property, much like a car.
The terms manufactured home and mobile home are the same thing. Mobile home is the original term, now more commonly referred to as a manufactured home that has new certification requirements.
In 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) started labeling mobile homes with serial numbers and initiated stricter quality and safety inspections. Be leery of any mobile home that does not have a HUD serial number located on its exterior. Not only is this an indication of likely wear-and-tear issues in an older unit, but it also means the home might not comply with fire and other safety standards. Mobile homes are also registered with the department of motor vehicles in order to be transported on public roads and highways.
Find contract of sale forms on state and county websites. These templates facilitate mobile home sales not affixed to land. Contracts define the buyer and the seller and include details about the mobile home. Mobile home descriptions includes the HUD serial number (if there is one), the size, year, make and model of the home.
Inclusions and exclusions are described in the contract as well. Fixtures are generally included as part of the sale, but can be excluded and removed before ownership is transferred. Fuel and propane are also negotiated in the contract of sale.
Buyer financing details is another component of the contract of sale. Even though the details are noted, they are not the installment agreement. This section merely summarizes all details of the transaction.
The contract also describes allowed inspections. It sets dates for closing, possession and any methods of withdrawing from the contract prior to close.
Mobile Homes Converting to Real Property
When the mobile home – which has previously been considered personal property – becomes part of a real estate transaction, it becomes real property. This means the buyer is buying the mobile home structure and a piece of land. Use an affidavit of affixture for this transaction. The affidavit uses the same information as the contract of sale. However, with affidavits, the state receives a filing fee that records the physical land with the mobile home structure on it as a property with improvements.
An affidavit of affixture must be notarized. Find ready-to-use templates on secretary of state websites and some motor vehicle websites. Gather all required information on the template and review the property to take special notes of inclusions or exclusions. Note that mobile home parks may require specific insurance or bonds before relocating into the park.
Send executed contracts or affidavits directly to the secretary of state with appropriate fees. Check with state motor vehicle departments about recording the sale there, as well, and if required, send it a copy. Some state motor vehicle departments require inspections to verify the mobile home in the sale actually matches the VIN.
Permits and Fees
State filing fees vary; check with the local clerk's office for applicable fees in your state. Generally, filing fees are about $100 to file transfer documents. If you are moving your mobile home, permit and transit fees might apply. Check with the department of building and safety for permit requirements. If you are working with a mobile home park, the manager may be able to assist with local resources to help expedite the process.
Check with your insurance agent to determine how to best insure a mobile home. Policies vary from state to state, and will vary based on the age and classification of the mobile home, i.e. whether it is personal or real property.