There are many differences between buying a mobile or modular home, and buying a stick built home or condo.
1) Financing- Most large banks won’t loan on mobile homes. If you are trying to get pre-approved for a mobile home loan, a local credit union would be a good place to start. Michael Fitzgibbons, with The Mortgage House, also can help with financing mobile homes. The interest rates will be slightly higher than the national average, and you should expect to pay 20% down.
2) Space Rent- Most parks in San Luis Obispo County are leased-land parks, which means that you own the mobile home, but not the land that it sits on. Rent can range from $300-$1100/month. The park will do their own credit check and background check. Some parks are Share Parks, where you own a share of the park and pay a monthly HOA due, usually around $100-$200/month. There are also Owned Land parks, where you would pay only HOA dues. You have 5 days after having your mobile home offer accepted to apply with the park management.
3) Taxes- Mobile homes on Leased Land are registered with the DMV, and it will cost you approximately $75/year to license the home. There is no property tax that needs to be payed in Leased Land parks. Mobile homes in Owned Land parks are taxed just like stick built homes, at approximately 1.1% of the sales price per year.
4) Age Restrictions- A lot of parks have restrictions on age, where at least one owner needs to be 55+. The parks are rarely flexible when it comes to this requirement.
5) Pets- Each park has different rules about what kind of pets are allowed.
6) Rent Increases- Space rent can increase as much as 4%/year for a home on leased land. If the park is rent controlled, the space rent increase is based on the Consumer Price Index, and last year was around 1.5%. The space rent increases 10% each time the home is sold.
7) Investment Potential- In most cases, mobile homes can not be rented out to non-family members. This means that if you want to live in the home for a few years, then rent it out to a tenant cover the mortgage payment later on, you won’t be able to do this. It would be a better idea to purchase a stick-built home or condo.
A few extra note-worthy items:
If you purchase a home in an age restricted park, and you want your children or grandchildren to visit, that is okay. They just can’t live there as a permanent residence unless they are approved by the park management.
You can remove an older mobile home, and put a new one in its place. There aren’t currently any empty lots available in any parks in San Luis Obispo County, where a new home can be put. (There almost never are empty lots available.)
We have mobile home specialists available to help you, if you decide that you are interested in purchasing a mobile home. Click Here for a link to parks in the area, some information about each one, and the homes that are currently for sale in each park.