How To Get A Loan For A Mobile Home

For many modern home buyers, it has become clear that mobile homes are a smart, cost-effective alternative to traditional site-built homes, offering a simpler path to home ownership. If you’re considering moving to a mobile home, it’s important to understand the financing options available to you.

This handy guide will answer common questions about purchasing a mobile home, covering all the financing basics you need to know.

Mobile vs. Manufactured Homes: What’s the Difference?

It’s not unusual to hear the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” used interchangeably, but they have key differences.

  • A mobile home is a prefabricated home built on a permanent chassis before June 15, 1976. Many mobile homes were designed to easily move from one location to another.
  • A manufactured home was built on or after June 15, 1976, following the introduction of the HUD Code, which established federal safety standards. Unlike their predecessors, manufactured homes are not intended to be moved once installed.

However, you’ll often hear about neighborhoods called “mobile home communities” or “mobile home parks,” regardless of when the residences were built.

How to Finance a Mobile Home

Financing a mobile or manufactured home can differ significantly from financing a traditional home due to its classification as personal property rather than real estate. However, various loan options cater to these types of homes. Here’s a quick look at the process you’ll follow to secure financing for a mobile home:

1. Check Your Credit Score

Understanding your credit score is the first step in securing financing for a mobile home. Lenders use this score to determine your creditworthiness and the risk involved in lending to you. A higher score means better interest rates and more favorable loan terms. Before applying, ensure your credit history is accurate and work on improving your score if necessary.

2. Save Up for a Down Payment

Although some loan programs for manufactured homes do not require a down payment, saving for one can significantly influence your loan terms, including a reduced interest rate, saving you money over the loan’s life. The amount needed can vary, but a 5-10% down payment is typically recommended.

3. Explore Lending Options

Finding the right lender is crucial in the mobile home financing process. It’s essential to compare various lenders’ terms, interest rates, and fees to find the most favorable conditions. Each lender may have different criteria for financing an acceptable mobile home.

Types of Loans for Manufactured Home Financing

Several loan types are available that cater specifically to the needs of mobile or manufactured home buyers.

Conventional Loans

While not all lenders offer conventional loans for manufactured homes, those that do usually require that the home be permanently affixed to a piece of property and classified as real estate. This conversion significantly increases the financing options available to a homeowner.

If your home meets the requirements, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae offer some specialized loans, specifically for manufactured homes.

  • Mobile home loans from Freddie Mac require the home to be built on a permanent chassis, have a minimum of 400 square feet of living space, and be considered “real property.”
  • For a Fannie Mae mobile home loan, the structure must be at least 600 square feet and 12 feet wide and cannot be located on leased land.

FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers loans specifically designed for manufactured homes, including Title I and II loans. Title I loans can finance the home but not the land, whereas Title II loans can finance both the home and the land, provided the land is not leased.

There are a few basic requirements for Title I loans, including:

  • The property must be your primary residence.
  • The home must meet all FHA guidelines before it is placed at the rental site.
  • The mobile home must be connected to the proper utilities.

For Title II loans, it’s important to know that only manufactured homes (those built after June 15, 1976) qualify.

The biggest benefit of an FHA loan is that you won’t need to save for a large down payment, and you may get more competitive interest rates compared to other loan types.

VA Loans

VA loans can be an outstanding opportunity to save money and stress for veterans and qualifying service members (in addition to surviving spouses of veterans). These loans can be used to purchase a manufactured home and the land it sits on without requiring a down payment or mortgage insurance. To qualify for a VA loan, the manufactured home must be on a permanent foundation, you must be purchasing the land it is on, and the structure must meet HUD guidelines.

FAQs About Mobile Home Loans

Do all lenders offer mobile home loans?

Not all lenders provide loans for mobile homes, especially if the home is not permanently fixed or deemed real property. It’s important to discuss your specific situation with potential lenders to understand your options.

What types of interest rates are available for a mobile home loan?

Interest rates for mobile homes can vary based on whether the home is considered personal property or real estate. Generally, loans for homes not fixed to a permanent foundation carry higher interest rates than those classified as real estate.

Can I still get financing if I’m purchasing a single-wide mobile home?

Yes, financing is available for single-wide homes, though it might come with different terms than those for double-wide or larger models. Check with lenders to see what specific products they offer for single-wide homes.

How long will I have to repay my mobile home loan?

Loan terms can vary significantly based on the type of loan and the lender. For homes classified as real property, terms can range from 15 to 30 years, similar to traditional homes. Chattel loans, more common for homes not fixed to land, typically have shorter terms, ranging from 10 to 20 years.

Can I get a mortgage on a mobile home?

Yes, getting a mortgage on a mobile home is possible, especially if the home is affixed to the land and classified as real property. This classification allows for more traditional home loans to be used for financing.

Find the Perfect Mobile Home for Sale at Inspire Communities

Whether you are just beginning to research how to purchase a mobile home or are ready to pick your perfect community, Inspire Communities offers various options to meet your wants and needs.

With dozens of top-rated mobile home communities across 31 U.S. states, we are committed to raising the bar in the manufactured home industry. Our communities include all-age parks, 55+ neighborhoods, and RV resorts, so you have plenty of options for creating your ideal place to live. Inspire Communities provides an extensive selection of mobile homes for sale and rent, making choosing the best fit for your lifestyle and goals easy.

Explore our communities to find your perfect mobile home, and start the journey to homeownership today!

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Whether you’re already one of our neighbors, or you’re looking for a new affordable home in the right Inspire community for you, let us know how we can help.