Most mobile homes are classified as personal property for titling and taxation purposes. This means, based on their classification, that the home’s certificate of title is typically obtained from a state’s department of motor vehicles or other state agency. For chattel, which is a mobile home by itself without land, being classified as personal property is the only option. However, once a home is placed on purchased land or affixed, there is an option in most states for the title to be converted. Let’s dig into what the conversion process may look like for a used mobile home.
Personal property: mobile homes not attached to land (mobile homes by themselves aka chattel)
Real property: mobile homes that are affixed (attached to land) with converted title
Converting to real property
Purchasers of used mobile homes often choose a title company to help them with the process of converting a mobile home’s title. It’s good to try to work with a title company that understands the process for used mobile homes. This process takes time and money, but usually proves worth it in the long run.
- Can be completed after a home is attached to land
- Usually not available for homes that don’t meet HUD Code standards (built prior to 1976)
- Requirements and process to convert differs by state
- Documents that convert a mobile home title are typically recorded by a county assessor’s office or other state agency, many owners use a title company or attorney to help with this process. An affidavit of affixation or a declaration of intent to convert is typically required from the homeowner and generally the homeowner must also be the land owner.
- Titling is unique to mobile homes and is not required for site-built homes, site built homes are conveyed by a real property deed and are already considered real property.
Benefits of converting a manufactured home from personal property to real property
Though converting the title for your used mobile home can feel like a lot of documentation and work, once it’s done the benefits are long lasting. If you wish to convert your title at the same time that you purchase your home, notify your title company or closing attorney so they can prepare the required documents and have them available at the time you close on the purchase of your home. You can sign your purchase documents at closing and sign the documents required to convert your title at the same time.
- Less of a process for the buyer if converted at the time of the home purchase closing
- Taxed as real property
- Can help retain the value of the home by adding land, better resale
Cost of converting
The cost to process the conversion from a mobile home certificate of title to a home on land as real property is different for each state and sometimes each county within a state. There can be costs for title and land deed research as well as having the conversion documents prepared, signed and filed with the appropriate government officials. There are also recording fees for having the conversion documents recorded. If the home has to be moved to the land it will be affixed to, then you’ll want to consider that cost as well as the cost of the land if you do not already own it.
So let’s recap: Mobile homes are typically personal property unless affixed to land. Once affixed, mobile homes can be converted to real property. As real property, a mobile home can have better resale and the land can help the mobile home retain its value. Depending on where the home is located, the land value and your personal financial situation, having your home taxed as real property rather than personal property may even save you money on taxes in the long run. Always contact your personal tax advisor before converting your home. We hope this has been helpful!