With home prices skyrocketing these days, people are looking for other options when it comes to buying a home. If you don’t have the money for a down payment or your credit score isn’t looking the best, what options do you have?
Here is where a rent-to-own mobile home comes into play. Mobile homes are also referred to as manufactured homes and trailers. They are manufactured in a factory and then moved to their home location. While sometimes a mobile home can get a bad rap, more people are turning to them to call home.
Rent to own mobile homes give you the opportunity to buy the home after a predetermined period of time, all while paying rent to the landlord. The good news is some of that money goes towards the final purchase of the home.
I’m going to give you a rundown of every aspect rent-to-own mobile homes have to offer, the good and the bad, so you can be prepared if and when you decide to pursue the option.
Why Rent-to-Own Mobile Homes are a Great Option
Whether you’ve considered the idea or you’re new to the concept, there are several reasons why a rent-to-own mobile home can prove to be a great option. First, it allows you time to save money for a down payment. At the same time, you are creating equity in your house, making it easier to get credit down the road.
It’s also a way to ease you into homeownership. Owning a home brings on a lot of responsibility, so having a landlord to help manage things can be good for first-time homeowners.
If you are unsure you want to buy the house at the end of your lease and are afraid to commit to the purchase, consider a lease-option. It gives you the right, but not the obligation to purchase the house when your lease is up.
Finally, when it comes to mobile homes, you will find two main types: single-wide and double-wide. A double-wide provides you with twice as much space and will feel more like a single-family home.
How Does a Rent-to-Own Mobile Home Work?
When you decide to get into a rent-to-own mobile home contract, you and the landlord of the property make an agreement that you can buy the home after a period of time.
Either you decide on the sale price from the beginning, or the price is based on what the market might be in the future.
On average, you will rent for three years before being able to purchase the property. It’s important to trust the person you are renting from. Unfortunately, there are scams associated with rent-to-own mobile homes and you don’t want to be left in the dust.
A portion of the rent the tenant has paid can go towards the final payment of the home. You may find the rent payment to be higher than a regular rental, however, when you rent-to-own, it sets you up for a different path than renting alone.
Something to keep in mind is banks consider mobile homes to be property as opposed to real estate. Therefore, you may only get a personal loan. However, if the mobile home is attached to a property, you may be able to get a better loan. Again, the exact details will vary depending on your specific situation.
Finally, most states don’t have a standard rent-to-own mobile home contract, so the contract you see will vary from someone else’s. So, if you are shopping around for the right deal, it’s important to read each individual contract thoroughly, as they may differ.
Is it a Good Idea?
If you don’t have the down payment for a house currently, a rent-to-own mobile home may be right up your alley. It allows you to save up the money in order to one day become the homeowner.
In addition, if you don’t have the best credit, it gives you the opportunity to work towards purchasing the home. It will give you extra time to build your credit up to potentially get a better loan once it comes down to purchasing the property.
However, with that being said, there is the chance of it not working out in the end. You want to do your homework before sealing the deal with any rent-to-own mobile home. Look into everything you can find out about the mobile home.
It’s also a good idea to send an inspector over to the mobile home before you sign the contract. You want to make sure there are no pre-existing conditions that could cause any problems.
Finally, you want to make sure the seller has the right to sell the property. Again, do your homework! You don’t want to realize too late that you’ve been scammed and are out a bunch of money.
How Much Money Do You Need to Put Down on a Mobile Home?
Typically, you pay a non-refundable, one-time fee upfront, oftentimes referred to as an option fee when it comes to a rent-to-own mobile home. There is no set amount and it usually is a percentage of the value of the home. The percentage can vary between 1-5%.
Remember, if the deal doesn’t work out in the end, you don’t get to see this money again. There’s always the chance it can fall through at some point during your living in the mobile home, so it’s important to take that into consideration.
Is it Better to Rent or Buy a Mobile Home?
This really comes down to your personal situation. Buying a mobile home is a great option for many because it allows you to be in control of what is done inside. Being a homeowner means you know you aren’t living in someone else’s home.
In addition, it gives you a steady place to live, pending you are able to keep up financially. You don’t risk a landlord selling the property or asking you to move out. Consider checking out a rent-to-own site to look for mobile homes available right now.
When you rent, you are paying someone else every month to live in their home. While it may seem like wasted money over time, it might be the right situation for you. You aren’t tied to the house in case you have to relocate for a job or other reason.
Mobile homes can sometimes be difficult to sell, so if you’re renting, that’s one less thing you would have to worry about.
The Land….You Don’t Own It
If you do choose to pursue a rent-to-own mobile home, you need to understand you don’t own the land your home sits on. Usually, a mobile home park will charge a monthly fee for you to lease the space. So as you are calculating your budget, it’s important to keep that in mind.
The owner of the park may raise the rent amount of the land as well. Typically, it won’t go up considerably but it is something to think about.
However, if you are able to find a mobile home sitting on its own property, then you don’t have to worry about leasing the land. This will also give you more privacy than living in a mobile home park.
It’s important to understand what the contract for your specific situation is, as it can vary depending on where you live.
Maintenance and Repair
While you are still under your rent-to-own mobile home contract, you will need to go through your landlord for any issues that arise. It’s also important to keep in mind any damages you do to the mobile home while you are still considered a tenant. You risk voiding your contract if there is a severe amount of damage to the mobile home.
On the other hand, your contract may say you are responsible for all repair work and regular maintenance. It’s vital you go through every part of the contract so you have a complete understanding of what you are agreeing to. In addition, if the mobile home park has any HOA fees, you may be responsible for them as well. As you can see, additional costs easily add up.
First, a major pro to a rent-to-own mobile home is not having to have a down payment right away. If homeownership has always seemed like a pipe dream, it doesn’t have to be. In addition, mobile homes are cheaper by the square foot, so you may even get more space if you otherwise would have bought a single-family home or apartment dwelling.
Secondly, a mobile home doesn’t come with a lot of property maintenance. You don’t have to worry about mowing a large yard. In fact, a lot of mobile home parks come with certain basic maintenance services.
Finally, some mobile home parks have a pool or recreation area, just like you would find in a single-family home subdivision. It adds some perks of suburban living without the higher price tag.
The good news is there is no extra fee to have the title transferred to your name once you officially own the mobile home.
Unfortunately, there are several cons when it comes to a rent-to-own mobile home. First, if you decide to not purchase the mobile home, you lose all the money you have put into it. In addition, being a tenant of the property, means you don’t really get a say so in how the home is managed.
Second, if you are not financially ready to get into a rent-to-own mobile home contract, reconsider your decision. If you become late on your rent payments, your landlord can end your contract.
Keep in mind, your rent payments are higher than just a regular rental, so it’s important to make sure you are financially ready for the commitment.
Also, the landlord may run into their own financial trouble and if the mobile home goes into foreclosure, you have no authority over it. It will go to the bank and you will have to move somewhere else. If the price of the house drops, you risk the possibility of paying more than the mobile home is worth.
Third, mobile homes are built on temporary foundations, making them more prone to damage from storms and other weather events. If you ever wondered why tornadoes always seem to hit mobile homes, it’s not technically the location, it’s the way it is built. An earthquake can be very devastating to a mobile home.
In addition, you want to consider whether you are ok with not having a yard. If you have young children or anticipate having them in the future, do you want them to have space to play around in?
Finally, mobile homes are very much like cars when it comes to depreciation. You aren’t going to make a bunch of money down the road if you try to sell it.
How to Get a Rent-to-Own Mobile Home Deal
When it comes to finding a deal on a rent-to-own mobile home, you need to know where to look. Finding an agent who has experience with rent-to-own properties is a great start. Knowing someone who is educated in the area can help you locate the best deals and avoid any scams.
A majority of the time you can find listings specifically for rent-to-own mobile homes. However, if you find a rental you like, talk to the owner about the possibility of doing a rent-to-own. Having a guaranteed buyer can be attractive to a landlord even if they weren’t planning on selling to begin with.
Check out the internet for deals on current mobile homes. Foreclosure.com is a great place to look for rent-to-own mobile home deals.
Finally, if you have the funds, it’s highly recommended to have a lawyer review your contract before you go into a rent-to-own mobile home deal. They can make sure you are getting a fair deal and that there is no hidden information you are unaware of, like any liens against the property.