Whether you’re new to mobile homes or an expert, there’s typically no legal way to transfer ownership of a mobile home without a title. Either way, in order to complete a manufactured home transaction, you’ll have to understand everything there is to know about a mobile home title.
A mobile home title is more than just a paper. In almost every state, mobile homes and manufactured home ownership is transferred from buyer to seller via a slip of state-issued paper called a title.
No matter if your home is a single-wide, double-wide, or even larger, in order to declare ownership, you will need to have a title for the home in your name.
How to Transfer a Mobile Home Title in Michigan
Mobile homes are titled in Michigan. The mobile home title serves the same purpose as the vehicle title. Up until 1978, mobile homes were titled as a “trailer coach.” Since 1978, they have been titled mobile homes.
The DMV or State Agency/Secretary of State is responsible for processing manufactured home titles.
What’s a Mobile Home Title, and Why is it so Important?
A manufactured home title is a legal document that proves you own your manufactured home. Without it, it’s hardly possible to claim ownership of the manufactured home.
Whether you’re buying from a dealer/retail center or directly from the current owner, you’ll need to be presented with a title.
If you bought your home from a retail home center, they might be required to obtain a title for you, depending on the law in the state where your home is or will be located.
In Michigan, the process of a transferred mobile home title, from one of the mobile home owners to the other, is pretty simple and clear.
Anyone can acquire their title without struggling. The Secretary of State office will guide on how to proceed.
What to Do Before the Mobile Home Closing
The most important thing at this stage is to verify the ownership of the manufactured home. Verify that the seller is listed as the sole owner of the manufactured home. It is a terrible idea to skip this part of the deal.
Ask the seller to provide you the title details: As soon as you verify the details in the title match the seller’s personal information, you’re good to go.
Mobile home in a park: If the mobile home is placed on a private leased lot, you have little to do compared to homes in a park. If the manufactured home is in a park, you will want to speak with the community manager to achieve the following:
- Become park approved
- Verify the seller is current on all payments
- Ask for a copy of the park rules
- Ask if lot rent is increasing soon
- If the park manager sees any needed improvements to the mobile home for if/when you purchase the home?
Check for hidden liens: It is essential to check for secret liens. You don’t want to have problems later after a manufactured home closing. That’s where the Secretary of State office comes in.
Contact the DMV office/Secretary of State in the county the home is located. Provide them with the mobile home’s serial number or VIN to verify there are no unexpected liens that you may not know about. These liens may or may not be listed on the mobile home’s title, in the “Lien’s Holder’s” section.
Check for back taxes: It’s mandatory to be tax compliant. As such, contact the county clerk’s office in the location of the home and provide them with the mobile home’s serial number or VIN to verify the taxes are current.
You may want to verify the taxes are current before buying the home. If there are any due taxes, it’s only reasonable to deduct the amount owed from the purchase price you will give to the seller. This way, you can pay the back taxes when you transfer the title soon.
How to find a VIN number on a manufactured home: We most often find it on the wall of the master bedroom closet, but it might also be located near the back door or under the kitchen sink on the inside of a cabinet door.
The VIN will be called a manufacturer’s serial number on the data plate.
Paperwork Needed for a Mobile Home Closing
When closing the mobile home, the following paperwork will be crucial:
● Title (must have)
● Bill of Sale
The seller wants your money as badly as you want the property at your disposal. As such, never be in a rush to hand over the money.
Conduct a final review of the home and ensure everything is in place as you want. For example, if there’s any repair needed, you can work out with the seller to get that sorted before acquiring the home.
Transferring the Mobile Home Ownership
The transfer of ownership is done at the DMV office/Secretary of State. As such, bring the forms to your local DMV office to pay the transfer tax and then transfer ownership.
Even though sellers don’t need to be present, it can be convenient to have the seller present just in case any last-minute issues arise at the DMV.
The transferred mobile home title fee is $90 in Michigan, plus a 6% sales tax based on the purchase price listed on the title and bill of sale.
The same fee of $90 is charged when acquiring an original title.
The new buyer’s title should be expected in the mail within 7-14 weeks after correctly turning everything in with the DMV.
If, for some reason, there’s a lienholder still on the title, it can not be cleared up at the DMV. For this reason, you will not get the original title until the lienholder debt is settled.
The clerk at the Secretary of State will ask for the lienholder details, and the new title will be sent to the lienholder’s address.
If the lienholder is satisfied or the debt is settled, they will then transfer the ownership to you through the DMV/Secretary of State office.
As we said before, while a seller doesn’t need to be present at the DMV office/Secretary of State, if you are a seller, you may want to make it there and ensure ownership is transferred correctly. This way, you can be assured that taxes and liability are not in your name moving forward.
Mobile Home Title: Things to Know
Here are the top facts to know about mobile home titles before you buy or sell this type of real estate property:
Mobile home titles list essential information: If you’ve never seen mobile home titles, you’re likely to wonder what’s on them, right? It includes more critical information than just naming the owner.
Mobile home titles should include the following facts about the property:
- The name of the owner
- The names of any lienholders
- The vehicle identification number of the mobile home
- The make of the home
- The model
- The year it was built
A title will tell you about any liens on the mobile home: A mobile home title can tell you if the current owner has any liens on the property. This means the current owner owes taxes or fines on it.
No one wants to end up buying a mobile home that has liens that they have no idea about, right? If, for some reason, you fail to settle the lien issue before buying the house, then you’re likely to be liable for the costs.
It’s the reason why asking for a title from the seller is so essential before proceeding to close the home.
If there are liens on the property, the owner won’t have possession of the title anyway. The lienholder usually holds onto it until the debts are paid.
It’s always best to check at the DMV to find out if any liens are listed with the property before buying. It is the surest way to do it.
Some states have extra requirements for mobile home titles: Different states handle mobile home title transfers differently.
In some areas, once you get a title, you don’t have to go through any other special steps before you’re able to transfer ownership during a mobile home sale, which is how it goes in Michigan.
Other states, however, have a few extra guidelines you need to follow when it comes to titles.
For instance, in Illinois, the title needs all the essential information listed above, along with a thorough description of the property.
Also, if the mobile home is not being placed in a mobile home park, the new owner has to contact the county recorder to file for a mobile home registration.
In Mississippi, mobile homes can be titled motor vehicles. When you apply for a title in this state, you have to include the current owner’s contact information, the contact information of any lien holders, a description of the mobile home, an odometer disclosure statement, and more.
In New Jersey, getting a mobile home title is similar to getting a title for a car, except you don’t have to get an inspection and registration along with the title.
Lastly, in New York, you don’t need a title if the mobile home was manufactured in 1994 or earlier.
So, before you buy or sell a mobile home, it’s helpful to check on your state’s specific rules for the titling process.
Getting a duplicate title is simple: In most states, you’ll have trouble selling a mobile home if you can’t find the title. Luckily, it’s easy to get another copy.
If your mobile home title is lost, you may replace it by processing a duplicate title application at a Secretary of State branch office.
Call the DMV to request a duplicate title application and provide information to prove you’re the owner of the home. For you to get the duplicate title application, you may pay a small fee for the service.
A title is an important document. For this reason, make sure all details are checked thoroughly before buying the mobile home. It can be a terrible idea to buy a home that still has unresolved issues with liens.
Since mobile homes are considered personal property, and not real property or real estate, the DMV will handle any documentation needed for the home. For instance, in the event of a lost title, you may want to contact the DMV and request a duplicate title application.