How Long Does It Take to Build a Manufactured Home?

Many manufactured homes take just a week to build. (Yes, a week!) Manufactured homes can be built so quickly because they’re made in a factory — a controlled environment. All of the materials and tradespeople are on hand, and the standard sizes of manufactured homes make for quick and easy builds.

The time it takes for the manufactured home to be placed on land is much longer, however. In this article, you’ll read about:

•   The basics of new manufactured homes

•   The timeline for building and delivering a manufactured home

•   Factors that affect the building timeline

What Is a Manufactured Home?


A manufactured home is built in a factory according to HUD standards. The home, which usually has one, two, or three sections, is transported to a dealer, plot of land, or manufactured home community.

Manufactured homes average a lower cost and shorter construction timeline than traditional homes, but homebuyers should be aware that manufactured homes may depreciate. Then again, depending on the local housing market and the home’s setting, a manufactured home might appreciate.

How much does a new manufactured home cost? The average price nationwide was $130,400 in late 2022, with a single-wide averaging $95,800 and a double-wide $159,400, according to the Manufactured Housing Survey conducted by the Census Bureau and sponsored by HUD.

That helps to show why manufactured housing is gaining in popularity. A recent National Association of Realtors® report shows that manufactured homes account for 8% of home purchases. It’s the second most popular home type, after detached, single-family homes.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


Recommended: What Is a Modular Home?

Timeline for Building a Manufactured Home


How long does it take to get a manufactured home? From placing an order to moving in, it could take two to four months. That compares with 9.4 months for a traditional contractor-built home.

The site can be prepared, if needed, while the manufactured home is being built. If you need to develop raw land (i.e., put in your own utility connections, clear the land, or install a driveway), the process could take much longer.

Process of Building a Manufactured Home


Several factors help determine how long it takes to get a manufactured home, start to finish. Keep in mind that sales centers for manufactured homes may be able to offer help or coordinate the process.

Design, Model, and Floor Plan Selection: 1-3 Weeks


You’ll most likely start your manufactured housing journey by choosing your home model, floor plan, design, finishes, exterior elements, and other details of the home. This process can take a week or more.

It’s a good idea to start here, because you may have to wait until the factory is available to build your home. If you choose a model that has already been built, you can save some time.

Financing: 4-8 Weeks

Before construction can begin on your manufactured home, you’ll need to get approved for a loan for the home and, if applicable, the land. You’ll submit your personal information, your income and employment, specs on your chosen manufactured home, who you’re purchasing the home from, and information about where you’re going to place the home.

Most of the time, mobile home financing options depend on whether the home is real property or personal property.

Some manufactured homes qualify for conventional home loans. An option is a government-backed home loan. In most cases, the home must be permanently attached to a foundation and on land that you own or will own: That makes it real property.

An exception is an FHA Title I loan, for the purchase of a new or used manufactured home on land you do or do not own. There are loan limits.

It’s also possible to finance a manufactured home with a large personal loan.

And a chattel mortgage may be used to finance a home that will not be permanently affixed to the land.

Recommended: Credit Score Needed for Personal Loans

Site Selection: 1-4 Weeks


When it comes to placing your manufactured home, you’ll typically be faced with two options: Lease or buy land. It could take time to find the proper setting.

Lease the land: With leased land, you’ll pay a fee — usually between $100 and $1,000 per month — to place your manufactured home on a lot. Lots are typically close together and include utility connections and some community maintenance. Some may feature community amenities like a swimming pool or park.

Purchase land: Many lenders offer financing for a manufactured home with the land. A lot in a community may already have a paved pad and utility hookups. If you need to install your own utilities, you may need to find a contractor to coordinate the exterior elements. Your manufactured home sales center may also be able to help with some of these details. A land loan on its own could take around a month to secure.

Permitting: 1 Week to Several Months


Setting a manufactured home on land requires a permit. Requirements can be found from your county or city. The permitting process can take a few days or a few months, depending on your locale, but be sure to submit all required documents and plans so you don’t face additional delays.

Site Preparation: 1-4 Weeks


Site preparation for raw land can include tree and rock removal, land grading, a driveway, well or water connection, sewer connection or septic system, and other utilities.

Minimal site prep can be completed in less than a week, while more extensive site prep can take up to a month.

Construction: 1 Week


The factory environment makes for quick construction: a few days to a week. Materials, tools, and craftspeople are located in the same factory to increase efficiency. Standard sizes and finishes also account for the short construction timeline.

The manufacturer tests the mechanical systems, such as electrical or plumbing, as your home nears completion.

Transport and Installation: 1-4 Weeks


After construction is complete, you may be wondering how long it takes to set up a manufactured home. While transporting your manufactured home will likely only take a few days at most, you may have to spend more time on the installation of the home.

Once the home has been transported to your site, it is attached to ground anchors and utilities are connected. Then, if you desire, additional exterior elements such as a porch or a garage can be added. Customizations like this will take several weeks to complete.

Factors That Affect the Building Timeline

Type of Manufactured Home


The size and type of your home will affect the building timeline. A triple-wide manufactured home, for example, will take longer to build and will also require more site development. A larger septic system, for example, would be required for a larger manufactured home.

Features of the Home


Some custom features like French doors will take additional time to build into your home. But manufacturers say these features usually add only a little time to the process.

Backlog


Although the actual construction of your home may only take a week, you may need to wait for months for the manufacturer to begin construction due to a backlog.

The Takeaway


Financing, permitting, and finding and developing land all take much more time than the construction of a manufactured home. It could take two to four months from the time you order a manufactured home to move-in day.

3 Home Loan Tips

1.    Traditionally, mortgage lenders like to see a 20% down payment. But some lenders, such as SoFi, allow mortgages with as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.

2.    Not to be confused with prequalification, preapproval involves a longer application, documentation, and hard credit pulls. Ideally, you want to keep your applications for preapproval to within the same 14- to 45-day period, since many hard credit pulls outside the given time period can adversely affect your credit score, which in turn affects the mortgage terms you’ll be offered.

3.    When building a house or buying a non-traditional home (such as a houseboat), you likely won’t be able to get a mortgage. One financing option to consider is a personal loan, which can be faster and easier to secure than a construction loan.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ


How do you speed up the process of building your manufactured home?


If you want to build a manufactured home faster, you can shop builders to check on their availability and get your finances in order. Know which loans apply to the home’s setting, leased or owned land, and consider getting preapproved. You can also select a manufactured home that is already built rather than design your own custom home.

Are manufactured homes cheaper?


Manufactured homes are usually cheaper than traditional homes. The average sales price for a new double-wide manufactured home (not including land) was $159,400 in late 2022, compared with the median sales price for a new single-family home, $442,100, around the same time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

Do manufactured homes take a shorter time to build?


Manufactured homes take much less time to build than other forms of housing. Because the homes are built in a controlled environment, manufacturers can avoid weather delays and supply shortages and can schedule trades (like plumbing) more efficiently. Everything is in one spot, and the standard dimensions of manufactured homes make construction efficient.


Photo credit: iStock/uptonpark

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Manufactured Home?

If you’re seeking home affordability, you may be looking at the cost to build a manufactured home. A new double-wide sold for an average of $159,400 in late 2022, whereas a new single-family home went for an average of $543,600 around the same time.

With such a gap, it’s easy to see the allure of manufactured homes. Yet the price of a manufactured home doesn’t tell the whole story. The land, site prep, any exterior additions, and financing all add to the cost to build a manufactured home.

If you want to take a serious look at what a manufactured home is really going to cost you, here’s what you should know.

Key Points

•   The cost of building a manufactured home can vary depending on factors such as location, size, and customization.

•   On average, the cost can range from $50,000 to $140,000, excluding the cost of land.

•   Additional costs to consider include permits, site preparation, utilities, and transportation.

•   Financing options for manufactured homes may differ from traditional mortgages.

•   It’s important to research and compare costs, builders, and financing options when considering building a manufactured home.

What Is a Manufactured Home?


A manufactured home is built entirely in a factory and attached to a permanent chassis. Once construction is complete, it is moved to a lot of the owner’s choosing. The wheels are removed and the chassis is placed on a foundation; pier and beam is most common.

Assembly is completed by attaching the different sections, connecting utilities, adding any exterior elements, touching up the interior, and installing tie-downs.

Manufactured homes were called mobile homes before June 15, 1976, when Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) building standards began. The HUD code regulates home design and construction, strength, durability, fire resistance, and energy efficiency.

Standard dimensions make them easier to mass-produce in factories, resulting in quick construction timelines and lower costs.

Are these modular homes? No. Modular homes are also built in factories, but a modular home must meet the same building codes as a site-built home and has a permanent, standard foundation.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


The Cost of Manufactured Homes by Size


Manufactured homes typically come in three sizes: single-wide, double-wide, and triple-wide. Each section is designed to fit down a highway, with the maximum width set at 16 feet, except in Texas, which adds 2 feet. A single-wide runs 66 to 80 feet long.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for a new manufactured home as of September 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD’s Manufactured Housing Survey:

•   Single-wide. New single-wide homes usually range from 400 to 1,200 square feet and have an average price of $95,800.

•   Double-wide. Double-wide manufactured homes typically range from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet and average $159,400.

•   Triple-wide. With 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, these homes start at $200,000.

Anything smaller than 400 square feet may be considered a tiny house or a park model. Both are often classified as recreational vehicles, not meant for full-time living.

Additional Costs to Consider When Building a Manufactured Home


How much a manufactured home costs may look deceptively low. There may be costs beyond the sticker price, especially if you want to place the home on raw land and need a land loan.

In addition to the home, you might have to pay for utility connections, exterior additions, taxes, delivery, and setup.

You’ll also want to pay attention to rates and terms of loans you qualify for. Owning the land, or a plan to do so, almost always opens the door to more attractive financing options.

Related: How Do Construction Loans Work?

Land Expenses


With a manufactured home, you have the option of renting or purchasing the lot.

•   Rent the lot: Expect a monthly rate of $100 to $1,000. This doesn’t include additional fees from the homeowners association.

•   Buy the lot: $0 to $1,000,000. Land costs depend on size and location; if you inherit land, you may have no cost at all. You might buy a small lot in a resident-owned park, but if it’s a co-op, you’re buying a share in the community.

If you’re buying unimproved land, you may also pay for site clearing and prep, a driveway, drainage, and porch, garage, deck, or other exterior additions. These can add quite a bit to the cost to build a manufactured home.

Utility Connections


If you’re thinking of buying or building a house on raw land, you’ll need a way to connect to utilities. Common costs:

•   Water or well: $3,750 to $15,300.

•   Electric: $0 to $10,000. Some power companies can hook you up for free, while in other areas the cost can be $10,000 or more.

•   Septic: $4,500 to $9,000. Manufactured homes in rural areas will need a septic system if there’s no sewer connection.

Delivery and Setup


Most manufactured home dealers include the cost of delivery and setup when you purchase a home. Some, though, leave delivery and installation for the customer to arrange and pay for.

At a minimum, setup for a manufactured home may involve:

•   Hooking up utilities

•   Testing connections

•   Touching up interior elements, such as where two sections meet

•   Adding skirting

Exterior Additions


If you want a garage, porch, deck, or other exterior structure, you’ll need to add these costs as well. Prices are national averages, as per online cost guide service provider Fixr.com.

•   Porch: $15,000 to $35,000, but can be as low as $5,000 or as high as $50,000.

•   Garage: $23,000 to $45,000

•   Deck: $9,000 to $20,000

•   Landscaping: $8,000 to $15,000

•   Driveway: $3,460 to $6,910

Taxes


You may need to pay sales tax on a manufactured home purchased from a dealer.

That is in addition to property tax you will need to pay each year if you own the land your manufactured home sits on.

Should You Build a Manufactured Home?


Proponents of manufactured homes tout their affordability, quality, and quick construction. It’s possible to build a manufactured home that is much less expensive than buying new construction of a traditional home.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau points out that whether the homeowner owns the underlying land affects many aspects of the financing “and can have major implications for the homeowner in terms of cost and security of tenure.”

If you plan to lease the land but feel comfortable absorbing any lot rent increases, then a new manufactured home could be a suitable choice. Some communities are downright upscale, offering pools, tennis, pickleball, golf, fitness centers, clubs for every interest, security, and camaraderie.

Do manufactured homes depreciate? Homes that are not high quality or affixed to a permanent foundation often lose value. A depreciating value also means homeowners may not be able to refinance.

But some data shows that well-maintained manufactured homes in attractive locations actually appreciate in value.

You might want to compare the expected total costs of different types of houses — including a townhouse, condo, and detached single-family home — with a used or brand-new manufactured home.

Financing Costs


When financing a manufactured home, you’ll likely run into several options offered at the sales center. Just be aware that mobile home financing may be different from lending for other kinds of homes.

For one, manufactured homes typically have a repayment period of 25 years or less instead of the 30-year loan that you can obtain for a traditional home. This translates into higher monthly payments.

A new manufactured home attached to a foundation on land you own will be treated like a traditional home as far as financing is concerned. Lenders take into consideration how the manufactured home is titled and deeded. If it’s considered personal property, you may need a large personal loan.

A chattel mortgage is another option for personal property.

An FHA Title I loan could be another possibility. These loans are used to purchase a manufactured home, the lot the home will reside on, or both. There are loan limits.

See also: Mortgage Calculator

The Takeaway


How much does it cost to build a manufactured home? Much less than a traditional home, but be sure you’re looking at all the costs involved. A lot of the total expense of owning a manufactured home will depend on whether or not you own the land.

3 Home Loan Tips

1.    Traditionally, mortgage lenders like to see a 20% down payment. But some lenders, such as SoFi, allow mortgages with as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.

2.    Generally, the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better loan terms you’ll be offered. One way to improve your ratio is to increase your income (hello, side hustle!). Another way is to consolidate your debt and lower your monthly debt payments.

3.    When building a house or buying a non-traditional home (such as a houseboat), you likely won’t be able to get a mortgage. One financing option to consider is a personal loan, which can be faster and easier to secure than a construction loan.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ


How do you cut down on costs for a manufactured home?


Buyers can cut costs by choosing a standard floor plan, requesting less customization, or opting for a manufactured home that is already built.

How do you pay for a manufactured home?


Manufactured homes can be paid for with a personal loan, a chattel mortgage, a conventional mortgage, or a government-backed loan, depending on the homebuyer’s situation.

What are the best customizations for a manufactured home?


Popular custom finishes include coffered ceilings, fireplaces, built-ins, kitchen islands, upgraded appliances and fixtures, rain showerheads, freestanding tubs, and upgraded lighting.


Photo credit: iStock/Marje

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Homestead Exemption Bankruptcy Rules, by State

Despite what the name might suggest, homestead exemptions aren’t some kind of dusty old prospector or settler law. They are statutes that, in a bankruptcy filing, are designed to protect a primary residence from creditors.

If the Smiths file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, how much equity they can protect with an exemption will be one of the factors determining whether they will be able to keep their home.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they won’t lose their home, but they will have to pay creditors an amount equal to the value of the property they can’t protect with an exemption, or their disposable income, whichever is more.
Before declaring bankruptcy, it’s best to consider the alternatives.

This guide will provide an overview of homestead exemptions as applied to bankruptcy, state by state.

What Is Homestead Exemption?

If you’re wondering what a homestead exemption is, it’s a provision in a state’s law that can legally protect a home from creditors in situations such as declaring bankruptcy or enduring the death of a homeowner’s spouse.

In these ways, a homestead exemption can both literally provide you with shelter (a roof over your head) and protection financially, possibly avoiding a situation in which you must lose your residence. That said, this exemption will not prevent foreclosure if a homeowner defaults on their mortgage.

You may be curious about what is the Homestead Act and if it’s the same thing as homestead exemption. They are two different things: The Homestead Act was an 1862 law that granted 160 acres of Western land in the U.S. to anyone who promised to farm it. It was designed to settle the West and drive economic growth.

What States Have a Homestead Exemption?

It’s easier to name the states that don’t have a homestead exemption than those that do since the vast majority of them offer this protection.

Currently, the only states without specific homestead exemptions are New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you live in one of those states, then you know where you stand on potential shields with homestead exemptions.

If you live in any of the other 48 states, know that there are many more asterisks to hunt for, depending on your situation and financial plans.

Even if you live in a state that offers homestead exemptions, you may want to find ways to save money on your mortgage. These strategies can help you weather financial storms, such as considering refinancing a home loan and requesting a new tax assessment.

Recommended: The Pros & Cons of Buying a Starter Home

Which State Has the Best Homestead Exemption?

While there is no literal “best” state to homestead in because there are so many individual factors to weigh in assessing what’s advantageous, it is true that some states are more favorable than others for seeking the exemption.

Before reading the following, an asterisk: Because homestead exemptions are protections for primary residences, you cannot claim an exemption on an investment property or vacation home.

Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions.

The federal homestead exemption amount is calculated every three years. For the period from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2025, it allows you to protect up to $27,900 of the equity in your home. In cases where you and your spouse file taxes separately, do not live together, maintain separate homesteads, or (according to at least one court) do not have a direct financial connection with each other, each spouse can claim a separate homestead, up to the amount allowed by an individual.

Recommended: Getting Approved for a Personal Loan After Bankruptcy

Also, most states allow a “wildcard” exemption, which allows you to protect any kind of property from bankruptcy proceedings. This can be of particular help if one or more of a debtor’s other exemptions falls short of protecting their equity. A wildcard exemption amount can be divided among multiple items.

As of April 1, 2022, the federal wildcard exemption is $1,475, plus up to $13,950 of any part of the federal homestead exemption that has not been used.

Since there’s so much variability in local, regional, and state codes and how they define the homestead exemption, it’s wise to consult local authorities or websites detailing the law’s specifics when you are in a situation that may trigger these laws.

Recommended: Understanding Bankruptcy: Is It Ever the Right Option?

Here’s a rundown of what you might call homestead states that offer some of the strongest protections via exemptions. “Strongest” here is being interpreted as either affordances for high exemptions or greater flexibilities in the law — but other factors, such as cost of living, should also be a consideration:

1. California. California has two systems for the homestead exemption. Under one system, homeowners can exempt up to $600,000 of equity in a house. In the other system, they can exempt up to $31,950 of home equity. Determining what you can access requires research and/or legal counsel.

2. Florida. Under the Florida exemption system “homeowners may exempt an unlimited amount of value in their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. However, the property cannot be larger than half an acre in a municipality or 160 acres elsewhere.” The exemption can also be claimed by the spouse or children of a deceased owner.

3. Iowa. An unlimited value in one home or a one-unit apartment can be sought in protection. The property must be in a city or town and is limited to one-half acre or 40 acres elsewhere.

4. Kansas. An unlimited amount of value can be sought in protection, but homeowners are limited in the amount of land they can protect. Homeowners can protect up to 1 acre of property if they live within city limits or up to 160 acres of farmland.

5. Minnesota. You can protect up to $450,000 of equity in your home and land or up to $1,125,000 of equity if your land (up to 160 acres) is used for agricultural purposes.

6. Oklahoma. Residents can exempt the entire value of their homes, but the homestead can’t be larger than a half acre if you live in a city, town, or village or up to 160 acres if you live elsewhere. (If you use more than 25% of the total square footage of your property for business, your exemption is limited to $5,000.)

7. Rhode Island. The exemption applies for up to $500,000 of equity.

8. South Dakota. If your home is less than 1 acre in a town or 160 acres in any other type of area, all of your equity is exempt.

9. Texas. For residences on 10 acres or less in a city, town, or village or 100 acres or less in the country, Texas offers an unlimited homestead exemption.

10. Washington. This state’s generous homestead exemption varies depending on the county the homeowner lives in, from $172,900 in Ferry to $729,600 in King County, where Seattle is.

Recommended: What Is Cost of Living?

Homestead Exemptions in Other States

Here’s all the rest of the states and what homestead exemptions they offer:

1. Alabama. The Alabama Department of Revenue indicates that at the state level, homestead exemptions have a maximum value of $16,450. It only applies on land area that is not more than 160 acres.

2. Alaska. Homeowners may exempt up to $70,200 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption.

3. Arizona. Homeowners can exempt up to $150,000 for a house and the land it’s on, a cooperative or condominium, a mobile home and the land it’s on, provided the person lives in the dwelling.

4. Arkansas. You can seek an unlimited amount of equity in 80 rural acres or one-quarter of an urban acre.

5. Colorado. Up to $75,000 of equity in a home or other property, such as a mobile home, is protected. The amount increases to $105,000 if the homeowner, spouse, or dependent is disabled or 60 or older.

6. Connecticut. The state of Connecticut protects up to $75,000 of equity in real property, a co-op, or a manufactured home occupied at the time of filing bankruptcy. The exemption rises to $125,000 if a creditor is collecting for hospital costs.

7. Delaware. Exempts up to $125,000 in real property or a manufactured home that was used as a principal residence.

8. Georgia. Homeowners may exempt up to $21,500 of their home or other property covered by the exemption. They can also apply $10,000 of any unused portion of the exemption to another property they own—a “wildcard” exemption.

9. Hawaii. If you’re the head of a household or over 65, you can exempt up to $30,000 of equity. If you’re not the head of the family, you may protect up to $20,000 of equity in your home.

10. Idaho. A filer can protect up to $175,000 in equity in a home or mobile home.

11. Illinois. Protects up to $15,000 in equity in your home, which includes a farm, mobile home, lot with buildings, condominium, or cooperative.

Recommended: How Often Can You Refinance Your Home?

12. Indiana. A debtor can exempt up to $19,300 in real estate or personal property used as a residence. In addition, if you are married and filing jointly, that figure rises to $38,900.

13. Kentucky. Up to $5,000 of equity can be claimed.

14. Louisiana. Homeowners are allowed to exempt up to $35,000 of home equity, and more if their debts were due to what’s considered a catastrophic or terminal illness or injury.

15. Maine. Up to $80,000 of equity in property used as a residence can be claimed. The amount can be increased to $160,000 in equity if you have a minor dependent residing with you, or if you are 60 or older or disabled.

16. Maryland. Exempts residential property value up to $25,150 (husband and wife may not double).

17. Massachusetts. The state automatically protects up to $125,000 in home equity, and up to $500,000 for those who file and receive the increased exemption (this amount also applies to the elderly or disabled).

18. Michigan. Each homeowner and their dependents can exempt up to $40,475 in a property covered by the homestead exemption. If the homeowner is 65 or older or disabled, the exemption amount increases to $60,725.

19. Mississippi. An exemption of up to $75,000 of equity in the real estate you live in can be claimed, as long as the property is less than 160 acres.

20. Missouri. You can exempt up to $15,000 of equity in the real estate in which you live or will live, and spouses who file a joint bankruptcy can double the exemption.

21. Montana. Up to $350,000 in equity can be protected as applied to up to 320 farm acres, a quarter of a city acre, or one residential acre outside a municipality.

22. Nebraska. Up to $60,000 can be protected on a home, provided the owner is either a head of household, married, or over age 65, and the property does not exceed 160 acres.

Recommended: How Much Does It Cost to Refinance a Mortgage?

23. Nevada. Up to $605,000 in equity in a home can be claimed.

24. New Hampshire. You can protect up to $120,000 in equity.

25. New Mexico. Up to $60,000 of equity in your home can be protected; that increases to $120,000 being available to spouses who co-own property.

26. New York. The homestead exemption amount varies greatly depending on the county. If the property is in the counties of Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, or Putnam, the exemption is $179,950. If the property is in the counties of Dutchess, Albany, Columbia, Orange, Saratoga, or Ulster, the exemption amount is $149,975. For any other county in the state, the exemption amount is $89,975.

27. North Carolina. Homeowners may exempt up to $35,000 of their home or other personal property. Homeowners who are 65 or older whose spouse is deceased may exempt up to $60,000, provided the property was previously owned by the debtor as a tenant by the entirety or as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship.

28. North Dakota. Homeowners can protect up to $100,000 of equity in their home when declaring bankruptcy.

29. Ohio. The state allows for the protection of up to $145,425 of equity as part of the homestead exemption. Spouses who file a joint bankruptcy may double that amount.

30. Oregon. A property owner may be exempt up to $40,000. Married couples, however, may be exempt up to $50,000.

31. South Carolina. The state’s law protects up to $63,250 in equity in a home or real estate used as a residence, with spouses who file a joint bankruptcy being able to double the exemption.

32. Tennessee. Homeowners can exempt up to $5,000 of equity — and that amount goes up to $7,500 for joint owners and $25,000 if there’s at least one minor child who is a dependent. People 62 and older can exempt up to $12,500 of equity in their home—$20,000 if married, and $25,000 if the spouse is also 62 or older.

33. Utah. Homeowners may exempt up to $43,300 to protect their home, provided it is their primary personal residence.

34. Vermont. An exemption up to $125,000 of the equity in a home, condo, or mobile home can be claimed; it can’t be doubled, however, in cases of joint bankruptcy filing.

35. Virginia. This state allows for protection of $5,000 of real estate or personal property as a “wildcard” exemption. That number doubles to $10,000 if the individual is age 65 or older.

36. West Virginia. Homeowners may exempt up to $35,000 of their home or other property. That figure increases to $70,000 if you are married, you and your spouse both own the property, and you file bankruptcy together.

37. Wisconsin. A single person can protect up to $75,000 of equity in a home; spouses can double the amount to $150,000.

38. Wyoming. In this state, up to $20,000 of equity in a home can be shielded from bankruptcy. This can double if you are married, you and your partner own the property together, and you file for bankruptcy jointly.

Still with us? If you don’t see a state listed above, that means it’s one of the two (New Jersey or Pennsylvania) that doesn’t offer any homestead exemptions for use in a bankruptcy filing.

The Takeaway

Homestead exemption rules can help protect your home in instances of a bankruptcy filing and can be very helpful during a difficult time. These guidelines differ greatly by state, but are worth investigating. If you can’t keep your head above financial water, these exemptions may allow you to keep your home.

Refinancing a mortgage may also provide some relief to a struggling homeowner. In addition to offering an array of mortgage loans, SoFi also can help you refinance at competitive rates and with a hassle-free process.

Find out how smart and simple a SoFi mortgage can be.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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The Cost of Buying a Fixer-Upper

It’s not your imagination: Buying a home has gotten more expensive over the last couple of years. In the fall of 2021, the Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price index rose a stunning 18.6% in a single year. Adding to the high cost of homeownership is the fact that home loan rates also soared. In the fall of 2022, the average interest rate on 30-year mortgages was 6.12%, while a year earlier, it was a super low 3.03%. In other words, you’re going to pay a lot more for both a house and the money you borrow to fund the purchase.

These economic fluctuations are among the reasons that many people are contemplating buying a fixer-upper. They hope to find a lower-priced house that they can rehab (or pay someone else to renovate) in order to own a piece of the American Dream for less.

However, though buying a fixer-upper home may seem like an enticingly affordable option, the cost of remodeling it could wind up being more than you’d planned.

Just how much does it cost to fix up a house? Let’s break down the most common costs associated with gutting a house and remodeling, so you can make an informed buying decision. Read on to learn:

•   What’s a fixer-upper?

•   What are the pros vs. cons of buying a fixer-upper?

•   How can you plan to renovate a home?

•   How much will a fixer-upper really cost?

•   How can you fund fixing up a home?

What Is a Fixer-Upper?

What exactly is a fixer-upper? It’s a home that’s in need of significant work. In many cases, these are older houses with much deferred maintenance or simply a lot of dated, well-worn features.

A fixer-upper might be a home from 100 years ago with an insufficient electrical and heating system, as well as a roof in need of replacement. Or it could be an apartment with a very old and dated kitchen and bathrooms. These residences might be livable, but they require an infusion of cash and work to make them comfortable by today’s standards.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer-Upper

Buying a fixer-upper home has upsides and downsides. For some people, a fixer-upper can be a terrific way to enter the ranks of homeownership. For others, it could wind up being a frustrating source of bills and stress.

First, let’s consider the pros of buying a fixer-upper:

•   Lower price. This can make it easier to become a homeowner.

•   Lesser competition. Many home-shoppers may shy away from taking on this kind of project.

•   Control. The ability to renovate a home to suit your taste.

•   Profit. The opportunity to flip, or resell, the home and make money by doing so.

In terms of negatives, consider these points:

•   Money required to renovate. Although you may be able to buy a fixer-upper at a bargain price, you’ll have to come up with funds for the renovation.

•   Going over budget. Often, when renovations get underway, you’ll hit unexpected situations that require more money to properly complete the job.

•   Taking longer than expected. Closely related to the point above about going over budget financially is the fact that remodeling may take longer than anticipated, which can create issues.

•   Living in a construction site. If you occupy the home as work is done, it can be an uncomfortable experience.

Recommended: Things to Budget for After Buying a Home

Decide If This Is Your Home or a Flip

Many times, people looking to buy a fixer-upper home are in it for the short game of a flip. This means they are hoping to purchase a home well under market value, make a few renovations, and then quickly sell the home for a profit. And that’s all good—you just need to decide which camp you’re in.

If you are hoping to flip a house and make some money, know what you are getting into. As mentioned above, renovations can run over budget and take longer than scheduled. If all you are planning on doing to a house is refresh the paint and flooring and stage it beautifully, things may work out fine. But if you get started on structural work and discover a bigger issue than anticipated, it could wreck your budget for reselling the property. That’s why it’s vital to get a thorough home inspection before you buy a fixer-upper. It’s also wise to walk through with a contractor (if you plan on hiring one) before purchase to size up costs; you’ll learn more about the potential price tag of renovations in a minute.

If you’re planning on buying a fixer-upper home and making it your forever home, you might have a longer timeline to make upgrades. You could tackle the kitchen one year; then redo the bathrooms the next. This could be easier on your budget, but it might mean living amid construction for a while.

And, of course, you don’t get the potential cash infusion by selling the home at a profit, which is the goal of many people who are searching for a fixer-upper. You do get a lovingly restored home to call your own, quite likely at a good price, which can be an excellent reward.

Recommended: How Much House Can I Afford Based on My Income?

Do Your Homework Before You Buy

It’s crucial to add up all the costs of potential renovations before you buy a fixer-upper house. You don’t want the dream of wanting your own home to cloud your judgment about the work that’s needed. If you don’t do a deep dive on pricing before you buy, you may end up in your own version of “The Money Pit” movie.

Consider the following:

•   Assess the upfront cost of the home and add up all potential material and labor needs — think both big and small, like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, all the way down to any new doorknobs you’ll buy along the way. Then, subtract that from the home’s renovated market value. Would this still be a profitable venture?

•   Keep in mind that inflation is currently running high so prices could get higher than what you believe they will cost during the time you are renovating.

•   It’s important to allow room in your budget and your timeline for overages. It’s not uncommon for home renovations to cost more and take longer than anticipated. It’s wise to have at least 3% to 5% extra in your budget (if not more) to cover additional costs, and wiggle room in your timing, too.

Recommended: How Do Home Improvement Loans Work?

Preparing to Invest in Home Renovations

Each home renovation is unique. If you buy a fixer-upper house, the price of rehabbing it can vary tremendously. One house might need new appliances, the walls painted, and the floors sanded. Another might need a new roof and a cracked foundation fixed…plus an electrical upgrade. The size of the home, its age, its location, and condition will all impact how much you’ll need to spend.

But, to give you a ballpark on costs, here are some statistics from Angi, the home renovation and repair site:

•   Renovating a three-bedroom home can cost between $20,000 and $100,000 on average.

•   Renovation costs are typically between $15 and $60 per square foot overall.

•   Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can cost $100 to $250 per square foot.

•   A kitchen renovation costs $25,000 on average, and a bathroom remodel runs $10,000, but costs can run significantly higher depending on choice of materials, fixtures, and the like. renovation will be different, Realtor.com provides a general cost breakdown for different remodel hypotheticals.

Keep in mind that pricing may be higher if you live in or near a major city, as well.

Recommended: 6 Tips for Doing Home Addition Projects the Right Way

Common Fixer Upper Project Costs

Kitchen Remodels

According to HomeAdvisor’s 2022 data, the average cost of a kitchen remodel currently sits at $25,000, but costs can range from $5,000 to $65,000 or more.

The three elements that contribute most to cost are the countertops, cabinets, and flooring. The more you lean into custom and luxury options, the higher the price will go.

Bathroom Renovation

The average bathroom renovation ranges from $3,000 for small cosmetic updates to $30,000 for a complete gut do-over, with the average price tag coming in at $11,000. A big expense is moving the plumbing lines. If you can keep the layout as-is, you’ll save up to 50%.

Roof Installation

A roof should typically last two to three decades on a home — or longer if you choose the right material. The average cost for replacing a roof is about $8,000, but that will vary with the size of the home and the material you choose.

For instance, if you opt for a premium product, like slate, you’ll find that the average costs for a 3,000-square-foot roof can be $30,000.

Recommended: How to Buy Homeowners Insurance

How to Handle the Cost of a Fixer Upper

These numbers can seem overwhelming, but remember, you’re bringing out your home’s maximum potential, whether for you to enjoy or to capitalize on via a future sale.

You have a few options for how to finance the renovation of a fixer-upper:

•   You could put less money down and take out a larger mortgage. This would allow you to have some cash on hand to pay for the remodeling.

•   You can buy the house and then take out a home improvement loan, which is a kind of personal loan used to finance your home projects.

•   You could purchase the fixer-upper and then apply for a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. These are revolving lines of credit that may offer attractive terms (low interest, long repayment) but keep in mind you are using your home’s equity as collateral. You typically need 15% to 20% equity in your home to qualify.

•   Another option that’s similar to a HELOC is a home equity loan. The difference is that a home equity loan typically distributes a sum of money, which is repaid in installments over a period of time.

The Takeaway

A fixer-upper can be a good investment for some home shoppers, whether they want to renovate the home and live in it or sell it at a profit. However, it’s important to evaluate your costs up front, before signing a contract, to make sure you don’t wind up with a money pit and can make your renovation dreams come true.

One thing that can help you afford your fix-it-up plans is a SoFi home improvement loan. What’s more, these are unsecured loans, meaning you’re not required to put up collateral against the loan. And with fixed monthly payments, you can better plan for the road ahead. Now, all you need is a hammer and you’re ready to go.

Thinking about renovating a fixer-upper? SoFi personal loans can help you turn your new purchase into a dream home.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Is a 10-Year Mortgage a Good Option?

Mortgages come with different loan terms, and a short 10-year mortgage could be beneficial for some borrowers vs. the common 30-year variety. It’s important to consider your personal finances and goals, since the mortgage length affects the interest rate and monthly payment.

This guide will compare the pros and cons of different mortgage lengths and explore how to get a 10-year mortgage term. Read on to learn if paying off a home loan in a decade is the right fit for you.

How Does a 10-Year Mortgage Work?

A homebuyer or refinancer chooses a mortgage term based largely on the monthly payment they can handle and how long they plan to keep the property. In general, the shorter the term, the higher the payment.

The term length isn’t the only differentiating factor among mortgages. There’s also the choice of fixed-rate vs. adjustable-rate mortgages.

With a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate is set for the life of the loan. Through mortgage amortization, the monthly payment on a fixed-rate mortgage stays the same (excluding changes in taxes or insurance if included in escrow payments), making it easy to budget years worth of housing costs.

The amortization schedule determines how the monthly payment is allocated between the principal and interest. Initially, payments primarily go toward interest. Near the end of the loan term, most of the payment will be on the loan principal, with minimal interest remaining.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) work differently. A 10-year ARM has a fixed interest rate for 10 years, followed by a fluctuating interest rate until the loan is paid off.

You might see a 10/1 ARM or 10/6 ARM. With a 10/1 ARM, the interest rate is fixed for 10 years and then readjusted every year for the remaining term (usually 20 more years). A 10/6 ARM operates similarly but readjusts every six months rather than annually.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


Recommended: How a 5/1 ARM Works

Reasons to Choose a 10-Year Mortgage

No two homebuyers or refinancers have the same financial goals and situation, but there are some common reasons for choosing a 10-year mortgage.

Borrowers may prefer a 10-year mortgage to save on total interest paid. This could be a good option for buyers with higher incomes who can afford larger monthly payments with money still left over for savings and other expenses.

When interest rates are low, homeowners with an existing 20- or 30-year mortgage might choose to refinance to a 10-year mortgage to get out of debt sooner and pay less interest. This scenario could be more beneficial if you plan to remain in your home longer, allowing time to recoup the closing costs of refinancing.

A shorter mortgage term can be helpful for people who are approaching retirement, too. Paying off a mortgage while you’re still earning a salary (and in less time) allows soon-to-be retirees to save money on interest payments. After 10 years, retirees can enjoy their paid-off house or sell the property to further pad their savings and downsize.

Pros of a 10-Year Mortgage Term

Considering a 10-year mortgage term? Here are some of the potential upsides of going with a decadelong mortgage term.

•   Faster Payoff: You’ll own your home outright in just 10 years.

•   Competitive Rates: 10-year mortgage rates are often lower than rates for mortgages with longer terms.

•   Less Interest Paid: A shorter mortgage term means less interest is accrued, and thus paid, over the life of the loan.

•   Building of Equity: Putting more money toward your mortgage right away can grow home equity faster, which can be borrowed against later for home improvements or other expenses.

Cons of a 10-Year Mortgage Term

Taking out a 10-year mortgage isn’t without its drawbacks. Here are some downsides to be aware of when considering this type of home loan.

•   Higher Monthly Payments: A condensed mortgage term comes with higher monthly payments, putting borrowers at risk if they lose a job or incur emergency expenses.

•   Risk of Becoming “House Poor”: Putting more money toward your mortgage could prevent you from achieving other financial goals, such as saving for retirement or college tuition.

•   Less of a Tax Deduction: Borrowers who use the mortgage interest deduction on taxes will only be able to do so for 10 years.

•   Less Property Choice: Buyers may qualify for a smaller loan amount with a 10-year mortgage than a longer-term loan, reducing the number of homes they can afford.

10-Year Mortgage vs 30-Year Mortgage: How They Compare

It’s helpful to compare mortgage options during the homebuying process. This means looking at different lenders and mortgage term lengths.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the most popular way to finance a home purchase, with 90% of mortgages lasting 30 years. It’s also the route most borrowers using first-time homebuyer programs take.

Let’s take a closer look at how 10-year mortgages and 30-year mortgages compare.

Interest Rates

Fixed-rate mortgages keep the same interest rate over the life of the loan, helping to make payments predictable.

Lenders use a variety of factors to calculate interest rates, such as credit score, down payment, and economic conditions. Generally speaking, paying the loan back in less time is viewed as less risky for the lender. Thus, 10-year mortgages typically come with lower interest rates than 30-year mortgages.

Monthly Payment

With fixed-rate mortgages, equal installment payments are collected each month by a mortgage servicer.

While 10-year mortgages often have lower interest rates, the monthly payment is significantly higher thanks to the condensed payment schedule. Put another way, the monthly payment for a 10-year mortgage is usually double that of a 30-year mortgage.

For example, a $300,000 mortgage at a fixed rate of 5% with a 10-year term would have a monthly payment of $3,182. Meanwhile, borrowing $300,000 at a fixed rate of 5% with a 30-year term would amount to a $1,610 payment each month. This calculation excludes property taxes, homeowners insurance, and any private mortgage insurance.

You can use this online mortgage calculator tool to estimate your monthly payment.

Getting Qualified

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which is calculated by dividing your monthly debts by your gross monthly income, is an important indicator of your ability to repay the loan.

A DTI of 36% or less is recommended for homebuyers, though borrowers with a DTI of 43% may still qualify for a mortgage.

When applying for a 10-year mortgage, the larger monthly payment will increase your DTI, which could affect your ability to qualify, or at least how much you qualify for. Borrowers may qualify for a larger loan amount with a 30-year mortgage because the monthly payment is lower.

Should Inflation Affect Whether You Choose a 10-Year or Longer Mortgage?

Inflation has an impact on the cost of everything. Homebuyers and refinancers need to know that rising inflation affects mortgage rates.

Choosing a longer mortgage term with lower monthly payments can help safeguard a budget from the effects of inflation.

Most borrowers have the option of making extra principal payments, as their finances allow, to repay the loan faster and save on interest. The same ideas behind how to pay off a 30-year mortgage in 15 years apply to paying it off in 10.

Borrowers can also refinance to a 10-year mortgage later if rates are lower and they have the income to manage the higher monthly payment.

Recommended: Home Loan Help Center

The Takeaway

Opting for a 10-year mortgage can help pay off your home quicker and save money on interest. On the flipside, you’ll have to dedicate more of your budget to payments, potentially at the cost of retirement savings and investments.

Still weighing your options? Check out SoFi Mortgages. Qualifying first-time homebuyers can put just 3% down; others, as little as 5% down.

Find your rate in minutes.

FAQ

Is 10 years the shortest mortgage you can get?

Borrowers may access mortgages with terms of less than 10 years by working with their bank or credit union, since they have more flexibility and an existing customer relationship to customize a loan.

Are there 50-year mortgages?

Though uncommon, 50-year fixed-rate mortgages exist. With such an extended term, borrowers will pay significantly more in interest over the life of the loan than shorter-term home loans.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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