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Mobile Home Financing Options: Personal Loans and More

By Janet Schaaf · February 28, 2022 · 9 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Mobile Home Financing Options: Personal Loans and More

A mobile home, also referred to as a manufactured home, is a style of home built in a factory. This factory-made home is then placed on a trailer chassis, a set-up that allows the owner to move the home if need be.

In many cases, the owner rents or leases the land their mobile home sits on (such as in a mobile home park), but they own the actual home. Mobile homeowners can also choose to place their homes on land that they own.

There are varying styles of mobile homes, cost ranges, and home loan options worth considering for those interested in financing a mobile home.

What is the Average Cost of a Mobile Home?

According to the Census Bureau’s Manufactured Housing Survey, as of September 2021, the average sale price nationwide for new mobile homes was $78,800 for a single-wide and $141,300 for a double-wide.

However, mobile home prices can vary greatly by region. For example, mobile home prices are typically lower in the South, but higher in the West.

The lowest average prices are in the Northeast, where the average for a new single-wide mobile home is about $76,100, and a double-wide mobile home is $124,100.

It’s important to remember when buying a mobile home that the costs don’t stop at the purchase of the home. If the mobile homeowner lives in development or mobile home park, they typically pay monthly fees or rent the land their home is situated on.

If someone chooses to set up their mobile home on private acreage, they may need to finance additional needs such as installing a foundation, decking, and landscaping costs. These types of costs can vary greatly depending on the location of the land and what type of labor and materials they need.

While costs vary greatly depending on the location of the mobile home if the homeowner owns or rents the land where the mobile home is situated and the type of mobile home, there are some average costs that can give an idea of what the expenses of buying a mobile home will look like.

Recommended: A Guide to Different Types of Homes

Differences Between a Mobile Home, Modular Home, and Manufactured Home

There are many types of mobile homes that can suit a variety of housing needs, budgets, and lifestyles. These are a few of the more popular options that fall under the overarching mobile home category.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1976 established the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (MHCSS), commonly known as the HUD code. The standards developed under this code regulated all construction aspects of mobile homes — or manufactured homes, which these types of homes were called after 1976.

Mobile Home

Manufactured Home

Modular Home

Term used before 1976; minimal construction supervision and tended to have safety issues Term used after 1976, when construction regulations established Modular building practices made popular in the early 20th century by Sears Roebuck Co. Must be built to local building codes.
Prefabricated (mass produced) components Custom-built components
Built to finish off site Built in sections off-site
Transferred as single unit to property it will reside on Completed sections transported to building site, then joined on solid foundation
Resale value is typically low: $10,000 or less Average price: $118,300 $100 to $200 per square foot; average total price $270,000

Different Types of Mobile Homes

There are generally three main sizes of mobile homes, and size is a big determining factor in the price of a mobile home. Larger mobile homes typically have more layout features that can add to the cost.

Single-wide

Double-wide

Multi-wide

600 to 1,300 square feet 2,000 to 2,500 square feet As large as 4,500 square feet
18 feet or less in width About 20 feet wide Width varies based on the specific layout of the home and features of the structure
90 feet or less in length Under 90 feet long About 50 feet in length
1 or 2 bedrooms 2 or 3 bedrooms 3 or more bedrooms
Limited layout options Additional rooms (e.g., dining room) may be an option Customization more possible
Average price $78,800 Average price $141,300 Average price $175,000

Recommended: HUD Home Need-to-Knows

Using a Personal Loan to Buy a Mobile Home

Since mobile homes are not typically built on solid foundations and, therefore, can be moved more easily than a traditionally built home, they are often categorized as personal property rather than real property. Because of that, a mobile home buyer may not be able to get a traditional mortgage, a type of financing generally only available for purchases of real property.

Using a personal loan for a mobile home purchase, however, may be an option to consider for several reasons.

•   A cash payment for an average-priced mobile home, at $118,300, might be out of reach for a typical buyer without some sort of financing.

•   A personal loan is often an unsecured loan, which means the borrower doesn’t have to provide collateral to back the loan.

•   With a shorter term than a typical mortgage — perhaps just 10 years — a personal loan for a mobile home purchase could mean full ownership in a shorter amount of time.

Maximum Personal Loan Amount for a Mobile Home

Depending on the total cost of the mobile home, including moving and set-up costs, a buyer may still have to pay for a portion of the cost with cash. The maximum amount of a personal loan varies widely from lender to lender. Some lenders might only lend a maximum of $35,000, while others might lend up to $100,000.

Of course, the amount of personal loan an applicant might qualify for and the personal loan interest rate that may be offered, in addition to other loan terms, will vary depending on each applicant’s overall creditworthiness.

Things To Consider When Buying a Mobile Home

Other than how to finance a mobile home purchase, there are several things to think about when comparing potential future homes.

Location

Deciding on a preferred location to live is the same no matter what type of home is being purchased. Since a mobile home can be moved, though, there is some flexibility with this factor.

A mobile home can be placed on land owned by the homeowner if the buyer wants to have some extra space. There are also mobile home communities, in which the lot is rented. These lots are typically just large enough to accommodate the mobile home, with minimal yard space.

Size

Mobile homes are built in a wide variety of sizes. The living area sufficient for a single homeowner might be much less for a family of four or five people. In addition to the width options of single-wide, double-wide, and triple-wide mobile homes (see table above), there are also different lengths of mobile homes to choose from.

A small, single-wide mobile home may only be 60 feet long, with less than 1,000 square feet of total living space. A single person could live comfortably in this space or two people could share this space.

An average size, double-wide mobile home could be the same length as a single-wide, but double the width and so can have additional bedrooms and perhaps an additional bathroom. At an average of 1,600 square feet, mobile home of this size can accommodate a family of two adults and two children.

A triple-wide, or multi-wide, mobile home is often similarly sized to an average suburban home, at just over 2,000 square feet. A home of this size could accommodate a larger family or even extended family.

Condition

Mobile homes of any size can be purchased new, directly from the manufacturer or home builder (in the case of a modular home), or from a mobile home dealer. Buyers of new mobile homes may be able to choose from a selection of decor options, such as paint color, types of flooring, countertop styles, and more. Some mobile home manufacturers and dealers may offer standard options with the ability to upgrade at an extra cost.

Pre-owned mobile homes are likely to be available from a dealer or from the current owner. The condition of a pre-owned home, whether a mobile home or a traditionally built home, depends on how well the previous owner or owners maintained it. Comparing multiple mobile homes is important when looking for a home that will work for your needs.

It’s possible to remodel mobile home, much like any other home can be remodeled. The main thing to keep in mind when planning to remodel any home is the cost of remodeling.

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


Financing a Mobile Home

Those looking for mobile-home financing may have a few options available to them, but financing a mobile home can be more difficult than with a traditionally built home. However, if a mobile home meets certain requirements, it may be possible to qualify for a traditional home loan. Some typical requirements are:

•   The mobile home must sit on a foundation and have its wheels and axles removed so it is stationary.

•   The borrower needs to own the land under the mobile home.

•   Generally, the mobile home must be at least 400 square feet in size.

•   Comply with HUD regulations.

These requirements qualify the mobile home as real property, which makes it eligible for a mortgage. If a mobile home does not meet the requirements to be classified as real property, though, it will be classified as personal property and other financing options will be necessary.

Personal Loan

Using a personal loan for mobile home financing is a common way to pay for the purchase of this type of home. Some mobile home buyers may use a combination of cash and personal loan funds for the purchase. Others may purchase land with cash and use a personal loan to buy the mobile home itself.

A benefit of using a personal loan is that it’s typically an unsecured loan, meaning the home does not have to be used as collateral against the loan, and the homeowner would not be at risk of losing the home if they default on the unsecured personal loan used to buy the mobile home.

Fannie Mae

If the title includes both the mobile home and the land it resides on and qualifies as real property, then a manufactured home loan under the Fannie Mae MH Advantage® program may be possible. The program offers up to 30-year term fixed-rate mortgages, as well as 7/1 and 10/1 adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). The down payment can be as low as 3% for some borrowers. Investment properties and single-wide mobile homes are ineligible for this type of loan.

Freddie Mac

Similar to the Fannie Mae program, borrowers may qualify for a manufactured home loan under the Freddie Mac CHOICEHome® program if the home meets certain qualifications and qualifies as real property. Fixed-rate mortgages and 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs are available to qualified borrowers. Primary residences and second homes may qualify, but, similar to Fannie Mae, single-wide mobile homes and investment properties do not qualify. Down payments can start as small as 5%.

FHA

Under the HUD Title I program, certain FHA-approved lenders can provide loans to eligible borrowers to help finance purchasing or refinancing a mobile home, the lot a mobile home will reside on, or both. Through this program, the FHA insures the lender against any losses that may occur if the borrower defaults on their loan payments.

The FHA does not lend money, they simply insure the loans to encourage lenders to offer home loans for the purchase of a mobile home. The borrower still has to meet certain credit requirements and show an ability to repay their loan in regular monthly installments. The borrower and the lender negotiate the interest rate, but the lender must offer a fixed interest rate for the entire term of the loan, which typically lasts 20 years.

The maximum loan amounts are:

•   Manufactured home only: $69,678.

•   Manufactured home lot: $23,226.

•   Manufactured home and lot: $92,904.

The maximum loan terms are:

•   Manufactured home or a single-section manufactured home and lot: 20 years.

•   Manufactured home lot loan: 15 years.

•   Multi-section manufactured home and lot: 25 years.

US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Certain VA lenders offer mobile home financing for the purchase or refinance of a mobile home, as well as the lot. Using the loan to improve the lot, refinance a mobile home in order to buy a lot or simply refinance an existing VA mobile home loan are possible.

The mobile home must be considered real property and have a permanent foundation. If it does not meet real property qualifications, the VA will only guarantee 40% of the loan amount.

It is possible to put no money down, without needing mortgage insurance, if the borrower meets the lender’s credit and income requirements. Potential home loan terms can range from 15 to 30 years.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program is specifically for housing, including manufactured homes, in rural areas. The USDA works with lenders to guarantee home loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers to make homeownership more attainable. Applicants must meet income and other eligibility requirements. The property must be considered real property, be in a designated rural area and be less than one year old, among other requirements, to be eligible for the program. Qualified program applicants may be able to receive financing with no down payment.

Recommended: How Much Is a Down Payment on a House?

Where Can I Get a Personal Loan to Buy a Mobile Home?

Finding a personal loan for a mobile home purchase is similar to finding a personal loan for any other purchase. Personal loans can be used for many purposes, and lenders may not ask why you’re applying.

Personal loans can be applied for through traditional banks, credit unions or online lenders.

Getting Approved for a Personal Loan

Approval for a personal loan will be dependent on the applicant’s overall creditworthiness. Lenders will typically check the applicant’s credit report and credit score, verify income and employment, and ask for proof of identification and address.

An applicant with a solid credit report reflecting a history of responsible borrowing will be more likely to qualify for a lower interest rate and more favorable terms than an applicant with poor credit.

The Takeaway

There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a home loan for a mobile home, and financing is just one of them. Deciding to use a personal loan to buy a mobile home will narrow the financing choices down a bit, but comparing unsecured personal loan lenders is still important.

SoFi Personal Loans are quick and easy to apply for, and most importantly, are flexible. SoFi’s unsecured personal loans have no fees and fixed, competitive interest rates.

Check your rate on a personal loan from SoFi

FAQ

Can you get a personal loan for a mobile home?

Yes, personal loans can be used to buy a mobile home. Applicants will need to meet qualification requirements of the lender they’re working with.

What is the maximum personal loan amount for a mobile home?

The maximum loan amount is dependent on the lender. Some lenders may have higher loan amounts than others.

Where can I get a personal loan to buy a mobile home?

Traditional banks, credit unions or online lenders may offer personal loans to buy a mobile home.


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