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Mobile Home Financing Options: Personal Loans and More

By Janet Schaaf · July 23, 2023 · 10 minute read

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Mobile Home Financing Options: Personal Loans and More

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to a traditional house, you might consider buying a mobile home. The price of a mobile home (also known as a manufactured home) is typically much lower than a standard single-family home. Plus, these homes aren’t necessarily temporary. These days, factory-made homes can be just as permanent as houses that are built on-site. They can also be customized in many of the same ways as a traditional home.

While mobile homes don’t always qualify for a traditional mortgage, there are several types of financing that can help make buying a factory-built home more affordable. Read on for a closer look at the process of buying — and financing — a mobile, manufactured, or modular home.

What is the Average Cost of a Mobile Home?

According to the Census Bureau’s February 2022 Manufactured Housing Survey, the average price of a new manufactured home is $128,100.

More specifically, the average price for a single-wide mobile home is $89,200 and average for a double-wide mobile home is $160,400.

However, mobile home prices can vary significantly by region. The highest prices tend to be in the Northeast, where the average cost of a new mobile home is $107,000 for a single-wide and $167,800 for a double-wide.

The lowest prices are typically in the South, where the average price for a single-wide is $88,200 and average cost of a double-wide is $157,900.

In the West, a single-wide mobile home averages $92,800 and a double-wide averages $170,000, while in the Midwest, a single-wide mobile home averages $85,300 and a double-wide averages $158,800.

Recommended: How to Budget for Buying A House

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

The terms mobile home, manufactured home, and modular home are often used interchangeably. While all three refer to homes built in a factory rather than on-site, there are some differences between them. Below, we break it down.

Mobile Home

A mobile home is a prefabricated home built on a permanent trailer chassis that was constructed prior to June 15, 1976. That is when the U.S. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enacted the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act. After that date, new safety standards went into effect, which led to a new designation for these homes.

Manufactured Home

Like a mobile home, a manufactured home is built almost exclusively in a factory rather than on-site. However, these homes were built after June 15, 1976, when HUD put new safety standards into effect for mobile homes and changed the name of these structures from “mobile” homes to “manufactured” homes.

Another difference between mobile and manufactured homes is that manufactured homes typically are not moved after assembly. That said, it is possible to move a manufactured home if it has a pier and beam foundation. Manufactured homes need to not only meet HUD standards but also local building standards for the communities where they will be located.

Recommended: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Manufactured Home?

Modular Homes

Like mobile and manufactured homes, modular homes are built in a factory and shipped to the land where they will be set up. However, modular homes are often delivered in two or more modules (hence the name) that are then put together on-site by a contractor.

Modular homes are not designed to be relocated and are placed on a permanent foundation. Once put together, these homes have a lot in common with on-site built homes. They may have a basement and/or crawlspace, come in a variety of layouts, and can be one or two stories.

Like manufactured homes, modular homes must adhere to local building codes.

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Things To Consider When Buying a Mobile Home

To find the best mobile home for your needs, here are some things to keep in mind.

Location

As with any home purchase, location is key. You can install your mobile home on land you already own, or purchase land for your mobile home. In either case, you’ll want to make sure that local zoning regulations allow for the installation of mobile homes and that the local utilities are able to connect a mobile home.

Another location option is to rent a plot of land in a mobile home community. If you find a community you like, it’s a good idea to find out what their restrictions are for home size and features before you buy a mobile home.

Size

Mobile homes are usually classified by their width. A single-wide is slightly under 15 feet wide and around 70 feet long. A double-wide mobile home is usually the same length but double the width — around 30 feet wide.

Due to their long, narrow shape, single-wide homes have fewer floorplan options and can work best for individuals or couples. Double-wide homes offer more space, as well as design options, and can be ideal for larger families.

Keep in mind that larger homes will, of course, be more expensive and also require a larger lot.

New vs Used

These days, you find new manufactured homes with all kinds of bells and whistles, including vaulted ceilings, walk-in closets, and luxurious bathrooms. If you’re looking to save money, however, you might consider going with a used mobile home. Just keep in mind that a used home may show signs of wear and tear (depending on how well it was maintained) and that some mobile home sites don’t allow homes made before a certain date.

Financing a Mobile Home

Once you’ve decided on the type and size of mobile home you want to buy, it’s time to figure out how you are going to pay for it. While it can be harder to find a loan for a mobile home than a traditional home, there are still a number of options. Here are some to consider.

Fannie Mae

While not all lenders finance manufactured homes, some may offer Fannie Mae’s MH Advantage program. These loans come with terms of 30 years, competitive rates, and down payments as low as 3%.

However, they also come with strict qualification criteria: The manufactured home must be at least 12 feet wide, have a minimum of 600 square feet, and can’t be on leased land. The home also needs to have a driveway and a sidewalk that connects the driveway, carport, or detached garage.

Freddie Mac

Another option for manufactured home financing is the Freddie Mac Home Possible mortgage program. This program offers 15-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate loans, as well as adjustable-rate mortgages. Like Fannie Mae, these loans typically come with low rates and down payments as low as 3%. Freddie Mac loans also have strict criteria for qualification: The home must be considered real property, have at least 400 square feet of living space, and be built on a permanent chassis.

FHA

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which offers loans for traditional homes with flexible credit and down payment requirements, also offers manufactured home loans called Title I and Title II loans.

You can use a Title I loan to buy a manufactured home (but not the land it sits on), provided that the property is your primary residence, is connected to utilities, and meets FHA guidelines. These loans typically come with terms up to 20 years and relatively low loan amounts.

Title II loans, by contrast, can be used to purchase both a manufactured home and the land it sits on together. However, the home must count as real property and have been built after 1976.

US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

If you’re a member of the military community, you may be able to qualify for a loan insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to purchase a mobile or manufactured home. To qualify for a VA loan for a manufactured home, your home must be on a permanent foundation, meet HUD guidelines, and must be purchased with the land underneath it. These loans often offer 100% financing with no money down; terms can range from 20 to 25 years.

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Chattel Loans

A chattel loan is a loan designed to purchase different types of expensive personal property, such as cars, boats, and mobile homes. You don’t have to own the land your home will sit on to get a chattel loan, so this can be a good option if you plan to rent a space in a mobile home community. Some lenders also offer chattel loans that are insured by the FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service (RHS) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Chattel loans typically have higher rates and shorter terms than traditional mortgages. Like a traditional mortgage, however, these loans hold the property being financed as collateral for the loan. That means that if you run into trouble making payments, the lender can seize and re-sell the mobile home.

Personal Loans

Since mobile homes generally cost far less than traditional homes, you may be able to finance your purchase through a personal loan.

Personal loans are typically unsecured loans with a fixed interest rate that can be used for virtually any purpose (including the purchase of a mobile home). These loans don’t have restrictions on how your mobile home is built, so you can likely qualify even if it’s fully movable and not attached to a permanent foundation. Also, personal loans don’t put your home at risk, and the application process and time to funding tends to be shorter than other types of mobile home loans. However, interest rates may be higher.

While some lenders offer maximum personal loans of $40,000 to $50,000, others will let you borrow $100,000 or more. If you can find a larger personal loan, it may be enough to finance a mobile, manufactured, or modular home.

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

Getting Approved for a Personal Loan

If you’re thinking about applying for a mobile home loan, here are some steps that can help streamline the process.

1. Check Your Credit Reports

Whenever you apply for any type of financing, a lender will likely look at your credit history to help them determine how much they will lend to you and at what rate (or if they will lend to you at all). It’s wise to look at your three credit reports, see where you stand, and make sure there aren’t any mistakes or inaccuracies that could negatively affect your credit. You can get free copies of your credit reports from the three consumer bureaus — Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® — at AnnualCreditReport.com.

2. Determine Whether You’re Buying Land and a Mobile Home

This will determine how much money you need to borrow, as well as what your financing options are. Some lenders will only offer mobile home financing if the home will be permanently set up on land that you own.

3. Save For a Down Payment

While it’s not always required, you may also want to think about saving for a down payment on your manufactured or mobile home.

4. Find the Right Lender

Interest rates can vary from one lender to the next, so it can definitely pay to shop around and compare offerings from banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Some lenders will allow you to “prequalify” for a loan with a soft credit check (which doesn’t impact your credit score). This will allow you to get an idea of the loan amount and rate you may be able to qualify for before you officially apply.

The Takeaway

While mobile and manufactured homes are typically more affordable than a traditional home, you may still need financing to cover the cost of the purchase. You may be able to get a loan from the same sources as traditional mortgages (such as FHA and VA loans). Other options include specialized manufactured home loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, chattel loans, and personal loans.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


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FAQ

Can you get a personal loan for a mobile home?

Yes, a personal loan can be used to buy a mobile, manufactured, or modular 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. Many have maximum loan amounts of $40,000 and $50,000 but some will offer up to $100,000. The amount you can borrow will also depend on your income, credit score, and other factors.

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

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


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*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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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