How to Solve Mobile Home Title Issues

what mobile home titles look like in different states

In the US, 42 states still use a certificate of title for manufactured homes, just like they do for cars. The biggest problem with mobile home titles as that each state handles mobile home titles a bit differently so there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy. In addition, there are many different buying and selling scenarios for mobile homes so things can get real messy real fast.

There are different titling procedures for each scenario and every state handles them their own way. Did you inherit a mobile home in a park? Are you buying a mobile home but the seller doesn’t have a title? Do you want to sell your mobile home but can’t find the title? We’ll cover all these situations and more. 

In this article, you’ll learn where mobile homes are titled in your state, how to correct errors for mobile home titles and the terminology used in the process.

Mobile and Manufactured Home Defined

Mobile and Manufactured homes are built on a steel chassis in a factory and delivered to the home site.

What is a Mobile Home?

A mobile home is a factory-built home constructed before July 1976 when the HUD code took effect. A manufactured home is a factory-built house built after the HUD code and meets national minimum regulations.

What’s the difference between mobile and manufactured homes?

The most popular mobile homes are single wides and double wides but triple wides are gaining interest. The age and size of a mobile home will determine how many states classify and title your home.

Mobile homes can be set up on a lot, with wheels still attached, but you can also install the home permanently on your owned land. There are benefits to permanently installing a mobile home such as tax and appreciation. We’ll cover that below. 

What is a Manufactured Home?

A manufactured home is a factory-built home that was built after June 1976. This date is significant because that’s when the HUD code was officially enacted. However, some homes built a year or so before this date may meet the code because builders had a couple of years to prepare for the regulations. The HUD code made the homes safer, stronger, and more energy efficient and created national regulations that all builders had to meet.

(For simplicity’s sake, going forward we’ll use the term mobile home.)

Understanding Mobile Home Titles, Deeds, Certificate of Origin, Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin

Cars, boats, ATVs, and motorcycles all have titles or certificates proving ownership to the item. Even though a mobile home is a HOUSE they have a title, or sometimes titles, as well. However, a few have a deed. Confusing, huh?

Deeds

Manufactured homes that are permanently installed to the land and classified as real property will have a deed. Surrendering the title is actually a big part of having a mobile or manufactured home reclassified as real property.

Title, Certificate of Origin, Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin

A mobile home title is also called a certificate of origin or a manufacturer’s statement of origin. Since the early days before mobile homes, titles were used as an instrument to prove both ownership and that all taxes and fees were paid.

A title shows a ton of information: the serial number, the builder and the factory where it was built, and who inspected it.

Since titles act as a certificate of ownership in most states they must be submitted or registered whenever the home has been bought or sold. Every new owner submits the signed title and pays the fees so it can be updated in the state’s database.

Titles also act as proof that a fee has been paid to the state so that the home can be transported via public highways. One certificate is required for each separate unit of the home. Therefore, a double wide will have 2 titles, a triple wide 3.

State Agency Responsible for Mobile Home Titling

In the majority of states, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be the agency you need to deal with regarding mobile home titles.

Oregon is a state that doesn’t use titles through the DMV for mobile homes. They’ve released a very informative booklet called Manufactured Home Ownership Document Transaction Guide.

A simple Google search with you state and the words ‘mobile home title’ will help you locate the agency that handles mobile home titles.

Personal Property or Real Property?

In most cases, a new manufactured home always starts as personal property or chattel. Chattel simply means any privately-owned property that isn’t real estate. Boats, cars, campers are all considered to be chattel.

75% of all mobile and manufactured homes in the US are classified as personal property even if the homeowner owns the land.

Chattel Classifications

A manufactured home is not is almost always titled as personal property when it is purchased new.

If you own the land that a mobile home is on but it isn’t permanently installed it will remain classified as chattel. The advantage of a personal property classification is usually lower taxes.

Mobile homes classified as a personal property has many disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that chattel lending has higher interest rates and shorter loan terms. The second disadvantage, and most problematic, is lackluster appreciation rates. Manufactured homes not attached to property rarely gain value well.

application for retirement of mobile home certificate of title in FLorida
FL application for retirement of a mobile home title so it can be classified as real property.

Real Property Classification

A mobile or manufactured home can be reclassified as real estate or real property. To do this, the home must be permanently installed on privately owned land. A very few states will allow mobile homes to be classified as real property if they are permanently installed on land with long-term leases.

When the home is permanently attached the owner will file for a Certificate of Retirement (or equivalent) and a real estate deed is then issued for the whole property.

The Uniform Mobile Housing Act (UMHA) outlines a nationwide system that could help homeowners convert their homes into real property. This system could help brand new manufactured homes get classified as real property as soon as it’s permanently installed on the homeowner’s land – skipping the personal property classification completely. Anything that will help increase the real property classification is worth attention.

A few notes:

  • Only 25% of manufactured homes are classified as real property in the US.
  • 75% of all manufactured homes are on land owned by the homeowner.
  • Land owned by manufactured homeowners is (on average) twice the size of a site-built homeowner.

To have your chattel home reclassified as real property you will need to follow your state’s process, usually, that starts with a ‘Certificate of Location’ with the county and pay the associated fees.

Retiring a Mobile Home Title to Become Real Property

To get a mobile home classified as real property many states require the owner to retire the title. For example, Florida has one of the more complex mobile home title retirement systems. Once the title is retired and the warranty deed issued, future transfers will occur with deeds instead of the old title applications (source).

Mobile Home Titles shares the rules and process:

  • the mobile home and land are properly titled into the same names
  • the home is permanently affixed to the land
  • the home is legally declared real property with valid RP stickers issued
  • The Manufacturers Statement of Origin can no longer be retired but must be titled first
  • the mobile home and land must be in the same names and home permanently affixed to the land before the mobile home title can be retired
  • all mobile homes must have valid RP stickers before they can be retired.
  • Most counties in FL need to see that the mobile home is included in the legal description on a deed where the land and home have been sold together as a package.

It’s even more complicated to severe a manufactured home from a real property deed. The state of VA published a full list of the steps required.

mobile home seriel number on beam
Mobile home serial number stamped on chassis.

VIN: Vehicle Identification Number

Each manufactured home has a Vehicle Identification Number, just like your cars and trucks. For a double or triple wide, the VIN will be the same number with an A, B, or C added to the end to represent each section.

If you have an older mobile home, the VIN will likely be on a decal or sticker, or stamped, under the front steel cross-member of the chassis or tongue.

In newer homes, it will be the easiest way to find your VIN is on a white sheet of paper with a map of the US. These papers are glued to walls of a master closet, the back of a kitchen cabinet door, or in the laundry room.

Manufactured Home HUD Tag - DATA PLATE EXAMPLE
A manufactured home data plate is just a sheet of paper.

Updating a Title is Important

Many legal and tax issues have occurred because a buyer failed to register the title into their name through the state agency (usually the Department of Motor Vehicles).

A may buyer think just having the title on hand, without registering it into the state’s database, means they completely own the home. This is not true in many states. Until the title has been issued into the new owner’s name, the home is ‘technically’ still the sellers.

Ordering a Duplicate Title

If you buy an older mobile home and the current owner doesn’t have the title, you will need to have the seller order a duplicate title.

In some states, it’s very easy to file for a duplicate title on a mobile home. In others, it’s a multi-step process that could cost a couple hundred dollars.

As an example, applying for a new certificate of ownership in West Virginia requires the following information:

  • Ownership documents such as loan contract, insurance policy, and personal property tax receipts for the last five years
  • A VIN Verification (DMV-1-B) completed and signed by a law enforcement officer
  • A completed Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle
  • A completed Owner and Purchasing Affidavit
  • $15.00 title fee
How to Solve Mobile Home Title Issues 1

Common and Not-so-Common Titling Issues for Mobile Homes

You can hire mobile home title service companies that can help clear up any legal issues. They’ve seen every possible scenario. One company shares some of the most memorable mobile home title issues:

  • the mobile home title may have never been transferred and could still be in the name of the third owner back
  • the home could still be in the deceased mother’s name
  • the title could still be in the name of the bank that foreclosed on it six years ago
  • or in the ex-husband’s name who has been in jail for 9 years
  • property issues, sales tax, or back mobile home taxes due
  • the seller may be an investor or a bank that owns multiple mobile home properties has the  wrong title

Do Not Buy a Mobile Home Without a Title

If you are buying a mobile home with no title, stop. Do not continue with the process until a legal title or certificate of ownership is visible and valid.

You need a valid title for two reasons: to make sure the seller is listed as the owner of the home and to make extra sure there are no liens or holds attached to the title/mobile home.

Do not close on the transaction until you have the correct title in hand.

WV’s web page has the following in bold lettering:

No person may transfer, purchase, or sell a mobile home, house trailer, or manufactured home without a certificate of title.

Warning

No person may transfer, purchase, or sell a mobile home, house trailer, or manufactured home without a certificate of title.

That shows just how important a title is when buying a mobile home.

The owner of record must be available to transfer ownership, so you, your realtor, or the closing attorney have to track them down so they can sign the title over to you.

The owner or seller will contact the DMV or state agency in charge of mobile home titles and file for a lost or duplicate title request. In order to get a replacement title, the owner will need to prove ownership and that all taxes are paid. This can be a tricky endeavor and all kinds of issues can arise.

mobile home title in New York
New York State mobile home title

How to Change the Name on a Title

For a simple name change on a valid title you just need to give the state agency the information they need and pay a fee. Some states will require a ton of paperwork.

Wrong Name on the Title

If you want to buy a mobile home but the name is wrong on the title there is a two-part process to get it corrected. Basically, there are two title transactions that need to happen in this scenario but you’re only involved in one.

First, you have to find the true owner listed on the title and have them sign the title over to the person selling the home to you. In some states, they will hand that over to the state, pay the necessary fees and have a new title printed. The seller will sign the new title over to you. You’ll then repeat the process with the DMV or titling agent in your state to have a new title printed with your name as the owner.

Fortunately, many states allow all the three parties to sign the same certificate of title and some have started electronic lien and title services.

There are times when a home has been sold but the paperwork was not “official”; in those cases, a paper Bill of Sale is NOT sufficient to prove ownership; the original owner must be a party to the transaction.

If a seller doesn’t have the legal title to the mobile home you must insist they get one. A bill of sale will not suffice as proof of ownership in most states. Yes, it may work in many situations but it will not work for most state titling.

How to Solve Mobile Home Title Issues 2

Did You Inherit a Mobile Home?

If you inherited a mobile home that has been paid off you need to get the title put in your name as soon as possible. The estate executor can sign the title over to you. You can also file for Power of Attorney and handle the legalities from that angle.

If the home is still being paid on, you will need to pay the home off and have the title put in your name or contact that lender. Hiring an attorney will be your best move in most inheritance situations.

Make Sure it’s the Right Title

Make sure there is a valid title. If there isn’t a valid title you must insist the seller goes to the DMV or state agency to get one. Do not buy a home without a valid title.

Do not buy a home without a valid title.

You must ensure it’s the right title. Check for the data plate mentioned above in a closet or cabinet and see that the numbers on the home match the numbers on the title.

Make Sure there are No Liens

If the title is valid and the numbers on the home match the title, go to your state agency and use the numbers on it to make sure there are no back taxes, liens, or holds attached to the home. In most states, you will need to do this in person.

Some states, like Utah, have an online search system to check for liens. Your state may as well. Do a quick Google search using terms like ‘lien search in your state’ or ‘mobile home lien search.’

Is it an Unidentifiable Mobile Home?

If you can’t find the data plate or serial number you may still have a remedy but it will cost money.

Some states, like Florida, have support agencies that will inspect the home to look for identifying information and establishing documentation to help back a title application. Private title companies may be able to help as well.

Each state varies, so you will need to contact the state agency that handles titles (see below) to see what the protocol is for unidentifiable mobile homes.

What to do if there are Liens on a Mobile Home Title

The is only one good thing about dealing with liens and titles on a mobile home. The paperwork is easy to find because liens are usually recorded diligently.

The bad news is that there is money owed on the home. Therefore, the title can’t be transferred to you until those liens are settled.

If the seller is using the proceeds from the sale to pay off that lien it’s a pretty standard transaction. You can get a clear title once the debt is paid (the closing attorney pays that directly to the lender on your behalf). Just make sure you use a middle man, or escrow.

The seller must pay all leins off before you can get the title.

 mobile home titles are confusing
Dealing with mobile home titling can be difficult.

Rent-to-Own, Title Searches, and Liens

Be very careful with all rent-to-own situations.

One of our readers told a heartbreaking story about their rent-to-own experience. They had purchased a small property in NC with a permanently installed single wide on a rent to own contract. The property was valued at $58,000 and they paid 10% down. They had an accountant friend look over the paperwork and the title was present and valid. A quick title search was done at the county courthouse.

The home buyer thought she had done everything right. But two years later she received a letter from a bank in Georgia demanding they vacate the property. They lost the property because the seller had used the property as collateral to buy another property in SC. When they failed to make the payments the property in NC was forfeited.

These situations happen far more than most realize and it’s especially easy with mobile homes.

Warning

If you are thinking of buying a mobile home through a private sale you need to hire an attorney or agent that is well-versed in the process. There are so many things that can go wrong. It really is worth the added expense.

If you are thinking of buying a mobile home through a private sale you need to hire an attorney or agent that is well-versed in the process. There are so many things that can go wrong. It really is worth the added expense.

State Guides to Buying and Titling Mobile Homes

We’ve published several articles that detail all the most important information you need to buy a mobile home in that state. Click here to see our state guides to buying a mobile home.

Mobile Home Titling Could Use Some Changes

Mobile home titles, property classifications, and VINs are frustrating obstacles faced by buyers and sellers. It’s as frustrating as painting vinyl walls!

Watch Out for Parks

I’ve heard a few stories over the years that absolutely make my blood boil and they all involve parks and titles. Some parks require titles to the home and then refuse to give them back when you try to sell the home. A park in MI is being sued by several people claiming the park used some very shady tactics to essentially steal the home.

Plaintiff purchased a 1970 mobile home with money he inherited from the death of his father.  When he decided to relocate, he found a buyer for his mobile home but the mobile home park refused to approve the purchase.  In fact, the mobile home park repeatedly proposed that he simply sign over the title to the mobile home in lieu of unpaid lot rent.  Plaintiff refused because the value of the mobile home was much greater than the rent he owed and he informed the park that he would pay the rent from the sale proceeds.  He continued with his efforts to sell his home when he heard from an interested purchaser that someone was living in his home. Plaintiff then discovered that he had been formally evicted from the park without having been given notice and that three weeks later, the mobile home park had claimed they “purchased” his mobile home, obtained a title and sold it to someone else.  

Parks wouldn’t be able to do this if the titles were handled differently. Mobile home owners should have their own titles or registration systems that is separate from the automobile.

Titles are complicated because we’re using a system made for automobiles. In the beginning, when mobile homes and trailers were towed by personal automobiles, it made sense to use a titling system but it doesn’t make sense anymore. Our homes are not cars. 

If you have any tips or advice titling a mobile home in your state please let us know in the comments below.

As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living! 

what mobile home titles look like in different states
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46 thoughts on “How to Solve Mobile Home Title Issues”

  1. My late husband and I purchased a mobile home and received Bill of sale but never titled the home in our names. I have lost the bill of sale. Can I still have the home titled in my name. I wish to sell it.

    1. Hi Mary,

      You’ll need to go to your state’s titling agency (usually the DMV) and see what they will require or accept as proof of ownership. Please do whatever it takes to get the title in your name – it can cause a ton of issues in the future for you and your children.

      Best of luck!

  2. Crystal,
    I purchased a mobile home a year ago in the State of Mississippi. I took the owner/seller with me to the Mississippi State Tax Commission office as you suggested in item no. 12 of the table of contents to make sure there were no liens or back taxes owed on the mobile home. They checked and no liens or back taxes showed up on the title so I then had the owner to sign the title over to me and I then handed the title back to the clerk who was waiting on us and she then immediately handed me back a title in my name to the mobile home. After the purchase, I had the mobile home moved from the County it was purchased in, to the County I live in and then registered the mobile home at the County Court House. Everything was ok until last week my wife went to the Court House to purchase a tag for a vehicle and the County that I purchased the mobile home in had a lien against the mobile home for back taxes the owner/seller had not paid. Please advise me as to what you think I need to do about this situation.

    Thanks,
    Luther

    1. Hi Luther,

      I’m terribly sorry it has happened. Unfortunately, this is over my head. Depending on the amount of the back taxes, I would say pay them and write them off on your taxes as an expense if possible. Otherwise, I would contact a lawyer and see if opening a small claim case against the seller would be a good move.

      Sorry, this one is a new one on me but please keep me informed so I can learn how to help the next person with a similar situation. Best of luck!

  3. I bought a Double wide in 2003 and never got it titled at the DMV. I received the MCO from the Dealer but it was never Notarized. I recently tried to get it titled but I am having no success. The Dealer is no longer in business and they wanted me to fill out a MVR-2. I just had the Double wide register as real property on the deed, but I am trying to sell the property. When they did a title search it listed the title as pending. I been calling the DMV to get this resolve but feels like I am getting the run around. I paid for it in cash so no mortgage payment, and no lien on property. They told me I needed to get a court order, but court will not do anything since I have no proof of who sign the MCO and it was not notarized. Court system says they normally deal with situations where mortgage was involved. What do I need to do to get the title so I cancel it.

    1. Hi Phillip,

      I’m sorry this is happening. I’m gonna be honest, this is over my head. It’s a common enough issue in WV that the state has a fairly simple process to remedy messy issues like yours. Unfortunately, I’m not too familiar with NC regulations but I would suspect that the state agency or the NC manufactured homeowners association may be able to help. This article has information for those agencies in it.

      Best of luck. Please let me know how it goes.

    1. Hi Debra,

      I have no idea. I know in WV that if you have more than one person on a title you have to be very careful to use the words and/or correctly. If you use ‘and’ you have to have both signatures to sell or transfer the title. You should be able to call your local DMV or title agency to find out. It will vary by state.

      Will you let me know what you find out? I’m interested to learn the answer. Thanks!

  4. Hi good afternoon! I’m in the process of possibly buying a mobile home in payments. The new owner bought the mobile home 1 year ago and has not changed the title under her name—name is still under previous owner. New owner states she has the proof of signatures and paperwork that proofs her ownership. Does she need to change title under her name first before selling it? Or can she still process paperwork to sell? Thanks for the Information.

    1. Hi Lina,

      Yes. She should have the title with her name (current owner) before she sells the home. With mobile homes, the title is king and will be required for any kind of financing. Please make her file the tile in her name and then when she received it she can sign it over to you and you can register it in to your name.

  5. We are trying to refinance our double wide…when we first bought it we didn’t put land up with it, but now that we are trying to refinance we are wanting to put land with it. However the bank is saying that we just have a title for our double wide and yet to refinance we need it to be real property. How do we go about getting that changed/fixed?

    1. Hi Courtney,

      In most states, in order to have your property (home/land) listed as real property it must be permanently installed and the title surrendered to the state. They will then issue you a deed and you will start paying regular ole property taxes based on the perceived value of the assessor. Permanently installed means that the foundation and the tie-downs meet the state’s code for permanent installation (usually a poured pad or footers, properly installed tie-downs, and whatever kind of skirting they require). This can cost thousands of dollars but sometimes it will just take an inspection if you hade the home installed well.

      Unfortunately, it is very difficult to refinance any kind of mobile or manufactured home. I’ve read that less than 1% of refinancing attempts are approved. It’s often much easier to just get a personal loan.

      PS: A permanently installed mobile home can have vinyl skirting in many states. Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners think that a permanently installed mobile home means the home has brick or cinderblock foundation/skirting but that isn’t the case in most states.

      Hope that helps. Best of luck.

  6. melissa keller-flowers

    I purchased a mobile home many years ago and paid by check. it was delivered and set up. No wheels attached. Seller was to send me title but to this day still has not its been 15 years. He is rude and will not work with me. Is there a time limit on the title of owership. I have a so so bill of sale.This guy was supposed to be my husbands friend. What a friend. He is a used car salesman. Any advise. I live in San Antonio, Texas

    1. Hi Melissa,

      This happens a lot. I’d try applying for a lost title with your local title agency (DMV) and see what they say. Some states have title companies you can hire to track down issues (Florida has them so TX may). In WV, a bill of sale and the fact that you live in the home is sufficient enough evidence that you own it but I know some states are more complicated (especially southern states – everything seems to be overly beaurocratic and expensive for some reason). Best of luck!

    2. Hi Crystal,
      I purchased a manufactured home and land in 11/18. We are trying to refinance and the title company found an issue. They found that the neighbors next to us had titles issued to them and retired with our VIN numbers! The home next door has changed hands many times. We had a compliance examiner from the DMV come out and gave us two affidavits stating that our HUD labels matched the VIN numbers(verified by looking underneath our home). What can we do at this point? Someone told me legal action is our only option but others tell me the DMV should just issue us new VIN numbers.

  7. Hello there,
    My parents purchased a double wide manufactured home in 1985. Shortly after their purchase the company they bought from went bankrupt and out of business. Their home was delivered about 8 months after purchase. My father passed away a few years ago and my Mom is looking to sell. We have been unable to find the title for the home. We went to the DOL in Washington state where the home resides and they have no record of the home. We also went to the Auditor’s office and they too have no record of the mobile home. My thought is that the title was never transferred when sold and now I don’t know how to locate it. Please help!

  8. Hi .. I have a question.. I bought a mobile home many years ago .. never received the title ..now I want to move .. I found a lien from a previous owner who is now deceased.. what do I do?

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      This is going to depend on your state. I would start by calling your state’s DMV and seeing if they handle mobile home titles. From there you’ll need to find out how to handle the issue. If there are unpaid leins there may also be unpaid taxes so this could be a complex issue. Fortunately, most states have seen these issues many times and have developed a system to clear them up quickly and easily. Best of luck!

  9. Hi
    My parents bought a mobile home in 1984 – Brand new .
    They need there title or Bill of sale to prove ownership to have work done on the mobile home . The agency that wants to do the work cannot do anything without it
    We have called the bank where the mobile home loan was thru ( bank – Greentree has since been bought out by Something like D’ietrick
    We have
    Given them account number
    My father’s SS#, Name
    Address and they cannot locate anything !
    There HAS to be a Copy of this mobile home title or Bill of sale archived somewhere
    HELP

    1. Hi Laurie,

      The title is usually held within a state agency like the DMV and not with the bank/finance company. It’s just like a car title. Just follow the article to find your state’s agency that handles mobile home titles and file for a lost title.

      Best of luck!

  10. I am looking at a property listing that show 40+ pictures of a double wide mobile home and the property it sits on. The realtor keeps saying that only the property is for sale but at the same time talks about the double wide(DW). When asked if the double wide will be removed if I buy the property he says ” neither I nor the Seller will be removing it”. (A bank is the Seller since the listing is a foreclosure ). When asked directly about the DW , the realtor responds mechanically that only the property is for sale. Why is he so mysterious about the DW ? He says that it is the buyers responsibility to determine if the double wide title has been retired. It appears by pictures that the double wide is on blocks ( because there is skirting present) but an 1 room addition on a foundation is attached to it. I don’t want the property if the double wide is not included.
    Doing some research I have learned that for a title to be retired the DW has to be declared Real Property which means it has to be permanently installed on a property and then a Deed will be issued for the DW and the property. So this means it has not been retired.
    What is going on here and why does the listing have pics of the DW ( inside and out ) if its a ‘land only’ sale.
    Confused in PA

    1. I’m just as confused as you, Jeff, but I have an idea as to why they may be doing this. Perhaps it may be easier to get financed to make the home appear as an “as is” structure on the land (using the bank’s own loopholes). It’s difficult to get anyone to finance an older manufactured home even if it’s on land. By listing and selling the property as land with a building instead of a home on land, it may be easier to finance a buyer.

      If it’s not that it may just be the Realtor’s ignorance of manufactured homes. In my experience, most Realtors and agents won’t accept manufactured home listings and know very little about them. It’s common for licensed agents to give potential buyers the wrong information about manufactured homes.

      Best of luck!

  11. Hi Crystal, I own a mobile home in Florida that I paid cash for and have a clear title. I got married a year ago and want to add my husbands name to the title. I am 75 and my husband will be 80 in December and we are both in good health. I want to insure that if I pass first that he can remain in the house which we have lived in for 5 years. I think that the only way to do that is to put his name on the title. How do I do that in Florida? Any information you can give me will be appreciate.
    Thank you,
    Susan Stevens

  12. I’m in Louisiana and trying to buy a mobile home from a private owner and they don’t even know if they ever had a title. The company they bought it from is out of business and the manufacturer is also out of business.What do they need to do to get a title?

    1. Hi Crystal,

      Mississippi has some odd rules that we haven’t really encountered in any other state. Their website states that a manufactured home older than a 2000 model may not have been titled at all (from the way I understood it). Titles were only required after 2000 and if the home was bought from a dealer before 2000. However, I think most all manufactured homes are originally purchased from a dealer since builders aren’t allowed to sell directly to a consumer so the language is misleading or at the least very easy to misunderstand. I would call your local Dept of Revenue or a private titling company. I can’t think of any good reason why a manufactured home wouldn’t require titling.
      Best of luck!

  13. Hi Crystal,
    I am from NY. In 2008 my father put a manufactured home on our land. We still own the land. He bought the home for cash there was and is no lien. Dad is now in poor health and we are thinking it would be a good idea to put the home in our name. Going through his papers we found the Certificate of Origin and paperwork for him to file with the DMV. It appears he never did that. Now what??
    Thank you,
    Denise

    1. Hi Denise,

      You should still be able to get it registered. Many states are pretty lenient about these sorts of issues (I know WV is, I guess they know many people simply don’t know to register their titles). You may have to pay back taxes and penalties on it though. Call your DMV (or agency that handles mobile home titles in your state) and they should be able to help.

      I hope your father sees better health soon. My own father is battling black lung/lung cancer and it’s absolutely heartbreaking watching a parent suffer. Best of luck.

  14. Hi, I live in Arkansas and before my mom got remarried in 2001, she quitclaim deeded and sold me our mobile home….I have the original pink slip, the deed and my bill of sale showing that I own the home….she passed away in 2003 and a year ago I was going to sale the home, but I have no idea were the original title is and I have been going back and forth between our DMV and the bank that she took out the orignal loan whn she bought this home(which she paid off before she sold it to me and put it into my name)…..I can not get the back to give me anything showing that the home was paid off and I am needing a release of Lein for the DMV to issue me a replacement title so that I can sell it….Any help would be nice….Thank you, Susan

    1. Hi Susan,

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Unfortunately, I can’t help. Every state does things differently. Most of the time, these situations only get resolved by pure will – you keep calling and bugging the people at the bank and the DMV (nicely but effectively). I’ve noticed if you just keep asking questions you sometimes get the information you need. It seems like people in power won’t willingly tell you anything helpful if it’s not easy to answer but they will answer questions, you just have to ask the right questions.

      I do know that most states have a process to get a lost title – and that title has to be somewhere (I mean, it couldn’t have a loan without it). You have all the info you usually need to prove ownership. Best of luck!

      1. Hi, My Mom lives in Harding, IL. She is 79 & trying to sell her 1968 mobile home. Here’s the problem, she has a Title but no VIN and they are asking for it. On the tongue there is a number but it cant be read except for 2 numbers. The DMV said they cant help. She needs to sell since she can no longer live alone. Please advise us.Thanks

      2. Hi Brenda,

        The VIN, or serial number (technically that is what its called), may be notated on the loan or insurance papers. Since it’s a 1968 model it’s awesome that she has the title. I don’t think serial numbers were set up as the sequence we have now until 1976 so maybe it could be classified differently (as a vintage or unknown). I’d contact your Secretary of State or DMV and see what can be done. Usually, a title is sufficient.

        Best of luck!

      3. I have a 30 yr old mobile home in Mo.I have paid personal property each yr and have realized I never received the title even though it is paid in full.How do I get a title?

      4. Hi Jackie,

        Just follow the steps in the article to obtain a lost title. It depends on which state you are in on the process to have the home registered in your name but after 30 years it should be clear you own it.

        Best of luck!

  15. Hi Crystal. Im interested in purchasing a 1986 mobile home with land, no park. The realtor has informed me the seller doesnt have title. The seller bought the home with no title. The realtor says they sell homes lije this all the time. The house is on piers and there is a deed for property. This is PA. What are your thoughts? Thanks

    1. Hi Helena,

      Please do not buy a mobile or manufactured home without a title. I just read an article that talked about how mobile home owners weren’t able to get FEMA help after they lost everything in a tornado because they didn’t have a title to the home registered with the state. That shows you how important a title is and if that realtor is doing this without telling the buyers how serious the issue is, she is doing a huge disservice to her clients. I’d change realtors. In most states, you do not legally own a mobile or manufactured home until the title (or titles if it’s a double wide) is registered and reprinted in your name.

      Fortunately, it isn’t that difficult to get a title. Most states have a lost title process. Just make the seller obtain the title in their name (that’s important) before you will buy it. Best of luck!

    2. I bought a mobile home in Goodlettsville Tennessee from a mobile home park. They said they had the title to it and I would receive it when I paid it off. I paid it off and now they say they do not have a title. They will not buy it back and they said I can’t move it without a title. What can I do?

      1. Hi Vanessa,

        I think I emailed you the other day but if not, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. TN is like WV and pretty easy to deal with on mobile home related issues. Parks are notorious for this kind of bull so the owners will just give up and they can resell the home again and again. The title should be registered with the DMV and the park probably has a lien on it. Go to your local DMV and apply for the title (you can use the home’s serial number and your bill of sale to get the lien removed. You may also be able to file for a lost title. The DMV will be able to point you in the right direction.

        Best of luck!

    1. Hi Mike,

      Looks like NY DMV is where you need to go. If you need to transfer ownership to the spouse it requires a few forms and steps. You may just be able to add her through a duplicate title situation which would be easier. Here’s the link to the NY DMV site.

      I would like to add that in some states if you already owned personal property before the marriage it isn’t considered a marital asset in the divorce so you won’t have to divide it. But if you add them to the title you are losing that protection (if NY has it). You can always put it in a will that the new spouse gets the home should you pass to give them that kind of protection (I’m not a lawyer but I have been divorced and I learned a few things during that fiasco…lol).

      Best of luck!

  16. Hi Crystal,

    Very well written article.

    I have an idea for mobile home related business and would love to run it by you if you have a few minutes minutes.
    Thanks a lot,
    Anar

      1. I bought a mobile home in illinois 3 years ago. I had some issues transferring the title having to do with the property tax. I have since lost the title. I have no idea how to contact the previous owner. What can I do? Help!

      2. Hi Andrea,

        The title will be registered with the state agency that deals with vehicle/mobile home titles (usually the DMV). Usually it just requires a fee and a form. Best of luck!

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