the dealer-financed manufactured home trap

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  1. Love your site! So informative! :D

    We live in Washington state. All of the sales lots up here advertise that they work with FHA and VA lending. I can’t find any information on how possible it is to achieve a loan for FHA/VA with a manufactured home vendor. I assume they find the financial institute willing to work with you. Just haven’t found anybody out there that went this route and it worked for them. In the area of WA, where we live anyways, manufactured homes on their own lot (not in a park) are required to be on permanent foundation and up to state/local building code standards, which the sales lots seem to advertise is true. So maybe that makes getting FHA/VA lending more attainable? I am not sure. They are even offering land/home packages, which is what we are most interested in. Do you have any expertise on how this works at all? We are going to a sales lot near here over the weekend but I hesitate to sit down with their financial person if it is a bad idea. If they actually can qualify us for VA or FHA loan then it shouldn’t be an issue, right?

    1. Hi Katie,

      Read the first few articles on these 2 links (there’s information about the FHA scattered throughout): and

      There are a lot of stories out there about the land/home deals and a lot of them are bad. The issues occur when buyers don’t understand exactly what they are getting into but if you research and understand every detail of the deal you should be fine.

      I think the banks or lending institutions will be your main contact and they will act on your behalf to the FHA. The person must be certified by the department so they are knowledgeable. I think the FHA just acts as a guarantor of the loan and whenever they are involved there will be a lot more rules and regulations but the banks are more apt to approve the loan.

      A permanent foundation simply means the home is properly tied-down with the straps and tie-downs. A lot of people misunderstand it to mean that the home has to have cement or brick skirting and foundations. A home can be permanently installed without any skirting at all (If I’m understanding everything properly – I’m not an expert by any means).

      While the following article is more for remodeling loans there are a lot of links and info about the government backed loans:

      You are researching and that is the smartest thing any potential buyer can do. I like the idea of having a meeting with the counselors – you can never be too prepared or knowledgeable.

      Best of luck! Let me know how it goes!

  2. Hello, Very informative, great website. O currently rent a late model manufactured home, and I came across a property with an existing home that needs some interior rehab. Can you givee some guidance as what be aware of before purchasing?? P.S. the home has a private well, and septic on it…

    1. Hi Kurt!

      I’ve written quite a few articles that can help. Here’s all the articles about buying:

      Here’s a couple of articles that I think will answer your question best: (this checklist needs re-designed but it has a lot of good tips and things to look for if you can get passed the poor formatting).

      Basically, you want good bones (framing, flooring, roofing), goof wiring (and outlets, breaker boxes), and good plumbing. No sagging ceilings, no leaks, and no cracks. The plastic belly wrap under the home is usually a good indicator of maintenance – if the previous owner has patched the holes and kept the wrap in good condition they have likely done the same for the rest of the home (cause the belly wrap is a pain to work with).

      While a lot of stuff can be updated and repaired there is a fine line between it making sense to do and it not. Best of luck!

  3. They charge interest rates like a personal loan rate. We can get a car loan now for 1% financing, but if we want to buy a manufactured home and mortgage it, our rate would likely be higher. Even with excellent credit over 800 and a good income. It’s discrimination toward a certain kind of home. I really don’t get how they get away with it anymore. When we move South and buy one in a community, we will pay cash. Not interested in giving the banksters any of our hard earned money anymore.

    1. I purchased my manufactured home from a private party/family for 8000.00 cash(bought outright), years ago, I put it on a rural North CA HOA(hoa dues/ year=150.00, to upkeep the roads) of 3.0 acres(15,000.00/bought outright, cash), rented it out a few times to some very responsible and clean adults over a few years time, now I live in my manufactured home & property, everything is beautiful. My manufactured home currently is under renovation, I truck drive for a nice income living with my husband and my doggie tig’z, life is all good. My annual expenses to live the way I am comfortable is as follows: Pg&e electric=approx 100.00-/month(I will be off-grid soon/solar), my telephone and IT=120.00(rural monopoly telephone/IT company, I don’t approve of monopolies at all, but stuck with them, trust me I tried not to be)and then of course gas, food, essentials of life. I am 0 debt~ratio, everything I own, I own outright. I maximize my earnings, by educating myself, and staying in touch with the economy swings. Life is good, and I live within my means. Crystal I thank you very much for your email postings, articles, and wisdom. Sincerely Presey, Tad, and Tig’z

      1. Hi Presey!

        You are living the good life and I’m so happy for you! You work hard for everything you own and no one can take it away. It’s an honorable way to live!

        I can’t wait to be able to say we are 100% debt-free (4 more years and our land will be paid off)! I’m gonna celebrate so much you may be able to hear me out in California!

        Thank you so much for commenting and sharing with us. You’re a true inspiration! If you’re ever in WV please let me know – I’d love to meet you! I used to drive rock trucks and Yuks on strip mine reclamations – it was my favorite job ever!