Mobile homes entice cash-strapped buyers

by Olivia D'Orazio24 Sep 2014
As the average price of home ownership rises across the country, those hoping to enter the housing market for the first time are looking to alternative property types, like mobile homes. However, mobile homes present a unique set of challenges for Realtors, especially those who don’t specialize in the field, says one Victoria Realtor who has been focusing on mobile homes for 20 years.

“There are other Realtors who will take [mobile home] listings because that brings them benefit, but they’re not quick to show them,” Eileen Jespersen, an agent with Pemberton Holmes in Victoria, tells REP. “A lot of Realtors refer their clients to me, because it is a specialty and they don’t want to make mistakes.”

There are also many factors that prospective buyers likely hadn’t considered. Among those issues, Jespersen says, are “the fact that [the mobile home] is on leased land and the regulations with regards to electrical.

“The financing is more complicated for manufactured homes and it’s just a longer process all together.”

Because mobile homes – or manufactured homes, as they’re more commonly called today – are often built on leased land, the purchase, according to Bankrate.com, is considered private property. As a result, mobile home owners don’t seek a mortgage but a personal loan. These types of loans usually require a 10 per cent down payment, with the remainder financed over 10 or 15 years. The loans also carry higher interest rates, more in line with what you’d pay on a car loan, for example.

Still, Jespersen says mobile homes have an equally unique set of perks.

“I like it because I like the people who live in the park,” she says. “They’re very grateful and it’s more of a community setting.”

From a buyer’s perspective, going mobile is significantly more cost effective, especially in expensive cities like Victoria where house prices general start around $600,000.

“There’s no land tax and [buyers] can own a house and lease the land for the same price that it would cost to rent a condo,” Jespersen says. “They can make improvements to the property and sell it for profit, which happens a lot.”
 

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