When the Seller Passes the Problem to You

mobile home manufactured home title problems mhinsider magazine lost title

By Tracy Renna

If you are purchasing a used mobile or manufactured home to place into your park there are a few questions to ask yourself before you exchange money for the title.

Is the name of the seller the same name on the title?

Many states require a bill of sale with the title transfer application. If the bill of sale has a different name for the seller than what is listed on the title, the state will send the paperwork back without transferring the title into your name.

Additionally, if something is written in the wrong section of the title, the application could be rejected. For example, if the original owner/seller accidently signs in the wrong spot, and you fail to catch the error and send it to the state to transfer title into your name, the state will return the application requesting a signed affidavit from the original owner explaining the error and how it was corrected. Now you need to track down the original owner.

Finding the Title Holder

Locating the original owner can be timely and costly. Often the address on the title is not the current address and you have to spend time tracking down the where the current owner lives. Has he or she moved to a different state. Is he or she alive?

If you locate the current owner and that person is till alive, it can go one of three ways:

  1. They are not willing to help you
  2. They are willing to help if you compensate them
  3. They are willing to help without compensation

If the current owner is deceased, you will not be able to provide the state with the requested affidavit. When the current owner is deceased, the state has estate guidelines they need to follow to successfully transfer the title. Now you’re writing to the deceased current owner’s family and asking them for help on the home you purchased from a seller whose name was not on the title.

As you can imagine, this is going to be a difficult conversation.

In the Case of Duplicates

Have you asked yourself if the title they are showing you is the most current title? If you do not receive the most current title, you cannot transfer the title into your name.

Before you purchase a home, take the time to complete a VIN check. Most states have a website where you can type in the number and some of the basic information on the home will appear. Look for the current issue date of the title and make sure it matches with the title you will be getting when you purchase the home.

MHInsider is the leader in manufactured housing news and is a product of MHVillage, the top website to buy, rent, or sell a mobile or manufactured home.

Tracy Renna is the founder and CEO of MH Title Brokers LLC. Renna assists attorneys, title agencies, dealerships, and many other affordable housing specialists. She serves Florida’s rapidly expanding affordable housing market by solving mobile home title problems throughout the Sunshine State.