Thinking of buying a manufactured or mobile home? You're not alone! About 10% of all new homes are now manufactured. With major upgrades in quality and appearance over the last two decades, it's getting more difficult to tell a manufactured home from a conventional one...unless you check the price which is still 10-20% less.
CAN I GET A VA LOAN FOR A MANUFACTURED HOME?
While there are some restrictions, the answer is YES, you can get a VA loan for a manufactured or mobile home. First, make sure you are dealing with a mortgage broker who specializes in VA loans, including those for manufactured homes (like we do here at Patriot Home Mortgage-Pacific Group).
Next, get pre-qualified. A good broker will look at your whole financial profile and ask questions about possible financial plans in the future (college, retirement, second home, etc), this way they can help you qualify for the maximum amount without putting you in a "house poor" situation where you may have your dream home...but not a cent left for anything else, including furnishing or maintaining it.
Because the default rates are higher on manufactured homes than conventionally built homes, it may be more difficult to obtain a VA loan approval, but a good credit score and history will remedy that problem nearly every time. Your spouse's income and credit can also be figured in, if it is advantageous to your situation.
I FOUND THE MANUFACTURED HOME I WANT TO BUY! DOES IT QUALIFY?
If you've found the manufactured home you want to purchase, it has to meet certain criteria:
1. It must be REAL PROPERTY. That means it has to be classified as real estate property, and not as the vehicle or personal property it may have qualified as when it was being transported to its location. Have your loan officer make sure that the title has been eliminated and that the home is registered in the county's records as real estate.
2. It must be affixed to a PERMANENT FOUNDATION. In order to give the home the support and strength it needs, it can't be left on wheels or other type of foundation.
3. It must meet MINIMUM PROPERTY REQUIREMENTS (MPR's). This means it has to be at least 10 feet wide and 400 square feet if a single wide, or 20 feet and at least 700 square feet if a double wide. This is to make sure there is enough livable space to qualify as property.
4. It must conform LOCAL BUILDING CODES: These vary according to county, city, and state, but all structures must conform. This could involve a specific amount of insulation, electrical wiring standards, and hurricane ties in certain areas. Whatever it may be, you will be glad your home passes off on these.
5. It must be on its OWN LOT/PROPERTY. This is a tough one if you've been renting space withing a park or community and want to stay, but VA Loans require that you have to be purchasing your own lot as well as the manufactured home to be eligible.
I ALREADY LIVE IN A MANUFACTURED HOME BOUGHT WITH A VA LOAN. CAN I REFINANCE?
Some lenders will allow a manufactured home with a VA streamline (IRRL). A good broker (like those here at Patriot Home Mortgage-Pacific Group) can tell you if you meet the qualifications. We've helped a lot of veterans refinance!
We're excited to see you in whatever type of home works best for you and hope this article was helpful in explaining the parameters of VA Loans and manufactured homes.