Dear Jan: We are thinking of listing a mobile home that we own but it needs a lot of work. Should we fix it up or sell it “as is”? — DTR
Dear DTR: I feel like I am starting to sound like one of my favorite attorneys. My answer is, “That depends.”
A few things factor into selling mobile homes or manufactured homes (MFHs).
The first is age. If your home is a pre-1976 home, it’s already going to be very hard to finance. There are few lenders who lend on them. Usually, it’s a bank with their own money that will lend on them. I have a good resource if you need one. With these homes, I would spend the money it takes to make them financeable, then price it to sell at that price. You don’t want to put too much money into it.
In regard to a newer home, my suggestion would be doing any work you can afford to do. It can mean thousands of dollars more in your pocket. If the work isn’t done, and even if you have priced it taking that into consideration, buyers will try to beat you up on the price when they make an offer.
You must be very careful when making repairs to MFHs. Repairs to them are regulated by the state Department of Labor and Industries. The department’s website, www.lni.wa.gov, has a Q&A that is helpful in determining whether you need an L&I permit for a repair. If it needs a permit, get it, as it will be required by the buyer’s lender in order to close.
Parts for MFHs are not standard in size many times. You may have to go online to find them. A client of mine recently needed a new door for their MFH and we were able to find a MFH parts store that has the door in stock. They also recommended a local contractor to install it.
With all homes, condition, location and price are the name of the game. Put your best foot forward for the best price. Consult with a local Realtor who is familiar with MFHs to help you make wise choices.
— Jan Zufelt is a broker for John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston. Contact her at 360-620-2383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.