DollarBreak goal is to empower readers to make better financial decisions. This post may contain affiliate links from our partners who share the same vision. Disclosure.
Owning a home is part of the ‘American Dream’.
Yet, for many, finding the down payment to make that dream come true is difficult.
LodeStar Software Solutions has calculated the average down payment as 5.3% of the purchase price – an average of $15,490.
That’s not a small chunk of change, and for many is not easy to find or save.
However, there is a way to make your dream of homeownership come true – rent to own mobile homes.
Why Rent-To-Own Mobile Homes Are a Great Option
There are several reasons why rent to own mobile homes could be a great option for you. These include:
If you don’t have a large down payment
The biggest obstacle most Americans must overcome to achieve their dream of owning their own home is accumulating a down payment. According to FRED Economic Research, the average price of a home is more than $360,000. With down payments coming in at around 5%, many people think it is an unrealistic dream to get together the cash for a down payment. With rent-to-own, you can live in the home and part of the rent is counted toward the cost of purchasing later.
Mobile homes are much cheaper than traditional homes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Manufactured Housing Survey, the average cost per square foot of manufactured housing in 2017 was $50.42 – less than half the $111.05 of traditional housing. The average sold price of a mobile home is only $82,000 (July 2019).
However, even at this lower cost, you will still need to find a down payment of more than $5,000 – and lenders may ask for as much as 20%, or around $16,000.
You can’t get financing yet
Another common problem for Americans wanting to purchase a home is finding credit. Getting finance can be tricky. Back in the early 2000s, anyone with even semi-decent credit could get a loan. But after the housing bubble burst, banks became more particular with who they lend money to.
If you don’t have a good credit score, financing can be impossible (a quick check with Experian will help you assess your credit score). When you rent-to-own mobile homes, you have time to build your credit score and this helps you get financing when you wish to complete on the purchase.
Rent-to-own mobile homes help you develop equity in your own home
When you sign your rent-to-own mobile home contract, you lock into the sale price at that day’s value. Rather than gambling on property prices, you get a fixed price to aim for with your eventual mortgage application. Along with this, rather than having your money pay off your landlord’s mortgage every month, a portion of your rent benefits you as you build equity in your home.
If you are finding it hard to save fast
Knowing how to save money fast is not something we are all good at. If you struggle to keep on top of your finances or keep money in the bank, rent-to-own is a great option. Some of your rental payment goes towards a deposit for your mobile home, making it easier for you to accumulate money quickly.
The average American household has only $8,863 in the bank. Young couples without children and young singles have even less (an average of $4,727 and $2,729 respectively). Rent-to-own mobile homes may be the strategy that removes the pressure of saving a down payment.
It increases your choices
Finding your dream home is not a quick search. People often search for months, or even years, before committing to a purchase. You may be thinking that the selection for rent-to-own mobile homes is small and that you would struggle to find something you like. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Foreclosure.com is a company that specializes in this type of arrangement. The properties listed on its site are distressed deals, including bank-owned homes, foreclosure auctions, and pre-foreclosure listings. Its listings are known to be up to date, and pricing is less than $10 per week to access its national database.
Foreclosure.com includes an entire section of its site dedicated solely to rent-to-own properties. It divides them up by state and region, making it easy to find the perfect home at a great price in your desired location. They have thousands of valid rent-to-own listings and includes a foreclosure knowledge center to help you make a great real estate investment.
With its comprehensive property descriptions and names and numbers of contacts to arrange viewings, you have all the information you need to help make an informed decision.
How Does Rent-To-Own Mobile Homes Work?
You are probably more familiar with hearing the term ’rent-to-own’ to describe consumer products like TVs and furniture.
Hearing it in relation to buying a mobile home may be a little confusing. To clear things up here is a quick guide to how ‘rent-to-own’ property works.
Agreement with the landlord
The first step is to set an agreement with the landlord. This will lock down the purchase price along with other specifics.
Some of the rent is put towards a down payment
You can move into the property and start paying rent. Some of this rent will go towards the down payment for the property.
This means that when the time comes time to take out credit and make the purchase, you are in a better financial position and can often get a better mortgage.
Rent is typically higher
As some of the money goes towards the down payment, rent on a rent-to-own property is typically above average.
Typically, a set number of years before the option to buy must be decided
With the landlord, you will agree on a set amount of time that you will lease the property before moving forward with the purchase. If you then opt to buy the property by this time you will have equity in the home that you can use to get a mortgage.
Remember, You Don’t Own the Land
Unlike with traditional homes, the owner of a mobile home doesn’t own the land it sits on. Therefore, you must lease the lot on which your home is located. With some rent-to-own mobiles homes contracts, the owner is responsible for paying the land rent. You should ensure that you understand how your contract works before signing – leasing the land may be an added expense you weren’t expecting.
In most states, if the term of the rent-to-own contract is longer than the lease for the lot, the park owner must offer to renew the lease. A caveat here is that if you are behind on your rental payments, the park owner is not usually obliged to renew the lease.
You Can Move if You Wish, But….
If you so wish, or if you or the mobile-home owner fails to pay the land rent and are forced to relocate, you can move your mobile home while under the rent-to-own contract. Of course, you will need to keep the owner informed.
Moving could help you check out new areas or keep your home if you are relocated for work. However, moving a mobile home is an expensive operation, so it is probably best not to plan to do so.
Mobile Home Site Fees
Most mobile homes are sited on land that is not owned by the owner of the mobile home. If this is the case, you should make sure you know how much leasing the land will cost – either during the rent-to-own term or after you have bought your mobile home.
The lot rental includes:
- Water and sewage
- Garbage collection
- Upkeep of grounds and surrounding areas
It may also include other items such as:
- Cable TV
- Other utilities such as electricity
Across the United States, the average lot rent is around $300 per month. However, you may be required to pay ‘Home Owners Association’ (HOA) fees, if the park is governed by an HOA. Often, these fees are charged in place of lot rental, and work out around the same price.
Maintenance and Repair
During the term of the rent-to-own contract, you are still a tenant. Therefore, the responsibility for maintenance and repairs falls on your landlord – the owner of the mobile home.
While this may sound advantageous, it also means that you must be careful of making any alterations that might be considered damage to the property and void the rent-to-own contract.
Drawbacks of Rent-To-Own
All the above sounds great, huh? Well, while there are some great benefits to rent-to-own mobile home purchases, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Before you decide to commit to a rent-to-own purchase, it’s important to consider the pitfalls.
If you don’t buy, you forfeit the money
Do you know that money that is going from your rent towards your deposit? Well, if you don’t purchase the property, you don’t get it back.
Things may not go as planned
You never know what life might throw at you. It’s possible that the landlord could stop taking on their share of responsibility for maintenance or stop paying their mortgage, which would leave you in a sticky situation. Seek legal advice before signing contracts and try to get a clause to help protect yourself from these outcomes.
Lack of control of the property
When you commit to a rent-to-own, even once you move in you are still only a tenant. Until you purchase the property you have no control over it. You don’t get to have a say in any major decision.
What if home prices fall?
A purchase price is normally agreed at the start of the lease. Both you and the landlord are taking a gamble with this. If house prices fall you can end up paying more for the property than its worth. However, it is also worth noting that if house prices increase you can get a property for less than its market value.
Late rental payments could mean you lose the right to buy
You should only make a rent-to-own agreement if it is financially viable for you. Ensure that you will be able to make the rent payments every month. If you don’t, you can lose your right to buy through breach of contract. It is a good idea to have emergency savings to cover rent in unforeseen circumstances like job losses or sudden expenses.
Issues with the home that you don’t know about
As with buying a house, when setting up a rent-to-own agreement it is sensible to have the home inspected. You don’t want any nasty surprises six months after you move in. Finding problems down the line can mean you lose money on either maintenance and repair or by backing out of your rent-to-own agreement.
At first glance, some rent-to-own deals are exceptional value – better than you could wish for. However, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is. There have been numerous cases of people being swindled in rent-to-own scams – such as ‘landlords’ advertising properties that aren’t theirs. Legal advice will help avoid this.
How Can You Rent to Own a Mobile Home?
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of legitimate rent-to-own mobile homes listed. You can avoid scams and other pitfalls by ensuring you rent to own with a valid contract and seeking legal advice.
Finding rent-to-own mobile homes might not be as hard as you think. In a few months you could be living in your dream home. Considering rent-to-own mobile homes can also increase the breadth of your search. You can live in areas that you might not otherwise afford.
If you don’t know where to start in your search, you can find listings easily by using companies that specialize in rent-to-own – like Foreclosure.com. Using a specialist site gives you peace of mind, knowing that the listings you are viewing are legitimate. It can also make your search quicker and easier by giving you a huge range of listings all in one simple-to-search platform.
Rent-To-Own Mobile Homes – Own Your Home Faster
With the rise in property prices, the dream of owning your own home can seem out of reach. But a rent-to-own mobile home presents you with a realistic solution.
Finding a rent-to-own mobile home allows you to save for your down payment while securing your future. You can develop equity in your home, which will make it easier to get credit when the time comes to purchase.
While there are risks involved in rent-to-own, these can be mitigated by making sensible choices – survey properties and seek legal advice before signing contracts. Rent-to-own mobile homes are a wise choice for those with little cash in the bank and the dream to own.