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Lost Mobile Home Title & Common Title Issues

Is it possible to sell a mobile home without a title & what to do if you lost mobile home title? In almost every state, mobile homes and manufactured homes are transferred from buyer to seller via a slip of state-issued paper called a title. If the mobile home is a single-wide, then there will be only one title; however, if the home is a double-wide or triple-wide, then two or more titles should be accounted for. Even in states that do not use titles to transfer mobile home ownership there may still be confusion and errors concerning who owns the home and the next steps moving forward. Lost mobile home title can add time to the overall mobile home selling process but there are ways to obtain a new one.

A mobile home title, much like the title of your personal vehicle, is a crucial document issued by the state where the mobile home is located. This title contains vital details such as the mobile home’s vehicle identification number, serial numbers, make, model, year of construction, owner’s name, and lien holder’s information, among other things. It’s essential to keep your mobile home title private and secure.

When you’re ready to sell a mobile home, having a clear title with no liens simplifies the process. With a clear title, transferring mobile home ownership from the current seller to the new buyer becomes a straightforward process, barring any other title issues that might be discussed in this article and video.

The process for transferring a mobile home title varies by state. Typically, you would visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles, Town Clerk, or motor vehicle administration. However, residents of Pennsylvania may find it more convenient to mail in their documents, given that these states only have one or two mobile home titling department branches statewide.

Can you sell a mobile home in Pennsylvania without a title?

When it comes to selling a mobile home in Pennsylvania, having a title is a crucial factor. A title is a legal document that proves ownership, and without it, the process can become more complicated. However, it is not impossible to sell a mobile home without a title in Pennsylvania.

Firstly, it is important to note that having a title makes the sale process much smoother. It provides a clear chain of ownership and reassures potential buyers that the transaction is legitimate. However, there are instances where a mobile home may not have a title, such as when it has been abandoned, neglected, or forgotten over time.

If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have a title for your mobile home, there are a few options you can consider. One option is to obtain a duplicate title from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). This involves filling out the necessary forms, providing proof of ownership, and paying a fee. While this may take some time and effort, it is a legal way to obtain a title and make the selling process smoother.

Another option is to sell the mobile home as a “bill of sale” transaction. A bill of sale is a legal document that transfers ownership of personal property, in this case, the mobile home, from one party to another. While it does not provide the same level of security as a title, it can still serve as proof of ownership and make the selling process easier. It is important to note that not all buyers may be willing to purchase a mobile home without a title, so this option may limit your pool of potential buyers. We will BUY YOUR MOBILE HOME WITHOUT A TITLE. Contact us today at 347-669-3399.

Steps to obtain mobile home title in Pennsylvania

  • Obtain VIN number form mobile home purchasing paperwork or on the data sheet inside the home
  • Get Form MV-38-O (can be done online or at a Tag & Title place)
  • Have your ID with you
  • Pay a fee of $55 to PennDOT or Tag & Title will handle this for you
  • Wait to receive New Title in the mail (5-7 business days)

If obtaining a duplicate title or selling with a bill of sale is not possible, you may need to explore other options. One option is to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and inquire about the process for obtaining a title for an abandoned or neglected mobile home. They may be able to provide guidance and assistance in obtaining the necessary documentation.

Alternatively, you could consider selling the mobile home to a mobile home investor or company that specializes in distressed properties. These investors may have experience dealing with mobile homes without titles and can help guide you through the selling process. While you may not receive the full market value for your mobile home in this scenario, it can be a convenient and hassle-free option.

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PennDOT Fact Sheet – Titling a Mobile Home or Manufactured Home

Titling a Mobile Home or Manufactured Home

If a mobile home or manufactured home that has been anchored to the ground to facilitate connection
with electricity, water and sewerage and that has been previously titled in Pennsylvania and used as
a residence in Pennsylvania immediately preceding its sale or transfer, is offered for sale or transfer,
the transferor shall obtain a tax status certification from the Tax Claim Bureau of the county in which
the home is situated, showing the county, municipal and school district real estate taxes due on the
home as shown by the Tax Bureau records as of the date of the certification. This includes any
delinquent taxes turned over to a third party for collection. This tax certification shall be provided to
the transferee and PennDOT in conjunction with the transfer of ownership.
NOTE: If a new mobile home or manufactured home is being titled using the Manufacturer’s
Certificate of Origin (MCO) as the proof of ownership, neither the tax status certification nor Form
MV-16T is required.
The tax status certification must include the following information:

  • The parcel number assigned to the home.
  • The amount of current or delinquent taxes owed from the parcel number.
  • The date upon which a tax for the parcel number will accrue and the taxing period that the tax
    will cover.
  • The address and telephone numbers of the tax collection authority and tax claim bureau or
    equivalent office.
    If taxes are due for the home, the transferor shall pay the delinquent real estate taxes in full or cause
    the taxes to be paid in full and an updated tax status certification must be obtained and provided to
    the transferee and PennDOT before the transfer is completed.
    If the mobile home or manufactured home is NOT anchored to the ground to facilitate connections
    with electricity, water and sewerage OR was not used as a residence in Pennsylvania or is not titled
    in Pennsylvania, Form MV-16T, “Self-Certification of Exemption from Tax Status Certificate When
    Transferring Ownership of a Mobile Home or Manufactured Home,” must be provided in lieu of the tax
    status certification. Form MV-16T is to be completed by the transferors of the mobile home or
    manufactured home and provided to the transferee to be submitted with the completed application for a Pennsylvania Certificate of Title.

4 Common Mobile Home Title Issues & How Best to Correct Them

1. No Mobile Home Title, Correct Owner.

If the current seller is the legal owner, acquiring a duplicate title can be straightforward and effortless. Reach out to your local agency responsible for mobile home titles to learn about the next steps. Usually, the record owner is required to show evidence of ownership and pay a small fee.

2. No Mobile Home Title, Incorrect Owner.

Sometimes when a new buyer closes on a mobile home, they do not immediately run down to transfer the title into their ownership. This happens for many reasons; however, legally the buyer is not the true owner until the title is registered into his/her name, or an entity he or she controls. In these cases it is not good if the title is then lost or go missing.

a. Is the owner available?

If yes: If the owner is available, you must contact them immediately. Many times they will agree to obtain a duplicate copy of the mobile home title(s) if you pay for this small cost. The legal owners (prior sellers) will do this in order to transfer the home out of their name so they are not liable for taxes or accidents on a property that they didn’t think they still owned.

If no: If the owner is not available, then they must be tracked down in order to proceed ahead. A private eye or skip tracer may be helpful in tracking down the current owner.

Pro Tip: You will see occasions when buyers and sellers have “transferred ownership” via a separate piece of paper known as a Bill of Sale. A Bill of Sale acts as a meeting of the minds and as a receipt typically given when selling personal property. While this process may be sufficient for the buyer, seller and even park manager, it is not sufficient enough to transfer legal ownership from one person to another. The original owner is still the legal owner and can come back any time to take possession of his or her home.

b. The owner passed away.

Do you have the owner’s power of attorney for handling this property or a death certificate and immediate family? If yes, then you will likely be able to obtain a duplicate title by filing the correct forms with your state. If you do not, then you may want to ask your state the best course of action moving forward to obtain legal ownership of this mobile home. Obtaining clear title may or may not be possible.

Pro Tip: Always verify with your state that yearly taxes have been paid and are current. If a seller has not transferred a title into his or her name, then he or she may not be up to date paying taxes.

3. Correct Mobile Home Title, Incorrect Owner.

This scenario is the most common hurdle you will see as a used mobile home investor. In situations like this, your seller will be in physical possession of the current original mobile home title; however, it may or may not be signed and dated by the buyer(s) and seller(s).

If the true owner on title has already signed on the seller’s line, then simply have your seller sign as buyer and quickly transfer the title into the current seller’s name. Once the seller is the actual owner, they can now transfer their clear title to you without worry. Call your state to verify that this double transfer can be completed in one day.

If the true owner has not signed on the seller’s line, then this must be completed before the title can be legally transferred into the purchaser’s name. Track down the legal owner to have his or her signature placed on the seller’s line.

Pro Tip: Avoid forging documents. If you can’t find the legal owner listed on the title, it may be tempting for you or your seller to forge the legal owner’s signature on the title. Some people can rationalize that this is a victimless crime. With that being said, it is still a crime and illegal.

If your seller has a title that is signed by the owner but the buyer’s signature lines are blank, it can be tempting to skip over your current seller and transfer the title from the legal owner straight to you. While this can technically be done, most states consider it illegal, as you are skipping the chain-of-title and not placing the home into your current seller’s name first. You may not get caught; however, do this at your own risk.

Pro Tip: Be aware that most states charge a late fee for delaying the transfer of a mobile home title from a buyer to a seller if not completed within X number of days. This late fee will be paid when the title is eventually transferred into the new buyer’s name.

4. Correct Mobile Home Title, but there are liens still showing.

If there are active liens still on the title, then the owner will not likely be in physical possession of the home’s title(s). It is most common for the lien holders to physically hold the title(s) until they are paid off in full. At this point, a new title is issued showing zero active liens, or the lien holder simply signs a “Release of Lien” located on the title or provided on a separate form given to the owner. Both of these methods show the home is free and clear from debt.

If you run into a situation where a mobile home seller is in possession of their title with active liens, it is important to understand if this is an error or if there is still money owed on the mobile home. Being present with the seller as they call up the bank or loan servicer to confirm a principal balance pay off will answer this question. Once you know the amount of the lien you can decide to move forward accordingly.

Pro Tip: Always call your state to verify the mobile home’s VIN or serial numbers and confirm if there any active liens showing on the title. Some states will have this information at their fingertips, and other states will not be as technologically advanced.

When you are able to go the extra mile to solve a seller’s problem and close another mobile home investment property, you will find yourself competing with less and less investors and buyers. For most questions in real estate, the answer is typically, “it depends.” If you are a determined investor and are working with motivated sellers, you can typically come to legal win-win solutions that accomplish the goals of all parties. Continue helping others and going the extra mile to solve problems when possible.

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