How to Rent to Own Mobile Homes

A mobile home on green grass near a tree.
Image Credit: ProjectB/iStock/Getty Images

A rent-to-own agreement for a mobile home can provide the best of both worlds. It gives you time to come up with funding while securing a potentially good residence in the meantime. Also known as a lease option, this type of contract allows you to enjoy a home with the rights and privileges of a tenant, and gives you priority as a buyer. A rent-to-own agreement should outline the rental period, the rent amount, allocation of costs, and the future purchase price of the mobile home. It also must state the portion of rent that will apply toward your purchase.

Reasons to Rent-to-Own

You might opt for a rent-to-own contract rather than a traditional purchase if you:

  • Lack a sufficient down payment or funds to purchase a mobile home outright
  • Can't obtain financing at the moment due to credit or income issues
  • Aren't ready to commit to a purchase but are otherwise interested in eventually owning the mobile home

You can save money and improve your credit or financial circumstances by renting a mobile home before you buy it. Also, part of your monthly rent goes toward the home's price, which allows you to progressively work toward the purchase.

Determine the Drawbacks

Despite the benefits of rent-to-own deals, when improperly arranged, these contracts have been known to backfire on buyers and sellers when either side breaks their contract obligations. Consult a real estate professional to ensure you understand your responsibilities as both a renter and buyer.

A real estate agent experienced in mobile homes and rent-to-own negotiations can help you identify rentals and put a deal together. A real estate attorney advises you on specific contract terms and safeguards your interests -- agents don't provide legal advice. An attorney can help with the exit clause, which describes what happens if you don't buy the mobile home. Should you decide not to purchase, you usually forfeit any money that would have applied toward the mobile home price.

Look Into the Land

Rentals sit on real estate which may or may not be owned by the mobile home's owner. If you plan to rent-to-own a mobile home that doesn't come with the land, you will be subject to a land lease, likely in a mobile home park with a homeowners association. Find out about the community's fees, bylaws and regulations by reviewing its official documents, as these rules apply to all residents. If you can't live with a strict HOA or have problems with the association or park's management during your rental period, committing to a purchase isn't practical.

Understand Land Lease Responsibilities

Find out who is responsible for the land rent. Failing to pay a land lease can result in eviction from the home and the property it sits on. Should you or the mobile home owner fail to pay the land lease, you'll have to relocate the home, which is a costly and difficult process, especially when it's hooked up to utilities. Like any rental contract, a rent-to-own agreement should also outline responsibilities for utility payments.

references