Mobile homes are an inexpensive housing choice, but there are legal complications for owners. In general, to obtain a title for a mobile home in North Carolina, you must have the existing title signed over by the current owner. However, not every mobile home has a title. It is important for those buying a mobile home in North Carolina to understand the state laws regarding mobile home titles to avoid unnecessary problems.
A person buying a new mobile home, generally referred to as manufactured homes by retailers, will receive documentation from the retailer to register the home and receive a title from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Part of the documentation from the retailer will include the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, also referred to as a Manufactured Statement of Origin. The Certificate of Origin describes the mobile home, year of manufacture and other related information. The DMV requires this certificate to properly describe the mobile home in the title.
Mobile Homes Without a Title
Many existing mobile homes in North Carolina do not have a title as the government recognizes the home as real estate, not a motor vehicle. When a mobile home owner complies with the laws regarding establishing a mobile home as real estate, the owner can have the title removed from state records. In general, the owner must remove the wheels and axles, place the home on a foundation and own or have a long-term lease for the land for the mobile home to qualify as real estate.
Establishing Used Mobile Home Title
When buying a used mobile home, the seller must provide the buyer with a title. Without the existing title signed to the buyer, the buyer cannot acquire a title in her name for the mobile home. In the case of a mobile home classified as real property, the seller must apply for a title from the DMV and provide documentation to the DMV that all real estate taxes are current on the mobile home before obtaining a new title.
Title companies in North Carolina have experience dealing with the various problems that may occur when buying a mobile home. For example, a seller may purposefully or unwittingly sell a mobile home with a lien against it. In this situation, the buyer is not receiving a clear title, but one encumbered by the undisclosed lien. By using a title company when buying a used mobile home, a buyer can have assurance that the title is free of liens or other problems.