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Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

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Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

Postby » Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:45 am

I ran across this situation today through friends who know the parties involved. Older couple purchased a Fannie Mae foreclosed land/modular home. Backstory is that an elderly couple who owned the land and an old home on it passed away, and the daughter took over the property. No deed is on record transferring ownership before or after their deaths. The daughter tore down the house and moved in a modular home, obtaining a Fannie Mae guaranteed loan. The loan documents tie the land with the modular home. Supposedly the modular home is a "used 2002 Chandeleur 64x28", and there is a Serial Number on the loan documents. Fast forward to a foreclosure. The property was then listed with a real estate brokerage, and the buyers were told they could assume the mortgage, which they did since the terms seemed agreeable to them. They were told a title search was done. They did not receive title to the modular home. Later, when they tried to sell the property, they realized they did not have a title, the lender would not talk to them or provide a title, and they could not track down the Serial Number. The State told them that they have no record of that Serial Number, and as far as the State is concerned, the modular home never entered the state and "does not exist", so no Lost Title can be obtained. The value is in the modular home, the mortgage covers both land and home, and they can't sell without a title. There is nothing inside or outside the modular home that IDs it. The only record is the mortgagor's paperwork, no title.
Is there any way to try and find a record of this Chandeleur home from the manufacturer through the Serial Number so as to obtain a title at this late date? Advice would be appreciated.
dionaea offline
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Re: Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

Postby » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:57 pm

I am not sure why you seem to want a title to a nonexistent home. It would be useless since you said it was destroyed. You cannot misrepresent the newer modular when it is sold. The modular NEVER had a title. Its official ownership transfers with the property. Once built it becomes a permanent improvement on the real estate. What seems to have happened here is the tax collector has not updated the tax roles for the improvement. This is lucky for the land owner since the taxes would be substantially higher if the official record was correct. The state does not keep ownership records of modular homes.

I just reread your post and think there seems to be a language problem..There are 2 different kinds of factory built homes. Manufactured (mobile) homes and modular homes. True modular homes have no title but all manufactured did. I am guessing you have a manufactured home that did have a title that had to be retired before it was mortgaged. The current owners MUST realize the home IS now a permanent improvement on the property and as long as the mortgage exists cannot be sold separately. Each state has different title retirement procedures. Some have title reinstatement procedures but not all allow this.

If you read the posts in the next thread titled HUD tags you can find a way to get HUD official information on this unit. With government employees you should be careful to use the correct language. Around government folks this is a manufactured home.

Usually the value is in the combination of the land and home. Normally that value is much higher combined than the value of the individual components individually. Your friend DOES have legal ownership of the home and land. It is not likely it would be financially beneficial to sell them separately. The disadvantage is the home cannot be removed from the property while the mortgage company has an involvement.

More troubling would be the seeming title problem from original owner to daughter. The mortgage company would have lenders title insurance that would cover the lender in the event someone else were to claim rightful ownership. That insurance does NOT cover your friend's interest only the banks money. Your friend should consult with real estate attorney in your area. These legal questions can be tricky. Good Luck
rmurray offline
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Re: Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

Postby » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:45 am

Thanks for replying, Murray, but apparently I did not make it clear that there was an old deteriorated site-built house on the property, and that was torn down to make room for the modular home to be moved on. So they're not seeking title to a home that doesn't exist any more. What they're told they need title to is the modular home that replaced the old site-built house. The newer modular home is set on a concrete block foundation that was further covered with stucco to make it look like a regular foundation.
They've been calling it a modular home, but now you have me wondering if it's a mobile (manufactured) home or a modular home since it would have been delivered to the site in two pieces and put together to form the 28x64 completed residence.
The owners didn't want to sell the modular home separately. They wanted to sell the land and home together to a new buyer, but they were told they did not have a clear and marketable title to the modular home, and so the buyer backed out. The mortgage company records show the manufacturer name and a Serial number, but they never provided the current owners with a title to the modular home, and they have continued to refuse to provide one for several years although they of course insist on receiving the mortgage payments.
It is interesting that there is a difference between mobile (manufactured) homes and modular homes, that one would have a title and the other would not, and I'll suggest they try to get a clear determination as to which category this home falls into. They were told by the real estate broker at the time they tried to sell the land/home that they needed a title to the home and that the buyer wouldn't complete the transaction without a title. It may be that the real estate broker didn't know the difference and that a modular home wouldn't have a title. Thanks again.
dionaea offline
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Re: Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

Postby » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:17 pm

Is the manufactured home is on a permanent foundation, wouldn't the title be disreguarded. Once on a permanent foundation, I believe the home is described as a regular house.
Karen M offline
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Re: Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

Postby » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:49 pm

A manufactured home is ALWAYS a manufactured home. In most states you can declarer that the manufactured home is a permanent fixture and so part of the real-estate. That makes the home "real property" as opposed to personal property. It is still a manufactured home for the purposes of taxes, resale or insurance.

a rose is a rose is a rose.......
David Oxhandler
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Re: Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

Postby » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:57 pm

Once the home is tied to the land don't they retire the title or does that depend on the state? If the title is retired is it still possible to get a copy from the county accessor? If the title is retired why would a seperate title be required for the sale of the land/home?
Celtlund offline
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Re: Help needed to trace & obtain title for a home that "does not exist"

Postby » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:27 pm

It is all about the taxes. Previously, the state's department of motor vehicles was collecting annual registration fees. The local real-estate tax authorities were only taxing vacant land. So there were big differences in the taxes collected for local schools, highways, first responders, etc.

Since the 80s the most mobile thing about mobile homes has been its name, For the past thirty five years our homes have evolved from travel trailers to permenant fixtures. Many states adopted laws to retire manufactured home titles. Once the title is retired, the manufactured home is then considered part of the real-estate and taxed like any other single family residence. Each state has it own system for retiring and reactivating titles for manufactured homes.

In some states retirement is mandatory when the home and land are owned in the same names. In some states there are options available. The option you choose could effect your total annual taxes. Because the rules do differ in each state. If you have any questions it is best to contact your local or State Manufactured Housing Association
David Oxhandler
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