Legal Blog - Listings


What About Listing Mobile Homes?

Aug 16, 2016


A listing agent wants to "list" a mobile home for sale in the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS). The broker is not sure if the mobile home qualifies as real estate and called me to find out if this is something that a licensed real estate agent can "sell". The current seller is leasing the land where the mobile home is located and once the mobile home is "sold" it will have to be moved because the lease is not part of this transaction. Does a mobile home fall under the practice of real estate.

It depends. The important question is the following question - Is the mobile home attached to the land? Mobile homes and trailers fit into a gray area between real property (land) and personal property (material goods). If you remember your pre-licensing classes, then you will remember the information you received on "fixtures" (I bet you never thought you would need to remember that stuff.)

If the mobile home is physically attached to the land in a way that prevents one from easily moving the object then it is real property. However, if the mobile home is not physically attached and could be easily moved then it is personal property.

As an example, if the trailer were still on two wheels and only needs to be hitched to a truck to be pulled away, than it would probably be personal property. However, if a welder would have to come out to unbolt the mobile home from the foundation before it could be "hitched and hauled" then it could be considered real property.

So one needs a real estate license to sell a mobile home or trailer when it fulfills the criteria for being considered real property. However, when it fits the criteria for being considered personal property (i.e. is not attached to the land) then the mobile home would not be covered by the real estate licensing laws.

Furthermore, if the mobile home is considered real property, it could be listed in MRIS. According to Michelle Yam at MRIS, at any one time there are always a handful of mobile homes listed in their system for our area. However, if the mobile home is considered personal property, then it should not be listed in MRIS.
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