It stands to reason that most people will
put forth their best effort when they feel they have a reasonable
chance of succeeding. It is also normal for them to hesitate to put
forth much effort if they feel they are wasting their time.
Before a manufactured home salesperson will give you his/her best deal they will have
to be convinced that you are serious about buying. If they don't think
you can afford a home, for whatever reason, if you don't even have a
general idea of what you want or where you will want it, they
will feel that you are wasting their time. They will also be far likely to
do more for someone who is courteous and has obviously done some research.
We think the most important first step you can take is to let the
salesperson know you are serious about buying a manufactured home. This will
involve some homework on your part such as:
- Shop around and get to know approximately how much the models of
homes you like will cost.
- Have a basic idea of what you want. Do you want a larger home?
A smaller retirement home? Do you want smaller payments or payments
that will bring the amount of the mortgage down as quickly as possible?
- Know as much as possible about the type of home you want so you
can talk intelligently about it - but don't be afraid to ask reasonable
questions. The salesperson will have more respect for you than if
you know absolutely nothing - plus you will know if THEY know what
THEY are talking about.
- Get as much information from as many sources as you can. You don't
have to make any promises. Just be courteous and tell them you are
doing research at this stage.
- Remember, a definite price cannot be given until they know exactly
what you want so just gather general information to get an idea of
what you want and how much it will approximately cost.
- Be sure to check the standard features of different manufactured homes -
these will tell you what is included in each model and how it is
constructed. This will help determine which home you will want.
- Get references on the dealerships you might be working with if possible. It's
nice to know that they stand behind their homes. Service after the sale is an
important asset when choosing a dealer to buy from.
- Now that you have an idea of what you want and need - can you afford it?
- You can go to various lending institutions to see if you can
pre-qualify for a loan. Also, you can find out who has the best interest
rates at this time.
- Make sure that the loan will cover the cost of land, if needed, setup and
delivery etc. and any options you may want.
- A down payment of at least 10% would be good, (20% would be better).
If you already own land, the equity in it can sometimes be used as a downpayment.
You can then finance the land and home etc. together. This is known as a
land/home package and is one of the best ways to finance.
- Be careful when applying for loans. Too many requests for your credit
check can actually damage your credit. (You can read more on this on our
page, "Get the best mortgage rates," on the Table of Contents page).
- After you know what you can afford, you might have to make a few compromises to what
you originally wanted - OR - you might have found out that you can afford more and might want to
add a few extras. You should already have listed what you want and need in your
home. Go over the list and make the necessary changes to get the cost
of your manufactured home in the neighborhood of the price you can afford.
- Have a good idea of where you will be putting the home. If you already
have land and want to use it, that is fine. If you don't have land or need
to locate a community lot, sometimes the manufactured home dealership can help you with that.
Otherwise, you can look around yourself and find a suitable location. If you
already have a location in mind it will help the salesperson take you seriously.
- If you have a spouse or partner that will be with you, make sure that
you both agree on what you want BEFORE you go to the dealership. Bickering in
the sales office or on the sales lot will give the salesperson the opportunity to
play one against the other. Let them know, by your actions, that you are both
firm and agree on what you want.
- Be prepared to have to deal with a lot of sales "hype." If you know what you
want up front then it will be very hard to talk you into something you do NOT want.
Be open-minded about sales and special deals, however. If you have done your homework you
will know if what they are offering is a good deal or not.
- Watch out for ads that say things like:
- "NO DOWN PAYMENT!"
- "FREE SETUP AND DELIVERY!"
- "FREE APPLIANCES!"
- "FREE HAWAIIAN VACATION!"
- "At Mad Mike's Mobile Homes we'll eat a bug if you buy a house from us!"
Most of these are just hype, intended to get you onto the lot. (I would
stay away from that last one on general principles). There will almost
always be a catch in there somewhere. BEWARE!
- Be sure you remember to GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. It's amazing how
many verbals agreements are "forgotten" once the contract is signed. No matter
how nice the salesperson is there can be absolutely no misunderstandings
when it is in writing.
- You don't have to wear a suit and tie but you should be clean and neat. You
are wanting to be taken seriously so a pair of jeans with holes in them
is probably not the best thing to wear.
Now, you should be ready to go to a dealership and get down to business.
Well, maybe you can take a breather first.
You should already have a list of the homes you are interested in and know which
manufactured home dealers sell them. Take only the information you need into the dealer who has the
particular home you will be asking about. Showing them what others have to
offer is not going to impress the salesperson. It will just make them get defensive and
unwilling to help you. Just tell them what you want and what you will need in it.
Many dealers have incentives at the end of the month or the end of quarters. This might be a better
time to shop and get the best deals.
If you tell them that you are pre-qualified for a loan, you might want to add that you have a budget that you need to
consider and would like to stay within a certain range. For instance: if you
have been pre-qualified for $100,000 then you might want to tell them you
want to stay between $60,000 - $80,000 and want to be sure that everything is included in the
contract for that price range. This gives them a little room to work with without giving them free rein.
At this point, you can ask if they have any special deals
they can make you on a house similar to what you want. They may have something you would consider even if it
meant some slight changes in your plans. For example, you might be willing to give
up your original color scheme if the home on sale had an extra room or if they threw in some extra options.
By this time they should know that you
are a serious buyer and not just a "looker" so they would be more likely to
give you their best deal.
After deciding which house you are interested in, you will
need to give them the information they will need to work up an estimate. They will have to know
such things as:
- Which home you want.
- What you want in it, options etc.
- The location of the new site if known.
- What preparations, if any, have been made to the site.
If, at any time during this process, you feel like they are trying to push you
into something you don't want or are impolite, then leave.
Don't be rude, just tell them you are no longer interested and go on to the next dealer.
Being comfortable with your salesperson is important. But that
doesn't mean to forget to GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING.
Once everything has been chosen and has been put IN WRITING,
you can start the process of actually buying the home. This may start by
giving them a deposit while the loan application is being processed. Once again,
be absolutely sure that EVERYTHING you want and have agreed upon is in the contract before you sign it.
Do NOT hand over any money till everything is written down.
Once the loan has gone through, you should be ready to accept delivery immediately if the home
you selected was on the manufactured home sales lot and ready for delivery - unless other
arrangements have been made prior to signing. If you custom ordered the home it will take
approximately 4-8 weeks for it to be built, depending on the factory's workload and several other
factors. You should be ready to accept delivery at this time.
The site of the new home should be prepared and accessible before delivery. When the home
is delivered, you should reasonably expect it to take between 2-5 days to setup - if all preparations have been made
and nothing interferes such as weather conditions. The approximate dates
of delivery and setup should have been written into
the contract BEFORE SIGNING.
Before you take possession of your new home, the first thing to do is to check it over
thoroughly. It is important to discover problems early and report them to the retailer or
the installer within the warranty's time limits. This report should be in the form of a
letter with the problems listed. A phone call will usually not be enough. Always keep a
copy for your personal records.
You did your homework,
found what you wanted,
got the best deal you could,
got it delivered and setup,
checked to make sure everything
was the way it should be,
GOTTEN IT IN WRITING
and now it is time
to move in!
You have realized your dream.