One step toward improved manufactured-home appraisals

Jennifer Hopkins's picture

Cover of Real Homes, Real Value report

By Jennifer Hopkins

We believe in manufactured homes and their owners.

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund offers real mortgage loans for manufactured homes, Welcome Home Loans, because access to real, fixed-rate mortgages helps homeowners with low or moderate incomes achieve financial security.

We have appraisals done for every Welcome Home Loan we make. It’s how we know homebuyers are paying a fair price. But appraisers and manufactured housing professionals, like retailers, retailers and other lenders, have told us they’re frustrated by the existing process for appraising manufactured housing.

Appraisers face challenges that don't come up with site-built homes, such as rules on selecting comparable sales and difficulties in locating information about sale prices, title, foundation and energy use.

Manufactured housing professionals, in turn, believe that the appraisal process does not always result in fair valuation of manufactured housing, which provides homes for millions of Americans across the income spectrum.

CFED, spearhead of the I’M HOME: Innovations in Manufactured Homes initiative, attempts to address some of these issues in a new report that examines appraisals of manufactured homes. Real Home, Real Value: Challenges, Issues and Recommendations Concerning Real Property Appraisals of Manufactured Homes is an in-depth study based on interviews with appraisers, finance professionals and manufactured-housing practitioners.

The report by Robin LeBaron, Deputy Director of the Fair Mortgage Collaborative, details the issues affecting manufactured-home real property appraisals and leads to a good set of recommendations for improving the process.

Those recommendations include setting the value of a manufactured home based on its characteristics and condition, rather than just its age, along with updating appraisal standards to the current state of manufactured home quality.

I hope the report sparks progress in this key piece of the puzzle to advance the field of financing for manufactured homes.

Kudos to Anne Li, CFED’s program director for innovation and Robin LeBaron, the report’s author, for advancing this important message.

Jennifer Hopkins is the Single-Family Housing Program Manager at the Community Loan Fund.