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Why Are Mobile Home Appraisals Different?: An Interview with Mark Sova of M&C Appraisals

By Mark Sova

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a local appraisal company located in San Jose, focusing on residential properties. Our coverage area is primarily Santa Clara County with secondary coverage areas in Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Southern Alameda counties. We provide appraisal services for single-family residences, condominiums, small-income properties, and manufactured housing for a variety of purposes. Some of these purposes include lending, PMI removal, tax appeal, estate planning, divorce settlement, bankruptcy settlement, prelisting service and bail bonds. We provide appraisals for mobile/manufactured homes in leasehold parks.

I am a state certified residential appraiser and a member of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. Other organizations I am a member with are the Appraisal Institute (www.appraisalinsttute.org) and the Real Estate Appraisers Association (www.reaac.org).

Can you briefly explain some of the key differences between a mobile home appraisal and a regular home appraisal?

The primary difference between a mobile home appraisal and regular home appraisal are of course the property rights. Mobile homes in parks are most frequently chattel (personal property), with leasehold for the site. While this is typically the case, there are also cooperative parks (generally resident owned) and fee simple parks in which the residents also own the site the dwelling is located.

The process for developing the opinion of value for a mobile home is similar to a site-built home. Generally the best approach for determining market value is with the sale comparison approach to value. This involves finding like properties, preferably in the same park, as the property being appraised.

How does the location of the mobile home affect its appraisal?

What are the top three factors in determining real estate value? Location, location, location. I am sure you have heard this saying before. This also applies to mobile homes. The location and park where the home is located can greatly affect the value. When performing an appraisal, we try to find sale comparable properties in the same park as the property being valued. Lenders want to see sale comparables in the same park. However, this is not always possible and when selecting comparables outside of the park, a location adjustment may be warranted.

What are some of the biggest factors that determine the value of a mobile home?

As we discussed earlier, location has a large factor on value. Other items which generally have a factor on value are living area size, age, condition, quality, space rent, width, and bedroom and bathroom counts. The amount of living space has a large factor; you want to compare similar sized, aged and quality homes. Newer homes generally are constructed superior to older homes. Many lenders will only lend on HUD built homes. These are homes built to the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards which went into effect on June 15, 1976.

Should an appraiser have additional qualifications for performing mobile and manufactured home appraisals?

Yes, an appraiser must be properly trained in appraising mobile homes. Per Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the appraiser must be competent to perform the assignment, or acquire the necessary competency to perform the assignment, or withdraw from the assignment. There are courses from the Appraisal Institute, McKissock and N.A.D.A in valuation of mobile and manufactured homes. I have taken courses in appraising manufactured homes and have performed many mobile and manufactured home appraisals for both lender and nonlenders.

What is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to appraising mobile homes and manufactured homes in the Bay Area?

The biggest challenge to appraising mobile/manufactured homes in Bay Area Parks are finding sale comparables. The larger parks are generally not a problem, but it can be difficult to find suitable sale comparables in the smaller parks. The primary areas to search for sale comparables are the local MLS (REIL or Paragon), mhousing.com, local dealers and the park managers.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

The best way to contact us is by phone (408) 677-3769 or email at info@mcappraisals.net.

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