Elusive Mobile Home Refi: HAMP HARP FHA Mortgage

by James from Krypton, KY and by Arnold from Spokane, WA

Ask Kate about mobile home refi using HAMP, HARP, or FHA mortgage financing: James' wife lost her job two years ago but they've managed to keep current on their mortgage. He asks which financing is best to pursue for mobile homes. Arnold owns a 1976 mobile home and shop on 11 acres. He asks how to lower his 9.5% interest rate.


Ask Kate: Mortgage Modification and Mobile Homes

By James in Krypton, Kentucky
Mortgage Modification and Mobile Homes

Hello Kate my name is James.

I currently own a mobile home that has been permanently affixed to my own property.

My wife lost her job two years ago and we have struggled to keep current on our mortgage. But we have not defaulted.

My mortgage company will not work with me in any way, probably the worse financial institution I have ever dealt with.

I am trying to find out if there are any programs available for this type of home be it HAMP, HARP, or FHA refinance. I have a conventional mortgage, not a chattel mortgage.
Note from Kate: A chattel mortgage is borrowed funds on a movable piece of personal property.
Thank you for any help with this.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Kate's Answer: Mortgage Modification and Mobile Homes

Hi James,

Congratulations on keeping your mortgage payment current and not falling behind. But I'm sorry to hear of your difficulties with the mortgage company.

Because your mobile home is on a permanent foundation, it is considered real estate, as opposed to chattel, which gives you more affordable financing options. Here are 3!

Mobile Home Refi Option 1: HAMP Loan Modification

The encouraging news is that mobile and manufactured (factory-built) homes that are permanently affixed to land are eligible for Making Home Affordable's HAMP modification program.

But I'm sorry to have to tell you that all loan modifications can only go through current loan servicers. Even so, put in a call to your lender and look into lowering your monthly house payment using HAMP.
Read the ins and outs of this financing option at HAMP Tier 2 Mortgage Modification News.

Mobile Home Refi Option 2: HARP Refinance

Again, the good news is that manufactured homes are eligible for HARP refinance consideration.

But you should note that manufactured housing is not eligible for HARP's appraisal waiver. In other words, your home will need to be appraised by a licensed real estate appraiser. So if you go the route of HARP refinancing, expect to pay for an appraisal.
Read the nitty gritty on this financing option at HARP 2.0 Loan Announcement, Guidelines, and Eligibility.

Mobile Home Refi Option 3: FHA Refinance

There's no getting around it, using the FHA loan to finance mobile homes is a headache. So while it's true that FHA has financing for mobile homes and manufactured housing, it also has an abundance of ifs, ands, and buts in the guidelines.

FHA home loans also require borrowers to pay for mortgage insurance, depending on the amount of equity and the length of the mortgage term.
Read more about FHA mortgage insurance at Introducing FHA Mortgage Loans.

Shopping for Experienced Mortgage Originators

I suggest you do not rule out any of these options, HAMP, HARP, or FHA financing. At this point, you need an experienced mortgage originator with the ability to analyze your credit, calculate your debt-to-income ratios, and suggest which program best fits your property type.

I also encourage you to get the ball rolling before you get to the point of missing a house payment which wreaks havoc on credit scores. Here are my tips to help you find a Mortgage Lender with a good reputation.
For more help, you'll also want to read my answer to Marie J. from Belle Vernon, PA at HAMP Modification for Mobile Homes.
Good luck and best wishes,


Ask Kate: 1976 Mobile Home Refi on 11 Acres with Shop

By Arnold in Spokane, Washington
1976 Mobile Home Refi on 11 Acres


We have an older mobile home on over 11 acres. It is financed at 9.5% interest.

I am 61 years old so at that interest rate, there isn't enough time to get it paid off.

We'd like to take advantage of the HARP program but we can't find a lender for a mobile home.

Our mobile home is a doublewide built in 1976. Is there anyone that would refinance at a lower interest rate?

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Kate's Answer: 1976 Mobile Home Refi on 11 Acres

Hi Arnold,

In addition to the year of 1976, banks place importance on the month (June) and day (15th) when determining which mobile homes are eligible for mortgage financing. This is because the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards were established June 15, 1976.

Another hot spot with lenders is the amount of excess acreage that accompanies the home, in your case 11 acres. The bank's mortgage approval will depend in part on the ratio of your home's value to the land.

As a head's up, a shop will not often boost the appraised value significantly, which I know can be disappointing to homeowners.

Now, depending on the actual mortgage program that you use to finance the home, some of these guidelines can change a bit. So my advice is to shop carefully for a lender that is experienced in older mobile homes that are eligible for residential mortgage financing.

How to Find and Compare Mortgage Lenders and Interest Rates

But how do you find the perfect lender? There is no better way to find financing than to roll up your sleeves and begin the search. Go to How to Compare Mortgage Rates and Lenders in Six Steps for my tips which will help you organize and make the best use of your time.
You'll also want to read my answers in these letters...
Best wishes,


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