Advertiser Disclosure


Guide to Mobile and Manufactured Home Refinancing

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

There are many reasons why someone might want to refinance a manufactured home, formerly known as a mobile home. For one, if you have more than 20% equity in your home, you may want to get rid of a pesky PMI requirement. For another, even though interest rates are rising, they’re still relatively low from a historical perspective. Depending on when you originally financed your manufactured home, you may want to take advantage of these low rates while they last.Whatever your reason, refinancing a manufactured home is a bit different than refinancing a traditional site-built home. Read on to get a sense of the options available and how the process works.

How to find a lender to refinance a mobile home

Unfortunately, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a lender that’s willing to refinance a true mobile home. In the world of manufactured housing, the term “mobile home” is outdated. It refers to any manufactured home that was built before June 15, 1976.

On that date, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act, a code that regulated the construction of manufactured housing. Mobile homes built before that date were entirely unregulated.

Today, in order to receive financing on a manufactured home, the vast majority of lenders require that the home be compliant with the HUD code. For its part, HUD will not issue stickers signifying compliance to any mobile home, even if modifications have been made to meet HUD standards.

How much would you like to borrow?
Calculate Payment Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Refinancing a manufactured home

When you go to refinance your manufactured home, there are a few different loan types you can choose from. Below is a list of the requirements for each. Read them over to get a sense of which type will ultimately work best for you.


Conventional loans generally fall in line with Fannie Mae guidelines. In addition to the requirements listed above, Fannie Mae has the following guidelines specific to refinancing:

  • You’ll need at least 5% equity in the home, which means a 95% loan-to-value ratio (LTV)
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required if you have less than 20% equity in the property
  • The refi must meet the standard conventional loan limit of $484,350, or $726,525 in high-cost areas
  • Your credit score may need to be at least 620, though that requirement can vary by lender
  • Loan terms are available for up to 30 years


The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees two separate refinance loans for eligible veterans, active servicemembers and surviving spouses: an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, and a VA cash-out option. In general, a cash-out refinance is for homeowners who want to borrow a lump sum of cash from their home equity for a big expense such as home repairs or college tuition.

Both VA refinance loans must be made by approved lenders.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan

  • No credit underwriting package or appraisal is required
  • The closing costs can be rolled into the new loan
  • You may not receive cash back from this type of refinance
  • The VA does not set limits on how much money you can borrow
  • There is a VA funding fee of 0.5%, which increases to 1% if the manufactured home is not affixed to the land

VA Cash-Out Refinance

  • Can be used to refinance up to 95% of the property’s value
  • No PMI is required


FHA loan refinances are popular because these loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Since the lender has reassurance that it will be made whole if you default on the loan, it’s willing to take a bigger risk. As a result, FHA loans often have less strict qualifying requirements than other loan types.

FHA Cash-Out Refinance

  • Your credit score must be 580 or higher
  • Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) cannot be more than 43%. (More about DTIs below.)
  • The maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, the value of the loan divided by the property value, of allowed is 85%.
  • You must be current on mortgage payments for the last 12 months

FHA Streamline and FHA Simple Refinance

These two loan programs conform to the same criteria as a traditional FHA mortgage. This means that all the usual borrower requirements apply:

  • Your DTI cannot be more than 43%
  • If you have a credit score of 580 or higher, you can put as little as 3.5% down
  • If you have a credit score between 500 and 579, you must put at least 10% down
  • The home must be your primary residence
  • You must carry FHA mortgage insurance (MIP)
  • You must be able to provide proof of employment
  • The home must be in its original location (it cannot have been moved)

Required safety certification

As mentioned earlier, every manufactured home needs to be in compliance with HUD code. In order to comply, the home must pass a required safety inspection. The HUD Installation Certification and Verification Report requires inspectors to use a checklist covering the following areas:

  • Site location with respect to home design and construction
  • Consideration for site-specific conditions
  • Site preparation and grading for drainage
  • Foundation construction
  • Anchorage
  • Optional features (skirting, etc)
  • Completion of ductwork, plumbing and fuel supply systems
  • Completion of electrical systems
  • Exterior and interior close-up
  • Completion of operational checks and adjustments

What are the HUD tag and data plate?

In order to be considered compliant, each manufactured home has to have two pieces of documentation affixed to it: an HUD tag and a data plate.

The HUD tag, sometimes called the certification label, is a metal plate that is secured to the outside of the home. It’s approximately two inches by four inches and is etched with two separate numbers. There’s a three-digit number that identifies the primary inspection agency and a sequential six-digit number furnished by the label supplier.

“The dealer, the manufacturer, the title report all have this number so the home can be easily identified,” said Alberto Pina, co-founder of Braustin Mobile Homes in San Antonio, Texas.

The data plate is a paper label that can be found inside the home, usually inside a kitchen cabinet, the electrical panel or a bedroom closet. It shows a map of the United States and lists the wind zone, snow load and roof load of the home. It also includes the name and address of the manufacturing plant, and the serial number and model designation of the unit.

Be careful about additions to the home

If you’re looking to refinance, unfortunately, you can’t have made any permanent additions to the home that leans on or puts weight on the home. Those could stress the structure of the home. Any such addition that was added after the home received its safety certification can cause the home to fall out of compliance with the HUD code, rendering it ineligible for financing.

One possible exception, however, are decks and patios, which are regulated by states. If you’ve already added one, check your state’s requirements to see if you’re in compliance.

Property ownership requirements

“If you’re going with an FHA loan, the land has to be yours,” said Pina.

The same can be said for many conventional loans, which hold to many of the same, if not stricter, requirements. VA loans, however, are a different story.

With a VA loan, you have the option to finance just the manufactured home and not the land. With other loan types, you have to finance the home and the land it sits on. Additionally, VA says the only requirements for the property are that it be “safe, sanitary, and sound.”

Other lender requirements

No matter what type of loan you’re after, when you go to refinance your manufactured home, you’re going to be subject to some financial benchmarks. For the most part, these are similar to the ones you had to meet when you first applied for a mortgage:

  • Debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the way that lenders measure your ability to pay back a loan. It’s determined by the sum of all your monthly debts divided by your gross monthly income. In general, 45% or less is considered an acceptable DTI for a refinance on all loans being sold to Fannie Mae.
  • Credit score: Generally, the acceptable credit score for a refinance will vary by lender. FHA loans tend to require a minimum credit score of 580, while conventional loans tend to follow the Fannie Mae guidelines and require a credit score of 620. VA loans, on the other hand, have no official minimum and leave that guideline up to the individual lender.
  • Proof of income: You’ll likely have to provide proof of income to prove that you have the ability to pay back the loan. Typically, this comes in the form of two years of W-2’s, or tax returns if you’re self-employed.
  • Loan-to-value ratio: In a refinance, your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is the loan amount you’re asking for (usually the amount you have left to pay off on your mortgage) compared to the appraised value of your home.
    • FHA refinances require an LTV of no more than 85%.
    • Fannie Mae’s guidelines are 90%-95% for a limited cash-out refinance or 60%-65% for a standard cash-out refinance
    • The VA does not set limits on how much you can borrow.


Whether your goal is to save money by getting a better interest rate or to change the term of your mortgage, there are lots of options to choose from when you’re ready to refinance your loan on your manufactured home. Your best bet is to shop around and talk to a variety of lenders to see who can offer the loan that is the best fit for you.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Tara Mastroeni
Tara Mastroeni |

Tara Mastroeni is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Tara here

Compare Mortgage Loan Offers for Free

Home Purchase Quotes

Home Refinance Quotes

(It only takes 3 minutes!)

NMLS #1136 Terms & Conditions Apply

Advertiser Disclosure


When to Apply for a Mortgage Without Your Spouse

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Marriage is considered by many to be the ultimate partnership between two people. Couples not only combine their homes, belongings, and lives, but often combine their finances as well. They set goals, make plans, and commit to working together to make their dreams a reality.

Most couples I know either dream of buying a house or have already made that achievement a reality. In my husband’s and my case, we couldn’t wait to buy a house, and when I graduated college we immediately started house hunting – but not before heading to the bank to become pre-approved for a mortgage.

What we found when we tried to obtain that mortgage preapproval was that my husband’s identity had been compromised since the last time we had checked his credit. Not only did we have a huge credit mess and a tanked credit score to clean up, we had a deadline to buy a house – because we were having a baby!

Ultimately, we decided to leave my husband off of the mortgage, and that I would buy the house on my own while we sorted out his identity theft situation, but there are many other scenarios in which you may want to apply for a mortgage without your spouse.

Credit Problems

Credit problems can arise for many reasons:

  • Identity Theft (like ours)
  • Lack of Credit
  • Low Credit Score
  • Excessive Debt

Identity theft is the biggest shocker of all, as you may not know that your identity was compromised until you attempt to qualify for a mortgage. It can result in excessive debt, a ruined credit score, or high credit usage. In order to avoid a surprise like ours, it is good idea to check your credit on a regular basis, and especially before trying to obtain pre-approval for a mortgage.

Unfortunately, mortgage companies don’t just pick and choose the best credit aspects from both spouses; or even use the average of their credit. What a bank will be most concerned with is the lowest credit score, basically calling attention to the very credit problems you wanted to hide.

Lack of credit can be just as damaging to your mortgage application as bad credit is. If your spouse does not have a credit score at all, or has a very short credit history, it may be better to leave him or her off of the mortgage application so that you can secure a better rate.

The same goes for high credit usage or a high debt-to-income ratio. High credit usage is considered using 20% or more of your available credit, such as using 20% or more of your credit card limits. A high debt-to-income ratio is when your debt payments are more than 40% – 50% of your income.

Banks have maximum requirements for credit usage and debt-to-income ratios in order to approve a mortgage application, and if one spouse does not meet the maximum criteria, you could end up paying a higher interest rate, or even be denied a mortgage.

So, if your spouse has credit problems, you might want to consider leaving your spouse off the mortgage application – unless you need his or her income to qualify.

Low Income

Generally to apply for a mortgage, you will need the following:

  • 2 Years of W2’s
  • 2 Years of Tax Returns
  • 2 months of bank statements

Some situations call for more documentation or less, but you should have these documents ready, at the very least.

Occasionally, one spouse will not meet these requirements. He or she may not have had a job for the last 2 years, or may be self-employed and not have 2 years of self-employment tax returns. If your spouse does not have consistent income, or cannot provide this documentation, it may make more financial sense to leave him or her off the mortgage application.

The Application Process

Even though only one spouse is applying for your mortgage, it is important to note that there will be some differences in the application process and being prepared for them will make the whole process go much faster.

  • A Smaller Loan Amount: Cutting your combined incomes in half also lessens the mortgage amount that you will quality for.
  • The Mortgage Company Will Look at Your Spouse’s Debt: If the home you are looking to purchase is in a community property state, or is a FHA or VA loan, both spouse’s debts will be taken into consideration.
  • Joint Bank Accounts Are Ok: As long as you are listed as an owner on the account – no matter the other account owners – the bank should have no problem with your home loan.
  • You Spouse Will Need to Acknowledge The Debt You’re Taking On: Even though only one spouse is taking out the mortgage, many lenders will require that the other spouse sign an acknowledgment form stating that they understand the debt that their spouse is taking on.

Besides the above differences, buying a house without your spouse is not really all that different than buying a house with them. It may actually be easier, as only one person needs to rearrange their schedule to sign important documents related to the mortgage and closing, rather than two.

To see if you can qualify on your own, it makes sense to shop around. We recommend starting with LendingTree. With a single form, over 400 mortgage lenders will be given the opportunity to compete for your business. You can check to see if you can qualify by starting here:



on LendingTree’s secure website

NMLS #1136 Terms & Conditions Apply


Ultimately, It Is The Rate That Matters

The goal in applying for a mortgage is to get the best rate possible. And the way to get your best rate possible is to present the most credit-worthy, solid mortgage application possible to the bank. Sometimes, this means leaving one spouse off of the application, and proceeding alone.

The more attractive you look as a borrower, the lower your mortgage rate. Doing something as simple as leaving one spouse off of the mortgage, could lower your rate enough to save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Consider this example: A 6% rate on a $200,000, 30-year mortgage (assuming a 20% down payment) will cost you $185,340 in interest over the course of the loan.

That same mortgage with a 5% rate will cost you $149,207 in interest over the course of the loan – saving you $36,133 just by dropping your rate by 1%!

Just remember: when shopping for a mortgage rate, it is best to condense all of your inquiries into a short period of time. All mortgage inquiries completed in one shopping window (typically 30 days or less) will only count as one inquiry on your report.

Even though it may seem unconventional at first, buying a house without your spouse actually makes quite a bit of sense in some situations. As with any big decision, be sure that you make the decision about whether to buy a home together or separately by talking openly so that you and your spouse are on the same page about your homeownership dream and what it will take to get there.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Gretchen Lindow
Gretchen Lindow |

Gretchen Lindow is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gretchen at [email protected]

Compare Mortgage Loan Offers for Free

Home Purchase Quotes

Home Refinance Quotes

(It only takes 3 minutes!)

NMLS #1136 Terms & Conditions Apply

Advertiser Disclosure


How to Speed Up Your Mortgage Refinance

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.


The saying “time is money” is even more true when you’re refinancing your home to reduce your monthly payment. The sooner you complete a refinance, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of lowering your payment and improving your financial situation.

There are steps you can take to move the process along more quickly. We’ll discuss these as we explain how to speed up your refinance.

Why speed is important in a refinance

Interest rates change on a daily basis. Once you lock in your rate, the clock begins ticking. If you don’t complete the refinance within the lock timeline, you could end up paying extension fees or end up having to re-lock at a higher rate.

Rate locks are usually priced in 15-day increments, although different lenders may offer other timelines. The shorter the lock period, the better your rate should be. If you can complete your refinance within one of the shorter lock-in periods, you’ll end up with a lower rate, lower costs or both.

Tip No. 1: Know what you want to accomplish with the refinance

If you’re objective is to save money every month on your payment, the refinance process can be incredibly fast. The simpler your goal is for the refinance, the easier it will be for the lender to approve your loan.

If a lender sees that you’re saving money and improving your financial situation with a lower down payment — and that you have made all your payments on time — it already has a pretty good idea that you’ll make a new lower payment on time.

However, if you’re applying for a cash-out refinance to consolidate debt, that may be a red flag that you are overextended on credit because your job or income is unstable, prompting lenders to request more proof of income to make sure you can repay your loan.

Tip No. 2: Pick a streamline refinance option

One of the benefits of government-backed loan programs, such as those offered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veteran Affairs (VA), is the ability to refinance under “streamlined” guidelines. These refinance programs don’t require any income verification, and they usually won’t require any appraisal.

They also don’t require a full credit report, and they only verify that you’ve made your current mortgage payments on time with a mortgage-only credit report. Because lenders don’t have to underwrite your income or an appraisal, the refinances can be completed very quickly.

If you have an FHA or VA loan and have made seven payments on time since you took out your mortgage, you are probably eligible for a streamline refinance option. The VA streamline program is more commonly called a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance loan (IRRRL), but it features the same income and appraisal flexibilities as the FHA streamline refinance.

Tip No. 3: See if you can get an appraisal waiver on conventional financing

When market values go up — as they consistently have for at least the past five years — conventional lenders may begin to offer appraisal waivers. Although you’ll still need to document your income and assets, conventional lenders may be able to offer you a waiver of your appraisal, which will significantly speed up your refinance process. It will also save you the cost of an appraisal, which is usually $300 to $400.

You may hear your loan officer talk about a property inspection waiver (PIW) or an automated collateral evaluation (ACE). These basically amount to a computerized system accepting the estimated value you input on your loan application as the appraised value for your refinance.

Appraisal waivers are usually only available on rate-and-term refinances, which are refinances paying off the balance of your loan to save money. If you are looking for a cash-out refinance to consolidate bills or make home improvements, chances are you’ll need a full appraisal.

Tip No. 4: Fill out an accurate and complete application

Take the time to fill out your loan application accurately. Be sure to provide contact information for your employer, your homeowners insurance company and a complete two-year history of your employment and addresses.

If you’ve applied for new credit accounts in the past 60 days, have a current statement handy in case the balance and payment haven’t yet appeared on your credit report. These may seem like minor things, but they can cause major delays if you don’t disclose them properly at the beginning of the loan process.

Tip No. 5: Have your basic paperwork ready to provide

Depending on the type of refinance for which you are applying, there may be very little your lender needs. However, there are some basics you should have handy to speed up the process, just in case.

  • Current month of pay stubs: If you aren’t doing a streamlined government refinance, this is usually the bare minimum a conventional lender will need.
  • Last year’s W-2: If you have high credit scores (above 720), you may not have to provide a W-2, but it depends on the type of income you receive. If you get overtime and commissions on top of a base salary, expect to provide two years’ worth of W-2s.
  • Current mortgage statement: This is needed to show that there are no late fees accruing. It also provides a snapshot of your current loan balance for your loan estimate preparation.
  • Two months of bank statements from a checking or savings account: Some lenders will only require one month. If you’re adding the closing costs to your loan balance, you may not need any bank statements at all.
  • Copy of your current homeowners insurance policy: Whether you include your homeowners insurance in your monthly payment or not, the lender will need this to calculate your total qualifying payment. It will also need to switch the lender information to show who your new mortgage company will be.
  • Current property tax statement: Again, this is required regardless of whether you have an escrow account. Your property taxes will need to be current, and the lender will need the yearly taxes to calculate your total qualifying payment.
  • Copy of your driver’s license or picture ID: This is needed to confirm your identity at your application and then again at your closing.

Tip No. 6: Apply with a digital or online refinance lender

You may see advertising or have a loan officer tell you about a digital or online refinance process. This generally means the lender doesn’t need any income or asset documentation to approve your loan, allowing the refinance to finished quickly.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t accessing your personal information in another way. New technology allows lenders to access your income and employment history through online databases. It can see your assets with “view-only access” to your banking accounts.

You generally have to work for a large employer to be eligible, and your bank accounts need to be with a large bank. You also need to be comfortable with giving your lender your log-in credentials for your bank for “read-only” access.

Tip No. 7: Stay at your current job

Your income and employment will be verified during the loan process and right before closing. Switching from a salaried to a commission position, or changing employers, will create delays in the process or prevent you from being able to complete the refinance at all.

Tip No. 8: Don’t make large deposits into your checking or savings accounts

If you are increasing your loan amount to cover your costs, you may not need to provide any bank statements at all. If you do need to provide bank statements, the first thing the lender will look for is large deposits.

If you received a large cash gift from a relative, or recently sold an asset such as a car or coin collection, avoid depositing the funds until after your transaction is complete to avoid having to provide documentation and explanations.

Tip No. 9: Provide only asset documentation you need for the loan

Refinance lenders only need enough documentation to approve your loan. If you have an extensive portfolio of stock funds, 401(k) plans or several different asset accounts, you don’t need to disclose them if you aren’t going to be liquidating them to complete your refinance.

Tip No. 10: Communicate any changes to your loan officer immediately

Sometimes a new job opportunity is too good to pass up, or a car breaks down requiring you to buy a new one. The most important thing is to immediately notify your loan officer of any changes to your employment, credit or assets so they can develop a game plan to prevent any unnecessary delays finishing your refinance.

Things that could slow down the refinance process

Sometimes situations can arise that you have no control over in the refinance process. You’ll need to make quick decisions to keep the refinance moving if you run into any of them.

Your appraisal comes in lower than estimated

A low appraisal could affect the viability of a refinance. This is especially true with conventional mortgages, where the interest rates are influenced by how much equity you have. Even a 5% difference in your estimated value could result in a higher rate, higher costs or both.

You can also dispute a home appraisal by providing recent, similar sales you think better represent your home’s value. If your value comes in lower, reach out to your loan officer to have a new break-even point analysis done to make sure the refinance still make sense. This calculation divides the total closing cost of your refinance by the monthly savings to determine how long it takes to recoup the costs. Getting your refinance done quickly isn’t beneficial if it takes you longer to recoup the costs than you plan to live in the home.

One caveat: Don’t give the appraiser your opinion about what you think your home is worth. There are very strict laws in place to make sure appraisers have the independence to evaluate your home’s worth without any pressure from an interested party. An appraiser can refuse to complete your appraisal, creating delays and potentially causing the lender to decline your loan.

Some states consider it a felony to influence a home appraiser, so it’s best to let the appraiser do the inspection, then dispute the value with recent sales if you don’t agree with the appraiser’s opinion.

You have a second mortgage you want to keep

If you have a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you may want to keep it open and just refinance your first mortgage. This will require an extra approval process called “subordination” or “resubordination.”

Your second mortgage lender will need to agree to being “subordinate” to your new first mortgage. That means your first mortgage lender wants to have first rights to foreclose on your home if you default.

Home equity loan and HELOC lenders will usually have a process in place to approve subordinations quickly, but some have long turn times that may force you to lock in your mortgage for a longer time period.

Final thoughts about speeding up your refinance

Be sure to shop around to get the best rate possible. Once you’ve found your best deal, lock it in and be prepared to act quickly with any documentation requests from your loan officer and loan processor.

Taking all these steps will help speed your refinance up so that you can begin enjoying the benefits of a lower rate and monthly payment.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Denny Ceizyk
Denny Ceizyk |

Denny Ceizyk is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Denny here

Compare Mortgage Loan Offers for Free

Home Purchase Quotes

Home Refinance Quotes

(It only takes 3 minutes!)

NMLS #1136 Terms & Conditions Apply