UPDATE 2021: ***As of early 2021 we've had to make the difficult decision to limit new clients seeking mobile home financing. The situations we can still consider accepting are:

  • Modular homes (CSA A-277 on a permanent foundation) - See more info below
  • Mobile homes (CSA-Z240) which are on freehold land, are less than 15 years old, and have a poured concrete foundation (basement/crawlspace/pad), NOT piers/blocks.  

IF your situation doesn't fit the above then please send me an email to ryan@hhmtg.com and I'll be happy to give you contact info for other lenders you might approach. There are still banks who can finance these older mobiles and park/lease situations, but we do not have access to them directly as brokers any more.

Mobile and modular homes make up a large and steadily growing part of the housing market in Canada. In fact, these pre-fabricated homes made up more than 15% of the new housing created in 2014. That's too large a segment of the market to ignore!

With that in mind, I wanted to give some insight into the benefits and challenges of considering this type of real estate for your next home or investment property. Dollar for dollar, homes which are manufactured off-site may offer greater value for your investment. They can be custom-built to your specifications if desired, and then moved into place and installed at a site of your choosing. If you opt for a mobile home, you may even have the option of moving that home elsewhere later on if you desire. It is for this very reason that these types of properties can be more of a challenge to finance and there are some special considerations.

Due to the risk associated with these types of homes being anything less than permanent (remember, lenders hate risks!), you can expect some challenges when trying to obtain a mortgage. There are fewer lenders who will accept these properties, and some who may charge a premium rate. Pre-approvals can pose a challenge as well due to uncontrollables such as pad rent and/or strata fees varying widely from one property to the next. As you might guess, a mobile or modular on it's own land will be treated differently from one in a park or strata-type community. It's important to gather lots of information up front and be prepared to approach several different lenders before you might find a good fit.

When considering these types of properties, some important questions to ask are:

  • Does this purchase include freehold land(define Freehold HERE), or is the land leased?
  • What type of foundation is the home on? Is it a concrete pad? Concrete crawlspace/basement? Wooden piers? Steel pilings? 
  • How is the home secured to this particular foundation?
  • Finally, is it truly a "Mobile" or a "Modular" home?(Read on to answer this question...)

Mobile vs. Modular

A mobile home is NOT the same as a modular home, and vice versa. The two types of homes can be best defined by looking at the differences rather than the similarities. Some of the differences are:

Mobile Homes generally:
  • Have a steel frame
  • Use 2x8 floor joists
  • Are built to CSA Standard Z-240(not building code)
  • Can be moved at a later date, after having been originally installed

Modular Homes:
  • Have a wooden frame
  • Use engineered floor trusses
  • Are built to CSA Standard A-277(Canadian national building code)
  • Are also held to BC Building code standards
  • Can NOT usually be moved after having been placed on-site
As you would imagine, lenders find modular homes to be the more preferred option of the two, but this is at the expense of higher initial cost and the inability to move the building later. Modular homes act, look, smell, and think more like a conventional home and if there's one thing mortgage lenders enjoy, it's convention!
Most importantly, as always, Ask Questions! Take the time to interview lenders/brokers, realtors, and a lawyer when making the decision to purchase or refinance your home, it may very well be the single biggest investment of your lifetime. Are they educated in the niche you're interested in? Are they up-to-date? Are they professional, courteous, and ethical?