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Wrestling with double-wide woes

Dr. Don TaylorDear Dr. Don,
I live in a double-wide mobile home. I'm currently having a house built, so I have six months to sell the mobile home. The problem is that it's been on the market for a year already.

I owe $30,000 on it. I can't rent it out because it's in a park, so I pay a lot of rent, too. After I move into my new home, I can try paying both my house payment and the lot rent of $418 and the second house payment of $342, and just do it for as long as I can keep up. Should I file for bankruptcy on my mobile home?

The mobile homes in my park are currently selling for $23,000 to $25,000, plus 8-percent commission, so even if I sell it I could still have to pay about $10,000 out of my pocket.
-- Melanie Mobile

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Dear Melanie,
You don't get to pick and choose which debts you want to include in a bankruptcy filing. Instead, you list them all and work with the bankruptcy court to sort things out. The U.S. Courts publication, Bankruptcy Basics, will get you up to speed about filing for bankruptcy.

The financing of manufactured housing is all over the map, but since you don't own the land under the home, you're no doubt financing it with a personal property manufactured home loan.

Finding financing on a used mobile home is no walk in the park for a buyer. That's likely to be one of the reasons why yours has been on the market for a year. Another reason, no doubt, is price. You didn't state your asking price, but if you're marketing the home around $30,000 to recoup most of what you owe on the loan and comparable homes in the park are selling for $23,000 to $25,000, it's no surprise that your home isn't sold.

I'm concerned about your desire to declare bankruptcy on your current debts while in the process of having a house built and your ability to close on that new home. Filing for bankruptcy will disrupt your ability to get approved for new credit.

If you can afford to take the $10,000 hit on selling your mobile home, then price your home to sell and move on. If you can't, then you need to talk to a bankruptcy attorney about what bankruptcy can and can't do for you in your situation.

-- Posted: March 31, 2005




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