A different, but permanent fix
I recently walked into the Gordon County Tax Assessor’s office and approached the desk where I was promptly greeted by one of the assessors who asked, “How can I help you?” I told him that I was about to knock his socks off. He leaned slightly forward with a semi- concerned look, no doubt preparing for a disgruntled taxpayer, and asked, “How’s that?” I told him that I needed to pay more taxes. He leaned back in his stance with a relieved smile and said that that was unusual.
You see, most of the time when I go to the County Assessor’s office, I’m trying to decrease my tax burden — not the other way around. But in this case, I was being taxed incorrectly and I needed to let them know. Let me tell you why.
We have owned a double wide mobile home for some years now and have used it as a rental property. This year it went vacant, and we were going to have to do a pretty big rehab on it. After evaluating it, we realized that the property is on the outside of our normal working area, which means we don’t do inspections on it like we should.
It has appreciated quite a bit since we purchased it. Coupling that fact with the rehab we were going to have to do, and that it is located outside our area, and we thought it would be best to go ahead and sell this one.
Now in order to sell a doublewide to a buyer who needs either FHA or VA financing, the house must be newer than a 1976 model. It must also be permanently fixed to the property and have a permanent foundation.
You would think that having a permanent foundation would make the house permanently fixed to the property, but it doesn’t. Let me explain why.
Mobile homes have axles and tongues just like a camper or utility trailer. And because of that fact, they are governed by the DMV and have titles just like a car. The axles and tongues are made to be taken off and put back on, which a mobile home mover does regularly. So, even if there is a block foundation under a trailer with its axles off of it, a mover can knock down some of the block wall, jack the trailer up, put the axles and tongue back on it and move it right out — that is, if there’s still an active title on the home.
Permanently fixing a home is the process of retiring the title (doing away with it) so that the house can no longer be moved and has to stay where it is located.
In Georgia, this is done with the state form T234, which is the “mobile-manufactured home certificate of permanent location.” After you get through the process, the mobile home title gets sent off to the state to be retired, so that it can no longer be moved, and the T234 gets recorded in the county clerk’s office to show the house is now part of the real property where it resides.
Our house had no T234 on file at the clerk’s office. That was something we were going to have to remedy if we hoped to sell this house. Before we got too gung-ho on starting the T234 process, I wanted to check the deed room just to make sure we hadn’t missed something.
You see, I have found that the T234 doesn’t have a standardized filing status at the courthouse. I have seen them called an affidavit, a contract, a certificate and even just recorded as miscellaneous. And since the T234 can be categorized so broadly, you have to be very thorough when searching for them.
I did not find a T234 on our house. I found something different. It was called an “Affixation Affidavit.” Even though that term sounds like what happens when you are deprived of oxygen, it turns out it is what was used prior to the T234 being adopted by the state in 2003. This house was bought new and moved to the property in 2000, at which time it was permanently fixed to the property. Which is good,
The tax assessor had not seen a T234 on our property and had been taxing the home and land separately. Now that we know they’re one and the same, we had to notify the assessor of that fact. They made the change, and now everyone will know that the house is permanently fixed.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.