In South Carolina, mobile homes, also referred to as manufactured homes, have gained popularity among homeowners. Nonetheless, there is uncertainty among many individuals regarding whether these homes are classified as real property in the state. The answer is not a simple one and is dependent on certain factors. This article aims to examine the legal classification of mobile homes in South Carolina and how it impacts homeowners.
Why It Is Vital to Know Whether Mobile Homes Are Considered Real Property or Not
Purchasing a mobile home entails certain considerations that do not apply to a stick-built or “in-situ” home. The tax status of a mobile home is determined by its characteristics.
At times, mobile homes are classified as personal property instead of real property, a critical distinction that determines whether fees are paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles or the county property tax collector. Individuals often inquire about the circumstances under which a mobile home transitions from personal to real property. This classification also affects the transfer of the title and necessitates thorough research for proper due diligence.
Real Property vs. Personal Property
If mobile homes are not real property, then what classification of property do they fit in? The answer is personal property. It is crucial to comprehend the difference between real and personal property in order to understand the information provided in this article.
The law clearly distinguishes between the two types of property, with real property being immovable and including the land, anything permanently attached to it, and any rights associated with the land.
In contrast, personal property is movable and encompasses everything that is not real property, such as clothing, furniture, vehicles, boats, and other items that are not affixed to real estate.
Technical Aspects of Determining the Property Type of Mobile Homes in South Carolina
Legal Definitions of Property Types
In South Carolina, mobile homes are classified as either real or personal property depending on how they are attached to the land. Real property is defined as land and anything permanently attached to it, such as buildings, trees, and fixtures. Personal property, on the other hand, is movable property that is not affixed to the land, such as furniture, vehicles, and boats.
Property Type and Taxation
If a mobile home is permanently attached to a foundation and the wheels and axles have been removed, it is considered real property and is subject to property taxes. This means that the owner must obtain a title for the mobile home and register it with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. The owner is also required to pay property taxes on the home and the land it sits on.
However, if the mobile home is not permanently attached to a foundation, it is considered personal property and is subject to personal property taxes. In this case, the owner must obtain a title from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and register the mobile home as a vehicle. The owner is required to pay personal property taxes on the home, but not on the land it sits on.
Mobile Home and the Land it Sits On
It is important to note that even if a mobile home is considered real property, the land it sits on may not be. If the homeowner only owns the mobile home and not the land, they may be required to pay rent to the landowner. This is known as a land-lease agreement, and it is common in mobile home parks.
If the mobile home and land are owned together, the homeowner may choose to file for a permanent foundation permit. This permit requires the mobile home to be anchored to a permanent foundation, which increases the home’s value and makes it easier to obtain financing. Once the permit is obtained, the mobile home is considered real property and is subject to property taxes.
New and Used Mobile Homes
Another factor that affects the classification of mobile homes in South Carolina is whether they are new or used. New mobile homes are subject to sales tax, while used mobile homes are not. However, if a used mobile home is sold with the land it sits on, the transaction is subject to real estate transfer tax.
To Wrap It Up
In South Carolina, mobile homes are typically taxed and evaluated as real property, irrespective of whether they are inhabited or abandoned and in a state of disrepair. As a result, they will continue to be included in the tax roll. It’s important to note that mobile homes are not assessed, taxed, or regulated in the same manner as vehicles.
In conclusion, the classification of mobile homes in South Carolina as real or personal property depends on whether they are permanently attached to a foundation and the land they sit on. Mobile homes that are permanently attached to a foundation are considered real property and are subject to property taxes, while those that are not are considered personal property and are subject to personal property taxes. It is important for homeowners to understand the legal classification of their mobile home, as it can affect their tax obligations and financing options.