I paid cash for the land I put a modular home on which I financed. My husband is terminally ill and I am afraid I will soon be foreclosed upon. Will I lose my free and clear land which has been paid for in cash years ago? It is owned by us and we also paid for the basement which the home was placed on. The septic and well were paid in cash by us too.

The area of land is worth more than my modular home.

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    Please specify in which country you are, and, in the US, which state. Also clarify what type of financing you have (it's possibly not a mortgage), and what (if anything) is used to back the loan.
    – jcaron
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:13
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    Country, approx age, and etc matter. Your husband maybe eligible for disability(no age requirement), medicare, Medicaid or other financial programs in the US. Bankruptcy options vary significantly. Many insurances and social programs have special end of life condition where they will pay for them.
    – cybernard
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:46
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    Please clarify the debt. 1. Have you obtained a mortgage after you bought the land with cash? 2. Did you offer the home or land as collateral on a documented loan? Did you offer those for collateral for medical debt? My point is, UNSECURED debt does not directly put your assets directly at risk. In the US, creditors would really have to jump through hoops to get your home if you did not agree to that risk in writing.
    – donjuedo
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 19:05
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    The term "modular home" seems ambiguous, given some of the current answers. Can you give more details about this home? Is it possible to move it? That might help get to better answers. (People are using the term mobile home, which to me is a very different thing.) Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 21:16
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    Is money an issue because of medical bills, or because neither of you are working?
    – cybernard
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 18:01

6 Answers 6


You did not add a country tag, but in most countries, a plot of land and any buildings built on it become one inseparable unit which usually can not be sold separately. If you sell one, you also have to sell the other. That means if your bank forces you into foreclosure, they will auction the house, the plot of land and the other things you build on and under it together. They then pay your debt from the proceeds of that auction and give you the rest.

You could argue that it is possible to relocate a "modular home" (with considerable investment) making it a movable entity which can be sold separately from the land it is built upon and transported away. But in reality this is rarely the case. In most cases, moving a home is more expensive than ordering a new one. And in this particular case it would be especially nonsensical, because there is very little value in a basement, well and septic tank without a house on top. Check your local laws about precendent cases about whether homes of your type are considered immovable real estate or not.

You might be able to avoid the foreclosure if you proactively approach your bank and ask them to renegotiate your loan conditions. A foreclosure is usually a last resort measure which is in nobodies interest. The bank misses out on future interest payments, might not even recover the full loan sum and has cost associated with the bureaucratic hassles involved in a foreclosure. It's a lose-lose situation for everyone. So the bank might be willing to decrease your monthly payments to prevent this from happening.

If what you claim is true and your property is worth a lot more than the debt you have, then it might be an option to sell your property, pay your debt from the proceeds and move into a smaller, cheaper home. You can usually achieve a far better price for real estate if you sell it through regular channels than through a foreclosure auction.

Another option would be leasehold. You sell your house (and only the house) where it stands to pay off the debt and take a monthly lease from the new owner for the land it is on. This model is pretty popular in some countries, but virtually unheard of in others (in some countries it's even illegal). If this is an option in your location, then you can use their lease to pay your rent for a cheaper apartment or house.

In any case, if you miss out mortgage payments, tell your bank what's up! They might be able to find a solution with you, but only if you communicate with them. If you just silently stop paying your mortgage, they will pile you under late interest and fees and get you into even more debt.

Edit from JoeTaxpayer - this is an example of a modular home. I add this to help make Philipp's point, the words "Modular Home" and "Mobile Home" are different, and in most cases, a modular home is simply not mobile. Modular refers to the method of construction, a high percent is done in a large factory, and shipped to job site for final assembly. Once completed, it's a house, period, no different than the house built one 2x6 at a time on site. If OP doesn't return to clarify, answers assuming a "mobile" home might need editing just to state that clearly up front as these would be very different answers.

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An example of a modular home.

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    @EmilVikström in theory yes. In practice outside of hot real estate markets foreclosures frequently are sold at auction for the banks initial offered price of whatever the remaining balance on the loan is. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 14:02
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    and in many countries land the and building on it are considered separate entities...modular homes in particular... are really mobile..... and not part of the land. but who knows what corrupt laws are written into the code in the country in question (as the OP never named the country) Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 14:05
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    @sofageneral In this case it would not be in OPs interest to sell the home and keep the land. Buying a used mobile home to transport it somewhere else is a bad idea, because packing up a settled mobile home often costs more than buying a brand new one. So if someone does this, they would only do it when they have to pay almost nothing for the house. And if someone does this nevertheless, OP is stuck with a land with a cellar and septic tank and not enough money to put a new house on top. The house with the land is likely worth far more than each individually.
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 14:14
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    I would like to see legal reference backing this answer up. As others have pointed out land law differs greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, in the state of Hawaii 99-year leases are common and folks often build on leased lots. They may loose access to their building at the end of lease, but I've never heard of a debt on the building resulting in foreclosure of the land. I think the terms of the loan for the mobile home would be the more germane factor. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:42
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    The jurisdictional question is less important than the type of security instrument used. Even if OPs jurisdiction allows the house and land to be mortgaged separately, that doesn't help OP if they are in fact mortgaged together.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 17:55

Land and modular homes are always sold separately.

So unless you backed the loan on the modular home with your land, there is no reason to believe that you could lose your home when they foreclose on the modular home.

In the U.S. at least, different states have different bankruptcy laws. But many states allow you to keep some life necessities in the event of bankruptcy such as: land, house and a horse

You can be foreclosed out of a house (because the house is the asset that backs the loan), but if you lose the modular home (which you bought separately), there is no reason to believe you would lose the land (unless you used it to back the purchase of the modular home).

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Any new comments posted will be deleted with prejudice, and no notice. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 20:50

You did not specify how large your plot of land is so I offer the following ideas:

If this is a large plot of land then you can look into selling the house with just enough land to make it desirable. You will need to call your local government and zoning board but it could be possible to only sell your home on a 1/2 acre plot if you have 5 acres for example.

When I was house hunting I would often find house listings that advertise 20 acres to the tune of "Beautiful home resting on 20 acres of untouched land" but the details state that the house is being sold with only 2 acres and the rest would still be owned by the previous owner.

This is especially advantageous if you've also built other structures such as a shed or large garage on the property which you don't want to lose.

You mentioned that your land is worth more than the house so selling enough land to cover the house costs is also a possibility.

I guess it boils down to whether you prefer to keep an immediate roof over your head with less land or build another house on your remaining land (presumably a smaller house).

Please know that you have my sincere condolences. I cannot even begin to comprehend how stressful everything is at this time.


It depends on the terms of your mortgage.

In all likelihood you used the land as collateral for the loan. You can verify this by reading your mortgage and reading the land records in your county. If the mortgage is against the property, then there will be a lien against the property recorded on the deed.


In the US

1. Medicare
2. Medicaid
3. Title 19
4. Bankruptcy 

The first 3 may have age or disability requirement, but surely terminal illness counts for disability. This way your husband can bring in money from disability to help with the bills.

If you are old enough to qualify for social security, as the surviving spouse you are eligible for the greater of 2 social security payments. This is NOT automatic you have to do paperwork. My mom is getting my dad's social security amount because her income(therefore social security benefit) was less.

If you get some training social security may actually be able to pay you for taking care of your husband. I don't know the exact details, but it could be worth the time investment. It was offered as an option when mom got sick. Maybe then you could afford your mortgage payment.

Refinance the loan

Do a reverse mortgage.

Sell the land and house yourself, pay off the mortgage, and use the rest to pay for another house or apartment.

If you had 10 years left on a 30yr mortgage you could get another 30yr loan to decrease the total payments to an affordable amount. This presumes you are still working, and can make payments.

Under the financial hard ship clause you can get money from an IRA if you have one. Obviously an action of last resort.


Real estate investor here. The term modular home means different things in different places. There are numerous financing schemes which may or may not put everything you own in jeopardy. The answer you seek depends on many factors and cannot be accurately deduced from the information you provided.

Please immediately contact a LOCAL real estate/family law attorney or the equivalent in your location. This is not the time for you to seek advice from random people on the Internet, no matter how well meaning it is. I can't impress on you enough how important it is for you to get immediate competent professional advice in your situation. The (relatively) small cost will be well worth it in the end, and may end up saving you more than you can imagine.

My condolences for your situation.

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