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What Is A Chattel Mortgage And When Would You Use One?

3-Minute Read
Published on January 22, 2021

There are a lot of options when it comes to purchasing real estate. But with so many financing choices available, it can be hard to know which is the best for your situation.

If you’re looking to purchase a movable piece of equipment or modular home, a chattel mortgage may be a good option for you. This type of loan is often used by borrowers who want to purchase a home that isn’t permanently attached to the land. Rocket Mortgage® does not offer these types of loans.

Chattel Mortgage Definition

If you’ve ever taken out a traditional mortgage, then you know that a fixed property secures the loan. By comparison, a chattel mortgage is a loan that’s secured by a movable piece of personal property.

Many people use vehicles, equipment, or even manufactured homes as collateral on the loan. Depending on where you live, a chattel mortgage may also be referred to as a security agreement.

These types of loans typically come with shorter terms and smaller loan amounts. However, the interest rates tend to be much higher than what you’d receive on a traditional mortgage. 

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What Are Chattel Mortgages Used For?

Here are some common scenarios when it makes sense to take out a chattel loan:

  • Manufactured homes: Chattel mortgages are often used to finance manufactured homes, formerly known as mobile homes. A manufactured home is a factory-built home constructed after June 15, 1976. Rocket Mortgage does offer conventional, FHA and VA loans for manufactured homes if the home is permanently affixed to the land as real property. FHA loans require a foundation inspection based on the Permanent Foundations Guide. If you've had an inspection in the past, that can be used.
  • Modular homes: Borrowers can also take out a chattel mortgage to purchase a modular home. These homes are built in factories but are put together in sections and then fully constructed on-site. They adhere to the same building codes as traditional homes. We offer financing for modular homes as well.
  • Heavy machinery: Individuals or businesses can also use chattel mortgages to purchase heavy movable equipment. This arrangement allows the borrower to begin using the equipment while still making the most of their cash flow.

Chattel mortgages are used in these instances because the borrower doesn’t own the land the manufactured or modular homes are on. The mortgage remains intact even when the home is moved to a different location.

Pros And Cons Of Chattel Loans

Depending on your current financial situation, taking out a chattel loan could make sense for you. But it’s important to know all the facts before you apply.


Let’s look at some of the biggest advantages of taking out a chattel mortgage:

  • Chattel mortgages typically come with shorter loan terms than with a traditional or conventional mortgage.
  • Chattel loans usually have lower processing fees.
  • Repayments can be fixed-rate or structured to a borrower’s monthly cash flow.
  • The interest on the loan is tax-deductible.


Here are some drawbacks to taking out a chattel mortgage:

  • Chattel mortgage lenders typically charge higher interest rates than what you’d receive on a traditional mortgage.
  • The borrower can lose their property to the lender if they fail to make payments.

FAQs About Chattel Mortgages

What Happens When You Default On A Chattel Mortgage?

If a borrower defaults on a chattel loan, the creditor or lender can take possession of the personal property. This means that if you run into hard times financially, you could end up losing your home.

Are There Any Tax Implications Of A Chattel Mortgage?

The goods and services tax (GST) on a vehicle or personal property entitles the borrower to claim an input tax credit. Borrowers are also free to claim interest or depreciation costs.

Do Chattel Mortgage Lenders Own My Personal Property?

Until you pay off the loan, yes, the lender owns the property. However, this doesn’t mean the lender holds a lien on the property. And once the repayment terms are complete, ownership of the chattel will be transferred to you.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a modular home or movable piece of equipment, taking out a chattel mortgage could be right for you. These loans come with shorter terms and much lower processing fees. However, the interest rate will be higher than what you’d receive on a conventional mortgage.

If You’re ready to start the homebuying process, Rocket Mortgage can help. Contact one of our Home Loan Experts about applying for a mortgage today. You can also call them at (888) 452-0335.

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Miranda Crace

The Quicken Loans blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.