Typical Buyer VS Informed Buyer

I recently appraised a manufactured home for a possible short sale. While performing my inspection, the home owner told me his story that has become all too common since the financial crisis and economic downturn. Lost jobs and mounting debt linked with a declining real estate market had brought forth another sadening statistic of an underwater mortgage.

The home owner was visibly frustrated with the manufactured housing lending process or lack thereof. He stated "it would have been nice if someone told us it was so difficult to get a mortgage on one". As I wrapped up and started my journey back to office, I began thinking about a larger question. If this home owner was a "typical" buyer in the market, did he meet the definition of a reasonably informed buyer?

This would likely garner several perspectives from appraisers but it seems the simple answer would be that it depends. It is possible that the majority of some buyers may not actually understand the nuances of a subject like manufactured home lending but could they have been better informed? Was the salesperson deceptive or fraudulant? Is there sufficient access to data and information to learn more before purchasing? The questions appear endless but after working for years in this particular market, I also knew this home owner was likely indicative of other manufactured home buyers.

The principle of a free market must have a "buyer beware" attitude if there are to be informed buyers. Simply adding more regulations to title work and closing docs will likely only blur the buyer's perception. Though a sad way to get there, maybe this type of situation will make potential buyers more aware of the pros and cons of various types of real estate.