Mobile Home Investing: AKA The Moolah Maker

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Have you ever looked at real estate as an investment vehicle that can take you from the current rat-race you are in, to the lazy boy chair lifestyle you want?  I do.  from the beginning I always had my eye on long-term wealth and long-term growth.  I needed make sure I succeeded in real estate.  As investors we all choose to focus on one or more methods to pursue real estate riches.  It is for this reason that I am so happy to finally discuss “Buying and Holding” as a strategy for long-term wealth with mobile housing.

Below is an edu-taining story that is really all too typical in the mobile home investing world.

The seller of a 1996 clean double-wide mobile home attached to a half acre of land and I were in the last stages of the negotiation process for his home on the outskirts of Tampa Bay.  The home needed no work and was practically vacant.  If I could get the seller to agree to the owner financing terms I wanted there would be a pretty-penny to profit when I got a tenant-buyer into the home; the future tenant-buyer must put money down plus pay me hundreds in passive cash-flow each month in exchange for occupying and one day owning the property.

After a little silence the seller agreed to the terms I presented.  The seller’s asked that I personally help him pack the rest of the family’s things into boxes, an unusual request but I agreed.

Knowing that I must purchase any real estate investment with my end user in mind I structured the mobile home deal as follows; Zero cash down, subject to the preexisting mortgage of $23,000 and a once-a-year payment of $1,700 for 6 years, Total purchase price was $33,200.  The outgoing debt service, including the owner-financing monthly escrow came to $518.00 PITI a month.

My goal was to sell the property by accepting a cash-payment down today and allowing a qualified tenant-buyer to make me payments over time, plus an interest rate of course.

Marketing the home as “No Banks Required” helped sell the home in 12 days for $77,000 to a very excited family.  The terms of the sale were $4,000 cash to be collected as a down payment and 180 monthly payments of $1,050.00 PITI.  It was less than 2 weeks after I originally purchased the investment mobile home with no money down that I was now holding $5,050 profit as a non-refundable down payment and first month’s payment.  Best part was that if the tenant-buyer fulfilled their side of the agreement I would be collecting $1,050 dollar paychecks every month for the next 15 years.

Sadly, the family did not get to stay 15 years.  After two and a half years the “always on-time” family of four picked up and vanished.  To this day I have no idea where they relocated.  The vanishing tenant-buyers I had sold the home to left the mobile home relatively clean condition.  A half-day cleaning and the home was ready to remarket.

I now had a vacant mobile home that I needed to resell to new tenant-buyers as soon as possible.  The first time I resold this property I collected $3,500 down and $1,075 a month for a scheduled 20 years.  Proper background checks and strict move-in requirements help to reassure that you are selling to qualified buyers with a high pride of ownership.

These new owners stayed for almost four years and then proceeded to give me a 30 day “move out” notice.  I typically do not give any discounts to tenant-buyers leaving my investment properties; however I told the tenant-buyers because of almost perfect payment history I would reimburse their last month’s payment  if they found a qualified tenant-buyer to buy the home after they leave.  You bet money is a great motivating factor!  They found new tenant-buyers and I had the home sold for the third time before the tenant-buyers even moved out.

The demand for mobile homes is huge.  There are hungry people in your local area that are waiting for someone to offer them an attractive deal to own a piece of the American dream.  If you have ever tried to sell a mobile home for all cash you know that it can seem a little tricky.  Try accepting your sales price as “a comfortable amount down and monthly payments” for the balance; you will open your investment home up to a larger pool of qualified families looking for “win-win” purchase deals.

Happy Investing
– J. Fed

About Author

John Fedro

Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a 4-bedroom mobile home inside of a pre-existing mobile home park. Over the next 11 months, John added 10 more mobile homes to his cash-flowing portfolio. Since these early years, John has gone on to help 150+ sellers and buyers sell their unwanted mobile homes and obtain a safe and affordable manufactured home of their own. Years later, John keeps to what has been successful—buying, fixing, renting, and reselling affordable housing known as mobile homes. John shares his stories, experiences, lessons, and some of the stories of other successful mobile home investors he helps on his blog and YouTube channeland has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest here and on other prominent real estate podcasts, authored a highly-rated book aimed at increasing the happiness/satisfaction of average real estate investors, and spoken to national and international audiences concerning the opportunities and practicality of successfully investing in mobile homes.


  1. Hi Greg,

    Very glad that you gained value from this article.

    I am glad you commented because I hadn’t read this article in a few years. A great thing about this business is that I still have this home after all those months and it still cash-flows great. The next tenant-buyers who loved the home have remained since.


  2. Hi John,

    I’m curious to know if mobile-home investing works in other states besides Florida? I’m currently in Oklahoma where there is a lot of land. I feel that, in my social circle at least, people who live in mobile homes are not look upon very highly. I’m concerned that it would be hard to sell the property. Could you advise?


    -Long Vu

    • Hi Long,

      Good questions. Both of these questions could be discussed at length, especially the how-to with regards to investing in OK. I would have to answer any specific questions you may have in your mind if you let me know.

      In short Yes, mobile home investing is a realistic business in every state except for Washington DC and Hawaii for the most part due to a lack of mobile homes.

      The social stigma that mobile home owners and renters are looked down on is similar across the globe. This is happily one of the reasons why there are so few MH investors compared to traditional SFR investors. Buyers that do not live in mobile homes or do not want to live in a mobile home will not be interested in buying or renting your investment property. However there are certainly buyers and renters in your area that will wish to live in a very affordable mobile home that is in good shape and clean. In addition to this I can tell you that a good majority of the folks I have been selling mobile homes to recently have come from traditional homes to my mobile homes because of the affordability and quick payoff arrangements. In short I would suggest testing your market to see just how many buyers and seller you have out there in your area. After all you only need to sell a home to one person.

      Does all this make sense?

      Hope this helps. If you have any other follow up questions do not hesitate to ask.

      Talk soon,
      John Fedro

  3. I attended a weekend seminar in which the end message led to a sales pitch for their advanced seminar. I declined, but took the motivation it stirred up in me to this website. I’ve mentally committed to real estate investing and so am just beginning my journey. This article has given me a good direction to start. Thanks

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for commenting. I am excited to hear that you are mentally committed to moving forward with regards to real estate investing. After helping investors for the past 7 years motivation, determination, the ability to pull-the-trigger, and clarity are some of the most important attributes to have for immediate and long term success. Sounds like you already have much of what it takes. Do not give up or slow down. I am so glad that this article has provided you value already. Don’t hesitate to reach out should you need any further assistance.

      Talk soon,
      John Fedro

  4. John,

    Such a great post. Much like Stephanie, I am new to real estate investing and found your post to be very motivational. John, as a new investor.. and someone considering mobile home investing.. could you give me some general numbers to start with?

    I live in Richmond, VA and need to know what would be considered a good investment in terms of purchase price for a mobile home. What are some of the things I should look for when doing a physical inspection? Any other advice you can give that would help me get started would be very beneficial.

    Thank you,


    • Hi Chaudhry,

      Thanks for reaching out and commenting. I am so glad to hear you’re considering investing in MH in NC. See my thoughts to your questions below.

      Q: What are some of the things I should look for when doing a physical inspection?
      A: Walk the entire home for weaknesses and soft spots. Check all plumbing, electrical, appliances, leaks, mechanical systems. Also it is good to have at least 100 amps going to the home. There is a lot more to look over as well.

      Q:Any other advice you can give that would help me get started would be very beneficial?
      A: Know what you can sell the investment home for. Purchase for less than you think you should.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further follow up questions.
      John Fedro

  5. Aaron Bates on

    Mr. Fedro,
    The above scenario is a a great lesson. My wife and I have lived in a manufactured home for the last ten years and are close to paying off contract for deed this year. I am now 43 and completely debt free. My goal now is to start investing in mobile homes and providing other families an affordable place to live while I build wealth to retire earlier than 72 years old the government says I have to wait to collect social security. I have a question though I have seen some posts on this site that lead me to believe that contracts for deeds are now illegal because of new laws. Am I mistaken and have misunderstood this subject?I am just starting to research real estate so I could certainly be wrong.

  6. John Fedro

    Hello Aaron,

    Thank you for commenting and reaching out. I will do my best to answer your questions. Please be advised I am not an attorney nor do I work for the CFPB. With that said please see my answers below.

    First off it is great to hear that you are almost completely debt free and almost own your home out right. For anyone this is no small feet and I congratulate you. The news that you will have to wait until 72 to start collecting social security is a shocker, however great to hear that you getting prepared and digging your well before you are thirsty, sort to speak.

    With regards to your questions about Contract for Deeds your original contract is still very much in effect and enforceable. The rules that dictate who can extend seller held financing and who can receive seller held financing have indeed changed over the past year however these new laws are enforceable on Contract for Deeds and other financing instruments not correctly established after Jan 10th of this year. It sounds like your Contract for Deed was established so time ago.

    While there are many more restrictions and details about these laws we could discuss for days your purchase and contract is still very much valid.

    I hope this helps and let me know if you have any further follow up questions.

    All the best,
    John Fedro

  7. Jeri O'Mahoney on

    I know this is an older post, but I’m new to BP and exploring a few blogs. Very interesting. I’m getting a new perspective on investing in mobile homes. I’ll be checking out your website.

    • Hi Jeri,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad to hear you are deciding to explore this MH business. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out and ask them

      All the best and talk soon,
      John Fedro

  8. christable seymore on

    my family have property with about 10 trailers on it. There is more land for more trailers. I want to put about 5-8 more trailers on the land, however, I need an outline plan from start to finish, subsequently, I don’t know all the details of what I need such as. Trailer cost, plumbing, inspection, subtur tank,. Basically, all the cost included to set up one trailer. Can you provide me with the information of the expenses to set up one traile?

  9. Hi Christable,

    Thank you for reaching out to me on this issue. First off, let me say congratulations on your ambition to place more mobile homes on your family’s land.

    There are many fees and factors to consider. Everything from making sure the current zoning and infrastructures will handle more home homes to purchasing and moving more mobile homes on to the land once ready will need to be considered.

    I am happy to help you move forward however a list of everything you asked for will be detailed and I do not have an check list like this laying around. It would be my advice to first make sure current zoning will allow for more mobile homes to be added to your property. This should not take long to determine with a call to you local zoning and code departments.

    Once this is done email me and we can go from there.

    All the best and talk soon,
    John Fedro

  10. Justin Maynard on

    What are some options you are using to comply with Dodd and safe? I live in Tennessee and the last time I looked at investing this way I could not find good info. Thanks

  11. Hi Justin,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Earlier this year we had a webinar on the topic. This can give you much more of an idea of moving forward than I can in this comment response box. The article and webinar recording can be found on my website under a post called, “2014 Safe Act and Dodd Frank for Mobile Home Investors”. Hope this helps.

    Let me know if you have any additional questions or assistance needed.

    Talk soon,

  12. Hi,John,I like how you help some many here, i live in florida and was wonder if you can give a hand here.Im just starting and have read a lot about real estate but have zero experience dealing with customers,so how do I Approach to the customers and buy a moble home using a subject to and can I get the forms on line?

  13. Logan Harter


    Great article! I’m just getting started in real estate investing. At this stage I am educating myself on investing. Want to start out wholesaling first to get my feet wet and learn the business. But mobile homes looks very intriguing. Thank you for the article.

    Best Wishes,

  14. Jason Unrath


    When you say “tenant-buyer,” what are the terms of the deal you’re selling? I’m imagining that if the tenant-buyer stays in the home and makes all monthly payments on time for 20 years, you’ll then transfer the title to them (you are essentially acting as a bank here). However, if the tenant-buyer decides to leave after a few years then you keep possession of the property (as with any normal tenant agreement). Is this accurate?

  15. Justin Lee Frye

    I know this is a pretty old article but i found it enjoyable and informational. Being someone who grew up in a mobile home (Rented) I have now grown very interested in cash purchases and then renting them out. It seems that in my area, mobile homes are renting for the same rates as standard homes and apartments. I am thinking this is a smart way to get in to real estate without the worry of having to pay for a mortgage when they are vacant. I can then use the profits to buy more properties. My thinking is instead of being on the hook for 150k for one house generating x amount of money I can have several properties generating x amount of money. Thoughts on this strategy?

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