The 3 Types of Mobile Home Sellers (Inside Parks)

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My real estate investing business changed forever when I began to see my sellers for what they really are; fragile, scared, vulnerable, friendly, and selfish human beings. As young children we rarely look to our parents with the attitude that these people are just as screwed up as ourselves. Perhaps a better way to phrase this would be to step outside the relationship that we typically have with mobile home and traditional real estate sellers, and realize that each is a unique soul with his or her own set of skills, ambitions, loves, fears, and wants. In this article we’ll logically walk through the three distinct types of private mobile home sellers. This is based on over 10 years of listening and communicating to mobile home sellers.

Before we discuss these 3 unique mobile home seller-types I must make certain you understand 2 key mobile home must-have mind-sets before making any offers to any seller.

1. To all sellers — you should be their local mobile home market expert.

2. Since you operate a business, you always know the MAX price you can pay for any mobile home in any park in your city. You must always make certain to stay below this MAX price. When purchasing mobile homes you MUST always know in advance what price a mobile home should sell quickly for in that city via all cash and/or seller financing payments. You can then use this re-sale information to help make certain you recoup any investment costs to acquire the home as quickly as possible.

Below are the three stages any mobile home seller may go through given enough time has passed with their property for sale on the market.

A. Top Priority: These sellers are ready to sell to the first buyer with a pulse. These sellers are willing to hear most traditional and creative offers you have for them. Their total asking price should already be at or below your MAX amount to pay for this mobile home. These sellers DO have some type of external motivation that is making it necessary to move within 0-30 days; they will not last long. These sellers make up approximately 10% of the market, however this number will seem much lower because most Top Priority sellers sell their homes before you ever knew it was for sale.

B. Middle Priority: These sellers make up approximately 50% of the market in your area and want what they believe is a “fair-price” for their used mobile home. These sellers are generally newer to the market place and do not understand that with the lack of cash-buyers, their home is typically worth much less than they may have previously paid. These sellers on average have between 3-9 months worth of financial capital and time to wait for their unwanted home to sell. The asking price for this home should be between 1.1 to 4 times the MAX amount you can pay for this mobile home. Many times these sellers will list with a Realtor, continue slowly dropping their price, and/or become more flexible as time passes without a sale.

C. Low Priority: These sellers are asking 5 or more times the MAX price you would offer for this home. In situations like these you know you will not likely be purchasing this seller’s home unless they drop their price an ‘unrealistic amount.’ These sellers are of the lowest priority because there is little help you can provide as an investor. These sellers are usually in great financial shape and can wait years until their beautiful home sells to the right buyer.

On the other side of that same “Low Priority” coin some sellers may be on the brink of foreclosure as their property is leveraged to the hilt with an ugly loan/mortgage. Many times as investors our best duty for these sellers is to offer the help of a licensed agent, loan modifier, or short-sale specialist to assist in the sale. “Low Priority” sellers make up approximately 40% of the mobile home selling market inside preexisting mobile home parks.

Looking logically at these three stages of sellers we can reasonably assume that over-time if a “Middle Priority” seller cannot sell their home (with no liens), this seller will lower the price and/or terms until the home sells to a buyer or investor. In a future article I will be discussing the obvious and not so obvious benefits to following-up with sellers repeatedly.

And you’ll find that a temporary no is just that, temporary.

Impact a life daily,
John Fedro

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.


    • Hi Arthur,

      Glad to be back! I don’t know what I was thinking when I left BP 🙂

      If you know a home owner has a home for sale I say make the first contact and pick up the phone to call this sellers. However when proactively-marketing to find MH sellers I always get consist results with:

      1. Mass mailing to all MHs in certain zip code. Instruct owners to “Keep this Letter”
      2. Bandit signs
      3. Mailing to expired MLS listings and back taxes
      4. Small News and community publications

      Its hard to say the wrong things to Middle and Top Priority sellers so have fun and keep contacting MH owners and sellers. At a point in time later when these owners/sellers need to sell they can refer to your mailing then.

      Hope this helps you find some Top and Middle Priority sellers,

  1. Gary Parker on

    Wonderful post.

    “My real estate investing business changed forever when I began to see my sellers for what they really are; fragile, scared, vulnerable, friendly, and selfish human beings.”

    This really hit me because it is so true. I am a SFR buyer; however, this applies especially the selfish part. And I mean that with no disrespect. I am in negotiations right now with someone “fragile…vulnerable…and selfish…”. Their parents have passed and they need to sell the parents home that needs a lot of work. One of the siblings lives in the home and refuses to sell unless they can get what the other homes in good condition have sold for. They really have no idea what they are doing and are scared. I am being very honest with them as far as what I can pay, what they could do to get top dollar for the property etc. The sibling living in the home is pouring out the guilt on the two siblings that want to sell to me and be done with it to get them to list the property for top dollar.

    As I progress in my business and increase my marketing, it is a natural progression to only have time for “A” sellers and good follow-up systems for “B” sellers. Again, great post.

  2. Thank you for the kind words Gary.

    Great feedback and story about the kids selling their late parent’s home. Someone should make a handy-brochure we can just give to sellers in these exact situations as I know many investors have run into this situation. Good luck on the deal. In my experience these sellers are fairly emotional/wishy-washy and can change their mind to sell or not in an instant.

    I like the last thing you mentioned too about spending time with the “A” sellers and following up routinely and systematically with the B type sellers.


  3. I think one thing overlooked here is the importance of knowing who owns the Mobile Home Park. There are currently 2 parks whose Corporate owners have filed for bankruptcy here in Chicago suburbs of Glenview and Wheeling. These folks are paying a lot rent of $915 and $845 respectively, and now the poor homeowners have no idea whats next. They also face the daunting and expensive task of actually having to move their mobile home elsewhere……..I can only imagine what that would cost.

    • Hi Tom,

      What an excellent addition to make. This exact situation is one not talked about in the article above and it should be. I will discuss this now for everyone reading these comments: Although the MHP situation (in Tom’s area of Chicago) is certainly life-changing for most all the mobile home park residents living in that park; after all these owner-occupants will all have to move and they may not even be aware. Remember however this is not “your” doing. In cases like this you will obviously notice many of the owner/sellers that may inevitably not be able to move their mobile home from this park (due to age of home, condition, costs, new location availability) will be Top priority sellers and will therefore be practically, if not literally giving their homes way.

      In all parks (not only one where most folks are leaving in masses) preform due diligence to verify the park is not being sold or rented. This can be best accomplished in most instances by checking with the park manager (unless the park managers lie). However even if the owners do file bankruptcy and/or sell the park all is not lost. Parks may transfer ownership or be sold often, many times the new owners keep the land a mobile home park rather than turning it into condos or the newest strip mall.

      Hope this helps everyone,

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