Why Invest in Mobile Homes With Land Over Typical Single-Family Homes?

by | BiggerPockets.com

Just to give a quick explanation:

First of all, a mobile home and land property (also known as a land-home property) is not a mobile home in a mobile home park nor is it the mobile home park. The owner typically owns both the home and the land, identical to a site-built home. You may find these in a rural area with one home on several acres of land, a neighborhood with homes on each side, or anywhere in between.

You may be thinking to yourself:

“Don’t mobile homes lose value? Why would I invest in a depreciating asset? After all, I’m sacrificing my free time to improve my financial position, not weaken it.”

I have found this to be inaccurate for the 10 to 20 year old homes that we acquire. More than likely, they will not appreciate like site-built homes; however, nearly all of the depreciation has already taken place.

So, buying an asset that stays relatively flat in value doesn’t seem that exciting. But then again, it depends on your motivation for investing.

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Cash Flow

If you’re like me and invest for CASH FLOW over APPRECIATION, then mobile homes may just be a better vehicle for you.

Let’s look at the gross revenue numbers first:

In my market (Columbia, South Carolina) with $100,000, I can buy 5 mobile home and land properties for $20,000 each (includes purchase price and repairs) that can be rented out for $600 apiece or $3,000 total per month. This same $100,000 could buy a 3 bedroom site built home that can be rented out for about $1,100 per month.

The cash flow is great and was probably the biggest reason for why I got into this niche, but I have learned that the local economics can be just as crucial.


I have seen way less competition in the mobile home arena. The mobile home investors in my area have very little brand recognition or online presence. They might have a For Rent sign in the yard with a phone number and/or a brief Craigslist ad with a phone number.

I believe that the lowered competition can be contributed to the stigma of mobile homes and the lack of bank financing for investors. This lack of bank financing can be seen as positively or negatively, depending on your view. It has been very cumbersome for growing our business the “traditional” way of putting a mortgage on each home but has stymied other investors from growing past a couple of rentals for the most part. The result is that it has forced us to find creative financing while other investors have quit looking for money.


I’m fortunate to live and invest in the state that has the highest percentage of mobile homes compared to the total housing units for any state (over 18% in South Carolina in 2007).

In the two towns that we really like to buy properties in, the percentage is even higher.

We have purchased ? of our properties off the MLS since we started in 2011 and really didn’t ramp up until January 2013. There are still plenty of good deals in our area on the MLS. Our biggest bottleneck has consistently been a lack of financing, not a lack of deals.


The demand for affordable housing has been strong in our market and I believe that it will grow stronger the next 5+ years.

We have separated ourselves from the other investors by offering an affordable “rent-to-own” solution for our tenant-buyers. (Honestly, it’s more of a land contract than anything else, but we use the rent-to-own terminology with our tenant-buyers.)

There is a large group of people that have poor credit but stable employment who will have difficulty in getting a bank loan but work out great for us.

We typically sell our homes within 7 to 14 days.

One Final Note…

One thing I would like to mention is that I didn’t evaluate the economic information when I was starting out. I looked at the potential cash flow and jumped in with both feet. I was investing in areas that were less than 45 minutes from Columbia (a major city in South Carolina) and have figured out along the way which areas have produced better tenant-buyers. In other words, I would recommend that you stay fairly close to a major city where the jobs are plentiful and you can figure out the best areas as you go.

Just a quick note: I should mention that my dad and I have been 50:50 partners since the beginning and will hopefully fill in the confusion when I use the first-person plural: “we” or “us”.

In my next post, I will discuss some more benefits of mobile homes over site-built homes, such as repairs and their classification of being considered personal property.

About Author

Aaron Kinney

Aaron Kinney has been investing in mobile home and land properties since 2011. He writes about this occasionally at MobileHomeEbook.com and helps real estate businesses implement automation at SelahSoftware.com.


  1. Your future is going to be very bright. Lonnie Scruggs “deals on wheels” does exactly the same thing for the last 50 or more years. There’s and awful lot of cash one can make doing the way you’re doing it. Good luck!

  2. Aren’t those mobile homes usually built right in the path of a tornado? At least from up here in PA it seems so.

    Very intriguing investment, personally I like the idea of renting anything low income that provides cash flow. Storage units have also seemed like a good investment. I always wondered why people store items that are just about worthless, paying rent when the better investment would be to post a curb alert on Craigslist.

    Any storage unit investors hiding in the BP woods?

  3. How do you find these deals on the MLS? Every home I see is over $60k in Wake County, NC. Are they listed like that or do you make really low offers?

    Any other suggestions for locating these?


    • We have bought most of ours off the MLS where the asking price was typically fairly close (about 25% difference) compared to the agreed purchase price. The good ones do go fast and it may be a couple of months before we see anything worthwhile pursuing.

      If you can’t make the numbers work on any MLS deals in your area, try other sources of leads.

  4. Excellent point about picking manufactured homes within 45 minutes of a major city. And, I agree… better cash flow with mobile homes.

    Repairs are definitely cheaper, I had a manufactured home completely replumbed in less than one day for $1500… That’s cheap compared to a site built home.

    Love him or hate him, Carlton Sheets has good tips on buying mobile homes including not to buy a double wide. I’ve seen a few people mention Lonnie Scruggs “deals on wheels” including here at bigger pockets.

    Thanks again for sharing with this community and I look forward to your next post.

  5. Great post! I’m in sc also and about to take the plunge on a park seller financed. What hidden costs have you comeup with? Typically how bad are the closing costs? And what are your thoughts on having a management company handle the property? Thanks!

    • Aaron Kinney

      Hey Mike,

      I don’t have any experience with mobile home parks as all of our investments have been single family deals. We tied up a large mobile home park about a year ago but it fell through due to a lack of financing.

      Short Answer to Each Question:

      1. Check the infrastructure for hidden costs (utilties, roads, etc..)

      2. Closing costs for attorney fees and title search/insurance should be fairly inexpensive. However, you will want to do your due diligence on the park prior to closing which may add up some costs to closing.

      3. I’ve heard the best management is the park manager you hire and train yourself.

      If you haven’t already done so, I would highly recommend Frank Rolfe’s and Dave Reynold’s MHP Course.

      Feel free to email me at [email protected] and I will gladly help where I can.

  6. Aaron – Thanks for the great post. I love mobile homes. Have done 15 in the past 4 months. Lonnie Scruggs “Deals on Wheels” style. I did 160 stick built deals before doing mobiles. Not doing any stick built except to live in. Keep up the good work!

  7. Great post, what are a few other ways you would recommend to find these leads? Maybe a newbie question, but from what I have heard you don’t take title like a stick built single family, but instead it is like taking title to a vehicle. Does this mean the closings just take place over the “kitchen table” versus title companies?

    • Other Sources of Leads:

      We have used Craigslist to find our other deals. Some other sources you may want to try are bandit signs, direct mail (can get expensive), and building relationships with real estate agents who list a lot of mobile homes with land.

      Taking Title:

      Since the land is involved with our transactions, we have a formal closing with an attorney and then I transfer the mobile home title at the DMV later. If only the mobile home is involved, you should be able to have a “kitchen table” closing.

      Hope this helps,

    • I just noticed your website and went to it. I clicked the “download chapter 1” link and got this error

      “Oops! That page can’t be found.
      It looks like nothing was found at this location. Maybe try one of the links below or a search?

      Search for:”

      • Hey Eric,

        Thanks for telling me about the download link. It should be fixed now.

        I have used direct mail a few times but have not done it successfully due to not enough mailings to the same list. It also gets really expensive and honestly we haven’t needed to incorporate it into our acquisition strategy. With that said, I would still recommend targeting absentee owners who have owned the property 10+ years (to avoid underwater owners).

  8. I don’t know why but mobile homes interest me. Not something I was thinking of getting into but now I want to know more and more. Thanks for the info. Looking forward to checking out your website. Thanks.

  9. Colby Jacobs

    Just curious what you include in your contracts when you do these deals with a tenant. I’m not familiar with the land contract you mentioned in the blog post. Also, how do the annual property taxes for mobile homes compare with single-family homes? I’ve heard that they are much lower and this seems like another great reason to invest in mobile homes for cash-flow.

  10. Alexandria Martinez on

    In the past couple of months, my cousin has been working with the idea of living in a mobile home for sale near him. He has been thinking about doing this for a while now and I think he is ready to make a move. It would be smart for him since he has a lower credit score but has stable employment.

  11. Zane Swanson

    Great post! I have recently set goals to start investing in real estate and have found that up here in Washington a site built home is crazy big money for me starting out. While searching some local listings I noticed that while most houses on about an acre are a couple hundred thousand where I have found a couple very nice looking (from the photos anyway) double wides that are asking 60k or less on 1 acre in the same area. My initial thoughts were that they would be decent rental units as opposed to a flip, but being new and still working out my goals, and learning about real estate, I am concerned that it may not be the best investment. Would love any input from someone who has done this before, any tips, cautions, etc. Thanks!

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