The Top 4 Financial Mistakes Mobile Home Investors Make

The Top 4 Financial Mistakes Mobile Home Investors Make

4 min read
John Fedro

John Fedro has been actively investing in individual mobile homes since 2002 and in parks since 2016. Additionally, he’s been assisting other mobile home investors since 2006.

Experience
Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a four-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. Like almost every long-term investor, he’s made more mistakes than he can count. John discusses many of them on his blog and YouTube channel, where he shares his stories, experiences, lessons, and some of the experiences of other successful mobile home investors that he’s helped.

John has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest on BiggerPockets and 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.

John now spends his time actively investing in individual mobile homes and acquiring parks. He focuses on enjoying his time and partnering with other investors around the country to grow their own local mobile home cash-flowing portfolios and reputations.

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This article is designed for the active or soon-to-be active mobile home investors buying and selling used mobile homes to create value in their local areas. If this type of investor describes you, then this is a must read article. The article below contains the top 4 mistakes investors make based on personal experience in helping frustrated mobile home investors and working with investors around the country. Don’t let these same mistakes happen to you.

The Top 4 Financial Mistakes Mobile Home Investors Make

1. Overpaying

Do you always know what prices to offer for every mobile home? You should. There is a specific formula for making sure that you always pay the appropriate price (not paying higher than you have to at the time) in order to recoup all your investment capital back within a short period of time while still making the seller happy and agreeing to your win-win purchase offer(s).

Part Math & Part Art: The formula for your 1.) all-cash price and 2.) payment/balloon purchase offer(s) comes from:

  • Knowing your market and what buyers are paying for mobile homes locally
  • Understanding current repairs needed before you resell
  • Knowing your market in different months of the year
  • Understanding and approving the subject home, community, area, and neighborhood all meet your purchasing criteria
  • Knowing what the seller(s) needs/wants and giving it to them

Armed with this data, you and your company can now formulate, craft, and present your three to four valid win-win purchase offers for every seller and home you walk through.

mobile-home-exterior

2. Over-Improving

Over-repairing and over-upgrading a mobile home is a common mistake made by eager and well-meaning manufactured home flippers. A general rule of thumb is to bring the home up to neighborhood standards.

Related: 5 Common Mistakes Mobile Home Sellers Make

Cosmetic Repairs

There are certain less important “repairs” that many buyers will accept not being completed. These “not as important” repairs are basic cosmetic clean up, painting, minor carpet replacement, and other light to moderate cosmetic damages. For a fast sale, you can typically sell a “cosmetically-challenged” mobile home to a happy and low-risk buyer for a discounted price and/or terms.

Structural Repairs

Some repairs that will send most buyers running for the hills are moderate and major structural leaks and repairs being needed at the time of resale. Understanding what repairs your buyers are happily willing to make and which repairs buyers almost never feel comfortable making will make your career much easier throughout every deal.

Before purchasing any mobile home needing a considerable amount of rehab, stop and think.

  1. Are there other homes and sellers locally that may be a better, easier, and more profitable next deal?
  2. Is this your first deal? If yes, then aim for the path of least resistance and search for a mobile home needing only cosmetic repairs and clean up to begin with. Make your first few deals ones that will set the bar for the coming years.

Pro Tip: Try not to upgrade. Fix what is broken.

3. Leaving Thousands of Dollars on the Closing Table When Reselling

“John, you know pigs get fat while hogs [in this business] get slaughtered” is a quote my recently deceased mentor once told me. Don’t be a hog!

While we mobile home investors should want to be able to sell our investment mobile homes at a retail price, we never want to take advantage of payment-buyers, ever. Every deal should be win-win-win between your seller, buyer, and you.

Know what local buyers will pay and aim for the higher end of this spectrum while still making your buyer very happy at the affordable price and monthly terms of home ownership. A licensed loan originator and closing attorney can help with seller financing paperwork and getting your buyer(s) approved to repay.

4. Putting a High-Risk Buyer or Renter in Your Property

Prescreen, prescreen, prescreen all your prospective tenant-buyers or renters. You would not let some stranger have the keys to your car, would you? Then why let someone in your investment mobile home without knowing them backwards and forwards? As investors, we can only judge our payment-buyers and renters from their past history, not from their future promises.

Related: The 6 Types of Mobile Home Buyers Investors Compete Against

In the past, I have been fooled and taken advantage of many times by deadbeat tenant-buyers and renters who moved in and caused me a great deal of worry and headache. These mistakes were all mine, and there is nobody else to blame. In reality, these tenant-buyers and renters should never have been allowed into the home in the first place. I was too new to see the BIG and little red-flags staring me dead in the face.

Pro Tip: Remember, it is better to have an empty mobile home instead of a risky payment-buyer in the property not paying.

If you are selling your property for an all-cash payment, the only qualification you need concern yourself with in the park approval process for your buyer and/or any bank financing the buyer is aiming to obtain.

mobile-home-electronic-lien

Conclusion

Although this post touches on many of the mistakes investors can make while investing in manufactured homes, this type of affordable housing is quite forgiving to an extent. A healthy cash flow can be figured into each property once resold, and even if your profit is less than what you expected, you should have ample wiggle room between your purchase price and selling price to compensate a few learning bumps and lessons. Now get other there and help local buyers and sellers.

“If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” — Zig Ziglar

Investors: What would you add to this list?

Let me know with a comment!