4 Ways To Ruin Your Reputation With Local Mobile Home Parks

by | BiggerPockets.com

As an active mobile-home investor, I believe it’s my job to help local mobile-home managers and make their lives easier. Mobile-home park managers and owners are pretty predictable.

  • Mobile home park owners DO want a clean park with a good pride of ownership, minimal headaches, and very high monthly revenue through monthly lot/pad rent.
  • Mobile home park managers DO want residents to pay on time and with minimal headaches.
  • Mobile home park managers/owners DO NOT want the following three things, which can ruin your reputation with local mobile home parks:

1. Reselling Junky or Damaged Mobile Homes

As an active mobile-home investor you ideally want to have a long-term career working with mobile homes on private land and inside preexisting mobile-home parks. Ideally you want to help sellers that wish to sell also wish to place quality buyers into attractive and safe mobile homes. It’s important not to simply sell junk. Selling junk can lead to a quick negative reputation, which you don’t want.

  • Selling junky mobile homes: A junky home is dangerous and nowhere you would want your friends to live. These homes will attract renters or buyers who have little choice of where to live. Many of these potential buyers may not have the sufficient credit or background history to become approved with the specific mobile home park. These junky mobile homes will typically take longer to sell than a clean, safe, livable mobile home.
  • Selling safe mobile homes that have potential: The home is move-in ready. The plumbing, water, gas, electrical, appliances, and hot water all work. The walls are secure, there are no leaks, no smells, no bugs, and no mold. The mobile home may need some cosmetic repairs, but it should be safe and desirable by most serious used mobile-home buyers in the market. These homes will be quicker to sell with a typically higher resale value.

Repercussions (Serious): The mobile home park may likely act in one of two ways:

1. The park manager may confront you directly in order to correct the problem so that you start fixing mobile homes to the park’s criteria.

2. Conversely, the park manager may not confront you directly, but instead simply cut ties with you by not alerting you to future leads or helping you out any longer.

Pro Tip: Whenever purchasing a used mobile home inside of a preexisting mobile home park, aim to ask the park management if they suggest any improvements to the exterior of the home. Even if the park manager says no, this will demonstrate your proactive interest in working with the park in a win-win manner.

Related: What Does an Ideal Mobile Home Investment Look Like?

2. Removing a Revenue-Producing Mobile Home

On certain occasions, some mobile-home park owners may want certain mobile homes removed from their park if the home is outdated, condemned, or if certain laws are changing. However, most of the time, a mobile-home park manager will not be happy that a mobile home is being removed from their community. The owner of the park will typically be even less happy as the park’s value and revenue will be reduced. If you are a part of this deal in any way, the park owner and park manager will typically associate this unpleasantness with you directly.

Pro Tip: If you are planning to remove a mobile home from a community or sell a mobile home to a cash buyer who plans on removing it from the park it’s in, aim to talk with the manager to understand what criteria may be needed before the home may be pulled out. Some park lease agreements require a 30-day written notice or fee paid before a mobile home may be pulled out of the park.

Repercussions (Serious): You may not be allowed to invest within the park any longer. The park manager and owner simply may not want to take the risk that you will remove another property from the park.

3. Not Paying Lot Rent On Time

Aim to always pay lot rent before it’s due. Paying lot rent on time shows that you are serious about working with the community. It also shows you are making the park a priority.

Pro Tip: When paying lot rent, feel free to ask the park manager about any mobile homes for sale now or in the future. If you are friendly with the manager, perhaps ask if she/he can tell you if anyone is behind on rent and therefore may wish to sell.

Repercussions (Minimal): If lot rent is only a few days late, then this will simply result in late fees. These occasional accidents happen, and there is typically no damage to your business reputation. Only if you avoid paying for a serious length of time, avoid talking to the manager, and risk eviction, will the park be seriously upset with you (and likely not want to work with you again).

Related: How to Overcome 4 Common Newbie Errors When Mobile Home Investing

4. Being Hard to Reach

Park managers and park owners have questions for you and they need answers. Show that you are proactive and respectful of the park’s time by calling people back quickly. Aim to show up early for all meetings with the park management.

Pro Tip: Give the park owners and park managers the most direct phone number you have.

Repercussions (Minimal): You may lose out on potential opportunities because you do not call back fast enough. The park may also shift its focus to working with someone who calls back faster and shows more proactive interest.

Please note that this post doesn’t include many common things that renters do that upset landlords. Examples may be speeding in the community, flushing objects down toilets, disrespecting neighbors, and much more. With that said aim to always be helping local mobile home park managers and keeping in clear communication when possible. The relationships you have with managers/owner will be built on a mutual financial benefit and respect, and hopefully a bit of friendship.

Did we miss anything with regards to what mobile home investors can do to upset local park management?

Share your own ideas below!

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 Comment

  1. Dave Rav

    Decent post. Most of these pointers are fairly straight-forward and obvious. I would like to add to the article by commenting here. I have some experience investing in MHs within existing MHPs. Here are some nuggets from my 7 years investing in this sub-niche:

    – Look for parks that are owned by smaller entities (not large national companies). My reasons here are many. Most importantly, smaller entities typically have managers (or in half the cases, the owner themselves as point of contact) who have more control over decision-making. They can work one-on-one with you to achieve solutions. They dont answer to a “regional vice president” or have to follow company standards. These rules can be a pain. In my experience, smaller operations typically have less myriad rules. And subsequently, these can cost you an arm and a leg. For instance, if the company requires all homes to have vinyl siding and your has aluminum, that is going to cost you! And dont expect an MHP owned by a national company to bend the rules.

    -Aim for parks with lower lot rent. Pretty obvious rule here. More significant here is aim for parks with a *history* of steady lot rent. Lot rent takes from your profits, so you want to be as low as possible. Ask other long-standing tenants in the neighborhood how long lot rent has been at the current rates. Parks that raise rents every year will get costly. Moving a home can be expensive, so you want to buy homes in parks where expenses are low. I once had a home in a Park that raised lot rent over $50 during my 2 years in the park. For that particular area, this trend was ridiculous. (For instance, I own a small MHP and after 18 months will be raising rents between 10-15 dollars. And I likely won’t raise them again for another 18-24 months).

    Happy investing!

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