55+ mafia or dentist nightmare, take your pick

14 Replies

I am a newbie mobile home investor.  i have been building my buyer list and working on calls to sellers about units for sale and practicing my questions to sellers.  Here in Clearwater St Pete area there are many 55+ communities that i am trying to avoid due to a limited demographic to sell to.  The all ages park in the area are not what i would want my family to live in, i am working on finding quality in those parks but having little to no luck.  

So last night found a great looking home, floors redone, roof, central air, park owned listed $3000.  Being cautions i called the park and spoke with the manager regarding the park and me not living in the property.  No problem, just fill out application and credit check.

arrived to the park today for an application and to put a face to the name. i got there around lunch and spoke with the manager who listed the property.  Asked a list of questions and also explained how i would be purchasing the MH not to live in but use as an investment to receive payments from a "park qualified" tenant.  

Next thing i know a guy from the back comes storming out and says "listen, we dont do any rent to own tenant investor things.  Its bad news.  we have had them in the past and we get shafted every time, so get out of here!" said grumpy owner to me as if i was pan handling in a department store.

I know that all parks are not like this one but the rejection defiantly put me in a funk.  i am terrible when it comes to sales and i get real down on myself with rejection.  The perception in the area is that the nice newer homes in this area are in established 55+ parks and the owners and managers are not interested in talking with a 30 year old.  its a 55+ mafia that you have to know someone to talk to someone from what i feel.   That once you are fine with driving by all the no trespassing signs you will be prosecuted and no soliciting signs that are so abundantly posted im sure Helen Keller could even see.

 however the all ages parks that i have visited seem to be open to selling trailers as long as you dont mind talking to home owners with missing teeth from possible past drug use and that you make sure your car is locked before you go inside.  I have been finding extreme sides of the scale of super nice worth investing parks that are way out of price range to the all ages with riffraff.   i work in st pete, and live in clearwater.  I am limited on driving distance due to family obligations and i typically drive for dollars during my lunch hour and that's about it.  im working the IFTT alerts which are great but still see the extreme sides of the spectrum of homes, and everything is a 55+ too.

so here is my question,

how do i find the all ages family parks that are good quality other than driving around.  all the directory's i have seen list only 1 or 2 parks.  Other parks don't even have a website.  Are these parks worth investing in?  The homes are mostly 1960-1970 single wides and the area makes me want to lock my doors.  i feel investing in these parks will scare good tenants away, on the other hand the units are going from 1000 to 3000.   

I am going to keep at it so the encouragement is thanked in advance.  any secret sources to find quality all age parks?

mark

Mark, 

There are investors that only buy in top quality parks and those that go low end. 

I say try one in the lower end park. What have you got to lose?  A few thousand?  So what?  Big deal. You may have a wonderful experience. 

The park where I have 7 rentals is a very nice park by the looks of it. However, it has a very bad reputation as being full of prostitutes and drugs. I of course didn't know this when I placed my first rental there. 

However, my experience with renters has been wonderful!!  Mine have been awesome. There have been 3 that were jerks, but we've had many, many great ones. We cater to short lease renters, so we've had a good many in our 11 months of business. Never had to evict anyone. Almost every single one pays rent right on time, and that's saying a lot, since we do weekly rent. Now part of that is how you screen and manage. I'm a no nonsense landlord, for sure  that's how you make money and have a great experience.  A lot of the horror stories are due to the laziness and negligence of the landlord.

Plus, I want to tell you to not be discouraged about your experience with the one park. I have personally been told by 6 or 7 parks that they'd be delighted for me to work in their park. And that was before I'd ever bought anything. Seller finance or even rentals. I currently have 8 rentals in parks. 

Keep asking and I'm pretty sure I can guarantee you'll find some too. 

By the way, the only screening I do is criminal record and proof of employment. That's it. 

I can tell you the day I did my first deal I was terrified, but I survived that day and each has been better since. You'll be ok and in no time you'll be a pro. 

I can't emphasize enough to you to get out there and do a deal!!!!  If I hadn't done that first one I'd probably still be sitting here reading about it a year later. 

Originally posted by @Leslie A. :

Mark, 

I say try one in the lower end park. What have you got to lose?  A few thousand?  So what?  Big deal. You may have a wonderful experience. 

The park where I have 7 rentals is a very nice park by the looks of it. However, it has a very bad reputation as being full of prostitutes and drugs. I of course didn't know this when I placed my first rental there. 

However, my experience with renters has been wonderful!!  Mine have been awesome. There have been 3 that were jerks, but we've had many, many great ones. We cater to short lease renters, so we've had a good many in our 11 months of business. Never had to evict anyone. Almost every single one pays rent right on time, and that's saying a lot, since we do weekly rent. Now part of that is how you screen and manage. I'm a no nonsense landlord, for sure  that's how you make money and have a great experience.  A lot of the horror stories are due to the laziness and negligence of the landlord.

I think this is a good strategy, focusing on short-term renters.  I think you will generally find two types of tenants for trailer parks, those who have temporary instability in their life and those who are permanently unstable.  Hopefully you develop a marketing and screening processing that will attract those who need housing for a shorter time frame and will move on to something more permanent.

Another option would be to save up more money and look for a more traditional property - even a condo.  It would have more financial risk, but it could be a little easier to manage.

My operation is definitely a niche operation. I found there was a great demand in my area for it. And I charge accordingly!!

I rent RVs and highest rent to date is $225 a week--$974 a month. Could probably get more. These guys are paying $400 a week for a hotel. 

Mark, It pays to get the good news and the bad news.  Posters so far have been encouraging.  I'll take the bad news side.  That manager, you are very lucky you got that "get out of here" before you bought.  Lonnie Dealers (search BP and read back a year for your education) business model has developed risks in the past years.  Parks are less friendly to investors than in the past.  Worst is that the manager can seem ok when you buy but at any moment they can turn against you and refuse to approve your renter.  Then what?  No seriously.  What will you do if you have a home owe lot rent and the park won't approve your renter?

Here's my view.  Back ground I exclusively do double wides on their own land, rent to own, then seller financing... Why? because I control every step.  No bank, I qualify the renter and the borrower and I own craigslist when I post an ad:  "rent to own, great house and location, WRECKED CREDIT OK".  No body competes for top quality applicants better than me.

Almost every thing re the Lonnie model is the opposite of my business model.  You control little, you get stuck with the lowest quality of renter, yet you are at risk for the most costs.  Please think about the financial model and the risks!

This is why old timers who figured it out and no longer need a day job give advice advising creative financing ways to purchase 'nice homes".  Very little cash (like dumpy mobile homes), same effort (almost all deal types include Lonnie deals take the same amount of time and effort) yet the pay off is much bigger selling a pretty house or renting a pretty house you got on seller financing...

What is cheap is rarely a good deal is the context here.

Sure some folks do ok buying MHs in parks and renting them.  My advice is don't let the voices of the few who do this deal type successfully sway you into not considering the points I make above.

After all this... I encourage you to go for the $3k deal!!!  Whole heartedly.  Because learning is best on the job.  You may get a good first renter, then a devil of a second.  You'll learn more from the devil renter.  I did and my "education" costs where several zeros on that $3k.  You learn the best with irons in the fire, sweating bullets and cussing alot.  LOL

Curt Smith

    I will offer perspective from a park owner.  We specifically exclude investor-owned units in our community.  From the owner's perspective, it is or can be a nightmare if the home is not properly maintained.  Evictions for any reason are an even bigger problem.  What happens if the occupant pays the rent to the investor, but the investor doesn't pay the lot rent to us?  Who do we evict?  For what reason?  Evictions in NY and I assume in other states for mobile homes are already more complex and take much more time (6 months plus in some cases), I don't need this aggravation as an owner.  I assume the owner you ran into doesn't either.

    I offer this not to be discouraging, only to offer perspective.  Knowing this may also give you a couple talking points when you speak with owners/managers in the future.  Knowing what is important to the person on the other side of the negotiating table and knowing about THEIR business will make you a better-equipped negotiator and will make for more success.

    Don't give up, learn what you need to know.  Don't be afraid to ask why somebody told you no.  Turn rejection into education.

    Best of luck, happy investing!

    I have to agree with @Curt Smith that you should go for that 3k deal. You'll learn a lot in the process - its way less of a killer on your financials as opposed to a 30k house. I have also found that the park can really get in the way when you're trying to sell a home because they have first say on who gets in. That's the biggest trouble I've had with selling homes in parks.

    Let yourself get discouraged for a bit and then move on. Its part of the business in sales - learning to hear a no and move on. You maybe need to approach the park manager differently and figure out what they need. Did you just start off with your pitch of how your sell or did you ask if that was an idea they would entertain. Keep in mind, if you ask for permission first they'll be more willing to listen as opposed to being told how it may work. 

    As for finding more parks you should give a call to who ever manages the tax payments of mobile homes in your county(as it varies). I've got the sheriffs office in one area that manages all the delinquent homes while another one is someone who works under the treasurer. I happened to get a list of all the parks in the area with updated info from the county (as opposed to general sites) so I'll be scour these with more confidence.

    Steven J.

      Thanks Adam J for commenting as a park owner.

      Folks, notice who isn't posting here???  The currently doing this deal type Lonnie dealers on BP.  I havenn't seen ANY positive comments from real investors doing Lonnie deals in well over 6 months, maybe a year (buy cheap MHs in parks, fix, rent or finance).  Doesn't it seem odd?

      Not to me.  I've only seen posts from a few folks on this thread because like Adam J said, alot of park managers have locked out investors and sounds like for good reasons.  This model is almost dead.  And not because of park managers locking out investors.  I've posted on many threads...   You need to do the math on every business, especially renting MHs in parks as an investor.

      Buy for $3k, fix for $5k, ($8k all in), you owe $300 lot rent from day one, you take 2 months to fix, that's $600, another month to rent up, now $900.  They stay for 9months leave in the middle of the night taking your stove and refrig.  Now you are out $1k of appliances some damage and you're back to paying lot rent.   Where's the profit?

      But like I said, go ahead...  The learning is cheap.  LOL

      Curt Smith

        Some take the furnace and water heater too!

        I have seen and visited parks offering Free homes, cheap etc.

        Bottom line if your not looking to live there and develop a strong park relationship, is dont pee in their pool.  Its their garden, build your own. How about helping buyers who want a homestead on a half acre or more with a nice mobile home?  Just my view. 

        Dream on.

        Curt Smith, you seem kind of snobby. *I* am a Lonnie dealer, and I have learned how to assuage owners and managers' concerns. Where I live, few parks allow rentals, so the LD is the way to go. 

        My response to that bully would have been along the lines of: "I understand your concerns, and that's why I won't put anyone in your park that *you* haven't approved. And I don't want a renter either, we want the same things; their name goes on the title, and they are the owner. This is just like someone getting a bank loan. And if you have problems with them, give me a call. I can help, and if worst comes to worst, I can evict them quicker, easier, and cheaper than you paying a lawyer."

        All true. And if their nose is still out of joint, move on. 

        @Mark Higgins Hi Mark. as you can see, I'm also in Clearwater. There are a bunch of opportunities in the area as you already know. I'm currently in a rehab/flip mode and have done two MHs this year. If your interested in grabbing a cup of coffee and maybe talkig about combining forces, shoot me a PM. If not, I wish you much success - lots of opportunities here!
        Steve

        Steve Kordish

          Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to success. This business is a people business which involves taking the time to establish relationships. It's taken me years to create working, meaningful relationships with park managers and owners. Though time consuming, it's the most effective use of my time. If you're not a people person, you may want to bring in a partner or work with someone who can help you find deals in the communities you're interested in. Best of luck! 

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