is it possible to buy a property and rezone it to Mobile Park?

12 Replies

Hi, I live in Tampa, FL where mobile home parks are fairly common in some areas. I was wondering if it were possible to buy a house with like 10 acres or so, and then attempt to get the property rezoned to a mobile home park (MHP), to then transform it into profitable real estate. My question is, has any one attempted something like this and is this even worth pursuing? 

I figured my best bet would be to look at the future planned use zoning of the county, and make that a starting point since it would have a high likelihood of rezoning success.

The other question is how could I even structure a deal like this, because buying a property and then zoning falls through would leave me with a bad investment. If I made an offer on a property contingent of the rezoning success, which could take 90-180 days, I am assuming I would only be able to structure a deal like that if I had cash only, assuming that I would not be able to do FHA financing etc, since something like this is too complex.

Any experience and tips would be helpful thanks-

What is the minimum level of capital requirement to get into a small mhp? Ai have a few regular rental unit incomes but no commercial income. do these require commercial financing?

I totally agree with @William Howley . As they say there are five things in life you shouldn't do. 

1. Draw on Gene Autry.

2. Sword fight with Zorro

3. Piss into the wind

4. Mess with the kid

5. Try to make fudge brownies from mud.

If you feel there's an ROI and passive income value to the property buy it and fulfill its highest and best use. Or climb to the highest hill and shout to the top of your lungs.........................N E X T!!!

John Arendsen, Contractor in CA (#C-47 521400) and CA (#B-521400)
800 909-1110

@William Howley, Hello, I have a half acre on Dale Mabry Hwy, just before Interbay Blvd. at 6305 S. Roberts Ave. 33616, that I wanted to put Trailers on there, but, they don't allow that anymore in the City of Tampa. You still can do that in the County as far as I know. The other option would be a Mini-Storage business, but, I balk at the thought of spending a million plus and having to manage it for the rest of my life. Obama Care and all the new rules and regulations, with Code Enforcement making unreasonable demands, like making me paint the same eaves on a rental, twice in six months and here comes Hillary and all her new rules and regs and taxes...give me a break. Traverse Townhomes just built 8, two story townhomes around the corner on Interbay Blvd. on the same size property and mine is much better as I have 220 feet fronting Dale Mabry Hwy. on Roberts with an unobstructed view and access on Mango St. because I own the corner. The simple way to find out is to go to the City of Tampa, Planning and Development Department on 1400 N. Boulevard and talk to one of the Professional Plans personnel. I just ran some ideas by them with the Roberts property for an Investor from Brazil. If you make up an Elevation Study, you can pay them to send it through a Quick Approval Path where all the different departments can take a look for any glitches and identify any questions that would need to be answered before they would sign off on you proposed plan. That way you don't have to own the property, before you know what you can do with it. Another person to try and get a meeting with if you have a property development idea is John Lum at LIST Developers on 1501 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. John has all the Agents and all the Builders contacts out of his office and has built many houses around where we just sold a property in Hyde Park area. He also built another ten houses near Old Port Tampa. If I were going to back into the business, after the next downturn, I would think of buying a Trailer Park as they can be the best Cash Cows and you can Rent the Trailers, the Lots, Sell the Trailers financed by the Owner, where you usually would have them go into Foreclosure during bad times or if they are owned by Military personnel who don't usually stay more than two years on a Base etc. Your idea of planning to build in the Path of Progress is something you could talk over with John Lum as he was something like the City of Tampa's Development Councelor. My friend used to be a waiter at the meetings where the Mayor and all the Builders and Lawyers would get together and plan out this future Path of Progress and that leads into the Good Ole Boys Club and all the Deals that the Big Guys are able to make that us on the outside are not privy to. That Buying in the Path of Progress, when you have time to wait, starts with buying Four Corner sites and like I did on the Roberts property. where it is now time for me to Sell as we are experiencing an explosion in Demand for buildable lots near the AFBase on the East and West side of Dale Mabry Hwy. You could do a Google Search for all the types of Trailer Parks in the three County area. There may be youtube videos of How to Build Trailer Parks. Here is something I found on my first Search 

http://www.ehow.com/how_6600421_build-mobile-home-...

I know someone who started when I did 30 years ago in Tampa and his Path was mostly with individual Trailers on single lots, outside of the City, small abandoned Trailer Parks and Apartment buildings. He Accumulated enough of the single houses and then Trailers on single lots out in Lutz until he had enough Cash Flow to start a big refinance effort that led him to Bundle groups of properties into Jumbo Loans for better rates and more Cash to buy Trailer Parks and he had 90 Trailers about ten years ago and wouldn't stop his efforts to expand. He would buy a destroyed box for $3000 and completely rehab it with my handyman and set it up on a vacant lot if he had to. Just had to be in an area where that was allowed and he would immediately begin to collect a few hundred cash a month on each Trailer. The Newbies on BP never look at starting with the smallest entity to invest in that can give you some kind of positive cash flow and then just don't stop. That friend is a hands on Landlord who collects his own rents and drives around 24/7 with ten thousand in his pocket as he runs the errands and gets the materials and looks at new properties and meets his obligations. He started working for the guy who owned all those mini gas stations in Tampa, managing rentals for his company that owned 500 rentals about 30 years ago. The question is, "How do you make a Million Dollars?" You find something that everyone wants to Buy for a Dollar and just sell a Million of them. Duh...oesn't have to be as big and complicated as Real Estate Investing seems to be in the beginning. Same with the Flippers. I remember there were two girls, when I started, who were buying apartments in those first high rise buildings on Bayshore to fix up and flip and making a killing. Doesn't have to be a whole House. Like there is a 2/2 Condo with a shed for Short Sale, behind the Home Depot on Florida Ave. for $32K. I know you can rent it for $800 a month. When I was a kid the Concrete company had a slogan...Find a Hole and Fill It!

@Michael Haynes - do you ever write posts under 1000 words? Seriously your last 20 posts are all novels that people don't want to take the time for read. Every time I see it was you posting one of my keywords I just delete it without reading it.

The most common instances where re-zoning is done is when an existing MHP owner who is operating a great Park buys an adjacent parcel not zoned MHP and wants to change it to expand.  The investment is already there and market known.  It takes a lot of work from people who have been through it before (which are few and far between) and a lot of money to develop a Park.  You have to be able to demonstrate to the city you're a proven operator running a nice mobile home court and that they don't have to worry about your properties ever turning into a trailer park.

I agree with others if you're just starting out find an MHP already in place without zoning issues, then consider your options from there.  Or develop out in the ETJ or county where zoning is not an issue, but then you have to develop private utilities which has its own headaches.

@Jeffrey H. When you say "Or develop out in the ETJ or county where zoning is not an issue", What exactly is extraterritorial jurisdiction, is that just basically in the outskirts of the county, where the local governments might have more jurisdiction over the main county? 

Regardless, as far as getting started, if I were to target pre-existing parks, would my only option be to do owner-financing? I do not have have commercial income, and without this do not think I could qualify for a commercial loan (I am assuming a commercial loan would be needed to acquire a park). 

ETJ is an area that a town or city maps their ability to expand and annex within a certain distance of it's limits, usually reflective of their population.  

In Texas, for example, a small town of 500 people has an ETJ surrounding city limits by 0.5 miles.  The town cannot enforce code requirements or deed restrictions in these areas until they annex it, which typically requires a vote from a certain % of the people living in that area.

Even in the ETJ the county will still have basic requirements for developing a MHP, such as septic system permitting and density, detention requirements, water well permits, etc.

Originally posted by @William Howley :

What is the minimum level of capital requirement to get into a small mhp? Ai have a few regular rental unit incomes but no commercial income. do these require commercial financing?

 This is an impossible question without considerable information from you. Location plays a large part in the equations as does the cost of labor and materials, etc.

In my part of the country (downstate Illinois) I can develop at about 40K per lot assuming I'm putting in 50 homes one right after another. This does not include any home, just the infrastructure and land properly prepared for the home. This cost will vary as much as 25% from Springfield, Illinois to Peoria, Illinois because of code differences between the two cities and the difference in labor costs. It also varies on a new project with what you have to promise to local authorities to get the zoning you need.

I pretty much agree that most people should not consider new development but rather buying existing communities, but pricing on parks is changing and it might not be very long before some experienced and savvy developers will start new developments at a faster pace than the industry is currently seeing.

Development is hard work and not for the faint of heart or inexperienced. I know because I built 9 communities from scratch. I have also bought existing parks and that is much easier and sees a quicker return on investment.

Your financing question is not clear enough to respond to. What are you trying to finance? The land? The working capital? Homes that you want to sell? Homes you want to finance? Homes you want to rent? All of these would have different answers.

@Brandon M.

If you don't want to see keyword updates from a certain member you can go to your profile settings and blacklist that member on the keywords page.

But I think there are some bits of experience in Michael's post. For example, a waiter getting insider information about town planning.

@William Howley, Hello, I will make this post a short one. I have had rentals in S. Tampa for 30 years and I am now Selling. I bought my original portfolio of duplexes and houses with money I made from Mutual Fund Investing while I worked on Oil Tankers with a Union. So, I have been following the Markets for a long time and last year I saw an article about how Warren Buffett is big time into Mobile Homes. The reason is because the majority of the citizens cannot afford to own houses. So, they have to Rent or Buy Mobile Homes. There are many articles explaining Buffett's involvement in the Industry. Here is a long article to get insight into Buffett's way of doing Investing. 

https://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/04/03/17024/w...

I used to attend seminars with Jimmy Napier, the local "Selling Paper" guru. He had associates from the Investment Exchange Club in Clearwater who would also give seminars. There also was one guy who specialized in Mobile Homes and Financing. Lonnie Scruggs wrote, "How to Create a Mobile Home Money Machine." Check it out.

http://www.creonline.com/mobile-home-money-machine...

We should all be looking for a Short Cut to the Riches or why would we be members of an online Club like BP? The other point is, "why do we start a Business?" A Business is supposed to be a way for us to Invest our Money and the Business makes more Money for us. If you just Buy houses and set up a Real Estate Portfolio like I did and you are the Manager or Landlord, then all you did was give yourself a JOB and there may be other ways to Work that make more Money. I learned how to make a Million Dollars when I was twelve years old. There was a restaurant a few blocks away from where we lived. We used to go there on the weekends and we were friends with Harry, the owner. One day we went there to eat and Harry told us that he had sold the business that he had worked so hard at for ten years. He said he made a Million Dollars from the Sale of the Property. Harry lived all those years out of the Business that he worked at seven days a week, but, he made his Million Dollars from the Sale of the Property that he owned. I made my Buy and Hold Rental Portfolio for long term Appreciation and to have the Rents pay for all the Debts, while I worked on the ships and studied more about Investing. Now, I am ready to take my laptop and move back to my properties in Brazil and all I need is a fast speed internet connection to make my Daily Cash each morning. I plan to make more money in my retirement, than when I was working. Too long of a post?

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