Efficiencies in Managing a Moble Home Park

15 Replies

Hey BP Fam,

My partners and I are under contract with a Mobile Home Park in the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The park has some vacant lots and an onsite manager that lives rent free. 

Right now he collects payments in cash or checks from each resident and handles some maintenance but there has been some neglect on the property. 

I wanted to know if you all have any tips for adding efficiency to managing the park to make the Resident Managers life easier, the tenants and the owner. 

I'm hoping I can manage the manager as well, so if you have any suggestions on how to structure that relationship or just efficiencies in general please share!

Your goal should be for the manager to do as little as possible.  

Evaluate alternative means to collect rent, such as a local bank near the park the tenants can deposit themselves, or using payment options through software like Rent Manager.  Have maintenance performed by someone who knows what they are doing and can keep up with your issues.  Let the manager read your meters (if needed) and manage the tenants, nothing else.

Meet for 30 minutes with your manager each week so you have the pulse of the park.  If your manager can still not deliver on their trimmed down responsibilities, get a new manager.  You will need a good manager to help infill a park remotely, so you might as well start looking.

@Michael Tucker , you should have a manager that you feel comfortable acting as an owner of the park as well. Empowering your manager should bring the best out of him. Plus you can see if the neglect was more of the manager's influence or the owner. 

I get as much as I can from my manager who also lives rent free in my park.  He will collect rent, repair what he can, show vacant homes, and send/receive paperwork.  

His job description, which works well for both of us, is basically do what needs done.  That said, I did have to spend some time with him, teach him how to do some things, and educate him as to what I expect the places to look like and the park to be run like.  It works out well for both of us.  So well, in fact, that I am looking for similar arrangements elsewhere.

@C.K. Ebert,@Jeffrey H. , @Sam Fackrell, apologies for the delayed response, I've found that "@'ing" people is easier from a desktop.

I really appreciate the feedback. After going to do another once over of the park, it seems like most of the issues appear to be from owner neglect and milking the property with little reinvestment. There were varying opinions of the current manager, but he seems eager to keep his position, despite health concerns. Currently he collects rent, fixes what he can, and he gets a bonus ($100-400) if he sells a padsite/vacant home. This is a lower income park, but the people are very friendly. 

@Jeffrey H. how has the rent manager software been beneficial to you and how did you go about implementing it?

Currently the tenants pay the park manager in cash or check. I wasn't sure if debit/credit card payments online would be an issue for the tenants since it is a lower income area. 

Our initial thought was to open a local bank account so the manager could just drop off payment there, instead of loose cash in his house. 

I like personal accountability since they've proven to pay the manager (sometimes in pieces) but they're consistent. I'd like some insight on implementation if possible. I work with two folks who aren't quite as tech savvy and may prefer a more "manual" method of payment. I'm hoping my role will be to "manage the manager" so having him to focus more on what happens locally may prove to be more beneficial to him. 

If we flip the property in 2-5 years, would having tenants paying online be beneficial to a prospective park purchaser?

@Michael Tucker , you can't beat online payments however I wouldn't expect too high of an adoption rate. You could offer online payments along with having the manager collect money orders and make the deposits. Ideally he/she would be able to manange the rent roll in that arrangement. If that doesn't work you could have the tenants deposit directly into your account (you provide deposit slips labeled w/ the unit #) and you manage the rent roll by viewing deposit images online.

Thanks @Aman S. and @C.K. Ebert I appreciate the insight. I'll do some research. I prefer online payments myself. Loose cash with the PM seems problematic, but I'd have to figure out how to incentivise full and on-time payments. 

Originally posted by @Aman S. :

@Michael Tucker try to eliminate cash transactions as much as possible. Majority of my park tenants and other single family tenants deposit rent in the bank. Many of them have started using cashapp or paypal. 

 A bit slow to join here, but be careful accepting Paypal for rent payments.  If the renter disputes anything with them, Paypal will immediately withdraw the disputed funds.  I've seen several threads where this usually happens at the worst time for the landlord.

@Alan majors,

Thanks for the response, I've been looking at using Cozy, not sure if the the best for book keeping purpose but they do make it easy to roll out and access. Any thoughts? Any other considerations for building in some efficiencies? We're planning to close at the end of the month or early October depending on the banks requirements.

@Michael Tucker - I completely missed it, thanks for the jog. 

I settled on Buildium for an initial stab at an accounting package beyond the spreadsheets.  Price was the biggest factor for my 20 units.  

In the meantime, accepting online payments with less fees will be something I have to revisit after getting this initial package rolled out.