Anyone ever buy a manufactured home, put it on an empty lot, and rent it out? Would love to hear your experiences!
I haven't done this, but here's what I think I know about it...
Check on the zoning of the lot. If it's in the middle of a neighborhood of stick-built houses, it might not be zoned for a trailer. If it's way out in the county somewhere, it might not matter as much.
Check to see if there is a water tap, sewer line, electric, gas (maybe), and Internet service. In some places, getting a new water tap will cost you several thousand dollars - the plumbing part is cheap, but the local water department funds their operations off of new taps. If there is no sewer line at the property, or nearby, find out about a septic system before you do anything else - the lot has to be big enough and it has to pass a perc test. Any plumber that installs septic systems can advise you on both of those things.
If there is already electric nearby (like, the house next door), then hooking up the trailer shouldn't be too expensive. If you need to install more pole(s), or bury a line to a pole, find out whether you do that privately, or pay the local electric utility to do it.
You might not need gas if it doesn't get very cold in the winter there, but make sure you buy a trailer with all electric appliances.
In 2019, I wouldn't consider phone company 1.5 megabit DSL to be valid Internet service anymore, but that might be all you can get out in the sticks. There is also satellite Internet (expensive and certain things like multi-player gaming don't work at all on it), and, sometimes, cell Internet (usually expensive). Normally the tenant would pay for these things, but you need to know if they might be looking at a $200/month Internet bill when you're setting the rent.
Find out what the local building code is as far as anchoring the house to the ground, and if you need a slab under it or not. If it's in California, there are probably also some code things like strapping the water heater to the wall so it doesn't fall over in an earthquake. If you're buying a trailer brand new, you should be able to tell the trailer company that it's going to California, and they can install the right stuff at the factory.
If you're financing the trailer, you usually can't use a regular mortgage for it - you can get a loan but the interest rate will be higher.
In some places, the tax on the trailer will be just like a house - real estate tax based on the value of the land plus the trailer. In others, you will pay real estate tax on the land, but personal property tax on the trailer.
Could you do better by renting the lot and not owning the trailer? Significantly reduces your maintenance and once someone moves a trailer on, it is likely to stay a LONG time. Your rent each month is less but so are your headaches. Maybe even get 2 trailers on one lot.
Following. I have considered this strategy, but not a primary avenue for me at the moment.