Is This Mobile Home Park a Deal?

11 Replies

I found a deal on a small 7 space MHP in seemingly great condition but mostly vacant and curious to get someone with experience take on the situation.

I found this park by responding to a post for a mobile home park vacancy on a local Facebook buy, sale, trade site. I messaged the person listing the vacancy and asked if they have considered selling the park. To my surprise the owner of 30 years said yes he is retiring and would like to sell but he hasn't attempted to yet. I stopped by the park and snooped around a bit. It appears to be in excellent shape. Full concrete pads for the mobile homes, also wired for the possibility of RVs, manicured corner lot in a residential neighborhood with several new construction brick homes for sale.

My concern was that this park is completely vacant with the exception of two Park owned mobile homes that he is receiving $550 per month rent. In his listing he was asking for $350 per month space rental which seems to be in line with most of the area. When asked why so many vacancies he replied that he just hasn't tried very hard to fill them and has lost interest. He said it has been a trouble-free park for the entire time he has owned it and looking at the infrastructure I do believe it to be true. I also believe that I can get it filled with no problem just by comparing the location and condition to others in the area.

The owner said he will take $150,000 for this 7 lot Park and he is not open to negotiation. He also said he is not open to owner financing. Without verifying and just going by his word he said taxes run around $2,000 a year.

So.... hopefully someone with experience can help me determine if this is the great deal that I perceive it to be and also would this be worth doing as a no-money-down deal as I can quite possibly get the down payment funded through a private lender. My concern is what the bank will require since there is so much vacancy.

Any info, suggestions, advice is appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

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@David Mathews

I deal with mobile home park acquisitions and we constantly analyze deals every day. 

Typically we value parks based on income. I don't normally do analysis on deals this small and I might be missing something but here's what we usually do to determine value.

1. We usually look at parks as two separate units - the land and the homes. We want to place a value on the land (the lot rents being produced). Banks also prefer to look at parks based on what the land is producing. Generally banks don't want to value the homes because mobile homes are depreciating assets and they don't want to give valuation credit for something that will depreciate over time.

If you look at this deal from a lot rent income analysis basis:

$350 lot rent / mo x 2 x 12 = $8,400


$2,000 in taxes

Leaves you:


And that's before other expenses.

The $200 above lot rent you earn from the mobile homes could likely get eaten up in cap ex and R&M over time.

But let's say all of that was profit:

$200 x 2 x 12 = $4,800

If you combine the two figures:

$11,200 (Net Operating Income - a very optimistic number)

He's asking for $150,000

$150,000 / $11,200 = 7.4% Cap rate

That's a 7.4 cap rate on a very optimistic NOI (net operating income).

Normally with MHPs, you'd be looking to buy something that small at a 10cap or above off the NOI from lot rents only and then paying something extra for the homes, depending on their age and condition.

Banks usually value at NOI off the lot rents divided by the cap rate times the Loan To Value ratio.

NOI / Cap Rate = Value

Value x Loan to Value (ie. 75%) = Maximum amount of the loan

General expense factors for mobile home parks are usually somewhere between 30-40% of income.

So the bank might look at the NOI as being closer to: $5,040 giving the property a cap rate of 3%

If you had a 75% LTV meaning you borrowed $112,500 from the bank at 4.5% over 20 years, your annual debt service payment would be: $10,327 / year, meaning your current cashflow wouldn't cover the bank payments.

Usually banks want to see a minimum Debt Service Coverage Ratio of 1.2x (You earn at least 20% more than the debt service payment).

Let's say the bank were willing to financing this deal.. you'd have to get your annual debt service payment to $4,200.

That means borrowing about $46,000.

So you'd have to raise $104,000 or bring that to the table.

Cashflow after debt service would be: $840 

That's a cash on cash return of: less than 1%

At that Cash on cash return, most likely your private lender would have to be an equity partner since there's not enough money to make debt payments to the lender. 

2. The Upside

So while the deal 'as is' might be overpriced, it might be a park worth overpaying for if you think there's a lot of upside.

One of the biggest expenses for mobile home parks is filling empty lots. That involves buying homes, moving them, and then setting them in the park. 

With each home you move in, you're increasing the amount of money you have in the deal. 

But let's take a scenario where you have the lot completely filled at 7 lots.

$350 x 7 x 12 = $29,400

Expense factor of 40% (since it's a smaller park and harder to spread expenses)

$17,640 NOI

If you divide that by 10% to get a value at a 10cap, you get:


After selling costs, etc, you might be looking at $162,000 net + whatever principal paydown you were able to make?

That's a gain of about $12,000 (more likely there will be $0 or negative gain because of the expense required to move the homes into the park).

Most of that would likely have to go to your private lender, now equity partner. And that return might not be enough to satisfy him. 

If you refi'd out - at a 75% LTV - you could repay your private lender about ($132,000 - $46,000) $86,000 (less than that because there'd be transaction fees as well).

He has $18,000 remaining in the deal and your new debt service payment (assuming the same rate) would be about $12,000 annually. That leaves about $5,000 left for you and your private lender to split annually.

3. I might be way off! 

But if you plug in your own numbers into the basic analysis, it should help you think about what the upside is and whether it's worth the risk.

My own opinion - the current owner wants you to pay too much for potential income that will take a lot of work to realize. 

I deal with a lot of owners looking to retire and most of them overvalue their properties. Our strategy would be: "Sorry.. I can't make those numbers work..." and then keep in touch with him by sending postcards / calls every 3-6 months. 

In the meantime, try running CL ads to measure demand in the area.

4. If you think the real play is to convert into an RV park, figure out what the additional infrastructure cost will be and then run a similar financial analysis.

Bottom line: How much will it cashflow? How much can I sell it for later? What will my returns be?

Good luck! 


Wow that is a lot of information! I sincerely appreciate your time and thoughtful response!

One thing I failed to mention is the lots are individually metered for both water & electricity and are paid by the tenants. This may change the expense factor range to something more favorable than 30% - 40%. The garbage service is payed by park owner. 

I would be interested in owner financing the park owned units so the tenants would be responsible for anything associated with the structure.  I would want to get to a point I am simply renting out the dirt.

Bottom line is that he isn't a motivated seller. This park might be worth half of his asking price. 

@David Mathews I 100% agree with @Daniel Ryu . He did excellent job explaining. You probably can cut some cost of expenses. You don't wanna pay for something that's not there assuming you can fill up all the lot. I will go maximum $100k

@Daniel Ryu - awesome numbers break down, thanks!

@David Mathews - good news it that you already learned a ton from this experience on how to value a MHP properly and you probably won't end up overpaying for this one with your new knowledge. You can follow-up with direct mail or cold calls to other mobile park owners to try to find a real deal from someone that's actually motivated to sell. Even contacting this guy who doesn't care every 2-3 months with a call/postcard to see if he's more motivated can turn into a lead later on. Are you exclusively looking for MHPs for passive income or saw this potential deal and wanted to learn more about investing in mobile home parks / RV parks?

@David Mathews

Best of luck! 

I think the issue you're facing right now is not price but motivation. When sellers are motivated, they become much easier to work with. And usually that means you need time, the market to not respond to the price, and/or circumstances for the seller to change. I've seen lots of sellers start at high numbers and then six months later, when they're really ready to sell, start to lower the number. 

I'm sure you've already done a good job of rapport building but I find a great question to ask is "How did you end up getting in this business?" That usually creates a lot of opportunities to ask question and learn more about the seller's life. It could help you identify their motivations more clearly and possibly help you structure a deal that works for both of you. 

Also one note - since you're dealing with a smaller park, infrastructure repairs can really eat up your profits, so make sure it's all in good shape. With fewer lots, its harder to spread out cap ex expenses and that can really kill your cashflow. 

@Ray Lai

Yes sir. Thanks to Daniel I did learn A LOT and hopefully will continue to in this Journey. As to your question about interests.... currently I own three SFRs and finding a lot of success with the BRRR strategy but would like to shift my focus to mobile home parks. I am in the SW LA/SE TX area and MHP living is quite common around here so I see it as a solid investment if I can find the right deal.

@Daniel Ryu 

Thank you again for all of the info. I actually printed your response in order to have a quick reference to refer to.

@Daniel Ryu  very detailed breakdown and assessment. Im interested in purchasing a mobile home park and will definitely reach out to you for a 2nd opinion regarding deal analysis. 

@Logan McCray

Thanks Logan. Hope you find some great deals!

Originally posted by @David Mathews :

@Ray Lai

Yes sir. Thanks to Daniel I did learn A LOT and hopefully will continue to in this Journey. As to your question about interests.... currently I own three SFRs and finding a lot of success with the BRRR strategy but would like to shift my focus to mobile home parks. I am in the SW LA/SE TX area and MHP living is quite common around here so I see it as a solid investment if I can find the right deal.

@Daniel Ryu 

Thank you again for all of the info. I actually printed your response in order to have a quick reference to refer to.

 Glad I could help!

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