Many people ask me what it’s like to own a mobile home park. They expect stories of exciting shoot-outs, drugged-out topless dancers bashing in windows with baseball bats and Jeff Foxworthy humor. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
I, myself, thought that would be the normal agenda when I bought my first park. The first thing I did during due diligence was to get a concealed handgun license. I was certain that my role would be that of Wyatt Earp in cleaning up trailer town. But again, a day in the gun class and the shooting test were all wasted. It’s just not like that.
“Well, then how is it?” you’re asking. The answer: boring. Really boring. Here’s why.
NOTHING EVER HAPPENS
In a typical mobile home park, the phone might ring once per month for a lot for rent (normally an RV) – that’s the whole sales side of the thing. The yellow page ad comes up once a year, so that kind of handles marketing. I show up in court to evict someone every once in a while. But that’s about as much action as I get.
What about crime? I tell the tenant to call 911. What about rowdy neighbors? I tell the tenant to call 911. Loose dog? Call 911. There really isn’t much that ever goes on that the answer is not “call 911”.
What about property repairs? Glad you asked that. I can’t emphasize enough that I could care less what happens in people’s mobile homes BECAUSE I DON’T OWN THEM. I only own and rent the land. They can smoke, get drunk, play air guitar — I don’t care. As long as it doesn’t bother their neighbor. And if it does? Call 911.
Sure, the police may be busy sometimes, but I never am.
The sheer amount of crime in parks is grossly blown out of proportion. I have parks that the median age is probably 50, and there has not been a police call to the park in years.
On a day to day basis, here’s the whole month’s schedule. On the first, the rent is due. Everyone mails it in to a P.O. Box. On the seventh, I send out demand letters on those who have not paid. On the tenth, I’m filing an eviction, if any. On the fifteenth I’m sending next month’s invoices. On the thirtieth, I’m sending out the bills (of which there is less than ten: water/sewer, trash, insurance, electricity, gas, payroll, yellow pages, other.
Not too bad, huh? Compare that to your typical apartment or single-family investment, where you have to spend a huge portion of every day responding to tenant issues and repairs, like stopped up toilets.
I prefer being bored.