Every mobile home park has a reputation, whether the park owner knows it or not. The residents, employees, investors and local community all have their opinions on your park, too. When the residents and the local community think about the community, do images of peace and safety or images of trouble and crime come to mind?
Recently, I became a partner in a mobile home park investment, and I have the proud duty of cleaning up this park’s appearance, homes, and negative stigma. I say proud duty because it is an honor and cool challenge to add value and pride to this diamond in the rough. Through our collective efforts, people’s lives will be changed and improved for many years to come.
Below is a short list of some of the coming activities we’re going to implement to help achieve our goals. Mission objectives are to build trust, increase pride of ownership in every resident, and create a community atmosphere.
7 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Manufactured Home Community
1. Community Meetings
The first major effort to get to know the residents and make this park feel like a source of pride is to get the community on board with new park improvements, rule changes, and coming events. While the designated park manager will be the main point of contact for residents, I look forward to meeting each resident and seeing them around the community.
We will start by opening the doors of communication between the park and residents at a local community meeting. The first meeting may only have a few residents attend; however, more will come each quarter. New rules, promotions, questions, and suggestions are always welcome.
2. Ice Cream Socials
During the heat of the spring and summer months, consider holding a community ice cream social event for park residents. Multiple kinds of ice cream and a toppings bar will be perfect to get the kids to drag mom and dad outside to attend this event. Plus, this is just another great way to meet the residents, hang out, and enjoy some ice cream on a great day.
3. Start a Neighborhood Watch Program
While this mobile home park is quite safe, a Neighborhood Watch Program is typically always a great idea to build resident pride and responsibility. Bringing the community together and helping to keep criminals out of the park is a total win-win. Check with your local police department to learn more.
4. Back to School “Inflatable Party”
When the time comes for the kids to go back to school, a “morale building” weekend activity may be to rent an inflatable water slide for kids and adults in the mobile home community. While there is some liability to this, it is important to always be aware of your risk versus reward in every situation possible. This is an event where you could invite the local community, city officials, and folks from the local neighborhood.
5. Independence Day BBQ, Thanksgiving and Christmas Potluck
These are all great opportunities to get together park residents for a summer lunch barbecue or a warm winter meal. While we are genuinely aiming to increase every current resident’s love for the community, a side benefit of a happy resident is usually great word of mouth marketing to sell more units in your park and build community price.
Tip: Word of mouth advertising is one of the best advertising streams you can grow. Genuine, heartfelt praise and testimonials are the best endorsements for your community. This trust and goodwill requires time and honesty.
6. Yard of the Month Contest
Curb appeal is huge for almost all types of real estate. Offering a prize of 10%-30% off lot rent for a Yard of the Month or Most Improved Yard can be a great way to incentivize residents to start adding flowers and cleaning up their lots. Competition is a great motivator. Once a few residents start to improve their lots, more will naturally follow.
7. Correct Your Terminology
The days of mobile homes being mostly mobile were before 1976. The term “trailer” is an even worse name. The term now is “manufactured housing.” Start the trend of only saying manufactured home community, and watch the pride level naturally rise.
Tip: Start a .25 cent penalty jar if any staff members say the word “mobile home” or “trailer.” Plan a party with the proceeds.
Throughout the time span that it will take to hold all the events above, there must be consistent progress made to improve current homes throughout the park, adding new homes for sale, selling many vacancies, adding a new playground for kids, and performing general landscaping.
Starting from this point forward, we must first personally set the example of how we wish our residents to behave and live. If we hold ourselves, our park managers, and our parks to a higher standards, the community will almost always rise to the same level with persistence and consistency.
Investors: How do you improve pride and increase value in your manufactured home community?
Leave your comments and tips below!