It’s sometimes difficult for me to believe that I still get the question, “Why would mobile home park owners and management want to work with investors buying and reselling individual homes inside their communities?” Being in this industry for over a decade, the value mobile home investors provide to parks and the community at large is obvious. However, to less inexperienced investors, this question is completely reasonable and rational.
Let us now take a perfectly logical and rational approach as to why many mobile home parks wish to work with and experience symbiotic relationships with quality local mobile home investors.
Note: Throughout this article, I will use the terms “park owners” and “park managers” interchangeably. While these two positions are very different and are typically performed by different people, the goals of both parties are to increase park revenue, improve park safety, and generally increase the morale and curb appeal of the community.
Please see the short list below of some of the common reasons mobile home park owners and managers love and hate working with local investors.
Why We’re Hated
We Provide Competition
One of the most obvious reasons a novice real estate investor may believe most mobile home communities will not want to work with a local investor is because this community fears extra competition buying and selling mobile homes in the park. This belief stems from the idea that most mobile home owners and park managers wish to scavenge every home within their park that is being sold “for sale by owner” for themselves.
Usually, the opposite is in fact true: Most mobile home communities very rarely purchase a majority of the mobile homes for sale in their park. Many mobile home communities focus the majority of their income on obtaining long-term lot rent from mobile home owner-occupants. With a clearer understanding that many mobile home communities are simply interested in lot rent and not reselling mobile homes, a novice mobile home investor may have the confidence to approach parks for a win-win business relationship.
Note: While I paint a rosy picture above that describes many mobile home communities not actively gobbling up and purchasing mobile homes within their community to then resell, this absolutely does happen and is currently happening around the country. But for every one park that will think of you as competition, there are many others that will happily be open to a win-win relationship with you.
We Burn Bridges
Unless you have been investing in manufactured homes inside parks for some time, you may not have thought of the simple fact that many mobile home park managers are merely human and therefore are prone to human nature and emotional reactions.
Let’s do some role-playing: Let’s pretend we are the park managers of a beautiful mobile home community. As the park manager, you have to listen to excuses and problems throughout the day. Along comes a mobile home investor who promises to follow all the rules, and you fast become business friends. However, instead of being an ideal resident, this investor fails to pay you lot rent, ignores your phone calls, and eventually sells to a buyer who immediately pulls the home out of the park, thereby reducing the total park revenue. Moving forward, you are naturally going to have reservations about working with this investor and almost any future investors down the road. It is then quite easy to understand why some park managers may have a biased and untrue perception of investors even before they have worked with them.
When you inevitably find yourself talking to a mobile home park manager who is been taken advantage of by a past investor, speak up and make sure this manager knows of your true intentions and desire to have a long-term win-win relationship with this community. Like any relationship, sometimes these take time and have to crawl before they walk and run. Remember that our job as a successful mobile home investor is to make the park manager’s life easier and increase revenue and curb appeal within the park.
Why We’re Loved
We Increase Revenue
As an active mobile home investor, you will be contributing thousands of dollars yearly to local mobile home parks you invest within. This is guaranteed money the park will receive from lot rent that an investor (you) will gladly pay whether you are receiving income from the mobile home or not. Whether you own 10 homes within a community or only one, you will be contributing to this community’s success.
Keep in mind that many mobile home communities you visit may have a pad vacancy where a mobile home can be set up and the pad/lot rented. In communities with favorable move-in incentives, you may wish to fill many vacant pads/lots in order to increase your cash-flow as well as the park’s monthly revenue.
Note: Throughout this article, we use the terms mobile home “pad” and “lot” to describe the small parcel of land a resident rents monthly at a mobile home community.
We Provide Increased Foot Traffic
As an active mobile home investor, you advertise and market every mobile home you have for sale inside of a park or attached to private land. When advertising mobile homes for sales in parks, we undoubtedly send cars into the park and foot traffic throughout the park and management office. These extra active buyers can be very beneficial for parks when there are homes “for sale by the park.” Keep in mind that not every buyer is suited for your mobile home property; it is perfectly acceptable and normal for some buyers to purchase newer or different homes from the community if they see fit.
Pro Tip: Make sure to ask every potential buyer or renter who walks though your home, “What did you like and not like about this home?”
We Make the Manager’s Life Easier
Park managers are the gatekeepers of many mobile home communities. This one bullet-point epitomizes the mindset a successful mobile home investor may wish to instill in his or her own business.
Let’s revisit our role-playing exercise from above where we pretended to be a park manager: Would you knowingly choose to work one-on-one with a mean, thuggish, or selfish investor? Or would you rather work with an investor who is easy to get along with, agreeable, and likable? The obvious answer is that everyone chooses to work with people based on their own preferences, and if they feel this person is going to make their own life easier, they will undoubtedly choose that individual.
Note: This article is written on the assumption that you, the person reading these words, is a quality investor willing to follow the rules, keep the home where it is, and resell to good, quality buyers. If you already know that you are planning to take advantage of someone or you do not truly care about the park’s well-being, you may not be best suited for a career with mobile home investing inside pre-existing parks.
In conclusion, it is important to look at mobile home parks logically, as they are owned and operated by human beings striving for certain targets and specific goals. If you can align yourself with these goals, you will likely not meet any opposition from mobile park communities. However, if a mobile home community sees you as a threat or competition, they will choose not to work with you based on these reasons. It is important to understand that other communities are operated by different people who may likely be very willing to work with you or simply allow you to purchase and resell mobile homes within their community. Stay active and remain focused on helping everyone you meet.
Mobile investors: Anything you’d add to this list?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!