When you go fishing on a State owned land there are usually Park Rangers that make sure all is in order. Park Rangers are great fishing friends to have. They know all the latest news, where the fish are biting, and can give you great leads of where, when, and even how to fish! Park Rangers know, because they are there all the time.
Likewise, a Mobile Home Park Manager is there all the time. There are several reasons why I believe that park managers are the fastest road to success with finding good deals on mobile homes for sale. Most of the mobile homes that I have purchased were from a referral from a park manger and they were great prices. I have spent many thousands of dollars trying to find mobile homes in other ways and all I did was lose dollars pursuing over priced deals. Just like wasting all your time fishing in the wrong spot.
Many of the individuals are just too lazy to do the footwork required to find a good deal on a mobile home. Or some are too timid to go though the Mobile Home Parks and speak to the people that live there, due to stereotype which are all too often true.
You have no choice but to speak with the park manager, so you should do it first off. This is a good approach for the timid. If you spend some time with a park manager they will very often bring the deals to you and you will be a very effective mobile home buyer.
The best method is to approach the park manager as an investor. When I go to the park office and ask for a few minutes of their time. I will simply sit down and tell them I am an investor looking to acquire, and possibly move, a few mobile homes into their park. Generally they will not question you. I then ask them a few questions about the park.
There are a few things you must learn from the manager.
1) Do they allow mobile home Investors in their park?
This simply lets you know if rental homes are allowed. If they do not, find out if they are interested in buying some of your mobile homes in the future as they most likely own a large percentage of the homes in the park and owner finance or rent to own these homes themselves.
2) What are the current lot rents?
When you find out the lot rents, make sure the manager knows that you will be paying the lot rents directly to her and not your tenants making the payments. This lets her know there is less headaches for her, and the payments will always be on time. You are renting the lot space. The tenant buyers are renting the mobile home from you.
3) When is payment due?
This is obvious; also find out what day payment is late? This should never be a problem as you are paying the lot rents yourself, not the tenant.
4) Find out if your tenants can drop off their rent checks at the onsite office if they have one and you can pick them up there when you bring your monthly lot rents?
I prefer this method as it allows me the opportunity to speak with the mobile home park manager face to face for 15 minutes or so every month while I write her the check for all the lot rents and pick up my money orders. Many things can change in one month’s time. Ask the manager if anything new has happened. Also remind her to contact you about other owners of mobile homes who rent the other park lots and are currently late or have new citations against them in the park. This can be an early warning sign about the mobile home owner’s current life situations. Perhaps they lost a job and they are becoming more and more motivated every day to sell that home before they are evicted from the park. You may be their only hope. Remember that owner may have to catch up on lot rent and late fees etc and pay $3,000.00 plus in moving fees before they can move that home out of the park, so selling to you might be a great opportunity for them.
5) What is the maximum age of a mobile home allowed in the park?
This is very important as it will give you a good idea of the quality and value of the park. I also believe it is much easier to sell in a nicer park. From personal pains I have learned that a park that allows homes to be moved into it that are 20 years of age or older is going to be a headache when it comes time to sell. Many of these parks are truly trailer parks and they have the reputations that we have all come to fear. High drug, gang, and prostitution problems often accompany these parks. Well at least in the Houston TX area. Things could be very different where you reside … (but probably not).
I have also learned that older homes often have too many repairs for their worth and it is difficult to get a tenant buyer in them. By older, I mean over 15 years of age. I won’t make many repairs on them anymore. There are more than a few people that make money from the older homes though. I just chose not to pursue them anymore. If you find a home that is just too sweet of a deal to pass up and you buy it for VERY cheap, you can try and market it as a handy man special and still sell for 2 times what you purchased it for with great financing rates. Please check state laws for how they define “Habitable” before you sell. If you do buy an older home, do not move the home if you can avoid it. It may fall apart while it is being moved.
6) Do the homes require skirting? And does the tongue have to be removed?
You need to know these things, as tongue removal and skirting are extra money you must add to your moving and installation fees. I prefer homes in nicer parks that require such skirting. Homes with no skirting are often used as storage areas for the MH owners junk. This drops the appearance of the whole park; thus resulting in it becoming more difficult for you to locate your tenant/buyer. We have also seen cats and other animals tear into the a/c duct work and make a nice air conditioned house for themselves and their litter. You don’t want to see the electricity bill when this happen to you. Put on the skirting!
7) What services does the park offer; such as Lawn Maintenance, Trash Dumpster, Water, Laundry, Swimming pool, Recreation area, Etc.?
What is paid for by the park and what is paid for by the tenants? Water and sewage are two of the greatest monthly expenses that a park owner must pay. In return they can make quite a difference in the monthly lot rent if they are paid by the park. If tenants must pay their water bills, broken water pipes, faucets etc, have a strange way of getting fixed when they would remain neglected before. If the park owner pays the water bill, you will find that leak in or under your mobile home when the tenant moves out and now you have to pay for even more repairs.
8) Does the park have a maintenance man that will set up the electricity, A/C, water, etc. after the home is moved into the park; and does he work on the side, and have the current license?
I try to keep all of my money spent in the same park where my homes are located as it builds a loyalty base. Also you are seen as a friend and not just an investor. A friend is a great thing to be with the park employees. Do not be a friend with your tenants unless you like losing money and experiencing a ton of drama every month.
9) Find out what they offer you to motivate you to move your homes into their park.
My favorite mobile home park allows us to move our homes into them and they do not charge us lot rent until we have a tenant/buyer in the home. Another park pays me back $2,500.00 after the home as been in the park for 30 days and meets their requirements. Such as skirting around the porch and the outside has a clean appearance. $2,500.00 can pay for 100% of my moving, setup and installation expenses. I also have NO lot rent until I locate a tenant. This saves use several hundreds of dollars each month. Moving multiple homes into one park allows opportunities that maze me. How many homes can you place in one park? This is truly a wonderful thing for an MH investor. Let’s suppose over a few years you move 15 – 20 homes into a 60 unit park. How much control do you now have over that park? 33% I am sure you are an asset to the park owners… or a fright! Now you and your actions and the actions of your tenants can make quite a difference in the value of their park. You could make it or break it. Just think about it for a minute.