April 1st is also known as “April Fool’s Day”, which is one of our least favorite days of the year. We have never been big fans of practical jokes, which has become an American tradition on this date. However, we do see April 1st as having one possible outcome: a reminder of the necessity of good due diligence. By reminding all Americans of the embarrassment of making an idiot of yourself, this date further reinforces the necessity of good planning and making good decisions. If you hate April Fool’s Day as much as we do, take solace in the fact that it helps to strengthen the resolve of many not to take stupid chances. A “fool” is defined as a “person who acts unwisely or imprudently”. Unfortunately, we frequently see people who display these behaviors in buying mobile home parks. Anyone who would buy a community without knowing what they’re doing or conducting thorough diligence is, by definition, a “fool”. And while “April Fool’s Day” lasts just for 24 hours each year, if you buy a mobile home park that is unsound for investment, that curse lasts for a lifetime. Be smart, be safe, and buy mobile home parks wisely!
Memo From Frank & Dave
Huge Iowa Supreme Court Win For The Mobile Home Park Industry: But When Will The Insanity End?
Oak Hill Mobile Home Park became the latest champion of the laws of grandfathering in the U.S. The park, built in 1955, had been peacefully operating for over a half-century until an aggressive city agenda decided that they wanted to shut it down, and dreamed up a ridiculous plan of action, claiming that such items as decks additions voided the legal non-conforming status. The Supreme Court was not impressed with the city’s arguments, and the park owner is now allowed to exist in perpetuity. The case was high-profile enough to make U.S. News and World Report https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/iowa/articles/2018-03-16/court-dismisses-des-moines-lawsuit-against-mobile-home-park . But, after a string of Supreme Court wins by mobile home park owners, the question remains: “when will cities give up on this nonsense?” And why do they keep on embarrassing themselves and wasting taxpayer dollars on hopeless litigation?
Why cities hate mobile home parks
City governments hate mobile home parks for one simple reason: they lose money with them. It’s simple economics. Unlike retail, office, hotels, self-storage and industrial properties – that pay in large amount of property taxes without utilizing any city resources – mobile home parks typically contain lots of kids that cost the city roughly $8,000+ per year to educate, as well as drains on the hospital system with uninsured visits to the emergency room and other use of city services. There are some parks out there that cost the city over a million dollars a year between what’s received in property tax and what’s spent on tuition, etc. As most city budgets are constantly seeking new ways to reduce their deficit, the mobile home park comes up on the radar screen pretty frequently. And it’s an easy target, as the voting citizenry typically hate the mobile home park residents due to decades of media bias and ignorance.
Why that gives them no right to try and shut them down
But the simple fact that you don’t like mobile home parks does not give you the legal right to shut them down. Property ownership is one of our fundamental rights in the U.S.. And so is the concept of “grandfathering” which means that a “legal non-conforming” use can only lose it’s right to exist in the event of abandonment for more than 180 days (this is a general rule but may be different in some states). There simply is no legal way to close hated mobile home parks, and it drives the city administrators crazy in many markets.
Why the mobile home park owner always prevails
There have been numerous grandfathering cases concerning mobile home parks that have made it all the way to the state Supreme Court. And in every case, the mobile home park owner has won. Before this recent case in Des Moines, there was the Supreme Court decision in favor of the park owner in Mississippi. And the park owner will continue to win because of one simple reason: it’s the law. Although some lower courts don’t seem to understand the concept, the higher courts are well versed on how the law works and have ruled correctly over-and-over again.
New weapons have made this right even stronger
The unique discrimination case last year – in which the mobile home park owner won the case regarding the city trying to shut them down as a result of discrimination against the poor – should serve as a wake-up call to many city administrators. We threw out the concept of contacting HUD regarding an overzealous city last year, and they cratered immediately (because they knew it was true). Just as cities cannot shut down mobile home park just because they hate them, they also cannot discriminate against people that they don’t like.
But smart cities realize a higher purpose
The good news is that many cities have no interest in fighting against mobile home parks and their residents for one simple reason: it’s morally wrong. There is an affordable housing crisis in the U.S., and cities need to support affordable housing, not attack it. There needs to be more of it, not less. Smart and sophisticated cities look at their mobile home parks and think “what can we do to help these folks?” We have received donations of everything from playgrounds to a completely new sewer system – all free of charge – out of a sincere desire to help people. And that noble purpose is spreading.
We were very pleased that the park owner in Des Moines was victorious. We are equally glad that these high-profile cases create a precedent that should scare cities away from similar attempts. We look forward to the day when city governments across America embrace mobile home parks, and these type of legal cases are no longer required.
What Your Community Can Learn From Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream?
Ben & Jerry’s is a socially aware ice cream manufacturer that began in Vermont in 1978. Most mobile home park owners may see themselves as far removed from Ben & Jerry’s social sensibilities, but there’s actually a great deal of potential benefit in adopting more of their business model.
Solving social issues
Ben & Jerry’s is very much concerned about such items as environmental sustainability and charitable giving. While most mobile home park owners may not be aligned with these exact goals, there’s no question that we are involved in the very serious social issue of “affordable housing”. As that’s an admirable and noble mission, we should be more vocal about it. While we used to be embarrassed about owning “trailer parks”, it’s now a matter of pride for many owners, as we’re finally getting visibility as the solution to the affordable housing crisis in America. And since that’s our mission, we should all take it even more seriously and strive to make our residents’ lives happier and more fulfilling. We’ve devoting 2018 to creating a greater “sense of community” for our residents through such actions as monthly newsletters and creating gathering places for residents to form bonds.
Being proud of your product
What set Ben & Jerry’s apart was their drive to create insanely great ice cream, rather than just some pretty good ice cream. They invented new flavors and new packaging, and the results were a drastic improvement over the competition. Even today, in every Ben & Jerry’s ice cream product or company store, the pursuit of excellence is apparent. And that’s a great goal for every park owner: to create the best community that they can. That translates into a strong, compelling entry and immaculate common areas. It also manifests itself in pushing every resident to improve their homes and yards and to demonstrate their own pride of ownership. Parks that exhibit pride – by both owners and residents --- are some of the most valuable and profitable in America, with high levels of retention.
Creating economic benefits for all involved
Ice cream is not a win/win industry. While Ben & Jerry’s makes money on every scoop sold, and the customer enjoys the flavor, the net effect is obesity and bad health if not taken in moderation. However the mobile home park industry is a true win/win, where both the owner and residents benefit from a well-run business model. In fact, the customers are effectively stakeholders in the business, since they own their homes and the park owner owns the land (this is never true at Ben & Jerry’s unless you are a franchisee). So actually, despite their best efforts, this is one Ben & Jerry’s mandate that the normal mobile home park beats them at.
Ben & Jerry’s has a great business model. But the mobile home park is even better. The only difference is that we don’t get much respect, nor do we have cool flavors like Cherry Garcia.
Why Use a Mortgage Broker?
Ever since the Great Recession a decade ago, people have been continually conscious of cost. Many lessons were learned during that difficult economic period and the value of a hard-earned dollar has been put into more intense focus. With that in mind, many have taken a look at the service providers and consultants that they use to see if reducing or eliminating them would represent a positive impact on their bottom lines. One such service provider to examine in the use of a Mortgage Broker. Should you use one and are they worth the cost? Let’s scrutinize the value provided by these folks and see.
First off, what does a Mortgage Broker do? Like any profession that uses the term “broker” in their moniker, a Mortgage Broker’s job is to represent a property owner in identifying and negotiating mortgage financing on their property. To do this effectively, the Mortgage Broker needs to understand the current lending environment, have good relationships with a diverse group of lenders, have good knowledge of the lending products available, and a good understanding of the property that needs financing. If the Mortgage Broker can combine all that skill and knowledge, they can help their clients identify the right type of financing for their property and their business plan.
Bearing in mind what a Mortgage Broker is supposed to do, how do they earn a living? They are paid, like most brokers, upon the success of a transaction. That means that their income is contingent on making sure that their client is able to get the type of financing that works for their property and that is available on the market. Not only that, but the best Mortgage Brokers are there the whole way to help smooth out any issues that crop up along the way towards closing. Whether that’s helping lenders understand an operational necessity in your property or negotiating a difficult item on a loan, Mortgage Brokers are there to fight for their clients throughout the whole process.
So we see what they do and when they get paid, but how else do Mortgage Brokers add value to their clients? Often, it’s in the form of better terms. Since Mortgage Brokers will close large amounts of loans with lenders, they will often offer more aggressive terms to a transaction that is presented by a Mortgage Broker, in hopes of having additional business come their way, than if an operator is going direct and may only have a property or two to finance. In addition, Mortgage Brokers have many lending sources that they utilize which often leads to terms and pricing that you wouldn’t be able to get if you just called around yourself. More often than not, these enhanced terms more than pay for the brokerage fee that is charged.
So let’s revisit our original question, should you use a Mortgage Broker and are they worth the cost? We found out that Mortgage Brokers represent you to a myriad of lender types which leads to competition between lenders and therefore better terms. They also represent you through the process of the loan, smoothing out the difficult parts and helping the lenders see things from your point of view. Lastly, they only get paid when a loan is successfully closed, so there is no cost if you don’t get the loan you want. Perhaps, instead of asking “are they worth the cost?”, perhaps we should ask, “can you afford not to use one?”
By MJ Vukovich
Why Smart Community Buyers Are Using MJ Vukovich For Financing in 2018
Obtaining a loan for a mobile home park can be difficult and time consuming if you do not know how to build an effective loan package, or which lenders to hit. And then there’s the unpleasant task of meeting with lenders and dealing with rejection, as well as knowing what terms are negotiable and how much you can push them. What’s the solution? For smart buyers, it’s MJ Vukovich at Bellwether Enterprise. MJ is one of the top loan brokers in the U.S. He goes out and gets the loan and all you have to do is pick which bank you want to go with from those that want the loan. It’s fast and painless, and the fee is around 1%, which is a real bargain. Best yet, you only pay on performance, with the fee due at closing. We’ve been using MJ with great success, and his real strength is in the “agency” arena with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, where his firm is a leading underwriter. Best of all, MJ is a third generation park owner, who understands the business and looks at the entire process from your perspective.
To get ahold of MJ Vukovich for questions or to get the loan process going, email him at [email protected] or call him at 612-335-7740. Let him know Frank & Dave referred you for VIP treatment. And let us know if your loan closes and we will send you a $500 gift card to the home improvement store of your choice to get you started on your park renovations.
Why Nobody Wants A Mobile Home Park As A Neighbor
A mobile home park development was defeated recently by a city council in Baertown, Mississippi, after over 100 citizens presented a petition demanding that the concept be stopped. We know this sentiment all too well, having had many a park expansion denied by overwhelming negative neighborhood action. So why do people from coast-to-coast stand so aggressively opposed to new mobile home park construction?
Impact on neighborhood property values
It’s a fact that the homes immediately neighboring a mobile home park have a lower predicted value by such websites as Zillow.com. As a result, no homeowner wants a mobile home park anywhere near their residence. There’s no way you can sell any resident that bringing a mobile home park into their neighborhood is a good thing.
Incorrect stereotyping of mobile home park residents
Most Americans have a terrible stereotype in their mind of the typical mobile home park resident. And why wouldn’t they? The media has been working on pushing this agenda for decades, with such shows as Trailer Park Boys and Myrtle Manor, and such movies as Pink Flamingos and 8-Mile. It’s hard to believe that the same industry that was so positively portrayed in “The Long. Long Trailer” in 1951 and Elvis Presley’s “It Happened at the World’s Fair” in 1963 and “Speedway” in 1968 has been trashed by the media for the past half-century. While most Americans have absolutely no idea what mobile home park residents are really like, thanks to television and movies, they want nothing to do with them.
FOMO on better zoning options
Even in industrial areas, everyone always thinks that there’s a good chance that the Four Seasons is going to build a fancy resort next door. Since hope springs eternal, homeowners always think that whatever use they zone a piece of land will deny them from that big break-out moment which will cause their property values to skyrocket. And, of course, it never happens.
Why this is fantastic for mobile home park owners
All of these basic beliefs by residents can never be overcome. They are deeply rooted in decades of popular wisdom. And, as strange as this sounds, that’s great for mobile home park owners. It is the very fact that no new mobile home parks ever get built that creates a huge amount of the value for park owners. There is no other form of real estate that is so universally hated by citizens, and that denial of new supply makes all existing properties gain in value continuously.
OK, it’s a fact that Baertown is not alone. Nobody wants new mobile home parks. They never will. If you own a mobile home park, that’s great news. If you want to build a new one, you’re facing an uphill battle that few ever prevail in.
Why Metron Is The Best Utility Sub-Metering Option In The Industry
Over the past year, we have been rapidly converting every existing water meter in our portfolio to Metron-Farnier Sustainable Services. And every new mobile home park that we change to sub-metered water & sewer use, we meter using Metron. Our entire portfolio – except for those parks that are directly billed water/sewer by the city, or not allowed to sub-meter by law – will be with Metron by the end of this year. So why are we such huge fans of the Metron metering system? The answers are many:
- These meters are read remotely and do not require our managers to read them (or screw up the readings).
- The meters are read by Metron every 60 minutes, 24 hours a day. As a result, Metron can alert you when there’s a leak, and that can save you thousands of dollars per year.
- The meters are amazingly accurate and strong.
- Metron’s meter bodies have been manufactured in Europe for years – they are well-established and a proven performer.
- Metron’s electronics are built and tested in Boulder, CO.
- The cost is only around $5 per month per meter, and in most states this cost can be passed on to the resident.
- These meters do not require you to have access to them, so they are perfect for winterization or difficult access situations.
So why would you not use Metron? We don’t have a clue.
To get more information on Metron metering, call Rick Minogue at 303-449-8833 or email him at [email protected] Tell them that Frank & Dave sent you. We’re their biggest fans.
The Non-Financial Benefits To Owning Mobile Home Parks
It’s a classic infomercial soundbyte that owning real estate leads to ownership of yachts, private planes and Ferraris. While those things may be alluring to some people, the truth is that there area some additional benefits to owning mobile home parks that are much more priceless.
Be your own boss
There is probably not a single person in America that enjoys having a boss. Everyone wants to be fully in charge and answer to no one. When you own a mobile home park, you are the person who is 100% in control, and nobody’s input is required for you to make decisions and shape your destiny. This is very satisfying and rewarding, and probably ranks as among the top reasons that most people like owning mobile home parks.
There are some moments that you can’t ever capture again, such as being at your kid’s school events or sports matches. And sometimes you want to take a vacation on the spur of the moment, or to shut down early because it’s threatening to snow. When you own a mobile home park, you have full control over your time. You set your own hours and have to follow no pre-established schedule. And that’s hugely attractive.
One of the side-effects of most executive and professional positions is the creeping tinge of boredom in doing the same things day-after-day. But when you own a mobile home park, you have many different functions to keep you free of monotony, ranging from strategy, personnel, acquisitions, financing, field-inspection, home purchasing and many other duties.
The excitement of building a legacy
At some point, many people hit their financial goals, and realize that there must be more out of life than money. These folks find satisfaction in building a legacy for future generations. Steve Jobs was obsessed with “building an insanely great product” and not just higher stock prices. He built Pixar because it was very satisfying to create a business from nothing but an idea, and to push the boundaries on animation. These opportunities for enormous personal satisfaction are available with every mobile home park purchase, and it much more powerful than simply making some cash.
Money is great, but there’s more to life. Mobile home park ownership offers some benefits that you can get much more passionate about than a giant yacht. Life is short, and a mobile home park can make your life much more rewarding – and that’s more valuable than money.
Here’s Your Copy Of This Month’s Manufactured Housing Review
If you enjoy this monthly newsletter, then you will certainly also like the Manufactured Housing Review – the industry’s only monthly magazine that covers many different industry topics. Edited by our friend Kurt Kelley of MobileInsurance, MHR offers many insights and opinions that reflect current events in the affordable housing industry, with no topic taboo.
To view this month’s issue, click here!
Why Mobile Insurance Is The Best Protection At Affordable Prices in 2018
Whether you are simply in need of an insurance quote or you have the unfortunate, yet common task, of filing a claim, Mobile Insurance is ready and waiting to take your call. We’ve used Mobile Insurance for over a decade, and their superior service is known throughout the industry. Kurt, the owner of Mobile Insurance, is a top resource for any park insurance question, and they provide free quotes on parks that you are acquiring. That’s why around 2,000 park owners in the U.S. are Mobile Insurance customers.
Mobile Insurance can help you engineer the policy you need to cover all your concerns, and their prices are unbelievably low. Being able to contact them when you need them is just as important. We recommend that every park buyer call them first, as we know of no other group that has the same expertise, quality of service, and low prices. Call them at 800-458-4320 or email[email protected]
The Truth About Getting A Dealer’s License
Anyone who sells mobile homes will, at some point, need to consider if they need to obtain a dealer’s license as part of their business practices. This is not a step to be feared, but may not be required in all cases. Here are some of the facts regarding this concept.
Required if you sell more than a few homes a year
If you only sell one home per year, there are few states that require you to get a dealer’s license. Here is a list of some states and how many homes you are allowed to sell before you have to get a dealer’s license, based on our research (but contact the state MHA for more information).
Arkansas: 3 homes
Florida: 1 home
Illinois: 5 homes
Indiana: 9 homes
Kansas: 5 homes
Kentucky: 1 home
Missouri: 3 homes
New Mexico: 2 homes
North Carolina: 3 homes
Ohio: 3 homes
Pennsylvania: 2 homes
South Carolina: 2 homes
Texas: 1 home
Utah: 2 homes
Virginia: 1 home
West Virginia: 4 home
Here are some states that require you to get a dealer’s license if you sell even one home per year:
Your state MHA can quickly tell you the facts regarding your individual state.
Required if you want to sell homes under the CASH program
Even if your state does not require you to obtain a dealer’s license based on the number of homes you sell in a given year, if you want to take advantage of the terrific home financing programs offered by 21st Mortgage. These now apply to both used homes as well as new, and extend to any manufacturer you choose. We are the largest users of the program in the U.S., and are hugely enthusiastic about its benefits, but you cannot share in that grogram without your dealers’ license.
Painless process in most states
The good news about obtaining a dealer’s license is that it’s extremely easy in most states. No tests and no books to read. You simply fill out a form and pay a fee. In other states, you go to a class (kind of like defensive driving) over one weekend. If getting a dealer’s license was like getting a real estate license, it would be understandable to avoid the effort. But it’s so simple that there really is no excuse. Contact your state MHA to get the steps.
May have other subtle benefits
And having your dealer’s license has other benefits, as well. It makes your home sales function seem more legitimate to customers, and it is appreciated by government officials who think you are following the rules they have established. It can also give you one more protection from potential liability. There really is no downside to it.
When you hear the words “dealer’s license”, you immediately think of class and testing and stress. But the truth is that obtaining a mobile home dealer’s license is extremely easy in most states and makes complete sense for any park owner that has homes to sell.
Westland Is The Park Owner’s Wonderland
We’ve been using Westland to buy mobile home parts for over a decade. We’ve bought entire 18-wheeler loads of skirting from them. And it always shocks us that more people don’t know they exist or what they have to offer. So here are the reasons that you should talk to Westland about all-things mobile home:
- They have thousands of items in stock – virtually the Home Depot of mobile homes.
- They have award winning customer service. That’s super-important when you don’t know exactly what part you need for certain homes (and don’t know the exact name of it, if you did).
- They are truly a “one-stop shop” for all your parts needs. It saves you from having to make endless calls to different vendors (and staying on hold) looking for just one certain item.
- They have great pricing. That’s why we buy 18-wheelers of skirting from them (trust us, everyone wants that order).
- They have built the business on long-term relationships and live by the Golden Rule. They will go out of the way to make sure you are happy with their pricing and service.
But there's one new fact that even old customers may not know - they are under new ownership. The new management is an energetic, entrepreneurial group that is open to new ideas and growing together with your business.
So if you want to be able to talk to people who know more than you do about how mobile homes are constructed and what part you need, and want to get great pricing and customer support, and want your parts shipped fast and tracked accurately, then you need to try Westland. You can reach them at 800-525-8847 or on their website. Tell them Frank & Dave sent you.
The Potential Impact Of Fannie Mae’s Entrance Into Mobile Home Finance
Mobile homes had been all but abandoned by the U.S. government until recent times. Although they are the only form of non-subsidized affordable housing, they have never received their fair shake from Congress or HUD. However, that’s changed. Suddenly, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are aggressively courting the industry under the Duty to Serve initiative, and that includes not only mobile home park financing, but the mobile homes themselves. Beginning in 2019, they are scheduled to get involved in helping buyers get mortgages on mobile homes – a huge and necessary step. So what will the impact be of this enormous development?
The return of consumer choice and sales of mobile homes at dealerships
Mobile home shoppers have been stuck in a vacuum since the “Great Chattel Crisis” of 2000, when easy lending (zero down and no-income documentation) turned into a repossession and collateral loss frenzy. The resulting complete absence of credit in the mobile home mortgage market plummeted annual sales from around 400,000 units to around 60,000 in only a few short years. With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s support of mobile home loans, liquidity will once again return to the mobile home dealerships across America, who will be more than happy to start selling homes again to enthusiastic consumers. It’s really been a scandal that it’s been easier to buy a an expensive brick home than an inexpensive mobile home for the past nearly two decades – despite the need for affordable housing in the U.S. Turning this tide is a huge deal for thousands of shoppers.
Filling lots without mobile home park owners’ involvement in the retail process
Prior to 2000, most mobile home park owners rarely engaged in buying homes themselves to fill lots. They simply waited for the phone to ring from a mobile home park dealership and to hear what lot the customer had picked out. Every mobile home park owner in the U.S. misses those days and cannot wait for them to return again. They are tired of having to buy homes themselves (since they have the credit) and then renting them to the end user. And the advent of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac support for the mobile home industry should definitely begin the process of turning the purchasing of homes back from park owners to the consumer.
More American families becoming homeowners
The U.S. has been turning into a nation of renters for the past decade. This is extremely unfortunate, as home ownership is a huge priority for most households, and has psychological as well as financial benefits. There’s nothing worse than qualified buyers who can’t obtain a mortgage for no fair reason other than the market dictates that stick-built homes are superior to mobile homes as far as getting a loan is concerned. Every time a household is able to become a homeowner, it is one more step into our nation having a healthy housing market.
2019 is right around the corner (if you are a future thinker). The return of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac support to chattel lending (after a nearly two decade absence) has the potential of really impacting the U.S. affordable housing shortage in a positive and meaningful way.
Despite A World Of “Deal Killing” Attorneys, Dave DiMarco Is A “Deal Maker”
How many deals have you seen go down the drain because there was attorney involved that stacked up a million roadblocks to even the simplest problems, and then failed to offer any path to solving them? This is called “deal killing” and some attorneys do this so that they take no risk – if the deal never happens, they can never be criticized for missing a deal point, or for not spotting a flaw in the contract. The problem with this, however, is that you can’t get anywhere in business if you can’t move forward on a single property, regardless of how good the economics and market are. At the other end of the spectrum are the “deal maker” attorneys that recognize real problems from trivial ones, and strive to solve these roadblocks using common sense and legal experience. And the best of those type of attorneys is Dave DiMarco from Woods Oviatt Gilman. We once had a deal go south in a big way – the very driveway into the property was determined to be on somebody else’s property. Any other attorney would have said “well, that’s it, the deal’s dead” but Dave DiMarco sprung into action. We located the owner, negotiated a purchase, personally handled the details, and the deal went forward. And all that over a weekend, no less. And that’s why we love Dave DiMarco and you should, too.
If you need service like that, then consider using Dave DiMarco on your next transaction. You can reach him at (585) 987-2833.
The Benefits Of Offering A Variety Of Home Options
Smart retailers like to show a wide range of product options. Different colors, different patterns, different sizes and different colors. Have you ever been a car dealer that only offered one model and color? Despite this being such a simple axiom, many park owners still fail to grasp the concept variety is not only the “spice of life” but an essential part of being a good merchant. Why is offering a wide variety of home options a smart thing?
Not everyone wants the same thing in a home
While many park owners assume that all customers prefer a 3/2, but that’s not always the case. We have found that, while the 3/2 is the most common target, there are customers that prefer 2/2, 2/1 and even (although rarely) the 1/1. Some like the smaller floorplans because of the correspondingly lower cost to heat and cool, and other simply prefer smaller spaces.
Another factor is simply money. Every customer has a different budget and a different monthly housing cost goal. While some customers can afford a new mobile home, others can only aspire to a used one. By offering homes at a variety of price points, you can close on all sorts of different customers, and even learn what the truly in-demand price point to accelerate filling vacant lots.
The desire to make a more custom home
Some customers want to buy a turn-key home, and others want it to be truly custom for their tastes. If this is the case in McMansions, why can’t it be that way with mobile homes? We have sold customers older homes in “as-is” condition that they have restored to their own unique creations. This sense of personalization is very strong for some customers, and should not be discarded.
Higher closing ratios when you have something for everyone
Car dealers have long ago learned that the key to sales success if to have a huge variety of products so that every single customer that walks in the door can end up buying something. In the mobile home park industry, that means a huge variety of homes: new, used, big, small, move-in ready and needing total renovation “as-is”.
Our lessons learned: stock a wide variety of homes, down-sell them, and let the market dictate things
So what’s the point of all this? A smart park owner should endeavor to stock not just one type of home, but a wide variety of options. You should advertise only the most expensive home in your park, and then “down-sell” the customer to lesser expensive models that might better suit their budget. This brings in not only a better clientele, but also those that have the capital to make necessary repairs. Note the homes that sell the fastest, and re-stock only homes at that price point and condition, so that you can accelerate the process. In effect, you are letting the customers dictate your inventory, and not vice-versa.
Smart park owners realize that “the customer is always right” and try to give them the option to pick out what is right for them. When you have finally zeroed in on your customer base and what they want in a home, that is powerful information indeed.
The CASH Program From 21st Mortgage: One of the Big News Stories of 2018
One of the biggest things going in the mobile home park industry is the CASH program from 21st Mortgage. If you own a mobile home park, the power of this program is astounding. You can fill vacant lots with zero out-of-pocket cost. You can get customers approved to buy homes with amazing speed and a “can-do” attitude. You don’t have to get in the middle of financing or the SAFE Act. And you can tap hundreds of thousands – or millions – of dollars sitting there in vacant lots. The demand for affordable housing in the U.S. is enormous, and the only thing holding most parks back from 100% occupancy are new and used homes that your customers can qualify for. With the CASH program, those obstacles can be overcome and your occupancy can soar. We are the largest users of this program in the U.S., and we know how great it is.
Strange Things We’ve Seen In Mobile Home Parks
We have been in the mobile home park business for the majority of our adult lives. And we’ve seen it all. And that includes some really odd things that are haunting and make for some good cocktail party conversation. Here are three of our strangest park findings.
Fort Worth gangster mansion
North of Ft. Worth, Texas is a mobile home park with a Tudor mansion at the rear. We originally thought it was elaborate clubhouse, but it actually pre-dated the park. The story was that the mansion was built by a mobster in the 1930s. it was the center of organized crime during this period, and had a huge Olympic-sized swimming pool in the backyard. Walls were a foot thick and considered bullet-proof, and there was even an escape shaft from the basement. Over time, the crime family was disbanded and either killed off or sent to prison, and the property became abandoned. It was eventually sold at auction, and the mom & pop buyer built a mobile home park in front of it and converted the structure into the clubhouse and their residence. The pool was filled in and the escape tunnel forgotten. It is truly the most remarkable clubhouse in America. And the spookiest.
Kansas City casino grounds
We own a property in northern Kansas City that has an extremely colorful history. We noticed that the property had amazing stonework in it – stone walls and gate posts, and stairs and pathways. We always assumed it was the work of a mom & pop that really enjoyed building stone landscaping, until a resident approached us with a photo they had found in a library. Apparently, the property had been an illegal casino in the 1930s through 1950s, in the architectural style of Mount Vernon, and the gate and paths were those to the casino. We followed the path and came upon the original foundation. Apparently, the casino burned down when the crime era ended, and the new buyer built the park on the casino’s former footprint. Pretty cool.
The tea party
OK, this is probably the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen in a mobile home park. We were looking at a park in a really rough location and in terrible condition. And then, in the middle of this enormous, filthy pit of a park in a crime-ridden neighborhood, was an unbelievable sight: a child’s tea party straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Two girls in immaculate party dresses, having a very civilized tea party with good china and a sterling teapot with a fine tablecloth and a chandelier hanging above them. It was as surreal as something out of a movie. How do you explain it? All I could guess was that the parents were probably artists that were providing an incredible aesthetic lifestyle for their kids on a shoestring budget. Or perhaps Alice in Wonderland actually exists in a nearly abandoned mobile home park.
One of the fun things about the mobile home park business is the fact that you never really know what you’ll find inside a mobile home park. There is a great deal of history in the American trailer park. Some findings are mundane, but others truly memorable.
Mike Renz Is The Source For All Things Related To Environmental Pollution
When it comes to Phase I Environmental Assessments, nobody in the industry is more knowledgeable than Mike Renz. He’s our go-to guy for all things pollution-oriented, from Phase I reports to simply asking questions on what we see going on next door to the property (or even inside that concerns us). We were once walking through a property and saw a brown colored solution oozing from the property. Within minutes, Mike had pulled up the data and figured out what it was (rusty water from an iron-ore- rich artesian spring). That’ the kind of information that we find invaluable in today’s litigious world of environmental condition. On top of that, we’ve had Phase I reports that failed for existing pollution, and Mike Renz has been able to solve them by using common sense and technology, like the time he proved the EPA wrong by doing a simple core-drilling to prove that a supposed landfill on a mobile home park did not actually exist (it had been phoned into the EPA by a former manager who had a grudge against the owner). If you want that level of expertise on your side, then you need Mike Renz to be your Phase I Environmental provider. That’s who we use, and he’s amazingly good.
You can contact Mike Renz at (614) 538-0451.
Antique Mobile Home Ads
We recently acquired quite a few historic mobile home ads from eBay. Here are just a few that we thought were interesting!
The MHU Investor’s Club Classified Ads
To advertise here, you must be a member of the MHU Investor’s Club which is a program available to our Mobile Home Park Boot Camp and Mobile Home Park Home Study Course customers. Contact us for more information.