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July 1st, 2017

Memo From Frank & Dave

The first half of the year is over. The perfect analogy is if the glass is “half empty” or “half full”. Of course, both are true. If you had plans for 2017 and have not accomplished them yet, you only have half the time to do so. But the good news is that you still have six months left to achieve your goals. There have been many folks who have started late and gone on to massive success. One of the best known is Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s. Kroc was in his mid-50s when he started to get traction with his hamburger chain. So if you feel like you failed to get on the right track to hit your goals in the first half of 2017, redemption is still possible. But you need to get going now. When the next half of 2017 is done the year will be over.

And to start the second half on the right foot, enjoy the fireworks and have a happy 4th of July!

Understanding Mobile Home Park Grandfathering Laws

parking lot

The closest cousin to mobile home parks, by law, is the standard parking lot. That’s effectively what a mobile home park is – a parking lot for mobile homes. And the way the laws are applied is extremely similar when it comes to “non-conforming status”. Many cities do not understand how the laws work, and for many park owners this can be a source of frustration. However, the law is on your side if you only understand how it works and how to stand up for your rights.

What is “grandfathering”?

Webster’s defines “grandfathering” as “a clause in a new law or regulation that exempts certain persons or businesses from abiding by it.” In the case of mobile home parks, it relates to the exemption that any legally built mobile home park has from abiding by any new law or ordinance enacted after the mobile home park was constructed. For example, a mobile home park built in 1966 with 5’ setbacks from the street is not required to meet the 1989 ordinance that mobile homes must be 25’ setback from the street. In most cases, the “grandfathering” covers the more basic right to exist in locations where mobile home parks have been banned for decades.

Mobile home parks are a grandfathered “use”

It’s important to note from the onset that mobile home parks are a grandfathered “use” and not a grandfathered “structure”. This is extremely significant. Under a grandfathered “use” the very act of being a mobile home park is protected. Since a mobile home park is defined as basically a parking lot for the parking of mobile homes (which are viewed by most states as automobiles anyway), a grandfathered mobile home park means that you can park mobile homes in that parking lot forever, regardless of what current ordinance allows (subject to the exemptions shown below). Effectively, the only way that a mobile home park can lose its grandfathered status is to cease all operations, remove all the mobile homes, and turn off the phone and advertising for 181 days. If the mobile home park is completely vacant yet has a working phone number, the grandfathered status would not end, as it’s the “use” of the land as a parking lot that’s protected, and that has nothing to do with physical occupancy. In short, it’s nearly impossible for a mobile home park to lose its protected status, and that simply fact drives most hateful city manages crazy.

Why that’s hard for inspectors to understand

While many city managers don’t like the fact that they are powerless to end the mobile home park’s existence, the city inspectors often come to a different conclusion through sheer ignorance. They will sometimes tell a park owner “you can’t use that lot because it’s been vacant.” The problem here is that the inspector is confused over “grandfathered use” and “grandfathered structure”. The grandfathering in most cities is 99% structures – situations where a house or apartment building is no longer according to code. Under those laws, if the structure is destroyed by fire or wind – or any reason – then it can’t be built back on that lot because it does not meet code. So when they see a single lot vacant in a mobile home park, they immediately think of the “structure” variant of grandfathering – even though it’s not applicable. Since there are maybe three mobile home parks in the whole town, it’s understandable why they are not well versed on grandfathered “uses”.

The case law is on the park owner’s side

For those cities that want to pretend that mobile home parks are not grandfathered, the court system has been brutal. Every case that has made it to the State Supreme Court has been won by the mobile home park owner. In fact, the cities have never won such as case. The most recent example is the State of Mississippi, in which a 138 lot mobile home park owner crushed the City of Richland when they tried to stop them from filling their vacant lots. The Supreme Court of Mississippi was not impressed with the cities arguments or their disregard for the law.

But there are exceptions

But before you think you are bulletproof, be advised that there are some exceptions to this rule. First of all, the park must be legally built in the first place. There is another type of classification beyond legal and legal, non-conforming (grandfathered) and that’s “illegal”. If the park was not built legally in the first place, then it has no grandfathered protection. Secondly, some cities have a “sunset” provision that allows for the removal of grandfathered uses after a certain number of years of operation (not very common but worthy of investigation). Finally, the Fire Marshal has the ability to shoot down any operation that is a threat to safety, and that might include cases where a mobile home park has the homes too close together and might create a fire hazard. In cases of parks with high density, you would be well served to meet the Fire Marshal at the park and walk it during your due diligence period.

If there are any problems, enlist a municipal lawyer

All grandfathering challenges should be resolved before closing. You cannot buy a mobile home park with such a problem non-resolved. The only way to cure these issues is typically by hiring a municipal lawyer and having them work directly with the city attorney. In many cases, you can take a hostile city manager and change them entirely once the city attorney intervenes. The denial of grandfathered rights can lead to the city being sued, and most cities are not interested in that type of risk. To find a municipal lawyer (which is a lawyer that specialized in suing cities), simply call the larger law firms and ask for one. Don’t think, however, that a standard family or real estate lawyer can succeed in this area, as they don’t have enough experience to scare the city into submission, or even submit the right arguments.

Conclusion

Grandfathered rights are an extremely valuable part of any mobile home park purchase. With virtually all cities having banned new construction for the past half-century, it’s safe to say that the majority of parks in the U.S. are of “legal non-conforming grandfathered” status. The good news is that you have much stronger rights than you may be aware, and the court system has your back.

Why It Costs So Much To Move A Mobile Home

mobile home transport

This is a scene from an action movie recently, in which the star was involved in a chase scene that included hanging from a mobile home going down the highway at 55 mph. While this is just a creation of the producer, it’s not far off the constant risk that mobile home movers experience, and is one part of the algorithm that results in such high moving prices. So why does it cost $5,000 to move a mobile home?

Liability

Just like the photo suggests, there are crazy things that can happen when you move a mobile home. Roofs fly off. Walls fly off. Homes break in two. And all that goes on while you’re driving 55 mph surrounded by cars and 18-wheelers. In a world where even a fender bender can result in a claim of whiplash and a personal injury lawyer, you can imagine what happens when you hit a mini-van with a roof. As a result, mobile home movers carry a lot of extremely expensive insurance. But beyond that, they just don’t want to move these type of items without a huge payday, because it worries them to death – and rightfully so.

Difficult work

Moving mobile homes is not a fun job. In fact, not a single part of it is. If you hate trying to drive a giant object within your lane confines when it’s blowing around constantly, then you’ll really hate climbing under a home next to a dead possum and some spiders that would scare Harry Potter. And did I mention that it’s either 100 degrees without air-conditioning, or 20 degrees without a heater? Jobs like these cost more money simply because they’re so unpleasant. And they never get any better, no matter how many years you’ve been on the job. You know the TV show “the world’s dirtiest jobs”? Well, this is one of them.

Supply and demand

Because it’s such a nasty line of work, there are not many mobile home movers on the market. Yet, there is growing demand for their services, especially in light of the fact that mobile home manufacturing in the U.S. is continually up. As everyone knows, the law of supply and demand set the prices, and limited supply and higher demand equals high prices to move mobile homes –it’s not rocket science.

Limited workforce

Despite the high amounts that mobile home movers charge, the number of people wanting to go into that line of work is extremely limited. Some people don’t mind getting dirty, and some people don’t mind taking risks, but most people have little interest in that lifestyle for $15 an hour or so – which is what everyone but the owner makes on the mobile home park moving crew. Typically, the owner is the one that drives the truck and shoulders the risk, but they need a crew to go along. And those crew members are hard to find. So one reason that the number of movers is limited is simply the absence of good labor.

Market elasticity

Back in 1999, there were around 400,000 mobile homes sold and moved – a huge number. Today, that number is less than 100,000. The bottom line is that the number of homes being moved is elastic: it goes up and down. As a result, most movers don’t really want to staff up and grow since they are never sure how many jobs they are going to get.

Conclusion

Moving a mobile home is expensive. But it’s unlikely to ever get any cheaper. It’s nasty and risky work, and may be a bargain even at $5,000 per move.

Texas Makes A Major Announcement Concerning Vacant Lots

Mobile home park owners in Texas just had one of their dreams come true – and their worries concerning grandfathering and using vacant lots permanently ended. Governor Greg Abbott has just signed SB 1248 into law.  It will go into effect September 1, 2017.  

SB 1248, also known as the “Right to Replace Act” is a bill that affirms the manufactured home community owners’ right to replace manufactured homes within their community and preserves the existing lot footprint for the mobile home. This game-changing law strikes dead any city challenge to filling vacant lots or demanding greater setbacks – two violations of the grandfathering laws but a common tactic by city government nevertheless. Under the law, rogue cities in Texas can no longer terrorize park owners when they want to provide more affordable housing units in the community.

Our hat is off to the TMHA for getting this done, and to the Texas legislature and Governor Abbott for taking the right step to preserve highly needed affordable housing in the Lone Star State.

Should The Future Of The Industry Focus On Originality?

mobile home with kids on the roof

When you watch the “tiny house” shows, you can’t help but wonder if the future of our industry should focus more on originality and less on trying to mimic traditional housing types. The popular business book “The Purple Cow” suggests that business success in the modern era is based on being an original. Is that what we should be pushing for?

Should exterior design resemble stick-built or go totally original?

If you look back at the mobile home designs from the early days of the industry, they looked nothing like traditional homes. They had flat roofs and were made of shiny aluminum. Look, for example, at the 1954 Spartan, which is considered the first true mobile home. It looks nothing like the American view of housing at that time, yet was extremely successful. The designs for mobile homes made by Frank Lloyd Wright and Raymond Leowy – two of the top designers in American history – accentuated the unique features of a “trailer” at the expense of the traditional “home” look. So perhaps the jury is in and the decision should be to forget the boring vinyl siding and shingled roof appearance and go in a totally new direction. When the tiny home creators can create a more attractive exterior on a limited budget – using just design skills and fresh thoughts – it might be time for the industry to start copying some of their work and turning high-paid designers on to the effort.

Should we fear the word “park” or embrace it?

Tony Hsieh – the founder of Zappos.com, and Las Vegas mobile home park owner – calls his property “Airstream Park”. Not “Airstream Manufactured Home Community”. Here’s one of the coolest park owners in the U.S. proudly using the word “Park” (I’m sure some industry gurus will be passing out over this). I’ve never felt that “park” is a four-letter word. It was a source of pride in the early days of the industry, as the term “trailer park” meant “upscale, hip people found here” for around three decades. Even Elvis lived in a “trailer park” in two different movies: “It Happened at the World’s Fair” and “Speedway”. Maybe we should all re-think the industry hatred of this word. Every time I pass the “Trailer Park” building in Los Angeles – an office building that has the tenant “Trailer Park” proudly across the top (a Hollywood movie production unit) – I wonder if the term is actually cool and not insulting and if the industry is stupidly bowing down to pressure from folks that have no sense of what’s cool or attractive to consumers today? Is Tony Hsieh mistaken – or does he represent the type of original, hip thinking that this industry needs?

Should we focus on individualism and not sterile rules enforcement?

The first time a resident painted a home in one of our communities a bright pink color, I almost had heart failure. But then it dawned on me that it was a genuine sentiment of their taste, and represented true pride of ownership. And since then, I’ve actually liked it when residents do something different with their home that makes it theirs and reflects their style. It might be a paint color, or landscape or yard art. And I think these unique features give a property character. In too many communities, the owner strives to make everything look identical, sometimes to the point that the property looks like an army barracks. Maybe community owners should instead foster creativity instead?

Should we put forth a larger effort to be unique communities?

The recent Time magazine article “The Home of the Future” talked about mobile home parks being like “gated communities for the less affluent”. This unique amenity is something that money can’t buy and is the collective power of residents taking care of each other and having a community spirit. Since this is one of our product’s greatest strengths, perhaps we need to put more effort into being the catalyst for community spirit. That can mean striving to create spaces for residents to entertain and congregate, and sponsoring activities to help people get together in a positive way. Are we doing enough in this regard?

Conclusion

Mobile home parks are unique. The mobile home is an American original. Maybe our industry needs to go back to being 100% different from the macro housing herd. Instead of trying to conform, maybe we need to strive harder to be different. It’s a topic worthy of further discussion.

Join Us In Minneapolis, MN At The Mobile Home Park Boot Camp On July 14th-16th

If you want to learn how to correctly identify, evaluate, negotiate, perform due diligence, re-negotiate, finance, turn-around and operate mobile home parks, then you should definitely consider attending the Mobile Home Park Investor’s Boot Camp in Minneapolis, MN on July 14th-16th. It’s a three-day immersion weekend on all things mobile home park – and it is 100% Q&A from the minute it starts. It also includes one day in the field walking and analyzing real mobile home parks, using the I-D-E-A-L evaluation system. If you don’t know what that is, then you should come to the Boot Camp. Warren Buffett once said “risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing”. Before the Boot Camp, mobile home park investing was full of risk – after the Boot Camp began there’s no excuse. Come see why the New York Times call it “…the best thing in affordable housing”. As always, the course is taught by Frank Rolfe who, with his partner Dave Reynolds, is the 5th largest owner of mobile home parks in the U.S. with over 25,000 lots in over 30 states. Classes are small enough to allow for continual access and discussion. For more information and to register, Click Here or call us at 855-879-2738.

Why Smart Community Buyers Are Using MJ Vukovich For Financing

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 debt” 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.

How Mobile Home Parks Are Like High-Performance Automobiles

mobile home vs race car

Most cars are built to go 100 mph tops. But high-performance cars are designed to go over 200 mph. In a similar vein, mobile home parks have the ability to create yields far higher than any other real estate sector. But there are other similarities between parks and supercars that are worthy of discussion.

Harder to handle – up to a point

Supercars have some difficult handling features. They are harder to parallel park due to reduced visibility. They often lack power steering. Some require lengthy warm-up periods before you put them in gear. And mobile home parks also require some unique handling on the front end. Often the new purchase requires re-training the tenants on paying rent on time and obeying the rules. You need extra care to make sure that older utility systems are in good working order. There are new laws you have to understand and abide by, like the SAFE Act. But, like a supercar, once you learn what you’re doing, the effort becomes easy, and the performance is spectacular.

Poor due diligence can lead to horrible endings

If you are going to drive a car at 200 mph, you have to understand that a flat tire can lead to disaster. Or forgetting to do an oil change can blow an engine at 8,000 RPMs. The same is true of mobile home parks that you have failed to do proper due diligence on. If you do not conduct good diligence and put the pedal to the metal on most parks, the consequences can be dire.

Requirement to focus on what’s essential at all times

If you are going to drive a supercar, you have to focus on the gauges at all times. Otherwise you may blow the engine. The same is true of mobile home park management. There are basically five dials on your mobile home park dashboard: 1) collections 2) occupancy 3) property condition 4) water & sewer costs and 5) Budget/Actual/Difference. And just like a supercar, you must watch these dials at all times or you risk blowing your investment.

Incredibly profitable if you know what you’re doing

The reason you drive a supercar is the same as owning a mobile home park – you love the exhilaration of high performance. For the supercar driver, that excitement is going fast and a highly-tuned engine’s roar. For the mobile home park owner, it’s creating an amazing asset that produces strong cash flow and incredible return on investment.

Conclusion

Mobile home parks and supercars have a lot in common. It’s not the sexy appearance. But many of the risks and performance traits of exotic automobiles translates well to the mobile home park industry.

Why Mobile Insurance Is The Best Protection At Affordable Prices

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]

A Primer On Trash Collection

mobile home park polycart trash

Every mobile home park must have a trash collection system. But should it be dumpster or polycart? The answer is more complicated than most owners recognize – if done correctly.

Polycart vs. dumpster

First some definitions. A polycart is a trash collection system in which the resident places their garbage in a PVC container on wheels. In some mobile home parks, there are not polycarts but instead simply trash cans that the resident places on the curb on “trash day”. We call this type of trash collection “curbside”. The alternative trash method is called “dumpster”. In those communities, all the trash is brought by the resident to a central collection point and placed in a large steel dumpster. Since trash collection is a pretty low tech business, it’s unlikely that a third type will ever be developed, unless those trash sacks are one day picked up by drones.

Dumpster vs. roads

Another initial observation on trash collection is that nothing tears up your roads more than trash trucks. Those large dumpster trucks weigh 50,000 pounds while your roads were only engineered for 6,000 pound cars. As a result, one of the biggest considerations for trash collection options is the damage that can be caused to the road system in the mobile home park.

The least expensive option

When comparing dumpsters vs. curbside pick-up, you will find that their cost is roughly equivalent. However, the real expense consideration is in the roads. As a result, the least expensive form of trash collection is the method that minimizes those giant trash trucks entering your property – and that’s placing a dumpster at the entrance, with a screening fence. That way the truck never even enters your mobile home park and the roads are preserved.

The more expensive options

Not every property allows for a dumpster at the entrance. There may be no room, or overhead wires, or the ability for the truck to get in and back out. In that case, the next best alternative is to go with curbside service, as the truck weighs roughly half that of the dumpster truck (about 25,000 pounds vs. about 50,000 pounds). The final – and worst – option is to put dumpsters at the back of the property. That set up will result in complete destruction of your roads on a continual basis. You can immediately identify operators who have dumpsters at the back of their park as the giant trucks will have pulverized the roads in a manner that mere cars can never accomplish.

Using a professional to negotiate

Another tip on trash collection is to use a professional consulting firm to renegotiate your trash bills to the lowest level. We use Refuse Specialists for our portfolio, and they have obtained thousands of dollars in savings for us. They do this by using group buying discounts and having a much more defined view of what trash should cost in a competitive marketplace. Since they charge only a percentage of what they save, it’s a no risk proposition for us.

Conclusion

Trash collection is a very serious business in every mobile home park. The decision you make can result in thousands of dollars difference in road repairs. Explore your options and make the appropriate choices.

In 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 – And Tricks – To “Staging” Park-Owned Homes

staging a mobile home

We’ve all been in a fully furnished model home in a subdivision. It’s an important part of every single-family home sales center. But you don’t see it very frequently in the mobile home park sector – and that’s probably a missed opportunity. So what are the benefits and tricks to “staging” park owned mobile homes?

Lessons from the Louisville Home Show

Have you been to the Louisville Home Show or the one in Tunica? Did you notice how impressive particularly the Clayton homes were? I’ve shown photos of those homes to a large number of people, and they are blown away by how great our product looks when professionally staged. When you look at the before and after photos of those staged homes when they’re empty, you will be amazed at how much larger and more inviting the addition of furniture, art and household items makes the home appear.

When it makes sense to stage a home

So if we all agree that a staged home looks better than an empty one, the question would then be which circumstances would benefit from having the home staged. We have found that staging a home makes sense when a couple different situations occur:

Regional hospitals

Just like colleges and universities, hospitals are a magnet for future growth. As the nation’s population ages, the demand for healthcare is always increasing, and this is one industry that has zero chance of workforce reduction going forward. There are giant metro populations in healthcare hubs, such as St. Louis and Houston, and it has been an historical feature of virtually every large city in the U.S.

  • When you have a number of similar homes and can create a staged “show home” to sell from, that will give you a higher closing ratio (exactly how single-family subdivisions use staging).
  • You have a home that is unusually small and most customers cannot visualize how they can fit furniture into it, or live within that space limitation.

Essentially, one attack is offensive in nature and one is defensive.

The options

If you have a situation that meets these criteria, there are several different options on how to stage the home, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Do it like the folks at the home show
    You can hire the same interior designers to do the staging that you saw at the Louisville or Tunica shows. They do a fantastic job. But it can tend to be expensive. Just the living room will cost you around $5,000. But if you have a bunch of homes, it may well be worth it.
  • Do it yourself using local stores
    Another option is to summon your inner Martha Stewart and be your own staging designer. A quick trip to most any superstore or furniture store (yes, even Walmart) will yield enough furniture to stage the home at a fraction of the price. In these situations, you typically buy the following: 1) a sofa 2) a coffee table 3) a chair 4) two side tables 5) two lamps 6) a large mirror to hang over the sofa. A more complete staging would include a king-size bed, two more end tables and two more lamps. You can also buy fake big screen TVs on line that are incredibly realistic and 100% disposable if they get stolen.
  • Do it yourself using Goodwill or Salvation Army
    If the above options are still too expensive, consider using Goodwill or Salvation Army as your supply center. You can find sofas for $50 and everything else for $25 or so. The biggest advantage of going this route is when you are trying to stage that 1960 home that has tiny, tiny rooms and you’re trying to prove that a human can live in it comfortably. Your focus then is on really small furniture – the kind they haven’t manufactured in the last decade or so. Try finding a sofa that is only 3’ deep in today’s over-stuffed giant furniture world.

Give residents the option of keeping what you’ve done

We give residents the option of buying the home with the furniture included for a modest price addition (typically what we have in it). You can always go out and buy more, and you might even want to improve the design on the next one. A happy customer is a happy customer, and that goodwill is worth something.

Conclusion

In many cases, staging vacant homes can be a positive step to getting it sold or rented. It’s not difficult or necessarily expensive, and it can be worth every penny in the right applications.

About The CASH Program From 21st Mortgage

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.

For more information on this program, call Candice Doolan at 800-955-0021 ext 1735 or email her at [email protected].

The Unusual Things We’ve Seen Mobile Homes Covered In

rock mobile home siding

You typically expect to see mobile homes sided in either metal, vinyl, or T-111. But that’s not always what you find when driving a mobile home park you are looking at buying. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen it all (at least as far as we know) and here are some of the highlights.

Rock

Well, not exactly rock. Fake rock, as shown in this photo. However, the folks in the park probably don’t always know any better, and believe the home is solid stone. One concern is that the fake rock is pretty heavy, so it definitely probably exceeds the HUD weight limit. It also may double as an unofficial rock-climbing wall for kids.

Stucco

This actually turns out pretty well. Typically what’s happened is that the resident works in construction and decides they can do a better job of re-siding their home at a fraction of the cost using some stucco from the job site. When done properly, it makes for a really good idea.

Brick

To make this even more interesting, these homes typically are brick from ground up – so the weight of the brick is transferred to the ground. It eliminates the need for skirting, and actually makes the mobile home look like a stick-built one (because it sort of is when they’re done). The benefit here is that there’s no chance the home is ever going to be moved. You also don’t have to worry about your weedeater knocking a hole in it.

Logs

OK, this one looks really good when done professionally. Of course, you can’t use real logs or the walls would collapse. But it gives the “log cabin” look at a fraction of the price. You see a lot of RV Park Models with this covering – and they are very expensive.

Barnwood

This can also turn out really good if professionally done. Recycled wood gives a “Architectural Digest” look to some homes, and the muted colors really fit in well with the environment. Again, it’s not what HUD intended – and I would not recommend any park owner do it – but if it’s on a privately-owned home then what the heck.

Conclusion

Many residents have taken individuality to the next level when it comes to their home exteriors. While these unique concepts may not be in keeping with HUD’s standards, they are often aesthetically pleasing and architecturally interesting.

The Inexpensive Replacement For Paved Parking Pads

mobile home park parking pads

Every mobile home park needs a parking plan – either parking pads or on-street parking. But some parks are lacking this necessary infrastructure. In that case, many park owners are faced with building parking pads on the property, which can easily cost $2,000 per unit. So how can you do it the cheap way?

Crushed granite or a non-dusty option

We all acknowledge that grass and dirt is not a satisfactory parking surface. The best would be concrete or asphalt. But the in-between option would be crushed granite or some type of stone that gives you a semi-paved appearance. But beware of those type of rock surfaces that create an extreme level of dust, or that gives the appearance of being dirt. Shoot for a grey stone or something that best resembles asphalt, if possible.

Something to hold it in position – in a straight line

If you throw a bunch of dirt down on the ground, it looks terrible. So how can you create those straight lines that make concrete and paved pads so pleasing to the eye? The answer is that you have to contain this rock in straight lines. There are basically two normal options here: 1) railroad ties or 2) landscaping timbers. You can buy landscaping timbers at Lowe’s and Home Depot for $3 per unit. Assuming that the standard parking pad is 10’ x 20’, that means you need 8 timbers (they are about 5’ each). That’s a total cost of around $24. You will need to drill holes in these timbers and anchor them with nailing a spike into the ground.

Price comparison

You can build a two-car parking pad – using this trick – for about $400 in materials. You can probably find someone who would assembly-line installation of the timbers for $100 per unit. At $500 per pad, that’s 75% less than the alternatives, and on a 100 space park that would save you $150,000. With appraisers and banks not being very happy with parks lacking sufficient infrastructure, that’s a bargain that easily pays for itself.

Conclusion

If you need to build parking pads, and are considering your options, consider this less expensive alternative. It might save you small fortune.

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.

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.

Member Name: Steve BaikPhone: 206-326-8764
I am looking for a park with City Water & Sewer. Septic will also be considered. I am willing to pay commission if you can bring me an off market deal. 30+ lot preferred. Price between $500,000 - $2.5 million. Please call me at 206-326-8764 or email me at [email protected]
Member Name: Charles BracewellPhone: 202-491-7696
I am looking for mobile home parks to buy with 30+ lots in great locations. Target deal size is $1-$4 million. Please give me a call at 202-491-7696 or email at [email protected] Thank you.
Member Name: Trent FrantaPhone: 614-309-5944
I HAVE CONTRACT WILLING TO ASIGN. 60 SPACE PARK IN LAPORTE INDIANA. $300,000 WILL BUY THIS PARK, MUST BE CASH DEAL. WELL, SEPTIC PAVED ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE SEEM TO BE I GOOD SHAPE. OWNER CLAIMS TO HAVE PAID TAP FEE FOR CITY WATER AND SEWER NEARBY. THIS WILL REQUIRE LIFT STATION FOR SEWER. APPROXIMATELY 32 HOME ON SITE IN MANY STAGES OF REPAIR. ABOUT 10 HOMES PAYING RENT AT THIS TIME. THIS PARK HAS TONS OFF UPSIDE! ONE STICK FRAME HOME IN NEED OF REPAIR. FLORIDA OWNER 85 YEARS OLD HAS NOT HAD GOOD MANAGEMENT LOTS OF THE MAGIOR CLEANUP HAS BEEN DONE AND READY FOR HOMES. LESS THAN HALF OF 15 PLUS ACRES HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED. LOTS OF FRONTAGE ON TWO MAGIOR ROADS. CONTACT ME FOR MORE DETAILS:
Member Name: Lori GoodPhone: 619-933-1828
Distressed North Carolina park approximately 30 minutes north of Fayetteville. 28 spaces with 16 park owned homes that are in rough condition (rated F for rehab), 6 tenant owned homes, 6 vacant lots. Current rents are below market at $160. This park can be re-developed and bring in up to 125 spaces. The front 20 acres are all pine and owner would consider offers on this. Although it provides a nice cover area to maintain that country setting community feel. $234,000.00. Email: [email protected]
Member Name: Greg GoodmanPhone: 702-751-6891
Looking for a 30-65 unit MHP on City water and sewer, paved streets preferred. I am based in Las Vegas, but Im looking in the Midwest states IL, IN, MO, OK, TX, AK. Target Deal size 500,000k - 1mil. Partners Welcome. . . willing to pay referral fee for a good deal. Please contact me Greg 702-751-6891 [email protected]
Member Name: Michael HinshawPhone: 949-202-9806
Dear Mobile Home Park (MHP) Owners and Brokers, Donna and I are interested in purchasing a MHP and can act quickly to close the deal. We are principals and will be happy to pay referral fees or commissions when we close on your park. Our preferred park criteria include up to @$2M purchase price, 50 – 150 spaces, paved roads, city water, city sewer and a sound economy. With that said we do realize that few parks are perfect and we are willing to concede certain criteria for the right opportunity. We have quick access to additional equity and can purchase a park up to @$4M if the seller is willing to participate in a 1031 exchange. Please feel free to visit our webpage at http://gallerymhp.com for more on our background and objectives. If you do have a newly available MHP to sell we would like to discuss purchasing it with you. I can be reached at 949 202-9806 or [email protected] Sincerely, Mike Hinshaw
Member Name: Steven IltzPhone: 503-439-9069
Looking for a MHP deal size of about $3 to $4 million , with about $1.9 million of debt or larger. Have about $1.0 million cash as part of a 1031 exchange. The clock is ticking for an exchange to identify by January 2018. Looking for Mobile Home Park to own or joint venture with others. I have cash to invest. My preference is to own a park with city water/ sewer, paved streets. If your looking for someone for your team for Joint Venture that can add value and time along with cash, give me a call (503) 439-9069 Portland, OR. Former MHP owner, that turned a average MHP to a great MHP that was 100% owner occupied park. I can help to turn a park from good to great.
Member Name: Shoaib KhawajaPhone: 312-568-6493
Looking for equity partners who would like to purchase MHP's in the midwest. (MI, IL, OH, WI, IN). I have cash to invest.
Member Name: Megan KrekorianPhone: 530-830-2803
We have a park under contract that our credit partner just fell out due to personal reasons. We are looking for credit partner on a park. Here's your chance to get vested in a park without cash.
Member Name: Brian LamPhone: 415-816-0514
Looking to meet other investors in the space which may result in future partnering as deals arise. Our target is $1 - $3M parks in the Midwest on city utilities. We're interested in meeting like minded people who can deploy /partner at $100 - $500k increments.
Member Name: A. Baker MontgomeryPhone: 469-551-3851
My group is looking to buy a park up to 5M. Depending on the value of the deal, we will pay between 2%- 10% of the price of the park to an assignor. Please feel free to reach out anytime. Thanks
Member Name: Andy NissenPhone: 614-456-5391
- Capital partner wanted to buy parks Will provide Capital Partners with Tax benefits or Cashflow or Equity - depending on your needs / desires. Let us know how we can work with you to accomplish your goals through MHP investing. We currently own two parks. Have 4 years experience owning and operating MHP's. Real Estate investing since 2004. Experience as a general contractor. Accredited investors ourselves. Currently seeking Parks in and around the Carolinas and Ohio but will gladly go further if the deal is right. Call or e-mail any time. Will gladly provide resume, references and so on. Thanks, Andy
Member Name: Patrick O'HarenPhone: 817-952-9120
Dear owners and brokers, We are interested in purchasing mobile home parks with the following criteria: * Targeting WI, MI, MN, IN, OH and Texas, and opportunistically elsewhere. * $1.5-$2.5M range, could be somewhat smaller in the right area or right park * Near larger employment centers * We can work with septic and wells, park-owned homes and 30-40% vacancy We have a $3M equity fund for mobile home parks (http://genuitycap.com) and are happy to pay referral fees or commissions when we close on your park.
Member Name: Cindy Tucker-DavisPhone: 970-987-7523
I am interested in a manager position. I will consider any location, but Colorado, Arizona, California (Western States) would be preferred. I currently live in Colorado, but will relocate to your park. I have 25 years of Property Management experience. Several years in private home property management in Aspen, CO. The last 14 years I have worked at two Housing Authorities as the Property Management Supervisor. Affordable, government housing is where I have the most experience. I am ready to move on to something new. I am also interested in purchasing a mobile home park and I am working on that as well. Salary requirements will depend upon the size of the park, the number of staff members to be supervised, whether housing is provided or not, and any benefits that may be offered. If you are interested in speaking to me about a possible position, please feel free to email me at your convenience. I check my personal emails frequently and will get back to you as quickly as possible. Thank you!
Member Name: Bob and Sue Vander PylPhone: 201-956-2806
Looking to purchase Mobile Home Parks in the Northeast, 50 plus lots, mostly tenant owned, prefer public utilities, paved roads, have funds available to move quickly. Call Sue at 201-956-2806 or email [email protected] anytime.
Member Name: Ryan WannerPhone: 615-481-5395
I currently have 2 properties under contract. 1 in Hutchinson MN MSA and 1 in South Bend IN. We are looking to either assign the purchase agreements or preferably looking for equity partners to help complete our purchase. Thanks.
Member Name: Val WhalingPhone: 413-822-6960
To Brokers and Owners: We are interested in purchasing several MHParks and are set up to close the deal quickly. We are principals and will be happy to pay referral fees or commissions when we close on your park. Our ideal park criteria include up to @$2M purchase price, 50 – 150 spaces, paved roads, city water, city sewer and a solid economy. However, we do understand that few parks are perfect and we are willing to concede certain criteria for the right opportunity. Please feel free to call anytime: Val Whaling [email protected] 413-822-6960
Member Name: Ed WillisPhone: 907-460-6646
If anyone is looking to start a direct mail campaign to find deals I can help you. If you're not wanting to do the owner address research yourself I could provide you with lists for MO, KS, NE, IA, & ID (1000 owner addresses thus far). If you've got another state you want to mail I could help with that too. I can help you design your postcard or do it for you. I also know of deals I'm unable to do that I can refer. Let me know if you're interested, Ed Willis 907-460-6646
Member Name: Shelly ZickefoosePhone: 559-907-8080
Looking for a mobile home within 500 miles of AZ. Max size 18x70. Min age 2003. Max price $12,000. Call (559) 907-8080. Thank you,
Member Name: Brian ZobergPhone: 305-301-2443
I have several years experience of buying, owning, operating and selling (for excellent returns) mobile home parks. I am looking to partner with other owners, investors who are interested in buying their first park or expanding their portfolio. I am also offering to pay a referral fee for a mobile home park on any deals. Please contact me if you are interested. Criteria: minimum 25 occupied lots, city sewer or septic, city water or well water.

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