Our experience has been that those old homes will attract quite a bit of interest. Everyone loves a deal and most will have good intentions of buying a cheap home and then fixing it up themselves. But honestly, I’ve never seen it happen. The “handyman specials” just sit there, looking exactly how they did when you sold it.
Additionally, we get flooded with inquiries about the “cheap trailer I heard ya got.” When people call, asking if you will “rent-to-own” the $2,000 home, it is a struggle to keep yourself from just hanging up on them. However, every market is different so perhaps you will have a different experience then us.
The other question to ask yourself is, “how much money do I need to put into the home to attract the tenant base that I’m looking for?” My opinion is that there are quite a few ancillary benefits of fixing up that home. When tenants see that you have painted that old home, installed new skirting, added some landscaping and stained the porch, they will start doing some of those things to their home. By spending some money on the homes you own, the park, the tenants and the owner all benefit exponentially.
The reaction you see from your other tenants is similar to the reaction your own neighbors will have when they see improvements being made in the sub-division they live in. For example, one of my neighbors installed a pool last year. Since then, 3 more neighbors installed pools and two more told me they have submitted orders for next spring. Just because your tenants live in a mobile home park does not mean that they don’t want what their neighbors have.
Again, every market is different and setting a reasonable budget for mobile home repairs can be challenging. Plus, finding reliable and skilled people to perform those repairs is probably the bigger challenge. But, each owner has to determine what their long-term goals are for their communities.
Our goals are to attract quality residents who pay their rent on time, don’t cause trouble, follow the rules and are good neighbors to the other tenants. So for us, fixing up the homes is a must.