Doing business in Illinois


#1

Looking at a park in Illinois, but I’m hearing that the state can be hard to do business in. Does anyone have experience in this state? How are taxes, eviction laws, and regulations surrounding placement of homes?


#2

Here’s a few notes:

  1. Illinois varies widely. Much of rural Illinois is conservative and enjoys low liability insurance rates. Cook County/Chicago on the other hand is one of the most expensive liability areas (most plaintiff friendly juries) in the country;
  2. Overall labor laws and rules are tight statewide in IL. That means when you hire someone to watch your park as a greeter or to mow your grass regularly, you should probably make them an employee and carry Workers Compensation insurance in order to prevent a costly error of calling a worker a contractor when they are arguably an employee;
  3. Rural Illinois can be a good place to own parks, but make sure that the cost of a single family home in the area isn’t so cheap that it would make it hard to attract tenants to your park.

Kurt


#3

Be sure to understand how the taxes are calculated and if there is an increase planned. Have the current park owner sign an allocation of value that states the land and improvements value and the goodwill value.


#4

The community is in Sangamon County if that helps add to the conversation


#5

Call the county treasurer and assessor and learn all you can about how they calculate their values of properties and the formula they use to come up with their taxes.


#6

Agreed about Taxes. I was looking at a park in Rockford that seemed to have a cumulative 11% property tax rate when all the school initiatives and local taxes were added in there. Best of luck! Will


#7

I would suggest talking to Frank Bowman, the Executive Director of the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association. (Disclosure: I am the former Chairman and still on the Board of Directors) Kurt is correct, everything is different depending on what county it is in.

For what it is worth, I have owned 4 small communities in Sangamon County and almost had another one that Frank and Dave bought before I knew it was on the market. I would have no trouble buying there if I were younger and not trying to limit my activity to consulting.


#8

Many counties like Madison and Cook make it very hard on Park owners. Rural counties are easier to work with. I own a 30 pad park in Macoupin county and they are easy to work with. I am possibly moving out of state if your interested in a 30 pad park in Staunton. Its in a residential area close to interstate and Edwardsville. I own 15 Trailers that I have rented. I have 3 open pads. Low taxes. PM if interested


#9

Kurt’s comment about checking costs of competitive housing solutions is very important. There are areas of Illinois where owning a community is a real struggle unless you just want to own the local slum.

Skip western Illinois and South of Interstate 72 unless you want low end communities, with the obvious exception of the Metro East area on the Illinois side of St. Louis. You can make real money in Metro, but the regulators and the liberal judges will make it less fun.

Sangamon County is a great area to own communities because home ownership is high enough to make owning a manufactured home sited in a land lease community a bargain at a number of price points. Local regulators are also very easy to deal with.

The counties to the South and West of Cook County have been gold mines for many years, especially for larger operators.

Champaign County is also a gold mine area but again you will be dealing with anti business politicians and judges. The Bloomington-Normal area is also a very good area, but local regulators are tough. Peoria County also offers opportunity with less government regulation and better judges.


#10

Are you still interested in selling?


#11

My 2 cents are I will never own a property in a state that has massive financial troubles. BECAUSE when the bills can’t be paid guess who they go after… Yes the guy with $$ who else.

Then people start leaving for other better run states, and the demographics don’t look good. Look what happened in MI.