I had the same issue and having done both, I would go with new homes only. I rehabbed 2 older homes (1987 & 1989) and spent $11k & $22k respectively including purchase, setup, and repairs. One needs a new roof, and just found out the other needs a new furnace. The more work I did the more problems we found and more money was put into them since I won’t sell an inferior product while I’m trying to attract a better class of tenant.
Long story short I got my dealer license which was very quick and easy to do in Maine. I needed a sponsor and an hour long online class (PowerPoint and test) and some paperwork. Signed up with 21st Mortgage CASH program and got 3 new homes brought in and set up. The only out of pocket was for the set up which totaled about $23k for all 3 homes combined. They reimbursed it all and now I’ve got some new homes for sale and there was no guessing on costs (invoice, transport, and setup). As of yesterday I have one new one and one used one sold. The new one sold at a small profit and the used one sold at a huge loss since I had to put more money into it than it was worth. The 21st Mortgage program was the best way for me to fill 7 lots and provided the least headaches and basically no out of pocket costs. I’m not making a huge profit on the sales but that’s not the goal, I’m looking for a full park and lot rents. So far I’m very happy with this route I’ve taken and I am attracting better buyers who want newer and nicer homes.
No matter what, I’d always choose the closest manufacturing plant possible because the lower the transport costs are, the more competitive you can be. It really makes a big difference.