Indiana - Good/bad?


#1

Hello All,

It’s been a while. I’m looking at a potential park in Indiana. Can anyone with experience in IN tell me how doing business in that state is? I know that Ohio is a state that I wouldn’t want to do business in (same with NY).

Thanks in advance.

Take care,


#2

I have a park in Lafayette, and another one under contract just east of there. I think like most of the US, Indiana has some great pockets, and some not so great ones. I have found the state easy to deal with.


#3

Thanks for the response Jim. It’s helpful people like you that make this forum so valuable.

Do you find the laws landlord or tenant friendly? Is it easy to evict? Do you know of any unusual or challenging state laws that affect your parks (foundations, etc.)?

Just trying to paint myself a nice picture of the business environment in that state.

Thanks in advance.


#4

I’ve posted on this topic a number of times. I live in Columbus and own parks near Ft. Wayne and Muncie. I have a very small park in Ohio, likely the last one I will own in that state. Ohio is extremely anti-business, Indiana much less so. Moving a home in Indiana involves far less hassle and cost than in Ohio. Improving a park in Indiana is much easier than Ohio, particularly when it comes to “grandfathered” issues, such as moving out the old homes. Overall, the state regulators are much, much easier to do with, especially as related to mobile homes. Some of them are even helpful, few of them openly atagonistic, as has been my experience with Ohio, especially with state and local boards of health. Judges will vary based on location. I imagine that those in places like Gary and some parts of Indy are not very friendly (i.e. - liberal Democrats). Our experiences in more rural areas (including Muncie and outskirts of Ft. Wayne) has been good - no nonsense, reasonably fast, not very interested in tenant excuses. The Indiana manufactured homes association is very helpful and generally effective at lobbying. Two downsides for Indiana, that do not manage to make nearly as unfriendly as Ohio: High property taxes on commercial property and high water bills, as towns use that utility to generate revenue. Makes submetering that much more important.

Post Edited (04-09-09 03:44)


#5

Thanks John. I have been paying attention to your posts (that’s why I know that Ohio is a state I don’t want to do business in). I posted this to see if conditions had changed at all and if it was still the case.

I appreciate your response.

Thanks,


#6

Besides having outrageous property, income, cigarette, beer, gas, utility, cell phone, water bottle, etc TAXES. Declining population, steadily declining economy, a state government that makes the Obama administration look like moderates, the parasitic drag of NYC, “character building” weather, and a general overall anti business attitude? If you buy a park in NY and plan on changing the use of the land you need to give the tenants 60 MONTHS notice.

On the light grey side, it’s not too bad getting a MH installed in most areas (in a park) Turnover is low, there are some real deals out there.

The state has not yet doubled the property tax and imposed rent control on MH parks like they threatened to because they were “cash cows” and taking advantage of the tenants.

I guess I live here because I don’t know any better

Don


#7

Rick,

Don


#8

I own a part of a park in Remington, IN. As previously stated the water/sewer bills are very high. The people are great and overall the state laws are not anti park or anti business. There are several home manufacturers nearby. The weather can be hard on the homes (we have had a flood, thunderstorm damage and ice damage ) but we muddle through. Any questions or if I can help call me at 219 743-0915


#9

Don…I got a good laugh. Thanks!

Karl, good points. But I guess the questions is, all things being equal, would I be better off doing business in Indiana or not? I already know that several southern states like Oklahoma and Texas are pretty landlord friendly (I live in California, so don’t even get me started on trying to do business in the Peoples Republic of California!).

I guess it would be a good exerciese for myself to think through what I would consider to be a “friendly” state to do business in:

  1. State laws allow for landlord friendly enforcement of tenant obligations (as opposed to the burden being on the landlord such as CA and other so-called “progressive” state governments

  2. Local laws do not interfere with fair business practices for Mobile Home Park owners

  3. Used inventory is available and reasonably priced (or competitively priced)

  4. Taxes are equitable and not unreasonably increased

  5. NO RENT CONTROL

I’m sure there are several other points, but for me I think those are the core points.

TMH - thank you. I probably will take you up on your kind offer and give you a call.


#10

Trust your instints on Ohio. The biggest question I have for anyone wanting to do business here in Ohio is WHY?

I came from CA and I do not find the regulations here in the least bit onerous. I had far worse problems to deal with in CA and you certainly don’t need any reminding of them. The regs here actually work to my advantage as the weaker parks are closing up or not bringing their empty lots up to code yet I am. I’ll be around long after much of my competition is gone.

The problem with this state is that it made the wrong bet on the future and is now paying the price for that losing bet. There’s not much of a future here so what is there to attract or hold people that can create a vibrant economy? The good ones leave and the losers stay. Is this an area in which you want to do buiness?

Having said the above, it is true that you can make money here. It’s tough but certainly not impossible. My park is turning around after 2 extremely tough years and I can see some profitability in the future.

I had thought seriously about buying in IN and I kick myself regularly for not doing so. Oh, well, there is always the future.

Rolf

Wheat Hill


#11

I have parks in 3 different counties in Indiana. I see quite of bit of info has already be stated. I would add that the rules are also going to differ county to county.

Steuben county in particular is more difficult to work in. They have a long permit process when it comes to moving homes into the county. Before the home is allowed into the county they actually require that a government inspector goes and does a inspection of the home wherever it is located. If the inspector finds something on the home that needs fixed he will require it be fixed BEFORE the home is moved into the county. Last time I had an appointment with the inspector he showed up almost 3 hours late! I had little choice but to wait for him. After all he works for the government and its their job to get their noses into my business at their leisure. Oh yea and I also have to pay the inspector so much per mile to come out and inspect. I wonder why he did not have to pay me for my 3 hours of waiting on him?

Then when the home is setup they have 2 more inspections to make sure the home is set to THEIR standards. If the steps at both doors do not have a 3 foot by 3 foot landing the occupancy permit is denied. The steps have to be fully enclosed on the sides and between each step. The only steps that I have found that fit their requirements set me back over $400 a piece. After all if a fire hits that home and the landing on the steps is 5ft by 2ft 11 inches the people inside would most likely not make it out.

Did I mention that I have to go to nearly every government agency to make give them money for my permit? I actually have to go to the sewer distorict and give them $30 to sign a piece of paper saying its ok to put a home on the lot…IN MY MOBILE HOME PARK!!! I have never been denied because after all it is a MOBILE HOME PARK. However I have to drive to the sewer district building and write them a check.

When I buy a home to put into Stueben county I plan on spending around $1,000 more on the home than if I were to put the home in another park.

Don’t group Indiana as a whole. Each county can be different.

Briton (IN)


#12

Rolf,

The Akron/Youngstown area has been dying a slow death for years now, and you’ve bought a turn around park right in the middle of it. I’ll bet its a struggle. The good folks you mentioned who are moving away are probably just relocating to better parts of Ohio.

Several years ago an investor friend from out of state was looking at a project park for sale on Loopnet near Youngstown. I told them that Ohioans consider that area to be the worst part of the state. Do you agree, John Hyre? That investor passed on that park, because the area was so depressed. Its too bad you didn’t know any of us back then to ask the question before you moved here. I’m glad to hear you’re making a go of it, though, and that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Karl Kleiner


#13

Thanks for the heads-up Briton. Good information to keep in mind.

Again, thanks to all the respondents on the fruitful discussions. Very insightful.


#14

I grew up in Youngstown, to the extent I grew up at all. Here are a few ways to describe it:

  1. Youngstown is like the Sopranos minus the nice restaurants;

  2. Youngstown is like Gary, IN or Flint, MI, minus the class;

  3. Youngstown’s remaining job is to make Toledo look good.

Youngstown has been in recession since 1976. It is profoundly corrupt and the mentality of the locals is sadly 100% union, with all that implies. It will not recover in my, my childrens’ or my grandchildrens’ lifetimes. In my quite biased opinion, it is the poster child for what is wrong with places like Ohio and Michigan.

BTW, Karl, your comments in re Ohio are well taken. First, there are people making money in Ohio, including me, albeit outside of the MH industry. Second, personality is relevant. I am personally very intolerant of bureaucracy (in part b/c of very conservative political views) and do not gladly suffer fools in general. As such, my threshold for inspections, fees taxes, people who waste my time and red tape in general is not very high. I keep threatening to move to a lower tax jurisdiction (pretty much anywhere except CA, NY and one or two other states), but family and low cost of living have kept me in Columbus, moaning, groaning and whining aside. Still…I have found Indiana much easier to deal with on MH’s and view the commute as an acceptable inconvenience. Pick your poison, I suppose…adapt to the local legal structure or seek a better one. The latter is why we have 50 states and is my preferred option. One of the first rules of asset protection: Do not do business in jurisdictions that hate investors. Parts of Ohio certainly qualify, judging from the taxes, fees, statements of politicians and rulings of local courts.

With the exception of crisp weather and excellent Italian/Eastern European food, I do not care for Youngstown at all. On the food at least, I think we can agree.


#15

I agree. First, the Steuben county rules are not that different from Ohio, with the difference that Ohio is a more uniform. Second, I view differing rules from county to county as a plus, b/c it allows me to pick more favorable jurisdictions. Overall, I like Delaware and Wabash counties. I have had some issues with the tiny city of Gaston, pretty much the Town Council trying to show me what’s what. We’ll see how it goes for them. Given my personal proclivities, I tend to avoid places like Steuben county, unless dealing with the hassle is WELL worth my time. Clearly, in your case, it would appear to be worth it.