Make an offer politely

Does anyone have a polite way of making an initial offer for a park that is overpriced? Looking at a park that is overpriced and want to make a offer that is much lower than asking price. Should i let them know bank wont loan that much for such park, or tell them mobile home rents are not to be capped? Just looking for a script to make an offer, and be as polite and professional as possible.

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While it didn’t work, the one way I tried was to start with the math on the offer. e.g. Here is the revenue, expenses, one time costs to get things up to speed, get them to agree on those items and hence here is my offer. Rather than start with yeah you want a million, I’m offering 250k.

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Did it work for you?

I didn’t get to purchase the park, it is still for sale. It did take the sting out of the offer so the seller wasn’t mad, just said no. I think it was a better approach then just saying x is my offer.

Sometimes you can learn a lot by asking the right questions. I have had success finding out why a seller overpriced a property by simply and humbly asking him how he arrived at that price. Their answer will often guide you in which direction to go.

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Opfats-
I have not made an offer on a MH park yet. But have many years experience as a commercial broker. I think you handled the offer well. So many times when the asking price is unreasonable it is because the seller has no idea what is ‘realistic’. And his broker maybe inexperienced or just looking to ad a listing to his/her belt. Persistence is the key. You don’t need to be a hound but touch base with the seller say every 3 mos or so. Let seller know you still have an interest & are running numbers again but can’t get them to work. You could also offer an option to purchase. And/or ask for a first right of refusal; this will give you a last chance to purchase if seller gets a contract.

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This is a business transaction, not a social situation. Don’t be rude (I know you won’t based on your question) but there’s no need to pussyfoot. And there’s no need to justify your offer.

Understand that many “sellers” aren’t. They have no intention of selling; they’re often just testing the market. They ask a price so outlandish that they won’t have to sell because no sane buyer will offer anywhere close. If there’s a broker I’d feel him or her out on whether this seller is motivated at all.

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Travis…there are many variables in your question and you are looking to buy at a time when it is a sellers market which makes your position even more challenging. Having spent many years analyzing deals and offering what “I think” the deal is worth was like beating my head against the wall. As Frank and Dave would say, the FIRST thing you need to do is lock up the deal by getting it into a contract. There is a psychological mindset that changes when a seller has their property under contract. Now, it is your time to do due diligence. Due diligence is identifying everything about the property that was NOT disclosed prior to it going under contract.

When you are prepared to present your counter-offer (JUST prior to your due-diligence period ending date), you lay out a very detailed explanation about how all these other items you have found that were not disclosed are going to cost you X number of dollars to fix. The most obvious are broken/damaged sewer pipes, the books not being accurate, inaccurate occupancy, adversarial City/County that is going to make your life miserable for in-fill - basically anything and everything you can find, and while the seller(s) may not have disclosed these items, they WILL most likely be aware of them.

In your counter-offer discounting for the additional non-disclosed action items , you need to also include a line-item separating the lot rents from the home rent. We CAP the lot rent and then offer to purchase the POH’s for a fair value. We have a rule-of-thumb which is 90’s and newer with peaked/lapped good condition $12k for a single/$20k for a double. If you are in a community where the majority of homes are less than ten (10) years old, this “rule-of-thumb” will be more challenging and this whole explanation may not apply because it is not a value-add opportunity. We do not include the monthly home rent in the CAP. HOWEVER, in the Southeast, it is very common to include a value for both lot/home rent, and financing does exist in the SE for this type of investment opportunity.

Additionally, you should find a way subtly (and politely) make the seller aware of the fact that because you have now published your findings to them, they are legally required to disclose your findings to any future potential buyers. A private seller may scoff at that, but a broker will understand that (if they are ethical) and can help push the sale along by letting the seller know, “Hey, their right, we have to disclose this to any future buyer if you do not go with them.” Getting back to the “physiological” component, you are now 30-45 days in and the seller wants to sell and does not want to go through this again so they are more amiable to negotiate. Hope this gives you another perspective…

It is not an easy game to play, because if it was everyone would own a community. Good Luck!

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This is definitely not a strategy I would endorse. This arena is small. Re-traders will learn this the hard way quickly. If you find something that comes up during due diligence, that’s understandable. But using this strategy as a biz model is a sure way to get blacklisted.

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Joel…You are correct if you are dealing with institutional properties. I would imagine that 80% of the individuals that refer to this forum are newer and (like I did back in 2006), would like a property with over 100 units, city water/sewer, 80% occupancy, rents under market that could be purchased at a 10 CAP, preferably for under $1M, but maybe up to $1.5M to $2Mthat with seller financing or purchased under contract at a premium with no money down. Unfortunately, as you know, these opportunities are unicorns. If these unicorns did pop up they would immediately be scooped up through pocket listings by the remaining 20% of qualified investors who can pay cash for these deals, close in 30 days and most likely refinance on the back end.

I am just trying to keep it real by targeting my response to the question being asked which sounds like a value-add opportunity - not stabilized or institutional. ALL my properties in multiple states are value-add which is what I can afford and I use sweat-equity to bring these under-managed, under-maintained properties whose owners have not invested a dime in them (sometimes more than a decade) back to life. Sellers see the news about having these “Cash Cows,” and how great this investment space is and they think they are sitting on a gold mine and list their properties for unrealistic values. However, they don’t have accurate books (if at all), no leases, more water going in the ground than into the homes, etc. If you have your own investments in this space I am sure you know what I am talking about.

While I purchased my first community in 2007, I made an unsolicited offer for an up-front negotiated price and after vetting the property six (6) months - I thought I made a good purchase. Unfortunately, that first property became the school of hard knocks for me as I discovered everything sellers can do to hide their skeletons in that one property alone. After five years of self-financing and “licking my wounds” on that first property, I started to dip my toes back into the buying market again, but a whole lot wiser. I spent the next five (5) to six (6) years writing offers based on the value-add property’s true value, but I did not close one (1) deal. I discovered the strategy I described above was happening to me. So, I adjusted accordingly and now have a 100% close rate on multiple properties.

As you indicated, this is NOT a strategy I would recommend for institutional properties, but most of the people looking at this forum are not institution investors, they are people like I once was back in 2006. starting out, that do not want to get burned, but would like to at least close a deal just to get their foot in the game.

In the value-add space I am in, I would rather get “Blacklisted” than get burned, or worse yet - not close a deal, and I can assure you that if I was looking at acquiring a property - the people I would be buying from would not even know it was me making the purchase.

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What do you do for concealing that?

I have LLC’c set-up in States like Wyoming and Nevada where the LLC’s are anonymous (meaning people can not look-up the owners of the LLC’s and everything goes through a registered agent (cost’s a little more), and I have emails that are aliases when reaching out to prospective sellers. When it comes to signing a LOI it is signed by a legal principle member of the LLC or attorney acting on behalf of the LLC.

Keep in mind, we are not trying to deceive anyone. If the seller is honest about what they are selling and all of that is captured in the LOI there is no need to renegotiate, but in VALUE-AD opportunities that is rare. Brokers are part of the blame because they will tell the seller they can get them the “moon” in terms of a sales price. While there are some straight-up brokers out there it - is a competitive environment which brings in other brokers that CAP all income and then list the property based on per forma - not actual P&L. Remember, if it was so easy to hit per forma in five (5) years then why wouldn’t the seller do it and reap the benefit? Please keep in mind, my comments in this topic are only referring to value-ad - not stabilized, institutional opportunities as that has a completely different seller demographic.

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Can you share some of the lessons you learned making mistakes on properties you owned? I’m closing on my first prk and have done a lot of research but know I’m surely missing some things. My park has 34 lots, 33 of which are rented. Total rent around 130K w a NOI of 60K or so. I’m paying 500K. It has its own sewer and water system w city electric and tenants have propane tanks they maintain. Most are tenant owned homes.

Today…when I look at ANY property the number #1 gotcha is water. In real estate they say location, location, location…when I am looking at new opportunities I go into it saying water, water, water. In my first property (an even to this day) the City does not have an official water meter reader. All the residents of the City have to call in their water meter readings monthly. I was not aware of this so when I compared the City readings with the Sellers readings - of course they were the same, looked a little high, but I expected some leaks. By the time one full month cycled I was losing 150k gallons of water a month with thirteen (13) occupied homes. Being this property was located in central Minnesota, I only have about 6-8 months of working time and coupled with inclement summer weather - its more like 5-6 months. It took me two (2) years to locate and plug all the leaks.

The fact your prospective property “has its own sewer and water system,” is vague such as pumping station versus septic and I will assume well water. This has its own sets of problems of which I have zero experience, but I know Frank Rolfe has exceptional experience in this area and can give you tips on what to watch or others in this forum.

The second less critical component is sewer, but it sounds like you have something different. The minor issues is just working with the residents getting them used to the fact that there is a new sheriff in town and they either shape up or ship out. Followed by new documentation, administration, and being good at communicating your actions to the residents. As a MHP owner you only have water, sewer, gas and electric to worry about and since you only have water and sewer just buyer beware. Also, make sure the seller does not have another park located nearby where he might try and move homes to his or her other community. I started out using Excel and it became a shit-show pretty quickly so I went to Congress in Vegas one year and looked at several property management programs before settling on Rent Manager and NEVER regretted my choice. Good Luck!