Out of town owner?


#1

Hello there. Still looking for the right park to buy. I’ve been looking in Illinois or Wis. area . I’ve not been able to find anything close to home. anyway, I want to start looking farther away. My husband says it really hard to run a park from another state. I need advise. Is he right or can it be done and still have a great running park. we have never owned a park before. Our business is water meter installs and read and bill. Tracy


#2

Tracy,

I would recommend buying a park that is “turn key” (80% occupied or greater) if buying out of state. Trying to do a “turn around” (less than 80% occupancy) without a joint venture partner on the ground will take years off your life and be an unpleasant experience. When turning around a MH park it will require cleaning up the park, buying repos, rehabbing, selling homes and retraining tenants. This will be in addition to the normal management functions of the MH Park. There is a lot of moving pieces… too many to do from a distance.

I would also buy a MH park 80 spaces +/- or greater so that you can hire the best manager possible. The manager will be critical to your success.

Corey


#3

I totally agree with Corey. It is quite amazing how many moving parts there are to a turnaround park! Some days it seems like you take one step forward and four steps back…

Since buying our park in July we have had FIVE homes moved out - and we were minimally cash flowing when it started. One moved to another park within the first 30 days we were there - he was a cop who wanted to be out of the city and in the county so he would not be on call all the time. The second was a doublewide that was empty, but paying lot rent. We tried to take over payments, but a local dealer sold the home for a land/home package. The third tenant told us last summer that she had purchased property a few years ago and planned to move her home out the beginning of the year and did just that. The fourth was asked to leave. The fifth was someone we tried to evict last fall for non-payment and got stopped by the bankruptcy court. We will probably write a full blog about that whole experience, but her house is moving out today. (We are not happy about that one - she owes us money and we can’t do anything about it.)

In the meantime, we brought in 3 homes, bought 2 in the park, have rehabbed 3 park homes that WERE rentals, have one abandoned home rehabbed, 2 abandons left to go, and one to rehab that we took in as a trade…we have yet to find a good handyman so Jim is doing most of the work himself. It is tough to do that and take care of management issues.

We have 2 completely new tenants, have money down on 2 more and get interest in our ads and signage. (My count says minus 5 plus 4 = minus 1)

We have also had one old home taken out of the park (for free) and a second is supposed to be leaving this coming weekend.

We currently have 3 7-day notices out, and we fully expect that two of them will turn into full evictions. We will try to give them money to move because it will be cheaper than spending $703 just to have the eviction filed. One of these tenants definitely has a lienholder; we don’t know about the other. Both of these owe a considerable amount of money from the prior owner, so they are not someone who will “catch up”. We have known all along that this day would come, but the fact that both are the same month is mind boggling.

Does that give you an idea about what it would be like owning a park from a distance? (At the same time, we are trying to clean up the place - mowing regularly, getting tenants to coat their roofs and skirt homes, changing the mailbox system, planting trees, etc.)

Bottom line? There are no dollars left at the end of the month, and definitely no dollars going into the pocket yet. But there will be! We are currently living in the park, in another home that we bought from Greentree personally. It is a much different lifestyle than our 2200 sq ft home on the east coast of Florida!