Small cities and metro areas

Hi! I know that opinions vary about the size of city, size of metro and proximity to a Walmart you should look in when buying a Mobile Home Park. I have been getting leads lately of parks in cities with 3k people and 15 miles or less from a Walmart. My question to everyone is what is the smallest city would invest in, smallest metro area, how would you define metro in terms of radius and population? For example if the town had 3k people in it but within a 20 mile radius there was collectively about 40k people would that be sufficient? Any info about locating metro area statistics would be great. I just hate to pass up good deals in smaller markets but also want to make sure I have an exit strategy. Thanks! Dave

When I come across parks in smaller cities and metros I don’t necessarily pass them up. If there are stable employers in the area my comfort level about the area increases. I was recently looking at a park that was in a town exactly like what you described. I panned out on Google maps and saw that there was a correctional facility about 5 miles down the highway. Up the highway there was a metro of about 40k people and that city had, what I considered, stable employers. That gave me the security I needed to consider the park.

If the park is nice, the tenants are stable and there aren’t a lot of poh’s my comfort level increases as well.

I do not/would not base my primary decision on the metro area but rather on the health of the community itself. If it is full and has all TOHs then it would be of serious interest. If it had a number of vacant lots and/or POHs I would pass.
I would also distinguish between a “trailer park” and a community. If it was a family trailer park near a very small metro I would probably pass where as if it was a community that contained adult/seniors I would likely be very interested.
There are far more variables making up a good investment community than simply the proximity of a Walmart especially with smaller communities.

That is a great question and just last week I was asking the same questions of park that was in a small town less than 20K population. Now this town had a Walmart, a University, and one large employer. I still am thinking over things with that area as it is 2 hours from any larger metro - 100K+.
I believe you asked for some resources to do some due diligence with. Here is what I use Bestplaces.net. City-data.com, datausa.io, US Census and of course Google. The more data that you can find and use to confirm or defeat your theory the better. My train of thought is that there has to be some sort of “jobs” that your residents will go to that can pay them a good wage and keep paying them that wage so that when you raise the rents they can pay the increase instead of move out.
Let me know your thoughts as this one is not a hard and fast rule I believe.
Pat

Thank you everyone for your remarks! That really helps a lot! I really appreciate you all taking the time to share how you evaluate things. I value the opinions of fellow investors and I am sure others on this forum do as well. I think that helps with my comfort level and may continue to pursue a few of the recent opportunities.

I have a Park in a town of 500 and would do it again.

But as other have stated it has jobs part of the larger metro, and also the allure of water sports (e.g. fishing, hunting, water skiing) for weekenders. While your test ad will confirm a lot of this, note that some of these markets can have seasonal demand. Confirm the timing is not abnormally skewed (both positively or negatively) due to these factors to make sure you’re getting the result you expect.

The hardest part is honestly finding labor. Especially when embarking on capital projects such as an expansion. You also have to market with some more low tech options, such as bandit signs, flyers in washeteria’s, newspaper, greensh*t, etc.