Getting started.

I have been in the mobile home/manufactured housing industry for over 30 years now. At 18 I started at a family owned park where my first experiences involved construction of a new park including in ground installation of sewer and water mains as well as other utilites up to complete installation of homes. Through the years they expanded and I was involved in the planning and construction of another park within their organization. About 21 years ago they decided to disband their service operation and subcontract everything out, that’s when my brother and I started our own manufactured home service business. We have been doing alright through the years but as we age we realize we can’t keep doing the things we do. We have always toyed with the idea of buying a park but have seen the “down side” of ownership. Things like having to pop for new utilities in an older park once purchased, having to deal with bad tenants, etc always scare us away.

I have read alot of this forum today and read about many of the problems we see daily. Most of those I consider small hurdles to clear. Where I am still curious is where does one start?? A small park with 10-20 sites or larger with 30-50 sites?? I don’t see much money in the small parks but am not sure jumping into a $500,000 -$750,000 park would make me comfortable at all. Together we can handle just about all facets of park maintenance, making the leap to park ownership is really tough.

A Boot Camp right now is out of the question, however I am considering the Home Study course. Will I get enough information in that to make me comfortable with jumping in with both feet?

If there’s anything you don’t know about finding, evaluating, negotiating, financing, turning-around and operating a mobile home park – after reading the books and listening to the CDs in the Home Study Course – then I will personally answer it for you. I am there every Wed. for the Q&A show, and always accessible by phone or email.

As far as best first size, it’s all going to boil down to the specific deal. My first park was 83 lots, but what gave me the comfort zone was the seller financing and city water/sewer. You are better off with a winning 50 lot deal than a lousy 20 lot deal. I would not set parameter on park size, but I would on dollar size, as you need to figure out the amount of down you have available and multiply by three to get your approximate deal size that meets our budget. Since the goal is net income, the total number of lots is not that important – there are 20 space parks that have a higher net income than 50 space parks.

Your experience with the homes would be handy on a park that has less than stabilized (80%) occupancy, as you could bring in the homes and do much of the labor yourself.

Dale, your industry experience gives you a big advantage over other investors starting out. Many new investors (me two years ago) are clueless about many of the technical aspects of mobile home parks and mobile homes.

If you’re serious about being a mobile home park owner Frank and Dave’s material is a no brainer. By helping me negotiate and operate my first mobile home park more effectively, their material has paid for itself at least 100 times over (I’m not exaggerating on that number either). Definitely get their study course if you’re serious about buying a park.

After you have read their material, try pulling on some of the contacts you have in the industry. Talk to some of the owners of the parks near you and see if any of them are interested in selling. If you can find a motivated seller, there are lots of experienced investors who would jump at the chance to partner with you on a good deal and provide you with cash and guidance.