The economic downturn has not been bad everywhere. Our park in Troy, Alabama continues to grow on a regular basis and we are still bringing homes in and getting them sold. We only have 14 more to bring in!!! Our goal is to get them in and sold during 2011.
It is funny, though. People who have NOT lost their jobs come in to lease and option one of our homes and tell us their credit is bad because of the “economic downturn”. No, their credit was bad BEFORE the economic downturn, but it is a very convenient thing to say! People pick up the slang of the day easily.
We have done several evictions this year, but part of that is the fact that we are growing and have a lot more tenants than we did before. Jim is keeping very busy with rehabbing the homes we are bringing in as well as fixing items in homes that have gone empty. When a home goes empty it has been re-filled within a month or so. I have to say, I have become pretty adept at skirting the homes entering the park, and that is my main function when I am there.
Jim just finished rehabbing one of the new homes to the park yesterday. The new owners were moving in last night…is that fast enough for you?
We have noticed a particularly bad pattern with our older homes. The people who buy those get in for less money down and have less monthly payments, but they are the homes that turn over again and again. We have learned (and sometimes re-learned…) that if you give an inch they take 2 or 3 or 10. If a tenant asks our Manager to “work with them” it generally means they still don’t pay and we wait until we file eviction.
We have had women try to sneak their boyfriends in after they buy, without getting our background check done. We just threatened to toss one whole household out if the boyfriend did not leave (and no, he can’t be here on the weekend, either!!!) We finally got his background run after threatening this one time before and lo and behold, he had drug convictions from 1991, 2003 and 2004. He is gone, and we believe she will be soon as well after her hilarious question to our Manager about what she was supposed to do about her “needs”. (It should also be known that an outside organization gave this woman the money for her option deposit, first months house payment and lot rent AND utilities to enable her to even get in the home - and her normal income supports the payments. She, however, really has nothing to lose by going elsewhere.)
Jim and I are going on vacation in a little over a week - much needed r&r. I am not living in Troy, but have been back in Florida for almost a year now. It is absolutely NO FUN living in your park long-term, and after a few years of living in parks I decided to come back to my home. Quite frankly, the economic situation DID have everything to do with that. Jim and I have three mortgages and four houses in Florida and were unable to get another one because of the mortgage fiasco. That forced us to live where we worked, which was never the long-term plan. Jim was better able to weather that situation than I was. The other part of the equation, though, is that we needed another income stream than from the park. Since it is still in the in-fill stage we need to keep the cash turning over there. Thus, my return to Florida.
Anyone who is considering buying a mobile home park of the turnaround variety needs to know that there is a LOT of work and very little money in the first five years. (And no, water main leaks are not fun!!! Neither are the plugged sewer lines.) Our roads are starting to deteriorate now. Part of that is due to their age and part due to the heavy homes we have been bringing over them. A quote for about 1/3 is $54,000!!! I can tell you that that amount is not a current possibility, but sometime in the future we will have to do something - we will want to sell the park some day, although that is not in our plans for several years.
Jim says when the park is full he wants to host another MOM so people can see the difference, and also so they know the dream IS possible with work, perserverence and lots of cash!