Infill projects

There has been a lot of talk lately on L/D’s, L/H’s etc. but I have not heard from our Park infill folks. The economy is all around bad, but it seems there should still be strong demand for affordable housing. Sitting here reading USA Today there is nothing on the mobile home Park sector so I thought to ask the folks actually doing turnaround projects.

Anyone doing a turn around project they want to share? Still demand for owner finanaced mobiles in Parks? Downsizing families jumping into these units? Foreclosed folks looking for cheap housing?

Thanks folks,

Greg Meade

The month of April may be the first month that we have gone backwards in 2+ years with our infill community. We have more evictions and move outs than we have sales and move ins. I have not purchased any new homes for our community this year either. I am working off the inventory from last year. I know of only 1 family that moved in to downsize from a site built home. What we are seeing is checks from The Department of Social Services making rent and house payments for some tenants. No job = no $$ = Social Services. People have to live somewhere while this economic storm is being dealt with and we still have the ability to be the most affordable game in town.

I am experiencing the cost of turn over in our homes. Thankfully I got my education in this business and planned for this expense.

My advise buy low ( lower than you think) and make sure you have the money to operate your business.

If you go into this business on the red line ( no money down and no cash) it might only take 1 mistake or economic issue to take you down. If you have your business model correct this is one of the greatest businesses around.

I live in Eastern Oregon, and last fall, I expanded my 44-space park with an additional 23 spaces.

I bought 5 used mobiles so far; all 89 to 97 models, and they are being block set this week. I am looking for another 5 by the end of 2009, and 10 more in 2010, except if the ones I have now sell fast I will try to buy as many as I can by the end of 2009.

My project would have been done in 2008, but the weather caught me before I could get the road paved, so my final permit signoff will be coming in May when they fire up the asphalt plant. I have people waiting to buy two of the five I now have, and I will let you know how it goes with the rest.

I have been doing self-financing on the mobiles I have sold so far, and here in my community where there is a lot of farming, I have some of the most affordable housing.

Mine is not really a turn-around-project, but I need to fill 18 more spaces.

So far in 2009 I have sold 4, 1 cash sale/ 3 financed sales. 2 of these were moved in - the other 2 were just off-lease. The Clayton dealer delivered a new Dbl. wide last week.

This is the first time in years that I don’t forsee many move-outs of my leased houses. So it is time for me to buy and bring in houses - I have 2 on the way.

I am about 18 months into offering in-house financing for my in park sales and it is really working out great (prompt payors). Thanks to all the posters on this forum. I had myself convinced that all I would get was the worst possible customers by offering in-house financing. I’m now totally convinced that an MHP that doesn’t sell and originate notes is going the wrong way.

As for local economics, we had a High Tech Company last week announce they were laying off 37. During the past 15 months they had added 90 positions (I’d say trimming some dead wood). For all of the bad news - the people that I go to church with seem to be thriving, several have been recruited and hired at much higher salaries than previous. I’m pretty sure that GOOD help is still hard to find, and there is still plenty of demand for it.


I’ve been totally maxed out the past 5 months between the MHPs and SS projects. All 8 projects are doing well despite the doom and gloom you hear every day about the economy.

We purchased 12 Greentree repos in the past 7 weeks. We sold 4 homes in one park and 5 in another in the month of February alone. The average down payment was probably around $2,500.

As you know, chasing down repos and going through all the hoops to get them into your community takes some time, but it’s well worth the trouble. I would safely say that we will be purchasing about 5 - 8 homes per month for the forseeable future as long as sales continue to be strong.

We are getting some great deals on 10-12 year old homes right now. Many of the communities in the Southeast have a 10 year restriction on homes, so the pool of buyers is just about non-existent right now for this age group. Only downside is that many of these homes have to be rehabbed. Oh well, I can deal with the rehab when I only have to pay $4,000 for a 1998 28x64 doublewide.

As far as our customers, they are a mixture of the sub-prime blowup and renters desiring home ownership.

We are definitely full speed ahead! Only 240 more spaces to fill :slight_smile:


We are seeing a massive peak in lower end homes, to the point that I’m considering doing a few cheapo LD’s in my favorite parks…

I’m filling my last vacant lot in the 12 spacer by the end of this month. Chris has 2 or 3 moves currently going… The demand is there but I’m finding that the DP’s and move in money are dropping along with the expectations.

I’ve sold 2 homes in the past month that I woulda never dreamed that I could have sold, I didn’t wanna fix them! One was a 73 2/1 12x60 DOG that we got for free with another purchase, sold it for 2k cash only hauling the trash and fixing the holes in the floors. The other was a 76 3/2 14x70 that I repo’ed, the defaulting buyers took a sledge hammer to the floors and created the 2nd “trash out” that I’ve had in going on 5 years. I hauled the trash out and was starting to fix it… A buyer came along that was 4 or 5 days from writ on a foreclosure, took it as-is subject to my approval of the floor repairs for $3500 with $800 down. They’re both happy as clams… The market is still there but most people are looking for deals in their housing from what I’m seeing.

Steve Wrote:

“We are definitely full speed ahead! Only 240 more spaces to fill”

Ummmm… You’re NUTS =p Glad it’s going well for you!

Starting last summer we started getting buyers who were losing their houses and wanted a nice mobile home to downsize to. I’ve had a number of buyers in the past 9 months all with the same story: I have $4k or $5k or $6k to put down because the bank hasn’t accepted any mortgage payments for months, they’re going to come kick me out any day, and I can’t even get approved for an apartment because of my recent credit dings.

These buyers are a couple notches above my typical Lonnie Deal buyers. They want nicer mobile homes. And they’re humble because of their situation, so they’re not turning their noses up at mobile homes. So we’re pushing to move in nicer singlewides into our mix. We buy newer repos from Vanderbilt, have about $14k-$18k into them after rehab and move, and expect about a $10k plus markup to retail, and sell with a big downpayment and financing. Not exactly a Lonnie Deal return, but good solid buyers to add to our Lonnie Deal portfolio of notes.

Make no mistake, the $3k home that you can sell for $12,900 with financing will always rule. But you have to collect those payments with both hands. There’s always buyers one paycheck away from living in their car. These are the bread and butter Lonnie Deal buyers, and the backbone of my business. But there’s a new market right now in my area for higher end mobile homes to relatively good buyers with foreclosures and big downpayments who can’t afford $2k a month anymore but can easily afford $800 a month and are grateful for the opportunity. And they need financing. These are good low maintenance IRA deals.

This is going to be a good year.


(Gulp) 240???

I’m with Ryan…you gotta be nuts! lol

We are just exiting the “It will get worse before it gets better stage”. We’ve just about finsished getting rid of the trouble-makers, losers, non-payers, drug-dealers, harpies, bad-a$$es, etc. We have only lost two tenants due to economic reasons, and one of them arguably because we started enforcing lot rent payments. We’ve been backfilling into two classes of trailers.

The first class are the cheapies inherited with the parks. We tore down quite a few of those and kept the best (a very relative term), mostly older 2BR’s. We sell those with zero or little down (“recession specials”) for about $125 per month for 2-4 years, perhaps a bit more if we do any serious rehab. They have started to fill with people who really like the idea of a quick paydown and owing only lot rent. We have very little in these homes, as the purchase price assumptions allocated very little value to the homes on the economic side (disctinct from the tax allocation). Any payments are gravy, getting and keeping lots filled is the real upside. We’ve sold about seven of those in the last six months and have about four of them left. Bear in mind that four of those were existing renters converted into owners, so those resulted in a wash as far as occupancy was concerned.

The second category of home would be the 3BR 199x that we move in, cost about $7,800 to buy, move and lightly rehab, generally looking for $1,000 down and $250/m for 5-6 years. Those sell almost immediately (lot rent is $200). We’ve sold about three of those (with six more pending move-ins) in the last six months. We make OK money on them, but again, the real goal is to fill lots. We have not yet had to evict anyone who has bought a home from us.

One of the parks (only 12 lots out of 60 total that we bought last year in September/October) is tucked into a nice little neighborhood. We just poached a mobile from a park about 1/2 mile away. That park is run by a real jerk of a PM, he’s tried to charge us for a “mandatory state inspection” that didn’t exist and threatened to “pull our trailers based on improper foundation”. He even had a doctored up form that was supposed to be “official”. As the “quotes” might indicate, we laughed at him and his fantasy authority and told him to run away or we would taunt him again - real piece of work, that guy. Anyway, we financed a move ($2,000) for one of his tenants at 0% interest. The tenant owns his home free and clear. We are going to blitz the acceptable (to us) homes in that park with offers for a 0% move, word is that the tenants hate the PM. Can’t imagine why!

Overall, our occupancy has remained steady, but the quality of tenant has improved. We lost losers and have not had problems with any of the new tenants so far. We have about 25 lots left to fill of 60, parks are doing a bit better than break-even on cash flow after all expenses and debt payments, which is pretty good given that everything we do with these parks is debt financed, aka zero down. And that’s BEFORE we fix some issues with the water…

Post Edited (03-19-09 04:45)


My wife works for a company that has 3 new home sales lots. They were very slow the past few months but are now seeing an increase in business with people getting tax refunds.

One lot has a customer that owns a park and is buying 5 new 2/1 singles per month, each month this year. The guy is upgrading the park from much older units and infilling some empty lots. I am not sure of the exact amount but do know that he is able to rent these for $700+ per month. This is a town with a military base and lots of new troops coming in so lots of new customers for him. I think he is getting these for about $22K, not including delivery and setup.