No calls on test ad, otherwise good deal?

Wow, to say I’m disappointed is an understatement. Need some advice here please, but I think I know what Frank and everyone else is going to say.

The park I have an accepted offer on is in a very small town of 5,000 with a metro of 27,500. SFR median is 70 - 80K depending on the source. 2 BR rent is about $680.

The pluses - Directly across the street from the hospital, bounded on one side by a medical complex and the other by the county baseball park.

Direct billed water / sewer, city even owns the underground plumbing.

Comes with a small vacant commercial building that needs a little work.

Even with the low vacancy, it is being sold at about a 11 CAP.

Current rents at $300, can raise to at least $325


I placed 3 CL ads since Tues. Today is Thurs. I got 1 call that was an immediate hang-up so I’m not even sure it counts. I placed one ad for used, rehabbed homes, and one for the new homes through the CASH program.

The park has an occupancy of 52% - 32 out of 62 lots.

Roads need major work - I did include that in the cap rate.

Part of the park is in floodplain, it appears to be the 100 year but awaiting confirmation on that. If I have to elevate the homes too much, that may prohibit me from using them, reducing the value of the park. I still have work to do on this.

My turnaround plan was to fix the park up, make it look nice (currently is an eyesore) bring in several nice used homes and use the CASH program to bring in new homes. Now I’m having doubts.

The current owner has nothing online, not even a free listing on

I think I could fill the park, but it’s not a slam dunk for sure and would likely take a lot longer than I had hoped.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Here is a link to my CASH test ad

Here is a link to my used home test ad

I found that CL doesn’t work well. As others will probably say, place your ad in the local major newspaper and in the major newspapers in the general area - set up a Google voice account and include the phone number in the ad.

In regard to the floodplain, you can probably insure the specific homes that fall in the floodplain boundary.

Just from looking at your ad, you may want to include some pictures on your used home ad and drop anything having to do with buying the home. It’s my personal opinion that home sales should be done on site once you have the prospective tenant/buyer visiting the property. Rent Credit is not a tough sell once you have them there.

You can also advertise in the local paper or put out bandit signs. If you need ideas in addition to this, contact some local property management companies so you can get a feel for what mediums work for them. This usually works best if you lead them to believe they’re in the running to manage the property.

I also took the liberty of looking up the park and I feel that this property might not be a good fit for the CASH program. If you need cash to purchase homes, self-directed IRA investors are always a good option. We have a park under contract now that used this tactic to finance 25 homes.

Thank you both. Charles, why don’t you think the park would be a good CASH candidate? I do plan on the following:

  1. Moving the 2 trashy homes up front to the back of the park, then fixing them up. Also fixing up the commercial structure - OR - tearing it down and reclaiming the 2 lots it takes up.
  2. Putting new (CASH) financed homes up front, OR newer, nice used homes.
  3. Repaving the park.
  4. Fixing up the exterior of every home to make it nice.
  5. Sprucing up the front of the park with a white fence, new sign, landscaping.

Do you think this would make a difference, or were there other reasons you don’t think it’d be a good cash candidate?

Be brutal, I need to know before I put the cash down.

Keep in mind, some day this land will have to be worth something being in the heart of the county medical center. It may be 10 or 20 years, but I do believe it will happen.


I just read the local newspaper, front page. The hospital building across the street from this park is to be replaced later this year and expanded on the same land. Construction to start later this year and is to be completed late 2016. The existing building was built about 1967

I’m going to call the hospital tomorrow, but it really makes an interesting turn. Maybe short term rentals to some of the construction workers or just the overall sprucing up of the area.

I feel it’s a bad fit for the CASH program just because of the amount of money that will be invested in the homes there. The park is very rough and you have to understand that parks like this will generally cash flow well over their life, but they will almost always re-sell at a high CAP rate. Your next buyer will likely be buying at double-digit CAP rates too. I’m not an expert by any means on the CASH program, but I see it working best for parks that are going to attract more financially capable tenants, in parks that have a larger spread over the lot rents, and parks that are in that 3-4 star range. To me, this is definitely the kind of park you will want to bring in used homes. Finding an IRA investor is not hard and I’d be more than happy to share that process with you should you wind up owning a park that needs a large amount of homes.

Also, if you aren’t getting the calls even after changing up your advertising, you have to walk away and keep searching. I’ve had to walk deals I was very excited about early on and it was a tough thing to do. Looking back now, I’m extremely glad I did.

I agree Charles, the park in it’s current condition is not a candidate for the CASH program. My goal would be to get it at least close to a 3 star before even going there. I do agree that the program is for 3 star and up parks, but if I do buy it, that is my plan.

I did get a few calls on it, not as many as I’d like. I’d have to be more aggressive about advertising it and promoting it for sure.

The park doesn’t even have an official phone number or a web page, or facebook page or a free listing on or

The test ad is wrong. The correct wording is:

NAME OF TOWN OR NICHE IN ALL CAPS. 2 and 3 bedroom mobile homes for sale or rent from $495 per month (or whatever the price is) including lot rent. (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

You need to place this in the “mobile homes for rent” section of the biggest metro newspaper on a 10-day run.

You need to do the test again.

The Google street view looks pretty nasty, but would be pretty easy to fix with some road work, 3 rail vinyl fencing and a new sign along with replacing the junkers at the front with new homes.

This is true, but I’m still not seeing this park being a new home type of park even with those improvements. There’s nothing wrong with going the used home route though. In any event, that demand is a huge question mark. We are currently working a deal in a town very similar in size with similar economic indicators. The difference is that our Craig’s List ad pulled 28 calls in two days. Had it not been for that, I would have had a tough time getting excited about that deal despite the major, easy upside it has. Knowing you have demand in these tiny markets takes a lot of the stress out of doing a deal in them.

Thanks Frank and everyone else. I do appreciate it. I am getting about 2 calls a day now. I placed the ad on Memorial day late at night, maybe that was part of the problem, plus what Frank and you guys all pointed out was wrong with my ads.

I also know photos would really help with the test ad, but I don’t have any.

Oh - one of the calls was on my CASH test ad for the new home, it was from out of state. I’d still really like to put new homes along the front, I’ll put that on hold until I see how the rest of the park goes.

Charles, you may be right, I’ll play it by ear. I really wanted either brand new of very new homes up front though.

Also, I’ll redo the exterior of the commercial building and make it look good.

Hi Frank,
I’m wondering - If I’m just looking at a park - no offer yet, can I run an ad to test the park’s desirability to potential tenants?

The reason I ask: If I found parks for sale that were less than 100% occupied, rather than run through the initial search re: MSA and all the other demographics, I thought it’d be more time efficient to just run ads and see if I got any phone calls. Then, if the phone calls came through, I could start doing the rest of the process on verifying the area. It’s easier to run 10 ads on 10 different parks, then narrow down to 2 based on calls, and do the research on those 2 rather than do the research on 10 parks, narrow it down to to 2, then do test ads.

Anyways, how’s this viewed in the community? Legally and ethically?


Just my opinion here, but there is no “always do this” answer here.

If it’s a new listing that you think will be hot, then tie it up. I did it both ways.

The park in question here had a lot going for it and much to love. I tied it up but let it go as no matter what I did I just couldn’t get any response to test ads. I ran them in the newspapers, local rags, Craigslist and nothing.

The park I just bought was just the opposite. It has some definite warts, but the test ad results were so strong that the overwhelming demand more than made up for the warts in my opinion.

Thanks Coach!

(As a former High School Basketball player, I like your screenname. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to call someone Coach. ^^)

I’ve seen more of your posts in other places and it looks like you’re a good person to follow and ask questions to.

Best of luck with everything.

What makes you think it’d be more efficient to do the test ads first? You can get a very good idea about an area with maybe 5 minutes of research. It’s much easier to identify deal killers and/or massive red flags with the research than it is with the test ad. Within minutes you’d learn if there’s a tiny population/no metro, super low housing prices or income levels, unusually high vacancy rates, no diversity with employers, etc.

Alternatively, you could post the test ad, wait a few days, go through the call logs THEN find out there’s no demand. And technically you’re supposed to post the test ad on CL and in the biggest metro newspaper so you’re stuck either paying right away or potentially getting inaccurate test ad results by only doing CL.

To clarify, I meant do test ads before tying it up. Sorry I thought that was clear.

Yes, do basic research first, if it’s hot tie it up. If you’re not sure do a test ad. That’s what I meant.

That’s my opinion only and others may disagree.

By the way I’m a basketball coach in AAU and formerly in schools.

We’ve never run a test ad without having the park under contract. If the other items about the park don’t pass muster, then there’s no reason for a test ad. If, however, everything else about the park is compelling, then what are you waiting for on tying it up under contract? The test ad takes 10 days from the earliest Friday, and that’s too long to wait on tying a park up.

Good points.
I hadn’t measured out the time / efficiency yet.
I first wanted to see if it was an option.

I’m investing out of state so I won’t be able to do a drive-by.

The time consuming process for me is satisfying really learning about the MSA and surrounding area. Maybe I’m doing too much resource but aside from city-data, I’m also googling cities, neighborhoods, local papers, crime rates, schools, etc. None of it’s hard, just time consuming.

I thought if I ran 10 test ads, got good results on 2, I’d run the research on 2 instead of doing all 10.

Thanks for the comment! I appreciate your insights.

I wouldn’t do your test ad prior to tying it up because it’s a waste of time. Also, you really don’t need to take your research as in-depth as it sounds like you are doing.

The time saving step is to make offers on as many parks as you can. Do a little vetting on these parks by plugging the zip code into best places and getting basic statistics on unemployment, household income, housing prices and vacancies, and crime. Once you have an accepted offer, then you can do further research on the area while you simultaneously run a test ad.

The advantage to doing this is that once you are under contract, you can actually run your ad using very specific things pertaining to the property. i.e. the actual location and pictures of the homes that exist in the park. We certainly use our test ad for the purpose of seeing if there is a demand, but we also use it to obtain a list of phone numbers for perspective tenants. We call these tenants back if we wind up closing on the property.

We’ve only had one park pass our diligence on location but fail the test ad. That’s out of the roughly 40 test ads we’ve run. Chances are that running your ad will do little to narrow down your list.