Office, I don't need or want one except to become a "dealer" to buy homes to fill lots

In order to buy MHs direct to fill my vacant lots I need to be a dealer. In New York State to be a dealer I have to have a location. My three small parks are close together, none have an office.
I used to have and make use of a business office for my retail business which had regular hours. But I sold that business and now have a home office. But I don’t want people coming to my home. Privacy, security, and they will think I make too much money. The income off my 28 paying lots will not support the overhead of a staffed office nor do I want to keep regular hours myself.
Then once I get to the point of installing some homes on speculation in hope of selling them, I will need to meet people to show them.
One idea is set up an office trailer on an empty lot with hours by appointment
Any ideas?

You could install a large nice looking “tuff shed” (Home Depot sells them) on the lot or in your yard as an official office space. You can electrify, heat, insulate, etc.

Or bring in another trailer as you mentioned.

Most towns in NY state allow you to build anything you want without a permit as long as it is under 144 square feet (see 4b1 here). It’s called the garden shed rule, check with your local jurisdiction to see what is the maximum size you can build without a permit, and make sure to stay under that size.

So then buy or build that size shed on one of your empty pads. You can also hook it up to electrical and water if you need to but that is probably not necessary. Hang a sign on it that says “Office - Lot #XYZ” and make sure it has a matching mailbox where your tenants get their mail. That should be good enough for a dealer license.


Make your home your “location” for the authorities, but meet potential buyers by appointment at the site?

We like to use a brand new home as a model home that doubles as your office. You install the home, hang a sign on it, put a desk/chair and brochures inside. When you sell it, you move the sign, furniture, and brochures to the next unit. Repeat until you are at 100% occupancy.

Problem using a “shed” as the office is that an office may have to meet state requirements in terms of functional plumbing, heated space, minimum square footage, etc. A brand new mobile home likely meets the requirements.


Be careful you actually know what the state requires of you. I suspect it is much more than just having an office.

The Illinois Manufactured Housing Association spent a year in discussions with the Secretary of State’s office on their rules. In a joint agreement that included concessions from both sides, a new law was passed that changed how communities could license as dealers. This made it easier on both sides, but it took considerable time to make it happen. I was the Legislative Chair at the time as well as the IMHA Chairman for one of those years so I know well all of the intricacies that had to be dealt with,

I would discuss this with Robert Capenos, Executive Director of the New York Housing Association if I were you. There may be some real surprises awaiting you.


I strongly second Ken’s suggestion. We are going through this process in Pennsylvania right now and it’s taken More than a year to obtain all the proper documentation. We are submitting today, but only after having our State Association review all our paperwork. Had we not engaged with them from the beginning, this would have been a disaster. I know each state is different but there is no reason to spend $1 until you completely understand your state vehicle board’s requirements.

You may find that it’s not worth the effort. In our case, we had to spend a considerable amount of time and money to obtain proper zoning, ADA compliance, occupancy permits, signage, parking, staging, etc.

Just make sure you know all the gotcha’s. This is what your state association is for. We are blessed that PA’s association is incredibly well-informed, always helpful and always correct.



Same requirement on the application in SC as I have a dealers License and we own 6 parks. For a park owner in SC you do not need an office at a park but simply an office where your records are kept which is a home office.

With Legacy homes you dont need a license.

This is no reflection on Legacy Homes, but that statement is overly broad, thus making it incorrect. There are a number of states where that would not work. I would suspect that Legacy would disavow that statement. It might well be true in some states, but I know that is not accurate for most of the states.

There is alway the option of teaming up with a street dealer.

In case you havent, I would be sure to call the people who will be doing the inspection and asking them how they define “office.” In Nebraska they require an office, but after talking with the inspector and his manager they understood i wasnt a car dealer in the traditional sense. They said it was OK to just have an existing mobile home be an “office” and have a sign with hours.


Thanks for the ideas all. Perhaps I should have mentioned I already am in close contact with the NY State Housing Association and Bob C for advice, and training for dealer’s requirements and certification.

So my question is relating to an office. I must list somewhere as an office location and I would prefer not having people come to my house for business. I guess that doesn’t mean I can’t list it but not use for retail as Dorothy suggested.

I just wondered what other ma and pa size mhps do when they live 5 miles away from the parks.

The model home won’t work as the “office” but it could be where the sale takes place.

Anyway, I appreciate the ideas so far and any new ideas.
Thank you