Park in my area closing. Their loss, my gain, looking for suggestions

I’m an out of state owner. I just happening to be visiting my park after my manager quite on us to collect keys and deal with a few thing. During my visit, I found out a park owner of another park in town had a town meeting yesterday with the tenants and told them their park is closing and they will need to be out starting Jan 2014. The area is OKC and the average park occupancy in a 10 mile radius is in the 80 - 90% range. The park that is closing has about 85 mobile homes in it and 50 RV (almost all long term). The owner wants to re-zone the land and feels emptying it he will have a better shot at doing so. This many homes needing to be moved can make the occupancy in the area go to an average of over 95%. They are being given enough money to cover the move as long as they stay until Jan.

So obviously this is a great deal for me and I want to capitalize on it and get as many as I can to fill my 20 empty or so lots.

What I have done already is

  1. Called and met with the manager - who will also need a new job and may be interested in filling my open manager position as he likes my park.

  2. Gave him a simple print out of my lot rent, deposit, background and other move in requirements which he has put in his office with other info about the closure of the park.

  3. Already showed the park to 3 potential tenants who are sharing the info with their friends.

  4. The manager even came out to my park to see want we had going on with empty lots and see what I had to offer.

I plan on keeping in contact with the manager over the next few months to keep up on any changes. I’m looking at my empty lots to see what needs to be done so I don’t get caught in any code problems at the last minute. I can travel in Jan if needed to help with move in and transition of new tenants. May see about doing a welcome party, although not the best time of year for it.

I don’t want to count my chickens before they are in the nest, but the potential here is to increase the value of my park by $500,000 in a matter of a few months at virtually no cost to me, so I don’t want to mess this up.

I’m also in the process of buying my 2nd park in another state, so the party may just be getting started.

So I’m open to suggestions on what to do and what not to do if anyone has been in this situation before.

Thanks in advance

Yes, I’ve had the exact same thing happen – in OKC! A park was re-developed into a Lowe’s, and they kicked everyone out. I took enough people to almost fill my park.

Here’s the key: money. People work best when grafted. Give the manager of that park a commission on every home that comes to your park – maybe $100 to $250 per home. Then give another commission to the first tenant who signs up for your park, for every one of his friends he can bring over – maybe $100. Then offer a free gift to any tenant that will move over, like a flat screen TV worth $250. Sure, that means you’d be out $600 per move potentially, but you’ll make that back in three months of lot rent. You’ve got to realize that all the other park owners are thinking the same thing that you’re thinking – let’s use this opportunity to fill up our park. Since the current park owner is going to pay for the move (normally, you have to offer a free move to be competitive) instead throw money at the decision-makers to make them pick your park over the others. If the park manager recommends your park over the others (because you paid them to do so) and their friend tells them how great it is (because you paid him to do so) ad the homeowner thinks they get a free gift (because you paid them to do so) then you’ll beat the other owners. The losers will be those who are too miserly to offer money to anyone, but just want to hand out flyers on how nice their park is. In these situations, money talks.