First off let me say what a great resource this site is. I’ve dabbled on other MH sites but MHPS is the most content rich, up to date source out there.
A little background about me - About 5 years ago I started doing Lonnie deals and was up to around 12 paying notes and feeling pretty good about myself. Got a good feel for the MH business and all the crazy people issues, and was still enjoying it. A job transfer 3 years ago put an end to that since we moved to the overheated market of New England (outside of Boston) at the peak of the real estate bubble. People were asking for $150,000 for a mid 80’s trailer in a park (no land) with a straight face all day long! I’ve been buying discounted MH notes through my SDIRA the last 4 years, but nothing to retire on - just trying to keep some skin in the game.
Fast forward to this year. Market is now heavily favored towards buyers, and I’ve been driving the local parks starting to get that “MH itch” again
This time though, I want to own the dirt, not the home.
I’ve been reading up on the site, listening to all the podcasts, as well as ordering a bunch of MHP books and devouring them over the last few weeks. I’m still learning a tremendous amount every week that goes by, but want to get in the trenches to really accelerate the learning curve. I’ve targeted owning a park by the end of 2009, and have already started contacting park owners and have a few promising leads.
So onto the questions…
First off - anybody doing business in the New England area? I haven’t seen anybody from this area on any of the MH forums. Massachusetts has some pretty strange laws, and it would be good to discuss with others familiar with the area.
Second - the market here is pretty strange. When we lived in Ohio, you could drive through any park and find numerous empty lots, for sale signs, etc. Here every park without exception is fully occupied, and very few for sale signs. The homes for sale are typically being sold by brokers (see big $$$ figures above). That being said, I have found some $5-10k FSBOs, though they are typically in need of extensive rehab. Have any others experienced this type of a market? What are the points to watch out for in this type of market?
Thirdly, Most of the parks I’ve been looking at have high density (expensive land), and smaller, older MH’s. Not a problem currently due to full occupancy, but will be very difficult to replace if a home is moved or destroyed. I need to do more research about availability at local dealers, but any other hints on mitigating this type of risk?
Lastly, I’m not married to the local market. I know it relatively well, and am looking at it as an opportunity to cut my teeth on inspection, due diligence, negotiations, hand-on management, etc without much travel. I would have no problem looking in other parts of the country, but am at a loss as to how to narrow this down. Looking at the list of parks for sale on the site is difficult if you don’t have a target market in mind, since it’s difficult to evaluate financials without doing a fair amount of work regarding demographics, local lot and apartment rents, competition, taxing, etc. If you were to give advice as to a region of the country which is MHP “friendly” regarding laws, availability, pricing, etc, where would it be? Texas? NC? Florida? etc.
Looking forward to your answers.