POH...Renovations...What Items Do You Focus On?...Thanks!

QUESTION:  What renovation items do you focus on when remodeling a Park Owned Home?My Husband and I have a turn around MHP.We have 4 Park Owned Homes that were rented when we first purchased the MHP.These Tenants have since moved out and we are in the process of renovating the mobile homes.We have found a wonderful, licensed Manufactured Housing Contractor / Repairer who is fast, reasonably priced and does great work.Thus, we are putting him to work :-).When renovating what items do you renovate / repair?Below are a list of some of the items that we are renovating / repairing:-    New Toilets:  We have older mobile homes with non-water saving toilets and we pay for the water (it is wrapped in the mobile home rent).  Thus, replacing the toilets with water saving toilets is one of our projects.-    New Smoke Detectors:  We are also installing new smoke detectors.  One in each bedroom and one in the kitchen.-    New Mini-Blinds-    Painting - Interior:  We are painting the interiors of the mobile homes.-    Painting - Exteriors:  We are painting the exteriors of the mobile homes.-    New Underskirting-    New StairsI must say that new underskirting, new stairs and new exterior paint makes a huge difference in the appearance of the older mobile homes and the Mobile Home Park.Another Mobile Home Park Owner said that he always replaces the Hot Water Heater.  I asked the Manufactured Housing Contractor his thoughts and he said that you cannot really predict when a Hot Water Heater will go bad.Thanks for your comments!

Focus your rehabs on:1. Flooring.  Use the Allure vinyl plank product (readily available at Home Depot - probably one of the wood-grains)2. Paint the interior of the home - something off-white. You may texture the walls if you have a nicer home and/or park (e.g. $250+ lot rents)3. Repair all safety items - like smoke detectors, front steps4. Repair all water leaks5. Fully skirt all homes6. General makeready (lightbulbs, light fixtures, locks, broken windows, etc.)Do not:1. Replace toilets.  Instead, bill your tenants for water.  Install water meters at each home.  (Roughly $200/home parts + labor.)  Search this forum for the extensive discussions on water meters.  2. Install kitchen appliances.  Whatever is there, is there, fine.  But do not get in the appliance business.  Make tenants get their own appliances.  1/3rd of your tenants will steal them anyway, so they won’t last.3. Replace mini-blinds.  ‘Soft’ stuff like this (and carpets) just gets trashed and disrespected by tenants.  Make them get their own.4. Install carpet.  Clean it if it is there and salvageable (e.g. < 5 years old).  But after that, replace with the plank.5. Replace hot water heaters, or anything else ‘just because.’  Replace them when they break, of course.BTW - keep good records of who has worked on each of your homes and what has been repaired.  That way if something breaks in the next year or so, it’s probably under warranty and you know who to call to come back and fix it for free.Good luck,-jl-

Washer/dryer is what is killing me in my other rental, my old house which rents for 11 times lot rent. I suppose I could spend $700 or so on a new set under warranty but I’m not there yet. I am supplying these in my POHs, but considering saying “hey they are in there but they are from the last tenant and I’m not responsible for them.” I can get a used set for $100-150 bucks. I see this as a huge quality of life improvement for the tenants–but again the kind of tenants I’d WANT could spent their own $150 to get a set. To what degree do you do things to reduce the cost to heat homes? We are on the tundra in Illinois and on propane and that’s a biggie for tenants in these mid-80s homes. The one I just fixed up I spent $110 on insulation replacing where it was thin or missing on the underbelly, and more heat tape and insulation on water lines. I would have loved to do more but it made no sense for me. There is a state program that will help low income people pay for their heating bills as well as furnace repair/upgrade and energy efficiency upgrade. I would be all over this if I could. I appreciate the tip on the flooring… been trying to decide on cheapest/lowest maintenance thing to do in another home that needs it in family/kitchen/bathroom/master/hallways. 

Jefferson & Lori Cooper, thank you for your comments!Jefferson, we actually do bill our Tenants for water.  Each lot has its own water meter.  We read them every month and send out bills.  However, we have made a decision to incorporate the water bill with the rent for the POHs.  We will still keep track of the POHs water usage (for future rent increases).  However, we will not bill them separately.Lori Cooper, I understand your washer / dryer issue.  Recently, we just purchased a Mobile Home off Craigslist from a nice family who used it while they built their log cabin.  They are giving us extra stuff (like washer and dryer) because they purchased new for their home and do not need it.We are going to offer for free (NO warranties) the extra stuff (including washer and dryer) to our existing Tenants.  We do not want to keep the washer and dryer in the newly purchased Mobile Home because if it breaks they will expect us to repair or replace it.  We do supply nice ranges and refrigerators.  However, beyond that (unless it is a built in dishwasher) we let them supply that.As for the vinyl we had a Flooring Contractor advise us to use ‘hard back’ vinyl on our Mobile Home floors.  Before we heard this advice of the ‘hard back’ we purchased wood looking vinyl from a local Flooring Store which had a ‘soft back’.Because we have older Mobile Homes, you can see all the imperfections in the subfloor under the ‘soft back’ vinyl.Next Monday we are having the ‘hard back’ vinyl installed in another Mobile Home.  We will see if it really does hide most of the imperfections.Thanks So Very Much!