Remote due diligence?

This is a great forum !

I’m a newbie and I have been looking to buy a MHP for the past 6 months. One thing I found out is that the MHP here in California seems always more expensive (in terms of CAP rate) than those in middle west and east coast. So I’m thinking about maybe I should seriously consider looking into some out of state areas, not sure about east coast yet, but certainly Arizona, Texas at least.

I’m using an agent to help me with finding California parks, and my agent and I both then work on the due diligence check list (based on Dave Reynolds book, great book!). So far it seems working well. But when it comes to out of state MHP, can anybody share your experience and advice on how to manage/perform the due diligence and make sure it is done right? – The only idea I have is to find an experienced MHP buyer agent who is willing to help me with the due diligence check list. But what is the best way to find such an agent? Are there any other way?

I read the past threads on this forum, some of you actually prefer to have out of state MHP. Can any of you share your experience in purchasing out of state MHP?



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Sorry to say but I don’t think you are being realistic. There is no substitute for “boots (yours) on the ground” since who else but you is going to really care? Tradespeople do a much better job when the checkbook is right in front of them. Plus you will pick up on situations that others will not think about. Need an example? How about the diseased/dying/dead tree that is leaning towards a home? Let’s say you hire a consulting arborist to look for such situations. Think of how much more valuable his or her services would be if you could also record suggestions for mitigating such problems in the early stages or what type of trees should be planted. Same with other tradespeople. The info they will give you verbally can often be more valuable than what they put in writing.

Another, much more cynical way to put the above is adopt the position of don’t trust anyone. After all, you are buying the park so you must have deep pockets. You’ll never know about a cut corner here or there. Assume everyone is out to rip you off and you’ll probably be correct.

The above was my experience. Yours may vary.

As for running a park from out-of-state, yes, it can be done successfully. Depending on the park, you may have to be there for a while or go there on an on-going basis until it runs the way you want.


Wheat Hill

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I own parks in 4 states. Off the bat, if your not a rockstar in any aspect of this field, find one to help you. I tell people you make your money when you purchase the park, and realize the gain when you sell. So be darn sure if your making a mistake, it is not on the front end of the transaction. So the good new is- there are solutions to every problem- you just have to dig a bit to find them. Off the bat, there are few real estate agents I would use to do my due diligence, actually… none. No offence intended, I just like to do my own dirty work. With that out of the way there are several people I would trust to be the primary set of eyes on a deal. You really have several parts to a deal, and if you come up short on any of them- find a workable solution to team yourself with people in the know.

So first you identify a property, you might find like minded people to you, and ask where they look for properties and why. Once you have found a property, you need to put it under contract. If your not strong in writing and presenting contracts, and then working through the objections, find someone that is. Here is where you begin to look for options. Partners, mentors, consultants etc… Any weak spots going forward, make sure your putting people that teach you on your team. Along with this, comes off site due diligence. If you do not know what to look for, or how to do it- partner, mentor, consultant. These are really critical steps. You might be looking for several people, and maybe one or two to go through these steps. Now you need an onsite visit- again, if you do not understand in infrastructural parts of a park, electric, water, sewer, gas, roads etc- find someone that gets it. Do the walk with them, have them teach you what they see, why it might be a problem and what kinds of issues these things pose in the future. They might drive other local parks with you to assess differences. This onsite visit will be your blueprint for taking any issues to the seller, and will also be your guide for building your operations manual and knowing the skill sets you need as an owner, and your managers will need onsite to operate the park. Now our back to the contact if there are issues to get out of the deal, or ask for modifications in the terms. After this your heading to closing- and now comes the operations. Again, you might be looking for that partner, consultant or mentor to guide you through this process.

In my days of speaking at Dave and Franks bootcamps, this is where I see most people glaze over. I can not emphasize enough, this is the easy part of the whole deal. If you did all of the other steps right- operating across time state or across the country will be a walk in the park. There are great systems that we are all using, tweaking and exploring that make it a snap to manage from afar.

So I advise- your seeking a mentor, consultant or partner. Make it someone that walks the walk. A park owner, if your operating out of state, someone that has out of state parks. If they are not bringing real knowledge, skill and insight to the process- find other people. Your deal might have a few of these people, you might have money partners and operational partners. If you are comfortable operating the property, you might just hire a consultant to get you into the property. You can always hire someone to help if the wheels come off down the road as well.

Good luck to you…

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Thanks Rolf and Jim for the advice. I agree with you 100%, and I share some of your experience from my limited adventure so far. I got one MHP under contract and only found out that the MHP already on the “repair list” of the water district after digged deeper. So I got out (there are other bad signs as well).

I have a lot to learn,and I think I can handle the due diligence works for the local MHPs in California. But my question is really about what is the best way to buy out of state MHP without being there too much. So looks like the conclusion is “it is not easy” to do it that way.

To Jim’s point about getting help from “partner, mentor, consultant”, I can clearly see the benefit (eg. I can imagine that if I had a operation/money partner in east coast of Texas, then some of the due diligence works and future opeartion would become easier), but the question still comes down to what is the best way to find these people, and whether they can be trusted. To answer my own question, I guess it takes time to build that connections to trusted partner, mentor and consultant … Since I don’t have such a network yet, for now, I will just keep looking within California.

Thank you !!!



You can contact me anytime. I live in CA and operate communities in Idaho and North Carolina.

It is not as hard as you might think to operate out of state. I personally believe it is all about your personality type and hands on control issues.

#1 - Is getting your knowledge base. Like anything else in life knowledge and a realistic action plan will be very important to your success.

Rick Ewens

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You must always do the due diligence yourself – you cannot delegate that duty. When it comes to due diligence, nobody can be trusted to do that for you, as the failure to examine even one line item can lead to disaster. In addition, there are many grey areas that pop up, and only the buyer can decide which can be tolerated and which cannot. Managing parks from afar is much easier than you can imagine, but delegating due diligence is never a good business model.

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Got it. I must always do the due diligence myself, and delegating due diligence is never a good business model.

Thank you for the advice. I will make sure to follow this principle.

Hi Rick,

Thanks for the helping hands. I will send you email separately.

Good luck to everybody !!!