Rethinking owning mobile homes vs. renting them out

Our park income is our sole income so this is serious. In light of the fact that there is a shrinking amount of homes for the parks in my area (a law will not allow a pre-1976 home to be moved) I

For me, it would depend on why the homes are being moved out - is there a problem with my park that makes it worth paying a couple of grand to move the homes out? I suppose under certain circumstances I’d be willing to rent…though I’m very averse to it for reasons of time & liability both. Perhaps a long-term loan with low payments would keep my lien on the home for the long haul and allow me to control whether it gets moved, since my loan agreement would consider a move without my approval a default, allowing me to accelerate & collect, or repo.

Mike, I have considered the same topic for my operation, and what it comes down to is finding the best method to boost the length of resident retention. It is my observation that some of us are in areas and are serving cliental that makes moving the house from MHP onto private land a very real threat to MHP occupancy. But, I feel that you have answered your question about what is best for you when you stated that the MHP was profitable in 90’s doing lot lease only. In my view an effective in-park sales operaton must be in place to succeed in maintaining occupancy, and has to be able to overcome the loss of residents. So, far this year, I have lost 6 residents (not the houses) to them buying site built houses,and 1 to due to death, 3 resident owned houses moved out as they had relocated/bought land. Fortunately, I have sold 13 homes, as you can see, these sales are vital - I have tried the rental method and much prefer to sell, the retention time is too short on rentals for my operation, however, if I have reason to believe the rental will be long-term (elderly widow ect.) I’ll fill a vacancy using rental.

I don’t understand the pre 1976 issue being a problem - can you buy newer?

John I like the idea of a long-term loan with low payments–What do you consider long term? I’m thinking 7 to 10 years. The park is probably a C park but is out of town a little bit–my wife came up with this, get the best of both worlds close enough to town but still in the country, or something like that. Gas prices may be an issue. Only significant issue in the last 10 years was the deployment of a large military contingent to Iraq from our city.

Shawn we’ve lost a few to land home deals but now the real threat is a big nationwide mobile home dealer that is looking to buy any and all homes to move to parks where they are dealers for owners. I have been quoted this week $4500 to $6500 to breakdown move and set up in my park for a singlewide and $8000 for a double wide. Most people in my park could not afford either one of those hits. We have had only one private party move a home into the park in the last 11/2. I only have two vacancies but I have to remain vigilant, as we just do not want any more homes to be taken out if we can help it.

The pre 1976 issue is one of a reduction of the number of homes in spaces in parks in an already depleted supply. Prices of used mobile homes appear to be going up and dealers/agents are looking in other states to haul homes into our area to fill up the parks. Yesterday a dealer/agent (probably just a guy without any credentials) called me with this great wholesale deal. A 1998 Champion 16X76 for $18,800 or delivered and set up for $24,400. Says the above mobile home dealer will take it if I don’t and they will sell it in their park for $27,900 to $29,000. I passed.

I have rambled but it is just not like it was in the 90’s when we were full all the time and only had 2 rentals.

I normally lend for 5 years on cheap homes (Selling for < $10k) and 7-8 on more expensive ones (> $10k). Your circumstances and purposes are different. I would consider making 15y or longer-term loans. You’d have the benefit of not renting, low payments for residents…and control except in cases of a full payoff. Just thinking out loud (as it were), I really dislike the idea of renting the homes, though I would do so in certain circumstances.


We have a mix of about 2/3 rentals and1/3 privately owned.  At one time I was all for owning only the dirt but I am rethinking this concept.  We have numerous homes in the 6000 to 10,000 dollar range. We rent these out for 500-650 per month.  We have never had any trailers seriously damaged. The return on our investment is pretty good.  Also if someone is behind in their rent it is much easier to toss them if they rent then if they own the trailer. Sure there are landlord issues but I have these issues with the private homeowners also.  We had a large flood about 8 months ago. Several of the homeowners collected their insurance and abandoned the trailers.  Several we fixed up but several we had to have removed at our expense (try to track these people down).  Thank God for the insurance we had on the homes we rented.  Our cash flow has been bad until recently but I fear we would have gone belly up if we lost the income from the privately owned units and did not have enough cash to replace them.  Most of the self owned home owners opted not to replace their units but took the cash and went elsewhere. I do believe it depends on local circumstances, how far you live from the park etc. but do not be afraid of rentin units out.,


I like John’s idea of just selling on a longer time frame. Just find an investor and pay him 12% on his money and set up the note at 14.5% over whatever period of time allows the tenant to afford the payments. The longer note seems to play to your favor by locking the tenant into your park.