Sending my park manager out into the world with $10k in his hand

I want to buy some used homes and haul them back into my park and sell them.

The problem is, my park is in the middle of the country and I am on the Pacific coast. I don’t want to be jumping on a jet all the time a home comes up on CraigsList to go look at what turns out to be a junker.

Solution: Get my park manager to do it and pay him something for his trouble. Typically the homes I see on CraigsList are 300 miles or so, away from my park.

New problem: I really don’t want to give him $10k or so and send him out into the world. I’ve been a landlord too long not to know how that story can end in a train wreck.

Do you have any ideas on how this could be done with some degree of control? I’ve though about debit cards, Western Union and such, but I really don’t know how he can end up with enough cash to get the signed title in hand.

Why not just give him a little money – $400-500 – so he can show he’s legit. Once he finds a deal and terms are agreed to, you can get on the phone with the seller and arrange to wire the funds directly into the seller’s account. The manager doesn’t have to handle any money beyond a little money to show he represents a serious buyer.

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I like that idea Nick, but I thought you need to get the title in hand at the same time you start wiring money to people.

I guess I could have the seller sign a contract to sell, sign a receipt, and have my manager take a photo of the title, and photo their driver’s licence on the contract to sell. I could have the contract to sell give me, say, 10 days to get the funds to the seller. I could also give my manager a FedEx envelop with my address to the seller so he can overnight the title to me once the funds are received.

Does anyone see a flaw in this? Got a better idea?

I have heard of mobile home escrow companies but have no personal experience with them. Then you let them handle the money and get the home under a proper contract. Don’t think timing will be an issue but could be intimidating for many sellers.

Have you thought about finding a contractor/mobile home specialist who is near the used home for sale and have him do an inspection for a fee? If it checks out, ask the mobile home transport company if they will provide the check to the seller when they pick up the home (or wire the money; 20% down, 85% upon pick up of the home… etc.)

That sounds about right. MH transport companies are not known for being particularly trustworthy. (85%+20% = 105%).

I had a similar situation. My park is 300 miles away from where I live and I purchased used homes and had them delivered. I found my homes in Western Washington and shipped them over the Cascades to North Central Washington. Spent a lot of long days driving and looking at junk. I did get lucky and stumbled on a park that was closing for redevelopment (which was a very sad story in itself- greedy hateful owner and a lot of senior citizens with no where to go). I was able to go in and purchase six very nice older homes and had them moved over to my park. Interviewed and hired a good local teardown and transport team.

Long story shortened maybe try to find some local transport companies in the region your park is located. Tell them what your needs are and see if they know of any parks closing or other ‘deals’ out there. Given the triangle of distances you have with where you live, your park and where the homes are… you are going to have to find someone you can trust. Maybe you develop a relationship with the transport company and when they have a handful of opportunity homes lined up you fly out for a week or so and do the deals yourself. They get all the moving business so they would have some motivation also.

Another thought though is this. Moving those older homes was pretty rough on them. Ten years ago the teardown, moves, setups, porches, patios and repairs was north of 23k each. That was excluding the cost of the homes which I got a good price. Given the repairs we have continued to make on the homes over the years… I wonder if I would have been better off just going to a dealer and hammering out a deal on six new homes. Nothing fancy; no carpets; no blinds; no fancy fake trim. Maybe would have been able to negotiate the delivery and set up too. We paid cash… so that would have been a big enticement also and even more so now. Every thing costs money particularly moving and repairing older homes- and your time costs money too…

Good luck… and try to keep it enjoyable.

The wear-and-tear of moving old homes is a HUGE issue that is not often discussed here.

Rehabbing is expensive and hard to manage. Moving a home inevitably requires rehab after it is installed.

There is typically a “repo list” for a given area for financed homes that are being repossessed. Find out who the contact person for your area is with the major MH lenders (e.g., Vanderbilt & Clayton subsidiaries). You want to get on these repo email contact lists and get the “blast” for each month of repo’d homes in your area.

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