This may get lengthy but it is a serious issue to me as this is basically my life now - as it is for others. I own a subdivision (can sell individual lots if wanted) in Texas. I have owned it for 4 years and bought it from the developer who had it for 5 years, so it is fairly new. I am struggling with a few thefts in the subdivision and some of it is becoming blatent. It has 171 lots and I have about 110 sold with about 100 homes in. My plan is to fill the subdivision as I feel there is a tremendous demand that is only getting stronger. At the same time, some thefts are occurring that is starting to leave a bad perception for potential buyers. Saturday I sold a lot and was to receive $5000 down (received $3k Sat. and was to receive other $2k today) but the buyers started talking to a neighbor and she told him there had been 2 break-ins the day before - that I had not heard about. Apparently, someone just kicked the doors in and it was in the daytime. Needless to say I got a call first thing this a.m. from them wanting their money back.
I normally only sell land/home packages as that is the most demand but I obviously was willing to sell the lot with that downpayment. I actually find there are a lot of people with significant downpayments as I have sold quite a few homes and lots this year like that. I get $3k to $5k or more down and keep their payments affordable ($500 to $650 range normally for land/home). Anyway, I had already been proactive in trying to prevent this situation by starting a neighborhood community watch program. We have monthly meetings designed to have neighbors meet and hopefully look out for each other. Residents have been told it is good to mark their electronic devices with their name and to write down serial numbers. The police have been coming to the meetings and he says our neighborhood is good compared to others. I try to bring residents I believe will be top notch residents and the downpayment usually weeds a lot of people out.
I have considered full-time security but obviously that would be costly and talking with the police they say that doesn’t work because security guards fall asleep or don’t accomplish what the objective is.
I have thought about paying to move one of the police officers helping me into the subdivision as he has a double-wide of his own but can’t afford to move it right now. I considered using part of the $5k (would cost about $2500 to tear down, move, setup, electric and plumbing hookups) to help him move here.
One recent burglary was to a woman, daughter and her daughter. No man in the house so they are petrified now and they are nice people. Do I try to install fences when I move a home in? Pretty expensive for me to do that… Do I install burglar bars on each home? That might not be sending a good message to buyers… Video surveillance? Subdivision covers 40 acres so not sure about that one.
It is very frustrating because unlike Don in a nearby post predicting doom and gloom, I see the tremendous upside as a manufactured home is the most affordable type of housing. We have enough battles everyday with trying to figure out how to bring homes in (as he mentioned), expenses, etc., so when this becomes another battle - and affects the bottom line - it is frustrating - and I feel real bad for people living there that have been affected.
The location is very desirable as it is near schools, shopping, expressway, etc. I try very hard to screen people and don’t think any of the people I have brought in are the problems. There are about 2 problem families in the subdivision but I am limited in what I have been able to do unless they don’t pay. They associate with each other and one of the sons just got out of jail and I have heard of selling marijuana, etc., and they are the rough type and basically not doing much all day. I learned a long time ago not to blame somebody until I was sure but things point that way…
I am sure with soaring gas and food costs that the people who do this type of thing are feeling more justified and feel like it is even more reason to steal. I am the last person to give up so I won’t but I could use some help… Thanks for any suggestions.