PREFAB & MOBILE HOMES

Mobile Home Investing: an Underrated Opportunity

Mobile home park
Gary Merritt
Written by Gary Merritt

If you’re browsing for investment opportunities, you know that real estate is one of the best choices, but that it’s usually a big investment and requires a lot of money. Also, the real estate market is susceptible to changes in the economy and you may end up hemorrhaging money.

But there is a real estate branch that actually thrives if the economy is bad and works well in normal circumstances. We’re talking about mobile home investing. This is often not the first place people look for an investment opportunity, but with the right savvy, this can be a very profitable move.

We can say that the purpose of this article is not to persuade you into anything, but to give you the facts. All the facts you need in order to make an informative decision on topic of mobile home market investment.

Mobile home investing: Yay or nay?

When it comes to personal finance, everyone wants to save up as much money as possible. This is well known, plain and simple. The main feature of mobile homes is that they afford a low-cost housing. This means that when the economy is good, mobile homes have a stable number of tenants.

Mobile home on sale

But as the economy goes down, more and more people are going to seek out a more affordable place to live. So now more space opens for mobile homes.

The positive aspects of mobile homes investing

There are two possible options when it comes to affordable housing. You could rent a small apartment, or you could purchase a larger mobile house that offers more room. Of course, in normal situations, most people would choose more space and go for a mobile home.

So that means when the economy goes bad, the mobile home market goes up, as there are more people looking to rent a mobile home. But this is not the only reason why mobile home real estate make profit on a larger scale.

There’s one more thing. This one surely takes us one step closer to decision to the question as to whether or not mobile homes are a good investment.

A large group of retired people live in mobile homes seeking a low-cost solution. When people retire, their income goes down. So, now they can’t afford the same cost of living which leads them to mobile homes.

And the good thing about that is, that more and more people retire all the time. So there’s always an increase in demand. And retired people also don’t move that much, so you can consider them your target group tenants.

As a mobile home owner, you also have to think about the expenses. The maintenance every year takes a lot of money. Also there are expenses of paying for the lot. Which leads us to the idea of mobile home park investing. This will remove the expense of maintenance and save you money.

All you need to take care about, as a park owner is that you always have full lots. Once you have all your lots filled, there is a great chance that you may never have an empty slot again. This means that you will always have full occupancy. The prices of mobile home moving are very high for people with low income.

In return, the mobile home owner will rather stay and pay rent than move the home somewhere. And this is interesting because this leads us to the conclusion that you could even increase the rent price by some percent every year. Because every year the tenants would rather pay rent than pay a more expensive moving.

Mobile homes neighborhood

However, it’s pretty hard to build mobile homes park. With all the permits and other bureaucracy expenses, it’s more affordable the buy a park. This is the reason why the prices of parks are a bit higher.

And there’s an advantage in being only a park owner and renting the slots. Once you fill the slot, you don’t need to care if the mobile home is occupied. You only rent the space, the tenants pay rent to the home owners.

But surely, we can’t deny the fact that being a home owner and owning the park as well, is a good business. With all the homes on your park full, you would gather more money than just by owning a park. Even considering the price of maintenance costs you would have to pay as the owner.

So these were some powerful arguments in favor of mobile home investing, as we saw that it could make a fine and steady profit. But that it takes a lot of effort to achieve it in the beginning.

Mobile home with sliding windows

So let’s see what’s not so good about the mobile home real estate business. The next few paragraphs tell a story about what’s driving people away from this business the most.

What drives people away from mobile homes investing

Working with people is not only hard, it is stressful, and some people don’t take that amount of pressure so well.  People to people businesses often lead to legal issues, and no one wants to spend money on that.

We can always imagine people being late for rent, or leave the home without paying and never come back again, etc. Some people don’t appreciate tenants that don’t pay their rent regularly.

Depending on where you are, there are places where you need to acquire a mobile home dealer’s license after you’ve fulfilled some terms required. In most cases this happens when you sell or rent a certain number of homes and the number varies.

Mobile home park photo

This means that by the time you sell or rent, per example, 15 mobile homes you need to get your dealer’s license. And some people don’t want to bother with that.

There are some statistics that claim mobile homes are often occupied by criminals, which could cause a series of problems. Not only would you have to risk potential damage to your properties, you would need to think about the overall safety of the neighborhood.

Also, you may even encounter with some legal issues, which drives a lot of people away. All in all, it would be wise to pay close attention to who you’re having as a tenant.

In case you should look for an exit from this investment, there aren’t many options for you. Selling mobile homes is a difficult task to achieve. People prefer to live in mobile homes and pay you a rent. Of course, there are cases of people buying mobile homes for cash, so you can always find your exit if you look around better.

Invested on a mobile home

And in most cases if you strike a deal and sell your mobile home, there’s a great chance that you may need to receive monthly payments. This is because a large group of mobile home buyers can’t get a bank loan so they could pay you all-cash. There are some cases, but those are very rear occasions.

How to know if this is an investment for you

First of all, this is a person to person business; this type of work is not for everybody. Mobile home real estate is not just sitting and doing nothing and waiting for the money to flow. You need to be able to talk to people, look them in the eyes and buy from them or sell them something.

Also, there is a question as to how flexible you are. You need to be able to make certain compromises, and you need to know how to approach people. This experience has been a problem to a fair amount of people over the years.

If you’re looking to get respect, this is not usually the best business for you. Mobile home real estate business is often being made fun of. And the people that invest in this business don’t get the credit they deserve.

Recent mobile home purchase

A lot of people don’t see mobile home lenders as the hardworking, honest people that many of them are. So you might find yourself in a prejudicial line of business.

And also, if you don’t look for such a large investment, there’s a chance for something smaller, but still efficient. In some cases, the park owners are willing to sell you a lot. As a lot owner you could choose to rent a lot or build a mobile home and rent it. It would take some time, but it would return the money you gave and start to make a profit. And after all, everyone needs to live somewhere.

What you need to know about mobile homes investment business

Every investment requires some knowledge. You can’t just go into an investment without first learning a few things. So let’s take a look at what is really important about mobile home investing and what you need to pay attention to. Also learn some basic terms important to this enterprise.

Learn your target mobile homes

So let’s say you want to buy a mobile home and you want to make the best deal possible. You may know that the best deals would be the ones where you get a well preserved home with a lot of space.

Mobile home transport

It could cost more than some smaller or in not that good condition, but it would attract possible tenants and you would easily return your money. On the other hand, you could also turn your attention to the motivation of your seller. Find a motivated seller and you will get a better deal than with a person you approach with an offer.

So your main target homes should be the ones with motivated sellers. In the end, if the home is not in a great condition, you can use some of the money you saved and fix what’s wrong with the place.

Learn who your buyers are

You can’t hope for a lot of all-cash customers. Most of the people that you could sell mobile homes to don’t have enough cash or can’t get a bank loan so you can look for a partial cash payment and the rest of the money in monthly payments.

Others could look exclusively for monthly payments, so you have to be prepared for that too.  But this is also an opportunity for you. If you are looking for an all-cash deal, you are going to spend a lot of time before selling your mobile house.

Community of mobile home owners

But if you market yourself as a seller that favors monthly payments, then you have the upper hand. You will have more potential buyers ready to pay an overall higher price for your mobile house.

Know your seller

In order to invest in a mobile home, you need to deal with some mobile home sellers. Now, they are regular people, doing what they can to survive. Some of them are doing well and some of them not so well. Their will to sell you a home or a park depends on the state of their finance and the overall state of the property.

Some sellers are not too eager to fix things around their home and rather decide to sell it in such a shape. There are always those sellers that know what they own but still if their home is on the market it means that your seller is willing to sell it.

Try and find an angle to save as much money as possible. There are also those sellers that are fully motivated to sell and they are most likely to undersell.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a long term investment, mobile homes are something you really want to think about. It doesn’t sound as much, but in a long run you could start making a large profit. There are good sides and the bad sides to mobile home investing, but then again, nothing is perfect.

Investing on mobile homes

As any other business, mobile homes require a lot of hard work and engagement. So unless you are ready to a lot of talking with different people and if you are not flexible person, than this business is something you may not be for.

The bottom line is: mobile home investing takes you to a dynamic world full of different people and stories.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Merritt
Gary Merritt

Gary did an engineering degree in Vancouver, BC while working in different construction companies both on-site and in the office. He is passionate about manufacturing process and dreams that one day construction of the house will be as simple as ordering a hamburger in McDonalds. His motto is: “It is possible”. Gary is an optimist and works on making changes in housing situation on global scale.

  • Mark David

    It’s good to know about investment appreciation; mobile homes can appreciate but being in a park limits the rate. Mobile homes setup in a park may be harder to sell than a traditional house. However, with the baby boom this seems to be a non-issue these days. Park owners can sell the park with very little notice.

    • Gary Merritt

      It’s really not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you think that it’s worth the risk getting into then it could be the career that you can get into. Just remember the pros and cons of it.

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