Looking to invest in mobile home parks? Try searching off-market with the Reonomy Platform.
Investing in Mobile Home Parks
Mobile home parks are increasingly looking like a strong investment opportunity across the country.
Compared to other commercial property investments, mobile home parks are fairly low maintenance.
Investors purchase the entire mobile home park and lease each pad to residents that either rent or own a mobile home.
A mobile home park owner is simply renting out small pieces of land to others.
Mobile home parks provide affordable housing for low-wage earners in the U.S., and with that, also provide stability to owners in the case of a declining or depressed economy.
It is estimated that roughly 5.6% of the U.S. population—17.7 million people—presently live in mobile homes.
The kicker is that, not only are mobile home parks in demand, but they provide clear returns.
Mobile home parks have the highest cap rate of any real estate niche, at roughly 7-10% nationally.
Only about 20% of mobile home parks in the country are professionally owned, leaving the remainder of the market up for grabs by investors looking to begin or diversify their investment portfolio.
Benefits to Mobile Home Park Investments
There are a number of other benefits that come with investing in mobile home parks, no matter where they are.
Low Cost Per Unit
Mobile home parks allow you to acquire more units for less money.
It is the lowest cost investment per unit of any real estate asset class.
Most park owners own the land, and not the units themselves. This means the cost of investment is typically a lot less in comparison to the number of units.
For example, you might be spending $100,000 + per home or apartment unit, but as little as $10,000 per lot in a mobile home park.
Low Cost of Repairs and Maintenance
Not only is it low cost, but it is also low involvement.
You don’t have to work with contractors, for example.
The owner of the mobile home is responsible for maintenance, updates, and repairs to their residence – not the landlord.
While the mobile home park owner must account for upkeep of the park, it is significantly less than upkeep in an apartment building.
The risk of loss decreases with more units. When you have more tenants, the risk is more spread out.
When you own a large collection of units, the high cost of occurrences, such as eviction or random expenses, are spread out across a large portfolio and are less of a hit.
New mobile home parks aren’t being developed often due to government zoning changes.
This means the demand for mobile homes in well-managed parks is increasing as the need for affordable housing continues to grow. Baby boomers on fixed income are retiring with little savings, and mobile homes are a good solution for the affordable housing deficit.
A huge expense for multi-family properties is tenant turnover.
Cleaning the unit, tracking down a new tenant, lack of income during vacancy all take away thousands of potential monthly income.
Mobile home parks have low turnover because it costs the tenant thousands to move their home out of the park.
Most mobile home park owners plan to stay for at least 5 years. This means that turnover is low, and there is little risk.
If tenants do decide to vacate, they often sell their mobile homes which allows the opportunity to increase the rent of that lot.
Many of the mobile home park owners aren’t huge investors with a ton of capital. Many are simple operations with owners that aren’t professional landlords.
This allows you to purchase at reasonable rates, then create improvements and new value that will attract long-term tenants.
Mobile home park investing is also great for investors who do not want to compete with the huge volume of investors looking for traditional real estate investments.
How to Find Mobile Home Parks
Mobile home parks are highly localized investments.
Most investors have to have a strong knowledge of the area in which they are looking to invest in a mobile home park.
Finding good data on these parks can be extremely difficult. Established investors might be more equipped to identify strong opportunities for mobile home parks.
If you are just starting out on your investments in mobile home parks it can benefit you greatly to start your search close to home.
The most motivated sellers are typically at parks that are run down or not operating optimally. This requires some hands on effort to get the park up and running with efficiency again but can be well worth the investment.
After installing improvements, establishing new park rules and filling vacancies, you can find an on-site manager to take over.
Using an Agent and Listings Platforms
There are a few different ways to approach a local search. One is through local realtors and the MLS. Some realtors in your area may know of properties that aren’t yet listed or are expired listings.
You can also do some research and reach out to local park owners yourself.
Send letters asking owners to contact you if they are looking to sell. Speak to local bank managers.
Bankers know who has a park for sale or who might be looking to retire and sell their park. Establish a relationship that could then lend itself to future funding.
If you want to look outside your area or have run mobile home parks before, there are listings platforms that you can search on such as Loopnet, CREXI, and MobileHomeParkStore.com as well as a number of other city and state-specific listing sites.
Reonomy Off-Market Mobile Home Park Search
If you are looking for an easy way to search mobile home parks in your area OR from a distance, Reonomy offers the greatest amount of options.
Reonomy offers property information, owner details, and owner contact information for mobile home parks across the U.S.
You can go beyond the reported owning entity to find the person behind the LLC. For a search, uncover the owner name, mailing address, phone number and email.
Reonomy allows you to make contact with these owners quickly and easily, and better understand the owner through analyzing their owner portfolio.
See how many and what types of properties they own, for example.
This allows you to dig deeper into the history and details of other land and property they own to help understand each property in true detail, and how to best approach that owner with a potential deal.
Below we will run through a basic sample search in Reonomy that you can conduct to find mobile home parks in your area.
Search by Asset Class
Reonomy offers the ability to search by asset class. If you are only looking for mobile home parks that are classified as such, filter all properties by use case.
Here we start our search in Reonomy with the asset type filter.
Under Multifamily properties, you’ll see a filter for “mobile home park,” and under the Vacant Land section, you’ll see a selection for “mobile home lot.”
Search by Location
Filter your searchable location by State, City, MSA, County, neighborhood, or zip code. You can also filter search through the interactive map to isolate a specific area of search.
Get even more specific with the draw tool to isolate a neighborhood or a few different areas in one city.
Use the radius search tool to isolate a specific mileage to search within.
Search by Date of Last Sale
Focus your search further by filtering for most recent sale date.
Perhaps you are looking to target owners who may be looking to retire and have held onto their properties for a long period of time. This is where you can do so.
Search mobile home park properties that haven’t sold in the past 7, 10, or even 20 years in Los Angeles County.
Search by Lot Acreage
Search even further with building or land area level data. Identify a key park for investment based on size of lot.
Or, to maximize your investment, target mobile home parks in Opportunity Zones.
If you only want a park with a certain number of units, and know the laws for development area, filter search by acreage. Here we have limited the search in South Carolina mobile home parks to those between 7 and 15 acres.
Mobile Home Park Investment Best Practices
As with any investment, due diligence is critical. Current owners may have set rents lower than the market rate.
Conduct interviews with the staff, understand the local economy, get an idea of the current owners in the park.
Build out a buying checklist for yourself to tackle along the way.
3 years of profits and loss statements, tax returns, capital expenditures, utility bills, and rent increases.
Look at the past year of bank statements, all contracts, the rent roll, all signed leases, insurance policies and all utilities information.
Water well tests, sewer plant/septic repair and maintenance records, maps of the park and lot sizes, disclosure from the seller of recent problems with any infrastructure, name and contact information for all contractors.
Local Market checklist:
Average monthly charges, vacancy rate, a profile of the local economy, permits and zoning checks, environmental issues with local area, major developments in surrounding area, and past compliance issues or lawsuits.
Location is extremely important. The best parks are in expensive areas. Providing affordable housing in an expensive area will create high demand.
5 key things to look out for: Infrastructure associated with the lots (utility access), local laws regarding maximum density per acre, the historical net income of the park, the age of the homes and the location.