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The RV Afterlife: Mobile Homes

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3 hours ago, Darryl&Rita said:

Can't watch from Canada. Give us a synopsis. 

Basically, buying a mobilehome in a park where you only rent the underlying land can be financial suicide. A mobilehome is a depreciating asset like a car or RV, the problem is once it's put in place it's extremely difficult and expensive to re-locate, often exceeding the value of the home itself. 

About 20 million Americans, or about 18% of the housing market, lives in mobilehomes.

Lately major private equity firms have taken notice of this captive market, buying up existing mobilehome parks from mom-and-pop operators and then dramatically increasing the rents to maximize their profits.

One entrepreneur even holds day long seminars showing individual investors how to do this.  As part of the session they take busloads of prospects through local parks to see the potential first hand.  One quote from the organizerr characterizes mobile home park tenants as "Waffle House patrons chained to their booths", unable to leave without abandoning their homes, which then become abandoned property subject to taking by the park owner.

Buying a mobile home or a manufacturered house on a piece of property you own is fine, just avoid buying one where someone else owns the land underneath it.

Zulu's link jumps in 3:35 from the start of the 15 minute piece.  It's worth backtracking and watching it from the beginning.

Here's some supplemental reading and videos:

The Mobile Home Trap: How A Warren Buffet Empire Preys on the Poor (Seattle Times)

Mobile Home Economics (Frank Rolfe)

Trailer Park Millionaires



Edited by Lou Schneider
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We once owned a mobile home in Texas. It was the most affordable housing in the small town where we were stationed. We lost a lot of money on it when the park in Minnesota we were having it moved to when Dave was discharged from the Army rented our lot to someone else leaving us with no place to park it thus making us have to sell the home. Somehow that park found a spot for our buyer, though. That was back in 1970. Apparently things have not improved since then.


Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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I bought  a used mohilehome in a park when I was in my 20s, also as the most affordable housing in the area.  It was a fixer-upper that had been foreclosed on from a cat lady and her two alcoholic sons.  I rehabilitated it and lived in it comfortably for several years until I took a job in another city.  Just as I was getting ready to sell, the owner converted the park to "55 and over" destroying the home's resale value.  Existing families and underage tenants were grandfathered in place, but the home could only be sold to someone over 55.

I hung on for another 3 years paying the monthly space rent (which did not increase) while the house stood vacant.  Eventually a tenant's suit overturned the 55+ edict and I was able to sell it for a price that let me break even on the original purchase price and the extra 3 years of space rent.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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Trading real estate taxes, HOA fees, maintenance, insurance, gym memberships etc for an all inclusive lease may not be such a bad thing. Saw lots of nice parks in Mesa and Apace Junction where folks lease their lots and own their homes."Financial suicide" may not be true in many cases when folks know what they are getting into and have money to back up their decisions.

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We own a Park Model in a park in Mesa.   We bought it from a woman whose husband had died.  We got it fairly cheaply, it is nothing fancy, but it is all we need in the winter, and the lot rent does go up, but we have that factored in.  We don't expect to make money, in fact at some point we will just turn it over to the park to have it hauled away (there is a market for these even when they appear very, very old and frail) and we will move into assisted living, etc.   

Barb & Dave O'Keeffe
2002 Alpine 36 MDDS (Figment II), 2018 Ford C-Max HYBRID
Blog: http://www.barbanddave.net
SPK# 90761 FMCA #F337834

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Don't know about any other parts of the country, but I have some first hand knowledge of this subject as it applies to Florida.

My mother had her park model destroyed during a hurricane in Punta Gorda years ago (Charlie).  She moved south to the Ft Myers are and purchased a 2 year old unit in a gated rent park.  It was a very nice park and her place was about 1,100 square feet, stamped drive, two lanais, very nice.  Rent, utilities, and HOAs were around $300 and she paid $80,000 for her unit.

Fast forward to this spring.  She turned 90 and it was time to sell.  She needed to be back north around family, plus the rent had risen to over $500 a month.  She was lucky because of the economy in that area was so strong she was able to sell her place for $36,000.

But if she had originally purchased in a similar park where she owned her own lot, I suspect she would have been selling for closer to $120,000 or $130,000.  Plus during her years in the park she would have had annual expenses of closer to $2,000 a year instead of over $5,000 a year.

There are probably millions of park models in Florida.  We have friends who live in a gated park in Naples where everyone owns their own lot.  It is age restricted along with a rental restriction.  They pay less than $250 a month HOA fees, and about $600 a year in property taxes.  They paid around $60,000 just a few years ago for their place.

Joe & Cindy

Newmar 4369 Ventana

Pulling 24' enclosed (Mini Cooper, Harley, 2 Kayaks)

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Our Rv adventure is winding down. We own a lot in a HOA  in Florida one of these days we will put a Single wide, ?Park Model? on it until then our 5th wheel is doing the job.

Helen and I are long timers ..08 F-350 Ford,LB,CC,6.4L,4X4, Dually,4:10 diff dragging around a 2013 Montana 3402 Big Sky

SKP 100137. North Ridgeville, Ohio in the summer, sort of and where ever it is warm in the winter.

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