Looking to purchase a home in a mobile home park community? Here are seven questions you must ask the park manager, before you agree to buy.
1) Has the home passed all of the resale inspections required by the community?
Make sure that all needed repairs and improvements are taken care of before you take possession of the home. In order to maintain the quality and appearance of the community, many will require that a home is brought up to the current community standards upon sale.
Note: There are tens of thousands of communities nationwide, and each one will have it’s own requirements. Be sure you check with the manager of the specific community – never assume that the rules are the same from one park to another.
2) Are there any guidelines or requirements that may be in effect when I go to sell this home in the future?
Some communities have rules requiring all homes to be shingled and vinyl sided in order to remain in the community. Some communities require other items be brought up-to-date. These rules may affect your ability to get the maximum value when you sell the home in the future.
Note: When you go to sell your mobile home, MHVillage has a variety of listing options available for you to advertise your mobile home for sale.
3) What utilities and services (if any) are included in the monthly lot rent?
Water, electric, sewer, cable, trash removal, yard maintenance, and snow removal should all be discussed. Is the clubhouse available for your use? What taxes are the responsibility of the home owner? Make sure you understand all the costs involved in home ownership before you buy.
Note: Many manufactured home communities list their amenities on MHVillage. You can search for your community here, by name. However, you should always get the most recent information direct from the manager.
4) What is the current lot rent and how long will it stay at that amount? What is the lot rent history for the last 3 years?
Make sure that you know exactly what your lot rent payments will be both now and in the near future. If future lot rent increases are to be restricted or limited be sure to get that in writing. A small minority of communities are governed by local rent control boards but the vast majority of communities have no restrictions on lot rent increases. Depending on economic conditions, you can expect small rent increases annually to cover costs to maintain the quality of the community.
Some communities or brokers may offer lot rent incentives in order to get you to purchase a home in their community. Make sure you know what your payments will be during the incentive period, how long those incentives last, and what your full lot rent will be once those incentives expire.
Note: In addition to looking at lot rent, make sure you know what your monthly payments will be on the home. If you are getting a mortgage, check out last month’s article on a Mortgage Application Checklist.
5) Does the community currently have any vacant sites?
Homes located in full communities generally sell for more money than homes located in communities with vacant sites, simply because of demand. You may be able to negotiate a great price for a home in a community that has vacant sites and is still growing, since communities are always interested in making sure all sites eventually have homes on them.
Note: Then again, you might have a home that you would like to move into a particular community. You can also search for mobile home parks that have available vacant sites, right on MHVillage.
6) Are there any improvement projects needed or planned for the community?
Everyone knows that the value of their home is affected by how well they take care of it. If you let your home fall to pieces it’s not going to hold its value very well. The same is true of the community. Your home will be worth more in the future if the community owner takes the necessary steps to keep the community up to date and in good repair. Take a tour of the community, and be sure and ask if any improvements are currently needed or planned.
Note: Curious to find out what mobile homes in the area are selling for? A Market Analysis Report will give you a detailed summary of similar and nearby homes that have sold and are currently for sale.
7) Is any part of this community located in a federally designated Flood Hazard Area? Has there ever been any flooding in the community?
During recent years we have all seen photos of homes which have been damaged and destroyed by floods. Federal Flood Insurance will be required if your home is located in a designated flood area. Flood Insurance may be recommended if your home is not in a federally designated flood zone but located in an area that has been prone to flooding in the past. Make sure you ask!
Note: The community manager should be able to tell you about whether the community is in a flood area. If you are looking for insurance, you can get a free mobile home insurance quote here.
Don’t assume that the seller of the home knows all the details about the community where they live. Get your information straight from the source – talk to the community manager! They are there to help. While talking to them, make sure to ask about applications and park approval. Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with a “perfect home” before you’ve talked with the community manager.