Mobile Home Tenants - Fixing Mobile Home Park Vacancy Problems
Most mobile home park owners today have vacancy problem, thanks to chattel mortgage crisis that began in 2000. It is not uncommon for a park that was full in 2000 to now be at 60% occupancy due to repossession of homes. If you have been waiting for the mobile home dealers to find mobile home tenants, you are probably depressed and making no progress. So here are some ideas to get you back in action at increasing occupancy.
First of all, you need to locate the folks in your area that have grown to absorb some of the demand that is left unaddressed by dealers. There is still a lot of demand to rent or buy used mobile homes, even if the dealer structure has become a non-player. Most of the time these new "Dealers" are individuals who buy and sell or buy and rent old mobile homes specifically in parks. You need to find these people and get them to bring homes into your park.
Two ways you can find them are to 1) talk to local mobile home movers and ask if they have had any mobile home moves with these individuals (they normally remember them because they have more than one) 2) go to competing mobile home parks and see if you can spot any for sale signs that have the same phone numbers. This is a giveaway that they are not selling there own personal homes, but rather it is a business. Offer these entrepreneurs free rent until they get their home sold or rented in your park, or whatever incentive it takes to make your park their new home base.
Another source of homes is to "steal" them from competing park that is doing a lousy job of keeping their tenants happy. Remember that ‘mobile' means they can be moved. Of course it is not cheap to move a mobile home, so you will have to pay some or all of move cost to get them to move to your property. But it is well worth it. Even at the cost of $3000 for the move, you will get your money back in a year if the rent was $250 per month. Be sure not to ask people to break their lease, only to move to your park if their lease is up and they have the option of moving. Once you get one to move, and they are happy, it is not hard to convince their friends. It is amazing how many park owners give no thought to the resident's retention and just assume they are their slave forever.
A final idea is to convert your vacant lots into something that is wanted, and that can be tapped with a small capital outlay. For example, consider opening a section of your park as an RV park. A small dedicated RV park within a mobile home park can really work if the location is right. And it is possible to test and, if failure, abandon the project with little or no downside. Or you might consider opening a park and store facility for RVs, boats and cars. Try and see what is in demand, and see if you can deliver on it.
In these tough times, it is essential to be creative to fix your occupancy!