Before you close down your park, we hope you’ll take a second look at the big picture. We get it. You feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope and feel there is no other choice.

Closed sign on a business

But is that accurate? Mind if we take you by the hand for another review of the options before you? Maybe it’s not as bad as you think it is. Maybe there are other alternatives available to you.

Have you weighed all the options? As you know, it’s a big decision that will affect many lives. Families, young couples, the elderly find refuge in the mobile home park community. Having an affordable housing option is a perk to any location.

We get that you may feel like you have no other choice but to move forward with closing down but take heart. Things may not be as hopeless as they seem to be. We have a few ideas for your consideration.

Things to consider before closing down your park

So let’s get started. Here, we’ve laid out some things you’ll want to consider before going through the closing process. We hope this section will help you understand what’s at stake. There’s no doubt you understand your side of the conundrum well. Although the following may not change the park’s direction, it may help you understand how to communicate and help your residents — come what may!

Real people with real families call it home

To put yourself in your park’s shoes is to understand that the park is not a business to them. The mobile home park is their home. While they may own the mobile homes, the property they sit on belongs to you. They came into this park without the expectation that it would sell, requiring residents to be uprooted.

With that in mind, they’ve invested their emotions, time and resources into their homes. And you know the old saying — “there’s no place like home.” Closing down the park will be hard for these folks.

People will be afraid

We don’t say this to guilt trip you into not closing down your park. It’s just important that you understand the impact of such a move. Don’t hide from the consequences. Look them dead in the eye and see how you can show that you care about your residents.

Real people may face, or feel like they’re facing, homelessness. Don’t be calloused to that.

A man holding his face in his hands

Understanding that people will be afraid will help you help them. When people are afraid, they either lash out or (try to) live in denial of the hard facts.

Before you close down your park, the best thing you can do is understand the high strung emotions you’ll be dealing with. Be prepared to receive negative responses and be prepared to help your residents see the reality of the decision. It’s better to live in reality while something can be done for a smooth transition rather than snap into it at the last minute.

Have you looked into the alternatives?

There is always a market for affordable housing. As a mobile home park owner, you are positioned to help others while getting a return on your investment. Look into alternatives. If you don’t want to be in the business, someone else may be able and willing. And that brings us to our next section.

Alternatives to closing down

There are alternatives to closing down the park. Have you considered these alternatives? We have three ideas for your consideration.

Revisit the cost of rent

In many “mom and pop” owned mobile home parks, the owners have not kept up with inflation. And while the world around them keeps up with inflation, rent rates remain the same. This is not helpful to the livelihood of the park as the owners end up losing money. The end result is the closing down of the park or the owner selling.

Take a hard look at your rent and compare it with what other mobile home parks are doing near you. You shouldn’t be far too different in pricing so long as your park is comparable in quality and features.

Raising the rent could save the park. But don’t just raise it. Be open with your community and give them a warning and an explanation of the why.

Sell to an investor who brings hope

Four people clapping hands

Now, what about selling your park to an investor? Instead of closing it down, advertise your park to mobile home park investors. Interview investors and do what you can to vet them. This will go a long way in ensuring your residents have hope for the future.

Invite your mobile home park to set up a coop

Say goodbye to the mobile home park if you must.

But take a gander at this third option. Invite your residents to set up a resident-owned mobile home cooperative. This will ensure the future of the mobile home park remains in the hands of the mobile home residents.

There’s always hope, always a silver lining

In the role of a mobile home park owner, there is a great responsibility. We know you don’t make your decisions lightly. If anything, we trust you will find a way to leave your park residents with hope of some kind.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet and have empty lots, think about opening your park to investor-owned mobile homes.

About Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.