Yes, that’s right. Scruffy. While we’re not a fan of the adjective for describing mobile home parks, we won’t deny it. There are mobile home parks that denote the stigma surrounding the mere mention “mobile home.”

Just as we have dilapidated stick built neighborhoods in cities across the nation, we also have mobile homes that need some care. Or more like quite a bit of care.

old home in need of repairs

This is unfortunate. But we’re delighted to say that all is not hopeless. Folks are taking “scruffy” mobile home parks and turning them into a place of visual appeal. Clean, maintained mobile homes are part of what makes a great mobile home park.

3 Scruffy mobile home parks & their amazing transformations

Let’s talk about these mobile home parks and their journey of change. We’ll share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Regardless of your connection to a mobile home park, we hope these stories provide fuel for hope and inspiration.

1 – Park Plaza

In Fridley, Minnesota, you’ll find the mobile home park known as Park Plaza. Several years ago, the residents came together to form a nonprofit co-op, buying the park from the previous owner. 80 homes reside on this property.

Before the residents took control of the park, they only owned the homes the resided in. As far as the park itself, maintenance was poor to nonexistent. Potholes, old water pipes that constantly ruptured held a normal part of park life.

Taking control, the residents voted to raise the rent so as to help renovate the park. The roads have since been repaired and the old water pipes replaced.

Mobile home park under coop ownership

Park Plaza by Bridget Bennett for NPR

It’s a work in progress.

To a mobile home owner, this example should serve as a word of warning. Take responsibility for the well-being of your park. Your community will appreciate it.

2 – Edgewood Trailer Park

Edgewood Trailer Park is nestled in the state Ohio, serving families since the 1950s. Not too long ago, the owners saw the need for some serious renovation. For Edgewood, this meant doing away with the mobile homes that were already there. The owners said that it will cost them about $3,000 per trailer in the removal process.

For the two men who operate the park — Jim and Reed Victor, brothers — their restoration process is in-depth. The park was purchased by their parents back in 1972.

“We want to make it a clean, quiet and safe place to live,” said Jim Victor.

To the brothers, the renovations will require tree removal to protect the storm sewer system and the removal of feral cats through traps. The cats will be sent off to an animal rescue organization.

They’re already reaping the fruit of the steps they’re taking. The health department is pleased and some of the residents are taking better care of their homes and yards.

3 – Airbase Estates Trailer Park

For Airbase Estates Trailer Park, a full remodel is in order. Californian Ryan Kirk rose to the challenge when he saw the listing for the Montgomery, Alabama mobile home park. He said upon walking through the area, it felt like coming to a third world country.

The park stood just outside the city’s poorest area. Because Kirk understood that most of the residents who called the park home lived on a low income, he is renovating the park with that in mind.

In remodeling the park, he knows that the more money he poured into revamping it, the higher the cost of rent will run.

So his solution is to put in used or refurbished appliances, install vinyl flooring rather than hardwood, and keep the amenities to a minimum.

In doing so, Kirk is cleaning up the dilapidated and crime-ridden park, giving tenants a safe place to call home. It’s a long work in progress, but Kirk appears to be a compassionate park owner made of grit.

Bonus: Buena Vista Mobile Home Park

Over 100 homes are found in Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. In dire need of repair, the new park owner stepped up to the challenge. Some of the renovations required ditching mobile homes beyond repair. Other projects required some hands-on repairs to bring the homes up to HUD standards.

Additionally, the operator has overseen the removal of trash and broken cars that provided a home to pests.

Residents notice the changes being made to the park. New plumbing and repaired electrical are some of the perks they’re enjoying. Safety and sanitation improve the park’s quality of life.

The goodbye to scruffy and hello to the transformation

Mobile home renovations are hard work, there’s no doubt about that. But we hope you’ll see the benefit for your mobile home park community. As in the stories above, mobile home park ownership that takes charge can make a difference.

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.