So you’re ready to take the plunge and invest in a mobile home park? Maybe this is your first park, or perhaps you want to buy an additional park. Either way, good for you! Investing in mobile home parks is a great way to make some income on the side or supplement your retirement funds. Some people love it so much they make it their full-time job.
But when searching for a park, do you find yourself struggling to discover available property in your area? If you can’t find investment opportunities in your area, you may be asking yourself: should I travel to check out a mobile home park? What if it’s hundreds of miles across the state? Or worse, out of state?
Weighing the pros and cons
First, let’s consider some pros and cons. The number one reason to travel to check out a mobile home park is observability. You’ll be able to look the park over yourself. There’s little chance that you’ll miss something important that could make or break the deal. On the other hand, if you’re relying on descriptions and photos, an issue could slip right through the cracks.
It’s always ideal to give investment property a once over personally. After, all it’s your money on the line!
On the other hand, there’s a good chance that traveling could be a waste of time, money, gas, and resources. If you make a long trip, only to discover that the park is in terrible shape and there’s no way you can make it work, you may feel like you’ve lost valuable resources.
When searching for mobile home parks to invest in, you may notice one underlying theme. Many parks on the market are a little shabby, run-down, and disorderly. These are also the parks that have the lowest price tags because the sellers are motivated to get them off their hands ASAP. Chances are, the park you end up buying won’t be as pristine as you would like.
Being an out-of-town park owner
This is where forethought comes in. Buying a park, especially if it is a little run down, requires work on your part. Hands-on work, most likely. Prepare to get your hand in the mud and shape this park into a beautiful community! There’s no way to get around the huge responsibility of owning a mobile home park.
If you travel a few hundred miles to check out a mobile home park and end up buying it, what comes next? Do you have a plan for tackling renovations, upkeep, marketing, and management? We’re not saying it’s impossible or even a bad thing to be an out-of-town landlord. But as a real estate investor, you need to confront these questions realistically and come to a decision that’s right for you. Do you have the time and energy to be a long-distance park owner? Will your income support the periodic trips you take out to your property? These are questions that need to be asked.
Getting help from friends and contacts
Recruiting people you trust can be a valuable tool when buying parks that are out-of-state. The longer you’re in the real estate business, the more contacts you acquire. Assuming you have some real estate contacts, a few helpful friends, or a couple of business partners, give those people a call if they’re located closer to a prospective park than you are. See if they’d be willing to check out a park for you as a favor. Even if a friend doesn’t know a thing about real estate, you can give them a list of things to look for.
This is a great strategy to use if you’re busy or hesitant to spend the gas money needed to make the initial trip. If your contact comes back to you with glowing reports, maybe that will give you a reason to check it out for yourself. Or, if you’re the risky type, you might even decide to buy it on the spot!
Traveling during COVID-19 lockdowns
We can’t let a discussion on travel go without talking about lockdowns. Since lockdowns, especially in states like New York, are part of life now, they bear mentioning. Before traveling out of state to check out a park, do some research. Is the state you’re traveling to requiring a quarantine time? Is your own state suggesting that travel be limited? These mandates could severely limit your ability to travel.
Should I travel to check out a park?
Is it wise to drop what you’re doing and head out across the country to look at a park? It depends! If you’re up for a little adventure and the deal looks sweet enough, then for sure – go for it. But if you’re not certain it will be worth the time, energy, and money, your best bet is either to have a friend look at it for you or to scout out deals closer to home.
And if you need to learn more about mobile home investing, check out our quick start guide to buying mobile home parks.