Just as different mobile homes in your park may have different personas, mobile home owners may each be a bit different from one another, too. Wouldn’t it be boring if a park was filled with a whole bunch of people, each one the same as the one before? So today, let’s celebrate the diversity by diving into this concept a little more.
Many ways to slice the pie
Before we jump in, though, let’s note that there could be various ways to approach this concept. And this way is just one. This isn’t an approach in which people get personality surveys loaded with questions about their preferences. It’s just a fun way to get your wheels turning about some of the differences you could encounter in the people living in your mobile home park. Use it to get you thinking deeply about the residents in your park, their lives, and their preferences.
We’ve created some profiles of people you could find living in a manufactured home in your park. And it’s your job to compare them to your real-life experience. Also, we hope we’ll add some new thoughts to your arsenal of mobile home park knowledge.
1. The retirees
Bob & Linda used to live and work in a northern state. They owned a ranch-style home in a rural community. Although they were close to their friends and neighbors, their adult children had moved away for jobs or school and lived in other states. So, when it came time for Bob and Linda to retire, they decided they wanted to move.
They spent several years being snowbirds in the winter – heading down to a southern state for a few months. Thus, they discovered a great way to beat the winter snow. Eventually, they made up their minds to switch to warmer locale full time.
Now they’re on the hunt for a great mobile home park in the South. And they want the place they choose to be close enough to their kids and grandkids in a neighboring state. Plus, they love the idea of having plenty of sunny days and people nearby who are retirees like they are.
What Bob & Linda are looking for
Bob and Linda decide to sit down and list what it is they want (and a few things they don’t want, too). They think writing it all out on paper will help them identify their priorities.
Must haves: As a retired contractor, Bob wants to own his home because he plans to make improvements and handle repairs himself. Linda would really like a place with community events because she’s used to being active and having lots of friends. Plus, they both want it to be located conveniently close to area attractions and shopping hubs. And, they’re used to keeping a very tidy yard, so living in a park that requires people to maintain a certain standard for lawn and landscape is a must. They both want cable TV available, too.
Don’t wants: Bob and Linda agree that noise would be a problem for them. They’re uncomfortable because they envision that some mobile home parks would attract young people with loud parties. On top of that, they’re afraid of abrasive pickup trucks and sports cars peeling out at all hours of the day or night.
Icing on the cake: A park with walking trails would be a plus for Linda who just had knee replacement surgery. Additionally, Bob wants to be allowed to put up a secondary structure (like a small shed) for his woodworking and tinkering. Being able to meet and chat with the park manager before making a decision could win them over. Additionally, they want to feel safe so they’d even be open to a gated-access park (or one with security guards).
2. The just-starting-outs
Caitlyn & Michael got married a few months ago. They decided to move into a mobile home from the apartment they’re currently renting. Even though they hope to save for their own stick-build home in the future, they don’t have enough for a down payment right now. Plus, the mortgage payment they would need is intimidating.
Still, they’ve done the math and they’re convinced that a mobile home is cheaper than their current apartment rent. And, seeing they’re both night owls, they’re getting a little tired of feeling like they have to tiptoe around their apartment so as not to disturb “neighbors” on the other side of the wall.
What Michael & Caitlyn are looking for
Must haves: Michael has been crunching numbers and he knows they need a park with a reasonably low lot rent. If the lot rent is too high, he feels it won’t justify the stress and work of moving out of their apartment.
Don’t wants: Caitlyn grew up thinking mobile homes were B-grade. Though Michael has convinced her they can be a great option, she doesn’t want to move into one that looks off-putting. She’ll probably recoil if she sees rusted metal skirting or water stains trailing from window sills. So she doesn’t want to see a mobile home park filled with dilapidated homes.
Icing on the cake: Both Michael and Caitlyn would jump at a park with a few other successful couples in their age group already living there. It would validate their decision to opt for a mobile home over their apartment.
3. The little family
Tonya & Matt have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. Plus, they’re thrilled to be expecting another baby. Now, they feel like it’s time to move out of the basement apartment they’ve been renting at Matt’s parents’ house. They want to finally move out of the city.
They’re hoping that choosing a mobile home will help them live frugally on just Matt’s income. They want Tonya to stay home with the kids. And they want to begin saving to buy or build their own home someday. Living with mostly older mobile home owners wouldn’t be a problem for them – as long as the neighbors don’t mind having toddlers in the neighborhood.
What Matt & Tonya are looking for
Must haves: Matt will still be working in the city so they need to be close enough to commute. Also, Tonya and the kids will be home during the day so they absolutely must have a place they feel is safe to live and play. Another thing is space for two energetic kids to run around, so a yard is a must.
Don’t wants: Having a safe environment for their little family is a priority. A neighborhood that makes frequent calls to the police would be a no-go. Also, having a lot of irresponsible drivers speeding in and out would turn them off.
Icing on the cake: Tonya would be overjoyed to discover a mobile home park with a playground for the kids. An area where she felt comfortable walking with her stroller would also be a major advantage. And they’d both like to be close to a store for those days when they unexpectedly run out of diapers or wipes.
Note: If Matt and Tonya find that lot rent is close to what they’d pay monthly after financing their own plot of land, they may decide to move and purchase land of their own instead.
4. The bachelor
Corey moved here for a new job less than a year ago. He’s not interested in buying a stick-built house, but he would like his own place. That’s when he decided to consider a mobile home. Since he doesn’t have a family to think of, he doesn’t really care too much about the neighborhood. And he’s not even too picky about the type of mobile home – it doesn’t have to be brand new.
What Corey is looking for
Must haves: Since he won’t have land of his own, Corey really wants a place that’s close to national park land so he can hunt and fish. Plus, he’s not interested in burning up his free time with a long commute, so it needs to be within a half hour of the city where he works.
Don’t wants: Corey isn’t interested in landscape upkeep, so, please… no rules about what his front lawn must look like! And he really doesn’t want to deal with complaints from other residents about the muffler on his pick-up truck or where he parks his 4-wheeler.
Icing on the cake: A shed where he could safely lock up his 4-wheeler might be a deal winner for him. Add a deck on the back where he could set up his grill and a lawn chair, and he’d really be sold.
5. The temporaries
Robert & Caroline just closed down the business they’ve owned for ten years. It’s been a rough season for them, and they just need a little time to get back on their feet, financially speaking. They view a mobile home as a part of that picture. It’s probably not their long-term housing goal. Once they recover from losing their business, they might buy a house.
They’ve owned and lived in several other homes in the past. But a mobile home is a first for them. Robert’s been comparing their options, and he thinks a good mobile home in a nice area could be the perfect solution for this season of their lives. Caroline agreed when she saw his spreadsheet comparing it to the cost of renting a 3-bedroom home in the area.
What Robert & Caroline are looking for
Must haves: Robert & Caroline want a friendly neighborhood where everyone keeps their homes and yards spiffy. They hope for 3 or more bedrooms because they have 2 teenagers and a middle schooler. Good schools are high on their priority list. Also, they’re positive they want a yard, and they’d really love a porch or deck.
Don’t wants: With their young-adult children to think of, they’re very concerned about the influence of neighborhood kids. In fact, Caroline thinks they should drive through the neighborhood a few times at different times of day to get a feel for what goes on there. Plus, if they could talk with a few neighbors, they’d feel a lot better going forward. And while they do want the neighborhood looking good, they don’t want to be overburdened by do’s and don’ts when it comes to maintaining their home and yard.
The icing on the cake: Friendly neighbors (especially other families) would probably win Caroline over.
6. The penny pinchers (and loving it)
One of Nate & Nia’s missions in life is to live on a shoestring budget. Their friends and family laugh at them, but somehow they manage to live on about half of what their peers spend monthly. What do they do with the money left over? Travel the world, of course!
They get a lot of satisfaction out of upcycling, reusing, and pinching pennies. In the end, they think it pays off because they’ve traveled to 4 out of 7 continents (and are making plans to visit the ones they’ve missed). They just determined that with the right mobile home in the right park, they could save even more money each month. Naturally, that started them on a mobile home hunt.
What Nate & Nia are looking for
Must haves: Nate and Nia want a small mobile home to accommodate their minimalist lifestyle. And they don’t own a car, so they’ll need a place close to a bus line or in an area with carpooling options. They’re looking for really low lot rent and for utilities to be cheap, too. After all, the point is to save money.
Don’t wants: They don’t want to live in a community with a lot of rules. In part, that’s because they might make improvements to their mobile home to make it more energy efficient and cost-saving. However, they do want a place where there are friendly neighbors willing to keep an eye on their home while they’re traveling.
The icing on the cake: A home with a scenic view would be inspiring to Nia, who is an artist. Windows that let in a lovely landscape might just snag her.
More things people may want to know before moving in
Do any of these profiles sound like someone you know? What did we miss? Consider creating some profiles of your own based on residents you’ve interacted with before. Use them to stimulate your thought process when it comes to possible needs and wants of residents.
Also, here are a few other things that potential residents may be interested in knowing.
- What does the situation look like when manufactured homes are being moved into or out of the park? No one wants their road blocked up unexpectedly.
- Are the homes mostly rented or owned? Owned homes may be viewed as a more stable group of neighbors, while a community of renters could cause concerns for some.
- How often does local law enforcement have to visit your park? This may matter to some who are doing their due diligence before moving in.
- What do other residents think of the park? People may like to get opinions on the area before moving in.
Be attuned to residents
We hope this has you thinking more about tuning in to the personalities in your mobile home park. Pay attention to the residents and keep an eye and ear out for their needs and wants. And if it has you charged up about what else you could do for residents, then consider Taking Care of Community Health in Your Mobile Home Park.