Is Living In A Mobile Home Park AGood Investment? Sorting the Myths From Reality

Mobile home park living is promoted as a cost-effective way for people to own a home.  The industry has worked long and hard to promote itself as an inexpensive path to home ownership.The homes look great, freshly painted, new carpet, and the promise of the freedom of home ownership.  2x6 walls, vinyl windows, fancy kitchens and other bells and whistles that look so appealing.   They pull you in by offering too good to be true low rent specials, only to sock you with high costs once the promotional period ends.  

What they don't tell you is the home is going to depreciate quickly and lot rent continues to rise.  Once the promo ends, you end up paying more than what a site built home costs.  The cost of ownership continues to rise, while the value of your home continues to go down.  You will never build any equity in a trailer.  In fact, owning a trailer can be more expensive than renting when you factor in the cost of maintenance and repairs of a trailer, you are probably better off renting and putting money into a savings account or investing in the stock market.

One of the greatest benefits of home ownership is the wealth that is created through the appreciation of value in your home.  Owning a home is one of the best ways to build personal wealth.   According to Forbes:   

"A typical homeowner will be ahead of a typical renter by a multiple of 45 on a lifetime financial achievement scale." (1) 

This wealth is built through the appreciation of value in a home.   Manufactured homes, as they like to call trailers, lose value.  There is no equity, and no wealth created.  As the home ages, the costs for maintenance and repair continue to increase, and eventually, the home becomes worthless and must be scrapped.  Why would you invest in something knowing that it will end up being worthless over time?

What about the quality of the home?  Trailer dealers will tell you the homes are built with the same quality of a site built home, but they are not.  The roof of a trailer, the windows, the cabinets, and much more are lower quality and built with inferior materials than a home.  Roof trusses in a regular home are made with 2x4's, where many trailers are built with 2x2 roof trusses that are designed with an emphasis on light weight for transporting the home, not for strength of the roof. 

A manufactured home on land will hold up better than a trailer in the park, where they are set on blocks instead of a permanent foundation.  When the home is set on land, with a perimeter foundation, there is more support for the walls to hold the weight of the roof and the snow load.  The walls sit on a block wall, supporting the home and taking stress off the frame.  In a park, the weight of the roof and walls are transferred back to the frame by metal arms called outriggers.   In some parks, the piers the home sits on are not deep enough in the ground, causing the home to shift when the ground freezes.  This causes cracking in the walls and ceilings, as well as the doors and windows getting out of square.  The freeze and thaw of the ground damages the home if the home shifts with the seasons. 

The biggest difference between a home and a trailer is the fact of who owns the land.  When you rent a lot in a trailer park, you pay for the land, the maintenance and a profit margin for the park owner, who keeps all the equity built up in the land that you paid for.   When you buy a home, you buy the land and the home is considered an improvement to the land.  The value of land is ever rising.  There is only so much land available, and there is no way to create new land.  The limited supply of land, coupled with the rising population creating more demand for housing, drives prices higher and higher over time.  This makes homes a great investment with plenty of potential to build equity.

The owners and operators of trailer parks hope to pull you in with lot rent specials or rent specials on the home.  Once they get you in, the pressure starts for you to purchase the trailer.  Many have resorted to giving you credit for part of your payments towards the down payment. By making an easy path and the promise of a lower payment than what your rent is going to be once that move in special ends.  This is how you end up:

Many people who fall into the trap feel there is no escape, but there is a way out.  You have many options to escape, but it takes work.  What you need is someone who knows how the industry works and how to escape.  With over two decades experience in the manufactured housing industry, we can show you how to get out of the trap and start on the path to real home ownership.   If you are looking for a way out of the trap, click here and let us know how to contact you: