If you are reading this, you’re probably aware that a mobile home park is one of the best, albeit unorthodox, investments you can make right now. However, you now face a very prominent concern: How do you actually design a mobile home park? And what makes a mobile home park design a good one?
The fact that you are already worried about this shows that you are a responsible and involved landlord! A mobile home park comes with its own unique challenges and considerations. Finding the right mobile home park website and marketing partner can be difficult.
Find a suitable piece of property
This one should be a no-brainer. Without any land, there can be no mobile home park. Choosing a suitable piece of land isn’t that different from choosing one for a normal housing development.
You will need to take all the usual factors into account, such as:
- Proximity to other services/needs/attractions: People will be more likely to consider your park if there are stores, schools, and malls nearby. These are things most people will need regular access to and will find hard living without. If you live in an area where holiday homes are popular you should consider the nearby attractions.
- Zoning regulations: The land needs to be appropriately zoned for a residential area/mobile home park development. Check with the relevant local authorities if you are unsure. You’ll need permits to subdivide the property and use it as a commercial investment, among other things. The city or local authorities have the discretion to approve or deny your park’s construction, even if it meets all zoning requirements.
- Geography: The more irregular the turf is, the more time and money it will cost you to develop. The flatter the land is, the better. Mobile home park regulations also stipulate that you need to be above a certain water level and only have appropriately zoned homes for the weather conditions.
- Accessibility: Mobile home parks by law need to be accessible to tenants as well as emergency vehicles. This means both the road to your park as well as any other means of access need to be usable and navigable.
- Access to utilities: If there is not already infrastructure in place to service your park with electricity and water, it could cost you a few mil extra to install.
Plan the actual mobile home park design
Rare as they may be, there are actually contractors and architects that specialize in designing these types of developments. You can never go wrong by consulting a professional when tackling a huge endeavor like this.
Additionally, you’ll save yourself a lot of research when it comes to legal requirements. Professional and experienced designers should be familiar with them. Since laws vary from state to state, you’ll need to refer to the one applicable to you. However, you can expect the following:
- Minimum lot size for different types of homes (single-wides, double-wides, etc.).
- The number of cars that should be able to fit into the driveway for each lot.
- The layouts of the streets and roads.
- How far mobile homes should be placed from one another.
Now is a good time to decide if you want your mobile home park to cater to a specific group. In our five-part series on mobile home park ideas, we looked at: 55+ communities, family mobile home parks, luxury mobile homes, felon housing and vacation homes. Decide if one of these might be right for you.
In your mobile home park design, you should also include:
- Whether or not your park will have any requirements for the homes and what they are. For example, a certain color scheme, a certain age, etc.
- Sidewalks, street lamps, and road signs.
- Landscaping for visual appeal and to make maintenance easier.
- Recreational activities and amenities for tenants.
Water and electricity is a basic human right. As such, the installation of these utilities should inform and be part of your development’s planning. Local and state laws may dictate how to install these utilities. You need to plan for cable TV and internet packages if you want to offer them as an extra or as part of your offering.
Plan for amenities
Mobile home parks differ wildly in the amenities they offer. Amenities will make your park more attractive, attract higher-status renters, and allow you to charge more rent. Just remember that you will be responsible for keeping them clean and usable.
Think about the kind of amenities you want to offer. A barbeque area? A common kitchen? A laundromat? A park for kids and animals? A swimming pool? An event hall or clubhouse? You will need to budget for any and all of these on top of your current expense. Designate land based on estimations of the square area needed for your amenities.
Some local laws enforce accessibility to these amenities for all park users so you should make sure everyone has equal and easy access to them.
- Apply for permits: As you might’ve deduced from the number of times we mentioned zoning and local regulations, there will be a long and complicated application process. You will have to apply for, and be granted, numerous separate permits. The exact nature of these permits, the application process, and the stipulations need to be obtained from your local authorities. To minimize the back-and-forth and help your cause you should hire a professional lawyer specializing in this. Here is one of the permits required for Michigan.
- Get financing: If you have the cash in hand to pay a couple million dollars to develop a mobile home park, good for you! If not, you will need to obtain financing which is very hard for a mobile home park. Despite being excellent investments, it’s very hard to receive the go-ahead to build them. Banks consider mobile home parks to be risky investments which dramatically hurts your chances of financial backing.
Time to get started!
We hope that this guide helps put you on your way to establishing a mobile home park that both you and your tenants will be happy and proud to be a part of! A development like this should never be taken lightly and we recommend you always consult a professional every step of the way. If you do so, running a mobile home park can be a surprisingly painless and rewarding experience.