So, why are we writing an article aimed at mobile home park owners to get their homes ready for spring? Well, we have two very good reasons:
- Spring is when the housing market is at its busiest
- Homes and landscapes are often in need of repair after winter
Those two reasons should already prick the attention of any involved mobile home park owner, manager or landlord. In this article, we will tell you about the spring housing market as well as show you how to get your homes and your grounds looking as good as new.
Selling homes in the spring housing market
Spring is undoubtedly the busiest time in any realtor’s calendar. It’s when the housing market explodes into action as it seems just about everyone is tired of their old home and looking for a new one. The season starts at the end of February/beginning of March and lasts until the end of May/start of June.
This means that to take full advantage of the rush, you as a mobile home park owner/manager/landlord should have your park ready. This is your chance to fill up those last few empty lots or homes and get your park operating at a sky-high occupancy rate.
What’s so good about selling/renting in spring?
- There is a lot more demand: It seems that, for the most part, the rush for housing during spring is more down to subjective feelings than anything else. People want to align the new year with a new home but don’t want to start looking around during the cold of winter. It also coincides with school holidays and is generally a convenient time to drive around and look at homes.
- Prices are higher: Homes sell for more during spring. It’s simple economics at it’s finest. With hordes of potential new homeowners flooding the markets looking for their new abode, the simple rule of demand means prices shoot up.
- You get to be picky: As long as you make sure that you don’t illegally discriminate against tenants, you have more control over who you allow to live in your park. The rental market is not affected as much as the buying market, but you should still see a steady stream of interested parties which means you can hold out for the best customers.
- Homes are more attractive: People can still easily be fooled by our senses. Homes and lawns just look better during the sunny spring and summer months than during dreary winter. People are also just generally in a more accepting, less survival-oriented, mindset.
You can find plenty of articles online on how to prepare homes for show days.
- Wash windows – One of those things that seem insignificant but will make a huge difference.
- Clean homes – It doesn’t matter if it’s not actually part of the home – people don’t trust a dirty house.
- Lighten up – Not you, the home! Open the curtains and turn on any needed lights. Light spaces look bigger and more inviting.
- Prep the lawn – The lawn should look just as good as the home! It’s all about first impressions.
- Get the tenants to cooperate – If they are about to move out, ask them to pack away as much of their possessions as they can and make sure they are aware of show days.
Preparing homes for spring
The concept of preparing your home for spring is not a new one. Spring cleanings have almost become a yearly tradition in most homes, and for a good reason! First of all, autumn and winter are particularly difficult times of year for a home and put homes under a lot of extra stress.
The harsh weather creates a bunch of possible hazards that could do some real damage if not properly attended to. So, if you own a mobile home park with a few empty homes or you are responsible for the maintenance of homes, the end of winter and the coming of spring is an excellent time to check up on them and make sure they are ready to face the new year.
Unwinterize mobile homes
Ideally, you should have prepared vacant mobile homes in your park for winter. This usually includes shutting off all the water supply to the house and draining all the plumbing as well as relaxing tie-downs to compensate for the soil contracting during cold weather.
If you did these two things, or anything else to prepare vacant homes, now is the time to go through every house and reverse it.
Inspect for damage
Inspect the roof
Snow can either pile onto a roof, increasing the load placed on the roof and the house. This can cause strain on the roof and the house’s structure. Once the snow starts to melt, it can also seep into the ceiling or walls causing extensive water damage.
Dead or dying tries result in twigs, leaves, and branches that can completely cover roofs. Heavy branches can cause extensive damage, but you also have to worry about the much more innocuous twigs and leaves. These can clog drains or find their way into other crevices.
Check the roof itself, gutters, shingles, chimney flashings, etc. Fasten loose gutters and replace or repair any damaged parts.
Check interior for leaks
Exterior damage that has gone on unnoticed long enough can also spread to the interior. Once you have identified and dealt with any problems on the roof, you should also check the interior of the home for any signs of water damage. Chances are, you might have taken care of the problem already.
However, once water damage has occurred, you should repair the affected areas immediately. Check spaces with a lot of plumbing like bathrooms and kitchens as pipes are another vulnerable area.
Inspect the exterior walls
If you live in an area that faced heavy storms or strong winds, you should closely inspect the siding of the home. Signs of damage on this particular part of the house can be harder to identify but should become apparent on close inspection.
There could also be water damage or physical damage from debris. A common issue is that strong winds or heavy rain loosened the siding or wall panels.
Inspect the skirting
While you are at it, you might as well have a look at the skirting. The skirting of the home is equally as important as it is vulnerable. Because it is right on ground level, it faces everything from snow to water to critters to physical damage. The skirting helps to protect the sensitive underbelly of the home and is crucial for insulation.
Windows and doors
This is one area most people glance over. Mobile homes can shift and bend quite a lot in extreme weather which could cause small cracks to develop at the seams, particularly at the rigid window and door frames. Usually, it’s as easy to fix as applying caulk to the tiny cracks.
Inspect the homes’ HVAC and Water Heater systems
Whether the mobile homes were inhabited or not during winter, the HVAC and water heater systems should be inspected. If the home was occupied, they were most likely under an unusual amount of strain as tenants tried to cope with the cold weather. If they were vacant, they might have been damaged by the elements or fallen into disrepair.
Inspect mobile homes’ underbellies
The underbelly of mobile homes is one of their soft spots. It’s easy for water or snow to collect during winter and might even have become the home of some animal critters. It’s also where vital systems like the HVAC, furnace, and water heater systems are located.
On top of inspecting these and the skirting individually, you should also give the entire space a thorough inspection. Check that the waterproof material that covers the ground is still in working condition.
Preparing the grounds for spring
Inspect the drains
Debris from dead plants and trees can also clog up and block your drains running through the mobile home park. Storm drains should be located along your roads as well as leading from homes in lots.
Clogged drains can be hazardous for many reasons. For one, they can obscure roads and make them slippery. They can also form large enough puddles that they damage lawns or property. It can also help the formation of potholes.
It’s not hard to clear these drains yourself, but it might be time-consuming. You could check if your local municipality can clean them for you or hire professional services.
Check for cracks in driveways, walkways, and roads
The increased amount of water, as well as the soil contracting during winter, can cause cracks to develop in pavements, roads, and sidewalks. The obvious side-effect of these cracks is that they aren’t nice to look at and will make the park appear downtrodden.
Although they might seem harmless at first, they can soon become much larger problems such as when potholes form. Then, they become potentially hazardous. These are tough problems to fix, and you will most likely need to hire a contractor to take care of it for you.
Check lot grading
We’ll just briefly skim over this bit as it shouldn’t be a problem in 99% of cases. The grading of a lot or yard should lead away from the home to aid draining. The grading of your lots should have been done correctly when the park was created. However, this can deteriorate over time particularly as the ground shifts in winter.
Check streetlights, telephone poles, and electric poles
All of these are also vulnerable to the weather and related hazards of winter. Damage isn’t always apparent, but when it becomes more serious, it could have dangerous consequences. Just think of the havoc a falling pole or streetlight could wreak in a mobile home park. It could also interrupt utilities which aren’t ideal for anyone.
Prepare the gardens, lawns, parks
Of course, for your park to stand out, the grounds need to be in tip-top shape. Green grass, trimmed hedges, and vibrant plant life is the key. The cold of winter is not conducive to any of these, and it’s inevitable that all of these would have suffered somewhat.
Spring is associated with rebirth and rejuvenation and is the perfect time to get your landscapes back in shape. Just like a New Year’s fitness resolution.
The public grounds of the park will be the park management’s responsibility. You should review your lease agreements or park rules to establish whether individual lots should be taken care of by the tenants or yourself. Empty lots will also fall under your jurisdiction.
Tips for spring lawn care:
- Raking: Chances are that you are still tired from all the raking you had to do in autumn. The job’s not done yet. There is bound to be much more small debris left over after winter. It’s better to rake these up before they find their way to your drains, attract pests or kill off your grass.
- Aerate lawns: Lawn aeration promotes healthy grass, helps to combat moss, and helps fight the negative symptoms of soil compaction.
- Get rid of moss: Moss can often be a problem that stems from winter. There are a few ways that you can get rid of it, but you will either need specialized equipment or a professional.
- Test the soil: Your soil could be either too acidic or alkaline after winter. You can buy a testing kit or find a local testing center. It’s usually a simple fix, and you only need to spread a chemical that restores the pH balance. Liming is often used to correct acidic soil. You can even test it without a kit.
- Overseeding: Dead patches of grass are often present after winter as the grass is stifled by either the weather or debris. Overseeding is just spreading new grass seeds to grow over these spots.
- Fertilize: To take full advantage of the growth potential during the coming season, you should also fertilize your lawns. This can sometimes be smelly, so it would be polite to warn your tenants beforehand.
- Herbicides and pesticides: Not only plants but insects and pests also come to life during this time. Leatherjackets and grubs can wreak havoc on a lawn and weeds will look for any opportunity to take root. Don’t give either any chance to take hold.
- Get your equipment ready: Make sure that your lawn mowers, trimmers, and other gardening equipment are ready to go. Stock up on anything you need. Don’t forget about fuel and motor oil if your equipment requires it.
You can find more tips on spring lawn care from HGTV.
Spring is in the air!
Well, that’s about all you need to know to get your park ready for spring! Spring is the time of year for turning a new leaf and getting a new lease on life, and it should be no different for your mobile home park.