Attracting new residents to your mobile home park can be a challenge. However, you’re in luck. With the knowledge and wisdom of The MHP Expert, you too can attract new residents to your mobile home park with ease. Let’s begin with the classic basics.
Rental rates are a huge factor for a renter when deciding to make your mobile home community their new home. By conducting market research and analyzing the results of your competitors (including residential house rentals and apartment units), you can determine an optimal price point for your units. Thus, making your park the appealing choice. There are a few ways to go about doing this. You can determine how to price your rent by understanding the market for your area. A great way to check the market prices for your area is the ‘old-fashioned’ way. Simply pick up the phone and call your local competitors. Some questions you should be asking are: what the current lot rent is, what they rent homes for, if any utilities are included and if there are any additional charges.
Secondly, you can call your broker and ask for a rent comp report. Any competent MHC broker should be able to generate one for you in minutes. Alternatively, you can order a 3rd party rent comp report from Datacomp (MHVillage) referred to as a JLT report. Lastly, you can run test ads on social media to gauge the audiences feedback about the rent you are proposing for your lot or home.
Maximize Your Curb Appeal
Curb appeal means a lot. The lower quality your stuff is, the lower quality tenants you attract. No one wants to live in a rundown location. Your main goal for your park should be a sense of pride of ownership. Would-be tenants will first notice the main park entrance and roadways so keep them in good condition. Make sure your driveways look good. Keep the grounds well maintained. This includes regularly mowing the lawn regularly (or staying on top of you current tenants to mow their lot properly), trimming the bushes, and removing any dead trees that are standing or fallen. Don’t allow tenants to use their yards as storage areas for household items or broken-down cars or tires etc. Keep all outdoor areas clean and tidy.
Lighting is very important when developing a safe community for your residents. Ensure you stay up to date on keeping your outdoor lighting working. Adding security cameras give the tenants confidence that the property is safe and secure. Don’t allow trash to spread around the park. You or your manager should be picking up trash daily or weekly. Make sure trash cans are stored out of sight or at least put up properly. If you are using a dumpster, make sure tenants put the trash in the dumpster and not around it. Adding a walled perimeter to the dumpster area goes a long way for keeping it out of sight at a low cost. If you have a mail area, make sure it is well lit and tidy and ideally covered. These are all factors that can improve the appeal of your park at a relatively low rate. These key elements create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere to draw in future renters to your property and keep current renters happy.
Strong Community Amenities
More than half of the manufactured home communities in America do not any have amenities, and that is OK. Parks with no amenities tend to be more affordable, which we need. On the other end of the spectrum some parks have a full set of amenities like a pool, clubhouse, pickle ball courts, basketball courts, etc. These parks typically have a higher occupancy rate and higher rents. These border on a resort style community. Parks with even a few small amenities can provide an advantage for procuring tenants.
There are ample ways to spruce up your mobile home park at an affordable price. A few simple amenities would be a barbeque area, or even a basketball court. These are often a cheap and easy installation that does not take up much space. Yet, it still gives a space to create a sense of community. Swimming pool areas can be great amenities, however, between the insurance and the maintenance on the pool area, it may end up being more of a liability. Finally, an easy and affordable amenity is a community garden. This helps foster a comfortable living space while also developing a sense of community. New residents
We know that social media can be a great tool for businesses. But is it right for mobile home parks? With that said, let’s talk about Facebook. Facebook can be utilized as a primary or secondary webpage to bring in potential tenants. This is a great source to showcase your park with imagery and nice testimonials. Facebook can also be utilized as a chat board for current residents. This gives people a space to communicate about any issues that may be happening, or events going on.
In some markets, especially park located in secondary and tertiary markets, we also recommend taking it ‘old school’ and using print media. Listings in the local newspapers can reach an older audience. At my park I would run ads in the “Penny Saver” at a low cost and it would keep my phone ringing with prospective tenants that were retired and on a fixed income. The older audiences can be some of the best tenants. Therefore, you can pick and choose which kind of media marketing is going to get you your targeted residents!
Partnering with Local Businesses
Your current tenants can be a great source of tenant leads. They often have a friend or family member that needs to relocate. Offering an incentive to your tenants to refer people to you is a great way of building good faith with your tenants. Additionally, collaborating with businesses in the local area is crucial. We encourage all mobile home park owners to be in touch with the local community. This can be as simple as working with the churches in the area to host community events or even working with some of the nonprofit organizations.
There are plenty of affordable ways to be involved in your community while also benefiting your mobile home park and its tenants. For example, if you have a large amount of non-fluent English speakers, you may want to consider hosting an English as a second language class. The goal is to find amenities that benefit the tenants of the mobile home park and the local community while improving your occupancy rate and fostering a sense of community.