How to Buy a Mobile Home Park: Key Steps For Investing

How to Buy a Mobile Home Park: Key Steps For Investing

Buying a mobile home park (trailer park) can be a great way to make passive income, but it’s important to know all the details before you start.

Mobile home parks are a special kind of real estate investment. How you may ask?

They let you own land and make money from people renting space for their mobile homes (known as lot rent).

This article will help you understand what you need to think about when you’re looking to buy a mobile home park.

In a nutshell, here’s what buying a mobile home park usually involves:

  1. Finding the Right Place: You need to look for a property that’s just right for you. This means it should be in a good location, affordable, and have the potential to make money.

  2. Understanding the Money Part: As with any type of real estate investment, it’s important to figure out if you can make a profit from your trailer park. This means looking at how much money it can bring in and how much it will cost to keep it running.

  3. Following the Rules: You also must ensure everything is legal and follows local laws. This is about making sure the property meets all the rules and regulations of the area.

Key Takeaways

  • Buying a trailer park requires understanding the types of parks and their financial potential.
  • Navigating legal processes is essential for a smooth trailer park acquisition.
  • Investing in a well-managed park can yield consistent cash flow and long-term appreciation.
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What is a Trailer Park?

trailer park, also known as a mobile home park or manufactured home community, is a residential area where mobile homes are placed on rented lots.

These parks cater to those seeking affordable housing options. When considering the purchase of a trailer park, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the various aspects that make these communities unique.

Trailer Park 1

As a potential investor, you should know the different types of mobile homes. These include:

  1. Single-wide – typically ranging from 600 to 1,300 square feet in size
  2. Double-wide – often twice the size of a single-wide, providing more living space
  3. Triple-wide – rarer and more spacious, up to 3,000 square feet or more

Legal distinctions

The legal distinctions between mobile homes and traditional homes are another crucial factor to understand when purchasing a mobile home park (MHP).

Mobile homes are typically governed by different regulations and zoning laws, varying from state to state. Be sure to research the specific laws governing the area where you plan to invest.

Amenities and services

When evaluating potential MHP investments, consider the amenities and services offered within the park. Some parks include:

  • Paved roads
  • Landscaping and green spaces
  • On-site laundry facilities
  • Community centers and recreational areas

Rental agreements and fees

Finally, take note of rental agreements and fees within the park. Lot rents typically cover the space where the mobile home is placed, and additional fees may apply for utilities or other services.

Understanding how these fees contribute to the park’s overall profitability is essential as an investor.

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Why Buy a Mobile Home Park?

When I first considered investing in real estate, buying a trailer park wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. However, I quickly learned that owning one can be a lucrative business venture.

There are several reasons why you should consider investing in a trailer park.

Affordable housing

First, it allows you to meet the high demand for affordable housing in today’s market. With housing costs continually on the rise, more people are turning to mobile homes as a cost-effective solution.

By investing in a mobile home park, you can provide a service that caters to this growing segment of the population.

I’m from Louisiana and realize that these parks are great investments to consider in the South.

Passive income

Not only does mobile home park investing allow you to keep up with the demand for affordable housing, but it also offers a potential for significant cash flow.

In many cases, owning the land in a mobile home park means you don’t own the individual units (aka as tenant-owned homes or TOH), making the cost per unit lower than other real estate investments.

It allows you to benefit from lower upfront investments and maintenance costs. Consequently, this can result in higher profits.

Here’s a quick comparison of mobile home park investing and other real estate investments:

Investment Type Upfront Cost Maintenance Cost Cash Flow Potential
Mobile Home Park Low Low High
Market Rate Housing High High Moderate

Rent vs owning

Another benefit of owning a mobile home park is that you have the opportunity to decide whether you want to rent the land, own and rent the homes within the park, or a combination of both.

Owning the land and renting it can generate ongoing rental income, and owning the homes can lead to potentially higher rental or sale proceeds.

Lower turnover

Last but not least, mobile home parks often have lower turnover rates compared to traditional rental properties.

Many residents treat their mobile homes as long-term living situations, leading to stable tenant relationships and decreased vacancy rates.

Types of MHPs

#1. Mobile Home Parks

Mobile home parks are a popular form of affordable housing, often found in both rural areas and on the outskirts of urban development.

These communities typically consist of pre-built, single-wide homes transported to the park and placed on a rented or owned lot.

Mobile homes provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional stick-built houses, especially for first-time homebuyers or retirees looking to downsize.

Some advantages of mobile home parks include:

  • Lower initial cost compared to traditional homes
  • A sense of community among residents
  • Access to shared amenities such as community centers and playgrounds

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited appreciation in property value
  • Potential for higher maintenance costs due to the modular construction

#2. RV Parks

RV parks cater to recreational vehicles, including campers, travel trailers, and motorhomes.

These parks often provide short-term and long-term rental spaces for RV owners, with amenities such as electrical and water hookups, laundry facilities, and communal areas for socializing.


RV parks can be attractive options for individuals or families looking to travel and explore without being tied down to a single location.

Related article: RV Park Investing: What New Investors Should Know

Common features of RV parks are:

  • Daily, weekly, or monthly rental rates
  • On-site amenities like restrooms, showers, and recreational facilities
  • A sense of adventure and camaraderie among fellow travelers

To learn more about RV park investing, check out this video:

#3. Manufactured Home Communities

Similar to mobile home parks, manufactured home communities consist of pre-fabricated homes designed for long-term living. These homes are often larger and more customizable than mobile homes and may be built with higher-quality materials.

Manufactured homes can be placed on a rented or purchased lot within the community, frequently offering shared amenities and common areas for residents to enjoy.

Here’s a comparison of manufactured homes and mobile homes:

Feature Manufactured Home Mobile Home
Construction Built to HUD code, modern standards Often built before 1976, less strict codes
Size Typically larger, double-wide or more Smaller, single-wide
Customization More options available Limited options
Amenities Often found in upscale communities More standard amenities

While the upfront cost of a manufactured home may be higher than a mobile home, the potential for increased customization and appreciation in property value could make this a more attractive option for some buyers.

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How To Get Started in MHP Investing

Creating Your Business Plan

The first step in buying a mobile home park is to create a solid business plan. This will serve as a roadmap for your investment journey and help you set concrete goals. Consider the following elements as you develop your plan:

  • Objectives: Clearly outline your short-term and long-term objectives for investing in a mobile home park. This could include generating passive income, diversifying your investment portfolio, or capitalizing on a growing market opportunity.
  • Budget: Determine how much capital you’re willing to invest and consider other financial resources available, such as loans or partnerships with other investors.
  • Operations: Outline the operational aspects of your mobile home park business, including the roles and responsibilities of any team members or partners.
  • Legal Entity: Establish a business name and decide on the legal structure for your real estate investment, such as an LLC or a corporation. This is critical for tax and legal liability purposes.
  • Marketing: Develop a marketing strategy to attract tenants and buyers to your mobile home park.

Knowing Your Market

Being knowledgeable about the MHP market is key to making informed decisions. Using resources like the U.S. Census Bureau and real estate reports can help you identify current market trends and forecast future opportunities.

As you analyze your market, consider the following factors:

  • Location: Research and identify locations with strong demand for affordable housing and potential population growth. Also, look for areas with favorable zoning and regulatory environments for mobile home parks.
  • Demographics: Understand the demographic characteristics of your target market, such as age, income, and family composition. This information can help you better cater to your tenants’ needs and preferences.
  • Competition: Assess the competition in your chosen market by analyzing the number of existing mobile home parks, their occupancy rates, and the types of amenities they offer.
  • Economic Indicators: Investigate the local economic indicators that will impact your business, such as job growth, employment rates, and overall economic stability.

Understanding The Financial Aspects

The Cost of Buying a MHP

The cost of purchasing a mobile home park varies depending on location, unit count, and amenities. You might be able to buy a smaller park for around $100,000 or a larger park with 90 to 100 units for several million dollars.

It is important to carefully consider both your budget and the potential return on investment before making a decision.

Financing Options

Financing Option Description Considerations
Personal Loan Loans from banks for personal use. Higher interest rates than mortgages.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Government-sponsored mortgage loan programs. Attractive terms for mobile home parks.
Chattel Loans Loans for manufactured homes. Higher interest rates, quicker approval.
Home Loans Traditional mortgage loans from lenders. Various types, including fixed and adjustable rates.
Loan Programs SBA 7(a) or 504 loans. Government-backed with favorable terms.
VA Loans Loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. For veterans and military members, with specific eligibility requirements.

While different financing options are available, it’s essential first to assess your financial situation and research the various loan products offered by banks and mortgage lenders.

Choose the best option that meets your specific needs and budget.

Processes and Legalities Involved

Complying with State Laws

When purchasing a MHP, you must familiarize yourself with the state laws that govern them. Laws differ from state to state, so understanding the requirements in your area is key.

In addition to state regulations, you should also consider the U.S. Department of Housing and local ordinances.

Some common aspects of state law that you need to comply with include:

  • Obtaining necessary permits and licenses
  • Registering your business
  • Paying applicable taxes and fees
  • Complying with zoning restrictions and land-use regulations

Note: Consult an attorney; they can guide you through the legal requirements in detail and help you remain compliant with state and federal laws.

Ensuring Safety Standards

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) sets guidelines for mobile homes that should be followed to guarantee a safe living environment for residents. Inspections may be required to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Some critical safety standards to comply with include:

  1. Manufactured home construction and safety standards: Enforced by the FHA, these regulations ensure that mobile homes are built to meet specific construction, design, and installation requirements.
  2. Local building codes: Check with your local jurisdiction to ensure the park’s mobile homes adhere to building codes and ordinances.
  3. Fire safety: Install smoke detectors, maintain safe distances between homes, and create firebreaks to reduce the risk of fires spreading.
  4. Utility connections: Comply with regulations regarding water, electricity, and gas connections to ensure the well-being of park residents.

Finally, maintain a lease agreement for all residents. A well-drafted lease agreement outlines the terms and conditions of living in the park, provides a legal framework for both parties, and can protect you in case of disputes or issues.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Trailer Park


  1. High Demand: In the face of economic uncertainty or higher interest rates, demand for affordable housing often remains strong. Buying a trailer park may provide consistent cash flow as the affordable housing option becomes more popular.

  2. Low Maintenance: Because mobile homes are considered personal property, maintenance is often the responsibility of the homeowner rather than the park owner. This could translate to reduced maintenance costs for you as the new owner of the park.

  3. Lot Rent Income: One of the main sources of income for trailer park owners comes from the lot rent. Since residents typically own their homes and only rent the lot, this can provide a stable income source for you as the park owner.


  1. Limited Growth Potential: MHPs may have limited growth potential compared to other real estate investments. New homes added to a park may not result in substantial revenue increases, as lot rent is the primary income source.

  2. Higher Interest Rates: While financing rates may vary, parks can sometimes carry higher interest rates than traditional real estate. Rates can fluctuate based on factors like the park’s occupancy rates and overall condition.

  3. Park Regulations and Management: MHP ownership requires ongoing management tasks such as enforcing park rules, screening new tenants, and maintaining common areas. You’ll need to devote time and resources to ensure smooth park operations.

By taking these factors into account when considering purchasing a trailer park, you can make a more informed decision.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Home Park Investing

Mobile home park investing can be a good option for those looking to diversify their investment portfolio and generate a steady stream of income. As the demand for affordable housing increases, this type of investment is becoming more attractive.

However, like any investment, there are risks, and conducting thorough due diligence is essential.

When considering mobile home park investing, it’s important to keep in mind Warren Buffett‘s advice of only investing in businesses you understand. At first glance, mobile home parks may seem like a simple business, but they require a solid understanding of the industry, laws, and regulations in order to succeed.

Make sure that you educate yourself and gain practical experience before diving in.

Maximize ROI

One of the best ways to maximize your return on investment is to make informed decisions when purchasing a mobile home park. Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating a potential investment:

  1. Location: Ensure the area has strong demand for affordable housing, access to transportation, and suitable employment opportunities.
  2. Infrastructure: Check the quality of the park’s utility systems, roads, and common areas, as these require regular maintenance and could impact your bottom line.
  3. Tenant Base: Evaluate the tenant mix in the park. A stable and reliable tenant base is essential for generating consistent income.
  4. Financial Performance: Analyze the park’s historical financials and make sure the numbers make sense for your investment objectives, owning a mobile home park is not always a great thing if the numbers don’t add up.

Due Diligence

Conducting proper due diligence also requires understanding potential risks associated with mobile home park investing. For instance, beware of freebooters who attempt to sell parks without owning them, potentially leading to legal disputes and financial losses.

To avoid such scenarios, make sure to verify ownership through public records and ask for the seller’s Social Security number to establish identity.

Mobile home park investing can be a good idea for those willing to put in the time and effort to manage and maintain the property. However, it requires a solid grasp of the industry’s nuances and ever-changing market conditions.

As the Financial Times suggests, staying informed and being proactive in your approach will help ensure that your mobile home park investment is both profitable and sustainable in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps to finance a mobile home park?

To finance a mobile home park, you should first establish your investment criteria and create a business plan. Next, research available financing options, such as bank loans, seller financing, or partnering with investors. Be prepared to demonstrate the potential profitability, provide complete financial history and details of the park, and have a solid credit score. Finally, work with lenders or investors to secure financing for your investment.

What are the pros and cons of owning a trailer park?


  1. Steady income: Trailer parks can generate consistent cash flow through monthly rent and other fees.
  2. Low overhead: Unlike apartment buildings, there is minimal maintenance and upkeep costs for park owners.
  3. High demand: With the growing need for affordable housing, mobile home parks are in demand.


  1. Management challenges: Enforcing rules and regulations can be difficult, as well as handling tenant disputes.
  2. Financing difficulties: Some lenders may be hesitant to finance mobile home parks due to perceived risks.
  3. Infrastructure: Poorly maintained parks may require significant investment in infrastructure upgrades.

How do trailer park owners make their income?

Trailer park owners generate income through rent collection from the mobile home residents, either by leasing the land on which their homes sit or by renting out mobile homes owned by the park. Additional income sources may include fees for utilities, on-site amenities, and storage services.

What are the risks associated with investing in trailer parks?

Risks associated with investing in trailer parks include fluctuations in occupancy rates, local economic conditions, natural disasters, regulatory changes, and unexpected infrastructure repairs. Additionally, trailer parks often have a negative stigma, which may affect their appeal to potential tenants.

What factors should be considered when searching for a trailer park to purchase?

When searching for a trailer park to purchase, consider factors such as location, amenities, property condition, occupancy rates, and financial performance. Additionally, evaluate the local market demand, nearby competition, and potential for growth. It’s also important to research any zoning, permitting, or regulatory requirements that may impact the viability of the investment.

Are there any specific regulations to start a mobile home park in certain states?

Regulations for starting a mobile home park vary by state and local jurisdictions. Common requirements may include proper zoning, obtaining necessary permits, adhering to building codes, providing adequate utilities and infrastructure, and complying with health and safety regulations. It’s crucial to research and understand the specific laws and regulations in your desired location before investing.