Mobile home parks, in modern times, are not exactly known for their beauty, and time has proven they don't need to be attractive to be successful. However, as more investors come onto the scene and more institutional investors take the pick of the litter there are times that a little curb appeal can go a long way for a mobile home park. Many parks have operated as-is for decades and there are investors who are seeking parks of this nature to add-value, but a seller may find that without some effort on their part to give an added boost, their park may sit on the market longer than they hoped. Sometimes dropping the sale price works, and sometimes a little makeover is all it takes.
In crafting this brief 5-point MHP landscaping guide on MHP curb appeal we developed some criteria to guide us in finding great examples of curb appeal that would work at mobile home parks, as follows:
Our MHP curb appeal criteria
* use of natural and repurposed/recycled materials
* easy and quick to install, and
* appeals to clientele (residents) who might live in a mobile home park
#1 - Mulch is your very best friend! And it's cheap. It does not require water. If you don't like mulch, get rocks. Put it around trees, mailboxes, and in small landscaped areas. Mulch!!
# 2 - Drought-resistant shrubs. Buy them small, water occasionally, and trim once or twice a year into nice shapes. Mix with mulch and rocks and you've got an instant entry face-lift.
#3 - Does your MHP have a bunch of junk laying around? Repurpose it! It may not be your style, but it will probably make the residents smile. Time to clean up & stick flowers in it!
#4 - Rusting & rotting? Something pretty (and free) can come out of decay to give your MHP a little more charm. Use your park's name to your advantage and create a theme.
#5 - Inexpensive corner-fencing mixed with mulch and shrubs and a few flowers that don't require much water and your MHP entrance will kick the whole park up a notch!
As a side note, perhaps you are concerned about theft and vandalism, which is a legitimate concern at some MHPs. Remember your next best friend: cement. Here is some inspiring cleverness in design and theft-proofing using cement at a real mobile home park:
Looking at this example, lets briefly discuss some low-maintenance and budget-conscious improvements this community has made to give greater curb-appeal in a relatively small space:
* The ground area is covered in gravel and the trees are surrounded by mulch - the only thing that will need to be done here is every couple of years do some fill-in as necessary to keep it fresh and prevent weed growth. It looks like they are about due for a touch up to gravel and mulch, both very cheap and easy.
* They've planted some nice slower-growing flowering trees that don't require much watering along border. Pretty self-sustaining.
* They have utilized corner fencing as a backsplash flanking the entry as well as to cover an unsightly water pump system.
* An old rusted tractor frame has been installed to enhance the name of the property (hidden for privacy here, but it is a western name), and it has been secured with concrete blocks and the sign post.
* Nice, but not fancy, signage has been placed with a logo to give a more planned community feel and enhanced with heavy-duty halogen spotlights secured by concrete and bolts.
When sprucing up a mobile home park to be more attractive to buyers and to your target market, remember a little goes a long way. Keep your resident audience in mind and what they are drawn to aesthetically (even if it is not your personal style), which will encourage future potential tenants to choose your park over the one down the road.
Stay tuned for our next issue of Mobile Quarterly for a special feature on this very topic with design ideas and cost examples!