If you've been in the wonderful world of mobile home park ownership/investing for any length of time then you are no stranger to the seemingly-simple yet elusive act of filling vacancies. And, while it is true that the most popular type of park to buy today is a value-add property that needs help at some level to live up to its full potential, even value-add properties can get a better sales price and get off the listing faster with some proactive measures in filling vacancies.
Now, given that you are experienced you already know all the most popular methods to fill a vacancy, whether that vacancy be an empty park-owned home for rent or a lot that needs a home. So, we will not be reviewing those strategies in this segment of "Getting To Sold!" Instead, we will be focusing on some new and innovative strategies, services, and programs just over the horizon. Stay tuned to our future new release of Mobile Quarterly to kick off 2017 where we will go into some of these innovations in much greater depth. For now, we'd like to just put it out there. Let's get started!
* Please note: This research has been independently conducted and results evaluated specifically for The McAnuff Group and we were not compensated by any company listed below.
1. Companies Specializing in Filling Vacancies
In the world of mobile home parks this type of specialized service is just entering the scene. I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting with an executive at RenterText at last week's SECO Conference, and learning about their innovative vacancy filling services for mobile home parks. They will streamline your rental process for you, reduce your overhead costs and pre-qualify tenants, and with RenterText there is no contract. Think apartment hunters but for mobile home parks.
2. Free Website Applications + Craig's List
Don't know how to code? No problem. There are ready-made templates available with free website applications online that you can choose from, get a web address assigned to you (though if you want it specific your property will have to buy a domain and hosting), and put your Craig's List and other classified ads to double-duty by providing a link for renters to virtually visit your vacancy. This can be time consuming at first but aren't vacancies consuming your profits? Which is worse: investing extra in your property's online presence in the tech age or losing profits? While you won't get much pizzaz with a free site it's still going to give you extra mileage, both with renters AND with prospective buyers of your property who can take the site over, and hiring a designer will help you even further with achieving this objective - especially with prospective buyers. If you need help in this area, please contact me and we can get you connected with the right resources and people.
3. Social Media
If you think your residents are too elderly or low-income to utilize social media and the internet, think again. The elderly may not be "liking" and posting updates to social media, but their family members are! And, according to the "Opportunity For All? Technology And Learning In Lower Income Families"report a whopping 9 out of 10 low-income families report they have some form of internet access (and, did you know you can attract more residents by offering free wi-fi at your park as an amenity for a relatively low cost as well? But more on that at a later date...) Not convinced yet? Check out the infographic below showing statistics about Facebook alone (P.S. 3/4 of the English-speaking world logged into their Facebook accounts last week.) That said, if you are not utilizing social media effectively you are missing out on a massive market opportunity. Social media can be daunting but if you would like help in this area, give us a call and we can point you in the right direction!
The reality is in today's market the days of "build it and they will come" are over. Value-add properties are dwindling as savvier investors come onto the scene, and current owners of parks can get their property on the road to sold by making small changes one step at a time.