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Old 12-23-2008, 07:55 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Seminole, FL
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Resident Owned Mobile Home Parks

My Darling Marcie has recently retired and is anxious to leave the St. Petersburg area in favor of somewhere less traffic intensive. We have twice lived in rented mobile homes but have never owned one. We are now officially geezers and we want to live with other geezers in a "fifty five or older, resident owned mobile home park." Sort of up scale trailer trash, I guess.

The places we have checked out on the internet all refer, in one way or another, to "shares." I take the word to mean a charge or a fee that all residents must pay in order to consider themselves part owners of the park. What I don't understand is if these "shares" are paid as part of the monthly expenses of living in said park, or if they are required as a lump sum, or if we have to pay "shares" based on how long the place has existed before we move in or what----I can't seem to locate any real information on this, so I turn, as always, to the smartest people I know: Dopers.

If anyone has any ideas, information, opinions, etc., etc., I will be pleased to receive them.
And, if anyone can make a case for simply paying a monthly fee to rent a mobile home lot, I would enjoy hearing that as well.

As always, thanks in advance for any replies.
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:01 AM
Savannah Savannah is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
We live in a mobile home. (Nope, I didn't imagine this, but that's life for you.) We own the mobile, which isn't really mobile, and pay a monthly pad fee. It's like being halfway between being homeowners and renters.

The advantages are:

1. Cost. Victoria is very, very expensive and this was a far cheaper alternative.

2. Independence. No shared walls (sometimes I like to listen to music and do housework, don't have to tiptoe around in the late evenings, etc.) Even in a townhouse with a separate entrance and a small yard, there were still noise issues--I was very aware of shared walls and stereo/TV usage.

3. Yard. I like having a yard and garden to putter around in and be outside.

4. The specific location--we're in a quiet complex out of the city and away from traffic and noise. Our place backs onto a regional park. I can literally walk out my back yard and into Mill Hill Regional Park. That means the deer, raccoon, bunnies, etc. can do the same in reverse...

5. Pets. We both really wanted a dog, but wouldn't consider it if we were renting a condo or apartment. There are other factors that also made it right for us to have the dog, but I wouldn't chance it as a pure renter.

6. Not being in a strata. We bought a condo shortly after we married, and went through the Leaky Condo Crisis. I despised the strata, but even without a major disaster, I don't like stratas, with their petty bickering and endless rules. I also don't want to have to abide by some of the rules--what you can put on your balcony, the colour of your blinds, and so on.

7. Home ownership. Okay, mobile home ownership. But since we own it, we can upgrade, paint, etc. but also because everyone else owns their place (no renters here, other than we are all tenants of the park) there is incentive for neighbours to take care of their units and lot.

8. Age / population. Our park restricts occupants of a unit to a maximum of two people. There aren't huge families of noisy children, and there aren't extended families with extra vehicles and so on. Our neighbours on either side are a single man and a single woman. Next to them on each side, is a couple without kids or without kids at home. Low population density is a plus for us; we like it quiet. Also, there's a good contingent of older folks/retirees. That suits me fine--they don't party all night, blast music, etc. I don't mind elderly neighbours at all.

Disadvantages. Well, there are disadvantages, for sure.

1. Investment appreciation. Apparently, nil. Apparently these things only go down in value, never up, unlike buying a house. Even with the improvements we've put in, I don't expect to make money if we sell. I'd like to sell it for more than we bought it for, but that may not happen.

2. They are harder to sell than a traditional house.

3. The park owner can decide not to have a mobile home park anymore, and we're in trouble. Our municipality has put in stronger protection for mobile home owners, but as land is increasingly expensive here on Vancouver Island and redevelopment has been, until recently, very active, there's the worry that we might get eviction notices.

Which leads to the problem--you see any new mobile home parks? Not where we live. Sure, we own the unit and can move it--but to where?

4. ...and we can't really move the unit. It's 1974-era doublewide, with a new drywall ceiling and carpeting. I seriously doubt you could take it apart and move it successfully. The carpet and ceiling wouldn't be the same, and I doubt that once put together, it would really come apart. It's not really mobile at all, and neither are most of the others in the complex, with renovations and additions. And there is a pretty little bridge you cross as you enter the park--single lane. You couldn't move this out of here in one piece either.

5. There is a stigma attached to living in this kind of housing. I hate, hate, hate "Trailer Park Boys"...

6. I'm sure newer units are nicer, in fact, I know they are, because 10 new ones came into our park over the last year. But ours is kind of... crappy. The walls are hollow, the cabinets and fittings are cheap, nothing is standard (e.g. door sizes, bathtub size, even the hot water tank is an oddball size) and hard to replace/repair. Upgrades we've made are cosmetic and affordable: paint, carpet, lino, dishwasher, ceiling. But it's not worth it for us to put in a new furnace, roof, etc.

7. No sense of ownership of the land. We have all the responsibility of lawn/garden maintenance, but it still bugs me that it's not "my" land. It's my home, but I don't own the ground it sits on. We should probably have the driveway repaved, but I don't feel like spending the money, because we don't 'own' the driveway and why should I? (Pout.)

8. Pad fee includes water, sewer, garbage/recycling pickup and stuff like that. So we don't have to pay those utilities.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions, PM me.

In our case, keep in mind, we're early 40s, hope to be in a house eventually and Victoria, BC may be a lot different from where you live--Florida, right? (It doesn't show location on the compose screen.) Some of the drawbacks we experience may not be drawbacks for you. Some of the advantages like having a dog and a yard may not matter to you.

But I'm happier here than in a rental condo on a noisy intersection, that's for sure. If the owner wanted to retire and not have this park any more, it would be awesome if we could go into a co-op kind of deal and buy our lot. Even though I don't like stratas, I'd seriously love the opportunity to buy the land the unit sits on.
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:03 AM
Savannah Savannah is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by LouisB View Post
The places we have checked out on the internet all refer, in one way or another, to "shares." I take the word to mean a charge or a fee that all residents must pay in order to consider themselves part owners of the park. What I don't understand is if these "shares" are paid as part of the monthly expenses of living in said park, or if they are required as a lump sum, or if we have to pay "shares" based on how long the place has existed before we move in or what----I can't seem to locate any real information on this, so I turn, as always, to the smartest people I know: Dopers.

If anyone has any ideas, information, opinions, etc., etc., I will be pleased to receive them. And, if anyone can make a case for simply paying a monthly fee to rent a mobile home lot, I would enjoy hearing that as well.
I'm sorry, but I can't help you on the "shares" thing, either. We pay a monthly pad fee and yearly property taxes.

I hope I've helped with the last bit of your question, though!
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