The Grissim Guides to Manufactured Homes and Land

Book Excerpts / From Chapter 6

Leasing a Home Site in a Manufactured Home Community

There are literally tens of thousands of these land-lease communities in the U.S., many of them, perhaps most, consisting of homes built prior to 1980. They range in size from 20-space mom-and-pop operations to sprawling resort communities in Florida with 1500-2000 spaces and owned by public corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The range of offerings is also large: small quiet communities—some neat and cheery, others seedy and drab—with aging mobile homes and community facilities consisting of no more than a bulletin board and a pay phone; larger bustling mobile home communities with a front office, convenience store and laundromat; manufactured home communities with several hundred spaces offering a social center, swimming pool, and an active homeowners association; and huge resort locations next to golf courses or boating water ways and requiring minimum double-wide or larger manufactured homes built since 1980 and offering many amenities and social activities; and communities characterized by short streets and cul de sacs packed with higher end homes with rock gardens sited very close to each other, and no clubhouse or owners association.

Is land-lease a smart housing option?

...Here’s a more common situation that comes up in areas of the country outside major metropolitan centers and prime real estate locales: a getting-started-in-life couple visits an attractive well-run 20-year old community that has opened up a half dozen new sites that will rent for, say, $375 a month. They check out the community regulations and the lease agreement and everything looks OK. This is the leased land community for which they have been looking. Would it make sense to buy a new manufactured home, financed by a chattel mortgage, and move onto the site? Let’s take a look at the math....