WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR PARK HAS LESS SKIRTING THAN A MEN’S STORE
Nothing is uglier than a mobile home without skirting. Even a brand new, top-of-the-line mobile home with a shingles roof and vinyl siding looks like junk in the absence of nice vinyl skirting to hide all the tie-downs and concrete blocks and pipes.
So what do you do when the mobile home park you’ve bought has virtually no skirting on the homes? The first question to ask is what kind of finances do your tenants have? If you are like me, they live pretty much hand to mouth. So what do you do?
You don’t have a lot of choices. You can’t afford to kick all of your tenants out, and so threatening to kick them out if they don’t skirt their house is a bad bluff. You also can’t leave the skirts off since it will scare aware new residents and will keep you from getting a good loan or making a good sale down the road.
Here’s the solution, send a letter stating that effective immediately every home must have a skirt, but that you will organize to have all of the work done and then bill it to the tenant, broken down into six installments of $________ per month. Then, bid the project against several different contractors and then start the project.
But what if you don’t have the capital to install skirting for every home? Forty homes at $1,000 each require $40,000 capital. If you budget is more modest, you will need for the tenant to put in at least the required labor to install the skirts, and then you will need to think creatively. I would be more flexible than to demand only new, vinyl skirting. I have seen great skirting jobs done with metal or fiberglass (see through roof panels for sheds) or even plywood – the important thing is that they paint it to match the house.
Offer to donate the materials if they will install and paint it. Even if they are lousy carpenters, anything looks better than no skirting. And what if you have only a little money? Then start out with the most visible houses first or you can just do the skirting on the two sides of the home that are seen when driving though and pass on the rest for now. Those two sides are the front nearest the street (about 14’ to 16’) and the side seen most frequently from the street based on normal traffic flow. Or you can do just the front half of either or both sides. The point is to hide the ugly part of the home from the street, so that it does not turn off prospective tenants, banks or anyone else, while buying you time to complete the project.
One important point I can’t emphasize enough is the enormous impact of paint. Even the ugliest skirting in the world, like a hybrid of old pieces of plywood, looks acceptable if it is painted to match the color of the trailer. Sure, new vinyl is your best option. But is it worth the extra cost? In many parks that have high density, you can’t even see 75% of the skirting anyway.
The important thing is to get something up fast to block the ugly underside of the mobile home. This one action will make you thousands in immediate re-sale value and new move-ins.
By Frank Rolfe, MHPCollege.com
Frank has owned and operated over 25 mobile home parks and has teamed up with Dave Reynolds of MobileHomeParkStore.com to provide unparrelled education for new and current Mobile Home Park Investors!