Smart homeowners have flocked to mobile homes for decades, citing their affordability, flexibility, and eco-friendliness as major reasons why they edge out traditional site-built homes in terms of overall appeal. But those new to this housing style may have questions that go beyond the four walls of the manufactured home itself and out into the world of the mobile home park where it resides.
If you don’t have the option to place your unit on private property (or if that idea doesn’t appeal to you, which is understandable), mobile home communities are often the best, most affordable site for your factory-built home. In this guide, we will cover the ins and outs of life in mobile home parks, from the rules, regulations, and laws to the amenities, benefits, and drawbacks, to help you visualize your life in one of these communities.
What Is a Mobile Home Community?
In short, mobile home communities are residential developments designed to house mobile and manufactured homes. They go by a variety of names, including mobile home parks, manufactured home parks, land-lease communities, and, though outdated and unfitting, trailer parks. They are specifically designed to provide owners of manufactured homes with plots of land to rent, with a wide range of valuable services and amenities included in the price.
There are over 40,000 mobile home parks in our system alone, ranging in size from five-lot parks to communities serving 20,000 residents or more. Most often, residents of mobile home communities either rent or own their house and then pay rent for the lot as well as a utilities fee each month. In exchange, residents enjoy a wide range of benefits (see below for a list), with many similarities to those in a condominium or an apartment complex.
What Are the Benefits of Mobile Home Parks?
There are two main options for mobile home placement: either on private land that you own or that you have permission to use or in a mobile home park. Though both are good ways to soak up the many pros of life in a mobile home (LINK), community living brings some undeniable benefits that appeal to many, including:
- Lots are Made for Manufactured Homes – One of the core benefits of living in a development designated specifically for this type of housing is that the parcels are prepared just for mobile homes. In other words, if you purchase a brand-new manufactured home, you can have it sent directly to your new plot without having to worry about leveling, paving, or landscaping. Usually, these communities have lots with prepared foundations, as well as staff members who will ensure that the home is properly set up and placed.
- No Need to Worry About Permits, Inspections, Etc. – Placing a manufactured home on a piece of private property sounds appealing to many, but it may come with a lot more work to keep things legal and up to code. Generally, a parcel within a community comes with built-in resources and even professionals who can provide you with everything you need to secure permits, pass inspections, and keep your property entirely safe and legal.
- You’re Not Responsible for High Property Taxes – Essentially, this lifestyle allows you to own your home (which is treated as personal property) but rent the land (which is treated as real estate). This leaves you in a good position taxwise, as you generally won’t have to pay much in property taxes. With that said, if your mobile home is classified as personal property, you may have to register it at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and it will be taxed as such, though usually at a much lower rate. To sum it up, you get a lot more privacy and control over your space when compared with renting a house or an apartment, all without the high tax burden and maintenance of homeownership.
- Most Parks Feature Appealing Amenities – From pristine pools and tennis courts to ocean views, today’s manufactured home communities are stocked with amazing amenities. In fact, many are designed around a central clubhouse that offers a place for the community to come together to share meals, socialize, play games, and do community service activities. Some also provide access to nature trails, beaches, parks, or lakes. Take a look at some of the most luxurious mobile home parks in America to see some of the incredible extras you might find in the more upscale communities.
- Services and Utilities Are Included – If you’re drawn to the idea of a condominium or co-op for the low-maintenance appeal, don’t discount the idea of the mobile home community, which is, on the whole, more affordable than the aforementioned options. When you rent in a mobile home park, your monthly site fee may include services like water, sewer, and trash, but may also include cable, internet, and other essential utilities. Many parks also include lawn care services and common area upkeep in the maintenance costs, so you have little to worry about.
- Community Living and a Built-In Social Life – One big benefit of life in a mobile home park is the built-in community of like-minded residents. Because these neighborhoods tend to be close-knit and may even be gated or age-restricted, they tend to foster a communal feel where daily or weekly socializing is the norm. Organized events, outings, clubs, game nights, dinners, and even trips help keep residents busy, while lifelong friendships are forged.
Are There Different Types of Mobile Home Communities?
Absolutely! Like traditional neighborhoods, you can select your mobile home park according to a wide range of considerations, such as the landscape, location, and overall feel of the place. This is extremely beneficial for people who have a unique set of needs or who want to rent in a park that connects them with a strong social network.
Some popular types of mobile home parks include:
- Age-Restricted Mobile Home Communities – 55+ mobile home parks, also known as retirement communities, these communities generally cater to older adults (usually age 55 and up), similar to a traditional retirement apartment or condo complex. These communities tend to have central gathering spaces for social events, with groups organizing everything from card clubs to shuffleboard tournaments to day trips.
- All-Ages Mobile Home Communities – In contrast to age-restricted communities, all-ages communities cater to families, young adults, and basically anyone else who wants to live in an affordable, community-centric development. These parks often have kid-friendly amenities to keep youngsters busy, including pools, basketball courts, playgrounds, and organized activities.
- Resident-Owned Mobile Home Communities – Also known as mobile home co-ops, these communities allow residents to share ownership of the park, with everyone chipping in to pay for the land, maintenance, services, utilities, etc. The benefits of mobile home co-ops are plentiful, giving residents a greater sense of security (as in, they cannot be kicked out or evicted for unfair reasons) as well as more control over the way their neighborhood is run.
Can You Own a Lot in a Mobile Home Park?
Most often, mobile home park residents own the home itself and rent the land from a company or investor that owns it. However, there are some scenarios where you may be able to purchase a small parcel within a park. Another option here is the aforementioned resident-owned or co-operative community. Often, co-ops form when residents band together to buy the park as a result of some disagreement with the property owner or investment company or simply because they want more protection and control over the land.
Can I Bring My Home to the Park?
Sure! If you would like to bring your new manufactured home into a pre-existing community, you will want to look for available mobile home lots for sale or rent. This is an excellent option for future MH dwellers who want to tailor every aspect of the experience, from the finishes and appliances in the home itself to the specific location and amenities of the park where it will be placed.
For example, you can browse vacant lots in communities with pools, paved roads, and specific recreational communities, and you can even pick based on the percentage of homes with peaked roofs and lap siding. Have your home delivered from the manufacturer to the park of your choosing for a completely customized living situation.
What Are Some Common Rules in Mobile Home Communities?
The only real pitfall of life within a mobile home community is that you have to be considerate of the rules and regulations set forth by the park’s governing body or owner’s association. In many ways, this isn’t really a pitfall at all since you have to follow similar rules and regulations in traditional neighborhoods and apartment complexes as well. Residents must always maintain good standing in order to be active, enjoyable members of the community.
The standard landlord-tenant rules do apply with regard to the land you’re renting, and you may be limited in terms of what you can do with the land itself, such as adding on to your mobile home or digging up the lawn in order to plant a garden. What’s more, some mobile homes place restrictions on pets, though there is an increasing number of pet-friendly mobile home communities in our database, so you should always be able to find a lot that accommodates your furry friends.
Beyond that, most other park rules and regulations exist in order to keep the community a quiet, enjoyable one for all residents. You’ll have to abide by general park policies, which may cover things like curfews for residents under the age of 18 as well as ordinances on music, loitering, profanity, parties, loud machinery, and trespassing on the lots of other residents. To put it simply, as long as you’re a kind, courteous, and considerate neighbor, you’ll get along just fine in any mobile home park.
What’s the Best Way to Find a Good Park?
Now that you have a general idea of what a mobile home community is and how it functions, you will want to begin your search for the perfect one. Besides the obvious considerations like location and cost, a good fit is one that will help you build up a like-minded social network and provide you with some extra conveniences and amenities to make your life just a little bit easier.
Narrowing down your search is fairly simple if you have a core set of needs, such as an age-restricted park or one that’s pet-friendly. It’s also important to note that, if you’re buying a used house, the ideal mobile home community for you is one that houses the ideal mobile home for you! But, if you discover an absolutely perfect community that’s priced right with all the amenities that you desire, you may be willing to compromise on the home itself.
Read our guide to buying the perfect mobile home for more information.
More Questions? Inquire Within
Now that you have found MHVillage, you’re already well on your way to an exciting new life in a manufactured home. With all the best resources and the most comprehensive mobile home park search on the web, you’re sure to discover a great fit for you and your family with our help. If you have additional questions or concerns, the MHVillage team is always available to assist in any way we can. Mobile homes are our passion, after all!