Mobile Home Parks for Seniors: A Complete Guide
February 24, 2021Retirement Communities
Mobile home parks are increasingly becoming popular with those older than 55. They're affordable, friendly, energy-efficient, and offer the prospects of downsizing. So if you are looking for a senior home that's simple and affordable, a mobile home park certainly has its appeal and should be a viable option to consider.
While there are misplaced negative stereotypes that surround mobile home parks, they have for a long time remained part of the senior living landscape. With an estimated 22 million Americans living in mobile home parks, they've emerged as one of the most in-demand types of homes in recent years, especially for older adults.
In addition to the senior amenities that they provide, senior mobile home parks are an affordable alternative to other senior housing communities. In essence, they offer amenities and a sense of community that's at par with senior living communities, and in some cases even much better.
Mobile home parks provide affordable housing for low-wage earners in the United States. Senior mobile home parks offer a superb opportunity for those looking to live in communities that offer amenities for older adults. Similar to senior living communities where common spaces are managed and maintained by community owners and staff, senior mobile home parks are designed in such a way that most of the amenities are catered for.
They also have rules on the minimum age of the residents, noise, and usage restrictions. These are all geared to ensure that these mobile home parks are senior-friendly and enhance the quality of life for the residents.
In this insightful article, we'll take a look at everything you need to know about mobile home parks for seniors. We'll also highlight their advantages and disadvantages and why they might be an ideal option for your retirement.
Table of contents
What is a Senior Mobile Home Park?
Contrary to the widespread misconception, mobile home parks are not about mobility; something that you can trailer from place to place. In the past, mobile home parks were commonly associated with migrant workers and holiday-goers but that's no longer the case. Today, mobile home parks are meant to offer affordable housing for middle and lower-class families as well as seniors in a safe environment. They're ideal options for those who are pressured financially and cannot pay the costs of conventional homes. Mobile home parks generally look like typical ranch houses, albeit a little smaller and a lot cheaper.
How Mobile Home Parks Work
Here's a simple three-step process of how mobile home parks work.
Fixing Up the Mobile Home Park
Just like any other form of real estate investment, the main part of the process is finding the land that the mobile home parks will reside on. In most cases, that owner of the land will only provide land and the tenants (seniors) who reside on the mobile homes will only pay rent on their lots.
The lots belong to the park owners and not the mobile homeowners, so it's upon the park owners to fix the park and make it friendly for residents to fix their mobile homes. The park owners should bring in a landscaper, replace old signage, and encourage residents to maintain cleanliness. Again, the maintenance of the park in terms of ensuring that common amenities such as water, electricity, sewers, garbage collection, and roads are available and in good working condition lies with the park owners.
Hiring a Park Manager
After the park has been set accordingly, it is upon the park owners to employ a park manager and delegate all the day-to-day running of the park to the park manager. He/she should act as the property manager and is tasked with responsibilities such as keeping the units occupied, collecting rent, coordinating park maintenance, landscaping, ensuring that security is maintained, resolving disputes among residents, ensuring that all the amenities are working properly, and making sure that the park is of the required standards.
A park manager is always assigned a rent-free mobile home within the park. This is to ensure that he/she is available to the residents at all times. In some cases, a park manager can start as a resident and may get paid to work as the park manager. The salary, of course, may depend on the size of the park and the responsibilities that he/she undertakes.
Once the park has been fixed and a park manager appointed, it's now time to find residents for the mobile home parks. The best way to do this is by advertising them on platforms that are associated with targeted residents.
Benefits of Mobile Home Parks for Seniors
Even though mobile home parks are not most people's first choice, they remain an integral part of the housing market in the United States for seniors and low-income families. As such, let's highlight the main benefits of mobile home parks for seniors.
If there's one thing that has made mobile home parks hugely popular in the United States, especially among seniors is their affordability. Mobile home parks are an affordable alternative to the conventional single-family home. While the park owners own the land, you will pay the rent and own the mobile home.
As such, you'll pay a low monthly rent even for a large mobile home. They are typically available in single and double rooms as well as one-bedroom or larger. You also get a small yard in addition to enough space for the mobile home.
Let's put the affordability of mobile home parks into perspective. While a one-bedroom apartment can cost you around $1,235 per month, a mobile home park can cost you as low as $200 per month.
Low Cost of Repair and Maintenance
The costs of repairing and maintaining mobile home parks are usually very affordable and require low involvement. In most cases, you'll be responsible for maintenance and repairs but the park owners are tasked with upkeep. All in all, these costs are significantly less, especially when compared to the costs of maintaining and repairing a conventional home.
Provision of Amenities
Mobile home parks for seniors are generally designed and organized around the needs of seniors. Most of them are designed to offer security to seniors and to enhance their quality of life. For example, young families with kids are not allowed in mobile home parks for seniors and this is a great way of reducing noise levels and giving the seniors their much-needed peace of mind. Such parks also organize events and services that are meant for seniors as well as other amenities such as swimming pools and gym rooms that would otherwise be very expensive in other areas.
Opportunities to Socialize
Like most senior living facilities, mobile home parks for seniors provide a great opportunity for seniors to socialize with people of the same age range. The fact that you'll be spending probably most of your time around people in the same life phase can make it a lot easier to meet new people and make friends.
By living in a mobile home park, you'll have access to a close-knit community, which is of great importance to your overall well-being just as much as socialization is.
Many senior mobile home parks give potential residents the option of either buying a mobile home or leasing the home. This can be an ideal situation if you've been looking for that level of flexibility. This may, however, depend on the mobile home park so it's important to confirm if these options are available for you.
Availability of Health Care Services
In most cases, mobile home parks often invite health care professionals to their facilities to speak to residents about crucial aging-related topics. These professionals generally provide useful information to residents as far as living healthy is concerned. They may also offer suggestions and referrals to residents regarding the issues that the residents may be facing.
How Much Do Senior Mobile Home Parks Cost?
It's important to note that the costs of staying in a senior mobile home park may vary from park to park depending on their geographic locations, amenities offered, and the level of luxury. However, most senior mobile home parks are quite affordable, especially when compared to single-family homes or the costs of living in conventional senior living communities.
The prices of most senior mobile home parks range from $200 to $300 per month. Needless to say, this is quite affordable and is certainly one of the main reasons why mobile home parks are pretty much appealing to seniors who are generally on fixed incomes. This, however, doesn't mean that there aren't far more expensive senior mobile home parks. In fact, some senior mobile home parks cost as high as $1,000 per month depending on the level of amenities offered. In most cases, such mobile home parks offer many special amenities including on-site maintenance, security, and a gated community.
Who is Best Suited to Live in Mobile Home Parks?
While mobile home parks are affordable and can be ideal for seniors who are on fixed incomes as well as those on low-income, mobile home parks for seniors can be ideal for seniors who need little or no help with acts of daily living. They generally offer superb amenities and a robust community environment for seniors aged 55 or older.
That being said, a mobile home park can be ideal for an active senior who needs no assistance with acts of daily living. Again, they can be perfect for seniors who need a bit of help with daily living as a live-in caregiver can be allowed to assist a senior resident in his/her mobile home park. Keep in mind that a caregiver can live with you but it all depends on the laws set in place by the park owners. As such, it's always best to check in with the mobile park management to ensure that you can bring in a live-in caregiver. It's okay to confirm this before purchasing the home or signing a lease.
How can Seniors Pay for a Mobile Home Park?
For seniors, the modes of payment for mobile home parks will depend on the arrangement that is in place between the park management and the residents. You can pay through online platforms at the time of reservation or through a specific ban account as provided by the park management. You can also pay through your credit card, debit card, or check.
Most mobile home parks are paid monthly but this also depends on the arrangement in place. Some can be paid quarterly, yearly, or even weekly. In essence, there are various ways to pay for mobile home parks and most of them are tailored to be senior-friendly.
How and Where to Find the Right Mobile Home Parks for You
When it comes to finding the right mobile home park for your situation, you'll have to find good data on various mobile home parks in your preferred area. While this can be quite challenging because there is little or no independent information on mobile home parks, you can start with online research to see the reviews written by both current and former residents of the parks. You can also choose to pay a visit to each of the mobile home parks and see for yourself if they are ideal for you.
You can start by visiting loads of great online sites that list the best mobile home parks in your preferred area. You can filter down the list based on prices, amenities, security, size, and many more. Some of the sites to consider include Senior Mobiles, Homes.com, and MH Village
Advantages of Mobile Home Parks for Seniors
Here are some of the advantages of home mobile parks for seniors.
- No property taxes
- They're affordable
- Minimal maintenance
- They're generally conveniently located next to serene places
- Pets are usually allowed
- They often observe age and population restrictions
- They have homeownership perks
- Community amenities including swimming pools, fitness centers, community event, and health centers
Disadvantages of Mobile Home Parks for Seniors
- There's a stigma attached to living in a mobile home park
- Home transportation is challenging
- Some mobile home parks do not allow live-in caregivers
To this end, mobile home parks are ideal for active seniors looking to reduce their costs of living by looking for affordable housing options. The best thing to do is to take your time and explore the available option and only go for the one that suits your needs.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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