Investing in Mobile Home Park Syndications – Tips From an Operator

I have been an active investor in mobile home parks (MHP) for the last five years having bought, operated, and infilled eleven mobile home parks consisting of 700 lots. People often ask me, “Why do you invest in mobile home parks?” Here are my Top 5 reasons: 

1.  Sticky resident base – While the average self-storage tenant rents for nine months and the average apartment dweller stays for 12-14 months, the average MHP tenant lives in a mobile home for seven years, and the average home lasts in the park for 23 years. So, when the tenant leaves in seven years, they are selling it to the next tenant who may stay for another seven years!   

2.  Economic “moat” – New MHPs are simply not being built because communities do not want them in their backyard. Municipalities also don’t love them because they do not generate much tax revenue.   

3.  Under-market rents – Charles Becker, a professor at Duke University, did a study a few years ago and found that lot rents across the country were ~40% under market because mom-and-pop owners have not raised lot rents as they should have over the years. This gives a lot of runway for most new owners after they purchase a park.   

4.  Unit multiplier – Having multiple units is incredible for value creation. If you only have one park with 100 lots and you do a typical $20 increase in lot rent per month once a year (which is usually standard), you just increased the value of the park by $342,000 (at a 7% cap rate). So, by holding onto a 100-lot park for 5 years and bumping up the rents by $20 each year, you will increase the value of the investment by $1.7 million. MHPs are one of the least expensive costs-per-unit options in real estate.      

5.  Recession resistant – During a downturn, some people in the nicer, A-class apartments cannot afford them anymore so they move to B-class apartments; B-class tenants may need to move to C-class apartments; and former C-class tenants may opt to move into mobile home parks. Unfortunately, there are not many more affordable places someone can go, which is why, historically, MHPs thrive in recessions.   


Now that you know why MHP’s are a good investment, here are the four things I look at to determine if a deal has a higher likelihood of being a solid investment.  

1.  Market Criteria

Metro population of at least 40,000 people and growing. We have learned the hard way that investing in mobile home parks in metros of less than 40,000 people is extremely tough so we now only buy parks that are in metros larger than this and have a growing population. The easiest way to verify whether or not your syndicator followed this “rule” is by researching the metro on This website will give you the population and the other important metrics below.  

Average home value higher than $140,000. Brand new mobile homes nowadays cost ~$70,000 all-in, so if your average home value is much lower than $140,000, the operator will have a hard time infilling the MHP lots. 

Median, three-bedroom rent greater than $1,000. Most mobile homes will be sold with financing through companies like 21st Mortgage. If the average apartment or house rent is above $1,000 per month, we have found that the demand will be there for mobile homes as they are more affordable.   


2.  Pricing

The general rule of thumb is that you want to have a 3% spread between the purchase cap rate and your loan interest rate.  Cap rates are in flux right now with interest rates going up in the foreseeable future. In early 2022, we aimed to buy parks at a cap rate of 7.0% or higher since our loan interest rates were in the low 4%’s. If interest rates keep climbing, I imagine cap rates, in turn, will go up to 8-8.5% by the third or fourth quarter of 2023.  We view rising cap rates as a good thing for the reason that if you can purchase parks at higher cap rates and the interest rates go back down like most people think, you can lock into long-term financing with a solid cap rate-to-interest rate spread that should provide stellar returns.     

You can calculate the cap rate of a mobile home park by using the following formulas: 

  • Total Annual Revenue  = number of occupied lots X monthly lot rent X 12  
  • Annual Net Operating Income (NOI) = total annual revenue X 0.65% (assuming a typical 35% expense ratio) 
  • Cap Rate = annual NOI / purchase price 


 3.  Park Infrastructure

This is one of the more important factors in the long-term profitability of a park. The nice thing about mobile home parks is that there are relatively few big-ticket items that can put a drag on annual revenue. Pay attention to these items: 


What are the roads made out of and what condition are they in?

If roads need to be repaved, it can easily cost $150,000-300,000 which can quickly turn a deal sour. While parks that are unpaved and have gravel roads require less maintenance, they are more unappealing and typically the price is reflected with a 1% cap rate.   


The general rule of thumb is that you want public water and public sewer.   

These minimize the risk of the investment and high costs of operation. The risk with private well water is contamination or a water shortage. There was a park in rural Kansas several years ago that ended up having contaminated water from their well which sent a majority of their residents to the hospital the day before Thanksgiving. The fines and repercussions from this ended up shutting down the park.  If the park does have private water, just make sure they have licensed operators overseeing the treatment.   

Are they billing back the water currently or are there plans to bill it back?   

This can be a nice, value-add generator if the current owner is not billing back the share of water usage to the tenants. This not only conserves water usage by about 30% but also increases NOI significantly. 

What are the water lines made out of?   

Galvanized water lines are a concern because they can corrode and rust on the inside and can end up leaking. We ended up passing on a park due to this because the bid to replace the water lines in the park was $750,000! 


Is the current sewer system public or private?   

Typically, there are four options for sewers in mobile home parks: public sewer, septic system, wastewater treatment plant, and lagoons.  This can be one of the most expensive items that can sink a deal, so you will want to make sure the operator knows what they are doing. The riskiest systems are wastewater treatment plants and lagoons.  

  • Public sewers are the safest bet with little to no risk to the park because they are operated by the city.  
  • Parks with septic systems typically have ~4 homes per septic tank.  The main concern here is if there is available land space in the park to replace the leach fields when they reach end of life (~30-40 years).   
  • Wastewater treatment plants can have a life expectancy of 40-50 years, but the replacement cost can be $500,000 to $1.2 million. This can make a good deal turn bad in a hurry especially if the treatment plant is in its last years of service.   
  • Lagoons are the other big risk you can run into. They may have a low cost of operation, but there may be a high risk of the EPA coming in and shutting it down. The EPA has put in strict requirements and will revise testing standards on lagoons every few years. Without the proper aeration systems, it is becoming more difficult for lagoons to pass these standards thus putting them at risk of being shut down. If this happens, the park owner is left with the only option – putting in a wastewater treatment plant at a cost of up to $1.2 million.    

Is the sewer bill being billed back to the tenants? If not, this is another opportunity to force appreciation in the park.   

What are the sewer lines made of? One of our biggest deal breakers is Orangeburg pipe. If a park has this, then run! If you can envision your sewer line made of paper towel tubes, that is essentially Orangeburg. It collapses easily and is a money pit.   


How many trees are in the park and how overgrown are they? We have learned the hard way that if trees have not been touched in a while, the trimming costs can be as much as $50,000 for a 70-lot park. 


4.  Operators

The last leg of the “MHP stool” is the operator. Here are some considerations to think about when evaluating the operator for your next deal. 


What experience do they have in the industry, and how many parks have they brought full cycle? Being plugged into the industry over the last five years has been eye opening for me to see how many operators came onto the scene and started raising funds for syndications with only one or two small parks that they have owned for less than twelve months.   


What kind of park is the operator buying? In the mobile home park world, there are three main types. 

Turn-around parks (high vacancy with heavy infill needed). The upside of these is that operators can usually 2-3X the value in a short amount of time by raising lot rent and infilling vacant lots. The downside is that they typically require substantial capital for the turnaround. You need a good operator with experience with these projects as they take a lot of work and oversight to maximize the value.   

Stabilized parks (parks that are 80%+ occupied). These parks typically sell at a lower cap rate and have less upside. They require less oversight (with  only an on-site manager and maintenance person) and can be run from across the country. The upside in these parks is through utility billbacks, under-market lot rents, and the typical $15-20 increase in lot rents annually.    

Age-restricted communities (55+ communities). These are the most stable of all parks, but value creation is limited due to the age of your residents. Typically, they are on a restricted budget and can only afford minimal lot rent increases. They are a sticky tenant base as they usually stay in the park until they pass away.   


The last consideration is what areas is the operator investing in? Traditionally, mobile home parks in Florida and California sell at extremely low cap rates and are tough to make profitable. The Midwest is a very stable market and is very desirable. I would be cautious with operators who have a heavy concentration of parks in blue states because of the higher possibility of “headwinds” like rent control and eviction limitations.    


I hope this has helped give you an idea of what things to look for when you are evaluating MHP operators and their syndication deals. If you have any questions or want to jump on a call to learn more, shoot me a message and I am happy to help! 


Brady Hanna is a mobile home park operator and a passive investor. Brady retired from the corporate world at the age of 40 after helping grow a financial services company from 4 employees to 130.  He has been in real estate for over 10 years owning 12 SFR’s, flipped dozens of houses/year, built new construction subdivisions and turned around mobile home parks. He can be reached at  


This article is for educational purposes only and is not to be relied upon as the basis for entering into any transaction or advisory relationship or making any investment decision. All investments involve the risk of loss, including the loss of principal. Past performance, and any performance results reflected in this article, is not an indication of future results.


Chris Franckhauser

Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner

Chris Franckhauser, Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner for Left Field Investors, has been involved in real estate since 2008. He started with one single-family fix and flip, and he was hooked. He then scaled, completing five more over a brief period. While he enjoyed the journey and the financial tailwinds that came with each completed project, being an active investor with a W2 at the time, became too much to manage with a young and growing family. Seeing this was not easily scalable or sustainable long term, he searched for alternative ideas on where to invest. He explored other passive income streams but kept coming back to his two passions; real estate and time with his family. He discovered syndications after reconnecting with a former colleague and LFI Founder. He joined Left Field Investors in 2023 and has quickly immersed himself into the community and as a key member of our team.  

Chris earned a B.S. from The Ohio State University. After years in healthcare technology and medical devices, from startups to Fortune 15 companies, Chris shifted his efforts to consulting and owning a small apparel business when he is not working with LFI (Left Field Investors) or on his personal passive investments. A few years ago, Chris and his family left the cold life in Ohio for lake life in the Carolinas. Chris lives in Tega Cay, South Carolina with his wife and two kids. In his free time, he enjoys exploring all the things the Carolinas offer, from the beaches to the mountains and everywhere in between, volunteering at the school, coaching his kids’ sports teams and cheering on the Buckeyes from afar.  

Chris knows investing is a team sport. Being a strategic thinker and analytical by nature, the ability to collaborate with like-minded individuals in the Left Field Community and other communities is invaluable.  

Jim Pfeifer

President, Chief Executive Officer, Founder

Jim Pfeifer is one of the founders of Left Field Investors and the host of the Passive Investing from Left Field podcast. Left Field Investors is a group dedicated to educating and assisting like-minded investors negotiate the nuances of the passive investing landscape and world of syndications. Jim is a former financial advisor who became frustrated with the one-path-fits-all approach of the standard financial services industry. Jim now concentrates on investing in real assets that produce cash flow and is committed to sharing his knowledge with others who are interested in learning a different way to grow wealth.

Jim not only advises and helps people get started in passive real estate syndications, he also invests alongside them in small groups to allow for diversification among multiple investments and syndication sponsors. Jim believes the most important factor in a successful syndication is finding a sponsor that he knows, likes and trusts.

He has invested in over 100 passive syndications including apartments, mobile homes, self-storage, private lending and notes, ATM’s, commercial and industrial triple net leases, assisted living facilities and international coffee farms and cacao producers. Jim is constantly looking for new investment ideas that match his philosophy of real assets producing cash flow as well as looking for new sponsors with whom he can build quality, long-term relationships. Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Chad Ackerman

Chief Operating Officer, Founder

Chad is the Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Left Field Investors and the host of the LFI Spotlight podcast. Chad was in banking most of his career with a focus on data analytics, but in March of 2023 he left his W2 to become LFI’s second full time employee.

Chad always had a passion for real estate, so his analytics skills translated well into the deal analyzer side of the business. Through his training, education and networking Chad was able to align his passive investing to compliment his involvement with LFI while allowing him to grow his wealth and take steps towards financial freedom. He has appreciated the help he’s received from others along his journey which is why he is excited to host the LFI Spotlight podcast and share the experience of other investors and industry experts to assist those that are looking for education for their own journey.

Chad has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a Minor in Real Estate from the University of Cincinnati. He is working to educate his two teenagers in the passive investing world. In his spare time he likes to golf, kayak, and check out the local brewery scene.

Ryan Steig

Chief Financial Officer, Founder

Ryan Stieg started down the path of passive investing like many of us did, after he picked up a little purple book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The problem was that he did that in college and didn’t take action to start investing passively until many years later when that itch to invest passively crept back up.

Ryan became an accidental landlord after moving from Phoenix back to Montana in 2007, a rental he kept until 2016 when he started investing more intentionally. Since 2016, Ryan has focused (or should we say lack thereof) on all different kinds of investing, always returning to real estate and business as his mainstay. Ryan has a small portfolio of one-to-three-unit rentals across four different markets in the US. He has also invested in over fifty real estate syndication investments individually or with an investment group or tribe. Working to diversify in multiple asset classes, Ryan invests in multi-family, note funds, NNN industrial, retail, office, self-storage, online businesses, start-ups, and several other asset classes that further cement his self-diagnosis of “shiny object syndrome”.

However, with all of those reaches over the years, Ryan still believes in the long-term success and tenets of passive, cash-flow-focused investing with proven syndicators and shared knowledge in investing.

When he’s not working with LFI or on his personal passive investments, he recently opened a new Club Pilates franchise studio after an insurance career. Outside of that, he can be found with his wife watching whatever sport one of their two boys is involved in during that particular season.

Steve Suh

Chief Content Officer, Founder

Steve Suh, one of the founders of Left Field Investors and its Chief Content Officer, has been involved with real estate and alternative assets since 2005. Like many, he saw his net worth plummet during the two major stock market crashes in the early 2000s. Since then, he vowed to find other ways to invest his money. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad gave Steve the impetus to learn about real estate investing. He first became a landlord after purchasing his office condo. He then invested passively as a limited partner in oil and gas drilling syndications but quickly learned the importance of scrutinizing sponsors when he stopped getting returns after only a few months. Steve came back to real estate by buying a few small residential rentals. Seeing that this was not easily scalable, he searched for alternative ideas. After listening to hundreds of podcasts and attending numerous real estate investing meetings, he determined that passively investing in real estate syndications was the best avenue to get great, risk-adjusted returns. He has invested in dozens of syndications involving apartment buildings, self-storage facilities, resort properties, ATMs, Bitcoin mining funds, car washes, a coffee farm, and even a Broadway show.

When Steve is not vetting commercial real estate syndications in the evenings, he is stomping out eye diseases and improving vision during the day as an ophthalmologist. He enjoys playing in his tennis and pickleball leagues and rooting for his Buckeyes and Steelers football teams. In the past several years, he took up running and has completed three full marathons, including the New York City Marathon. He is always on a quest to find great pizza, BBQ brisket, and bourbon. He enjoys traveling with his wife and their three adult kids. They usually go on a medical mission trip once a year to southern Mexico to provide eye surgeries and glasses to the residents. Steve has enjoyed being a part of Left Field Investors to help others learn about the merits of passive, real asset investments.

Sean Donnelly

Chief Culture Officer, Founder

Sean holds a W2 job in the finance sector and began his real estate investing journey shortly after earning his MBA. Unfortunately, it could not have begun at a worse time … anyone remember 2007 … but even the recession provided worthy lessons. Sean stayed in the game continuing to find his place, progressing from flipping to owning single and multi-family rentals to now funding opportunities through syndications. While Sean is still heavily invested in the equities market and holds a small portfolio of rentals, he strongly believes passive investing is the best way to offset the cyclical nature of traditional investment vehicles as well as avoid the headaches of direct property ownership. Through consistent cash flow, long term yield and available tax benefits, the diversification offered with passive investing brings a welcomed balance to an otherwise turbulent investing scheme. What Sean likes most about the syndication space is that the investment opportunities are not “one size fits all” and the community of investors genuinely want to help.

He earned a B.S. in Finance from Iowa State University in 1995 and a MBA from Otterbein University in 2007. Sean has lived in eight states but has called Ohio home for the last 20+.  When not attending his children’s various school/sporting events, Sean can be found running, golfing, shooting or fly-fishing.

Patrick Wills

Chief Information Officer, Advisory Partner

An active real estate investor since 2017, Patrick Wills’ investing journey began like many others – after reading the “purple book” by Robert Kiyosaki. Patrick started with single family rentals, and while they performed well, he quickly realized their inability to scale efficiently while remaining passive. He discovered syndications via podcasts and local meetups and never looked back. He joined Left Field Investors in 2022 as a member and has quickly become an integral part of the team as Vice President of Technology.

An I.T. Systems Engineer by trade, he experienced the limitations of traditional Wall Street investing firsthand in his career and knew there had to be a better way to truly have financial freedom.

Unfortunately, that better way is inaccessible to those who need it most. His mission is to make alternative investments accessible to everyone who seeks to take control of their financial future and to pursue their passions in life.

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