What is the price of sleeping well? When considering what a good property management company provides to a park owner, there may be no more important question than that.
No, I am not referring to the price of the newest, luxury Tempur-pedic mattress and high-loft shredded memory foam pillows. Although, for the record those may be worth due consideration as well.
By “the price of sleeping well” I mean the value to a mindful park owner of having one’s highly valuable real estate holdings cared for by an experienced, scrupulous and specializing team of professionals so an owner can rest easy, knowing that corners are not being cut and that their exposure to mistakes, even unwitting and well-intentioned blunders, can be mitigated. Put another way, the park owner can leave the managing to professionals, so they can spend more time on the beach or the slopes or with a book – enjoying life!
Seems obvious, right? Yet some park owners choose to self-manage their institutional-grade properties. Why? Often it may be due to the misperception that management simply hits the cost side of a P&L. But it is important to point out that the best operators often, if not regularly, find ways to pay for themselves. That offset can come in the form of operating cost efficiencies, revenue-generating strategies, and even through assistance with effective debt strategies. It may be difficult to quantify these offsets in the short-term, but our team’s intent is to relentlessly find ways to more than pay for our fee as soon as possible.
Also important is the notion that maximizing a park owner’s return on investment need not suffer by operating your park properly and honestly. A park owner never sleeps so well than when their management company is maximizing returns and doing so in strict compliance with the myriad laws and regulations that govern Oregon MHPs. With this in mind, let me address a few key questions about mobile home park property management:
Why hire a property management company?
Specialists Specialize. Would you take your Maclaren or Bentley to a Datsun mechanic? Mobile home parks are highly specialized, institutional-grade real estate assets. The laws applying to MHP operations are not only unique and nuanced, but ever changing – particularly in the People’s Republic of Oregon! We know where opportunities for improvement are likely to be found because we see so many similar operations every day.
Bargaining Power. A good operator has relationships with the best vendors and contractors. This often manifests in better pricing, priority timing, and warranty or follow up benefits.
Reputation and Relationship Benefits. A good operator can offer its clients the benefit of its brand and relationships. We spend years developing a reputation for doing things right and well, so that representatives from government agencies may offer regard and consideration to us that other, non-professional operators may not receive. Even when dealing with opposing counsel or judges a good operator may see the benefit of past practice and reputation.
What does a good property management company provide?
The Wheel. Pre-Produced. We have seen it and done it before. Often this saves a park owner from having to address an otherwise costly situation without prior experience on which to rely. Don’t re-create the wheel when we can simply reproduce it.
Enhanced Hiring and Training. Parks must not only have talented on-site staff, but the park and the employees benefit from consistent training of park operations, existing and new laws, and the ever-important “why” – the reason we do things the way we do. This builds a sense of collaboration and ownership by all involved.
Financial Review and Audit. Simply producing financial statements and other operational reports is not enough. A worthy operator will use those tools to seek out leakage and waste, and leverage those findings into efficiencies and improvements that improve returns.
Market Knowledge and Data. Knowing one’s rent position in the market should not be a guess. Effective operators study the market, gather data, analyze the data, and provide fact-driven analysis to park owners with recommendations about where a park fits and should fit within the submarket – both in the short-term and long-term.
Legal Services Efficiencies. Managing legal issues in MHPs is no simple task. An experienced operator can provide process efficiencies that save time and cost in a MHP’s increasingly challenging legal process. Small and seemingly insignificant errors can lead to delays and unnecessary costs, where professionals who repeat these processes often can prevent such delays and extra costs.
Where should I look for a qualified property management company?
Regional Presence. Oregon is vast. Politics are local, and diverse. What works in Portland may not work in Medford. A management company works best in areas it knows well. Find an operator who can service your park – with an in-person presence.
Industry Affiliation. You are reading this because you are (or are about to be) a member of the largest MHP organization in Oregon, among the largest in the western United States. No other organization in Oregon is more influential or esteemed in the industry than MHCO. This is due to the legacy and actions of its members and leadership. The best property management providers in the state belong to MHCO. So this is where to find your operator.
When should I look for a property management company?
Upon Generational Transfer. When handing down this valuable asset to family members, often that is an ideal time to hire a management company who can carry out your long-term goals and enhance the value of your investment on behalf of those you love – for generations.
Upon Staff Turnover. When a park manager or key maintenance technician hangs up their spurs or moves on, that is often an ideal time to bring in a professional operator. But it may be better to hire help before this happens.
When You Value Good Sleep. This is a personal choice and only you know when this moment comes. But for self-operators, when it’s time to taste the fruit rather than pick it, that’s the time to hire a management company.
The value of good sleep may be immeasurable. But with a qualified property management company operating your mobile home park, you can relax and catch some well-deserved Zs. We will take it from here.