Resident mobilehome park purchases require many elements – money, a willing seller, etc.
But one of the most important (although not often recognized) is good resident leadership.
It doesn’t take many leaders. Some projects start with just a couple of folks who believe in the process and are willing to work. Someone once asked me “How many people does it take to buy my park?” Answer: To start the process, it takes about 3-4 residents with a kitchen table and some beer (or maybe not the beer, but you get the idea).
I have seen all kinds of leaders – good, bad, divisive, charismatic, and not so much.
But the successful ones (the ones who lead their group in a successful process to buy their community) all seem to have some common traits:
They have a good sense of their resident community – that if the deal works, they believe that there will have enough participants.
They don’t have a hidden agenda – they want and believe that what they are doing is good for the community and themselves.
They have the trust of the group – residents believe in what the leaders say and do, and are willing to follow them as the group learns more about the transaction.
They have the courage to carry on – most resident park purchases take a long time and can be frustrating, but the leaders hang in there.
They know what they know, and know what they don’t know but are willing to learn – park purchases have lots of factors that are new and different from their prior experiences.
They have the ability to withstand criticism – there are always folks who will challenge the process and expect and demand answers to the issues.
One of the initial things I have to do at the start, when evaluating the purchase process to determine if working together is likely to be successful, is to look carefully at the leadership.
If you don’t have good leaders, the effort is likely to be a waste of everyone’s time.
Deane Sargent and PMC Financial Services have been helping mobile home park resident groups and cooperatives to organize and find financing to buy their parks for over 20 years.