There many different strategies that buyers utilize when trying to buy a manufactured home community. Some get these concepts from books they buy at Barnes &
Noble, others from articles on-line. But the truth is that the best strategy when buying these properties is called “win/ win” – the concept that at the conclusion of the transaction both buyer and seller are happy and made a fair deal. So why is this the best way to go?
It’s the only way to construct deals on successful properties
You cannot push around wealthy people. I think that most people would realize this. The typical manufactured home community owner is anything but desperate. They normally
own the property free and clear and have substantial assets. The most prevalent negotiation style in most self-help books is called “win/lose” and that’s the type of posture you take at a car dealership. The plan is to back the desperate car salesman into a corner by making him waste a ton of time with you and then pretend to leave the dealership without buying so that he’ll drop the price as a final attempt to salvage the situation. And that’s fine when you’re working with a poor salesman trying to pay the rent. But that is clearly not the case with the typical owner and would never work – it would only serve to offend or irritate this individual and destroy your working relationship.
It builds a lengthy list of references
One great attribute of win/win is that it makes every seller a future reference. When you treat people fairly that reputation builds over time, and you develop an impressive list of seller supporters. I’ve given a potential seller a list of others that I’ve bought from, and they are blown away that I could even do that. Since I’ve bought over 300 manufactured home communities over the past 20 years, you can imagine the benefits this has created.
Brokers will bring you more deals
Nothing irritates brokers more than when they see good deals destroyed by the opportunistic buyer that tries to drive too hard a bargain. If you do that even one time, your likelihood of receiving more deals from that broker is greatly reduced. Since about half the deals I’ve purchased over the past 20+ years came from brokers – particularly pocket listings – you need this team on your side if you want to build a great portfolio (or buy that perfect first deal).
You never have regrets about “what could have been”
They say there’s nothing worse than having regrets about missed opportunities, and when you engage in win/win deal making you eliminate this fear. You give every deal your best shot, and you leave the bargaining table knowing that there’s no way you could have offered more. Although I’ve not succeeded in buying every property I’ve negotiated for, I do have the peace of mind that I tried hard and there simply was no way to construct something that was beneficial for both parties.
It’s just the right thing to do
I have the utmost respect for the sellers I’ve worked with. I believe that taking advantage of older Americans is just not morally right. That’s why I’m glad that I’ve spent my life using only win/win strategies. If win/lose deal making was the only
way to succeed in this business, then most people would say to themselves “I’ve made money but not without feeling bad about it”. But the great news is that the only successful negotiating strategy is also simply the right thing to do. It’s nice those align.
I am absolutely convinced that any buyer who wants to do well in this industry will embrace a win/win negotiating strategy – one in which both parties get a fair deal and walk away from closing happy. Whether you’re buying a single park or a large portfolio, win/win is the technique that gets the job done. You can throw that negotiation book from Barnes & Noble in the trash now.
Dave Reynolds has been a manufactured home community owner for almost two decades, and currently ranks as part of the 5th largest community owner in the United States, with more than 23,000 lots in 28 states in the Great Plains and Midwest. His books and courses on community acquisitions and management are the top-selling ones in the industry. He is also the founder of the largest listing site for manufactured home communities, MobileHomeParkStore.com. To learn more about Dave’s views on the manufactured home community industry visit www.MobileHomeUniversity.com. This article originally appeared in the Manufactured Housing Review, subscribe for free here.