Manufactured homes retirement communities are a cheap retirement option. However, we need to clearly differentiate between the various types of “mobile” home communities.
First, there are “trailer parks,” with single-wide trailers, often old and in disrepair. There is little landscaping or pride in ownership evident, and the residents are usually renters with meager income. Trailer parks are generally not age-restricted, they have few amenities, and they are run by less than professional landlords.
Second, there are manufactured home communities with double-, even triple-wide homes, attractive landscaping, many amenities (clubhouse, pool, social activities, and organizations) and most are age-restricted (55+). These communities feature professional management and they have rules that the residents must follow. These features provide an attractive community with pride of ownership in evidence. Furthermore, mobile homes of recent manufacture fare as well as site built homes in tropical storms; they are sturdy and employ tie-downs to secure them.
In this second type of community, there are lots of variations. The costs, community quality, and amenities and themes vary widely, so shop around. In some parks you own only your home, in others you own a share of the community. You must also factor in the land lease, HOA fees, and/or maintenance fees that vary widely from community to community. These 55+ manufactured home communities may be land lease communities where the home owner leases the land and owns only the home, or resident-owned communities in which share owners pay maintenance, and own the community in a co-op arrangement.
We found many attractive manufactured home communities in Florida. Summaries of the communities we visited are in our blog posts.