As President of MAR Companies (which owns multiple manufactured housing communities) and current President of the Manufactured Housing Community Owners Arizona, we were fortunate to feature Mark Roady as our guest to share his thoughts and insights on some of today’s current topics facing manufactured housing communities.
Mark’s manufactured housing community story started with his desire to find a suitable source for passive income to supplement his success in medical sales. His interest transformed into a passion significant enough to end his day job and go all into acquiring and managing communities. Mark started MAR Companies and began buying and improving both active adult and all-age communities with a focus on enhancing the resident’s experience with a focus on the long term.
“We always see homeownership as the goal”, Mark stated. Manufactured housing is affordable housing and a better alternative to apartment living. MAR Companies offer both rental and purchase in their communities, but the rentals are tied to lease-to-own options or are updated and sold after the rent agreement expires. Rental homes are inspected in detail every quarter, with renter support, to make sure they are maintained in good condition. Pride of ownership is a key to the upkeep and resident experience in communities.
Mark also recognizes the value of leveraging technology as an enabler to improving his communities. “Technology is meant to improve the human experience,” Mark cites which is a theme at MAR Companies. He shared the example of resident billing and payment as one of the ways to improve the resident experience through technology while managing communities more efficiently. Residents enjoy the convenience of the flexible options that come with online and mobile rent payment, and it frees up managers to spend more time in the community.
In his role as President of the Manufactured Housing Community Owners of Arizona, Mark sees two consistent themes. One is that the pandemic hasn’t really impacted his members. The tsunami of evictions and displaced residents hasn’t occurred. Residents have been able to make payments and there has been minimal if any fallout. Mark believes homeownership and residents having ‘skin in the game’ plays an important role. Second, given the amount of hype in the media about evictions and displaced residents, there is a concern that new rent control legislation will be introduced which his members aren’t happy about.
In the current environment of private equity investors, REITs, and corporations looking to acquire manufactured communities for profitable investment, the value of communities is increasing. However, Mark sees the focus mostly on the medium to large parks and communities which provides more scale. He cautions that profit should not be the sole motive and recommends looking to improve efficiencies and resident experience before drastically raising rents. For anyone new to the industry looking to buy their first community Mark suggests starting small because there’s a lot of learning along the way. The key is having a passion for what you’re doing.
Mark Roady sees a future of greater consolidation in manufactured housing communities as existing owners will be looking to grow their portfolio of communities and are not interested in selling. He also anticipates the growth of all-age manufactured housing communities as they will serve the generations in need of affordable housing.
If you’d like more on the topics discussed, watch an encore presentation of our recent webinar, “The Truth About Manufactured Housing Communities” with Mark Roady. For more on the latest in the manufactured housing industry, check out our past webinars.