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Opinions needed on Park Model Homes in Mesa?
Old 05-08-2010, 08:31 PM   #1
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Opinions needed on Park Model Homes in Mesa?

Spoke to an old friend today who is really encouraging me to look into park model homes that, from my understanding, are really popular in Mesa/Phoenix. I didn't know what she was talking about, but here is a photo:

Park Model Homes From $17,500 - The Finest Quality Park Model Homes And Park Model Cabins And Park Models At The Best Prices


***My question here is has anyone on this board ever lived in one or checked them out? They look so much easier to break into (hellooo, Mr. Burglar) than a regular home, but I could be wrong as I have no empirical knowledge of these home types at all.

She's saying that most are 55+ active adult communities and most have great activities if that's your thing. She had no clue about tax benefits being similar as you would get from living in, say, a Del Webb/Pulte Sun City community; but, I have no clue about it personally. I do like the idea of getting a $400-500 taken off my yearly taxes if I choose a Sun City location.

I gather this park model style is really popular in the Mesa/Phoenix area, and, since my friend plans to move there, she seems to think this would work for me, also. I have no clue about these homes, so I'm ask'n here. I told her I'd dig into it and give her a clue, also.

Plus, I haven't even visited the Phoenix area ever, so I am really clueless about the lifestyle out there--except what I'm learning from that new show "Sunset Daze." Not so sure that's a good thing either.

From what I have gathered, I think the Kaderlis' live in one of these park model home communities, and they seem to like it.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:47 PM   #2
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I would be pretty worried about crime rates in those sorts of areas, and would thoroughly investigate it.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:17 PM   #3
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I expressed concern over the crime rate in Mesa to her. Not sure if I got thru to her on that or not.
Surprise would be much safer for her, but don't think they have any of these less expensive way of living (i.e., park model homes). She doesn't have much money to play with I think...well, I know she doesn't.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
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I know quite a few retirees who live in them. They live in normal RV parks/trailer parks. The park models can be quite nice. Think of them as a small mobile home. As far as safety is concerned - that is all about the RV park/trailer park itself. If the park has good security/management and is in a decent neighborhood, then I wouldn't worry about this. In areas that have a lot of 55+ community parks like this, you should be able to find nicer, more secure places.

As far as breaking in - they have real windows and real doors, so IMO I don't think it would be necessarily be easier than a "real" brick or wood home. In fact the homes are raised off the ground more than a normal home with a foundation, so that might be a small advantage.

I would be more concerned about weather issues - tornados, etc. Is that a potential issue in Mesa AZ?

Park models can be very small - more like living in a cabin or small apartment (or motorhome!). Is small size an issue?

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Old 05-09-2010, 06:34 AM   #5
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Frankly, I don't think she has all that much that she owns so size wouldn't be a problem for her--altho I haven't seen her home up north yet. But, if I have to go by what her clothing is, seems to be more of the tshirt and shorts variety when I see her.
Raising 3 kids by herself for the majority of their lives and not much education past high school....don't think she was rolling in the dough (she was good in school, but opted to help the ex- go thru college instead of getting it herself...and, yup, you guessed it: they divorced afterward).
But, she's been my friend since grade school, and I really love her heart. And I'd love to help her in any way I can.

Arizona isn't in tornado alley, and I've never heard of one there myself. I can look that up...but it really is not a problem in Arizona. Dry heat seems to be more of a problem there than anything else from what I can tell in summer where you either hide in the house or leave the area I guess.

***For some reason, those park model homes look like they could be kicked in at the door faster than a real brick/wood home to me. Maybe it's just me?
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:46 AM   #6
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You are in luck when it comes to info, because ER board favorites Billy and Akaisha Kaderli call a park model unit home and have lots of great info and links about them on their web site:

Worry Free Housing

Hopefully you'll get lucky and they'll chime in here, but they and others I've talked to about it have nothing but good things to say about them. As for security, you have staff and residents watching out for homes all the time, and with little effort will befriend your neighbors. Watching each other's places when someone's away, informal car-share and shopping-share arrangements and the like, are commonplace. I've heard so many people say these larger parks provide them with an ideal mixture of privacy and community that I've started thinking of them as "frugal co-housing," since they offer the same advantages as cohousing without the yuppie price tag.

Clearly the better communities are located in sun belt states, so you have to decide if that climate suits you, and if so for how much of the year.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:11 AM   #7
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This winter I spent a month in a 55 plus park in Tuscon that had a mix of park models and rvs and a section with manufactured homes. The park felt totally safe, had a gate with a guard and walls surrounding the entire park. After a time I left my bikes out at night unlocked as did most other residents.

This park had the be the friendliest park I have ever been to. It was my first park where most everyone was permanent winter residents and was my first 55 plus park (I just turned 55). Everyone was helpful and always said hi. Lots of dog walkers to chat up. I had trouble with a presta valve on my recumbent bike and a bike knowledgeable neighbor went out of his way to help me out to get things fixed, even taking me in to a local bike shop for parts.

It had a heated good sized pool so I could do laps. I found plenty of times to go where either no one else was there or there was one other person, also doing laps.

Lots of activities if that is how you roll. Most of the residents were older than me and the activities weren't really my thing. The old men sat around and played cribbage a lot--a popular game from my neck of the woods. I was tempted to ask to join but it felt like a man thing.

The surrounding neighborhood was OK but not upscale by any means.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:34 AM   #8
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This winter I spent a month in a 55 plus park in Tuscon that had a mix of park models and rvs and a section with manufactured homes. The park felt totally safe, had a gate with a guard and walls surrounding the entire park. After a time I left my bikes out at night unlocked as did most other residents.

This park had the be the friendliest park I have ever been to. It was my first park where most everyone was permanent winter residents and was my first 55 plus park (I just turned 55). Everyone was helpful and always said hi. Lots of dog walkers to chat up. I had trouble with a presta valve on my recumbent bike and a bike knowledgeable neighbor went out of his way to help me out to get things fixed, even taking me in to a local bike shop for parts.

It had a heated good sized pool so I could do laps. I found plenty of times to go where either no one else was there or there was one other person, also doing laps.

Lots of activities if that is how you roll. Most of the residents were older than me and the activities weren't really my thing. The old men sat around and played cribbage a lot--a popular game from my neck of the woods. I was tempted to ask to join but it felt like a man thing.

The surrounding neighborhood was OK but not upscale by any means.

Sounds like you felt they were pretty safe then, Martha. That--as I expressed to my gal-pal--is my biggest concern.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kevink View Post
You are in luck when it comes to info, because ER board favorites Billy and Akaisha Kaderli call a park model unit home and have lots of great info and links about them on their web site:

Worry Free Housing

Hopefully you'll get lucky and they'll chime in here, but they and others I've talked to about it have nothing but good things to say about them. As for security, you have staff and residents watching out for homes all the time, and with little effort will befriend your neighbors. Watching each other's places when someone's away, informal car-share and shopping-share arrangements and the like, are commonplace. I've heard so many people say these larger parks provide them with an ideal mixture of privacy and community that I've started thinking of them as "frugal co-housing," since they offer the same advantages as cohousing without the yuppie price tag.

Clearly the better communities are located in sun belt states, so you have to decide if that climate suits you, and if so for how much of the year.


Well, I know the Kaderli's like theirs alot.
Gosh, don't they (the Kaderli's) always look like the happiest married people you know?

***My question would be: How would you know which is the best park? Which is the safest one? She's not from there, I can't help her there, so is there some ranking or rating system anyone knows of on the net regarding these park model home communities??
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
***My question would be: How would you know which is the best park? Which is the safest one? She's not from there, I can't help her there, so is there some ranking or rating system anyone knows of on the net regarding these park model home communities??
There are reviews like RV Park Reviews :: Home that can give you some insight - but it's not complete and not oriented towards parks with more permanent structures.

Like most housing issues, you really have to spend time there to figure this out and decide where you would really like to be. Best to go to the area, rent and explore before making a decision like this.

I best some of the park models are available for rent within these communities.

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Old 05-09-2010, 01:50 PM   #11
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I'm passing all this on to her, by the way.

What a great idea for someone: Do a ranking of all the communities that are park model homes or rv parks for boomers....hint, hint.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:54 PM   #12
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My aunt and uncle were winter Texans for years. They so enjoyed their winter Texas friends...friends from all over the US some from Canada too. They owned their own park model and it was nice and cozy. It had two bedrooms, one bath, kitchen and eating area and a small living room. There was a carport too.

They were located in Harlingen, Texas at Paradise Park. The park had a swimming pool, laundry area for the entire park and many many activities always going on. They had dances and someone was always hosting a party...they really liked their 5:00 o'clock cocktails. We visited one year and they were really having a good time. That was many years ago tho.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:03 PM   #13
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Is it possible to rent and check it out? Might be easier to get out if this isn't the place for you.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:28 PM   #14
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Harlingen, McAllen and so forth town at the Texas border really far south are loaded with gringos living there for 6 months of the year. I hear nothing but good stories coming out of those areas from folks who winter there. They seem to have a ball, anyway.
I know about 4 families from this area of 400K that go there every winter by RV that are retired and party, party, party it seems. I think it's a geezer paradise for gringos--and the prices (being border towns) are super-cheap.
Yeah, I ran this by my girlfriend before...she has kids and grandkids in Wisconsin, so she said it's too far if something happened (don't ask why Arizona isn't? I think the word "border town" scares her). BUT for some of our board members, sounds like it might be worth a look-see.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:07 PM   #15
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Last September, we spent a month at Paradise RV Resort, Sun City, AZ while we were house hunting. The park was really nice. The high season had not begun so they did not have all of the activities in full swing, but they had lit. showing what they offered during the winter. Extensive! It is a gated community with a guard on duty 24-7.

We were in our RV, but probably 50% or more of the spaces were taken by park models. All of them were nice. To be honest, if we had not bought a house, we might have considered renting a space in the park on an annual basis. We had already decided we could spend 8 or 9 months out of the year in Phoenix. Although most of the winter visitors leave when the weather "back home" becomes pleasant, there are a lot of people who live in the park all of the time.

There were lots of park models for sale and for rent while we were there and I suspect that there still are (55+ communites always seem to have a certain amount of turnover). Seems that models up for sale always have a phone number on their sale sign and it frequently belongs to one of their neighbors who live in the park all year. We were contacted almost immediately to see if we were interested...no, looking for a house. I think several were about $25K, and the annual lease was $4K...at least last fall...don't know about taxes. The park is not new, but if the park model doesn't meet their specifications, it cannot remain in the park. Therefore, everything in the park looks really nice. Friendly staff will answer questions if you or your friend want to call.

A friend recommended the park to us because it is nice, safe, and conveniently located for Phoenix activity. Couldn't agree more!

One of our jeeping budies has a park model in Sunflower RV Resort, Surprise, AZ and he is happy with it. I don't think they have a guard station at the entrance. OTOH, these friends leave their park model/home and spend the summer months in the mountains.

When one rents/lives in one of these 55+ communities, it's like you instantly have dozens of friends, almost all of whom are actively involved in at least some of the park activities. All you have to do is be at least a little friendly and you are part of the community. They do tend to watch out for each other.

After looking at crime rates in the Phoenix valley, we decided to concentrate our house search in the north west portion. A benefit that we didn't know about was that the wind doesn't seem to be as bad here as it is in the southern part of the valley, and we don't have near the blowing sand either. Yeah!!

Like other posts, I would recommend that your friend, visit the area and rent a month or two to see how she likes the various area(s)/park(s). You might even join her! Keep in mind, it's gonna get hot...soon. If she doesn't come soon (like now), she might want to wait until say...October or November. November is generally when all activities are in full swing. If your friend really is interested in Mesa, please ask/insist that she visit before she commits.

I wish the best to your friend.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:35 PM   #16
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Again, I'm passing this on to her. I told her about the folks watching out for each other, which really sounds wonderful for her as she would have no children nearby. I think she is mulling all this over now. I have done my good deed for the day.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:38 PM   #17
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I know much less about these parks than the earlier posters, despite living here in the metropolitan Phoenix. However, one of my wife's best friends and her husband are long-time residents of a mobile home park in Mesa, and we have visited them on several occasions. I do not remember seeing any RV, or perhaps they were grouped in another corner of the park. Most of them were double-wide mobile homes, with an enclosed patio in the back.

This is an adult-community park, and the residents tend to be in the 60s to the 70s. Many snow-birds have their 2nd home there, due to the lower cost. The park is clean, and the residents are pleasant, and the mobile homes all look well-kept. My guess is that about half are snowbirds and the rest are year-round residents. I think the key is that one wants to look for a retirement community, where the residents are "well-behaved" senior citizens, with no problems with delinquent youths. The residents also look out for each other, and this keeps the crime rate low. Yes, this is THE advantage of having nosy neighbors. :-)
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:09 PM   #18
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My aunt and uncle were winter Texans for years. They so enjoyed their winter Texas friends...friends from all over the US some from Canada too. They owned their own park model and it was nice and cozy. It had two bedrooms, one bath, kitchen and eating area and a small living room. There was a carport too.

They were located in Harlingen, Texas at Paradise Park. The park had a swimming pool, laundry area for the entire park and many many activities always going on. They had dances and someone was always hosting a party...they really liked their 5:00 o'clock cocktails. We visited one year and they were really having a good time. That was many years ago tho.
You are describing my area! Except that all the "winter texans" are gone, and we are still here!

We're the "kids" in the neighborhood and here for other reasons than winter socializing, but I have to say we get a big kick out of the "winter texans" and it's great seeing these active, motivated seniors having such a good time.

Harlingen is a very nice small city. We're another 45 miles west of there, but still well within winter texan country.

Oh wait - there are chiggers and rattlesnakes and mosquitos, etc. - just like the rest of the state!

Audrey
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:33 AM   #19
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Audrey, I used to swim with a younger (40-ish) gal whose mother lived in that region. She just raved to me how wonderful it was to live there, and her mother lived in a mobile home there, too.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:16 AM   #20
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Mobile homes are very common here. There are many very nice sub-divisions with regular and double-wide mobile homes. Everything is nicely laid out with tidy landscaping and nice common areas. After seeing the frequent junky looking run down mobile homes out in rural areas, it can be surprising to see just how very nice mobile homes can look.

I suspect a big reason for the popularity is the low cost of living here. This type of housing is very inexpensive, and the area cost of living is quite low. Or bringing your own motorhome or 5th wheel to a lot you own is a good alternative. So for many seniors this is a very affordable way to have a "winter" home in an area with very decent winter weather.

Anyway - this area is wildly popular, and the local economy really appreciates their winter visitors and lets them know it. The population influx in winter is huge. I see one number listed as 150,000 coming to the Rio Grande Valley. From what I observe, that actually seems low!

Audrey
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