‘A nice thing if they could own it’

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Selling to his tenants felt like the right thing to do

KALISPELL, Mont. — George Everett remembers seeing news coverage of a nearby manufactured home community that was sold, shut down and redeveloped, forcing the dozens of families who lived there to relocate. Many struggled to find a new neighborhood for their homes, even if they could afford to move them.

That’s part of what drove him to find another solution when the time came to sell the community he owned in Kalispell – Green Acres Court. Everett had purchased the park as an investment and owned it for several years before deciding to sell.

Photo of Green Acres Cooperative in Kalispell, Mont.
Green Acres Cooperative

Everett said he had actually started preparing to sell Green Acres on the commercial market when he remembered the displaced residents. Over the years, he’d come to know some of the homeowners in Green Acres and didn’t want to see the same thing happen to his longtime customers.

“They just didn’t need to be disrupted from their homes,” he said. “I’d always thought about my tenants and I thought it would be a nice thing if they could own it.”

Everett, a 30-year veteran of the real estate business, said the sale process was comparable to other commercial transactions. He said he got a fair price and complimented the professionalism of everyone involved. He said he’d certainly do it again.

But it was the plight of those displaced homeowners that bothered Everett. A former state legislator who said he compiled the most conservative voting record in Montana during his tenure, Everett said he felt his tenants deserved a fair shot at staying in their community and taking it over.

He worked with NeighborWorks® Montana, the ROC USA® affiliate in Montana, and in August 2010 sold the 32-site community to the newly formed Green Acres Cooperative for $900,000.

Today, Green Acres is a thriving neighborhood that has undergone several significant community improvements under the guidance – and at the behest – of the resident owners who live there.