Gorham residents buy their manufactured-home park

The Village At Brae Burn Cooperative is NH’s 127th resident-owned community

GORHAM, NH – Homeowners in Brae Burn Court Mobile Home Park purchased their 30-unit manufactured-home park in Gorham Wednesday, making it New Hampshire’s 127th resident-owned community (ROC).

Photo of Virginia Bourassa and Ola Gagne of The Village at Brae Burn Cooperative celebrating the purchase of their community.
Virginia Bourassa and Ola Gagne of The Village at Brae Burn Cooperative celebrate the purchase of their community.

Using training and technical assistance from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH team, homeowners organized and formed The Village At Brae Burn Cooperative, Inc. in early February 2017. Months earlier, Brae Burn owner Jeanne Lariviere had contacted ROC-NH, saying she wanted to sell the park to its residents.

Cooperative president Ola Gagne was familiar with the concept of residents purchase their parks. She has family in Milan, N.H., who were involved in purchasing their park a few years earlier.The cooperative’s members elected a board of directors and worked closely with the Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH team to make the purchase a reality. They negotiated with Lariviere, reached an $750,000 purchase price, and finalized the deal October 31 with a mortgage from the Community Loan Fund.

“It meant a lot to us that Jeanne wanted to know if we’d be interested in buying the park before she put it on the market,” Gagne said.

Co-op treasurer Virginia Bourassa and her husband, Roland, were very involved in the park’s conversion to resident-ownership, which was delayed by land boundary issues.

“We’re finally here,” she said. “What a relief! I feel like I should pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

Brae Burn’s residents were concerned that if they didn’t buy the park, and it was instead sold to an investor-owner, some of its homes might be converted into weekend rentals for tourists lured by the North Country’s friendly road regulations and parks for all-terrain vehicles. Most of the community’s residents are retired and wary about the possibility of increased noise and activity in the park.

Cooperative ownership means The Village At Brae Burn Cooperative homeowners are now eligible for products and services, including real mortgages, that haven’t been available to them. Studies also show that the availability of home financing, when the land is secure, improves the home’s value, the owner’s ability to make improvements, and overall housing affordability.

Board Members will work with Michelle Supry of ROC-NH, a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, for the duration of their mortgage — at least 20 years.