Safe, clean and neighborly … it’s what we’re all looking for

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My mother has purchased a new HUD-code manufactured home – a Marlette multi-section home. She walked into that home on the retail sales center’s site and said, “I like this one!”

She had a similar response to the site where the home is now located and which will as of Saturday night be the neighborhood in which my mom lays her head at night. (She’s still very active so there’s no knowing where she is on any given day!)
When we were looking at possible “age in place” friendly and affordable housing options, we had driven through two co-op manufactured (“mobile”) home communities – the Fisherville 107 and Fisherville 82 co-ops. Both are just a few minutes from where I grew up and my mom still lives. She was impressed. “Wow, they have improved a lot since I was last in them,” she remarked.

But, there were no vacant sites and the idea of buying an older home and replacing it was hard to “see”. I get it. For those of us in the business, we can see that. It’s hard for consumers to see that.

Then a new co-op took ownership just a few hundred yards further south. Freedom Village Co-op bought their community at the end of 2015 with the help of the ROC-NH team. (Full disclosure: ROC-NH is a program of the NH Community Loan Fund, which is both a Technical Assistance affiliate and a LLC Member of ROC USA, LLC. I will blog on this relationship shortly so I do full disclosure justice.)

The co-op purchased the community with 12 vacant sites.

I drove my mom through sometime last spring and she said, “Oh, I have two friends who live here.”

And, two of the sites could accommodate multi-section (or, “double-wide”) homes. She liked one in particular. A row of trees between her back yard and the neighbor’s back yard was attractive to her.

That’s when we began looking at homes and found a match. From there, it’s been progress on several fronts – cleaning out 35 years of collectibles (so to speak) at her current 19th-century home, placing the order for the home, and dealing with the co-op’s site improvements and the home’s placement. All is fine. The Certificate of Occupancy was delivered today and she’s now officially the. Move-in starts at 9 a.m. tomorrow!

But, I want to talk about “safe, clean, and neighborly.” You see, safe can be singularly defined as physical safety. Of course, that’s a bare minimum. But, I also know the business – I have been in this industry since 1988. So safety, when you own the home but rent or lease the land, means you need to consider the safety of that relationship.

A co-op has significant benefits for homeowners. She is now a member in a community owned by the homeowner members. Nothing will happen to the land or the community without the members having a say, having control. It won’t be closed down. Site fees (or lot rents) won’t be raised for any reason outside of the community itself. And, if something needs to be fixed, the members have all the control they need to fix it.

When you’re investing your life savings in a home, you want it to be secure. Co-ops and Resident Owned Communities (ROCs) are secure. That’s the point!

The community, as you can see from this video, is clean. People here care. And, ownership gives people even more reason to care.

She’s already met members of the Board and has two friends already in the community, and she will soon meet many more members when she attends her first community meeting. Neighbors have stopped by already and we’ve only been on site a few handful of times. I spoke at their celebration this summer, and from that event, I can attest, these are good neighbors.

She’s found a great home and a great neighborhood. It’s safe, clean and neighborly. And, I’m happy because she’s happy. (I hope my back is happy on Saturday afternoon, too!)