Most Manufactured Home Communities I have bought come with a standard sign design – a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood with a faded poorly written name on it and no phone number. This must be a popular design because I see it everywhere. There is also the design of metal or wood letters on a brick or masonry wall with some of the letters missing. My favorite was one where some kid had yanked off the letters and then spray painted some replacements so that the sign said proudly “F___ Y__ Estates”. What was equally funny what that the owner cared so little about the sign that he did nothing about it — I drove by several years later it was still that way. You need to understand that your community's sign is extremely important to making money.
Your sign is really a pretty busy employee:
- It offers a tenant and a prospective tenant the initial positive impression of your property.
- It gives the phone number of the community to anyone interested in renting a lot.
- It impresses city inspectors and officials.
- It impresses bankers and appraisers.
- It works for you 24/7, takes no vacation, and lives on nothing but sunshine.
Sign Is An Investment – Not a Cost
I would propose that one of your substantial investments in fixing up your Manufactured Home Community includes buying and installing a professional quality entrance sign.
I would empathetically recommend against signs of wooden construction. Exposed to outdoor conditions, wood just doesn't work well. It fades cracks and eventually rots. Even sandblasted signs don't seem to be built for longevity.
I prefer signs of metal or plastic construction with vinyl or molded letters – nothing painted. Paint fades and flakes off over time.
I always put the name of the community and the address on the sign, and then attach the phone number with two hooks to hang under the sign. I do this so that if you change the phone number you can just change out this panel and not the entire sign. Also, when you sell a community, if needed, you can just detach the phone number and the new owner can attach his phone number.
I recommend that you pick a standard design that you can use at all you Manufactured Home Communities. It will really impress your banker, and you only have to come up with your dream design one time and then use it over and over again.
I choose a sign design that works well with white vinyl fencing, which I also always use at the entrance. It would be a great touch if you came up with a standard entry design that helped accentuate your attractive sign.
Sure, a professional quality sign is expensive – but look at all the benefits. When you go to sell the community, that nice sign and the great first impression it gives the buyer, may make you 100 times what the sign costs. And that doesn't count all the income that the community derived from impressed drive-thru tenants.
Remember, a sign is not a cost – it's an investment!