What are the advantages of land leasing over buying a piece of property?
The land lease arrangement allows you to own your own home for true privacy and independence while keeping the funds normally spent on the land purchase available for discretionary or emergency purposes. In addition, you have the assurance that community standards will be carefully maintained, you can enjoy the community social and recreational amenities, and you will live in a beautiful country setting only minutes from shopping and medical service and area attractions. Learn more about leasing versus buying.
What are the assurances that you will not sell our leased land to someone else?
Creating and managing Land-Lease Communities is the Heiler’s only business, and our history has been to maintain ownership as a long-term investment – not buying and selling properties. We hope our three generations of family leadership demonstrates this clearly.
What does the monthly fee include?
Although this varies somewhat by the particular amenities and services available in each community, the fee generally covers leasing the homesite, water, sewer, waste collection, recycling, street lighting, maintenance of all common areas, including roads, free use of recreational facilities and lawn mowings.
Does the monthly lease fee change and by how much?
Yes, the monthly fee generally increases annually in small increments. You would be hard pressed to find a community that does not have annual increases. We aim to keep increases limited to the amount necessary to maintain community standards and services that our residents want and expect. We strive to keep our lease fees in pace with the market, which has helped our departing residents realize resale values substancially above market prices. We prefer to avoid having to make a large adjustment, a surprise our residents would neither want nor appreciate.
What are fee increases based on?
Although in can vary from year to year, generally an increase can be based on any or all of the following:
Rents in comparable communities.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Controllable costs such as maintenance and payroll
Hard-to-control costs such as utility charges, land taxes, rubbish costs and insurance expenses.
By law, residents receive a letter each year informing them what the increase for that year was based on.
Lease vs. Buy
As you reach your retirement years, typically your income is reduced from your peak earning period, and you must seriously consider methods of using your assets to your best advantage.
Whether your money is from a nest egg saved over the years, or profit from wise investments or the sale of your long-time home, is it in your best interest to tie up a substantial portion of it in the purchase of land?
Consider your options. One is to commit a large amount to the purchase of land – an arrangement whose primary beneficiary is the developer. The other is to purchase a less labor-intensive home on leased land and keep your funds available for discretionary or emergency purposes.
Some of our competitors still push land purchase, claiming land ownership frees you from additional financial obligations. However, this is not the complete story. Land ownership is an expensive way to live due to high property taxes and maintenance fees. In addition, it ties up your funds – money you can utilize only by selling the land or taking out an additional mortgage (and paying substantial interest to use money that was already yours.)
Is there a cap on increases?
No, there is neither an upper nor lower cap on lease fee changes. However, our company history and policy has to keep our lease fees in pace with that of comparable communities so that we can keep our current residents happy, and provide good resale values for residents if and when they decide to relocate, or thier famlies in the event of your passing.
Can our grandchildren stay and visit with us?
Yes, we have no restrictions on guests other than they are required to abide by the same rules as our residents and they can not stay longer than 30 days. Many grandparents say “We love to see our grandchildren come and love to see them go home as well.” – a benefit of our “55 and over” communities.
Are all your rules actually enforced?
Yes. Many residents move to our communities because of our community standards and the stability the rules create within the community environment. These standards were written based on our experience managing manufactured home communities for over 35 years in Florida, and input from past and present residents. It’s our obligation to you to ensure that they are enforced.
Are house pets allowed?
Yes. We recognize that to many people, an animal companion is a loyal and needed friend. In all communities, small dogs or cats are permitted inside the home.
How do we sell our home if we need or want to?
You may sell your home independently, through a licensed agent, or by listing your home with the community sales office. Most departing residents choose us to sell their home because this is what we do for a living. In the case of an estate, the inheritor(s) may move into the home provided they meet all the applicable entry requirements or sell the home to another qualified party.
When you’re considering a purchased vs. leased developed lot, look at the entire picture – financial, lifestyle and the business relationship. Be sure you get clear, concise answers to important questions. Are all utilities installed? Are there sewer and water impact fees? What landscaping and plantings are included? Are there parking areas and are they paved? Is there a monthly maintenance/association fee? Is the association run by nosey neighbors or professionals? Are there additional amenities and recreational facilities, and who maintains and pays for them?
Also consider who pays for maintenance, lawn mowing, trash pickup, street lights, tree and shrub trimming, and rubbish removal etc… Are there effective community standards, pet and noise restrictions and neighborhood patrols? And will there be professional management on site to help you in the future?
Property ownership is important to some people. Others enjoy the lifestyle advantages offered by a land lease community with protective standards. Evaluate both options. In the end, we hope you regard our Florida Communities as a worthy alternative.
The truth about maunfactured home performance in hurricanes
Modern manufactured homes are not the flimsy constructions of popular myth. They are, in fact, engineered and built to be stronger than the most stringent building codes require.
The bad news is: florida was hit four times in a single year by major hurricanes.
The good news is: the 2004 hurricane season proved beyond any doubt that manufactured homes built and maintained to 1999 standards are fully the equal of any homes in america when it comes to handling major storms.
Many Americans have been victimized by an outdated conception of manufactured homes—one which has been perpetuated in the news media, and reinforced by the reporting of disasters such as Florida’s six-week-long siege of hurricanes in 2004. During this period, a number of erroneous “facts” were spread either by rumor or reporting. In many cases, the news media, rather than searching out the truth, simply passed on the same kind of rumors one hears waiting in line at supermarkets.
For instance, CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers, reporting during the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, told a nationwide audience that “National Guard guys this morning said there are stacks of bodies in that mobile home park in Punta Gorda.” Such rumors were rife in the aftermath of Charley. One Punta Gorda resident was quoted by the media as saying “Six hundred people are missing from trailer parks and the bodies are being stored in freezer trucks!”
But passing along rumors is not responsible reporting.
IN FACT, according to state officials, in all of Florida, 16 people died as a result of this deadly storm. Only two of these fatalities were related to manufactured homes, and those deaths occured when the residents of a decades-old mobile home ignored an evacuation order.
It was not just the news media which attacked the manufactured home industry in the wake of Charley. Commentators such as fiction writer Carl Hiassen also put forward much misinformation. Writing in the Miami Herald on August 22, 2004, Hiassen said “There is no such thing as a safe [manufactured] home.”
IN FACT, manufactured homes held up well, even when compared to site-built homes. That this was to be the case should not really surprise anyone: since 1999, manufactured homes have been built and installed to standards tougher than any but the most recent codes for site-built structures. As required by the Florida Building Code, all manufactured homes sold in Florida’s coastal counties since 1994 are engineered to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph and 3-second gusts of 130 to 150 mph.
IN FACT, the State Bureau of Manufactured Home and RV Construction surveyed 11,800 manufactured homes among 77 communities in seven counties, including hard-hit Charlotte and DeSoto. Of the manufactured homes installed according to Rule 15-C—the most stringent tie-down regulation in the country—the Bureau could not find a single home that had been moved from its foundation. And RADCO, an independent engineering firm, revealed that 100% of manufactured homes produced and installed in accordance with the current Federal Standards successfully withstood the effects of Hurricane Charley.
And in the end, responsible reporting did win out: after touring the area, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was quoted by the media as saying, “the new construction standards for manufactured homes are working.” Such news organizations as Fox News, CNN, and the Associated Press were finally forced to admit that homes built to the new codes didn’t budge an inch in the 145 mph winds recorded at Punta Gorda.
Despite the public misperception and media misinformation, the FACT is that modern manufactured homes, intelligently engineered and well-built, are fully the equal to other building types when it comes to safety and security.