Many lenders and borrowers classify the quality of a mobile home park by referencing the star rating system. While dated, the star rating system still provides a helpful reference guide to determine park quality and if it may or may not be eligible for financing. For example, a general rule of thumb is parks with a three-star or better rating are eligible for financing under the Fannie Mae mobile home park loan program and conduit CMBS mobile home park loan program.
The most important consideration for a one-star park is overall appearance. If it is not a decent place to live, it will not be listed in Woodall's directory. The following are general requirements:
- Fair overall appearance.
- Patios on most lots. May be concrete, asphalt, wood, or some suitable material
- Grass, rocks, or shell to cover ground.
- Streets fair to good. May be dirt, asphalt, or gravel in reasonable condition.
- Restrooms clean, if any.
- Adequate laundry or Laundromat nearby.
- If fences allowed, must be neat.
- Mail service.
- Homes may be old models, but show evidence of some care.
- Manager available some hours of each day.
- Landscaping--some lawns and shrubs.
- Streets in good condition. Must be dust free of crushed rock, gravel, or shell minimum.
- Neat storage.
- Well equipped laundry or laundromat nearby.
- 220-volt electrical connections available.
- If children accepted, park should have play area.
- Park free of clutter, such as old cars and other abandoned equipment.
- Well-maintained and managed.
What a three-star park does, it does well, but not as uniformly as higher rated parks. Many three-star parks were once rated higher, but original construction does not allow for today's 10-foot, 12- foot, and double- wides, or the 55-foot and 60-foot lengths.
In addition to the requirements for one-star and two-star parks, a three-star park must have the following:
- Attractive entrance.
- All mobile homes must be in good condition.
- Awnings and cabana rooms on some homes in southern area. 3D. Some spaces for large mobile homes.
- Paved or hard surfaced streets.
In addition to the requirement for one-star, two-star, and three-star parks; a four-star park must have the following:
- Good landscaping.
- Most homes skirted with metal skirts, concrete block, ornamental wood, or stone.
- Paved streets, edged, or curbed.
- Uncrowded lots.
- Underground utilities if permitted by local conditions and authorities.
- Most tanks, if present, concealed.
- Any hedges or fences must be attractive and uniform.
- Awnings, cabanas, or porches on most homes in southern areas. (Except double-wide units.)
- Most lots to accommodate large homes.
- Where row parking of homes exists, all must be lined up uniformly.
- Community hall and/or swimming pool and/or recreation program. (If a park is four-star in all but this requirement, the fourth star will be printed as an open star, indicating a four-star park without recreation.)
- Excellent management.
Five-star parks are the finest. They should be nearly impossible to improve. In addition to the requirements for one-star, two-star, three-star and four-star parks, a five-star park must have the following:
- Well-planned and laid out. Spacious appearance.
- Good location in regard to accessibility and desirable neighborhood. In some locations park should be enclosed by high hedges or ornamental fence.
- Wide paved streets in perfect condition. Curbs or lawns edged to street, sidewalks, street lights, street signs.
- Homes set back from the street.
- Exceptionally attractive entrance and park sign.
- Patios at least 8 x 30 ft. (Except double-wide units.)
- Paved off-street parking such as carports or planned parking.
- All homes skirted.
- All hitches concealed. Any existing tanks concealed.
- Recreation, some or all of the following: swimming pool (except areas with long, cold winters), shuffleboards, horseshoe pitching, golf course, hobby shop, hobby classes, games, potlucks, dances, or natural recreation facilities.
- Beautifully equipped recreation hall with kitchen. Room for community gatherings. Tiled restrooms, etc.
- Uniform storage shed or central storage facilities.
- All late model homes in excellent condition.
- At least 60% occupancy in order to judge quality of residents which indicates park's ability to maintain a five-star rating between inspections.
- All empty lots grassed, graveled, or otherwise well maintained.
- If pets or children allowed, there must be a place for them to run and play without cluttering the streets and yards. Most five-star parks are for adults only.
- Superior management interested in comfort of residents and maintenance of park.