Renovations are underway in a once troubled mobile home park in Lovejoy. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)
LOVEJOY — The dumpster bin is quickly filling up with trash, old carpeting and building materials — signs of rehabilitation for one dilapidated mobile home park in southern Clayton County.
Florida real estate investors Kevin Bupp and Al Khleif have embarked on a project to revitalize a mobile home community in Lovejoy.
Bupp is in commercial real estate management in Clearwater, Fla. Khleif, too, is a real estate broker in the Tampa Bay area. Together, they are directors of Lovejoy MHP LLC, a company created to manage the property at 2369 Talmadge Road.
The business partnership specializes in buying under-performing mobile home parks, and the newly renamed Country Oaks Mobile Home Park is the third in its portfolio.
“This one fit our criteria for trying to obtain properties that were mismanaged or under-performing,” said Khleif. “The city was very proud of the community, and this was an eyesore.”
He said the bank-owned property was marketed online through a local real estate agent. He and Bupp began negotiations in November 2013 and made the purchase in March.
Khleif said they spent $200,000 on the 2.9-acre property, which was last valued at about $735,000.
He said the property, formerly known as Shady Oaks Mobile Home Park, had been a site of illicit activity that troubled local law enforcement.
“It was pretty well-known in the community as the place not to be,” Khleif said. “We’ve re-named the park Country Oaks Mobile Home Park.”
Lovejoy MHP expects to finish renovations on the park’s 29 single-family mobile homes soon.
Khleif said contractors have been working this spring to repair leaky roofs and broken windows.
Georgia Power workers will plant seven street lights around the property where there were none before, he said.
The company has had to evict squatters and clean trash from the 2005-model, single-wide trailer homes.
Khleif vowed the homes also will have central heating and cooling systems and washer-dryer connections for individuals and families who want the privacy and responsibility of home ownership without the debt and obligations of traditional grounded homes.
“The cycle has reversed,” he said. “Because of the downturn in the economy, we’re finding homeowners are move-down buyers as much as they are move-up buyers.”
Khleif said mobile home parks are a prevailing option for many more homeowners now as a result of the economic. Demographically, older homeowners and new buyers are considering mobile homes.
“It’s one of the long-term visions of where we see this economy is going,” he said. “It’s a step above and a step below. It’s in the middle and a lot of people are finding themselves in the middle.”
Home ownership through Lovejoy MHP is between apartment home living and having a mortgage, he said.
“We don’t run credit checks,” he explained. “We run background checks, and potential leasers are required to provide proof of income per household.”
Country Oaks has already started leasing units into its rent-to-own program, in which residents are placed on a seven-year payment plan. Khleif residents, then, pay $350 for lot rental after ownership.
Khleif said the property has a bilingual manager, Crystal Munoz, who manages the day-to-day onsite operations.
He said he hopes his company’s efforts to help turn the park’s image around fits in with the city’s efforts to beautify its downtown infrastructure, which includes a community garden, community center and park.
To learn more about Country Oaks, call 770-347-8200.