The MHP Brokers Tips and Tricks Mary Gaiski, President of the PA Manufactured Housing Association

April 16, 2024 by Maxwell Baker

In this episode of The MHP Broker’s Tips and Tricks podcast, Maxwell Baker, president of The Mobile Home Park Broker, interviewed PA Manufactured Housing Association President Mary Gaiski about key issues for park owners and investors in her state.

This and every Tips and Tricks podcast episode is brought to you by The MHP Broker’s’  proprietary Community Price Maximizer. Use this four-step system to get the highest price possible for your mobile home park or RV community when you sell it through The MHP Broker. Guaranteed. Ask Max for details.

Here Are the Show Highlights:

  • Mary has been a member of the PA Manufactured Home Association since 1986. The association will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year. (Mary, 1:20)
  • Mary has been in the industry since 1978, As a state, Pennsylvania is quite active in manufactured home manufacturing, with 11 factories exporting homes to several nearby states, especially in the north. (Mary, 1:35)
  • PA also has 30 to 40 retailers selling homes to residents, and over 2,200 mobile home communities, including the very smallest. (Mary, 2:20)
  • That includes a number of parks below what Max thinks of as investment grade for buyers’ purposes. The MHP Broker data report finds about 1,000 parks in the state that are mid-size to larger. (Max, 3:42)
  • Waves of investors have already bought many of the larger parks in the state, and now they’re starting to buy the mom and pop-size parks too. A single investor might typically buy several parks within a geographic region to achieve dominance. (Mary, 4:34)
  • Many of these smaller parks have fallen below market rents over the years, so the new owners immediately raise rents, which gets them in conflict with the state over issues such as rent control and right of first refusal, whereby tenants have the right to buy their communities before sales to outside investors. (Mary, 5:30)
  • Max has seen similar legislation enacted in Virginia, in that tenants have 90 days or so after a proposed sale to determine if they want to buy their communities. (Max,6:06)
  • In Pennsylvania, legislators want to give residents as long as 365 days to decide first refusal, which would be crippling for park buyers and sellers. (Mary, 7:16)
  • Most regulations in the state are at the state or the local levels. (Mary, 12:41)
  • The state is basically divided into three geographic areas in terms of regulatory environment. The southeast park is the most progressive, and therefore most aggressively regulate. Central PA has some local communities that are aggressive in terms of regulations, and some others that aren’t. The western part o the state is the least regulated, and park owners there are hoping things stay that way. (Mary, 14:44)
  • Like elsewhere in the U.S., PA suffers from the aging of the mobile home moving industry. As movers retire, fewer take their place. Home installers, service and repair people are also in short supply in PA. (Mary, 16:14)
  • Less than ten percent of mobile homes are moved from one park to another in the state. (Mary, 17:17)
  • Mary Gaiski of the PA Manufactured Home Association can be reached at (717) 774-3440 or (Mary, 19:35)

Want to know more about the ordinances and regulations that affect mobile home park ownership in your state or locale? Just reach out to Max Baker, president of The Mobile Home Park Broker, (678) 932-0200.

Power Quotes in This Episode:

“About 70 percent of the homes built in the Commonwealth are shipped out (of the state). (Mary, 2:20)

“The mom and pops weren’t very big on keeping rents at market rate or worrying about all of that. So, these communities are being sold with rents well below market rate and because of that, it has left us right for having to address issues such as rent control, or right of first refusal and we’ve been seeing a lot of that in our legislative halls this year.(Mary, 5:30)

“There’s no other business out there in the Commonwealth, or probably even in the nation, that you’re going to give their customers a whole year to determine if they can sell their community, you know, sell the business. Because, you know, that’s the sad part. They don’t look at these as businesses. And sadly, they are. I mean, they have an income and expense statement.” (Mary, 8:23)


Hello and welcome to the mobile home park brokers tips and tricks. This is the podcast where we talk about mobile home park investing, because that’s what we’ve been involved in for the last decade. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Here’s your host, Maxwell Baker.

00:22 Maxwell Baker

Hey y’all welcome to another beautiful episode of the mobile home park brokers, tips and tricks, podcast. As always, this episode is brought to you by the community price Maximizer. It is our proprietary system that will guarantee you a higher price, when you exclusively list with us. Four step program. We’ll give you a number here at the end of the show to give us a call. But today, I am very excited to bring another Manufactured Housing Association President and leader Mary Gaiski from Pennsylvania. Welcome to the show.

00:56 Mary Gaiski

Thanks for having me, Maxwell !

 00:58 Maxwell Baker

 Yeah, I’m excited to have you on and really just talk about you and your background in the Pennsylvania Manufactured Housing Association and everything that y’all are doing over there for mobile homes and mobile home communities and I would really just love to talk to you about what’s happening in this day and age up in PA.

01:20 Mary Gaiski

Okay, well, Pennsylvania, we’ve been around, we’re going to be celebrating our 75th anniversary as an organization next year. I’ve been with the Association since 1986.

01:34 Maxwell Baker


01:35 Mary Gaiski

One of the longest seated executive directors out there, if not the longest, then close to it. I’ve been in the industry since ‘78 because prior to working at the association, I was involved with insurance and finance for manufactured housing. So I kind of stumbled into this industry and I really enjoy it. I think it’s a rewarding industry, obviously, since I’ve been around so long. Pennsylvania is kind of unique in the northeast, since we’re considered, I guess we’re the one with the most amount of production that’s going on in the state. So we have 11 factories, and they ship homes all the way up to Maine out to the coast, you know, Jersey…

02:20 Maxwell Baker


02:20 Mary Gaiski

…Maryland. We go down a little bit into the Virginia’s and a little bit over into Ohio, some but most of our production does go north, about 70% of the homes that are built here in the Commonwealth are shipped outside. So, it’s a big export business for the for the Commonwealth as well. So, we have retailers, we still have probably about 30 to 40, what they call the street dealers or you know those businesses that focus on selling homes to the consumer. Then we do have a large amount of communities. I know I’ve seen some of your reports, just shy of 1000 but we look at it from a perspective of under PA law, it’s three or more sites are considered a manufactured home community. Based on that, then we have a recent report that was just done by the Philadelphia Fed bank, they reported its 2288 communities.

03:21 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, that’s mean it is massive

03:24 Mary Gaiski

Right and that represents about 5600 households. So, you know, it is big business. Most of those communities are what we call your older communities, you know, the aged ones that were built back in the ‘50s, the ‘60s and the ‘70s. 

03:42 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, because we only kind of monitor the, I don’t know, if you want to consider them the investment grade, but typically, it’s 20 units, 25 units and above, we can typically find investors from different states to come in and purchase them. Anything smaller it’s typically somebody that’s local or somebody regional to the area, Mom and Pop operator that’s looking to buy a community and it’s more localized. So yeah, that’s interesting. When I actually reached out to Mary, I told her Oh, yeah, we got this free report and she’s like, well, you’re about half off and I was like, really?

04:20 Mary Gaiski


04:20 Maxwell Baker

She’s like, well, we consider three, anything over three and I’m like, well, that’s why I’m half off because…

04:26 Mary Gaiski


04:27 Maxwell Baker

…we try to get the bigger ones. Just like I said, for investment grade. What is the biggest issue right now in Pennsylvania for manufactured housing?

04:34 Mary Gaiski

Our biggest issue right now from a community perspective has been the fact that a lot of the mom and pop type communities have now changed hands, you know, with the big wave of investors, honing in on buying Manufactured Housing Communities, seeing them as something of interest. So, a lot of our larger community have already been sold. So, I guess the mom and pops were the next ones, your mid size communities and a lot what we’ve been seeing, they’ve bought them from, like in a regional perspective. So maybe instead of getting a large, a larger community one and done somewhere, they’re buying three of these smaller communities within the same an easy geographical, you know, ride in the car from each other type thing.

05:29 Maxwell Baker


05:30 Mary Gaiski

So, because of that, the problem we have, and I’m sure it’s in other states as well is, you know, the mom and pops weren’t very big on keeping rents at market rate or worrying about all of that. So, these communities are being sold with rents well below market rate and because of that, it has left us right for having to address issues such as rent control, or right of first refusal and we’ve been seeing a lot of that in our legislative halls this year.

06:06 Maxwell Baker

I’ve seen that over in Virginia, I don’t know if you’ve seen what they’ve recently done, but they’ve given the tenants the right of first refusal to buy the communities. First, the park owner has to notify, it’s somebody at the state level that they’re selling their community and then they give the tenants I think up to 90 days to decide whether or not it might be I might be butchering the day count, y’all might be 120. But they give the tenants 90 to 120 days to decide whether or not they are going to buy it. You also have to let them know what you have it under contract for on a website.

06:47 Mary Gaiski


06:48 Maxwell Baker

So like, on over in Virginia, you can go to this website, and they have all the parks that are on the market right now and all the communities that in really what they’re selling for. So, it’s changing, y’all there’s a lot of things changing, as I’m seeing, you know, from state to state. Curious. For you, Mary, like, what are some of the things that y’all are seeing right now? I know, you mentioned kind of protecting the tenants rights. Is it similar to what Virginia is doing? Or y’all have something a little different?

07:16 Mary Gaiski

Well. since COVID, we have seen a lot of interest in the State House, on protecting tenants, and giving them more rights. Because you know, homes are valuable is everybody learned back then, and it hasn’t gone away? As much as we thought maybe this session, you know, since we’re several years out from the whole big COVID thing, things would settle down a bit, but it just hasn’t because you know, housing affordability is on everybody’s tongue and they talk about that to nauseam sometimes, because you have to wonder what they are truly talking about. But residents and protecting the tenants, definitely, I would love it if our right of first refusal language was only for 90 days that they had 90 days to determine if the residents could buy or not. Like for the first time I was knocked off my chair, because the legislator who’s looking at this particular issue, he wants to give the residents 365 days…

08:22 Maxwell Baker

Oh, wow, that’s crazy!

08:23 Mary Gaiski

…to determine. You know, I came right back and said there’s no other business out there in the Commonwealth, or probably even in the nation, that you’re going to give their customers a whole year to determine if they can sell their community, you know, sell the business. Because, you know, that’s the sad part. They don’t look at these as businesses. And sadly, they are I mean, they have an income and expense statement.

08:52 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, they do.

08:53 Mary Gaiski

They’ve got to make sure that, you know, it’s balanced and if it’s not balanced, that should be given the same opportunity as any other business to determine, you know, viable to run it as a business, in our case as a land lease community. So, you know, that was with the right of first refusal, we’ve addressed that issue before we addressed it back in the ‘90s. It came back to haunt us again in the early I’m saying like 2010, 2012 and at that time, we did negotiate language. It says that if you’re going to sell the community, you must notify the residents and you must notify in our case, it’s the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency who has no skin in the game whatsoever when it comes to any type of lending programs, be it for residents looking to purchase a home and put it in a community or for people who are interested in buying a manufactured housing community. All of their programs are focused either or on land home type programs, or multifamily, more focused with coming to be with like apartments… 

10:09 Maxwell Baker


10:09 Mary Gaiski

…and group homes and things like that. So, you know, having them get this information, it just goes into a black hole but, we were happy with that, because we knew that this, you know, nothing was going to come of that but, and then closing the community is a big thing. We negotiated where the resident can get money for the homes, if they can’t find somewhere to go with the homes or help with relocation costs. So, all of that was negotiated out back in 2010, 2011, and 2012. So now, for them to come back with something like this, you know, it’s kind of disheartening, because it’s just not, they’re not looking at it with, you know, common sense, as I call it.

11:00 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, that’s one thing I’ve noticed, since I’m working in different states, I see kind of culturally how everybody operates and there’s a deal that we’re working on in New Jersey right now and surprisingly, I thought New Jersey would be very strict on you know, rent increases, and, you know, mobile home restrictions they have for communities, but they actually carved out to just do it for like, areas in the state that are very populated. So. if you live in a pretty populated area in New Jersey, then there’s rent control, and there’s a lot more things for the local municipality can enact. So, it makes it so you can’t come in there and raise rents $100 Day one, or kick somebody out without helping them move their home or, you know, like that. But if you’re over there, you know, next to a body of water, or something, or within a country, it’s kind of like, you know, wild, wild west, like you’re not in a city. So you don’t have the same type of restrictions as you would because they’re really trying to promote people to be the workforce to be in the city and it makes it attractive. So, because I think the city is really the most expensive areas, from what I’ve seen as far as these mobile home communities, because the lot rents, I mean, they’re pretty high compared to like, you know, around the country, obviously. So, my question, um, this is a long-winded question here. Do you guys see any kind of like, some counties being more pro business and less geared towards the tenants in Pennsylvania? Because I know here in Georgia, some counties are very strict on like, age restrictions and size restrictions coming into their county. Does Pennsylvania have anything like that?

12:41 Mary Gaiski

No, we’re not a county based type regulator. We have 67 counties, but most of our regulations come either at the local level, or the state level. So, that’s where we have to watch the most. There are some Wow, Philadelphia gets to do what they want, if you will, you know, they’re always an exception to the rule…

13:06 Maxwell Baker


13:06 Mary Gaiski

…when it comes to what they can do, because they are the largest populated in their city. But you know, a lot of our communities, though, we have communities on the in the suburbs of the Philadelphia area, we don’t have them within the city. But there is concern and there is a piece of legislation in there that says that rent control would be established at the state level, not at local levels. And we do have to watch that because sometimes there you know, there are progressive mostly in the southeast of Pennsylvania. That’s what I call that’s our high rent district. That’s our more progressive, and that’s where we see more enforcement coming from like code officials and all of that, too.

13:51 Maxwell Baker


13:51 Mary Gaiski

So, you know, in Pennsylvania, we have kind of like three belts, and it follows it from enforcement as well for at the local level, as well as economic. So the southeast, of course, is our highest economic area and then that’s where we see more aggressive ordinances that might impact communities, like to the point of even having a manufactured home community license to do business and then they look at them from a health perspective or a code perspective. Then we have central Pennsylvania, that’s kind of like a medium price tag and they are, you know, you have some areas which are a little more aggressive code wise than other areas of the central area. Harrisburg is a little more, you know, aggressive than, say, Perry County.

14:43 Maxwell Baker


14:44 Mary Gaiski

So, if you’re in more rural, then you get to what I call the wild, wild west, you know, out in the western side of the state and many times when I’ve done meetings out there, and we’ve talked about what’s happening in the other areas of the state, they say can you keep all stuff to the east and leave us alone.

15:02 Maxwell Baker


15:03 Mary Gaiski

We’re happy out here and then they’re the, you know, from an economic perspective, they’re, you know, on the low end, if you will. So, when you’re looking even at Community rents, you’re seeing that, and it’s not just in our industry, it’s across the board. So, you know, if you’re gonna hire a code inspector in southeastern PA, you’re going to pay double to triple what you’re going to pay in western PA type thing.

15:28 Maxwell Baker


15:29 Mary Gaiski

Building permits hold about the same there too. So, so enforcement or you know, how things cost. That’s how we look at it here in PA, and it pretty much follow suit with you know, if you’re looking at things that way, it’s understandable, then.

15:47 Maxwell Baker

What about the moving industry how I know here in the south, the moving industry is the biggest issue we have here in Georgia and Alabama, because most of the movers are retirement age, and there’s not too much new blood coming into that industry. So like, we’re having delays of up to like 90 to 120 days, just to get a mobile home moved and I’m curious what the culture is like up in Pennsylvania, what you’ve seen?

16:14 Mary Gaiski

We’re no different than the rest of the nation, when it comes to labor shortages, the big areas that we see the most impact, you’re seeing it transportation, definitely but then when we talk to our counterparts, you know, the other transporters on the highways, you know, the Motor Truck Association is seeing the same thing, they have an aging workforce, and there’s not new entrants coming in. So it’s no different for whether you’re going to drive for Walmart, or you’re going to drive for the manufactured housing industry, we’re just not, you know, we’re seeing the same thing. As well, as you know, installers. That’s another huge one where the labor, the lack of new entries into the industry is, is really impacting us and the other one is service and repair type people that understand manufactured housing and I hear that from our communities all the time. The other thing too, Maxwell we don’t get a whole lot of homes moving from point A to point B.

17:16 Maxwell Baker


17:17 Mary Gaiski

Less than 10% of the homes once they’re cited, whether it be on private property or in a land lease community, less than 10% or ever, you know, you there somebody’s applying for a secondary move on it.

17:30 Maxwell Baker


17:31 Mary Gaiski

So, we don’t see it in that space of, you know, the pre-owned, but you know, so we might not feel it as much as they might in another sector of the nation that might have more active pre-owned homes, you know, being taken to another location. We’re just not seeing that here in PA.

17:51 Maxwell Baker

Okay. Yeah, ‘cause I know, in some of the other states we’ve talked to, I know Alabama has an issue, and they’re actually promoting some of these tech schools are teaching them how to do transportation for mobile homes, or manufactured housing. So, they’ve been pushing that hard. We talked about it on the podcast, but it sounds like you guys, it’s interesting, because you go state to state and Pennsylvania is one of my favorite states to do business in y’all just because there’s a lot of mobile home communities there and there’s a lot of people there. It seems that the the politics are pretty friendly towards mobile home communities. If, like, Mary says here to stay out of the east, the southeast (laughs)…

18:36 Mary Gaiski


18:36 Maxwell Baker

…of the state, you stay out of there gotta get out and more of the smaller towns. I know. When I lived in Greensburg and interned for Pat to Caesar, it was pretty easy to do business there from what I remember, because, you know, people don’t play a victim. There’s a little bit of politics, I think, from county to county on how long it takes, but it was straightforward. But yeah, Mary, I appreciate your time here. Do you have any closing comments here before we sign off?

19:03 Mary Gaiski

Not much. I truly appreciate the opportunity!

19:09 Maxwell Baker


19:09 Mary Gaiski

If you have any questions? Or if anybody is looking to come into the state, I’m always, you know, open to talking to them and trying to give them a thumbnail education about the laws that do impact Manufactured Housing Communities.

19:24 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, definitely! What’s a good phone number and email address or website for people to contact you, if you’re thinking about buying a community are interested in the industry for Pennsylvania.

19:35 Mary Gaiski

So, our phone number is (717) 774-3440 and my email is pretty simple. It’s

19:49 Maxwell Baker

Awesome! Well, Mary, thank you so much for jumping on the podcast with us today. Hopefully, we can kick some business to you guys in Pennsylvania, as well. If your own mobile home communities sign up to be a member for the manufactured housing association, because if you do, you’ll know what kind of stuff is happening at the political level. Then ultimately that does affect your checkbook or wallet or however you want to look at it, because they could enact some rules that could affect how you operate your mobile home community or when you sell it. So, be sure to get in contact with Mary and the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and see if you can sign up to be one of their community owners there. So, thanks for listening, y’all and as always, this episode is brought to you by the community price Maximizer. It is our proprietary system that will guarantee you a higher price. When you exclusively list with us Four Step Program, give us a call (678) 932-0200. Again, that’s (678) 932-0200 and this is Maxwell Baker signing off. Appreciate y’all listening. Let’s keep moving forward! 


Mary Gaiski is the Executive Vice President of the Pennsylvania Manufactured Housing Association. 

She has been with the association for 37 years working on legislative, regulatory, educational and promotional issues impacting the manufactured housing and modular housing industry.

The association is a Non-Profit trade organization representing over 500 companies marketing in Pennsylvania.

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Maxwell Baker

Maxwell R. Baker founded The MHP Broker in 2009 as a commercial real estate broker specializing in helping Investors buy and sell mobile home communities throughout the Southeast. His family got started with mobile home parks in 2000 where Max gained experience in management, rehabilitation, and selling mobile home parks. Today, The MHP Broker has grown to a team of several agents with expanded services focused on owner and investor brokerage services, mobile home park audits, and in-depth market research, resulting in the sale of over $500 million worth of mobile home communities.