Everything You Need to Know About Renting in Raleigh

Finding the perfect home can be a considerable challenge. Now more than ever, it is important to know exactly what lies in store for you before making your next big decision about your future home. This quick guide will lay out a few fundamental pieces of information to help fast-track your moving needs.

Rising Rental Prices

Monthly rent prices have been steadily rising by about 5% every year at least since 2011. What once would have cost you only $758 (or $864, adjusted for inflation) per month for a nice two-bedroom apartment in 2011 will now run about $1,340 per month, instead.

To make matters worse, the minimum wage in Raleigh is only $7.25, meaning that even a full-time job would earn you a gross income of only $1,160, or $180 short on rent every month.

Consider a Roommate

By moving in with a friend, partner or family member, you can cut these rental prices effectively in half. Of course, there are a few things to look for in a good roommate that you’ll have to take care of on your own, but the benefits are much more easily spotted.

For example, by moving in with somebody else, you double the number of people paying rent on that property, enabling you to either double the cost of the rent by getting a better home or cut the cost of the rent in half by splitting it in your current home.

Either way, this is a tried and true method that tens of millions of people across the country, between college students and senior professionals, have been doing for decades.

Alternative Housing Options

If living with another person isn’t your style or you just can’t stand the risk of another messy roommate without landing yourself a few rent-free years over at Central Prison, then you’re going to want to look into other housing options, such as mobile home rentals or multi-family homes.

Mobile home rentals can enable an easy and enjoyable home rental solution without having to spend loads of money on a shoebox-sized apartment just to hear your neighbors stomping on the ceiling while you’re trying to sleep. Instead, in a mobile home, you’ll only have somebody stomping on your ceiling in an absolute emergency situation.


At the end of the day, it all comes down to whether or not you’re able to reliably and consistently afford your rent. Too many people today fall in love with an apartment or a home that costs more than half of their monthly income. Then one small thing disrupts their finances and it’s all over.

By understanding the current trends in the rising rental prices of the Raleigh area, considering moving in with a roommate, and looking at alternative housing options (such as a mobile home rental), then you’ll be much better equipped to take on any unforeseen financial challenges.

What are you waiting for? Head to Parrishmanor.com and get started with your mobile home rental today!


10 Questions To Ask When Touring An Apartment For Rent

So, you’re on the hunt for a new apartment! Whether you are a first time renter or an experienced one, it can be a stressful process.  Follow our tips below for some helpful pointers on how to successfully navigate the apartment hunting process.

Asking the right questions prior to signing a lease is important, and asking them while taking a tour will help prevent you from settling for anything that could drastically impact your lifestyle and needs – all while being locked into a long-term lease and stuck with it.

As you start your rigorous search for a new spot to call “home”, know that we’re here to help – we’ve compiled a list of 10 very important questions you should ask when taking an apartment tour.

#1. What Is the Lease Term?

There should be no assumptions when it comes to signing a lease. You need to get clear cut details on the lease terms -those at the top of your list should include payment details (acceptable forms of payment and due dates), lease period, grace period and any additional payments needed. These may include security deposit, utilities, parking and pet fees.

Another great question to ask is what all is included in the regular rent payment? This may highlight any perks and set one apartment apart from another you are considering.

#2. Can I Repaint the Walls?

Frankly, some landlords frown at this, while others have no problem. Although this may not seem like a big deal, some landlords won’t allow renters to hang even a picture/painting on the wall – something that may definitely be important for you, especially if you intend on making the place you live your own.

#3. What Is the Guest Policy?

It is only natural to have guests over – whether for the day, overnight or longer. We know it’s your apartment and you paid for it, but if the guest policy forbids you from keeping an extra person under your roof, then you’re already breaching agreements if you invite them over to stay with you.

#4. How Often Does Rent Go Up, By What Percentage?

There are many factors that can cause a rent hike, but you should brace up for it in order not to be taken by surprise. We’ve seen a couple of leases that are notorious for doing such regularly.

#5. What Is the Pet Policy?

You don’t need to have a pet to ask this question. Your visiting friend or relative may have one. That’s why you should ask if pets are allowed or not. It is always good to know ahead of time to avoid any fees or prevent any policies you may be breaking.

#6. Who Takes Care of Repairs and How Soon?

Even if the fact that the building is in perfect shape (or looks it), doesn’t mean it won’t develop plumbing issues tomorrow. Will I pay for it or does my rent cover it?

If your new home will cover all or most repairs, there are still questions to ask. There is nothing worse than in the middle of a heat wave and the air conditioning goes out. How soon will it get fixed? 

#7. Where Can I Park My Car? 

It is important to have an apartment with sufficient space for you or your visitors to park their vehicles without getting a ticket. If you reside in a large city, does the lease include off street parking? Most cities have strict street parking laws – especially during certain seasons.

Parking rules can be a big nuisance if you have and use your car consistently. Do you really want to have to worry about walking several blocks to your car every morning before work, or have to worry about losing your “awesome, close” parking space if you just need to run to the store quick for something?

#8. How Secure Is the Neighborhood? The Building? 

Not to get you scared, but you should find out how often police are deployed to the area. Are vehicle thefts common? You also will want to ask about security measures in the building. Is there a key needed to enter? Are locks changed between tenants? All of this is very important for your safety. Not only this, but it shows the landlord’s concern for your personal well-being as well. If there are no security best practices in place, this should raise red flags.

#9. Does the Apartment Require Renter’s Insurance?

Some leases require you to have renters insurance before your application is accepted. You will want to make sure you can afford this additional fee in your monthly budget and have decent coverage.

#10. Why Did The Previous Tenants Leave? 

If the previous tenants didn’t stay long, there may be a negative reason why. Are the walls thin and the neighbors loud next door, affecting quiet nights at home? This may require a little more investigating than asking the landlord – look at reviews online, talk to current tenants, schedule more than one tour or visit the building on different days and at different times. A week day may be very different than a weekend night and something that would affect the lifestyle you like to live.

Alleviate Apartment Rental Stresses! 

One way to avoid the stresses of apartment hunting and being concerned about neighborhoods is renting in a mobile home community. From having no neighbor-shared walls, to having your own yard, a sense of security and feeling ownership of your space. There is no reason to not feel great about signing a lease and we’re here to help make the rental process go seamless!

Take a tour of one of our mobile homes and park today! We offer different options in styles, amenities and sizes when it comes to our rental homes – based on what is available, choose based on your needs and lifestyle. And we care about answering ALL of your questions with no hidden agenda. Our team appreciates a great partnership and you’ll find at Parrish Manor, we are about community and being neighborly.

Set up an appointment to tour today – call us at (919) 661-1234 or contact us online.

Questions to Ask Before Signing A Mobile Home Lease

The benefits of mobile home living are tough to ignore. Low maintenance, zero property tax and access to amenities may have you reaching for a pen. But don’t sign the lease just yet – if you’re not careful, the excitement of envisioning furniture placement and decoration styles may keep you from noticing those boring, but ever-so-crucial details – turning your dream home into a nightmare. Asking the right questions puts you in a position of power as you sign the lease and ensures you get off on the right foot with your landlord. But for first-time renters, it’s hard to know what to ask. Here are a few to get you started:

Are There Any Extra Fees?

If you’re a first-time renter, you may not realize things like water, sewer, trash, gas, electric and other things making your home livable (and affordable) are not always included in the cost of rent. Each agency or landlord is different; some may cover all of these extra costs, though it’s rare. Most cover just a few, while others don’t cover any. On top of that, some mobile home communities have a seperate fee for the lot on top of the rent, application fees, administrative fees and more. Making sure you get all the details up front will keep you from a nasty surprise when the bills come rolling in.

What Does the Application Process Look Like?

Whether you’re looking at a mobile home, an apartment or another option, almost any landlord or agency will require you to show proof you make 3-4 times the monthly cost of rent. And, if you’re sharing with a roommate, that may go for them too. While some communities may be okay with a combined income of 3-4 times the rent, many require all adult occupants on the lease to make that much on their own, just in case one of you splits without warning. They may also check your credit, so you’ll want to check to see if this is a hard inquiry – which can impact your credit – or a soft inquiry, which doesn’t.

What Happens if I Need to Break the Lease?

When you sign a lease, you’re making a legally binding agreement to live there for a specific period of time. If life happens – for example, you’re offered your dream job on the other side of the country – there may be hefty fees for terminating the lease earlier than expected. While you may not be able to change their mind, it’s good to know up front what their expectations are.

How Long is the Lease?

While year-long leases are typically the most common, some agencies and landlords may offer longer or shorter lease terms. And a different lease length may mean a difference in monthly rent.

How Do I Request Repairs?

There’s nothing worse than finding out about a broken pipe in the middle of a shower, or discovering your AC went out on the hottest day of the year. There are a number of things that can go wrong in a mobile home, and you’ll want to know up front how to report a problem, who to report it to, who handles the fix and in what timeframe you can expect most problems to be fixed.

Don’t let this list be overwhelming. While these are important questions to ask, most people don’t encounter big problems, or no one would be renting at all! Parrish Manor can make the process easy. As a top-rated, family-friendly mobile home community, we make everything from rent to maintenance requests simple and quick with an online portal.

Leasing your dream home doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Call our Parrish Manor leasing specialists today at (919) 661-1234 to schedule a viewing and let our leasing specialists answer all these questions, and more.

10 Weird Mobile Home Community Rules

You know the common saying, rules are made to be broken, right? A statement most likely used back in the high school days – rules parents set for kids or rules teachers set for students… But as an adult, rules are rules and can have some pretty major consequences. Like most every living space for rent, mobile home communities have rules – yet we found some pretty strange ones and we’re about to let you in on them…

No Feeding Squirrels

It seems silly this needs to be in a list of home rental rules, right? Well, someone somewhere may have fed these little guys until it became a problem. We found this rule prohibiting feeders on tenants’ properties, as to not attract these furry rodents. Sorry squirrels, no handouts here.

Children Under 14 Not Allowed on Playground

If this rule sounds counterintuitive, it is. Communities restricting playground age are likely removing any responsibility from themselves should a child get hurt on the equipment. There is definitely a logical disconnect in investing in a playground refusing entry for children. Hey kid, you can have your cake, but you can’t eat it too

Permission Required for a Waterbed

Alright. We understand the logic behind why a landlord may make this rule; the water damage done to a mobile home could be pretty intense, not to mention expensive if the bed breaks. However, this rule applies to a park where renters own the mobile home, just not the lot. This rule defies all logic, but it’s true nonetheless. Some parks require residents to obtain permission before bringing a waterbed into their mobile home, but it’s tough wagering a good guess as to why. Maybe the landlord had a bad experience in the 80’s when waterbeds were more popular and this had to become a rule? Some things are best not knowing.

Ask First for Sleepovers

No one wants to feel they’re under surveillance in their own home, but that’s exactly the kind of environment this rule cultivates. It requires residents to clear overnight guests with management ahead of time. Hey landlord, is it cool if my mom comes over?

Plants Require Board Approval

Some communities don’t allow plants of any kind on the property, even if they’re not planted directly in the ground. That’s right, some parks even restrict residents from having planters on patios. What we want to know, is what situation could this have stemmed from in order for it to become a rule…

No Airing Laundry on Sundays

Whether you like to save money at the laundromat by air drying your laundry, or simply love your linens breezy-fresh, it’s not happening on Sundays. If you are someone who completes your errands on the weekends, Saturday will be your laundry day in some mobile home communities. So, if you’re noticing a funky smell from your neighbor, they may have skipped that one weekend day they were able to do laundry, but the landlord restricted it.

Don’t Shoot the Vermin!

We understand the rule to not use a gun in the community – pretty straight forward, right? A departure from the ‘no feeding’ rule, this one seems to want to protect vermin in particular, within the park. Whether this rule intends to foster a respect for the natural world or is simply in place as a safety measure is unclear. Either way, don’t shoot the vermin!

Unlike Roller Coasters, The Short Ones Pass The Height Requirement

Plenty of living spaces place restrictions on dog size, but it’s generally in terms of weight rather than height, let alone such a subjective form of measurement. There is a rule where dogs who are roughly knee height or shorter are only permitted. Whose knees set the limit? We’re not clear on.

You Want To Rent It, You Fix It

Residents in some parks have moved into lots with existing sheds or light posts that were damaged, only to be notified after move in they would have to complete repairs at their own expense despite these items not belonging to them in the first place.

No Fixing Your Vehicle On Site

One park in particular prohibits tenants from performing maintenance on their own vehicles within the park limits. In fact, residents must take their car off of the property before any work can be done with it, adding to the overall cost of the issue.

For those looking for a rental where you can truly feel at home and free of “out there” rules, call Parrish Manor today at (919) 661-1234, or contact us here to see how we can give you the best possible mobile home community experience without any of the unnecessary restrictions.

Nessie Foundation — Empowering Youth With Positive Influences

Every young person deserves access to resources setting them up for success. Unfortunately, not all children receive the same kinds of opportunities as their contemporaries.

Nessie Foundation aims to offer families seeking these opportunities with youth programs, providing necessary skills for future success and in a positive environment.

Currently focused on serving residents of Parrish Manor, Nessie Foundation provides children with programs including:

  •   Camp fees
  •   Transportation to Boys & Girls Club summer camp
  •   Community garden
  •   Cooking classes
  •   Soccer games at Parrish Manor recreation field
  •   After-school outdoor club

Nessie Foundation also offers a Bike Shop to teens living in Parrish Manor wherein they learn how to repair their own bikes, as well as the bikes of younger community members. It is opportunities such as this fostering a sense of social responsibility and the importance of giving back to the community, while building confidence and teaching young people a practical life skill. 

Continuous Teaching of Life Skills

All of these great opportunities are intended to equip youth with tools helping them grow both individually and collectively- allowing them to meet challenges and helping them to build on life skills.  Each program is different and works toward these common goals in a unique way.

Clubs, camps and classes first and foremost keep children occupied in a constructive way. These help kids work in team building environments, teaching them networking skills and about the power of working together to accomplish overall goals. Kids can feel the power of being a contributor and see the results of the impact they make. 

While cooking classes teach kids how to not only cook and make healthy lifestyle choices, an outdoor club teaches them how to have an appreciation for the environment and the importance of how staying active is essential to one’s overall health.  The community garden, soccer games and summer camps allow young people to forge bonds and feel at home within a community. They also give youth a sense of pride- hard work is most appreciated when it is earned. 

Stronger Together

Nessie Foundation believes strength is in numbers and in partnership. In fact, Nessie Foundation has formed partnerships with a number of other nonprofits and government agencies, creating a robust list of programs.

Some of the organizations and agencies Nessie Foundation partners with are Raleigh Boys & Girls Club, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Wake County Cooperative Extension and the N.C. Public Health Foundation. These partnerships are consistent with Nessie Foundation’s community driven goals.

As a nonprofit organization, Nessie Foundation is only able to provide these many services to youth in need due to the generous donations of community members. A tax-deductible donation can make more difference in a child’s life than most can ever imagine.

More Than A Mobile Home 

Thanks in part to Nessie Foundation’s concerted efforts, Parrish Manor is a thriving community in the Raleigh area. The open concept mobile homes are designed to fit every lifestyle and ensure all children have a comfortable environment to go home to after spending their afternoons in one of Nessie Foundation’s programs.

Being a resident at Parrish Manor offers so much more than a mobile home. Being a resident means a sense of belongingness to a community in beautiful surroundings. The Nessie Foundation strives to continue this sense of community and teaching the value of it to its youth – giving them a wide variety of opportunities to choose from and helping them to grow into exceptional adults. If this sounds like a great fit for you and your family, call us today at (919) 661-1234 or schedule a visit online.

A Tenant’s Guide to Renting a Mobile Home

Renting a mobile home has many benefits (read about them in our April Blog!) and whether you are considering or have already made the choice to rent a mobile home, there are a few things to consider when going through the decision and lease agreement processes.

During your mobile home rental search process, you will find you will most likely deal with a rental office or company who will tend to your needs rather than working with a private renter. This will help ensure the process is kept professional and by the book in terms of a leasing agreement and structure.

Looking for a Rental Unit

When you launch your search for a mobile home to rent, you want to make sure your choice fits your living requirements, preferences and lifestyle. Along with the amount of space, layout and location, you’ll also want to have a good understanding of the following before signing a lease agreement.

  • Any additional fees associated with the mobile community
  • Services provided to you (maintenance, trash removal, landscaping, etc.)
  • Every term in the lease agreement
  • Rules of the park
  • Handling rent payment, deposits and refunds
  • Weather zone of the park
  • Guest rules

You should have substantial time to go over your lease before signing it and the landlord should be available to answer any questions you may have. If you’re feeling rushed into signing your lease, this could be a red flag with the renter being “too eager”. There may be an underlying reason and you may want to do some additional research on the renter.

Making a Decision

Deciding on a home within your mobile home community of choice can be a struggle if you are unsure of what you want. There are many factors to consider, some people choose a home based on direction because they enjoy the morning sun in their living room or one may need additional bedrooms for children or for guests to visit, while others want to make sure the layout makes sense to their lifestyle. If things seem a little overwhelming, here is a quick list of things to consider based on needs and preferences to get you started.

  • Floor plan layout
  • Number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms  
  • Size of home (single or double wide)
  • Look of interior (granite countertops, wood cabinets, fixtures)
  • Appliances (size, color, types)
  • Direction home faces (north-south, east-west)
  • Location within the park
  • Any available upgrades
  • Yard and garden space
  • Parking options
  • Security
  • Amenities

Before You Move In

It is always important to be a courteous and rule adhering tenant. However, it is just as important for the renter to be as well, after all, this is your investment. Before you move in, make a checklist:

  • The mobile home rental has been checked for health and safety issues
  • You have the keys
  • A property inventory has been created and given to the rental office
  • It’s clean
  • Utilities are in operating order (including the furnace, AC and water heater)
  • Any previous damage is noted

Living in a Mobile Home Park

When it comes to mobile home living, a benefit is that each park is different, offering a variety of choices in your living conditions and people you will be in contract with. Not only that, but mobile home parks are often located in suburban or city outskirt areas, giving rural and country-like vibes. Following this guide will help assist you in a positive mobile home living experience.

There are so many perks to living within a mobile home rental community. Respecting the property as if it was your own is great advice for any renter, as you prepare for home ownership.

Visit Parrish Manor today to schedule a viewing and get started on the search for your new home!

5 Reasons You Should Be Renting a Mobile Home

Renting can be difficult, especially if your family is on the larger side. Existing in close proximity to your neighbors, such as you would in an apartment complex, can get overwhelming quickly. From late night noise to sharing a washer and dryer, you’re probably missing that little bit of quiet that comes with your own space.

A mobile home rental is a great option for any person or family who might be looking for a little more space, peace and privacy. Let’s explore.

Sense of Community

When you choose a mobile home rental, you’ll still feel the comforting closeness of your neighbors, without being right on top of each other. Most mobile home parks have a list of community events and gatherings, ranging from barbeques to volleyball games.

You can enjoy your own personal space with your family and still soak up all those neighborhood vibes. There is always someone close to help in the event of an emergency and kids have constant access to community playgrounds and dozens of friends.

Quality Control

When you move into a mobile home rental, you’ll know that the quality is nothing short of stellar. The development of mobile homes (technically now called manufactured homes), over the years has improved vastly. Each home available for rent or purchase is required to be up to code and that means everything from plumbing and electrical systems, to air purity and fire safety.

Also, the stigma around mobile homes when it comes to weather is actually quite untrue. You will be able to rest easy knowing your mobile home rental is of high standards and quality.


Mobile homes are smaller than your average single family home, but you’ll find yourself with a ton of space, depending on the floor plan you pick. The amount of square footage you’ll receive at such an affordable price point is unbeatable.

Mobile home rentals tend to run less than the national average for renting. With the lower cost of rent, you’ll have a lot more wiggle room financially!


Life in a mobile home rental tends to appeal to minimalists. Without a massive amount of extra space, you can allow yourself to live within your means, spacewise. By choosing a smaller living area, you can avoid the clutter that builds up so effortlessly in our lives. This perk can apply if you’re moving from a single family rental, or even an apartment.

Also, you’ll have more storage space!

Modern Living

The mobile home rentals of today are not what they use to be. With updated, modernized and contemporary floor plans, you are looking at the possibility of luxurious amenities for half of the price. It’s a bit like living in a resort at times and features living perks such as:

  • Off street parking
  • Playground
  • Sports fields and courts
  • Walking trail
  • Fishing pond
  • RV storage area
  • Sidewalks throughout community
  • Designated auto maintenance area
  • Beautiful landscaping
  • Community events and holiday celebrations
  • Outdoor picnic and barbecue spaces

Airy living areas, beautiful laminate flooring and large master bedrooms are commonplace in Parrish Manor. If you’d like to know more, give us a call today at  (919) 661-1234  or visit https://www.parrishmanor.com/schedule-a-visit/ to schedule a tour!

Now available 3 bed, 2 bath for $975 a month

Immediate availability!  This spacious 3 bedroom double-wide home with 2 bathrooms has 1,456 square feet and updated black appliances, shaker-style cabinets, granite countertops, updated flooring and fixtures!

All homes offer washer and dryer connections, 2 car parking pad limit, and best of all you do not have to share walls with your neighbors!

Our community events include social activities, after-school programs, seasonal food shuttle, soccer field, basketball court, playgrounds and a fishing pond.

We are close to all major highways, shopping, and dining!  Only 15 minutes from the heart of downtown Raleigh!

Visit us today or call to schedule an appointment and find out why Parrish Manor is a great community to call home!  Contact us today.

We are open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm and select Saturdays 10 am – 4pm. Appointments preferred.

Photos from a similar home, Parrish Manor – named best manufactured housing community in North Carolina!  **No Application Fee currently**

Need Help for Nessie Foundation Bus!

It was 24 years old, had an odometer with mileage deep into six digits and ran without air conditioning. But every day the big white school bus rescued more than 100 children from summertime boredom.

The decommissioned Chevrolet bus, bought from Johnston County for roughly $3,500, carried kids aged 6 to 17 to Boys & Girls Clubs around Raleigh, where they got all-day recreation and free lunch. Most of the kids came from low-income families, and nearly all of them rode from Parrish Manor mobile home park in Southeast Raleigh.

Then the bus quit running – twice in four days, for good the second time in early July.

Its blown engine strands 135 children who would otherwise be finger-painting and practicing free throws.

“They need to be there, not here,” said Charles Parrish, owner of Parrish Manor who runs the nonprofit Nessie Foundation.

N&O Tarheel of the Week

RALEIGH — Early on, Chris Parrish found room for improvement at the Southeast Raleigh mobile home park he runs with his father. Kids were tossing footballs in the 20-foot sliver between trailers or fishing in the park’s pond without knowing how to unhook their catch. Residents were changing the oil in their cars and dumping the used filters on the ground.

So Parrish set about fixing things, and his improvements have snowballed. Parrish Manor, off Jones Sausage Road, now boasts a soccer field, a community garden, playgrounds, free trips to the Boys and Girls Club, and the list goes on. Some solutions he devised himself – he cleared and laid sod on a kudzu-strangled field and added a car maintenance shed, for instance. Others, such as the organic garden overseen by the InterFaith Food Shuttle, he accomplished through grants and partnerships.

Last year, Parrish landed a three-year, $85,000 state grant to get his residents exercising more by adding a walking trail, picnic area and sports programs for kids at the soccer field, part of an effort to stem childhood obesity, which is particularly common in low-income families. Grant coordinator Marjorie Lanier says it’s rare to find a developer so interested in the health of his community – or so prolific in his improvement efforts. “In the public health world, we don’t come across toomany like Chris,” says Lanier, who coordinates the state’s Healthy Places, Active Spaces grant program. “What he’s doing is pretty remarkable.”

Parrish rattles off programs so numerous it’s hard to keep up – visits from mobile petting zoos and dental clinics, a walking program using pedometers, healthy cooking classes – but he punctuates his list with shrugs, as if rounding up such services for his tenants is simple common sense. “We try to put ourselves in their shoes,” says Parrish, 38, who grew up in Smithfield. “You think, ‘How would you want your family to grow up?’ and then you make it happen.”

A Halloween party
Lines of perfect white rectangles wind around the paved streets of Parrish Manor – 280 homes with driveways, sidewalks and tiny, immaculate yards. Landscapers mow the grass and pick up trash.

The 70-acre site was farmland when his grandfather bought it in the 1950s. His father had it zoned for mobile homes, but it took the family until the mid-1990s to get water and sewer service there.

By then, Parrish had earned his bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and was considering law school. But he changed plans and earned a master’s in business administration – better preparation for entering
the family business. Parrish’s father, Charles Parrish, had some experience as a developer of stick-built and mobile homes. But Parrish Manor, which opened in 1998, was the family’s largest such undertaking.

At the time, the mobile home industry was suffering a post-bubble decline similar to that of the overall real estate market in recent years. The Parrishes couldn’t sell their mobile homes, so they rented them. They now rent 80 percent of the homes, which range from $695 a month for a two-bedroom to $975 for a four-bedroom. Such a large rental community of mobile homes is rare, considered by many to be too risky and unstable.

The Parrishes counter that risk by keeping close tabs on their tenants, screening them carefully before they move in and evicting people for unruly behavior. “We’re not one of those places where if you pay rent, we look the other way,” Parrish says. They have also tried to keep stable tenants by making the neighborhood a nice place to live. Parrish says they started out by providing a Halloween party and parade.

Then a nearby church offered to bring presents and a visit from Santa Claus at Christmas. When he decided those foundering fishermen needed mentors, transportation was his key problem in getting them to area Boys and Girls Clubs. So he started a nonprofit in 2006 to be able to accept donations toward a used school bus he bought. That year, roughly nine Parrish Manor kids regularly went to the club. Last summer, about 50 went.

‘This place is different’ Parrish says he considers himself the “mayor of a little town” of about 900 residents, nearly half of them children. And he has learned that his town sits in what is known as a “food and recreation desert” –
there is no grocery store nearby, and until he cleared out his field, there were no parks or ball fields. “There was no place to run around,” he says. “And the only food around was all fast food.”

He learned that lots of nonprofits are looking to help the low-income, often minority families in his community. So he calls them up, one by one.

“My whole thing is to try to get people who have the services to come to us,” he says. “We have the population they’re looking for.” The community’s links to a range of services has been a boon for Brenda Grothe and her three sons, ages 6, 14 and 16. Her youngest loves the new after-school sports classes. Her teenagers are working with the county to research recreational activities for a teen-centered website.

“I’ve seen other trailer parks before,” says Grothe, 34. “But this place is different.” For his next project, Parrish has set his sights on a community center that would double as a tornado shelter – making it eligible for FEMA grants that would cover much of the $1.3 million cost. Parrish calls this plan his “craziest idea yet,” but as he talks about the potential of a larger space – moving his Zumba fitness classes from the tiny clubhouse living room, offering English as a Second Language classes – he uses the word “will” more than “might” or “could.”

“We call him the bullet train, because he just has this incredible capacity to get things done at breakneck speed,” says Lanier, the grant coordinator. Lanier would like to see more affordable communities focusing on residents’ health. And Parrish has plugged his nonprofit work at industry meetings – trying to guilt the huge corporations that own most mobile home parks nationwide into action, he says: “If I can do this, anyone can.”

Born: Feb. 6, 1973, in Smithfield
Residence: Raleigh
Career: Co-owner, Parrish Manor; founder and director, The Nessie Foundation; member and past president, N.C. Manufactured and Modular Homebuilders Association; board member, NCMHA Scott Morton Scholarship Committee; member and past chairman, National Communities Division, Manufactured Housing Institute

Honors: Parrish Manor was awarded the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Outstanding Maintained Appearance, 2008, and Community of the Year, Southern Region, Manufactured Housing Institute, 2008 Education: B.A., political science, UNC-Chapel Hill; MBA, Appalachian State University Family: Wife, Colleen, a nurse practitioner; children, Ella, 3; and Keegan, 1

Fun facts: An Olde English theme is omnipresent at Parrish Manor. The playground is called Sherwood Forest and boasts a stone castle with a drawbridge. The numbers on each house are inscribed in a coat of arms. Suits of armor man the office, and a sword stuck in a large stone like King Arthur’s sits out front. Parrish’s nonprofit, the Nessie Foundation, is named after the Loch Ness Monster replica that lives in the community’s fishing pond.