Gorham residents buy their manufactured-home park

The Village At Brae Burn Cooperative is NH's 127th resident-owned community

Homeowners in Brae Burn Court Mobile Home Park in Gorham purchased the 30-unit manufactured-home park on Oct. 31, making it New Hampshire’s 127th resident-owned community (ROC).

Using training and technical assistance from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH™ team, homeowners organized and formed The Village At Brae Burn Cooperative in February 2017. Months earlier, Brae Burn owner Jeanne Lariviere had contacted the Community Loan Fund, saying she wanted to sell the park to its homeowners.

Two women holding a We Own It banner

Virginia Bourassa and Ola Gagne of The Village at Brae Burn Cooperative celebrate the purchase of their community.

The cooperative’s members elected a board of directors and worked closely with ROC-NH to make the purchase a reality. They negotiated with Lariviere, reached an $750,000 purchase price, and finalized the deal with a mortgage from the Community Loan Fund.

Cooperative president Ola Gagne was familiar with the concept of resident ownership. She has family in Milan, N.H. who were involved in purchasing their park, Deer Estates Cooperative, a few years earlier.

“It meant a lot to us that Jeanne wanted to know if we’d be interested in buying the park before she put it on the market,” Gagne said.

Co-op treasurer Virginia Bourassa and her husband, Roland, were very involved in the park’s conversion to resident ownership, which was delayed by land boundary issues.

“We’re finally here,” she said. “What a relief! I feel like I should pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

Brae Burn’s residents were concerned that if they didn’t buy the park, it might instead be sold to an investor who would convert some of its homes to weekend rentals for all-terrain-vehicle enthusiasts lured by the North Country’s friendly road regulations and parks. Most of the community’s residents are retired and were concerned about the possibility of increased noise and activity in their community.

Cooperative ownership means The Village At Brae Burn Cooperative homeowners are now eligible for products and services, including real mortgages, that haven’t been available to them. Studies show that the availability of home financing, when the land is secure, improves the home’s value, the owner’s ability to make improvements, and overall housing affordability.

The more-than-7,250 homeowners in New Hampshire’s ROCs, spread across every county, also have access to management guidance, technical assistance, and leadership trainings in which they earn college credit.

View a full list of ROCs in New Hampshire.