Bonding with sellers & your image: Your Car

Hello everyone, I am just getting started in the MHP world.Having read about the importance of connecting & bonding with a seller, I have realized just how powerful it can be. Along with that is the image you carry when with these owners. These owners are typically older mom & pops, conservative WWII/Korean War Veterans. Frank had a phone lecture on Saturday & emphasized putting yourself in the right position to bond (dress appropriately, look like their kind of guy or gal), which I completely agree with. I am in the process of getting a car & wondered what do you think a older MHP owner would think of someone like myself (28yr old male) driving oh, I dont know, lets say a used Toyota Camry or Honda Accord as opposed to a Chevy Silveradro or Chevy Malibu?I am not letting this stop me in any way from getting going. I am purchasing the home study course in a few weeks & am calling MHP owners to meet and chat with. Also reading anything & everything on the site! Just thought since I am in the process of purchasing a (used) car, might as well think a little further than what “I” just want in these scenarios. What do you guys think???What do you guys drive? Do you think it plays a role into your bonding/connecting with the owner? Thank you all in advance! 

Joe, first of all ‘Congratulations’ on your Mobile Home Park Journey!In the past I would have said that a ‘Foreign’ car (Toyota & Honda) might have turned off these ‘Mom & Pop’ Owners in comparison to ‘American Brands’ such as a Chevy. However, these days a lot of ‘Foreign’ cars are made and/or assembled in the US and a lot of ‘American’ cars are made and/or assembled outside the US.Thus, ultimately I would recommend getting the vehicle that ‘You’ like the most.  If you can afford it and it makes you smile, go for it. The ‘Mom & Pops’ will see your heart and that will be the ultimate guide.We wish you the very best!

Thanks for your feedback, Kristen.
I do see your point. I love cars & I love investing in a domestic product, but like you said these imports are sometimes more domestic than some of our domestic vehicles are. It’s true.
Hopefully the mom & pops won’t judge me for the car I drive, but rather how I look as a package including how I dress, listen, and what type of character I have.

Thanks again!

if you are going to be a hands on person in the real estate business a pick up truck is an essential tool.

Bonding with a owner through your vehicle is not going to close a deal. What you need to do is consider the use of the vehicle once you do own a community. If you are a hands off owner then buy what you please but avoid flashy cars as tenants will quickly resent you as a owner. If you plan on being actively involved in the operations of the community then practicality should be your number one consideration.I do all the maintenance of my community personally and have found a mini van to be the most practical of all vehicles. I can carry all the tools and supplies I need in the back and can leave it all there locked up and safe unlike with a pickup truck. Plus once cleaned out and seats up it doubles as a family vehicle able to carry 6 easily. 

Thanks oceanbay & Greg! Im not planning on being ‘hands on’. Im more concerned with an image the owner has of me. & Again, not overly concerned, just in general. I wont be pulling up in any kind of flashy car, but I will be dressed put together (at minimum dress slacks, tucked in button down). A minivan is definitely the most practical car ever made. Good choice!However, my plan isn’t to bond through a car. It is to create a non verbal ‘accepting’ image. Because lets face it, a very large percentage of people may have an image of you based on what car you just walked out of. It may not be a big image judgement, but it is there. Thanks for all the input thus far! :smiley:

i never had a theft problem with my pickup because i kept tools and valuables in the extended cab. it also sat 4 comfortably.
I agree with Greg on flashy cars and tenants.
Joe, a small SUV might make a good first impression and give added functionality.

So don’t drive a Lexus or Mercedes to meet potential park owners!  Really?!! 

OK, the road goes both ways here. You don’t want a flashy car, but you also don’t want a lousy car, as that will imply to the seller that you don’t have enough money to close the deal. You need something in-between. An expensive SUV is best, as it’s not sexy or flashy, but still implies a high price tag and that you have enough money to close a deal. Dave and I both drive these. I would never use a convertible, and I think red is a dangerous color (I prefer white, black or silver). You want to appear a prosperous, conservative business person. What car sends that image? 

Well, I drive Lexus RX.  Hmmm, how can I over come this: a foreign car, a foreign female with a foreign accent?!  

You’ll be fine. A foreign buyer with a Lexus is going to spell one word to a seller: money. When you sell a property, that’s the biggest driver to a successful closing. 

Frank presents a situation which is more a divided highway than a two way street. As a mom and pop park owner I view a expensive SUV as a statement of excess. It is a mini van turned luxury vehicle. Added cost without added value. If he were to come knocking on my door to buy I would defiantly see money and he would not close on my park. At least not without paying top dollar. He would walk away believing I was greedy, stupid or simply out of touch with reality. The perception is that mom and pop are not very business smart which may not be the case.  Most Mom and pop owners would not consider if you have the money to make an offer they assume you have it or would not offer. It’s the buyers problem to find the money to close the deal.  No money, no deal. Mom and pop don’t care how you do it.  Perspective is a interesting thing the difficult part is being able to put yourself in the other persons position in viewing that perspective.

Now I know why Greg is the voice of reason he actually OWNES AND OPERATES a park just like myself.      When the new black BMW was recently passing through our park I wanted to know his business since he was an uninvited park hustler (had flipped 50 parks in the past 12 years) and I was not going to be victim 51.   The owners -operators through this site are becoming much wiser to likes of Frank and Dave as to their buying techniques and their boot camp and thus we are becoming better operators and especially better sellers.     I really appreciate Jim Johnson’s business side that our residents are very important and need to be treated with dignity and has a caring attitude.   Be yourself when Sam Walton opened a new store he flew (his plane) in but once there he looked like any other worker and was a tremendous inspirational person that once back home drove his OLD Ford pickup with his dog and MONEY  never changed Sam it was the challenge that drove him to be exceptional not the number of stores HE OWNED.      The bottom line is once money is more important than people I want off the tread mill.    The market is definitely changing and I am presently being pursued by a large hedge fund that wants the better quality parks and are willing to pay top dollar–the cap rate is going down–there are few mom and pop plus 3 stars parks left???     I appreciate the site.

Carl, after you sell your park for top dollar I hope you continue to share your experience and views here. This is a revolutionary time in the commercial investment real estate industry.

We own multiple parks within a 2 mile radius of our home on the lake so if it sells we will continue to view all the interesting comments and experiences the changing park business is having.        Yes some of us are sort of vacationing while we operate the upscale parks–we have owned some family parks but  was very glad to say go-by to them.  Please understand after 30 years we choose carefully what we own and operate.    Getting started with a family park is generally a smart decision just be careful with rentals and vacant lots–why would I be able to do better than the last  operator or why all the rentals???   The future in the park business is very bright since our government is doing a good job in destroying the middle class that will be forced into parks or cheap apartments.

Your Car  –  Bonding With Sellers:Ultimately, it comes down to the Buyer’s Personality when bonding with a Seller.My Husband and I own two Mobile Home Parks and we manage both of them.Last year we purchased a new family car, because we were blessed with a third son.  The family car that we had been previously driving was a Cadillac SRX (Crossover…Red) and the third row was big enough for babies and puppies (but not big enough for three huge car seats).Thus, we purchased a new (end of the year), domestic, SUV (Ford Expedition EL…King Ranch…Black).  This SUV fit our family’s needs (sounds like Frank and Dave like SUVs also :slight_smile: ).Do I drive the SUV to our MHPs?  Yes, I do it all the time (as it is my only vehicle).Do the Tenants know who I am?  Yes, I talk to the Tenants, pass out flowers to them, shake their hands and compliment their work.Could the Tenants be jealous of the SUV?  Possibly.  However, I have learned that if you live and breathe, then ultimately you will offend people or make them jealous.  I have learned to just live my life with my family.  IF someone is offended or jealous (because of their own issues), that is something that they need to deal with…not me.I am saddened by Greg’s response of:'If he ( expensive SUV Owner ) were to come knocking on my door to buy I would defiantly see money and he would not close on my park.  At least not without paying top dollar.'Greg, would you really not sell your MHP because of the vehicle that a person drives?My Husband drives a 1996 Ford F-250 Diesel.  He could buy a new truck, but prefers the look and style of the older trucks.  His 1996 Ford F-250 has just over 40,000 miles, so it is new to him :-).Greg, if my Husband came a knocking, I guess he would get the green light but I would get a boot to the door (as I would not pay top dollar)?As a Real Estate Broker a ‘Sale’ is basically two parties coming to a Mutual Agreement of terms.Ultimately, it does not matter what they drive.  It matters that the Seller wants to Sell, the Buyer wants to Buy and they can all agree on the same terms.We wish you the very best!

KristinSorry my statement may have been some what confusing. To preface I spent 35 years in corporate contract negotiations. To be skilled at negotiating one must hone their skills at reading and understanding not only what is said but especially what is not said. My point regarding Franks vehicle is not that I would chose not to sell to him.  I would be willing to sell however my price point varies depending on the buyer. I have a bottom line but it varies with each buyer depending on what they can afford. The only number any potential buyer sees is the asking price.The art of negotiation is determining what your opponent is capable of paying and then leading them to that point. Mutual agreement is indeed the goal. The challenge is getting the buyer to that point not the seller.Bottom line is that negotiating with Frank would not conclude with a mutually agreeable contract because he would lack the motivation to purchase at a price I would be willing to negotiate. He business practices are such that he is not motivated enough, in regards to any individual park, to be moved beyond his set price point. Neither he nor I would be motivated enough to negotiate a mutually agreeable price.As for as you and your husband are concerned I could quickly determine separately that you and your husband would have close to the same price point but I believe I could get you to pay slightly more. Assuming your husband is not also a Broker your experience would push you to stay in the negotiations longer than he would and you would likely end up paying more as a result.