[Bringing thread back on topic]
I listened to this webinar twice and then decided to listen again to your older audio on “101 parks in 100 minutes”.
My key takeaway was there your key tenets for the type of park you look for are the same. However, I did note some different parks and cities/locations in the list.
So my questions is what (if any) new learnings or changes in beliefs have you guys learned between parks 101 to 200?
As with amy industry, we need to learn to adapt and I am curious what areas your have held steadfast and what areas you have adjusted your business model or business processes?
Frank, We have tried to have you answer simple questions: do you actually own 200 parks, no answer but bemoan the fact that we only own a couple of parks and what have we been doing for 20 years. Do the investors own the parks or do you just a simple question. If we can own 2 parks and have a great living and with you personally owning??? 200 parks that is beautiful (American capitalism at its best)!! I find in demeaning for an intelligent man like yourself to be dismissive of any one with more years of experience to disagree with you. Frank, I understand you have a very loyal following and someone that might disagree with you would stir up some anxiety but remember its their money and there is a TV program called American Greed that really are nice sales people that love money more than people(not saying Frank fits that category but you need to be careful it is your money). Yes we started at the age of 20 when we paid cash for our first home in a brand new mobile home park on Lake Michigan Drive on 14th avenue were we become very good friend with the farmer developer while going to school at Grand Valley State University. He could not develop sites fast enough for the demand which was 85% newly married couples and 15% poorer retires. I said that to say this be it Marshalltown, Io. or Republic, Mo, once great parks that were full that are advertised on this site are scary skeletons of their former past that are really slums(who is attracted to slums)? While in Marshalltown staying at a newer motel ask the younger generation what his thoughts where on the local parks, quickly said one word, “dated”. Until that changes young people with any money will not consider MHP until there are some real changes–I personally do not like little homes but maybe we need to change our thought on what really is a trailer park for the future. I offer no $2,000 classes, sell no advertisements on parks being sold, nor advertise why you should join the Elevation Group or receive any personal gain from Frank or anyone else connected with this nice site, thus my comments are strictly my unbiased opinion of information back to time of George Allen to present. My humble opinion is that the MHP business is in decline since the business model is not being replenished with new parks and so many existing park have the owner spending money buying homes to fill vacancies when they could be buying more parks or just enjoying the fruit of their labors. Mr. Buffett is the smartest person in this discussion when he sells a product and can have park owners on the hook instead of questionable weak individuals home owners–good business plan for himself. I believe Mr. Buffett controls 75% of the market and also lots of sales lots–interesting what he saw in this industry–MONEY!!! I have suggested since so many park owner have empty spaces to form a co-op to built homes ourselves to drive down costs and interest rates since we are awash in a sea of cheap money. I have also asked are the big buyers of homes from Mr. Buffett getting special deals that us little operators would only dream about. We are also in the RV park business which has also some decay but in the last 10 years many new parks are being built and full. Yesterday a person with $500,000 RV that is in our storage facilities indicated he was spending his winters at Casa Grande, AZ and his friend wanted to be in the same RV park but was booked full already for next fall with rates at $1,500 per month not including electric. Sun Communities is also experiencing high occupancy with very high end rates but with immaculate facilities . Never be compliance or believe every comment especially from people selling you a program, do your DD and make smart choices with lots of information.
This is a terrible idea. Leave manufacturing to experts in manufacturing (existing MH manufacturers).
Likewise, you could make the same argument leave park management to experts in park management (not “mom and pop”). But park management is really not a very difficult task if you follow a few simple rules. So you can have parks run equally well by people with little experience, and people with a lot. And equally badly, for that matter.
Let me address your post item by item:
Yes, I am the owner (collectively with Dave Reynolds and our investors) of over 200 mobile home parks (although that number fluctuates as we buy and sell them). I was vetted by the New York Times in 2014 (which is no easy endeavor) as part of their article from the same year. I don’t know why this is important to you, since you hate anyone who owns more than two parks apparently, and I exceeded that number 20 years ago. I guess it allows you to hate me 100 times harder.
I do not agree with anyone based on how long they’ve done something, but only based on my opinion of the accuracy of what they say. I don’t know you or your parks, so I can’t say if you know what you’re talking about or not. I think some of your posts are great, but others (such as when you used to tell people that private water and sewer are great) I don’t agree with at all.
The show American Greed is not based on people loving money, but on people committing crimes. The whole concept of capitalism is based on materialism, so if the pursuit of money is a crime then the founding fathers would have all been incarcerated, as well as the Forbes 400 and even the Domino’s franchisee that has a successful location and wants to open another.
Marshalltown, Iowa has a metro population of only 40,000 and, while its stats are not unhealthy, it is hardly a town with a lot of economic firepower. Republic is in the same boat (I used to own a park in Springfield on Sunshine Highway next to Republic). Those parks that are “scary skeletons of their former past” are indicative of a lack of demand or poor management. One can be fixed and the other can’t. Neither is representative of the industry as a whole, any more than I can cite the decline of single-family homes in Detroit as evidence that the SF market is shot nationwide.
The absence of new park construction is GOOD for the industry. That’s what creates the value. I can’t believe you have not figured that out in 20 years. It’s called supply and demand.
Owners are buying homes to fill vacant lots because it makes complete economic sense to do so. An occupied lot is worth $30,000 + and a vacant lot is worth -0-. I again don’t see how you see that as bad for the industry.
What is your fixation with Warren Buffett? The guy did a great service to the mobile home industry by buying Clayton Homes and re-capitalizing it at a time in which the whole manufacturing industry was going bankrupt. His CASH program is fantastic for park owners who own parks where it flourishes.
We are not fans of the RV park business, as it is extremely management intensive and only works when you virtually (or physically) live in the park. We want to buy investment properties, not a day job as an RV park manager.
OK, you’ve convinced me that you hate the mobile home park business and think that it has absolutely no future. So why are you not selling off your mobile home park and focusing on the RV park that you so adore?
Carl, I know a lot more about you than you think. I did some research on the park you own on the lake in rural Oklahoma. If I owned that park, I’d be sour on the mobile home park business, too. I know you’ve been trying to sell it for quite a while, but that it has private utilities and no metro area. I also know that you are perpetually mad at me for writing and talking about how nobody should buy a park that has the exact same qualities that yours does. So what’s really causing your anger toward me is not that I’m “greedy”, but that you view me as the obstacle in unloading your park to somebody who does not know any better about what makes a park tick.
Shakespeare once said “thou protesteth too much”. You, who are always telling the world that you are just a lovable Christian guy who only wants to help his fellow man and cares nothing about money. We all know better. So let’s quit the hypocrisy here.
One final item. Back in January, a resident of a park posted on the Forum concerning his anger with the owner charging higher rents. You privately emailed him, but accidentally sent it to me and not the tenant. Here’s what you told the tenant on January 5, 2016 ( I have a copy of the actual email on file)
“To cause a stir have about 10 residents place for sale signs on their homes and the owners will want to know what is going on. They get real concern IF you might decide to move your home out.”
This is not the type of behavior that we condone on the Forum. It is for the purposes of park owners discussing industry questions and issues in a professional manner. We have tolerated your bizarre rants and fixations about as long as we can, as well as your socialist agenda that would lead you to try and turn park residents against their owner.
I have asked you nicely. Other folks have asked you nicely. I’m asking you one last time:
PLEASE GIVE INTELLIGENT ADVICE AND NO SOCIAL COMMENTARY, BULLYING OR OTHER DEROGATORY COMMENTS, OR WE WILL HAVE TO REMOVE YOU FROM THE FORUM.
I guess that the main thing we’ve learned between park #100 and park #200 is that there is a very profitable business model in buying parks that are just under four star and then taking them up a notch and selling to public and private REITs and large portfolio owners. We learned this with the park in Iowa that we bought for $10 million and sold for $19 million about three years later. To accomplish this, we had to fill a ton of vacant lots, raise the rent slightly, and generally move the park up a notch in appearance and maximizing operations. The location was amazing – directly across from a new Walmart Supercenter, and in the heart of a highly desirable residential area. The test ad drew 100 calls. But to buy parks like this, you have to go in at a lower cap rate, as the exit is also at a lower cap rate. You also have to have the ability to buy bigger deals, as these type of parks are always very large in purchase price amount. As we’ve grown, we’ve been able to find more parks like that and pull those deals off. But it’s definitely something you have to work up to. Those type of deals can be the backbone of your portfolio, if properly purchased.
As the industry consolidates more, the trophy properties will be the first to sell, as that’s what the larger portfolio owners want. There is a niche to take advantage of that, but it’s a very capital intensive sport and you have to really know what you’re doing.
You personally own how many parks?? Being conceited is one think but when you compete with others small operators trying to start or own more parks you make your position sound justified but in reality sounds more like playing in the pool of water others are paying for (classes) but I forgot there are parks that are too small for your Elevation empire so those parks fit in your courses you sell. Since you know so much about me what is it that so unnerves you that I sounds sound like a treat. When any business will not examine the problems honestly about the decline of old parks and lack of new parks I have no further need to voice my concern to the wind or any other areas that need attention–we have had park managers but like to be owner-manager instead of being away from home and flying. Noticed SD is a low populated state you just happened to put another park under contract instead of letting ones just starting out have a bite at it and have a taste of ownership–and you mention Republic, Mo. as no fire power wow why did you bother with the west end of Springfield next to Republic? I personally have no reason to waste my time or waste yours since most people want to hear and see only the blue sky and never have any concern about the reality world of mobile parks. We enjoy the park business but only from the owner-operation view point and since ours is such an obsolete model for the new crowd–my comments will end and try to be an inspiration and help on another site where different viewpoint are encouraged. Good-by and enjoy helping people–remember if we have more money than we need it is called -------!! How many parks is enough Frank and WHAT is YOUR end goal as your also asked me and I answered the question. GOOD-BY
I am personally of the opinion that once most of the dilapidated parks shutdown and the ones that can be turned around filled, combined with the trend of MHP’s caps competing with apartment complexes that there will be a push for many new parks. Cities will need to vet proven investors / operators to be convinced these are quality developments and will not turn into Trailer Parks in the future, and will be championed by folks owning at least two parks or more to show a scalable and proven track record.
Probably 7-10 years out (or less for many markets), but exciting prospects for the sector regardless.
Thats a good read. It looks like a nice SUN park , already 500 lots , looking to expand 19 units and they can not get an approval…
Do all nice SUN parks have a steady stream of police activity?