I just don't understand

Greg and Rick (the buck stops here)

I have followed this forum for some time. I have learned a great deal from the people who were willing to share their knowledge. I have used this knowledge to actually create SOME net worth. I am and will be eternally grateful to you and all the folks who have shared their hard earned knowledge.

I am disappointed that Greg is still listed as a moderator but has disappeared. I was one of the folks who applied to work with him for a year-------to learn the business etc, etc, etc. That did not happen----it did not happen for the guy that was selected. WHAT happened? Greg, if you had to drop out—that’s OK! I would be much more accepting if you would just step forward and “tell it like it is”.

I was destroyed by this economic “thing” and am working 365 days a year to try to recover. I am 70 years old but am still trying to go forward one step at a time. It’s a race-----will death or solvency be the first to arrive?


You speak of large park ownership---------most of us are worrying about how to finance our next $4500 LD. Has the focus of this forum changed?

Darrel F Smith



605 390 8066

Greg or someone who knows way more than me can probably answer ?'s about him better. But Greg had serious health problems in the middle of what was the worst meltdown of the business model he was living by. He has posted some and says he is trying to move his business forward. Honestly posting on a website is not on the to do list when you are using 110% of your energy to survive this firestorm. Also several prominent posters here and on other similar sites and some site owners themselves have completely exited the business in the last year or so! Most of who are left are disenchanted by the business for several reasons. Stiffling regulations (think safe act) a crappy economy, scarce lending, late/no pays and a general (contagious) feeling of doom in the population. On a brighter note We will close on a REO 24 lot park next week. There are deals out there you just have to dig, dig, dig.

Thanks Don

I am having one bad day after another. I am having a hard time finding quality renters or buyers. I just spent a month and $2500 bringing a trailer up to speed after the buyer didn’t pay for two months, left the place a mess and presented me with an unbelievable roach infestation. I DO get down at times.

Please share some of the details about your new park—size, condition, cap rate, etc, etc. I have not been able to find a park that looks like a good deal. What is your long range plan? I keep wondering if I want to slog through the daily ordeal of running a park. What should be MY long range plan? Who would buy it at some later date?

The park in which I do most of my deals has been up for sale (off the market now). It has 54 spaces with about 45 actively occupied. I have watched the owner dig up and repair three water leaks----what a mess. It’s only street is unpaved and and part of it is within the 100 year flood plain. I believe the owner would finance but I can’t make myself pull the trigger.

I need to take a few days (maybe more than a few) away from this grind but I need the money. Oh well! I will now get my old butt up and get to work on a trailer I just bought----pull up carpet, repair floors, do some plumbing etc etc-----you know the drill.

I will just keep on keeping on. I must say that this business with all it problems has been good to me. The return on investment is better than anything I have done in the past and I have tried many different businesses. For instance, the above mentioned trailer had paid for itself and will pay for the rehab in about nine months.

I have always admired your deals----you seem to have a knack for making money. I am trying to learn how to be like you.



Sorry to hear of the difficulties you guys have had. On a brighter note, after haivng to take my park back from the guy (can’t call him a gentleman as he is a swindler) I sold it to, dealing with the mess he left and a run down park. With new mangament in place it is really turning around and has doubled its income since they moved to the park in June. We have no problem finding buyers for the homes and our problem is we don’t have enough homes to sell and need more or the funds to renovate the two remaining homes that need rehab before sale. We are currently Looking for investors and we pay 12% interest montly payments ammortized over 3-5 years depending on size of investment. $2-10k. We do all the work and prefer investors who understand the business but don’t want the work.

We have to take lower down payments but the park is nice and improving all the time, large lots and people want to live there because it is the nicest park in town because of the lot size, paved roads and fishing pond in the middle of the park and especially because the new managers are really improving the look of it. A large part of this upside is due to the new managers who are firm but friendly, hard workers who take pride in improving the park and doing great renovations. Also, people really want their own 4 walls and a chance to own and not live in an apartement.

I think if you all can hang in there affordable housing is going to be more needed than ever though I am sure we will all have those turn arounds at times that will necessitate money spent. I think if we sell the homes on rent to own contracts and we are not recording a mortgage, not charging high interest rates we should be fine.

If anyone of you need to earn 12% on your money if you have any left, contact us 877-691-7858.

Darrel, update your e mail and i will get in touch with you

Anyone know what Steve and Corey are up to these days? I haven’t seen either of them post in a long time and wondered what they are doing now. Last I heard Steve had several mini storage projects going but that’s been a couple of years ago.

I’ve been lurking here and on the CRE forum since we got out of business a couple of years ago when we lost our park. Got in over our head with financing and the only way it was going to work was if everything went right, and it obviously didn’t.

Anyway, best of luck to you all!




Thanks Steve

Now, I DO understand and I agree that Greg’s name should remain right where it is as a gesture of respect and thanks. I would like to take this opportunity to wish him well!




I am sorry to hear you are having some hard times, but believe me I am alive and well. I post as much as I can, but only when I can respond with intelligent input. You may not know this but 5 years ago I was an absolute newbie to Lonnie Deals and MHPs. With the knowledge I have gained from this group and others I now own and operate 550 spaces. For the last 60 days I have been intensely involved in the acquisition and close of escrow on 380 spaces in Idaho. A 60 day close is not for the faint of heart. I am in Idaho today working on management transfer, which is intense also.

I wish all the best and I will post when I feel I can contribute. Life is great and opportunities abound for those that pursue.

Rick Ewens

Greg’s doing just fine. This question was answered in some length a few months ago. the deal did NOT go through because of unforseen circumstances. No one lost a dime in the deal.

Working about about thirty hours a week and enjoy life the rest of the time/ Fishing, surfing, diving, lobster, The Keys!!

Like a lot of decent folks I lost 1.5 M in equity and so what…you can’t eat equity (thanks Tony).

Stress is a killer and I’ve gone the other direction. Keep the winners, let the losers go back and enjoy life…you can’t take it with you

I don’t give much advice here because, just like you, I have no idea where the economy is going or when.

There isa true gloom and doom attitude out there and until that reverses investing is tough IMHO

Thanks for the kind words Steve!


Hello Greg,

I want to thank you for your attitude and the reminder to us all to live and not just survive. I like so many find myself so easily caught up in focusing on the problems in business and life and less on enjoying life.

Your post is both candid and and reminder that we can survive the downs even if it hurts. So often the hurts are brushed under the carpet that most of us fear to acknowledge they exists and because of this we are not prepared to deal with them.

Steve in Washington recently posted a very courageous and candid post at CRE regarding his “downs” in the business.

As you may recall we took everyone by bus to our properties and spent time talking not just about what worked but what did not work. I wanted people not to have to learn from just their mistakes but to learn from mine so it would not hurt them too.

Most of the “downs” in this economy may not be a product of our own “mistakes” but a more general series of “mistakes” on the macro economic level.

I don’t know if you would be willing to do so or not but I will ask anyways. Would you be willing to describe the thought process you had to endure before making the decision to “let the losers go back?” So many are facing this question right now but no one is willing to openly discuss this topic.

I understand that this is a very personal question and as investors these decisions are particularly difficult to share but if no one does than each of us will suffer and no one will have others to learn from. There will be no proactive thought process but rather emotional reactions to a tough situation. This is a valid part of this business and we need the experiences of others to guide us through similar problems and questions.

People need to know it could happen and what they will go through if it does. They will need to know the pro’s and con’s of the alternatives they face and they need to know how it turns out. Does the weight and stress finally leave you so you can focus on the good deals? Does the decision create future issues and how can they prepare for them etc?

Greg I hope you don’t perceive my appeal as anything less than a request from those who hold you in great respect and know that you are strong enough to candidly share your experiences if it can help others.

Tony Colella

What I dont understand is how investors can hand some (bad) assets back to the bank and go forward with ones the “work.” Aren’t most loans recourse loans ? Couldn’t the lender go after equity , including parks that “work ?” Isn’t it even possible that the bank could even sell the debt to another entity that might try to collect sometime down the road ?

This is the great example of the kind of questions people need answers to.

Greetings from California…

Corey is still alive and well! With 80% of my real estate portfolio is self storage and mobile home parks both are very near and dear to me and will continue to be! I decided about 18 months ago to slow down on teaching and new acquisitions to focus on giving back. I have been very much involved in the local soup kitchen raising very big dollars in a time where there is a tremendous need due to the economy. The donations are way down and the people coming to the Soup Kitchen for a hot meal has skyrocketed. I have been able to use my skill set and passion for the homeless/hungry to make a difference.

In addition, I have also been helping several family members (the few that are not working in real estate with me… lol!) to find their vision in life and help them get there with my financial resources and also business skills. It has definitely been a trying time but also rewarding time… especially when dealing with family.

On the Mobile Home Park side everything is great! All of the homes purchased (over 200+ during the last 3-5 years) are really paying off in the mobile home parks in Texas. We are about 90% occupied overall and continue to increase the level of tenant. My brother has all of the mobile home parks spinning like a top. I have learned the key is management… both on the ground and from afar.

Self storage has also been very strong in the smaller cities. One property in Orlando has definitely taken it’s lumps but I expect in 2-3 years it will be running strong. Everything cycles. :slight_smile: This property has taken more of my time but I finally think I have the right management team in place now (after two lousy managers that seemed so perfect for the 1st 6 months).

For 2011, I will be definitely jumping back into the market picking up a couple of mobile home parks or self storage facilities at bargain basement prices going long term again. I am starting to get that itch again to put some good deals together. :slight_smile:

I think a break can be good at times to recharge the battery. I have taken the last 18 months in order to do this. I feel very lucky to have had as much success in my life that I have experienced and felt compelled to give back. It has provided a tremendous amount of satisfaction personally.

With reference to Greg and Rick, both individuals have been a tremendous asset to the mobile home park industry and also MHU. MHU Forum is not their full time job and like all of us have the daily lives of family and work. Both Steve and I so greatly appreciate the time that each provides giving back via the forum.

In trying times it always seems like it is easy to get down on any industry. I know more than a few people that are flourishing amazingly in the mobile home park arena despite trying times and will continue to do so no matter what is thrown in their path. The sun always comes out and when it does the people that are positioned well will have enough income to retire 10 fold. In this real estate market and economy is it harder, YES but also provides a ton of opportunity to seize! Is the glass half full or half empty… that is only a question that you can personally answer.


I don’t know of too many successful investors who just “hand bad assets” back to the bank. You are correct, most loans we originate in this business are recourse based and the financial institutions will come after you personally for any deficiency suffered on a defaulted loan. This includes attaching liens to your personal assets and “good” properties.

If you are referring to Greg’s post above about losing equity in this market, I don’t think he meant that he gave assets back to the bank. It’s most likely that the value of his current assets dropped due to the devasting economy in his area.

There is one strategy that many of us use in this business that does give you some protection in case of an economy that continues to spiral downward and that is a “lease with an option to buy”. It is pretty simple, we combine a lease on a mobile home park with an option to buy. The lease is usually for 3 -5 years and the option is good as long as the lease is in place. If you are unable to increase the income and value of the park during the lease period, it is not only prudent but totally ethical to not renew the lease and let the option expire. With this strategy, the investor and seller are fully aware that the property may end up back with the seller at the end of the lease period.

I hope this helps.


It’s great to hear from you Greg. I hope the fishing is as good as the golf I’m enjoying these days!


Steve , I’m not sure what Greg meant by “keep the winners and let the losers go back.” I read it the same as Tony did , but he could have just worded something poorly. Hard to interprete that as a “loss of equity” , but I agree with you that this is probably not what he meant to say.

The economic downturn has not been bad everywhere. Our park in Troy, Alabama continues to grow on a regular basis and we are still bringing homes in and getting them sold. We only have 14 more to bring in!!! Our goal is to get them in and sold during 2011.

It is funny, though. People who have NOT lost their jobs come in to lease and option one of our homes and tell us their credit is bad because of the “economic downturn”. No, their credit was bad BEFORE the economic downturn, but it is a very convenient thing to say! People pick up the slang of the day easily.

We have done several evictions this year, but part of that is the fact that we are growing and have a lot more tenants than we did before. Jim is keeping very busy with rehabbing the homes we are bringing in as well as fixing items in homes that have gone empty. When a home goes empty it has been re-filled within a month or so. I have to say, I have become pretty adept at skirting the homes entering the park, and that is my main function when I am there.

Jim just finished rehabbing one of the new homes to the park yesterday. The new owners were moving in last night…is that fast enough for you?

We have noticed a particularly bad pattern with our older homes. The people who buy those get in for less money down and have less monthly payments, but they are the homes that turn over again and again. We have learned (and sometimes re-learned…) that if you give an inch they take 2 or 3 or 10. If a tenant asks our Manager to “work with them” it generally means they still don’t pay and we wait until we file eviction.

We have had women try to sneak their boyfriends in after they buy, without getting our background check done. We just threatened to toss one whole household out if the boyfriend did not leave (and no, he can’t be here on the weekend, either!!!) We finally got his background run after threatening this one time before and lo and behold, he had drug convictions from 1991, 2003 and 2004. He is gone, and we believe she will be soon as well after her hilarious question to our Manager about what she was supposed to do about her “needs”. (It should also be known that an outside organization gave this woman the money for her option deposit, first months house payment and lot rent AND utilities to enable her to even get in the home - and her normal income supports the payments. She, however, really has nothing to lose by going elsewhere.)

Jim and I are going on vacation in a little over a week - much needed r&r. I am not living in Troy, but have been back in Florida for almost a year now. It is absolutely NO FUN living in your park long-term, and after a few years of living in parks I decided to come back to my home. Quite frankly, the economic situation DID have everything to do with that. Jim and I have three mortgages and four houses in Florida and were unable to get another one because of the mortgage fiasco. That forced us to live where we worked, which was never the long-term plan. Jim was better able to weather that situation than I was. The other part of the equation, though, is that we needed another income stream than from the park. Since it is still in the in-fill stage we need to keep the cash turning over there. Thus, my return to Florida.

Anyone who is considering buying a mobile home park of the turnaround variety needs to know that there is a LOT of work and very little money in the first five years. (And no, water main leaks are not fun!!! Neither are the plugged sewer lines.) Our roads are starting to deteriorate now. Part of that is due to their age and part due to the heavy homes we have been bringing over them. A quote for about 1/3 is $54,000!!! I can tell you that that amount is not a current possibility, but sometime in the future we will have to do something - we will want to sell the park some day, although that is not in our plans for several years.

Jim says when the park is full he wants to host another MOM so people can see the difference, and also so they know the dream IS possible with work, perserverence and lots of cash!

Great post Ellen, thanks.



Great post, sounds a lot like what we are experiencing with our parks. I must admit, I have neglected the parks. The tax practice is doing very well and attracts most of my time, as the payback is maximized there.

Fortunately, we bought the parks very cheaply, they have a low break even point, and our resident “tripwire” managers have kept me from having to deal with much of the daily grind. Will post in a few weeks, very busy right now.

Post Edited (11-01-10 05:31)