Hello,Am a novice interested in getting into the MHI business.Can anyone give advice to what one absolutely needs to know in order to operate in this sector effectively?Thanks,Jonathan
Well, there are two kinds of people in the mobile home park business. Those that know what they are doing, and those that don’t. If you buy a park cheaply enough, you can afford to be the second type. But if you’ve overpaid for a park, you better become the first type right quick to mitigate that mistake as much as possible, and the other mistakes you are undoubtedly making without even knowing it.Of course you’ll continue to learn every day once you own a park, but to get yourself started on the right foot, 1) purchase all the materials off this website, and 2) come to the next bootcamp. Doing those two things will teach you what you need to know to be the first type of park owner/operator who knows what he is doing and operates correctly.Good luck,-jl-P.S. I receive no compensation from anything sold on this site. Unfortunately. :(
I will say, we all have skill sets. Not every owner can have every skill set, so knowing what your good at, and what you enjoy will really help. In the spots your not strong you should supplement your purchase process, operating process or ownership with people that really get that segment of the business. So if you do not really understand how the rehab process on a home works, you should steer away from a park with lots of homes that need to be fixed up. If your not strong with accounting, find someone to do the books that understands real estate and mobile home parks. If your not strong at due diligence, hire someone that is- that you trust to see the park through your skill sets, not theirs. Knowing what your weak at, and admitting it, and supporting it, will really help you in this- or any business. The boot camp and reading materials from MHU are very strong, but they might not be for everyone. I got into the business by partnering with someone. Some people hire coaches and others are mentored in. I have sat in on many bootcamps, and as valuable as they are- the partner / mentor system suited my learning style best. That said- I have learned things at every bootcamp I attended, so even someone in the industry, or that might learn better one on one- should attend one and receive the materials. Lastly… I will tell you all day long how long it might take me to do something, and the amount of time it will take you will be different. No one can tell you how much time a park will take to run. It really depends on you. My process is pretty streamlined but I have very, very good systems. Other people visit their parks daily, weekly etc, or maybe call the managers every day, or communicate in ways that take more time to sort and keep track of… probably though, your first park will take more time and effort than you plan for. It takes time to get into a rhythm. I coach people, its like a line dance… you can get all the moves in but until you have done it lots of times, it just looks like moves and not a fluid, easy going dance… do not be discouraged, wait for the right deal, surround yourself with rockstars…
In world history, anyone who gathers enough information, comes up with a solid strategy, and then attacks that plan relentlessly without giving up has succeeded in whatever endeavor they attempt. That rule certainly holds true for mobile home parks. You’re asking the right initial question “what makes this business work?” and you can get a lot of good, free information on MHU and this forum. If I was to distill it down to a short list of initial things you should research on what makes a successful mobile home park investment, it would be:1) A solid product based on affordable housing – a nice, safe community at a reasonable price.2) Don’t overpay for the park3) City utilities are the best4) No master-metered utilities unless you really know what you’ve got5) Don’t try to make money off the homes – they are simply a way to extract lot rent6) Don’t get friendly with tenants or managers7) Keep your rents up to market8) Mitigate your risk9) Start all refinancing at least a year ahead10)Follow your budgets like a GPS
Thanks to everyone, so far, for your replies (appreciate the info).
@ Jim JohnsonHello Jim,You mentioned that you got into the business by partnering with someone, is there any good method/place to find potential partner (that can work with you via long distance)? Or is it a case of being at the right place at the right time and coming across someone you think you can get along with?You also mentioned the possibility of getting coaching/mentoring, are there any good sources (besides the MHU) that I should be aware about?(The reason I ask is because, like you, I also feel that this method would suite my learning style best also)Jonathan
My new company, Park Street Partners (www.parkstreetpartners.net) has a mentoring program. If you are interested in learning the mobile home park business, we’ll teach you everything you need to know.You’ll come work for us part-time for free for 3 - 6 months as an Asset Manager and help us turn around a mobile home park. We will guide and mentor you every step of the way. We’ll pay for your transportation to the property every few weeks as needed, but mostly this job can be done from your home. Being an Asset Manager involves overseeing the process of overseeing capital improvements, finding, buying and overseeing the rehabbing homes, getting a website set up, getting advertising up on CraigsList, taking calls from prospective residents, getting proper signage on the property, perhaps hiring a new manager, insuring the accounting is being done correctly by our bookkeeping staff, etc., etc. Our program is basically a really hands-on Bootcamp. At the end of the 3 - 6 months, you’ll have the experience and knowledge to go acquire and turnaround your own mobile home park, or perhaps there will be a mutual interest in continuing to work together.This program is not dependent on making any investment with us, but we are currently in discussions with an individual who might both invest capital with us in one of our deals and then go turnaround ‘his’ property with our supervision. Down the road, he might purchase the property from us and run it himself, or he may go purchase some other property, and we’d take back over the management fully and just continue to send him larger checks as a passive investor in the property he turned around.As I like to say, ‘we are open for business,’ so if you’ve got an idea that would be a win-win for both of us, give us a call. www.parkstreetpartners.netGood luck,-Jefferson-
@JeffersonHello Jefferson,You have peaked my interest with your mentoring program (would like to learn more, beyond what you have already described so far).Jonathan
Have your people call my people. 415.691.7138.Best,-Jefferson-
Jefferson,I just flagged your post thinking I was earmarking it for future reference. I value your opion and do not have any issue with it.My apologies for the misunderstanding. Thanks, Gil Farnsworth
So- I found a rockstar in the business, and called him for advise, sent him info i though might help his business and asked him to mentor me. For the record- it was Dave Reynolds. He did not have a mentor program, this was pre bootcamps etc… but he said we could partner… we did, and I still own that park. I do not know of a mentor program I would recommend, but that is probably because I do not know the players or what they really offer. I have been consulting and mentoring to other investors for several years now. Some people look for one off things- help in negotiating, due diligence… others want full mentor-ship- how to find deals through contracts and operations. I will say- we have figured out some methods that are pretty darn good at finding the deals. I am just a guy that owns parks, I do not have staff I call on to do due diligence, or do site visits. I have to do it all, so my ways are less corporate and tailored to more the individual investor.
@JeffersonHello Jefferson,Tried to call you (got the answering machine, not sure when you guys are at the office [was 10:47 in California]).Left a message.Jonathan
@ Jim JohnsonHello Jim,I would be game to working with you, if your interested in working with me (interest to work with anyone to learn ‘the game’).Also, is it possible for you to introduce me to Mr Reynolds?Jonathan
Jonathan,Send me an email with your number and we can talk. Can I introduce you to Dave… well probably not. He and frank own this web site, and he is buying a new mobile home park every 3 weeks or so I think… so Dave is a very, very busy boy right now. So I do not talk to Dave much- though I hope that changes in he slows down… You can meet his right hand man- Frank at any bootcamp, bus tour or other events Frank hangs out at.