EP 667 – Why Investing In Mobile Home Parks Are Profitable With Steve Wahl

NCS 667 | Mobile Home Park

NCS 667 | Mobile Home Park

 

While mobile home parks often get a bad reputation, the truth is, they can be very profitable real estate investments. Although there are many challenges, with the right mindset and dedication, a mobile home park can be a prime source of cash flow. In this episode, Scott Carson sits down to talk with the co-founder, Investor Relations at Titan Impact Group LLC, and a mobile home park investor, Steve Wahl. Steve discusses how he got his start investing in trailer parks and analyzes the different challenges and opportunities present in the space. Learn more about this unique real estate space and what it takes to invest in it.

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Why Investing In Mobile Home Parks Are Profitable With Steve Wahl

I’m excited to be here and for our special guest. I’ve gotten to know the guy over the last few months and he’s doing some amazing stuff. This guy has a very amazing, not only collection of historical documents, which we could spend all day or all week talking about his love for history, capitalism and the study of human nature out there but this guy is a very established real estate investor for years.

His specialty has been in the single-family residential and mobile home park area. He’s got a blue-collar mentality but a Harvard mindset. He is an avid student of history but he’s often known, as we like to say, the profit of profits, the fortune teller of flips, the mobile home park mogul. The one and only joining us live from Arizona, Mr. Steve Wahl. What’s going on? How are you doing?

I appreciate that. Whoever wrote that introduction needs a raise.

One of the things we talked about is the note business and the podcast but one of the biggest things we’d like to dive into from time to time is other avenues, especially the need for a lot of people out there for affordable housing in a variety of way and profitability for investors. You’ve been doing mobile home park investing for quite a while. Do you want to talk a little about how you got into that in your background?

Ever since I was a child, while most people thought about being an astronaut, policeman or professional ballplayer, I thought, “Let’s be a mobile home park investor.” That never happened. I don’t think anybody is telling the truth, whether it be the Oracle of Omaha or me because Berkshire Hathaway loves mobile home parks. Nobody starts out thinking that would be awesome. What happened was growing up, we moved around a lot. My family and I lived in mobile homes. We had some real houses too but it wasn’t completely a foreign concept.

However, back in the late ‘80s when everything tanked and the interest rates were 19% or 20%, it was cheaper to buy a home on a credit card. My sister and brother-in-law had my parents co-sign with the mobile home. People need to understand that when it comes to mobile homes, banks don’t give loans. They give loans on the land because a mobile home, you can pack up and be gone. That’s why they always go for these little mobile home land packages if you want to carry a mortgage on it. They got in there, then they decided to take off and stick my parents with the mobile home.

I was living in this little studio apartment at the time. My dad walked me around the mobile home park several times and said, “We’re in trouble here. You need to take over the mobile home.” I was like, “Sure.” I did. It was a trashy park and had a lot of crime. The bottom line is I’m barely talking to my sister and it took about ten years for my parents and I to start talking again. We had new managers every week almost it seems like or at least every month, because they kept taking off with the rent. The owners were in California.

Finally, a manager came in. He hadn’t seen this side of sober since Vietnam but I loved it because he would knock on all these tweakers’ doors and shove a 44 in their mouth and say, “It’s either you or me.” I enjoyed this eviction process. I said, “I can back a guy like that.” He cleaned up the park really quickly. The problem was he was no good when it came to dealing with sober and normal people, so he asked if I wanted to take his place. I was like, “Okay.” That’s how I got into the mobile home management portion of it.

There was another park next door to us that was just as bad as we used to be. I kept sending managers over there but they got burnt out having to deal with everything. The things were quiet for a bit. I had my own construction company and some managers had heard of me. They came over and asked if I would start doing some electrical. I said, “Sure.” I went over there, was working on that, made a video for the owner and made a little comment that my helper would be a good next manager. He gave me a call a few months later and said, “I need some help. I need somebody to evict the managers and take over that park.” I ended up doing that and started managing that park.

Some may say it was genius. Some may say I ran it into the ground to where the owners were like, “Just take over everything.” It didn’t quite happen that way. I was diligent in cleaning it up. It was on a long-term lease and the owner at the time, who’s my business partner and has been for several years, offered it to me for $1 dollar. I’m like, “Wait a minute. I can make more in two weeks than I can in an entire year of what I’m getting paid. There’s something evil going on. Nobody can have that much money.” I was scared because I had a management mentality, so I turned him down.

It didn’t occur to me even if you had it for six months and you tank this thing, you’d have more money than you could being here for twenty years. What’s the deal here? His part of the lease came to be renewed again and he decided not to. The original owners of the park stepped in. They decided that they didn’t want to manage it, so they let me have a lot of control over it.

The sole owner at the time ended up in the hospital because of a heart attack. Her kids came around and said, “It would be great if you went ahead and died so that we can sell the park and have the money.” That didn’t sit well with her. I visited her and made sure everything was good. Six months after she got out of the hospital, she said, “Steve, you’ve been nothing but be good. You’ve treated me right and I want to piss off my kids, so I will give you this sweetheart of a deal. It was a ten-year lease and it was a very minuscule amount.”

I said, “If you’re going to do that, I want to go ahead and pay off all your debts.” The plan was that in the first five years, I’ll pay off all of her debts and then the next five years was supposed to be nothing but profit-making. I paid off her debts in three years and we’ve been getting a 1,000% monthly return on the park ever since.

I realized that’s a unicorn or an anomaly. It’s not something that can be done on a daily basis. However, there had been other mobile home parks that have come and gone. I do know how to make a mobile home park profitable. A lot of it is not just the general way that people think. That’s probably one of the reasons why I’m on the show. That’s a little bit of what I’m doing.

One of the things we mentioned beforehand was about Buffett being a big fan of mobile home parks and the cashflow aspect of it but it truly is a fractured industry with not a lot of big national players like the building industry or home industry. I was speaking with the Special Asset Manager at Vanderbilt Mortgage, which is one of the big financers of mobile homes. We’re talking about the structure in it. With your mobile home park, is it just the land or are you buying homes then putting them on there and renting out the homes as well or is it a combination of both?

Having managed mobile home parks, having been called in to flip mobile home parks and owning a mobile home park, I’ve been in all different scenarios. I got to tell you, if given the option every single time, I rent the dirt. Stay as far away from buying mobile homes as you possibly can. It’s a huge headache. I know some people will be like, “If you own the home, you get them while they’re coming and going.” It shifts because repairs are expensive, especially if you don’t do them yourself. If you piss somebody off, it’s easy for them to destroy the place.

One of the incentives that we had when we go to buy mobile home parks and let’s say there’s a bunch of abandoned trailers or the situation was that the park owns the mobile homes, what we do is we clean up the title, if anything needs to be done with that and then we offer, “Take the mobile home as is. You can have it for free. You need to stay a certain amount of time though and we’ll give you the title.” That’s how we get out of owning mobile homes and get right back to written the dirt. At least with the dirt, you’re only responsible for what’s underneath it. You can be very profitable that way, as long as your utilities are in good shape.

One of the biggest things about profitability is a lot of people think doing more of buying the houses, the rehabs, the management but sometimes doing less is not only more profitable but it keeps you sane too. I can hear that coming from you.

Everybody thinks just because you have a mobile home park, you get to be the judge, jury, executioner, sheriff and the park therapist. You’re all of this. It can drag a manager down quick and not let him get onto his main responsibilities, which is collect rent and make sure the dirt’s good. That’s it. If you stick with that, that’s a relatively easy formula because people who don’t want to take responsibility or better yet, they want to shift blame onto you if you own the homes, then they think that this little community that you’re in charge of, you have to make and enforce all the laws.

It’s like, “What is this going to do for you when you get out in the real world? What happens when you move into a neighborhood? Are you going to keep calling the police every five seconds?” It trains everybody to be responsible for your home. It’s where you live. You have an investment in it to make sure it doesn’t get torn up.

NCS 667 | Mobile Home Park

Mobile Home Park: People need to understand that banks don’t give loans when it comes to mobile homes because you can pack up and be gone.

 

Rent the dirt from me, take care of your home and mind your own business. In fact, we’ve got three rules and three rules only. Pay your rent, respect other people in the property and keep it clean and green. That’s it. We don’t give them a stack of rules that thick over every aspect of what has to go on. Follow those three rules and you’re good.

You’ve done a variety of things. Is there a sweet spot that you see as far as the size of lots, size of pads and number of pads? Home parks are in a very probable location, how old it is and what’s going on there. What are you guys looking for pretty much for your portfolio if you had a bread and butter or a steak and potato or should we say, Ruth’s Chris steak because you guys are there a lot?

It depends on how much money you have. If you’re Berkshire Hathaway, you can afford the retirement parks, the nice and beautiful paved streets. You can get really tight on the regulations because you’re dealing with retired people. If you have the money to pay up front, so you got no note on it, those are very profitable.

However, if you are an average investor, maybe you’ve got $500,000 or maybe up to $1,000,500 or maybe even just a little bit more, you’ve got to look at the mom-and-pop parks. A lot of them say 100 spaces or less but 50 to 75 spaces is the sweet spot. Anything less than that, it’s going to be difficult to be profitable, especially if you’re carrying a note or unless you’ve got some sweetheart deal like I made. The whole park can be empty and you’d still be making money but that’s not the reality most of the time, so I like to stay between 50 and 75 spaces.

I deal with poor people and that’s not to say anything on about poor people. A lot of banks, when it comes to microloans, shy away from it but the bottom line is poor people pay their bills. They don’t have a team of lawyers and the sophistication to try to get a backdoor loophole on every transaction that you do. It’s very simple for them. They’re living paycheck to paycheck, want to stay ahead on rent and pay it if it’s low enough.

To prove the point, this isn’t the first recession that we’ve been through. With COVID-19 and everything else, we deal with a large Hispanic market here in Arizona. We’re $23.18 cents non-collected for the entire year of 2020. People pay their bills. It’s been a life saver while a lot of businesses had to shut down and there were lots of financial problems everywhere. They don’t have anything else. They know that if they lose this home, they’re done, so they hold on to it and pay their bills.

You talked about 50 to 75. How big an area or how many acres is that? How close to the city is it? Are you looking for stuff on the outskirts of cities or rural? What are some of the geographic numbers behind that?

It depends on who you’re dealing with. If you’re dealing with older and retired people, you got to be in the city and have amenities. You got to be close to golf courses if your park doesn’t have those types of things. I don’t necessarily deal with the retirement community because the type of money that it takes to a big league in that is insane.

Here in Arizona, a Washington hedge fund has come and they on average pay $187,000 per space for this. It drove that particular market through the roof. It’s insane. You can’t touch anything for under $70 million or $80 million because of that. However, if you stick with the sweet spot, the little mom-and-pops, a $15,000 pad is not unreasonable. If you can get it below $15,000, that’s fantastic but a lot of the mom-and-pop parks, you do have to take into consideration. It’s the most important thing because it’ll put you in the poor house really quick. What do the utilities look like?

We have an easement that’s about 150 yards long. We’re trapped in between railroad tracks down there. We’ve got the light rail in front of us and the railroad behind us. We got this very long easement in our driveway that we get into. Fifty spaces have taken up about 5 acres, so you need about ten spaces an acre, which is great because in a lot of the retirement parks, everybody’s stacked on top of each other. If you get on a roof, you cannot fall off a roof. You’ll just hit your neighbors.

The thing is that if you go roughly ten spaces an acre, everybody’s got a yard. It’s a self-contained thing and that way, you got a space to park and a little patch of grass that you can take care of. If you do that, then you don’t have to have necessarily greenbelts, park spaces and stuff in the park. Whenever you take all that into consideration, it’s very profitable to have about ten spaces per acre or a little more or a little less. It’s up to you.

With the utilities, are you running with power, gas, septic or sewage?

A lot of the mom-and-pop parks are older, so they used to have septic tanks. They’re still may be on septic. The other thing too is you do have to consider the utilities and if you’re a master meter community or not. There are a lot of advantages to being a master meter community. The biggest disadvantage that you have is you are the utility company. If there are pipe repairs that needs to be done, electrical, all that, you’re in charge of it. It’s your baby. The meter readers, the city and everybody else come and either shut everything off at the master meter or turn it on and then you sub-meter out.

The thing about sub-metering is that you are allowed to make a little bit of profit because you’re your own utility company so you can jack that up. The issue is if people don’t pay, you’re still stuck with the master meter bill but then you’ve got to find out a way to recoup all of that, so there are pros and cons to that. That’s a very big thing as being a master meter community or not. If you’re not, then the problem with a lot of the bigger utility companies like with SRP here in Arizona, is it’s a government agency.

You can imagine how well that goes when it comes to doing something as simple as changing a meter out or changing a pedestal. Something that common sense and a good electrician would take two hours to do turns into a four-month project with backup generators and everything else because it’s a government job. Everybody has to be sure they don’t step on the other person’s job. It takes 20 or 30 guys to do a 1 man 2-hour job.

The other thing with that is we’re switching over from septic tanks to city sewer. The issue with that is that the county is the only one that allows septic tanks. The city does not allow septic tanks. The county used to own this particular park or the land, so everything was copacetic. However, the great city of Mesa didn’t even start keeping records until 1994. It’s on microfiche before then, so you have to go back to those records to find anything when it comes to the park so that they can all have plausible deniability. They fast-track or skipped several steps.

You’ve got the county saying, “We passed it off on this and that.” There are several steps that are skipped and then the city picks it up. They want you to prove that you have the ability to hook up to the city first of all. Then you’ve got to go into the proper way of getting rid of your septic tanks and getting the county and city to talk to each other and agree on anything. It’s very difficult.

If you want to do something and you want to do it right but yet you’re hiring contractors to do it when the city and the county are both involved or if you’re going from septic to sewer system, it’s going to be very expensive. If you pay a manager enough who has construction experience and he can get certified and has to pass these master meter classes every year but if he can take care of the gas, sewer, water and even if you doubled what you’d normally pay a manager, it’s well worth it because he gets to do all that stuff for you.

That’s a huge money saver right there. These are things you have to take into consideration because if you want to have the city and the local utility companies be in charge of the meters and everything and all you want to do is collect a check at the end of the month, that’s going to be a small check but you don’t have the headaches.

You have three rules. Pay your rent, respect others and take care of your property. Are there any other type of evaluations or qualifications you evaluate from your tenants or the people coming in and renting? How much does it cost to move a mobile home in and out? What’s the timeframe? Could you answer those questions?

NCS 667 | Mobile Home Park

Mobile Home Park: When it comes to people who are living paycheck to paycheck, month to month is great because you don’t have to go through the court costs of evicting somebody because the lease is up.

 

Moving and eviction costs, I’ll go over both of those. We have an older park and some of the mobile homes and stuff have been there since the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. This is something you have to take into consideration when it comes to utilities because if the city is in charge of it, then they have to come and upgrade everything on their dime. Think about what was happening in the 1950. You had one bedroom and one bath mobile homes. They had a radio and if they were doing pretty well, they had a TV, a stove top and a water heater.

Two people would live in there. Maybe one or maybe the grandkids would come over and visit. Electricity demand was not that high back then. We’ve got nine people living in a mobile home that’s been divided to where they put the mattress on the ground and build the walls on the side of the mattresses.

They kept parking the carport on the street and then the carport all of a sudden gets enclosed so then they try parking on the grass. They’ve got two full electric ranges in there cooking all their food. They’ve got a computer, an iPhone and an iPad in every room. They’ve got air-conditioning window units hanging out everywhere and then they wonder how come their little 30 or 50 Amp pedestal that is original is going off all the time. You have to be very careful when it comes to that to assess the needs of what’s going on and what’s going to be happening in the future.

The thing that’s great and one of the reasons why we just give the mobile homes away to the people who’ve stayed there the longest and made it their responsibility is because you can’t pull a permit for a mobile home to move it out of the park. There are always these little loopholes but we won’t necessarily get into all the loopholes. The bottom line is you cannot, on a massive scale, run down to the city and pull a permit to move a mobile home in or out. There are a bunch of regulations and HUD issues.

You have to have regress windows, the whole 9 yards, especially if it’s not your house. The people who own mobile homes, many times, especially with the group that we’re dealing with, don’t have the money to rehab it. There are ways to go around it but that’s a different show. How to pump the government will be a different episode.

You’ve got to take all this stuff into considerations about the viability of moving anything new in and any of the old out because even if it comes to destroying a mobile home, there are NESHAP rules. It has something to do with asbestos removal. The days of bringing in a backhoe, a Bobcat or anything with a grapple on it, tearing it up and put it in the dumpster, those days are long gone. With all the permitting process and everything else, an easy one-day job cleanup will take months if it’s not done on a massive scale.

On your pad lease, is it a month to month or a year lease? How does that work?

We love month to month. The reason being is because you can raise rents anytime. You have to give them the 90-day notice but they’ve got 1-year leases and 4-year leases. Sometimes the long-term leases are great if maybe you have an adult park. The money is pretty secured and that’s fine but when it comes to people who are living paycheck to paycheck, month to month is great because you don’t have to go through the court costs of evicting somebody because the lease is up. It’s especially good with short-term ARVs as well.

This is oversimplifying it but they can leave without giving you notice and you can kick them out without giving them much notice. Just say, “I’m going to need this space. See you later.” Keep yourself very agile when it comes to that. When it comes to mobile homes, I would say month to month is the way to go. It’s a least amount of court costs. If somebody wants and needs out, then you’re able to do that. Keeping attorneys out of the process is the cheapest thing. That is the biggest money saving and most profitable thing that you can do. I’ve paid people to leave and came out money ahead.

When you start figuring in what you’d save on attorney fees and hourly costs, Cash for Keys works well. With your parks and then maybe other ones that you’re tracking, are you seeing an influx with everything going on, whereas traditional housing has gotten more expensive and dual households moving in? You mentioned the Hispanic community. They did a great job. The first thing they often pay are paying their mortgage and truck payment, squirrel away cash and bringing in 2 or 3 families to make it affordable for everybody. Do you see an increase in long-term occupancy rates for the last couple of years?

When I first took over that park as a manager, we had seventeen people that were paying. It was Tweakerville. A lot of White trash, to use the politically correct term. It was everything that a lot of people conjure up in their minds when they think of trailer parks stuck in between railroad tracks, cars up on block and pit bulls in every yard. I went on a massive eviction spree. I got rid of a lot of them and we catered to the Hispanic community. There was a need there. My feelings and thoughts on it are regardless of how a person feels about immigration, Arizona has a problem with it.

They’re coming legally, illegally or whatever the situation may be. It is a market. If you take a market, you bury it, make it go underground and turn it into a black market, then there’s trouble for it everywhere. Before I forget, I’m going to circle back. Remember Pervert Park because this is awesome. We brought in a lot of the Hispanics and made a lot of deals with them when it came to, “Take the house as is. You release the park from any and all liabilities. When you’re renting the dirt from us, all we want is your monthly rent.” They agreed to that. I filled the park up very quickly.

The thing is that with the Hispanic community, whenever they move on or let’s say worst case scenario, they’ve got some legal issues like getting deported, they always have family coming in and moving in. It’s been a steady train. We have not had an occupancy problem since I filled it up many years ago. To answer your question as far as that park is concerned, there hasn’t been an influx in anything because it’s always been running the way that it is. Trailer parks have a little bit of a stigma, especially the mom-and-pop trailer parks. It’s not the retirement community.

They think that poor White trash is living there. The thing is, if people are having a difficult time paying. We’re having a difficult time paying before. The dynamic of people is very important. One of the things that I pride myself on is I do an interview with every person before they come in. I dance around the questions. I’ve got my list of questions and you’re not allowed to ask. I steer far away from them. I ask about their job and interests because if they’re in a job that they hate, what’s the chance of them being in it for very long? These aren’t careers. These are jobs.

You’re not planning on career people paying the rent. You’re planning on people who have jobs. You ask about their adaptability to change to, “If you lose this job for whatever reason, how long would it take you to get another one?” If the rent is low and you look outside and they’re driving an $80,000 vehicle and it is brand new, you probably want to question their ability to continue to pay rent on their minimum wage job.

You take a look at the clothes they’re wearing. A lot of people like to dress up. Perverts and felons can put on a shirt and tie that look like $1 million. When anybody comes to the office in a shirt and tie, knowing the type of park that it is, that’s the first red flag right there. If they come in a food service industry outfit or a construction workers’ clothes, then let’s talk. We can talk about Pervert Park later on but when it comes to records, there’s only one thing that will keep you out of our park and that is no sex offenders.

We can discriminate against sex offenders and we do but just because you may have some criminal record, that does not automatically exclude you from the park. During that initial interview, I get a feel for them. Getting that feel for them is better than any background check that they put in because those are numbers, a profile and stating the facts.

That has nothing to do with personality, whether or not they have a family, if they brought the kids with them, what type of vehicle they’re driving, how desperate are they or are they trying to start all over again? I know you’re not supposed to profile people but I do it very well and I can go on for days. Real quick and I won’t go off on a tangent on this. What is history but the study of human nature? It’s very easy to predict the future. All you have to do is understand human nature in the past and understand what human nature is now.

If you put those two together, you’ve got what the future holds. That is a formula that is critical in running a profitable park because human nature is either going to make you or break you financially. People tend to be unpredictable to most other people. All they do is they simply do the numbers. The numbers don’t add in the human element, so it’s very important to understand human nature and to get personal.

I know this isn’t for everybody. The owners aren’t going to live in a mobile home park but just so you understand how I’m bringing all this together, as far as my tenants and do they have any respect for me. I moved to Scottsdale, so I’m one of them but I do make an appearance at the park a couple of times a week to keep up the appearances and let them know that, the jefe hasn’t left but it makes a tremendous difference when the person that they are answering to is living with them.

NCS 667 | Mobile Home Park

Mobile Home Park: It’s very easy to predict the future. All you have to do is understand human nature in the past and understand what human nature is now.

 

Some people may be like, “Is the money real because come on, who in their right mind would want to live in a mobile home park, especially stuck between the tracks?” When I first took over my park, it had 417 calls for service that year. Once I took over and cleaned it up, we’ve had three calls of service in seventeen years. We’ve gotten awards for turning the community around.

We became Mesa’s official 178th neighborhood with our little park. I can leave $10,000 in cash sitting on the dashboard, keys in the ignition, windows rolled down, leave it overnight and it will still be there in the morning. I know this because I’ve accidentally done that before. Living in some mobile home that I pay $63 a year in property tax but having a couple of million dollars’ worth of documents hanging on the walls, who’s going to believe a declaration of independence is in a trailer park in Mesa, Arizona stuck between railroad tracks?

It’s the greatest anti-theft thing there is because even if you told people, “This is real and legit,” they’re going to be like, “Whatever.” Live in Scottsdale, we are alarmed to the hilt, the whole 9 yards because it makes sense being in Scottsdale that all this stuff exists but that’s the type of respect. Especially with the Hispanic community, you allow them to have a place to where they can be left alone. They can bring their family, have their little parties, drink their beer in peace and then get up in the morning at 4:00 AM, take off and go to their jobs.

You do that and that is a goldmine. All they want to do is be left alone. That is something that you have to take into consideration because you do not get that with any other group of people. They’re not entitled. They’re here with a dream and vision that they want to make. It’s a self-policing community and they do not complain. They are so grateful. I don’t run a slum. I lived in that park for years but I don’t overcorrect it either.

We have no cracks in the sidewalks, perfectly paved streets, five-star parks or movies in the park night. We don’t have that. That’s not who our clienteles are. That’s not the amenities they need and want. You’ve got to rearrange your rules and regulations according to the clientele that you have. Don’t go into a 1-star park or a 1/2-star park and try to expect that you’re going to turn it into a 5-star park. It’s never going to happen. Know your audience, who your clientele is and where the park is located.

Tell us about Pervert Park.

Before this happens, you need to talk to a real estate person or an attorney about congregation laws. My main park that I keep talking about is in a shady part of town. There’s nothing more exhilarating than walking outside. We have apartments right next to us. You get the notice that some sex offender moved into the apartment and the whole neighborhood gets blanketed.

The thing is that you can come into my park at 2:00 AM like Catherine. This was before people knew who she was. The windows were rolled down. A lady by herself at 2:00 in the morning will not be touched and harassed because it is a self-policing community. They’re very family-oriented, want to be left alone and want to do the American dream. “Let me raise my family in peace and we’ll call it good. I’ll help with the economy. I’ll buy local. Life is good.” You can get on the internet and look up Pervert Park. You’ll get a little of what the movie is because they made a movie about it.

The idea was that instead of blanketing the neighborhood with all these sex offender notices, what happens if there was a mobile home park properly distanced from all the regulations like it can’t be around schools, to where only sex offenders were allowed to rent. The whole idea of it is a huge help to your community because nothing is more irritating, especially for people who can’t afford to move every week.

They find a place that they’re going to put some roots in and they’re like, “I’m going to raise my kids here.” Then they get the sex offender notice. They’re powerless to do anything about it yet they don’t want to let their kids go to the playground and do any of that stuff because you got perverts in the neighborhood. How much better is it to save taxpayers’ time and money if you have these parole and probation officers in one area? The thing is that perverts don’t have to turn the crime. I do understand though that some people get the notices because they urinated in public.

That’s the exception rather than the rule but I’m saying they have a hard time holding down jobs and making rent because it’s going to be an issue. What they did is they made this mobile home park and only sex offenders can be in it. It allows the parole officers to be in there. It’s gated and guarded. Proper signs are everywhere. No minors are allowed in the park, ever. This gives them a place of responsibility. They can get jobs because they have an address. They can be held responsible.

The little community meetings, if you will, the support groups can be held there. What else are they going to do? You’ve got your resonance there. Everybody attends. They don’t have to worry about being harassed because everybody already knows where they are. Nobody wants to go to stir that pot. Leave them alone. If they’re out of my neighborhood, it’s fantastic. Keep it up. On top of that, there are tax benefits to it because you’re becoming a halfway house.

If you do the numbers in the prison system and how many sex offenders are being released, I don’t know if you’ll ever run out of the clients. The thing too though, is that in this type of situation, it would be good to own the homes. I wouldn’t make them immaculate brand-new homes but I would make them older homes because these people do not have the resources to start off life with a home after they’ve been doing years in prison. Pervert Park is the name of the documentary. Look it up online. It’s in St. Petersburg, Florida. That is something that I still might branch out into because we’ve cornered the Hispanic market and we’re doing well with that. We’re looking at some farm fields outside of town that allow us to do that.

What’s the best way for people to connect with you, reach out to you, to pick your brain if they’re looking at investing in a mobile home park or they may have a mom-pop lead for you as well?

I’ve made a couple of bucks. Steve’s doing okay. He doesn’t need to be freelancing, so if anybody has legitimate questions and wants to get to know, they can email me at ThePatriot1776@Reagan.com. If you text me, you’ll get a hold of me. I will respond more than I do phone calls. If I need to call somebody, fantastic but if I’d be on the phone all day, I wouldn’t get to do anything. My direct line to text me is (480) 600-6685. That’s the best way to get ahold of me. I will talk shop and make sure all your questions are answered.

If I don’t know the answer, that hasn’t happened yet but I’m just saying that, I will direct you to the resources who do. My expertise is in low income housing and how to survive government chaos. I haven’t ventured into the adult retirement communities. I’ve had a ton of experience with it as a contractor and doing the claims they have in there. Fancy parks aren’t my thing, so you’ll probably be better off talking to someone else about that. Mom-and-pop or maybe you don’t have all the money in the world to invest, give me a call. I will tell you how to squeeze every penny out.

We have such a big need for affordability. A lot of people get excited about the apartments, single-family homes or commercial properties. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s great but the number one thing that we’re seeing and you and I could go on another tangent about this is that entry-level, helping people get out of a bad thing. Minimum wage employee needs a place to call home.

They have a place to plant their flag, start their nest egg or start over even and get back on the right track for things. If you own the land and you’re affordable, you can do a lot of good for the community and attract the right type of people by helping people self-police saying, “Follow the golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated.” Go on from there.

Especially with this economy and what COVID-19 has done, in the housing market, it has priced. If you own a home, it’s fantastic. If you own several homes, it’s even better. It’s the time to sell and get into some more things. However, people who are starting out have been priced out of the market and long forgotten about. Going into manufactured housing communities, it may be the only way that they’ve got. Other than apartments, granted that the apartment complex is being built everywhere outpacing new home construction by far.

This could be a whole another subject I know but Millennials and Gen Zs don’t want cars and homes. They have no problem sticking 5, 6 or 7 of their friends in a one-bedroom apartment but everybody’s doing the tiny house thing too. We were the original tiny house people. We can fit all aspects of that. It is a generational shift but in Arizona, the market is hot for Hispanic communities and mobile home parks. I’m sure it’s probably that way in Texas, too and any type of border state. It’s a huge thing, the farther North you get or the farther East. I can talk and theorize but I only know the facts of what I know about the border states in mobile home parks.

NCS 667 | Mobile Home Park

Mobile Home Park: You’ve got to know the people. You’ve got to know who you’re dealing with, and you need to not be afraid to get your hands dirty if you want to make some mad profits.

 

Steve, thank you so much for coming on and for sharing your experience, knowledge and colorful insight into your years of experience. You have a lot of people that are brand new but when you’ve been in the industry for many years like you have, it’s a wealth of knowledge.

This isn’t to brag or anything else. This is to try to get the people in the mindset of a mobile home park. Not once did I ever dream as a kid, “I want to be a mobile home park owner. That’ll be fantastic. Everybody’s going to be jealous.” The easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life is making $1 million and the hardest thing I’ve ever done is believe that I could do it. I naively and vigorously protested the entire way. On my way to the biggest blessing of my life, I changed my mindset. I went from manager mentality to owner mentality and it made me a millionaire overnight.

These are the things that you need to understand and think about when going into a mobile home park investment. You’ve got to know the people and who you’re dealing with. You need to not be afraid to get your hands dirty if you want to make some mad profits. If you want to outsource everything to everybody and collect a small check at the end of every month, that’s your choice. That’s not the way I did and believe me, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Except for when I got offered the park for $1, I would have taken it. Other than that, mobile home parks are amazing. I love it.

I don’t care about the stigma. In fact, nothing gives me greater pleasure than walking in a room full of professionals, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, bankers and knowing that there is nothing that I can do that I can’t take care of. Chances are, I probably got more cash in my wallet than any of these guys because I am liquid. Mobile home parks, I did all of that. If you want to join it too, give me a call. You’ve got my number and let’s talk. There are lots of great opportunities to help people. That’s the thing. You help enough people get what they want and as Zig Ziglar says, you can have anything you want.

Take Steve’s counsel and his experience. Take him up on it if it’s something you’re interested in. There are a lot of opportunities out there. Go out and take some extra. We’ll see you all at the top.

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About Steve Wahl

NCS 667 | Mobile Home Park Steve has been a business and real estate owner for 20 + years. He was a General Contractor who has bought and sold many residential properties. His specialty in this area has allowed him to purchase and flip properties using cost-effective strategies and attention to detail that maximize flip profits. He has also owned, managed, and invested in the Mobile Home Park market. This expertise has led him to be an award-winning community planner and distressed property professional in this highly specialized and lucrative area of real estate.

 

 

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