If you haven’t heard, let us tell you that the mobile home industry is heating up like never before. As more and more people are shrugging off their misconceptions about this affordable type of housing and being squeezed by soaring housing costs, the industry is reaping the benefits. There’s no better time than now, when we’re coming up on National Entrepreneur Day, to consider this golden opportunity and find out more about it.
Resources for mobile home entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur, you can never know everything about the mobile home industry. There are always new trends and news to be aware of or to take advantage of. It never hurts to learn more about what others in the industry are doing. And it may be wise to get some form of structured education into a specific aspect of it. Here are some of our favorite resources to turn to for just that:
Many mobile home owners, park landlords, investors, or enthusiasts run blogs about the industry that you can access freely on the web. While these might not be as focused on investor-specific topics, they can still be a great way to get to know the industry as well as the people in it. However, some of them actively participate in the mobile home investment industry and are great sources of first-hand accounts from normal people just like you and me.
Mobile Home Investing
One of the top blogs we recommend is that of John Fred, MobileHomeInvesting.net. John should serve as an inspiration as well as a sign that anyone can make it as he never finished his formal education or worked in a corporate business setting. Rather, he learned on the go and is currently one of the most successful individual investors around. Straight from his site, you can sell or buy mobile homes as well as do business with him through his mentoring program.
Adventures in Mobile Homes
In the same vein as John Fredo, but not as successful just yet, is Rachel Hernandez with Adventures in Mobile Homes and who goes by the pseudonym Mobilehomegurl on social media. Her style is more informal and fun and it’s obvious she is excited about her line of work. She also has a number of study materials out in the form of free and paid-for books.
Mobile Home Park Classroom is another site run by a third-generation mobile home investor, Jason Ayers. A lot of his materials focus on hiring and training proper management staff to smoothly run your business.
Some of the other sites and blogs you can check out are Mobile Home with Land Investing and Mobile Home Investors Academy which are both similar to Mobile Home University, which we discuss below.
Lastly, don’t forget about us at EZHomes blog. While this site isn’t just dedicated to mobile home investing, we’ve been around long enough to have a pretty good idea of what’s what. And we’ll happily point you in the right direction where we feel we fall short.
Podcasts are another great way to catch up on the latest news from the mobile home investment industry. They’re particularly helpful if you’re consistently on the go (or you just hate reading!). You can listen to podcasts anywhere where you have your phone – on the bus, in a taxi, or on holiday. Podcasts have also become a popular medium for experts to broadcast information to their followers on a regular basis. They regularly field other expert commentators for interviews or talk shows.
Almost all of the blogs we shared earlier run a mobile home podcast in some form or another. Some are more active than others. Ones we highly recommend are The Mobile Home Mastery Podcast who is run by the same two founders of Mobile Home University below and John Fredo’s Mobile Home Investing Podcast on his website. These are two of the most active, insightful, and comprehensive podcasts around. You should definitely give them a listen.
Mobile Home University
MHU is the authority on the mobile home industry and how to make money as an entrepreneur in the mobile home market. They firmly believe that the mobile home industry is the key to taking advantage of the current surge of interest in the affordable housing market. MHU has a variety of training material from articles to books to training courses. The two mobile home masterminds behind all of this are Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds.
On the website itself, you can find plenty of free materials. Thanks to their blog and active community forum, you’ll find lots of support on your journey. They also provide a free mobile home investing book simply for signing up for their newsletter. This will also keep you up to date on the latest industry news. Simply put, if you’re a newbie, MHU is probably the first place you should go to further your education. And, trust us, there is enough to learn about investing in mobile homes to almost justify a real university degree.
If you want a more in-depth view of the business and further guidance when starting your mobile home entrepreneurship journey, then they offer a Mobile Home Park Investment Home Study Course. This consists of over a 1000 pages of reading material and 50 hours of video lessons. The pinnacle of what MHU has to offer, in terms of learning about the industry, is their 30-day immersion course. During it, students visit some of their partnering parks and talk to the owners and occupants.
No matter what you hear about how good an opportunity is, seeing is believing. Sometimes you need a first-hand account of someone just like you who made it happen. There is certainly no shortage of success stories. People who had little to no experience or knowledge of the mobile home industry managed to pull it off by sheer determination. And in the end, they were able to create something worthwhile.
Although both these stories represent humble beginnings, they show how anyone, even you, can start a mobile home park business and be successful, today.
Peter Heffernan’s first mobile home park foray
First of all, thanks go to Peter Heffernan for sharing his experience with us and others interesting in buying a mobile home park. There are few things as motivating as hearing first-hand accounts of people who actually went through what others are considering. As we can see from his account, there are plenty of possible opportunities and pitfalls to be aware of. Just like many others, he had no experience in mobile home park investing until his first purchase.
First of all, Peter doesn’t try to talk around the fact that buying a mobile home park is a lot of hard work. In his case, the park had plenty of problems with out of order equipment and machinery. His property also had a run-down well, huge swathes of unutilized and unusable areas, and was in general need of some sprucing up. The only thing he had going for him from the beginning was that the previous owner was strict when it came to collecting rent. Virtually all his tenants were good payers.
This was his saving grace as he took out multiple loans to purchase the park along with new units to fill the empty lots. He used the rents to keep paying his loans while putting the rest of it back into improving the park. Today, the park is worth $300,000 more in his estimates and is running at higher profitability than ever before. The best part is that the residents are happier living in a park with better conditions and maintenance and are glad to pay slightly more in rent.
From the convent to flipping parks – Marylan Tran, – Tucson
This is one inspirational tale that sounds like it came straight out of a period-flick built around the ide of the “American Dream.” Marylan Tran is a second-generation U.S. citizen whose parents made their way here after the Vietnam war. Previously a nun, she is now a successful owner of multiple mobile home parks. While at it, she has managed to improve many communities within Tucson.
When confronted with the conditions some of these park residents were living in because of their financial situation, Tran wasn’t able to turn a blind eye. She used the money she made from selling her home to start buying some of these parks. Making the necessary upgrades, she filled the units with those in need of low-cost housing.
What’s remarkable is that she shows it’s possible to run a profitable, and successful, business while still providing low-cost housing. This would make the ears of any investor perk up, whether they are in the mobile home or real estate industry.
How can YOU become a mobile home entrepreneur?
The mobile home housing industry is an extremely diverse market. There are a variety of ways you can get involved as an investor. Depending on your risk appetite, the level of involvement you want to have, and your starting capital, some of these methods will be more suited to you than others.
Buy a mobile home park
If you did more research on both of our motivational stories, you’ll see that buying and running a mobile home park is no easy feat. There are many disciplines that need to be balanced in order to make a park successful. Most parks are still owned by mom-and-pop owners who have often fallen behind their maintenance and rent duties. This is both where its biggest opportunities and obstacles lie.
There is an opportunity because these parks can be flipped to become more profitable much quicker. These carry less upfront cost than a real estate development. However, it also means that you have to put in the work to get the utilities and conditions of the park up to scratch.
Build a mobile home park
If you thought that buying a mobile home park is a huge feat, then you haven’t tried actually building one. Sure, it’s still far cheaper than any real estate development, and possibly within the budget of someone with a high credit score approaching a bank for a loan. However, loan conditions are generally much stricter and the rates much higher. Banks simply don’t have as much faith in these ventures.
Secondly, because of the negative stereotypes surrounding mobile home parks many residents and city councils no longer want to approve zoning for these communities. That means that the only areas where new parks can be built are far out of city limits. This immediately cuts your potential clientele and skyrockets the cost of installing utilities.
Buy, flip, and sell
Many people still can’t fathom how much mobile homes’ values vary. They can be significantly improved by renovations or some basic repairs. As Josh McCullough shows us in this thread, there are still many opportunities doing this, even if you don’t expect them.
There are many people today making a living by buying older homes in mobile home parks, flipping them, and then selling or renting them out to make a profit. This approach is especially attractive because all the infrastructure is already in place in the park. You’ll just need to find a new buyer.
Make mobile homes
As crazy as it seems, there is always room for someone or some agency to make a name for itself in the mobile home or prefab industry. One example is Wheelhaus, founded by Jamie Mackay that now makes designer tiny, modular, mobile homes.
More and more people, spurred on by the affordable housing crisis, are looking to downsizing their living arrangement. They’re also more open to less conventional forms of housing. This is driving the innovative push in tiny and modular/mobile homes.
Buy into an investment fund
Lastly, if you want to get involved in the mobile home investment industry but you don’t have the time or the money to make big moves on your own, then you might want to look into a fund. There are investment funds that make a point of putting together portfolios consisting entirely of mobile home investments.
These could include buying mobile home parks, individual units within parks, or investing in mobile home manufacturers. An example of one such successful fun is Park Street Partners.
Be an informed entrepreneur!
With most mobile home parks located within these communities, it’s worth reading about the specifics of investing in mobile home parks. You’ll also probably want to know why we think mobile home parks are such good investments.
The biggest mistake that would-be entrepreneurs make when trying their hand at anything is not properly informing themselves of what lies ahead in their chosen industry. By becoming a regular on some of the best resources out there and finding out what others are doing, you’ll be putting yourself in pole position to take advantage of the next available opportunity.