Thursday, April 30, 2009

Q&A: Mailbag

(Note: I've received many questions from people about mobile home and/or real estate investing. From time to time, I will post the ones I find interesting/relevant. If you have a question, feel free to send it in. Thanks!)

Q: Is it necessary to hire an inspector to inspect a mobile home? What are the major areas of a mobile home that should be inspected?

A: Inspecting mobile homes are usually just like inspecting single family homes. I just inspect everything from top to bottom including the roof (is it leaking?), major systems - electric, water, gas, etc., the carpet (look for soft spots), the outside - check the roof outside, the siding (usually wood or aluminum), the skirting, etc.

Usually, I just go in and inspect just like I would be buying as a regular homeowner. I think what types of things I would be concerned with if I were buying as a homeowner. I turn on the lights - make sure they work, run the a/c, run the water, etc.

If you feel more comfortable having an inspector do an inspection, that's an option. For me personally, it's not necessary. If you go this route, you can get a sense for what an inspector looks for and use it as a guide for future inspections.

For more info about how I conduct my own mobile home inspections, feel free to check out my article on inspecting mobile homes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Terminology Tuesday - Mobile Home

I think it's important to know the terminology and words used when learning any new business including mobile home investing.

So, I came up with "Terminology Tuesday" as a day to go over the terminology used in the mobile home business. It's important to know the terminology when talking to people in the business so you're all on the same page.

For today, we'll go over the word "mobile home." Here's what it's defined as in Wikipedia:

"Mobile homes or static caravans are prefabricated homes built in factories, rather than on site, and then taken to the place where they will be occupied. They are usually transported by tractor-trailers over public roads to sites which are often in rural areas or high-density developments. In some countries they are used for temporary accommodation on campsites. While these houses are usually placed in one location and left there permanently, they do retain the ability to be moved as this is a requirement in many areas. Behind the cosmetic work fitted at installation to hide the base, there are strong trailer frames, axles, wheels and tow-hitches. The two major sizes are single-wides and double-wides. Single-wides are eighteen feet or less in width and 90 feet (27 m) or less in length and can be towed to their site as a single unit. Double-wides are twenty feet or more wide and are 90 feet (27 m) in length or less and are towed to their site in two separate units, which are then joined together. Triple-wides and even homes with four, five, or more units are also built, although not as commonly. They also differ from site built homes in that it is not uncommon for owners to "Trade up", as one might with a car. While site-built homes are rarely moved, mobile home owners often "trade", or sell their home to a dealer in the form of the reduction of the purchase of a new home. These "used" homes are either re-sold to new owners, or to park owners who use them as inexpensive rental units. Single wides are more likely to be traded than double wides since removing them from the site is easier."

Some examples of single-wide sizes include: 12x50 (these are the smaller ones and much older - 60s, 70s), 16x56 (these are usually considered "standard" in the 80s, 90s), 16x66, and 16x80. Sometimes the measurement includes the hitch - what is used to pull the home when moving, so be careful when using measurements. Usually, I allow an additional 4 ft for the hitch. So, if a home was a 16x80 - it may be a 16x76 without the hitch but with the hitch it would be 16x80.

Some examples of double-wide sizes include: 24x48 (this is a very small and short doublewide - good if you're trying to fill a smaller lot), 24x60, 28x80.

In general, I stick to single-wides. Why?

In most cases, you end up spending more on double-wides - double the cost of a single-wide. If you plan on selling using seller financing, usually the amount you can seller finance in a park is about the same for single-wides and double-wides. By the same, I mean what people can afford to put down and what they can afford as a monthly payment. Also, if you plan to move any mobile homes - you will probably pay double the cost to move a double-wide than a single-wide.

Though, if you do come across a deal on a double-wide and the numbers work for you - it just may be worth it. As always, you need to work the numbers and do your due diligence.

Happy investing!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mobile Home On the Move

"Video clips of a mobile home being moved off site."

Video Link

Thursday, April 23, 2009

10 Important Members of Your Mobile Home Investing Team

"Two heads are better than one."

So true, so true.

Success is accomplished through teams, not individuals. Though, sometimes it could seem an individual has attained success - there's always a team behind them. As in Hollywood, it seems like the director and/or the actors/actresses get all the credit. Though, it takes a lot of people to make a movie - these are the people behind the scenes that people don't see who come together to make it all work.

Throughout my investing career, I couldn't have done it without my team. I've learned that I simply can't know everything - my team helps me and I help them. Together, we get more done and more accomplished. Those I know who do try to do everything have been burned out losing both time and money.

To help you with your mobile home investing career, here are 10 Important Members of Your Mobile Home Investing Team:

1. Personal Support Network - friends, spouse, other investors, etc.

It's very important to have a personal support network of people who understand you and your investing goals. Surround yourself with like minded people - get away from the naysayers. Now, I know it's hard because most people (especially family and sometimes friends) may not understand why you've entered this crazy world of mobile home investing. Seek out people who do (i.e. local real estate club, local clubs, real estate related blogs and internet sites, etc). If you surround yourself with like minded people, it will be easier for you to go out and take action.

2. Mentor

Whenever I want to learn something new, I've always sought out and found a mentor. It's very important to have someone locally you can learn from. I stress, locally, because things are different in every area (i.e. laws, marketing, rents, etc). What works in one area, could not work in another area. Seek out someone who is doing what you want to do - learn from them and offer to help them find deals. Create a win/win situation - make it work for both of you.

So, where can you find a mentor? It's best to start out with your local real estate club(s). Find out who the key players are and exactly what they do. Talk to a few people and find someone you can connect with. Offer to take them out to lunch or coffee. Learn as much as you can from them. Remember, it's all about learning and getting experience. Once you have the experience and the knowledge, the money will follow.

3. Park Managers

If you are planning to work with parks, you will need to establish relationships with park managers. They are a great source of information. Apart from educating you about the park and how they operate, park managers can help you to learn more about the mobile home business in the area. If you are planning to do business in parks, park managers are definitely important members to have on your team.

4. Mobile Home Dealerships

Mobile home dealerships are also key players to have on your mobile home investing team. They can educate you on the market and tell you exactly how much they have sold their homes in the area. Also, they are a good source of information as sometimes they get homes come in for "trade ins" and may need someone to offload those homes for them.

For the most part, mobile home dealerships are in the business of selling new homes - not used homes. It's just like a car dealership - their clients buy new sometimes trading in the old with the new. If you are there to help offload the old (aka used mobile homes), you are helping them to focus on their business.

5. Contractors

Contractors will always be needed on your mobile home investing team. You will always need contractors for electrical, plumbing, a/c, etc. With the major systems in the home (i.e. electrical, plumbing, a/c, etc), be sure to work with a licensed contractor. Also, you will need a handyman on your team to fix up the small stuff. Be sure to have a few contractors for each area as back ups just in case. Remember, you don't want to be looking for contractors when you need the job done - start networking now!

6. Cleaning Crew

In most cases, the mobile homes you buy will need a good cleaning. Be sure to have a cleaning crew and some back ups lined up for the job.

7. Carpet Cleaners

Another major area of mobile homes that may need cleaning is the carpet. I use carpet cleaners for this service because they specialize in cleaning carpets. Sure, you can have your cleaning crew clean the carpets if it's not that bad. Though, if it looks like a tough job - I'd go with carpet cleaners who specialize in this area. It's amazing to see what carpet cleaners can do - their work has made carpets look like new at times!

8. Mobile Home Movers

If you're planning to buy mobile homes and move them, you'll need a mobile home mover on your team. Check around with the mobile home dealerships and park managers to see who they use. Talk to a few mobile home movers, get their rates, and make sure they are licensed. (You can find this information through your local government authority).

9. Local Government Authority

Knowing the people who work at your local government authority handling mobile home transactions can help you with your mobile home investing business. These people know the laws - they can help guide you and tell you what you can do/not do. Also, they are a wealth of information for local resources including finding out the licensing status of mobile home movers.

10. Other Real Estate Investors

Having other real estate investors on your team can be very important to your mobile home investing career. Other real estate investors are great sources of information for other services you may need including attorneys, real estate agents, contractors, etc. They also may have access to buyer and seller leads. Also, other real estate investors can be good sources for private lending and/or helping you to get financing. Always be open to making relationships with other real estate investors.

There you have it - 10 Important Members of Your Mobile Home Investing Team.

Remember, you want to start early so it's best to start networking now. Don't wait until you need these services - that's the worst position to be in! And, always be sure to have a couple back ups just in case. For me, I am always on the lookout to be adding new members to my team.

Happy investing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


One of the team members I keep having to look for are contractors. Every time I find someone good and reliable, I have to always remember that I cannot depend on one person all the time. Trust me, I've learned through experience.

So, I've learned to always be on the lookout for more contractors to add to my team. Why is this? Well, sometimes people get busy. Or, even more often - just don't show up. I learned this the hard way.

Recently, I had to have an a/c unit fixed. So, I called my a/c guy. He's done really good work for me in the past - shown up every time and always does a good job. Well, this time he wasn't available for the job. So, I had to call a couple "back up" a/c people.

Guess what? Out of the 5 people I called, only 1 showed up and gave me a fair estimate over the phone. Had I not had a few back up a/c contacts, I could have been in a bind. And let me tell you, it's not the time to be networking when you really need the job done!

Also, this happened with a handyman job I needed as well. I have a regular handyman person that I use in each area - it's better for them if it's closer. But, I also have a list of "back up" handymen just in case.

Well, I had a handyman job recently and called up my regular handyman in the area. Again, the same thing happened - he wasn't available and I needed to use a back up. I called a few of my "back up" handymen in the area - one showed up. Same story. He got the job done - I will definitely be using him again.

Lesson learned. Always have "back up" contractors ready just in case. Keep networking and always be adding to your team so you'll be prepared for the unexpected.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Which member is the most important for your mobile home and/or real estate investing team?
Definitely a mentor.
Me, of course!
Lenders - financing is a must!
Property managers - someone has to manage it.
Contractors - someone needs to fix stuff up.
Other investors for networking opportunities.
Attorneys and real estate agents for consulting and paperwork.
All of the above. free polls

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mobile Home Repair - Fixing Up the Front Door

Video Link

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Q&A: Mailbag

(Note: I've received many questions from people about mobile home and/or real estate investing. From time to time, I will post the ones I find interesting/relevant. If you have a question, feel free to send it in. Thanks!)

Q: Do I need a dealer license to start investing in mobile homes?

A: In some areas, you may need what is called a "dealer license" if you are planning to buy and sell mobile homes. Check with the local government authority responsible for manufactured housing in your area. They will be able to supply you with the necessary information and guide you through the process.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

6 Ways to Make Money Investing In Mobile Homes

I am often asked the question, "How do you make money investing in mobile homes?"

The short answer is: There are plenty of ways.

Though, it will depend on your comfort level, time, money, skills, experience and overall goals.

Before starting out, you need to assess your plan and exactly what you need to do. i.e. Are you trying to build up cash? Or, are you ready to buy and hold? How much time do you have - do you want to be hands on or hands off? What are your skills?, etc.

Once you know your goals, then you can decide how you would like to invest in mobile homes.

Here are 6 Ways to Make Money Investing In Mobile Homes:

1. Buy, sell and finance - be the lender.

This is a good way to invest in mobile homes if you're looking for consistent cash flow and don't necessarily want to deal with the issues of being a landlord. Basically, you buy a mobile home and sell it offering seller financing. The buyer gives you a small down payment and then makes payments to you for the duration of the loan. Since you are acting as the lender, the buyer is responsible for all repairs on the home - you just collect payments.

This method of investing will require time if you are the one looking for deals. You will need to do your research and learn the market in your area. Also, if you are buying mobile homes in parks you will need to establish rapport with park managers to see if you can do business in their parks. You will need to have access to cash to purchase the mobile homes as well as a team including contractors, clean up crew, etc. If you do not have the time to look for deals, you can always work with a wholesaler or bird dog to look for deals for you.

2. Buy and hold - be a landlord.

Buying a mobile home and renting it out is another way to make money investing in mobile homes. Some investors simply want to continue being landlords because they don't want to sell their properties and just want a continuous source of cash flow. The good thing about mobile homes is that they are less costly than regular homes which means less costs for things such as taxes, insurance, etc. If expenses are lower, it will leave more cash flow on the table. Being a landlord will require access to cash to purchase the mobile homes as well as the usual reserves needed as a landlord.

3. Buy and sell retail.

If you're looking to make some money and don't want to hold, you can buy and sell retail. Again, the advantage of mobile homes is that they are less costly than regular single family homes. Remember, if you are selling retail you need to make sure you know your market well before you buy so you'll know what you can sell for. As in any type of retail venture, figure in a conservative amount for repair costs and holding costs.

4. Buy and wholesale to other investors.

If you're looking to build up some cash and want to sell fast, you can always buy and wholesale to other investors. If you are planning to wholesale, be sure you have a buyers list and criteria from your buyers of what they are looking for, how much they want to spend and what areas they will buy. Also, you will need to put in the time to research and learn your market so you know what you can as well as what your investors can sell for.

This method will take time since you are the one looking for deals. You will need to do your research and learn the market in your area, You don't necessarily have to have the cash to buy the mobile homes - you can always assign your interest to your buyer(s) once you have found and put a deal under contract.

5. Private money - be the lender to investors.

If you have money but don't necessarily have the time to look for deals and want to grow the money you have, you can lend money to other investors.

Since mobile homes are less costly than single family homes, it will require significantly less amount of cash. As the lender, it will require less time and is hands off - you just collect payments. If you are going to be lending money, be sure to have a criteria made up of exactly how much you are willing to lend, the rate of return you would like, etc. Also, make sure you are comfortable working with the investor(s) you choose to work with. Interview them, spend time with them and learn more about them and their goals. Remember, the investor(s) you are working with need to make money too. Make it a win/win situation for everyone.

6. Bird dog - look for deals for other investors.

Being a bird dog and looking for deals for other investors is a good way to get started and learn hands on with the least amount of risk. It does not take a lot of cash though this will require a significant amount of time and commitment on your part - you will need to put in the time to research your market and create a marketing plan to find deals. Also, you will need to locate other investors who are interested in investing in mobile homes. Build a rapport with them and get their investing criteria. Compensation will depend on the arrangements you have with the investor(s). Be sure to check the laws in your area regarding this. Remember, you are simply trying to learn and get the experience here without taking all the risk. Once you have the knowledge and experience, it will help you to push forward with your investing goals. Knowledge is power.

So, there you have it - 6 Ways to Make Money Investing In Mobile Homes. As you can see, there are many ways to make money investing in mobile homes. Time, money, skills, and experience are all factors to consider. Overall, always keep your goals in mind.

Happy investing!

Monday, April 13, 2009


What's your interest in mobile home investing?
Buy, sell and finance - be the lender.
Buy and hold - be the landlord.
Buy and sell retail.
Buy and wholesale to other investors.
Bird dog - look for deals for other investors.
Private money - be the lender to investors.
All of the above.
I'm not quite sure - still trying to figure things out. free polls

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mobile Homes vs. Apartments

Funny video about the advantages of Mobile Homes vs. Apartments. Check it out!

Video Link

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nickel and Dimed

I recently just finished reading this book:

"Funny, poignant, and passionate, this revelatory firsthand account of life in low-wage America - the story of Barbara Ehrenreich's attempts to eke out a living while working as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart associate - has become an essential part of the nation's political discourse."

So, what does this book have to do with mobile home investing? Plenty.

It goes into detail the psychology and the work involved for low wage working class folks across America. Who are these people? To me, they are considered customers in the world of mobile home investing.

In the book, the search for affordable housing seems to be a re-occurring theme. Let's face it - there will always be low wage jobs in America and in turn a need for affordable housing. This is where mobile homes come into play.

In any business, you must know your customers - know what their wants and needs are. It's important to know the kind of psychology involved with your customers in any business.

This book will give you a glimpse of the working class world - a world that is intertwined and directly connected to affordable housing and the world of mobile home investing.

Monday, April 6, 2009


What's another name for a "mobile home?"
Manufactured Home
All of the above. free polls

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mobile Home Repair - Plumbing 101

"This is all about basic leak repair for plumbing. This dumb pipe connection was leaking, just a teeny bit, but it was getting everything damp and as we know... WATER + MOBYS = EVIL!!!! Whatever you can do to keep water from getting into your Moby belly and structure is GOOD."

Video Link

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Top 10 Negotiation Books

In my prior post, I mentioned the importance of learning essential business skills - one very important skill is negotiating.

Most times, when people hear the word "negotiate" it gives them a bad feeling - it makes people feel like someone is taking something from them, creating a win/lose situation.

However, negotiating is nothing like that. To me, negotiating is having the ability to create win/win situations for everyone. Now, I know that maybe we all won't get exactly what we want but we can try to at least come to an agreement that makes all parties feel comfortable.

In order to learn the skill of negotiating, I read and learned from books. Then, I used the techniques from what I learned and used them in real life situations - this is where you really learn the skill of negotiating.

Here's a list of my Top 10 Negotiation Books that have helped me. I hope it will help you too!

1. The Art of the Deal
2. Getting to Yes
3. Getting Past No
4. Negotiate This
5. Secrets of Power Negotiating
6. You Can Negotiate Anything
7. Trump-Style Negotiation
8. The Negotiating Paradox
9. Harvard Business Essentials Guide to Negotiation
10. Negotiating For Dummies