Friday, April 30, 2010

Blue Collar Comedy: Ghost in the Trailer

Since it's Friday, I thought I'd keep it light and share with everyone this very entertaining and mobile home related song, "Ghost In the Trailer." Enjoy!

"The song that started a worldwide wave of mobile home paranoia. Somethin' creepy is going on under the double wide, and this time it ain't a raccoon!"

Video Link

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Resource Review: How Can Help Mobile Home Investors Network and Grow Their Business

(Note: I don't receive any compensation for sharing this resource with you, I have to say this because of the disclaimer blogging rules).

Since I'm a strong believer in the power of networking, I thought I'd make a post about one of the resources that I frequent:

Actually, I found this site one day through a search on the Internet when I typed in "real estate forums." It had been awhile since I visited the usual real estate forums I frequented back then. So, I wanted to see what else was out there and up popped a link to

At the time, I had never heard of BiggerPockets. So, I took a trip there on the "Internet Express" - I found it to be a very interesting and unique type of site - it wasn't your typical real estate site, it was different. But, how?

First thing I noticed was that signing up as a member (basic membership is free), you could actually have a very detailed and customized profile. Members could add a profile pic, their signature with website address, pictures of properties, a blog, etc.

In my experience, I've never seen this type of ability to add in this kind of detail for a member profile with any of the other real estate forums that I frequented. Most of the real estate sites I visited only had a very basic profile, some with no profile at all - just an ability to post up questions and comments in the forums.

(Note: If you're a real estate investor and have been in this business for awhile, you'll probably know what sites I'm talking about).

What allows you to do is create your own space. Think of it as a Facebook or MySpace for the real estate investing world.

As a member of BiggerPockets, you can share your real estate background information with other members just by creating a profile. Even more than just a forum to network with others in real estate, you also have the ability to create a personalized real estate blog, post up pictures of properties, submit real estate related articles, submit news through the "Bulletins" feature, share and post up events, join specific real estate related groups, keep up to date on real estate related news and trends by reading and/or subscribing to the BiggerPockets Blog, etc. I could go on and on about all of the features of the site - there's just so many.

(Note: Check out this article by the Founder of, Josh Dorkin, about the features of the site and "How to Market Yourself and Your Business With BiggerPockets").

Here's my profile on BiggerPockets:

(Note: If you're already a member and/or just signing up, feel free to add me as a colleague if you'd like).

So you're probably wondering,"How has helped me?"

To be honest, I'm really one who takes after Lonnie's philosophy of keeping things small - I like to keep a small operation. I'm not one who seeks out a large network. I believe in quality over quantity.

In the past, I've done things on a large scale and it's really caused a lot of stress and time. At one point in my real estate investing career, I had 30 bird dogs working with me, 10 property managers, and was mentoring 100s of people - not fun. I found most of my time was spent managing people.

I had no time to sit back and enjoy myself. I was always answering the phone, checking email, answering questions, etc. My operation was too big and it got out of hand. I felt like I was the one training and directing people to do what I already knew how to do. It got so out of hand, that it really caused a lot of stress in my life.

So, I've scaled back - a lot. And, it's made life much more enjoyable. Plus, it's made this business even more fun.

However, I've found that I really enjoy hearing about and sharing real estate related stories with other investors. This is one thing that I enjoy very much. And, I've found that with

Through BiggerPockets, I've read about so many different stories other real estate investors have shared - it's really quite enjoying and entertaining. Here's one of the stories I enjoyed reading through my pal Shae's blog on BiggerPockets:

And, here's an article and another story I enjoyed reading by my pal Julie on BiggerPockets:

Speaking of stories, we all have stories to share especially in the mobile home investing world (That's what Adventures In Mobile Homes is all about!) Another feature I enjoy on BiggerPockets, is the Mobile Home Investing Group and Mobile Home Investing Forum - it's really a nice place to network and meet other mobile home investors.

Apart from networking with other mobile home investors, there are other companies and resources available who are members as well. From the site, I've had a variety of different BiggerPockets members contact me (i.e. commercial real estate agents, private lenders, wholesalers, bird dogs, landlords, mobile home lenders, etc). If it weren't for, some of these folks may never have found me.

By sharing as a resource with you, I hope it can help you to network and grow your business. I've had some requests from people asking how to network and build a team, where to network, and if I can help build a network for them. I'm here to say, you might just find some folks to add to your network by checking out It's a great resource, and also a lot of fun!

Happy investing!

p.s. For those of you who are already members of BiggerPockets and/or have decided to sign up, here's a video from Josh Dorkin, the Founder of BiggerPockets, titled "How to Start Networking Effectively Using" Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Terminology Tuesday - Mobile Home Park (Lot) Lease Agreement

(Note: I think it's important to know the terminology and words used when learning any new business including mobile home investing. I came up with 'Terminology Tuesday' as a way 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).

Source Link

Basically, the Mobile Home Park (Lot) Agreement is the agreement between the Mobile Home Park and the owner of the mobile home to abide by all of the rules and regulations of the park including (but not limited to): paying lot rent for use of the lot where the mobile home is located, maintaining landscaping, appearance of mobile home, etc.

In the agreement, the lot rent payment amount for the park including the due date and policy on late lot rent payments will be stated. Usually, there is also a pet policy.

In many family style parks, aggressive dogs such as Rottweilers and Bulldogs are not usually permitted. Also, there may be a weight limit on pets. In my experience, I've seen the weight limit be from 30lbs max - 50 lbs max.

(Note: It's funny. I always joke around with the park managers when this comes up - I've asked a few, "Do you actually weigh the pets?" One of the park managers actually had a scale in the office, what a crazy business!)

Right now (especially with the economy), I'm seeing more and more parks requiring leases signed. In many cases, it's usually a 1-2 year lease agreement with the park. This is a way for the park to retain tenants, while at the same time keeping a set amount of lot rent for the duration for the tenants.

(Note: Since the agreement for the park is a lease agreement for usage of the lot, the mobile home park is considered the "landlord" and the owner of the mobile home is considered the "tenant." The concept is just like a regular lease - there's a landlord and a tenant).

For those who are just starting out, many times the park will require an application on file for investors who do business in their park. This is standard procedure.

(Note: When I first started out, I was a bit taken back and surprised about this policy. Though, I thought about it and understand why now - if I were a park manager/owner, I'd want to know who's doing business in my park too).

Basically, the paperwork will involve the same application for the park - basic information including (but not limited to): landlord, work, criminal history, etc. (It's very similar to a rental application for an apartment and/or home).

The reason for this is many times they want to know who exactly they are doing business with. If for some reason, an investor buys a home in their park and there's a park issue - they want to have the peace of mind they are dealing with someone who they can trust and has committed to working together with them.

In the beginning as a new investor, the park does not know you. So, the only thing they can go on is the park application. If you fill it out to the best of your knowledge and you are honest and upfront with the park, they will learn to trust you.

Will they run credit? Yes. Will they verify all of the information on the application? Yes. If you have bad credit, will they not allow you to work in the park? Not necessarily.

(Note: If the park manager/owner likes you, they may even waive the application fee).

Usually, it will be up to the park manager/owner to make the decision whether or not they will allow you to work in their park. Remember, it is their park - you need to abide by their rules.

If the park manager/owner feels that you are a trustworthy person, in most cases they will allow you to work in their park. For some reason, if there is an issue with credit on the application - they may require you to put a deposit (in good faith) in order to work in the park.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking - this is crazy, I don't want anyone to know my information. But, if you look at it from the park's perspective they need to know exactly who they're dealing with. If you're honest and upfront with them, usually there will be no problems working in the park.

Over time, they will get to know and trust you. At first, it can be awkward. Though, over time they will get to know you and eventually trust you. And, trust and being able to establish trust is the backbone of this business.

Happy investing!

p.s. Feel free to leave comments on any post either here and/or my Facebook Page. Comments are always welcome, thanks for reading!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Video: Japanese Mobile Home

Since it's Friday, I thought I'd keep it light and share with everyone this neat video - it's a Japanese mobile home. Enjoy!

"After two years of work, a group of Japanese students has completed the build of a fantastic transportable home. The compact dwelling is based on a truck and has a pop-up second floor containing a cosy Japanese bedroom. It's hard to believe, but the mobile home also contains a kitchen, bathroom, deck and living area".

p.s. If you've joined my Facebook Page already, I just wanted to say "thanks" for all your support. If you know anyone else who may be interested in learning about mobile home investing, feel free to send them over. Thanks again!

Video Link

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Done Deal: 4/2 Singlewide Mobile Home In a Park

Wow, I finally closed with the buyers who were approved on this deal over the weekend.

With my last update, I had mentioned the buyers had signed the park paperwork along with the deposit for the park and first month's lot rent . So, all that was left to do was my paperwork for the mobile home.

Unfortunately, I had been sick and tax time had come. So, we had to postpone the closing paperwork. Since the buyers had already signed the park paperwork, they agreed and understood they were now responsible for the lot rent.

In any case, we finally closed over the weekend. I just had to push this back until I got better and finished up taxes.

Though, it didn't go as smoothly as I expected (as they never do). When the buyers arrived at the home, the husband had forgot his ID though his wife had hers. Before we had even met, I told them on the phone we needed everyone's IDs for the paperwork for the home.

(Note: The reason I require IDs is because I get all the papework notarized - I do things just like the park. Other fellow mobile home investors have told me that's not necesssary but that's just the way I operate. Since I started out investing in real estate, I'm used to dotting all my "i's" and "crossing all my t's" - it's just the way I am. And, I've transferred this to the mobile home business).

In any case, the buyers had to go back and retrieve the second ID. I agreed to wait at the home for them to return so we could proceed with the paperwork.

(Note: When going out to meet buyers and sellers, you may have some down time. I always recommend bringing a good book to read (something that can help you with your business) to keep you occupied in between meetings - it's a good opportunity to catch up on your reading).

When the buyers had arrived at the home with the second ID, it was already mid-afternoon. My bank (where I usually go to get things notarized) was already closing. (Mind you, this was a Saturday - it's hard to find a notary open past mid-afternoon on Saturdays).

So, I called around various establishments who performed notary services (i.e. Mail Boxes, etc., Kinko's, etc). However, all of them were already closed. At this point, I was pretty upset. I told the buyers if we could not find a notary today (And, no I was not going to use a mobile notary who would be charging $100+ to come out plus $2.00 per page/signature), then we would have to re-schedule for next week.

However, the buyers really wanted to move in over the weekend. They told me they were already packed and wanted to use this time to move in.

(Note: I never allow buyers to move in without doing all the necessary paperwork, submitting the entire deposit amount, and having all the paperwork notarized. I'd rather do everything in one fell swoop, not halfway and/or in bits and pieces. Some investors allow buyers to move in without paying the entire deposit amount and making it up in payments - this is not my style. I'd rather do things my way and have all the requirements met beforehand so the process is complete).

In search of a notary, I dialed so many numbers. With my last ounce of energy, I finally found one that was still open - it was going to close in an hour. So, I hopped in my car and the buyers in theirs and we were off to the notary.

When we got to the notary, we went over all the paperwork and had it all signed and notarized (of course). I was just about to hand over the keys to the buyers when I had noticed the down payment they were going to give me for the home was all in cash. Yes, that's right - cash.

They had an envelope filled with cash and were attempting to count it all out - in 100s (the down payment amount was 2k). Ok, my rule of thumb is that I never take cash - it's there to protect both the buyers and myself so that we have a record of what's been paid. The only form of payment I accept is cashier's check or money order.

I informed the buyers we really needed either a cashier's check or money order - we cannot do the transaction in cash. (I always explain this upfront, though sometimes people can forget as they get caught up in their day to day lives).

The buyers asked if I could just take it since it's already late in the day and told me they weren't concerned about having a paper record - they said they trusted me that I would acknowledge they paid the full amount for the down payment. However, I told them this is not how I operate - we need to have a paper record to show what has been paid so there is no confusion.

The buyers understood. Thank goodness, there was a place up the street that issued money orders and was still open. Again, I hopped in my car and the buyers in their and we drove off (once again) to get a money order issued and to finally complete the transaction.

When we arrived, the buyers returned with a money order for 2k. In turn, I gave them the keys. We parted our separate ways, and yes - the deal was finally closed. What a day!

Again, this is a 4/2 singlewide mobile home in the late 1990s, 17x80, in a 5 star (high end) park. Here are some pics:

Living Room


Master Bath

Outdoor Storage Shed

As always, I feel that all of the deals that I've done have all required hard work and persistence - it's not easy. But, it's definitely worth it. Once the deals are put together and closed, all the hard work and effort pay off.

Going into the deal, I already knew the market - I knew this would sell fast (being a 4/2 in a 5 star park) somewhere in the mid 30k-early 40k range, which it did.

In this case, I spent 16k for the home, received 2k down and it cash flows in the $600/month range for 10 years. Plus, it's in one of my favorite parks (a 5 star park). And, I prefer doing business in high end parks that attract quality buyers - quality is what's important to me.

As Warren Buffett says, "It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price".

Happy investing!

p.s. If you're just starting out and aren't quite sure where you'd like to begin, here's an article that may help. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Terminology Tuesday - Flashing (Weatherproofing)

(Note: I think it's important to know the terminology and words used when learning any new business including mobile home investing. I came up with 'Terminology Tuesday' as a way 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).

Video Link

As defined in Wikipedia:

"Flashing refers to thin continuous pieces of sheet metal or other impervious material installed to prevent the passage of water into a structure from an angle or joint. Flashing generally operates on the principle that, for water to penetrate a joint, it must work itself upward against the force of gravity or in the case of wind-driven rain, it would have to follow a tortuous path during which the driving force will be dissipated.

Flashing may be exposed or concealed. Exposed flashing is usually of a sheet metal, such as aluminium, copper, painted galvanized steel, stainless steel, zinc alloy, terne metal, lead or lead-coated copper. Metal flashing should be provided with expansion joints on long runs to prevent deformation of the metal sheets. The selected metal should not stain or be stained by adjacent materials or react chemically with them.

Flashing can assume a number of forms:

Roof flashing is placed around discontinuities or objects which protrude from the roof of a building (such as pipes and chimneys, or the edges of other roofs) to deflect water away from seams or joints.

Wall flashing may be embedded in a wall to direct water that has penetrated the wall back outside, or it may be applied in a manner intended to prevent the entry of water into the wall. Wall flashing is typically found at interruptions in the wall, such as windows and points of structural support.

Sill flashing is a concealed flashing that is typically placed under windowsills or door thresholds to prevent water from entering a wall at those points.

Base flashing is found at the base of a wall, and usually incorporates through-wall flashing with weep holes to permit the escape of water. Base flashings may be placed at the building grade or at a point where a roof intersects a wall."

Definition Link

In my experience, the majority of cases where I've had to face "flashing" issues have been with mobile homes that have masonite hardboard siding.

The issue with these types of homes (that I've encountered) is that if it does not have proper "flashing" around the edges of the roof of the home and water is not properly directed away, water tends to trickle down the side of the home causing moisture damage. Over time, extensive moisture damage to the siding will require routine maintenance and will eventually need to be replaced.

(Note: With mobile homes with aluminum type siding, I haven't really faced any type of "flashing" issues and/or moisture issues if properly sealed).

An example where I had to deal with a "flashing" issue was my first deal.

From the front, it looks ok:

Though, with no metal flashing around the edges of the roof when it rained water would trickle down the side of the mobile home causing moisture damage to the siding.

(Note: When the moisture drys up and the sun comes out, the siding tends to crack and result in the pics below).

The solution is to add metal flashing to the edges around the roof so that moisture is drawn away from the siding and the home when it rains. If the masonite hardboard siding is too moist, it will need to be replaced.

On my first deal, I learned about flashing when it came time to evaluate. At first, I was a bit concerned about the moisture problems in the siding and the cracks.

I conferred with a couple fellow investors - some told me it may be a mold issue and to watch out, and others told me it may just be some boards needing to be replaced. Though, none of these investors informed me about a possible "flashing" issue.

I learned about "flashing" when I brought in a couple contractors to look at the home and take bids.

The first contractor (who was highly recommended by a fellow investor), told me the problem was definitely a mold issue and told me I had to re-side the entire house. Otherwise, I could have public health coming at my door. This contractor gave me a bid of 5k to re-side the entire mobile home.

(Note: Going into the deal, I already knew the market. I knew the wholesale value of the home was not more than 5k. Thing is, I had a "gut feeling" it wasn't a mold issue. Honestly, I've seen mold and this just wasn't it. Plus, the sellers (who also had a daughter and small dog) had been living in the home for 10 years with the siding issue for the past 3 years. I figured, if they could live in the home for all this time, then it wasn't likely to be a health issue).

It wasn't until I met with a couple more contractors that I learned of the "flashing issue." I must have met with 6 or 7 contractors, and as I got better at explaining the problem a couple of them pointed out the "flashing issue." So, that's how I learned - through experience.

Now, the "flashing issue" has become something I've picked up and can spot right away when going out to check out mobile homes. With each experience, I find that I learn something new. And, knowing is half the battle.

Happy investing!

p.s. Feel free to leave comments on any post either here and/or my Facebook Page. Comments are always welcome, thanks for reading!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Video: Real Estate Investor (spoof)

Since it's Friday, I thought I'd keep it light and share with everyone this very entertaining real estate investor spoof.

If you're a real estate investor (especially if you're a landlord and/or ever been a landlord), you'll definitely be able to relate. Enjoy!

"A reality spoof. Tenants are all based on actual people. Bipolar tenant, special ops tenant, psychic tenant, unemployed, drunk, bachelor bachelor tenant."

p.s. If you've joined my Facebook Page already, I just wanted to say "thanks" for all your support. If you know anyone else who may be interested in learning about mobile home investing, feel free to send them over. Thanks again!

Video Link

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Deal or No Deal: Doublewide Mobile Home In a Park

When I first started out investing in mobile homes, I had no idea what was a deal/what wasn't a deal. It really took a lot of effort on my part to go out and meet with sellers, learn the market, and learn how to put win/win deals together.

So, I thought I'd start a segment here to share with you my adventures checking out these homes and what I've pursued/not pursued. I hope these case studies will better help you to see and evaluate the thought process involved when analyzing potential mobile home investments.

(Note: As always, everyone is going to have their own criteria on exactly "what a deal is." What a deal to me, may not be a deal to you. And, vice versa. These case studies are only meant to serve as an example of my own experiences when analyzing potential opportunities. The numbers reflected in each case study are those that are in my market - every market is different and the numbers vary. Be sure to verify the numbers in your local market with every opportunity you find).

Ok, so I get a call from one of my park managers on a doublewide mobile home that just came up in the park. It's a late 1990s model, 24x48, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.

(Note: Many of the opportunities I find are first hand, meaning no one knows about them - most don't have "For Sale" signs. How I learn about them is through my efforts at networking and building strong relationships. When just starting out, one of the most important things for me was learning to create strong and long lasting relationships. Though it takes time, it pays off in the end).

The owner of the home lives out of state and had been renting it out for the past couple of years. Well, now the owner evicted the current tenants due to non-payment. They had just been evicted and moved out when I got the call.

Over the phone, the park manager gave me all the details. Told me the specs of the home, the condition and what was needed to be fixed up. The park manager told me there wasn't that much work needed for the home. There was a small hole that needed to be covered and patched up (due to a raccoon) and some floor work, but other than that it was ready to go (according to the park manager).

(Note: Once you've built up a good relationship with your team members, they will know what you're looking for and will have all the info you need when they've got an opportunity for you to check out).

I asked the park manager what the seller wanted to get out of it. The park manager told me the seller was asking 15k for the home but would take 10k. When I heard this, I got really excited. I knew this was in a very good price range for my market and the area. I knew this home would sell in the 40k range owner financed.

(Note: Again, one of the most valuable things I've learned is the importance of learning the market. Once you've learned the market and know the values in your area, you'll be better able to spot a deal when opportunities come up).

I asked the park manager why the seller wanted to sell. The park manager told me the seller was just tired of the home - managing it from far away was too much of a hassle. Plus, this eviction was hard enough on the seller. So, I decided to take a look and check this one out.

When I got to the park, the park manager took me to see the home. Driving up to it, it didn't look all that bad from the outside. I really was getting excited about this potential deal.

So, we went inside and took a look. When we first came in (through the side door where the utility room in the washer/dryer area), I noticed the floor right away - it looked like there was a bit of floor and water damage.

Here's a pic:

(Note: Yes, that's a hole in the floor. The wood appears to be particle board, which can easily break. Seeing the damage to the floor was my first impression. Though floor work can be repaired, it's best if the damage is only in one area of the home).

Ok, so we move on to the kitchen. It didn't look too bad - it looked pretty good to me. Here are a few pics:

After the kitchen, we moved into the living room. Now, this is the area that really caught my eye. I found a few major things that concerned me here.

The first being a major hole in the ceiling. I asked the park manager about the hole - the park manager wasn't sure and told me it may have been due to the raccoon she saw in the home. (Don't worry, the raccoon was gone by the time we came into the home. Though, I have heard stories of animals (one being a raccoon) coming out and jumping out at people who go to inspect vacant homes).

Looking at the hole in the ceiling, I really had my doubts as to a raccoon causing it - it was quite large. Here's a few pics:

As I looked at the hole, I noticed the wood had been breaking/crumbing (just like the wood in the floor in the utility room) - there was definitely an indication of water damage looking at the hole.

Also, it looked like this hole could have been created (now this is just a theory) by someone (maybe the tenants) by shooting a hole in the ceiling. I mean, how does a hole like that end up being in a ceiling (especially on a late 1990s mobile home)? It just made me a bit concerned.

Now, my hunch about the possibility of angry tenants (who by the way had just been evicted) could have been on target when I saw this written on the wall in the living room:

When I saw this (especially the writing "bloodz"), I asked the park manager about it. The park manager told me, "Oh, you know people get angry with these kinds of things." Already, I was getting a bad feeling about this home. And, when I get a "bad feeling" I've learned to always stick with my gut.

In any case, we move on to the different areas of the home. To my surprise, I found extensive water damage throughout. Here are a few pics:

Water and mold damage on the ceiling

Water (and possibly floor damage) to the carpet

Water damage in the bathroom (Notice how the vinyl is coming apart)

After looking at the entire home, inside and out - I decided to pass on this one. Why?

It really had some major issues - water damage and structural problems (i.e. the hole in the ceiling). What I figured was that the water damage had come from the hole in the ceiling (not being protected) and there may be a roofing issue (a leak in the roof not visible to the eye that needed to be sealed and probably looked at a long time ago).

Since there was clearly evidence of water damage throughout the home, what was probably happening was that the water was coming in and seeping down the walls to create the extensive water damage to many of the areas throughtout the home.

When I pointed this out to the park manager, it really came as a surprise. To the park manager, this was not a home that needed that much work. Though, when I went through the home and pointed out the issues that concerned me the park manager saw things from a different perspective.

(Note: It's good to have members of your team help you out when looking at opportunities, but ultimately it's up to you to do your own due diligence and in turn make the final decision).

So, this was not a deal for me. Most times, I don't take on homes that need a lot of work. Sure, I don't mind doing some cosmetic work to a home. But, when it comes to water damage and structural problems - I've learned to stay away.

I hope you enjoyed reading this case study of "Deal or No Deal. I hope it will help you to better understand the thought process when evaluating potential mobile home investments.

If you would like to share a story on a home you've recently passed on or pursued (aka "deal or no deal"), I'd definitely be interested in hearing about it!

Happy investing!

p.s. Feel free to leave comments on any post either here and/or my Facebook Page. Comments are always welcome, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Terminology Tuesday - What Is Masonite Hardboard Siding?

(Note: I think it's important to know the terminology and words used when learning any new business including mobile home investing. I came up with 'Terminology Tuesday' as a way 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).

Video Link

Most mobile homes will have 3 main different types of siding: aluminum, vinyl, and masonite hardboard siding.

Here are some pictures of mobile homes with the 3 different types of siding:

1. Mobile home with aluminum siding

(Note: One of my deals - very entertaining story. Though it was an ordeal to put together, my efforts paid off. This one is a 16x80, early 2000s model. I bought it for 8k, received 2k down and it cash flows in the $500/month range for 15 years. I really put in a lot of time and effort on this one -it was a good payday for all my hard work. After all is said and done, it's great to have another nice and relaxing cash flow payday for many years to come!)

2. Mobile home with vinyl siding

(Note: These tend to be the newer models - 2003 and up. Many new homes now are built with vinyl siding, though there are some that are still built with aluminum and masonite hardboard siding).

3. Mobile home with masonite hardboard siding.

(Note: My first deal. I bought this one for $3600, received 1k down, and it cash flows for $250 for 4.5 years. Since then, I've moved on to do more deals but this one still remains as the most important deal of all).

There you have it, 3 different types of siding used for mobile homes:aluminum, vinyl, and masonite hardboard. The pictures above should help give you a better idea of what each type looks like.

Once you go out and see enough mobile homes, you will get a better feel for the homes and what your local market has in the area.

Happy investing!

p.s. I just wanted to give a quick plug for my blog pal, Steph, at Flip This Wholesaler. For those of you who are just starting out and need to build up cash before you start investing, I highly recommend checking out her Wholesaling Q&A call this Saturday, April 17th.

(Note: I don't receive any compensation for sharing this event with you, I have to say this because of the disclaimer blogging rules).

Both me and Steph have similar styles - we both believe in education and are always willing to help others out. She doesen't hold back and is the real deal - it's definitely worthwhile to check it out. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Movie Pick: The Money Pit

Video Link

Since it's friday, I thought I'd keep it light and share with everyone one of my all time favorite real estate related movies, "The Money Pit."

Here's a scene from my favorite part of the movie:

Video Link


p.s. For those who joined my Facebook Page, I've posted up a very special "thank you" message just for you. (Hope you like my little gift!) Thanks for your support!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

5 Baby Steps to Get Started in Mobile Home Investing

Video Link

After commenting on my blogging buddy's, Shae Bynes, article on Bigger Pockets"Just Do Something! 5 Baby Steps to Ease New Investor Fears" and responding to Shae's question about what baby steps I'd recommend for those interested in getting started in mobile home investing (see the "comments section" in the article if you'd like to check out my response), I decided to make a post about it.

So, I've compiled a list of 5 Baby Steps to Get Started in Mobile Home Investing. Here they are:

1. Make a plan and know what your goals are.

When first starting out, it's really important to know what your goals are. If you already have your personal finances in order, the next step would be to make a plan to get to your financial goals.

Depending on where you want to be financially will determine what your goals are. Are you short on money and need to build up cash? If so, how much cash do you need to build up? Or, do you have some money saved up for investing and are ready to buy and hold? If you're looking to go this route, what is your investment criteria and how many properties are you looking to buy? What is your timeframe to establish these goals? Before you get started in mobile home investing, you need to make a plan and know what your goals are.

(Note: I've had a lot of people ask me whether they should try to do both building up cash (aka bird dogging/looking for deals for other investors) and buying and holding at the same time. To those just starting out, I don't recommend it. Why? Personally, I feel it's better to get really good at one thing first before moving on to other things. It's better to be an expert in one area and get the experience you need (while at the same time working your plan and getting to your goals) than spreading yourself out too thin trying to learn multiple systems and being mediocre in different areas).

2. Educate Yourself

I'm a firm believer in education. If you plan on learning about mobile home investing, learn all you can about the business and the system. If you haven't done it already, the first thing you need to do is buy Lonnie's book. This is a must if you're interested in learning about this business.

(Note: I've had some people ask me whether or not I think Lonnie's stuff is too old and outdated. I say, "No." Honestly, he is the one that created the system - that is why he is called "The Godfather" of the mobile home business. Lonnie's system works. Period. I've had Lonnie's material ever since it was a manual. Believe it or not, I take the time to read it every year - his stuff never gets old. Every time I re-read his material, I learn something new because I am seeing it through different eyes. With each deal and more experience, you will too. It's amazing the knowledge I've learned just by reading, applying, and re-reading his material over and over again year after year).

3. Learn Your Market

Since I'm a film believer in education, I'm also a film believer about taking the time to learn and educate yourself about the market you are in. (aka the mobile home market). Even if you plan on working with birddogs/wholesalers to help you find deals, you still need to know your market so you can spot a deal and not have to rely on others for you to tell you what a deal is.

Believe me, I've seen a lot of investors get into some really bad situations because they've depended on someone else to find deals for them relying on their "analysis" of what a deal is. Everyone is going to have different criteria and a different perspective on what a deal is. A deal to me, may not be a deal to you. And vice versa. By taking the time to learn your market, you will feel much more confident with your investing decisions and not have to rely on someone else for information.

Some things you can do to learn your market would be to visit a lot of parks and see a lot of mobile homes, in parks, on land, visit some dealers, etc. Get to know the parks, the lot rents, the types of homes available in your area (sizes and dimensions, # of bedrooms, # of baths, average square footage, etc), what the demands are, what the values are (i.e. wholesale value, retail value, trade in value, etc). These values can vary depending on the area and a lot of times the type of park (i.e. low end, high end, etc). Knowledge is power.

4. Build Your Team

We've all heard the saying, "Two heads are better than one." Before you can even start to invest in mobile homes, you must take the time to network and build a team that can help you get to your goals. Why? You cannot do this alone. If I did not take the time to build my team and create a strong network in the beginning, I probably would not have been successful. It's essential to build up your team so that you will have a strong net of "go to" people who can help you in this business.

The first thing you want to do is figure out what team members you're going to need. Again, this will depend on your overall goals and investment strategy. (Note: I wrote an article here that will give you some insight on some key players to have on your team).

After you've figured out who you need on your team, take the time to go and seek these people out. For example, if your plan is to birddog/wholesale mobile home deals to investors then you need to go out and find investors (aka your buyers) who are looking for mobile homes to buy.

Let me be honest, it takes time to build a good team. It does not happen overnight. It's always good practice to develop more than one relationship with one type of team member (i.e. investors, contractors, park managers, etc) because it's always a matter of personality. Sometimes you may not really get along with one person, but things really click with another. From there you can pick and choose those you wish to work with and have on your team.

By taking the time to build your team and develop strong relationships, it will make this business easier and save you a lot of time and money in the end.

5. Keep Updated

Staying up to date on your market and the latest trends is a "must have" in any business. This includes mobile home investing. If you don't keep up to date, a lot of things can change. (Note: In this post, I mentioned how the economy has taken a turn and affected many of those who have bought in the lower end parks. In some markets, due to the economy there has been an increase in defaults and some Lonnie dealers have been forced to convert their "Lonnie" deals to rentals).

By staying up to date on your market and knowing the latest trends in the mobile home industry, you are better prepared to handle change and position yourself ahead of those who did not taking the time to stay updated.

Some things you can do to stay updated on your market and the latest trends is to keep in touch with your team members on a regular basis. It's so important to maintain a consistent relationship with your team members. Everyday they are in the trenches and see this business first hand. Another thing you can to to stay updated is to constantly read the news. If you're interested in keeping up to date on the latest mobile home news, I update my Facebook page on a regular basis.

By taking the time to keep updated and educate yourself on the latest news and trends in the mobile home industry, you will know and understand the mobile home business much more than the average investor.

I hope these 5 Baby Steps to Get Started in Mobile Home Investing have been helpful. The key thing is to make a plan, follow that plan, and like my pal Shae says, "Just do something!"

Happy investing!

p.s. If you've joined my Facebook Page already, I just wanted to say "thanks" for all your support. If you know anyone else who may be interested in learning about mobile home investing, feel free to send them over. Thanks again!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Terminology Tuesday - Mobile Home Dealer (aka Retailer)

(Note: I think it's important to know the terminology and words used when learning any new business including mobile home investing. I came up with 'Terminology Tuesday' as a way 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).

As defined in Wikipedia:

"Retailing consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a very fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be individuals or businesses. In commerce, a "retailer" buys goods or products in large quantities from manufacturers or importers, either directly or through a wholesaler, and then sells smaller quantities to the end-user. Retail establishments are often called shops or stores. Retailers are at the end of the supply chain."

Retail Pricing

"The pricing technique used by most retailers is cost-plus pricing. This involves adding a markup amount (or percentage) to the retailer's cost. Another common technique is suggested retail pricing. This simply involves charging the amount suggested by the manufacturer and usually printed on the product by the manufacturer."

Definition Link

Basically, mobile home dealers (aka retailers) are in the business to make a profit. They buy a product at a lower cost than their retail (aka sales) price.

The majority of the big mobile home dealers (aka Clayton, Palm Harbor, etc) are in the business of selling new mobile homes. This is what they do. Their product is mainly selling new mobile homes they manufacture and sell retail to end buyers. This is their primary market.

Now, do mobile home dealers sell used mobile homes? (aka repo homes, homes on trade in). Yes, they do. Though, in most cases they try to sell these homes fast and most times at a lower cost than their new ones in order to make room on their lots and/or to make another deal go through.

Mobile home dealers are good people to have on your team. When I first started out, I visited a lot of mobile home dealers in the area (apart from the parks).

Just by visiting them, I learned a lot about the retail market in my area for mobile homes. Furthermore, a lot of these mobile home dealers are sales people - they primarily make a living by selling on commission. If they've got a deal going with a retail buyer, they're going to do whatever they can to make the deal work.

What does this mean for the mobile home investor? This means opportunity.

A lot of times, the types of buyers mobile home dealers are working with are those that are in the market for new homes.

Many times these buyers are familiar mobile homes and usually are living in a mobile home (unless they are first time homebuyers), which they need to sell to buy their new one. This then leads becomes an opportunity for a mobile home investor as a source to find sellers who are looking to sell their existing mobile home.

Sometimes these homes will be on land, sometimes they will be in parks. The key to success in this business is being able to develop the relationships to find these opportunities and be at the right place at the right time.

When I first started out, I made it a habit to stay in contact with the mobile home dealers that I visited. Every month or so, I'd pay them a visit and/or make a call just to touch base and see to see what's going on.

Now, I do admit networking takes time. And, developing the skills to becoming a good networker takes even more time. Though, the time taken to learn these skills and to be an effective networker does pay off in the end.

Even if your networking efforts do not yield many deals in the beginning, the important thing is to be able to develop the relationship so that when an opportunity does come up you are the first person they call. This is very important.

(Note: If you're looking for a great book on marketing, I highly recommend this one - I follow the principles outlined in this book to the "t" which has been a major contributor to my successs in this business).

A lot of times, I'll get calls from dealers I talk with on a regular basis.

Sometimes they are calling because they are working with sellers who are needing to sell their existing home to buy a new one. Sometimes they are calling because they are working with buyers who cannot obtain financing for their homes but are still looking for a home to buy. Sometimes they are calling me asking whether I know anyone in the market looking to buy a new home.

Either way, the important thing is that they are calling. When an opportunity arises, you want to be the one in their minds to call.

If you're first in their minds, then you will be able to see opportunities that others cannot. And, this will lead to deals which will eventually lead to success.

Happy investing!