Thursday, September 30, 2010

Program Review: "The Mobile Homer Program for Mobile Home Investors"

(Note: Recently, I've had a lot of folks contact me asking what the difference between some of Lonnie's as well as other mobile home investing materials out there and which one I'd recommend the most. So, I've decided to go ahead and start a new series of posts - book and program/course reviews).

(Note: This program review came as a request from several readers of this blog so I decided to go ahead and review this program).

I had not heard about this program until it was pointed out by several readers of this blog requesting my thoughts on it. Basically, this is a program created by Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds in an effort to bring together both "Lonnie" dealers and mobile home park owners.

Now, I've personally met Frank - he really seems to know his stuff in the world of due diligence and the mobile home park world. At one time, Frank was actually one of the top owner operators of parks in the U.S. His main specialization (as I understand it) seemed to be buying low end parks and turning them around. It seems to me that he profited mostly from the re-sell of the parks. By the time I met him, he had liquidated the majority of his parks.

As for Dave, I have not personally met him. Though, I have listened in to a few of his educational type calls.

However, there seems to be a bit of controversy from their view of buying and doing "Lonnie" deals in other people's parks. Actually, there was an article written that sparked a bit of controversy among them and even Lonnie and his followers. It really made quite a buzz in the mobile home investing world.

(Note: Unfortunately, that article can no longer be found. And, there was a thread on one of the forums with a very heated debate - it has been removed).

Though, their view can still be found in the text of this program:

And, so the "Mobile Homer Program" was created. Basically, the program has a few options - 1) sign up as a mobile home park owner looking to work with Lonnie dealers to fill vacant lots; 2) sign up as a Lonnie dealer looking for mobile home park owners to work with who need lots filled; or 3) sign up as a lender loaning money for deals with the Mobile Homer Program.

Here's a snapshot of the text regarding the program:

Furthermore, the program goes into detail about some of the "flaws" in a "Lonnie" deal that may make the business model unprofitable:

And, then how the "Mobile Homer Program" can be profitable for a "Lonnie" dealer:

Basically, the program is designed for park owners to help give "Lonnie" dealers incentives to do business in their parks. And, also for "Lonnie" dealers to find parks to work with. In addition, it allows others to act as private lenders who wish to be more "hands off" to lend funds to park owners for the deals by participating in the "Done for you Program."

So, the question that has been posed to me has been - what do you think of this program? And, do you think it's worth it?

Well, from my perspective I would say - it really depends. Again, this comes back to really knowing your market.

First, you need to know - what is your comfort level? This includes everything (i.e. the types of parks you feel comfortable working with, the kind of clientele, etc). Are you comfortable working in more low end parks? Or, do you see yourself working more with high end clientele?

Again, it's all a matter of personality and comfort level. And, the only way you'll know this is by visiting the parks in your area.

For me personally, I feel more comfortable dealing in high end parks due to this experience. And, regarding incentives - I've already created relationships with parks who do give me incentives to work in their parks. For example, one of my favorite parks will cover my moving costs if I move a home into the park. Another park gives me free lot rent until the home is sold. But, it's only because I have a relationship with these parks that these incentives exist.

And, that's really what I've found is the importance of this business - creating and maintaining relationships. To a point, this business relies on my ability to create and sustain relationships. As Lonnie has said before, it's really a people business.

As for the program, I really urge folks to first check out your local area and learn your market. After you've learned your market, then you can decide what kind of parks you want to work with and what kind of clientele really works with your personality.

(Note: When you go out and visit parks, the types of folks already living in the parks will be the kind of clientele the parks attract. When I first started out, I made it a point to go out and talk to the park residents to get a feel for what types of folks live there).

Once you know the market, if you're thinking about this program at least you'll be equipped with market knowledge when you check out their list of parks to work with. Believe me, I've been invited before by individual park owners to work their parks. But, in a lot of cases (this is just my personal experience) the types of parks have either not matched my personality (more lower end parks) and/or there's not enough demand in the area (as I saw it) to attract the types of clientele I felt comfortable working with.

For me, what worked better was scoping out my local area and choosing the parks I want to work in. Personally, I'm much more of a small, mom and pop operation (just like Lonnie). I don't really like to work in large teams - it just gets too complicated when there are too many people involved. But, that's just me.

Being part of a program like this will put you more in a "team" oriented role. So, it's just something to keep in mind. Do you like working in large groups with more people? Or, do you prefer a smaller operation?

Lastly, if any of the folks out there do decide to pursue this program - I would just make sure that you really know the market before committing to work with any of the parks.

Here's the thing, the park's main goal is to get their lots filled - they derive income from the lot rent. And, once a home is on the lot or you purchase an existing home on their lot - there's a commitment. Just be sure, you really know the market and the demands of the area before committing. Once the home is there and/or you buy an existing home on the lot, you're kind of stuck (in a way) until you sell the home.

I hope this review has helped and given a bit of insight for those who have been thinking about the program. I'm going to leave you here with an inspiring video for those who have been thinking about mobile home investing.

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!

Video Link


Angela said...

Hi Rachel! This is such a detailed review, thanks for writing about it. I really like your blog. It's very educational and informative and you tell it like it is. Please keep writing, I hope you write a book someday! Thank you!!

Jim said...

Excellent review Rachel, keep it up!

Mobile Home Gurl said...

(Angela) Thanks, Angela! I'm glad you enjoyed the review. Thanks for the kind words about the blog, I'm glad it has been helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

(Jim) Thanks Jim, I'm glad you enjoyed it!