We have literally taught hundreds of individuals the correct way to identify, evaluate, negotiate, perform due diligence on, finance, turn-around and operate mobile home parks. Some people think we’re nuts for doing this, but the truth is that we are far from crazy.
It’s our hobby and we enjoy it
When we started writing and talking about the business, it was back in an era when there were no books on the topic. We had great fun writing about what we did all day, and it gave us not only pleasure, but was also a form of therapy. It was, in many ways, like keeping a diary. Over time, the books, courses and boot camps became our main hobby, and the folks who bought them became like members of our family.
We are not trying to buy every mobile home park in America
For those who think that we should want to buy all the mobile home parks ourselves, I think we can prove the insanity of that concept with some simple math. Equity Lifestyle (ELS) is the largest owner of mobile home parks in the U.S. They have 340 mobile home parks. We own 100 mobile home parks currently. There are 50,000 mobile home parks in the U.S. If ELS can own only 340 mobile home parks under the active management of the legendary Sam Zell, then hitting 340 would be a miracle, and 50,000 is not a practical goal. We are happy with our holdings, but equally happy for everyone else to buy some parks, as there is more than enough to go around.
By training others on how to value parks, we spare ourselves from idiot buyers who ruin the market
Back in 1995, there arose a mobile home park operation that knew nothing about what they were doing. They started offering park owners prices that were insanely too high. And they poisoned the market for years. They bought about 50,000 mobile home lots, and then financially crashed and burned, leaving the rest of us to try and solve their mess with destroying the expectations of sellers. It took around a decade for the sellers to accept the fact that mobile home parks are worth less than what they had been told by this group of idiots. We don’t want history to repeat itself – we want people to know how to correctly evaluate mobile home parks for our own selfish reasons.
Many of those we train bring us deals
One side benefit, that many people do not realize, is that people we train often bring us deals that are too big for their budgets. This has, over the years, been a source of great deals for our portfolio, as well as a way for these individuals to make a lot of money (we typically pay out 5% to 10% of purchase price as a finder’s fee). This is a win/win that is a direct result of our teaching hobby.
While our day job will always revolve around managing and adding to our portfolio of mobile home parks (we are currently 15th largest in the U.S. with 100 mobile home parks), our night job of writing and teaching about the industry has been equally enjoyable. We find this to be a great hobby, and have no plans to ever scale back on it.