Mobile Home Park Mastery: Episode 189

The Best Parts About The Mobile Home Park Owning Lifestyle

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If you talk to mobile home park owners about the best parts of property ownership, most will tell you that it gives them a very high-quality lifestyle. But what does that mean? In this Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to review the top benefits of owning mobile home parks from a quality of life perspective. You’ll see that it’s not all about the money, but something much more that comes with the job.

Episode 189: The Best Parts About The Mobile Home Park Owning Lifestyle Transcript

There is nothing more important than quality of life, so how does a mobile home park enter into that equation? This is Frank Rolfe, the Mobile Home Park Mastery Podcast series. We're going to be talking about mobile home park owner's quality of life. It's a very broad topic, but one that's very interesting because there's so many attributes to park ownership that can boost your quality of life.

First one of course is money. Mobile home parks have always done exceedingly well at creating wealth. Whether it's the guy who's called the number one fan at the world, who sits courtside at every LA Clippers and Lakers game, he is a mobile home park owner. So that lifestyle that he enjoys so much, that's funded through a few mobile home parks that he owns in and around Los Angeles. There's many other people out there, myself included, that owe my financial success to owning and operating mobile home parks. So clearly, the big item as far as your lifestyle goes when you own a mobile home park, is in fact it pays a lot of the bills and it gives you some degree of freedom from financial worry because it allows you to feel like regardless of what goes on in this crazy America we live in you will have a nice steady stream of income, and therefore you can afford to do all the things that you like to do. So clearly money is a big driver. Most of the articles I write are all regarding mobile home parks, rates of return, cap rates, and those kind of items. So clearly that's got to enter the discussion, right? Money is clearly a factor, but yet there's more. There's definitely more to owning a mobile home park and your quality life than just the money.

The big one I would say next is freedom. So how does a mobile home park give you freedom other than financial freedom? Well, it gives you freedom from having any kind of a boss, someone who tells you what you have to do, someone that you have to fear their wrath, you have to come in at a certain time and leave at a certain time, do whatever you have to do even if it's right or wrong just to make them happy so you can keep your employment. And when you lose that boss, that higher being that in many ways is not a productive part of your life, it definitely makes you feel better, definitely gives you a sense of relief that you no longer have to appeal or pander to some person who may or may not be someone who you even like or even respect. So that's an important item.

But another thing it does is it gives you freedom regarding your time. And to me, that's always been extremely important. One of my proudest accomplishments is probably that when my daughter was graduating from high school I was recognized as probably the only parent who had not missed a single one of her athletic events. I had gone to every volleyball game, every basketball game, every football game that she was a cheerleader for, every track meet that she ran, and I was at all of them. In fact, I was typically the parent that often took the kids to the events. How did I do that? Because when you're a mobile home park owner you control your time. You can do what you want to do, at whatever time you want to do that. And I was able to learn years ago how to multitask. I could go to those sporting events with a laptop and I could type during them, or I could make phone calls during them except at those few moments where she either had the ball or the gun went off at the track meet. But having that freedom of your time is very, very powerful force. You see all we have really on earth is time. That's basically it, and if you don't have control of your time your quality of life suffers greatly because at the end of the day when you run out of time you'll say, "Gosh, I'm not sure I spent my time wisely." But if you're a mobile home park owner often you get to make those choices of what you did with your time while you were on earth.

Next, satisfaction. There's probably no greater feeling than the accomplishment of something, particularly something that seems very, very difficult and then following that through to fruition. To me, one of the best feelings when owning a mobile home park is when you turn the corner on that turn around and you bring that old park back to life, and suddenly everyone else kicks in and starts picking up the ball and running with it. So when you buy the park on the front end, it's in terrible condition, the roads are shot, the homes are looking awful. There's no pride of ownership of any type. You go in and you fix all the common areas, you improve the entry, you put up that new fence, that new sign. You send a message to everyone that they want to make this the best property it can possibly be. But originally they're suspicious. They don't really believe you because mom and pop let it go downhill, so there you think maybe you can put up a sign and a fence, and you can fix the potholes, but you don't really mean it. You're like mom and pop, you'll let us down. You won't follow through. But at some point, they realize this is not just a flash in the pan, this is a new world order, a new regime. And they suddenly regain the pride of ownership after years of neglect. Many of them wanted to live in a nice place to begin with. They wanted to be proud to tell their friends and neighbors where they live, they wanted their kids to bring a friend home and be proud of where they live, but they couldn't because mom and pop didn't care. So basically they were resigned to the fact that somehow they were a lesser person because they couldn't live in a nicer place.

Now when you relight that fire, when you reignite that spark of living in a nice place they all run with it so you can go to the park that at one time no one was ever outside their home. There was nothing but neglect everywhere and now suddenly they're all outside doing things. They're landscaping, they're planting things, they're mowing the yard, they're sweeping off their porch, they're sweeping up the driveway, they're out washing their car. And that means you've done your job and you feel very, very happy. You feel kind of like a before and after movie or photo sequence. There's something that was in terrible, terrible condition that suddenly has come back to life. Kind of the reverse of those old books you see at the bookstore for then and now. Typically the "then" is nicer than the now in many cities, but this is kind of a then, now, and now back again as far as people really caring about the property. So you feel like you really accomplished something big, like there's something there that long after you're gone people they may not even realize it are going to have a happier life, and have more pride just because you were here, and that makes you feel really, really good. It gives you a definite sense of satisfaction, sense of accomplishment. And you get it every time you go to your park. Some of these parks that we've turned around, some of the all time worse turnarounds we've ever done, the heaviest lifting, the worst conditions made nice again. Every time I go there I'm amazed at how it is. My brain replays the entire story of how we found the property and bought it, and brought it back to life. It makes me feel good every single time. So there's a whole lot of satisfaction as part of owning a mobile home park.

And finally you have this sense of a legacy when you own a mobile home park. A lot of parks we've bought, I've always been fascinated. I go to the office that mom and pop occupied, and they sat in that office for probably in some cases 50 or 60 years. And you think about what they thought about when they were in there as far as what the heck they were doing, and you'll see sometimes photographs that are still there in a drawer, stuck on a wall, of them with their kids when they built the park, out there with the bulldozer building it. Or possibly a picture of them with a shovel or a ribbon cutting ceremony with a chamber of commerce. And there's something about that which I've always found very intriguing, and that's a sense of this legacy that you can leave on to your family. In the case of those moms and pops, often that park paid for most of their bills and even though they don't still own the property the financial legacy of selling that park is probably what gives their kids, grandkids, and for many generations the capital to also have a high quality of life.

All of us start off at a starting spot, and some of us have an advantage over others because we are gifted with a head start as far as money. There's no question that money is a tool. Money is not the root of all happiness, not in the least, but is a tool that can help you attain happiness in some regards. It's really hard to have a high quality of life when you're worried about gathering food. So that legacy that you can leave, that  you can provide with your mobile home park, that's a very, very important item to the future generations that were there before you. So effectively, that mobile home part that you've built today, you've bought it and brought it back to life, that's going to provide not just financial freedom for you, time freedom for you, sense of satisfaction for you, but it has the possibility of doing that for many other generations to come. And again, that's a great feeling because you feel you've really contributed something with your life, that you've done something really big and bold, not just for yourself but for others. And that's one of the great things about life.

A Harvard study showed that in the end, the happiest people were those that had really great relationships, and part of a really great relationship is giving back. There's no question that mobile home park owners give back constantly. Give back to their residents, give back to future generations. But in many ways give back to those who help them because they've gone out and done something very productive, something very positive for their residents, for their family, for the community at large. This is Frank Rolfe, the Mobile Home Mastery Podcast. Hope you enjoyed this review of the quality of life of mobile home park owners, and we'll talk to you again soon.