The Mobile Home Park Mastery Podcast

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Welcome to the Mobile Home Park Mastery Podcast where you will learn how to identify, evaluate, negotiate, perform due diligence on, finance, turn-around and operate mobile home parks! Your host is Frank Rolfe, the 5th largest mobile home park owner in the United State with his partner Dave Reynolds.




Park Layouts And What They Mean: Episode 164

We all know the trends in fashion, from the 1920’s spats to the 1960’s Nehru jacket to the 1970’s bell-bottoms. But do you know the trends in mobile home park design and what they can mean as an owner? In this week’s Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to discuss some of the most basic mobile home park design trends and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As you’ll see, mobile home park builders changed the product up considerably over the decades – and not always to the good.

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Megatrends Revisited: Episode 163

In the 1982 John Naisbitt coined the term “Megatrends” to describe the major upheavals in American society that would influence the future for decades. But that was nearly 40 years ago. Since that time, many have already come and gone. So I’m going to make a new list of the megatrends that are ramping up in America and how they may impact the mobile home park as an investment vehicle. Grab your model of the Starship Enterprise because we’re going to look way into the future for direction on what 

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The “Detached Apartment” Model: Episode 162

There are around 44,000 mobile home parks in the U.S., and not all of them are following the same business model. While the vast majority of park buyers and lenders are focused on the “renting land” model, there are some who engage in the “detached apartment” concept. But does that concept work? In this week’s Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast, we’re going to examine this business model and give its strengths and weaknesses, as well as moments in which it might work and settings in which it would fail. Warning: this knowledge may change your perception.

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“Skin In The Game”: Episode 161

The slang term “skin in the game” is defined by Wikipedia as “one having an incurred risk (monetary or otherwise) by being involved in achieving a goal”. It was made popular by Warren Buffett, who prefers that high level officers in a company have direct money in the venture to ensure their alignment of priorities with investors. So who really has “skin in the game” regarding mobile home park investing, and who is lacking that alignment of interests with you when you write that earnest money check? In this Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to explore this topic in detail, and define who is really on your team vs. those who could care less after the closing has occurred.

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Understanding The Game Plan For Cash-Out Refinancing: Episode 160

“Cash out” refinancing is extremely attractive to all investors, as it allows you to “recycle” your capital over and over to build a portfolio of properties. Or it also allows you to remove all risk from any certain deal and gives you cash to build a financial safety net. Whatever the goals may be, obtaining “cash out” is somewhat of an art form, and there are certain strategies required to achieve it. In this week’s Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to discuss this game plan regarding “cash out” and what the deals look like that carry that potential.

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The Right And Wrong Way To Keep In Touch With Your Residents: Episode 159

You may call your mother weekly, but that’s not the appropriate way to check in with the residents of your mobile home park. Instead, there are systems that have been developed to keep in touch but in a structured way that it best for the owner and residents alike. So what are the correct and incorrect way to stay in touch? In this episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to review how smart owners stay on top of resident contact.

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All Mobile Homes Come With A Hitch: Episode 158

To get a mobile home from Point A to Point B you have to haul it – and you need a hitch to make that possible. But what about after it arrives? In this episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery pocast, we’re going to dig deep into the facts about these “hitches” and the best policies regarding them going forward. Until mobile homes come with engines and drivetrain, then hitches will be a fact of life for all mobile home park owners, so it’s time to discuss the topic.

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Before And After Closing: Episode 157

When buying a mobile home park, the most important moment is the transition of the property from the old owner to you, which typically happens at the title company upon signing of a pile of documents. So what can you do to make this transition more smooth and successful. In this week’s Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to review the key items to do before and after closing to make for a happier and less stressful community ownership change.

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Old-Timer Wisdom: Episode 156

We all associate age with wisdom, and rightfully so. Nobody knows more about any subject than those that have experienced it – particularly through many cycles. And I am forever indebted to those older mobile home park community owners who gave me words of wisdom in my early career, and still do so for new investors on a regular basis. So what is some of this old-timer wisdom? In this episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to review some of the best thoughts of experienced owners and how they relate to today’s mobile home park industry.

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The Harsh Realities Of Supply And Demand: Episode 155

Back when I was an economics student at Stanford in the 1980s, the most important theory that would help on any essay was the law of supply and demand. It’s a simple concept: if you have greater supply than demand then prices go down, and greater demand than supply makes prices go up. Never in American history has this economic treatise had more meaning or more unhappy endings. In this week’s Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to discuss how supply and demand are shaping all sectors of U.S. real estate and mobile home parks in particular.

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Speaking Softly But Carrying A Big Stick: Episode 154

President Teddy Roosevelt was a supporter of “Big Stick” diplomacy, which he defined as having five traits. In this week’s episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to review Roosevelt’s premise and apply its wisdom to your mobile home park. Although Roosevelt died in 1919 –a decade before the first “trailer” rolled off the manufacturing line – his thoughts are as true today as they were in the early 20th century.

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Gambling With Big Chips: Episode 153

Risk vs. Reward is a huge topic with successful mobile home park owners. In this episode we are going to review what the concept of Risk vs. Reward is, and then go over in granular detail many of the top risks to be concerned about, and what your percent of success or failure might be with that trait. While Vegas offers you riches, it rarely delivers, and mobile home parks are more of a game of skill that always rewards those that used good planning and diligence and have done their best to mitigate chance.

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Are Mobile Home Parks Really A “Predatory” Business Model?: Episode 152

Despite providing a terrific housing product to thousands of Americans, we continue to hear from the media that mobile home parks are a “predatory” business model. But is this true? In this episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast, we’re going to try to put this issue to bed once and for all, breaking down what “predatory” means and then applying those definitions to the actual methodology of mobile home park ownership and management. Here’s a spoiler: the media is horrendously off-base, based on sheer ignorance, and nobody ever calls them out on it. In this podcast we will.

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The Truth About Trailers And Trouble: Episode 151

The television show COPS would suggest that all mobile home parks are community crime centers. The movie 8-Mile, starring Eminem, makes it look like trailer parks are the “go-to” spot for drugs, violence and petty crime of all varieties. But is that stereotype true? The U.S. government answered that question in 2010 with the release of “Trailers and Trouble? An Examination of Crime in Mobile Home Communities” written by Professor William P. McCarty of the University of Illinois, which was part of HUD’s formal “Cityscape: a Journal of Policy Development and Research”. So what did HUD’s research show? Let’s just say that the trailer park crime narrative was more than just a little off-base.

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Thoughts About Buying Small Parks: Episode 150

Both Dave and I got into the mobile home park business with smaller properties, and many of our early purchases were tiny communities. Even in recent times we have no issue with buying a great deal with a smaller lot count. However, there are many things about small parks that we have learned over the decades and wanted to share those with you to help you craft the right buying decision. As you’ll see, there are some important tips for buying smaller parks that will make your plan more successful and your experience in ownership more enjoyable.

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Who Was Swimming Naked And Why?: Episode 149

There’s an old saying that “when the tide goes out you see who was swimming naked”. In this week’s Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to analyze what real estate sectors were swimming naked in light of the Covid-19 pandemic – and future such events – and which sectors had their swimsuits safely on the whole time. The world may never be the same after the national quarantine and it’s important to evaluate real estate investing going forward based on the new reality.

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Back To The Future: Episode 148

What were the hot topics a decade ago? Has anything changed over the past ten years? We’re going to review the headlines and articles of mobile home park industry magazines from 2010 to see if there have been any substantial changes to the “trailer park” business model, and use this analysis to make projections for the decade ahead. They say that history repeats itself, but in the case of mobile home parks, is it more like Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day? That’s the focus of this discussion.

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Lessons Learned From North Lamar: Episode 147

No mobile home park in history has generated as much undeserved negative publicity as North Lamar in Austin, Texas. Nothing we did was good enough for the Austin media. We saved the park from the wrecking ball. We brought the park back to life with new streets, entrance and lot-by-lot TLC. We made its ongoing operation possible by raising rents and fixing resident abuse of water and sewer. Finally, we allowed the residents to buy the park from us and gave them a huge amount of time to put the deal together with the non-profit group ROC.

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The Top 7 Deal Killing Hurdles - Part 2: Episode 146

What’s the highest hurdle you can jump over? Can you clear 4’ or more? In this second part of our Mobile Home Park Mastery Podcast two-part series on the “Top 7 Deal Killing Hurdles” we’re going to review the three highest hurdles that any park buyer must face and why they are so difficult. We’re also going to discuss the limited options to scale them and the enormity of the risks involved. If you want to clear these last three you better get out to the track and start working out, as they have destroyed many a park buyers who didn’t know what they were or how to address them.

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The Top 7 Deal Killing Hurdles - Part I: Episode 145

Webster’s Dictionary defines a “hurdle” as “an obstacle or difficulty”. We’ve all seen runners in races going over hurdles of various heights – some successfully and others not. So what are the “Top 7 Deal Killing Hurdles” that mobile home park buyers have to navigate to successfully invest in affordable housing?

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Important Quotes, Sayings, Stories And Jokes: Episode 144

The mobile home park industry is filled with a number of time-proven mantras. It has benefitted from various high-profile players that are often quoted in the media, as well as affiliated stories from other sectors of real estate that have remarkable overlap. The sum of this body of work is the collective wisdom of many who have gone before, as well as those who are still an active part of the industry. In this episode of Mobile Home Park Mastery, we’re going to review many of these items and what they mean to all park owners and operators.

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Highlights From The New York Times Backstory: Episode 143

In 2014 the New York Times brought out a huge story about Frank & Dave and their success in building one of the largest mobile home park portfolios in the U.S. They even declared that Frank & Dave are the “best thing going in affordable housing when the nation’s need for low-cost places to live has never been greater”. But what else did the writer, Gary Rivlin, find in his research about the industry. In this episode we’re going to review the discussion we had with Gary after the article came out, and share some quotes of his opinions on what we do and how we do it. Since the New York Times is known to not typically be pro-business, there are certain strengths to the mobile home park industry that converted even a self-professed antagonist to be a big fan of “trailer parks”.

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Critical And Trivial Dates In Mobile Home Park History: Episode 142

We all know that Columbus discovered America in 1492, and that America declared independence in 1776. But do any of us know the interesting dates in mobile home park history? In this episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast series, we’re going to review these important dates and their relevance to this unique affordable housing product. While it’s unlikely that any high school will ever require knowledge of these moments in order to graduate, that doesn’t mean that smart mobile home park buyers and owners should not be fully fluid in these historic moments.

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The A To Z Of Mobile Home Park Investing Terms: Episode 141

Like any other science, there are a host of terms that are of relevance to mobile home park investing. In this episode of the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast series, we’re going to literally review these from A to Z – from “Affordable Housing” to “Sam Zell”. If you want to get a good grasp on the components of brief strategies that successful mobile home park buyer and operates utilize, then this topic should be of great interest.

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Where Have All The Mobile Home Dealers Gone?: Episode 140

Back in 1999 there were 400,000+ mobile homes sold in the U.S. with dealers making fortunes. Today, there are less than 100,000 being sold (it’s been that way since around 2000) and most of those same dealers have disappeared. In fact, you never even hear about mobile home dealers these days. Why is that and where did they go? In this episode of Mobile Home Park Mastery we’re going to discuss the rise and fall of mobile home dealers and what the future might hold for them.

Listen To Episode 140