Tag Archives: manufactured homes

Rachel Hernandez is ‘going it alone’

‘Mobile Home Gurl’ finds her niche

In her own words, the woman known to some as “Mobile Home Gurl” is an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a thinker. A doer.

Rachel Hernandez, AKA “Mobile Home Gurl”, addresses the audience at a recent author’s seminar.

She started investing in real estate with single family homes, but her mind was captivated and heart captured when she immersed herself in the world of mobile home investment. And she’s taken quite a few of us on the ride with her, in her blog and in the book “Adventures in Mobile Homes” and others.

Rachel Hernandez, as she also is known, operates in the vicinity of San Antonio, Texas. She prefers to buy locally to regionally, and rather than looking for parks she has concentrated on purchasing individual mobile homes, and and more recently securing the land they sit on or a good parcel where they can be placed.

“I focus on the area first and then find the deals,” Hernandez said. “As an experienced investor, I’ve learned to find motivated sellers. Usually, I can tell over the phone whether a seller is motivated or not.”

Strategy

Most of the deals Hernandez pursues are unadvertised. She has an education and background in sales and marketing, and networking is among her greatest strengths. She leverages that capability and relies on her industry interactions and relationships to find opportunity.

Her first deal took about a year to complete, and she continues to take it relatively slow. She purchases one or two homes at a time, and puts her “sweat equity” into them.

“Usually, I get them up to apartment standards,” Hernandez said. “New carpet and paint at a minimum.” She fixes the leaks, fills any cracks or holes and gives a thorough cleaning. Then she offers the home on a rent-to-buy plan.

“Most people appreciate this hybrid as it’s not like a mortgage where you’re locked in, but at the same time you’re not just renting,” she said.

Her inventory is on the rise, to the point where she owns in quantity what would be a small mobile home community. She does receive regular offers to partner, but has resisted the urge to purchase an entire community outright. She remains on the lookout for land, and does work in communities buying both homes and pads, operating just on the fringe from that investor who looks to buy or infill on a larger scale.

Investing-in-mobile-homes

Meet the Challenge

And while she appreciates having all of the particular on paper, she mostly “follows her gut” when deciding what to pursue and what to leave alone.

“It’s more the person than the price. If the person I’m talking with on the phone does not seem trustworthy, or seems like they’re covering something up…  I back off immediately,” she said. “No matter how good the deal sounds, an untrustworthy seller is a deal breaker for me.”

Still, Hernandez has run into problems.

“I imagined buying a home, filling it and moving on to the next deal,” she said. “Though I did this for many years without many issues, I started taking back more homes as my inventory grew.”

A rent-to-own resident loses a job, goes through a divorce or wants to move closer to family, and sometimes the only solution is to reclaim the home and find someone new for it.

“I knew taking homes back was part of the business. But I didn’t plan on it being a large one,” Hernandez said. “So, I had to learn to work with contractors. There was no way I could fix up all these homes myself.”

Another difficulty has nothing to do with residents and everything to do with one of her favorite parts of the vocation… the prime location.

“Unfortunately, sometimes local ordinances may place more scrutiny on mobile home parks, as an asset class,” she said. “There’s still that mindset.”

The not-in-my-back-yard attitude, the general concern of reduced property values, and the perceived threat of residents who pay less tax than many for the same municipal services, often can be difficult issues to navigate when looking to obtain rezoning or a new use permit – regardless of the great need for more affordable housing.

All part of the journey, Hernandez said.

The take-back and fix-up strategy, as well as the municipal hurdles, have resulted in another of her books, this one entitled “Real Estate Investing Sucks: How to Deal with Change and Find Success as a Real Estate Investor”.

“I document my entire experience,” Hernandez said. “I persist. I know what I want and keep going. Success takes time.”

Nowhere to go but up

 

mobile-home-park-investing

Kevin Bupp will tell you he’s in a better place today than he was just three years ago.

That’s saying something for a guy who’s spent two decades in real estate successfully buying and capitalizing on single-family homes, commercial properties and apartment buildings.

There are worse fates.

And, Kevin wears a big smile and readily shares his joy about where he and his associates have landed.

Sunrise Capital Investors is in the value-add niche

“We’re still small fish in a medium sized pond, because the industry is still not as large as it could be,” said Bupp, a resident of Clearwater, Fla., and co-owner with Charles DeHart and Brian Spear of Sunrise Capital Investors. “Manufactured is all we focus on now.”

Bupp and his partners are seasoned investors who purchase and improve what most often are referred to as “mobile home parks”, though a true mobile home, by definition, hasn’t been manufactured in the U.S. since June 1976. Since then, and today, manufactured homes are stamped for quality by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Some of the communities Sunrise purchases have homes that pre-date the 1976 regulatory change, but most are small to mid-size communities with homes from the 1980s and ’90s, some newer.

Their investment targets represent a middle-market niche that larger investors and owners overlook, though less so in recent years.

2016 Real Estate Returns by Sector

 

 

 

 

 

Value-add Niche

“We’re really value add guys,” Bupp said. “We are really good at taking a community that is in distress, but in a good market, and taking out the bad elements, bringing in some improvements and making things work.”

It’s a niche that’s gaining stability and wider recognition all the time, largely because the ROI doesn’t lie.

“It took us a year to buy the first park, then it’s been one or two in those in between years,” Charles DeHart said. “In the last 18 months, we’ve purchased six parks.

“We have five more parks currently in contract (pending sale) that represent 430 spaces,” he said.

Sunrise has raised more than $2 million in cash during the last two years from the attraction of 10 dedicated outside investors, and they look to raise $3-5 million more to purchase another six parks – perhaps 800 land-lease spaces – during the next 12 months.

It’s not BIG business investing, but it’s been shown as a way to steadily grow wealth. And, if you ask the Sunrise partners and similar investors, it’s a way to improve affordable housing stock – for the metro area and for the park residents.

“We’re in a niche that allows us to earn a very reasonable return for our investors,” DeHart said. “And also provide quality housing for people who may be coming into home ownership for the first time in their lives or even in their family’s history.”

How it’s done

They don’t buy through a broker. Brokers typically want to work with higher volume investors, and also make sizable commissions. Rather, Bupp and DeHart delve into county records within a geographic area of interest. They find out where the communities are and who owns them. If they’re fortunate, they find a phone number for the owner.

After that, it’s sales 101; they make cold calls, employ heavy use of direct mail and sometimes put out bandit signs.

“We typically have five or six unique owners in the system at any given time, and check back with them three to four times per year,” DeHart said. “It’s not just finding the right seller, it’s about finding the right seller at the right time.”

Often, they’re in front of a prospective seller before the owner of a property realizes they’re in a good position to sell. So, checking back often is key to being in the right place at the right time.

They work some of the prospects themselves, but commonly put out a post to acquire a “trainee broker” who can visit communities of interest, take photos and notes, and possibly make an introduction to get talks underway. That trainee broker also learns how to access county records that are unavailable online, and does this on their own time and earns a commission when a sale is made.

In training these brokers, Sunrise is creating more than a strategy, more than a company brand. They’re helping to build an industry. Along those lines, the three operate Mobile Home Park Academy, which teaches others how to do what Sunrise does. Charles and Kevin host a podcast on the topic, and also are in the final throes of writing a book on mobile home park investing.

“We intend to be in the business for a long time. We really enjoy it, it’s lucrative and we appreciate being able to provide a critical affordable housing segment,” Bupp said. “We only buy stuff that makes sense. If we only buy one community in a year, that’s good with us. It will be the one we want to buy.”

Perfecting Your Home Description

home-descriptionThe description in your listing can make all the difference!

This space is where we invite you to give a detailed description of the home.

Something we see quite a bit on MHVillage is home sellers using the description area to either list additional details (sometimes the same features already selected and listed in the home features section) or enter nothing at all.

We have found that this is simply not as effective as taking the time to give the shopper more information about the home, the community it is within and any other details that might make this home stand out from the crowd.

Here are some examples of actual home descriptions on MHVillage:

Option 1:

    The description has no word limit, yet this seller only included 2 sentences about the home.

Option 2:

 This seller took the time to walk the buyer through the home describing each room!

The difference in these two listings is crystal clear. One of the sellers took the extra steps to really show off what this home has to offer, while the other seems like they tried to list the home as quickly as possible, not really giving much information.

 

It is important to remember, a lot of home buyers are looking at tons of listings and a good number of these buyers are looking at homes in another state. So by giving them more information in your ad, you are setting them up to be interested enough to contact you for a tour, or for even more information. Which is the whole point in advertising in the first place!

 

 

Now, there are plenty of different ways you can use this space from a marketing stand point. You can follow the two examples mentioned in this article or you can write it more in the style of a newspaper article where it’s in paragraph format. Either way you want to be able to give the buyer the experience of walking through the home, noting all of the details that matter to a home owner. We found that the ads where you can tell that the seller took the time to describe the home, keeps buyers interested and eventually gets them to contact the seller.

So, no matter what your style of advertising is, it’s important to share with the buyer why they should consider your home over all of the other options out there. Why not take the time to use this space to your benefit?

We try to give you all of the tools you need to go the extra mile in your advertising, but if you find you have some questions about what features you have on MHVillage, give us a call or an email today! We are happy to help.

 

Advertise Your Open House on MHVillage

Open-House-MHVillageStart your summer sales strong by advertising your Open Houses on MHVillage.

Are you or your community having an Open House? Open Houses can bring a lot of potential buyers through your door, but they do require a fair amount of work. Make sure you are getting the most foot traffic possible by adverting your event on MHVillage.

Here’s how it works:

Open Houses on MHVillage

You can add an Open House to any of your MHVillage listings for just $2 per day.

We’ll display a bright red banner showing the dates of your event. When buyers click on your listing, we show the times, dates and an additional section for your specific details about the event.

Plus, we move your listing to the top of the page in that area and send an email to buyers who have been watching your listing to let them know about your Open House.

To add an Open House to your home listing:

Your Open House dashboard within your account

Log into your MHVillage account and go to View/Change/Remove Listings section. Click “Add Open House” on any home. You can select the days and times of the event, and when you would like to start advertising it. Your home will appear at the very top of all searches in your home’s area until your open house is finished. Once the event is finished, there is nothing to do. The extra advertising falls off automatically.

If you have questions, please contact our customer service team. We are happy to help!

 

MHCA MHIA Joint Conference

Please join us at the:

2017 Arizona Manufactured Housing Conference

June 21-23, 2017

Wild Horse Pass, Chandler Arizona

2017 Arizona Manufactured Housing Conference

MHVillage is proud to be be a exhibitor and sponsor at the 2017 MHCA-MHIA Annual Conference. If you are a manufactured housing professional doing business in Arizona, you will want to attend this great event!

 

 

 

Here’s a list of just some of the exciting items on the schedule:

  • Golf Tournament at the Whirlwind Golf Club on June 21
  • Welcome Reception with Musical Entertainment and Silent Auction
  • Keynote by Mark Yost, President of Champion Homes
  • Internet Marketing, by MHVillage’s very own Darren Krolewski!
  • Fair Housing Basics: What You Need to Know w/ attorney Melissa Parham
  • The Hardest Business to Measure is the Business You Lose, by John Underwood
  • Fannie Mae Q & A: Paul Barretto, Fannie Mae
Wild Horse Pass Casino and Hotel

Wild Horse Pass Casino and Hotel

A brochure with an outline for the entire schedule can be found on the Arizona Housing Association website, or you can download it here.

Registration is available at azhousing.org. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

The Power of a “Sales Caption”

Are Your Sales Captions as Effective as They Could Be?

sales-captionMHVillage offers a space for a “Sales Caption” on Pro+ Sales Centers, Showcased Communities, Featured Home Listings and Premium Home Listings.

Each one of the above listing types will allow you to enter a sentence that will show above your listing. This is a space for you to offer something that is eye-catching, inviting and will get the customer to click on your add from the search result.

Often, I come across some Showcase Communities or Pro+ Sales Centers in an area that simply are not entering a Sales Caption at all. Then there are the Featured and Premium Listings sellers who enter a caption, but it’s not as effective as it could be.

Actual Sales Caption on MHVillage:

So, while “Best Value”, “Great Community” or “Beautiful New Home” as a sales caption sounds okay, it’s not really all that inviting or unique. Plus, you would be surprised how many times I have looked at a search result on our site and seen basically the same simple caption on all of the listings in an area.

Also: If you have one of the more expensive homes in the area, a sales caption can help you explain why. I mean, if your home is priced significantly higher than others in the area, there is probably good reason. However, browsers might skip the most expensive home – unless there is a caption line explaining why the home is more whether, it be on land, newly renovated, fully furnished or the like.

So how do you ensure you are getting the most out of your captions?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Research: You want your listings to stand out above the rest in your area. So, do a few searches on MHVillage in your area and make sure you aren’t using the same language another seller is using for their home.
  2. Unique Details: Try to find something unique about your ad that you can highlight in the caption. Here are some examples:
    • For a home, something like: “Fully furnished, renovated home, with open floor plan”
    • For a community: “Retirement Community with brand new waterfront homes available”
    • For your Company: “Family owned company, with previously owned homes and new homes in stock!”
  3. Current and Updated: One of the benefits of online advertising is you can update your information at any time. So if you have a sale or an incentive highlighted within the sales caption on a listing, be sure and keep that information updated and current.

This feature really can make the difference for your traffic on our site. It can be the detail that turns a shopper into a buyer!

And, if you you would like assistance updating your sales captions, please feel free to contact our customer service.

Datacomp Releases 2017 Rent and Occupancy Reports for FL Markets

Datacomp Releases 2017 JLT Manufactured Home Community Rent and Occupancy Reports for Florida Markets

jlt-market-2017-florida-market-reportsDatacomp, publisher of JLT Market Reports and the nation’s #1 provider of market data for the manufactured housing industry, today announced the publication of its May 2017 manufactured home community rent and occupancy reports for 31 markets in the state of Florida, now including Bay, Escambia and Leon counties.

Recognized as the industry standard for manufactured home community market analysis for more than 20 years, JLT Market Reports provide detailed research and information on communities located in 130 major housing markets throughout the United States, including the latest rent trends and statistics, marketing programs and a variety of other useful management insights.

Datacomp’s manufactured housing market data published in the May 2017 JLT Market Reports includes many of the major markets for mobile homes in Florida. Together, these manufactured home rent and occupancy reports track 752 “All Ages” and “55+” communities encompassing a total of 208,881 homesites.

Each JLT manufactured home community rent and occupancy report published by Datacomp includes detailed information about investment grade communities in the major markets, including number of homesites, occupancy rates, average mobile home community rents and increases, community amenities, vacant sites, and repossessed and inventory homes.

JLT Market Reports also include management insights that rank communities by number of homesites, occupancy rates and highest to lowest rents. Detailed reports show trends in each market with a comparison of May 2017 rents and occupancy rates to May 2016, as well as a historical recap of rents and occupancy from 1996 to present date in most markets.

The May 2017 JLT Market Reports for Florida are available for purchase and immediate download online at the Datacomp JLT Market Report website at http://www.datacompusa.com/JLT, or they may be ordered by phone in electronic or printed editions at 800.588.5426. Each fully updated report for mobile home communities is a comprehensive look at investment grade properties within a market, enabling owners and managers, lenders, appraisers, brokers, and other organizations to effectively benchmark those communities and make informed decisions.

About JLT Market Reports
For more than 20 years, countless professionals have trusted JLT Market Reports for timely and accurate management reports on land lease manufactured home communities. JLT Market Reports are currently published for 90 markets nationwide and are recognized as the industry standard for manufactured housing industry data. In 2014, JLT & Associates merged its resources, skills and expertise with Datacomp, the industry’s oldest and largest national manufactured home appraisal company and number one provider of market data for the manufactured housing industry, and MHVillage, the premier website for advertising mobile homes for rent and sale nationwide.

Congrats to the 2017 National Industry Award Winners!

MHVillage would like to send a huge congratulations to all the winners of the 2017 National Industry Awards! We were honored to be a sponsor of the Congress and Expo for Manufactured and Modular Housing, and were in attendance when these awards were presented.

Here are a few of the winners:

MHI National Awards

  • Manufacturer of the Year: Three Plants or More: Clayton Home Building Group, Maryville, TN
  • Manufacturer of the Year: Two Plants or Less: Adventure Homes LLC, Garrett, IN
  • National Lender of the Year: 21st Mortgage Corporation, Knoxville, TN
  • Regional Lender of the Year: Cascade Financial Services, LLC, Gilbert, AZ
  • Floor Plan Lender of the Year: 21st Mortgage Corporation, Knoxville, TN
  • Manufactured Home Community Operator of the Year: YES! Communities, Denver, CO
  • Manufactured Home Community Lender of the Year: Wells Fargo Bank, Carlsbad, CA
  • Manufactured Home Community Broker of the Year: ARA Newmark MHC Group, Denver, CO
  • Supplier of the Year: Style Crest, Inc., Fremont, OH

Land-Lease Community of the Year Awards

  • Northeast/Mid-Atlantic: Port Royal Village, Belle Vernon, PA
  • South: Eagle Creek, Tyler, TX
  • Midwest: Millstone Pond, Lenox, MI
  • West: Kloshe Illahee, Federal Way, WA

Manufactured Home Design

  • New Single-Section Manufactured Home Design: Astro Single Section 1A135A by Commodore Homes of Pennsylvania
  • New Single-Section Manufactured Home Design: Balboa Island Series Cedar Ridge by Clayton Sacramento
  • New Manufactured Home Design (Small Home) 320-600 Square Feet: The Vista by Champion Home Builders, Inc.
  • New Manufactured Home Design: 1800 Square Feet or Less: Kingsbrook Contempo Series Model KB-66 by Champion Home Builders, Inc.
  • New Manufactured Home Design: Over 1800 Square Feet: Diamond Springs by Clayton Sacramento

A complete list of winners, plus photos and more information can be found on the Manufactured Housing Institute’s website.

Mobile Homes & Mobile Phones

Smart Phones. Smart Watches. Tablets. Etc….

We have been watching the consumer market trends when it comes to online shopping and there has been a huge spike in the use of mobile devices being on our site over the last few years.

The numbers above are from last year and it’s only growing higher, because let’s be honest, we all use our phones for practically everything now. If not to check our email or social media outlets, it’s to look for a good place to eat for dinner that night, or send a quick text to the friend you are meeting.

Let’s also remember that online shopping is taking over too. Buyers are not only shopping for clothing, home goods and power tools, they are shopping for their next home via their phone as well!

98% of home buyers found mobile devices to be valuable tools in the home search process.

So, how do you ensure you and your company are ready for this trend?

Make sure your website and your online content are mobile friendly.

These days most website development companies or platforms include the mobile version, but if you are having your website designed or maintained by a professional company then you will want to check with them to insure your site looks great on mobile devices too.

MHVillage has been working on this the last few years by launching our MHVillage App for professionals (if you haven’t tried it yet, you should!) and our site now offers mobile friendly services to home shoppers and buyers.

Also, remember that while the design of your site and its capabilities with mobile devices is important, your content is key too. Making sure your phone numbers, website and email contacts are up to date is essential. Another big one is keeping your home descriptions and photos current. Out of date information can turn off online shoppers.

Finally, If you have any questions or would like more assistance with your home, company or community listings on MHVillage, we are here to help, so don’t hesitate to give us a call!

MHVillage to Exhibit at the 2017 Tunica Show for Manufactured Housing

MHVillage, the nation’s number one website for buying, selling, and renting mobile and manufactured homes, has announced that it will be exhibiting at the 2017 Tunica Show for Manufactured Housing from March 29-31, 2017, in Tunica, Mississippi.

MHVillage, the nation’s number one website for buying, selling, and renting mobile and manufactured homes, has announced that it will be exhibiting at the 2017 Tunica Show for Manufactured Housing from March 29-31, 2017, in Tunica, Mississippi.

MHVillage Will Exhibit at The 2017 Tunica Show for Manufactured Housing Professionals

As the nation’s largest outdoor manufactured housing show, the 2017 Tunica Show will feature 70 homes on display from 16 prominent manufacturers. Exhibits by over 90 suppliers will represent every facet of the manufactured housing industry, from manufactured home transport and installation, to building materials, financing and professional services.

“We’re excited to once again be a part of this important event for manufactured housing professionals,” said Darren Krolewski, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development. “Every year, the Tunica Show brings together the industry’s best and brightest in the region, and we look forward to demonstrating how the manufactured home retailers and communities in attendance can utilize MHVillage to grow their business.”

Founded in 2004, MHVillage.com is the largest and most active online marketplace for manufactured housing, with listings for over 28,000 homes, 37,000 communities and 2,900 retailers nationwide. More than 20 million consumers begin their home search with MHVillage annually, resulting in sales transactions in excess of $2.5 billion.

With a footprint covering every manufactured housing market, MHVillage will be showcasing their robust lead generation platform, unparalleled traffic generation capabilities, and custom-tailored advertising solutions. MHVillage is uniquely capable of helping manufactured housing industry professionals gain more business online: community owners and managers, retailers, lenders and builder/developers all utilize MHVillage.com to great effect.

Among the advertising products and services MHVillage will be exhibiting at the 2017 Tunica Show is a marketing program for retailers of Champion Home Builders, a leading producer of modular and manufactured homes, that enables visitors to MHVillage.com to search over 600 new home models from the Champion family of brands and immediately connect with authorized Champion retailers and manufactured home communities where those homes are available for purchase or rental.

“There has been tremendous interest on our website for new homes,” commented Krolewski. “Through our relationship with Champion, we have the unique ability to match Champion’s innovative home designs with the retailer and community inventory already listed on MHVillage so that the consumer can easily locate and view the models that interest them.”

The 2017 Tunica Show also marks the first time MHVillage has sponsored the Tunica Show website, lending its online marketing expertise to the successful promotion of the event to manufactured housing professionals nationwide.

Located at the Hollywood and Resorts Casinos in Tunica, Mississippi, the 2017 Tunica Show begins Wednesday, March 29 and continues through Friday, March 31, with an afternoon of pre-show educational seminars on Tuesday, March 28. As an industry trade event, the 2017 Tunica Show is not open to the public.

About MHVillage
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, MHVillage Inc. is the nation’s premier online marketplace of manufactured homes for sale and rent. Since its inception in 2004, MHVillage has grown to become the number one consumer website for the manufactured housing industry with more than 20 million unique visitors annually. In 2016, over 78,000 homes were sold on MHVillage with a combined transaction value exceeding $2.5 billion.

About the Tunica Show
Sponsored by the South Central Manufactured Housing Institute, a non-profit trade-association dedicated to the promotion and advancement of the manufactured housing industry in Mississippi and Alabama, the Tunica Show brings together the latest manufactured home designs, the best in suppliers’ offerings and latest in systems-built technology for over 1,900 industry professionals representing in excess of 500 companies.

Media Contacts:
Darren Krolewski
Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development
MHVillage
800-397-2158

Dennis Hill
Show Coordinator
Show Ways Unlimited
770-587-3350