Interview with Dan Gibson of 43 Properties
Updated: Nov 15
Listen on Apple Podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-with-chad-freeman-of-mhpinvestors/id1520681893?i=1000555598110
Welcome back to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast, hosted by Andrew Keel. On this episode of the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast, Andrew talks with Dan Gibson from 43 Properties. Dan answers Andrew's questions with a unique perspective, as he is someone who stumbled accidently into mobile home park investing. Dan is based out of St. Louis, MO and he along with his brother and father have learned a great deal from owning mobile home parks. Dan emphasizes the importance of keeping good documentation so it's easier when you sell, he also recommends sticking to the basics. In this episode Dan shares his tips for passive investors who want to invest passively as limited partners into the mobile home park asset class via syndications. Dan is passionate about helping people and doing a great job and it shows through his enthusiasm and expertise.
Dan has been investing in real estate for over 12 years now and is the CEO of his commercial real estate investment company based in St. Louis, MO. His company 43 Properties specializes in mobile home parks and self storage investments. He started the business with his Dad and brother and grew their company's portfolio to over $50 Million in assets under management.
Andrew Keel is the owner of Keel Team, LLC, a Top 100 Owner of Manufactured Housing Communities with over 2,000 lots under management. His team currently manages over 30 manufactured housing communities across more than ten states. His expertise is in turning around under-managed manufactured housing communities by utilizing proven systems to maximize the occupancy while reducing operating costs. He specializes in bringing in homes to fill vacant lots, implementing utility bill back programs, and improving overall management and operating efficiencies, all of which significantly boost the asset value and net operating income of the communities.
Andrew has been featured on some of the Top Podcasts in the manufactured housing space, click here to listen to his most recent interviews: https://www.keelteam.com/podcast-links. In order to successfully implement his management strategy Andrew's team usually moves on location during the first several months of ownership. Find out more about Andrew's story at AndrewKeel.com.
00:21 - Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast
01:21 - Chad’s story and journey into manufactured housing
05:50 - Chad’s first mobile home park and his current portfolio
11:11 - The toughest hurdle in the mobile home park business for Chad
12:17 - Managing mobile home parks
13:00 - What to look out for when investing in mobile home parks (most important)
14:56 - Chad’s perfect mobile home park
16:50 - Submetering and infill value add
17:54 - Financing new manufactured homes
18:35 - Mistakes that Chad has learned from
21:17 - The cost to infill a used home versus a new mobile home
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Links & Mentions from This Episode:
Dan’s email: email@example.com
Keel Team's official website: https://www.keelteam.com/
Andrew Keel's official website: https://www.andrewkeel.com/
Andrew Keel LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewkeel
Andrew Keel Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PassiveMHPinvestingPodcast
Andrew: Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing podcast. This is your host, Andrew Keel. Today, we have an amazing guest in Mr. Dan Gibson of 43 Properties.
Before we dive in, I want to ask you a really quick favor. Would you mind to please taking an extra 30 seconds and heading over to iTunes to rate this podcast with five stars? This helps us get more listeners and it means the absolute world for me. So thanks for making my day with that review of the show. All right, let’s dive in.
Dan has been investing in real estate for over 12 years now, and is the CEO of his commercial real estate investment company based out of St. Louis, Missouri. His company, 43 Properties, specializes in mobile home parks and self storage investments. He started the business with his dad and brother, and grew their company’s portfolio to over $50 million in assets under management. Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan: Thanks, Andrew. I appreciate it.
Andrew: I’m happy to have you on the show. I know you and I have been talking for several years now, so excited to share your story with the audience. Maybe you can start there by just [...] got into mobile home parks.
Dan: Of course. I don’t think many people grow up, go to school and college, and think, you know what? I really want to be in the mobile home park business. There are always interesting stories in this asset class, certainly.
Me and my family got into it just kind of by accident. We started buying single families, small commercial, small multifamilies, and just by talking to locals, we did everything, boots on the ground. Grew up in St. Louis, so obviously started there.
Accidentally, I was looking at a duplex that a lady was selling. We couldn’t make the deal work. She wanted too much money, and she was like, well, you sound like you know what you’re looking for. You like cash flow. You should check out my trailer park. I was like, oh, no way. What are you talking about? I don’t want to own that.
She was like, no. You’re missing the boat. This thing’s cash flow’s great. Let me show you. She couldn’t sell it traditionally because she was very big on the cash payers, so she was like, look, the bank’s not going to finance this for you at the number I’m going to ask because my tax returns will not support this. I was like, okay.
I literally went out with her on the first of the month. She was like, here’s the reported and here’s all the cash that sometimes doesn’t all make it into the bank accounts or whatever. It’s my favorite story and I kind of trusted her. She was a savvy businesswoman and knew her way around.
She did a solid carry for us for (I think it was) three years, let us build up, report everything and look good by the bank. During those three years that was how we were like. This is a niche, we like this niche, we don’t know really many people in it, so let’s dive in.
In fact I think that might be where you and I met. We got this thing under contract. Obviously, we were used to rentals and we can’t manage everything in-house. Then we started googling mobile home education whatever, and then that’s when Frank’s course, Mobile Home University, popped up. We booked the flights and bought the tickets for the next Mobile Home University class.
Andrew: Wow, that is amazing. What was that? Was that 2017, 2018?
Dan: That would have been maybe even before. It’s either 2016 or 2017 I think. We still have that park today. I’m going to refi her at three years. Yes, it has been at least six or seven years with that one.
Andrew: That’s fantastic, I love that. Tell us what happened after that one. That was like, all right, we like this business, and then you guys just really went to work and acquired a really nice portfolio around St. Louis, right?
Dan: Yup. We owned that for a couple of years, didn’t take long to realize there’s a niche here, a lot of mom-and-pop sellers. I just think there’s just so many more mobile home parks out there than people realize because they’re just not looking for them, they drive right past them, and they don’t even think about them.
We started hitting the pavement, just old fashioned networking, cold calling, and just started buying as many parks as we could in the St. Louis area, started raising funds, syndications, and different investors here and there. At the peak, we had about a little over 1000 lots spread out through 15 parks.
Andrew: Wow, that is amazing.
Dan: Yeah, that’s probably for the next six years because we’re still buying here and there, but for the next 5–6 years, we put all of our eggs in that basket because we knew people who weren’t really looking at them and weren’t really buying them.
Andrew: And you’re stuck close to home, close to St. Louis. Was the majority of the parks off-market, direct owners, or did you get some through brokers as well?
Dan: We definitely got a few through brokers. Most of them were off-market, direct-to-owners. You’d be surprised if you start talking to a bunch of the local bankers. They know of the mobile home parks that they’ve either financed in the past or they heard someone was someone. I think we probably got two or three parks that way, so just old-fashioned.
I was never shy about just driving past the mobile home park sign, taking a picture, making phone calls until I got to the owner, and tell them what me and my family did, then we wanted to buy in the area. We stuck around. I think our furthest park away was probably about 70 miles, so we’re pretty much stuck within an hour-and-a-half drive range of St. Louis.
Andrew: Which proved to be pretty fruitful because you guys just had a pretty nice exit of not all the portfolio but the majority of it, right?
Dan: Yeah. We took advantage of some of the big money to hedge funds moving in. The easiest way to describe it is we packaged up about 60% of the lots, sold them, took some cash off the table. We still have the rest, try and build that back up again, and do it all over again.
Andrew: I love it. Tell me, Dan. What has been the toughest hurdle for you guys in the business?
Dan: I guess the short answer is the management. For us and for whatever reason, a lot of our parks across our portfolio, we had about 45%–50% park-owned homes. We had a pretty significant park-owned home package there. Obviously, that comes with a lot more management.
At the beginning, we obviously didn’t know any better. As we kept buying and growing, we already had an in-house management. We had tried outsourcing management a few different times even with our single families and stuff. Nobody manages property like you do or your team does, so we just kind of hired that up in-house. At the peak, we had three full-time property managers, eight maintenance guys, and then me and my brother who were kind of overseeing everything and still pretty involved in the day-to-day. I would say that was probably our biggest challenge.
You get to a certain size, and all the lease stocks, all the software, you can pretty systematize that. It’s the employees, dealing with them, dealing with one-off tenants that maybe escalated to you. Just doing that in a proper way and doing it in our core values that we tried to use, is probably been the biggest challenge.
Andrew: Definitely, and that’s been something we’ve heard before from other operators. It’s just the management involved. It’s definitely not passive when you’re managing these things and owning them yourself. It’s an operating business, right?
Andrew: Tell me about those park-owned homes when you guys went to exit that portfolio to a bigger group. How did they value those? Did you guys have them sold on lease options or were they straight rentals? Maybe shed some light there.
Dan: Like everybody, we tried to lease-to-own as many park-owned homes as we could. Just from our experience, that’s easier said than done. If someone out there’s plan is I’m going to just lease-to-own all these park-owned homes, I would definitely say it’s definitely the right plan and you should try it but don’t get discouraged by the results because we thought it was going to be way easier to sell those off.
Most of them are in rentals. In terms of the exits, we were kind of always told, even as we were buying and building up the portfolio, hey nobody’s going to value these park-owned homes or the income they bring in just because it’s basically offset by the expenses, which is pretty much true. I do think, though, if you get to a certain size just like with a normal brick-and-mortar rental portfolio, you do start to see economies of scale. With our in-house management team, we were able to really systematize the maintenance crews, like we had our own HVAC in-house, that kind of stuff.
I think the tides are shifting a little bit. I’ve heard from a couple of groups that we got a full valuation for the park-owned home income as well. It was all underwritten the same, like lot rent. It’s kind of new. We talked with a few different brokers and a couple of them were like, you’re not there yet or the market’s not there yet, but then we talked with a couple of others who said, no, we’ve got a couple of buyers who don’t care. If the income’s there, the NOI, that’s all we care about.
Andrew: That’s pretty awesome for you guys. I’m sure that helped boost the sale price.
Dan: No, it didn’t. I’m really for an industry as a whole, too, I guess for better or worse. That was how we always underwrote our deals, anyway, and maybe that’s just from coming from the rental portfolio background, and then also of course having our team that are kind of already in place, to us it didn’t really matter whether they were park-owned homes.
Arguably, in some of these counties, it’s better to have park-owned homes because if you have problems, you can just go by normal eviction housing rules and you don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen with this tenant-owned home For the industry in general, I think it’s a great avenue that we’re going down for everyone.
Andrew: Yes, some people love their park-owned homes and some people prefer the tenant-owned homes, but one thing you guys being so localized around St. Louis, you had an eight-member maintenance team that could care for those homes. I think that’s the key. You have to be able to get to these homes when they have repairs and maintenance issues. That’s awesome.
Let me ask you this, Dan. What are the most important things that passive investors need to look out for when investing into mobile home parks? Assume that the listeners have never invested in mobile home parks before. Maybe they’ve invested in apartments or single family, what are the things that are maybe different that you’ve noticed from single family and having that rental portfolio to mobile home parks?
Dan: The obvious one is the management lines, having somebody to trust. I was going to add at the end of that part was, at the point when we exited I would have been completely comfortable managing our team from anywhere. It absolutely can be done. It’s not like certainly obviously us being local helps, but if you have the right team in place, without question you can do it out of state. You can do it virtually. Now you might be limited if you just have a 130-lot park in one town. It’s probably not going to make sense, but it absolutely can be done with the right scale.
In terms of other items that come to mind when I think of that, for a passive investor it would be management. No matter what kind of asset class, it’s always going to be number one to focus on. And then number two, mobile home–specific, you’re certainly going to have less headaches with public utilities that should be an obvious one.
Andrew: And that’s something that I feel like we don’t talk about enough in our interviews, is public utilities. Have you own parks with private?
Dan: We haven’t. Not necessarily because we haven’t tried. There are a couple of parks that come to mind that we passed on, needed a whole brand new septic system. But if those septic systems checked out fine by the inspector, we would have bought those no problem. I guess it’s just more maybe a run of luck in where we did.
Andrew: And I own some with private utilities. It’s not like a deal killer for us, but it is very expensive. The hidden CapEx is what really gets you, like in that park we have in Edwardsville. There are 67 separate concrete septic tanks in there. There are also a lot of trees. When those roots get into the lateral lines, I’d say we probably replace two or three lateral lines a year. And those are $2000–$3000 a pop. You have to account for that. You have to make sure your expense ratios are appropriate for that.
And then the well system, talk about liability. This is drinking water for your community. If you’re not filtering and getting the proper testing, it could be a huge liability. That’s why we pay a third party to manage our water system. But I agree. Public utilities are definitely the way to go if you can choose.
Dan: Starting out, obviously, yes. There’s a deal for everything and I would never shy away from private utilities if the numbers are right. Nor would you, obviously. It sounds like because we’ve been doing this for a bit. If you’re doing your first deal, maybe. Unless it’s just an absolute home run. Stay away from it, do the public.
That’s not even to say that there’s obviously no issues with public because one of our first parks that we bought (that we still have), it’s got some older water lines and we’ve been fixing those more and more. So CapEx is a real thing and in the mobile home park space, it’s typically private utilities, water lines, sewer lines, roads. Those things do deteriorate.
Andrew: And they can be expensive.
Dan: They can be expensive. It’s certainly nothing to be afraid of. Obviously, risk is going to come with any deal you do, but those are kind of the big ticket mobile home park–specific items.
Andrew: Agreed. Thanks for mentioning that. Dan, what does the perfect mobile home park look like in your eyes and why?
Dan: My answer might be different than some people. I know you’re down in Florida. I think you’re still down in Florida. You guys love your super nice curb, perfect weather, mobile home park Class A stuff. All of our parks, by the way, were, I don’t know if I consider any of them ‘A’ parks. They were all at best B-pluses. We had a handful of B-pluses, but I would say most of them are in the C-range.
You will get the most gratification taking an old, decrepit park that it’s just been a rundown, turning that thing around. To me, weirdly enough, buying that just sore eye, it might even be overrun with drugs and all kinds of issues, but if you have the stomach for it and you know you’re going to be evicting people, the amount of goodwill you get from the local city people, the police, fire, all these things, that to me is the perfect park.
Typically, you’re getting that hopefully at a much better deal, which means on the backend you’re going to get rewarded for your risk and your time. So yes, to me, I think my favorite deals that we have bought have been probably the worst ones at closing when we bought it, that I wouldn’t send my wife through it right now, but give me six months.
I think you'll also be surprised, too, at how many really good people live there. They just live on a budget and that’s what they can afford. All of a sudden, those people start coming out of their houses and they’re like, I’m so glad someone’s new in town enforcing rules, evicting the problems. That’s the magic. It’s easy to talk numbers and get excited about, you made this or made that, but you are changing people’s lives when you come in and improve the community.
Andrew: 100% agree with you, Dan. The second mobile home park that I moved into with my wife, when we first got there, the night before we went to the park to close it and signed the deal with the title company, we went out to eat. We asked the waiter, hey, have you heard of this mobile home park? It’s called this and it’s located here. She said don’t go in there. It’s infested with drugs. It was like, oh jeez. What did we get ourselves into?
I’m all the way up in Ohio, where the park is located, and we close on the deal—I was nervous, I have butterflies in my stomach—we went in, we moved into the house in the front of the park, and I'll tell you what. The people there were the nicest people ever. My wife and I would take a walk around the park. We had our one-year-old daughter with us, would push her in the stroller, and people were just so nice bringing us food and gifts.
The stigma is strong in mobile home parks. You can’t let that deter you because there are some really good people in these communities. It’s easy to say that it’s full of drugs but you’ve never been in there. You don’t know.
Dan: And typically, right? That probably had terrible stigma and it was probably one lot, maybe two that was the problem.
Andrew: It was just the owners that owned it never reinvested into it. They never put any money into it. They owned it for 20 years and they never put a dollar back into it. They just sucked it dry, and the tenants had been there that long time, just living in those conditions. When we came in, improved it, rebranded it, and did little things—fix the roads, put fencing, signage, paint it, and got rid of the old vacant homes—they were like, this is amazing. This is awesome. They were so thankful. We did raise rents. Rents went up, but they also got something for it. They were still happy with the end result.
Dan: Right. Sometimes, that’s the hard part. Obviously, this is still a business. We have mouths to feed on our end. We have employees, yada-yada-yada, but you’re right. It’s a two-way street. We’re going to hopefully buy something, improve it, give you more value. For that more value, rents do need to come up a little bit.
Andrew: Yeah, and that’s the thing. Us as owners, it’s a win-win. It’s a benefit because we want the community to look nice, but also so do the bankers. The nicer the community looks, the better in debt terms we can get on these communities. We don’t want to just have them look like trailer trash. We want them to look nicer. They’ll get better debt terms. Fannie Mae won’t just finance anything. They’re the best terms you’re going to get, so 100%.
Dan, what are some mistakes that you’ve made that we can learn from?
Dan: The list is probably very long. I think as you’re growing and buying more, you always want to try and please everyone. From an operational standpoint, the day that we systematized, everybody’s on this lease, everybody’s on this software—rent payments, rent manager, whatever you guys use—we were trying to piece them all together and deal with situations what ops, which was just a time suck.
These are small communities, so if someone came in with a serious issue, whether they got laid off—of course, this is pre-COVID—they had a legitimate story, like I know you, I don’t want to put anybody on the streets, so let’s work out a payment plan. Well, that type of news starts traveling fast in the parks, and people who have no reason to these same things will come in and then…
So I think from an operation standpoint, really getting all the documentation in line, and again, now that I’ve gone through the back end on an exit, I thought we had good documentation. We were maybe 50% or 60% of where we needed to be. And I thought we really were on top of that kind of stuff. So don’t be lax on that. Make sure that documentation is in line. Make sure the leases are updated.
We had some leases from parks that are seven years old from the old owners that like, oh yeah they’re just month-to-month for the longest time. That type of stuff, maybe some obvious operational mistakes.
Andrew: Did you guys always use one bank for all of your operating accounts?
Dan: Yes, until…
Andrew: That’s one thing that I didn’t do. We were buying in different states. The bank that gave us the loan always wanted to be the operating account, so we were like, okay, we’ll have an operating account with this small bank, and in this small bank, and in this one, and all different logins. It’s a mess. That was a mistake.
Dan: We only corrected it, though, a couple of years ago. For the last couple of years it was great because this is way easier. But we did the same thing. Our rationale was we have different investors and different pieces, and got to keep everything separate, when in reality you could just have a management agreement and then the money flows wherever it needs to flow. We only did that the last couple of years so, we were kind of behind on that as well.
One thing I would not recommend, is after we bought the first 4–5 parks, we always did the survey and the phase one. We thought we knew probably too much than we did on a couple of the next few purchases. We didn’t do those things because these things checked out, there were no obvious red flags, no gas stations, no railroads, whatever.
To kind of come full circle, on the exit we had this little 12-lot throw-in park, that was kind of a throw-in to us and just because it was in a weird location, just throw it in for the exit. Well, it had all kinds of environmental issues. It basically had this huge plant across the street that nobody wanted. That cost us some decent money.
Again, I think especially after you start doing it, I would never not do a phase one survey. Fine, I will still do a survey but the phase one most importantly we got kind of lax because we know what we’re doing, there’s no major issues. It cost us. Luckily, it was just a 12-lot park. If that would have been an 80-lot park, this might have been a different conversation.
So I think that’s one thing, going back to the basics. There’s a reason Frank and all the other professional investors, you guys do those phase one [...]. We did at the start and I don’t know why we didn’t continue. That’s one thing I wish we probably would have done.
Andrew: That makes sense. When you’re in the swing of things, like one operator was like, hey you can just pay $300 and get the file on the property instead of getting the phase one. We looked at that and we were like, you know what? As someone always told me, it might have been Frank. He was like, the phase one is an insurance policy. You’re basically buying an insurance policy from that engineer that’s telling you everything’s okay in the case something goes down the line.
Dan: I was trying to think. The reason we didn’t do it on some of those was because remember—I think probably you remember this—banks used to require them. And maybe it was just a bank got comfortable with us, but I think one of our banks, not the main bank we use but a different local bank we randomly get along with them, and they were like, oh, we kind of do our own mini environmental database search and everything was fine. I was like, oh well then why do I need the phase one?
Andrew: You should be fine.
Dan: Yeah, they’re financing it, so what do I care? That was kind of what started it. That was part of the 12-lot park, so there were no red flags on whatever they did, but then you do a full phase one and yeah, there’s a massive, I don’t know what kind of plant was across the street. There’s a whole neighborhood that’s probably [...].
Andrew: That’s a good reminder for anyone listening. Always get a phase one. Just do it. It’s worth the money.
Dan: I would say pay them $2000–$2500 whatever they are nowadays. Just do it.
Andrew: Worth it, yeah. Where do you think the mobile home park industry is headed? Given the woes in the economy, with inflation and interest rates, where do you think we’re heading?
Dan: This was probably the toughest conversation my family had when it came to should we exit or should we not. I am so bullish on the mobile home park space. There’s a reason we held back part of our portfolio, and I really couldn’t be more bullish. Obviously, you go big macro, basic supply and demand. Everybody knows you can’t build these things; we’re losing them every year.
My favorite types of parks are if you can be in the average to above-average school district and decent-sized MSAs, you will never have a problem. Even if worse comes to worse and all your tenants left you with all these homes, if you’re still in a decent school district, you can rent those out.
Really what opened my eyes to that was one of the second parks we bought was in a really good school district. At that point, we didn’t even consider school districts. We had three different people paying us lot rent on a vacant lot just so they could have the mailing address to send their kids to that school district. I was like, oh, school district should matter. That’s a good idea. I’ll add that to the list.
If you do that, you’re never going to get hurt. But then the big picture, I just think as the industry consolidates, which it seems like it’s doing more and more every month, the more you can hold on, the more valuable those parks become. Everyone always says the affordable housing crisis is real, which we all can understand and get behind that. Whether it’s the government or some big-time investor player, I do think someone’s going to lead the charge at some point to figure out a new way to start building these.
Now, they probably won’t call them mobile home parks. They’ll probably come up with a fancy new name because obviously our stigma is still there, but the land is finite and if you’ve got that mobile home park zoning, that is a grandfathered-in ticket that you’re just not going to get these days. I couldn’t be more bullish. That was the hardest part of selling because I do think the future is just nothing but up for mobile home parks.
Andrew: I’ve heard some feedback that with inflation—there was a report today that said it was up 7% from the prior year—the lower income, the lower quartile people get impacted the hardest. What do you think about that?
Dan: That’s probably true. It makes sense. I don’t know about you guys, but it seems like we had a lot of the residents on different types of fixed income. We started getting over the last couple of years a lot of Section 8 renters in our park-owned homes. That is a huge step, again for the positive of park-owned homes, especially if on the back end you’re going to get the value for it.
HUD approving mobile homes for Section 8 was a very big deal, so that’s where some sort of government programs, if those low income families get hit the most, they’re going to have to do some sort of either up the Section 8 amounts or they’re going to maybe even have to include lot rent in that. I think they might start seeing lot renters be able to qualify for Section 8. Obviously, those types of things are going to go way above our heads as regional national operators, but they certainly will be impacted the hardest. I don’t know…
Andrew: If only we had a crystal ball to tell us the future, but with AI (artificial intelligence) coming out, they’re saying those service industry–type of workers are going to get replaced the quickest. At the same time, a lot of our collections over the past year-and-a-half have been really, really great. With all the stimulus money and things like that going out to the residents, our collections have been better than where they were. It’s weird times, and who knows what the future holds.
Dan: We had the same thing. Probably like you guys, those first few COVID months we were like, better watch every—
Dan: Yeah, better really clean some stuff up because we could be in for a rough ride here. But then, it seemed like that drop-off never really happened. It seemed like really for us the same knuckle heads that we were going evict anyway were the ones taking advantage of, no, I don’t have to pay you. It’s like, okay well those people aren’t going to pay me, anyway.
The people that were in the service industry that really got hit the hardest, those were always the people that are like, hey, I’m picking up side jobs. I’ll pay you when I can, and obviously if someone showed that kind of integrity and want to, we’re like, yeah, of course. We’ll work it out. We’ll work with you together. And the second those grants and stimulus started coming through, I’m with you.
We had some of the best ones we’ve ever had, people catching up on balances. It was definitely kind of a weird phenomena when we’re hitting our goals and there’s green across the board. I’m like, what’s going on here? We’ve never been this good.
Andrew: We were getting from rental assistance programs. When people get over $2000 or $3000 in account balances, you start to write those off, eventually. But we were getting more like the rental assistance program for catching people up for four or five months of nonpayment. It definitely helped out.
Tell me, Dan. What’s the value proposition at 43 Properties? What makes you guys different? I know you’re looking to grow and buy more parks. Do you think you’ll take on investors when doing that?
Dan: Yeah. During the exit, a lot of investors got their money back. They did not want it back, and I’m sure everybody’s trying to figure out where to place money these days. They were very adamant about go find something else, so we definitely will do that still.
Our value proposition, I still think there’s a lot of value and we were very good about the submetering the water and the sewer. That is an absolute no brainer. If you’re underwriting a park and its master metered, water, sewer—typically public utilities—then that is an absolute no brainer. Do it as fast as possible. Those were the big, obvious ones.
The other thing, when people ask why are you guys different, why have you guys been successful, my best answer for them is we have always operated our management team under. We try to give them like, hey, we have a 24 hour rule, which means whether it’s employee, a tenant, whoever, if you’re calling us with a problem, we want you to have either an answer within 24 hours or we want you to at least know, hey here are the steps of how we’re going to solve that problem.
Obviously, sometimes if it’s an AC, HVAC, furnace AC and the guys are backed up for four days, well hey sorry. This is our guy. It’s going to take four days or whatever reason, order parts, whatever, at least that is communicated that say, hey, here’s what the problem is, here’s how it’s being handled.
We try to make sure everyone knows where everything stands within 24 hours. Obviously, it doesn’t happen all the time. Just maybe if weekends or depending on when emails come in or what not. I think we used to have a drawer at the office, we’ve cleaned it out. We used to have a drawer at the office with different cards and little notes people would just leave us, just saying, hey, you guys are great landlords. Thanks blah-blah-blah.
I know you remember all the crap, you remember all the awful situations the tenants that just won’t leave you alone, but getting that card is worth 20 annoying tenant issues who don’t appreciate what you do. You get that one and you know that hey, we’re doing things the right way. We just got to keep doing it.
And obviously understanding you’re not going to please everyone. There are just some people that it doesn’t matter what you do. You could buy them a new house. There would be something wrong with the air flow of that brand new house. You’re just not going to please everybody.
Andrew: That’s a good point. I love the 24-hour rule. That’s a great idea. Dan, how can our listeners get a hold of you if they would like to do so?
Dan: I’m really good at email. Emails are probably the best way. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s the best way to get a hold of me. And seriously, if anybody’s interested, I love talking mobile home parks. I’ll just randomly start a text conversation and it leads into all kinds of things.
It’s a small group. You own more than a couple of parks. You pretty much are going after some of the same deals, you know the same people. Again, mobile home park movers, right? We all know the same five people that move all the homes in the entire Midwest. It’s a small community. So yes, please if anyone’s interested, reach out to me via email. I’m pretty good about getting back to people and I’m more than happy to chat or answer any questions.
Andrew: Awesome. Well, thank you again for coming on the show. I really appreciate it, Dan.
Dan: Of course. Anytime.
Andrew: That’s it for today, folks. Thank you all so much for tuning in.