Interview with MHP Loan Broker Judah Aderet of Princeton Capital Group
Updated: Nov 29, 2022
Listen on Apple Podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-with-mhp-loan-broker-judah-aderet-of/id1520681893?i=1000530148536
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 Judah Aderet of Princeton Capital Group. Judah’s background is in finance and his experience with mobile home community lending gives him keen insights and a unique perspective. Andrew and Judah talk about tips for Limited Partner passive investors, Judah’s perfect mobile home park, and mistakes that new manufactured housing community operators make. Judah also shares his knowledge about financing mobile home parks for operators and investors. Andrew and Judah also talk about some tips and buzzwords that new passive investors might not be familiar with yet.
Judah is the Principal and Founder of Princeton Capital Group, a commercial real estate loan broker with a specialty in manufactured housing communities. Judah has closed 40 manufactured housing community loans over the last 12 months and 150 over the last five years!
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. Are you getting value out of this show? If so, please head over to iTunes and leave the show a quick five-star review. I have a goal of hitting over 100 total 5-star reviews by the end of 2021, and it would mean the absolute world to me if you could help contribute to that. Thanks ahead of time for making my day with your five-star review of the show.
Would you like to see mobile home park projects in progress? If so, follow us on Instagram: @passivemhpinvesting for photos and awesome videos from our recent mobile home park acquisitions.
00:21 - Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast
01:30 - Judah’s backstory and journey into mobile home park community lending
06:19 - The most important things passive investors need to look out for
10:19 - What matters most when getting a mobile home park financed
12:38 - The lending options available for manufactured housing communities and mobile home parks
15:09 - Qualifying for agency lenders, occupancy, and the difference between agency and other options
25:26 - Loan-to-cost and how operators can better understand this
30:55 - Adding a spread to terms given by lenders
34:43 - Judah’s perfect mobile home park
35:32 - Common mistakes new operators make (in terms of financing)
36:02 - Future hurdles in the manufactured housing industry
37:10 - Princeton Capital Group
39:54 - Getting a hold of Judah
40:54 - Conclusion
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Links & Mentions from This Episode:
Judah’s phone (call or text): 848-222-0738
Judah’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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/PassiveMHPin...
Andrew Keel Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/passivemhpi...
Andrew: Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing podcast. This is your host, Andrew Keel. Today, we have an amazing guest in Mr. Judah Aderet of Princeton Capital Group. Before we dive in, I want to ask you a real quick favor. Would you mind 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 to me. Thanks for making my day with that five star review of the show.
All right, let's dive in. Judah is the Principal and Founder of Princeton Capital Group, a commercial real estate loan broker with a specialty in manufactured housing communities. Judah has closed 40 manufactured housing community loans over the last 12 months and 150 over the last five years. Judah, Welcome to the show.
Judah: Thank you, Andrew. It's been too long and it's a real honor to be here.
Andrew: Awesome, man. I'm excited to dive in and unveil some golden nuggets from your perspective on the financing side of this industry. Maybe you can start out, Judah, by telling us your story and how you got into the mobile home park community lending out of everything.
Judah: Sure, that's actually a great story. My background's been real estate. The family’s in real estate. When it came time for me to get into the family business, I was looking to see if there was anything else within the industry that's not on the owner-operator side. That's when a couple of people suggested to me, hey, how come you don't look into the finance side of the business, learn that side of the business, and see if you'd enjoy it? And I did.
I joined a firm, a national mortgage brokerage shop called Eastern Union Funding. I joined around eight years ago. One of the first things that they do is they—you're a loan originator. You're sitting out there making cold calls. They give you a list of leads. I requested that my leads be out of state because as opposed to other brokers that love doing deals within their market. I just found that the New York, New Jersey market—where I'm based—is flooded with mortgage brokers.
When you head out of state, there tends to be less competition. I went to the easier kill as they'll say. I would say probably three, four months in I was making my cold calls and a gentleman picked up on the other line, hey, it's Judah calling from Eastern Union Funding. We're national brokers and gave my whole little spiel. He says, do you guys finance mobile home parks? Of course, I'm trained to say yes.
Of course, yeah. Obviously, we finance mobile home parks. He started asking me some questions and it became apparent within the first 30 seconds of his questions that the man he was speaking to really did not know anything about mobile home parks, let alone the financing of mobile home parks. He was extremely nice. Instead of just hanging up the phone, he said, it seems like you're new at this. Would you want to get me on the phone with one of your senior loan brokers? I was relieved and I'm like, yeah, that's great. Let's do that.
I told him I would send them an email with an invite to a call with a senior loan broker and then I was tasked with finding out which senior loan brokers in Eastern Union ever done a mobile home park. Mr. Marc Tropp actually was the only broker at Eastern Union at that point ever financed a mobile home park. I approached him and he said, yeah, I have done a couple. I'm happy to get on the call.
Long story short, we got on a call with that particular gentleman who is now today, from my most dear clients and close friends. We've done numerous deals together. That's how my first introduction to mobile home parks came. I was fascinated by the asset class. I was fascinated by the fact that it's an S Class within multifamily, but it's so different in so many ways. I was fascinated by the fact that there were so many lenders out there that do love mobile home parks. You just have to find the right lenders for the right deals.
Most of all, I love the fact that there were very few (if any) other mortgage brokers that made this a focus on this niche. I still love that. It snowballed from there. As you know better than I do, the mobile home community is a really very small community to the point that I started going to some of the mobile home park conferences.
I learned all about mobile home parks from the ground up, how they're run, why people buy them, the depreciation factor, and finding which lenders would be interested in what type of deals. Slowly, by word of mouth really at this point, I've come to a point where close to 70% of the deals that we at Princeton Capital Group are arranging financing for are in the MHC space. It's been an amazing ride.
Andrew: Yeah, that is so wild. People that have been in the business, I would say, over three years or so, it seems like somehow they fell into the business. It wasn't like they were seeking it, they fell into it. The people that have been in the business in the last three years as mobile home parks have gotten more popular, it's a different story. It's the sexy asset class. That's very cool. Thank you for sharing that with the listeners.
Judah, this is one of the questions I asked everybody I interview and it's probably the most important. What do you think are the most important things that passive investors—we're talking limited partners here—need to look out for when investing in mobile home parks? This could come from your perspective as a loan broker.
Judah: Or as an LP?
Andrew: Or as an LP, yeah.
Judah: I'll just start out by saying that myself as a loan broker, obviously, I know that side of the business. As a loan broker, I got the opportunity to see even the down and dirty of deals that you might say and know exactly what might be wrong with the deal. At the same time, I've invested numerous times as an LP into deals. At this point, I would say 90% of the deals that I personally invest in are mobile home park deals, for many of the different reasons that we might discuss.
I would say an LP has to look out for something very similar to what they look out for when they're looking into a multifamily deal. Whether it's the operator’s experience, the returns, making sure that the sponsor, the GP is being conservative in his expectations of expense growths, rent growth, and all of that.
On top of that, there are two particular things that I myself look out for. That is if you're investing in a deal where somebody might be buying their first multifamily deal and until now, they were busy with fix and flips or manage the property for somebody else, as long as you feel that this guy knows the business and it's not that complicated, then you can feel confident investing in him, as long as you being conservative with the numbers.
When it comes to a mobile home park operator, I feel it's even more important that that person has real-time experience in mobile home parks, whether as an owner that this is not his first deal. I don't want to give all the newbies here a bad rap that they won't be able to raise equity for their deal.
I've invested with first-timers, but it's those first-timers that have taken action in the mobile home park world and they've seen what can go wrong in a community. Because there are so many things that can go wrong in the community that a new sponsor might not be ready for. But if it's somebody that has experience, that's what I look out for.
It can be managing a park, it could be the experience that he was sitting alongside another sponsor and watching what went on for six months just to see the ins and outs. That's number one. Number two is just on the number side, for example, somebody's buying a park with a bunch of park-owned homes. I want to see if the returns that they are promising or expecting are those not including park-owned home income.
Because if it is including park-owned home income then you have to ask the sponsor the question, are you planning on keeping that income around or are you selling those homes? If you're including that income to [...] my returns, how is that sticking around once you get rid of those homes? Those are the two things that I myself as an LP look into when investing in a mobile home park deal.
Andrew: Yeah, that's very good advice. The experience of the operator and then number two, the number of park-owned homes, I think that gets overlooked. Especially as people try to convert these assets into fully tenant-owned home communities, that income is not going to be there forever. If they're planning on that in the pro forma, that's going to affect your long-term returns. Thank you for that, Judah.
Next question here, what matters most when getting a mobile home park financed? What are your top five things that lenders are looking for and base their financing terms on?
Judah: As a loan broker, I'll tell you the five things that I look out for when somebody calls me and tells me they are looking at a mobile home park deal for me to size it up correctly and to determine which lenders to go to. Let's see if I can find five, but I think I typically have four. The first one is going to be the occupancy at the park. A lot of times, you'll get a rent roll from the rent manager or one of these other ones that only list occupied lots. I'll get a rent roll that says 72 lots and I'm sizing it as a 72-lot park. Then I'll go on to the county website and it says 140 lots.
That's number one, what's the actual occupancy of vacant lots and with homes on them. Number two is the percentage of park-owned homes versus tenant-owned homes. Number three is the quality of the asset, whether it's paved roads, skirting. Does it look like a community, does it look like a park, or does it look like a trailer park? I put that into the right category. I'll ask for pictures of the park to get a feel for what the park looks like.
Number four, I would say is going to be to figure out the expenses on a T12, are those associated with park-owned homes in the case that there might be park-owned homes? Number five is I'll ask them for their profile. Whether it's their personal financial statement, real estate schedule, bio, those are the five things that I would ask for to present a deal to lenders. That's where a lender will determine a lot of times based on the park-owned homes, based on the percentage of occupancy. That's how they figure out the NOI for their loan debt cover.
Obviously, the experience of the operator plays a big factor and a big role depending on which lenders you're going to, obviously. It can really play a big role in whether or not we'll get certain lenders.
Andrew: That's great feedback there. Tell us about the lending options available for manufactured housing communities and mobile home parks. Maybe walk us through each agency, CMBS, life insurance companies, other national lenders, and then local banks. Maybe just walk us through that, that'd be great.
Judah: All right. The cream of the crop is obviously the agency loans. Those are non-recourse, no personal guarantee loans with the long-term fixed stat, whether it's 10 years, 12 years, 15 years. At times, Fannie Mae has a product out there with a 30-year fixed that not many know about. It's available to be at lower leverage, but the agency loans potentially could go to 75%, 80% loan-to-value. Their rates today are super aggressive because of where the treasury is. You're looking at the low threes, and with Freddie Mac, probably below 3% fixed for 10 years.
They are pickier and we can get into that. They're a lot pickier when it comes to the asset class. I like to tell people, agencies do not finance mobile home parks. That's a myth. They finance mobile home communities. When you get your park to the point that it's a community or if you're buying a park in an acquisition, we at Princeton Capital Group can present the deal as a community versus a park, that's when the agency will look at it.
Obviously, that's your best option, especially if you're looking to hold this long-term. But sometimes it might not be your best option. If you're buying a park that might fit the agency box on day one but has rents that are $150 below market so you don't want to lock in long-term debt. That's when I would go to the national lenders, the regional banks. Some of the national lenders out there can be non-recourse, but they're few and far in between. I would say, when you're going to a national lender and especially the regional banks, you have to expect you're going to be taking at least a certain portion of recourse.
They can be pretty aggressive too. We've had some national lenders out there that rival agency debt at times. When treasury has gone up and agency loans have been raised into the mid-fours, you still have some of those regional banks that are in the high threes on the rate. They would be at a 30-year amortization at times, but I would say to assume a 25-year amortization with those banks.
Andrew: Real quick on the agency lenders. Maybe you could touch on some of the qualifications like expected percentage occupied, percent of park-owned homes, off-street parking, I've heard curb and gutter. Some of that stuff is pretty important to understand what you're talking about the community versus the park.
Judah: There are very simple guidelines within Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A lot of times people are like, well, where does it say that in the guidelines? You can actually go into fanniemae.com or freddiemac.com and the guidelines are listed right there under manufactured home communities. The official guidelines, and keep in mind, as I tell you these guidelines, there are waivers that you can get on any one of these guidelines. Whether it's the percentage of parked-owned homes or anything else that we’ll list shortly, you can go for waivers, but obviously, you can't go for a waiver on every single one.
What will determine whether you get the waiver is A, the size of the loan. If it's a larger loan, it's more attractive, they want this loan, and it's a more experienced borrower that has other agency loans, they'll tend to give that waiver easier. Just keep that in mind that with agency loans, there are waivers available on all these guidelines. The guidelines are basically like you mentioned, they want to have an acquisition of not more than 35% park-owned homes. On a refinance, not more than 25%. But they're expecting that at the time you're ready to refinance, you should have lowered that ratio.
It gets tricky when it comes to RTOs or LTOs, different ways people phrase it in the industry. When you have a home that's on a rent-to-own schedule, how do the agencies look at that? Do they look at that as a park-owned home? That will depend on what the schedule is. If those homes are paying off within the next year, then chances are we can get the agencies to believe that that's really a tenant-owned home already or very close to it, therefore, give me that waiver that I'm asking for.
The next thing is they want to see paved roads. That I've very rarely seen a waiver that they're very strict on because that really determines the way a community looks. When you drive in and it's nicely paved, that's a community. If it's not paved, it's not really a community. If there are some parts that are not paved, they might hold back some money for you to pave that post-closing, especially in an acquisition where you don't really control what the park is going to look like. They want to see all the homes skirted. They want all the hitches to be covered.
They want curbs or at least rolled curbs on the side of the road. I would say last but not least, they want the homes to be in decent condition. Even though they're telling you, hey, we want to park with old tenant-owned homes and maybe you can't control what that home then looks like because it's not your home, but they still want it to be a community. They expect that if they're lending to a community, the residents within that community like their home to look nice.
I've had times where borrowers actually went and given an allowance to their tenants. Here's $5000, here's $2500, fix up this home. I'm having an inspection come from Fannie or Freddie over the next two weeks. Let's get this repainted. It's really last but not least because that's what they look at also, and it's something that can kill a deal and borrowers are frustrated, hey, it's not my home. I don't control that home. I don't know what you want me to do. Well, it's a little bit too bad.
That's the agency guidelines on what they look for. I would say as far as loan size, just touch on the loan size here. They do have a minimum officially of $1.5 million on their loan size. I've done smaller than that at a $1.2 million loan, I think with somebody that you know. We've done smaller than that, but typically the ones who are under $1 million. The larger the loan, the more attractive the rates get and the more they'll be willing to give you some more interest only and waver on their guidelines.
Andrew: Wonderful. I think one thing was occupancy. Is it true that they have to be 90% occupied or higher, or is that another waiver that you can probably get?
Judah: Yeah. Sorry, I forgot to touch on occupancy. The occupancy that officially is in the guidelines is 85%, as opposed to multifamily where it's 90% because they do expect that mobile home parks are not going to be running at the same occupancy. It's been a long-standing argument between a lot of the larger operators and Fannie and Freddie, why are you considering this vacancy? There's no home there that's vacant. It's a vacant piece of land, which is a great argument, which I don't really think they have a good comeback for, but they still count it as vacant.
Keep in mind when you're saying vacancy, any developed land, if there are cement pads there, if there are utility hookups, that's considered a vacant pad. Yes, there are waivers available all the way down to 70%. But you won't get that waiver for a loan, call it under $3 million. Once it climbs above that $3 million mark, they'll start looking at giving that waiver. As the loan amount climbs, that waiver can climb that the occupancy doesn't have to be as high. We've done loans as low as 72% occupied, some nicer communities.
Andrew: Got you. Thanks for sharing that and maybe you can briefly touch on some of the other options, CMBS, just the terms. What is the difference between those options versus an agency lender?
Judah: CMBS is another great option, another great non-recourse long-term fixed debt option. The difference between CMBS and agency is really in two things. First of all, they're slightly more costly to do because of the nature of CMBS. CMBS stands for commercial mortgage-backed securities. They are Wall Street lenders. They're packaging up those loans and assigning them in pools. Once it's sold off, it's securitized, as they say, and it's off the shelf.
It's more costly for them to do the transaction, so they pass on those costs to you. You have to just be ready for a slightly more expensive closing than a typical bank closing. I'll tell borrowers, factor in another 1% of the loan amount as a closing cost if you're doing a CMBS loan. Between titles costing more and their attorneys costs more, just everything costs a little more. The main difference is if you go for an agency loan, everybody likes to talk about the prepayment penalties.
A bank typically has a prepayment penalty where a step down is 5% the first year, 4%, the next year, 3% the following year, et cetera. With agencies, even though there are other options that we can discuss, typically, it's yield maintenance or a defeasance prepayment penalty, which basically, in layman's terms means you're not refinancing that back. But the agencies do have an option for a supplemental loan where you can go back to them a year or two after you've got the original loan and say, hey, I've raised rents, I've cut expenses, cap rates have compressed. My loan-to-value today is only around 60%, I want to bring myself back up to that 75%.
They will allow you to make a supplemental from them at a slightly higher rate than your senior loan, but it's a very attractive option. As much as you're stuck in that yield maintenance loan for the 10 years during that term, you can go for two supplemental loans. If you're selling a park, you can sell that park with the loan. He can assume that loan that you put on there at low rates and still take a supplemental to bring himself up to a normal leverage point. With CMBS that does not exist. There are no supplementals.
If you're taking a CMBS loan, I would say it's either if you're buying a park that's already at its peak of occupancy and everything else, or if you've already bought the park up to a place where you're ready to, like I said, put it to bed—you're really putting it to bed. If you don't believe that there's any significant rent growth still to be had, infill, anything else. Because there are no supplementals.
Even though they are assumable—somebody that's going to buy the park from you, if cap rates will compress or if there was rent growth, then he's buying the park and you're like, well, this marks worth $12 million today. He's like, well, you only have a $7 million loan that you're trying to sell me on, that is going to be a lot tougher. That's something to just consider when you're looking at CMBS. Otherwise, it's a great option. It's a non-recourse, they'll give you the 30-year amortization, they'll give you a few years of IO.
Regarding banks, it depends on the size of the deal and it depends on the amount of park-owned homes. I guess the number one question that I get is, can we get deals done if there are fully park-owned homes? Do lenders count that? Agencies, CMBS, life companies that I did not touch on—I haven't done any life company deals. I've attempted three and I can't find the client to be a guinea pig for the fourth. There might be other groups out there that go to life companies, I personally don't. With banks and national banks or regional banks—there are plenty of national banks that can count park-owned home income.
Some of them need to take the homes as collateral because they're counting that income, and some don't, which are like diamonds in the rough. Count that income, but still don't take a loan as collateral, but it does exist. They're typically five-year terms, five-year fixed loans versus the agency longer. They can also throw in a year of IO, two years of IO. They can be a 30-year amortization. You have to assume probably 25-year amortization. You probably have to assume 4 to 4 1⁄4 on your rate versus the agencies today that are a lot lower.
Andrew: Thank you for that overview. That was really nice. Tell the listeners about loan-to-cost and how operators can better understand this as to not over promise and under deliver on their pro formas in regards to the amount of cash that they'll be able to pull out at a refinance, above and beyond the initial investment dollars?
Judah: That is a great question because I just got an email this morning from a client. I'll give you just a brief background as he put this deal a year ago, exactly August of 2020. I'll read you his answers and then you'll understand what his goal was. His response to me this morning is, the classic problem of buying stuff for 50¢ in a dollar.
Number one, this would be a recourse loan. Number two, would they rather have an okay debt yield on a new acquisition or a great debt yield on a cash-out refi? Number three, this appraised at $2.6 million when we bought it. It's approaching $4 million in value and we only bought it for $1.8 million. We've invested significant money into home turns, lease-up, and continue to execute. It's not just buying cheap, it's clear and meaningful income growth. His response to my email to him last night says, I'm still getting pushback from lenders on your loan-to-cost here.
That's just one example of what I face daily. This is what I go out and fight for. I tell clients that this is what I love doing. I love going out and fighting for this. This is a classic example of one of the deals a year ago. He's done a tremendous job. Not only that he's done a tremendous job, when he bought it, the park appraised for $400,000 more than he was buying it for.
He went out and today, this park, all day long, I agree with him is worth $4 million, but he bought it for $2.2 million, I believe was the number. Now it would be appraised for $4 million. He wants to, a year later, get 70% of his appraised value. He's done work, and I personally believe I will get this right because when there is a story and a real story of growth, a real story of whether it's expense cutting, and together with top-line growth and infilling homes, then you potentially from some banks, can get them to look the other way as far as your costs.
Going back to the agency, a lot of times that is where somebody's goal is. I've seen some OMs, some operators saying hey, in two years we'll refinance agency debt, and then they have their own expectations of getting 100% of the money out. The rule of thumb for agencies is that within the first year, they'll give you 80% of your costs. Keep in mind your costs can include any CapEx or closing costs. Year two, they'll give you 90%, year three, they'll give you 100%. After year three, they'll give you whatever you'd like. That's the rule of thumb.
But many times, if there's a real story, you can really present the story in the right light, and show what you've done to the park, then you can shorten that timeline, but not by that much. Agency will never give you 150% of your money after year one. Even if you bought a park that was 50% vacant and the 50% over there were not paying rent. I've fully infilled the park, I've gotten everybody to pay rent, and now this park is worth $1 million dollars. Last year I sweated, I poured tears into this park, and now it's worth $5 million. Can I have a $3 million advance?
There are some options of going to another bank that understands the story, a regional bank that really likes you and likes the park that potentially could get past the loan-to-cost issue. It definitely is a real issue out there because a lot of sponsors and the [...] owners and operators are buying parks with a value add. Lenders like to say, well, you have no skin left in the game. Well, all my skin is in this park. I've sweated and I've done who knows what to this park. Come out and give me credit for it.
The agencies are a little bit harder on it. I would say, if your goal is you need to get out your capital sooner, I would say probably go with a regional national lender unless you can wait at least the full two years and then go out to an agency because you have a much bigger chance of then getting 75% of the appraised value today.
Andrew: That was huge. That was a golden nugget right there. For those listening, what we just discussed, that's your takeaway from this episode because that was a struggle that you and I ran into on a deal we were working on. They want to see that the funds are seasoned and the property is getting used to the new occupancy and things like that. That’s just something for newer operators to be aware of. Hey, you're not always going to be able to flip into an agency within a year or two and pull out all of the money you put in and even more than that based on the new appraisal.
Thank you for sharing that, Judah. One quick thing I wanted you to touch on, is it true that loan brokers can add a spread to the terms given by a lender and make money on that spread?
Andrew: Is that a common practice in the MH space?
Judah: I would really hope not. It's really tough to say, man. I can't vouch for other mortgage brokers out there or other loan brokers out there. I would say it's like any other business. It's not specific to the mortgage business, definitely not specific to the MH side.
It's like when you're using any other one of your vendors or anyone else that you have a relationship with, it's really about trusting that relationship. I told the client and I tell this to numerous people over the years, if you have to ask that question whether or not your loan broker or mortgage broker is skimming some of the top, then it might be time for a new mortgage broker, or it might be time to solidify that relationship with that broker. Sit down over dinner with him, get to know him a little better. Get a feel for, is this the type of guy that I want? It's a relationship.
It's more than anything else because obviously if they're adding a spread, that means potentially your rate is not really what the market rate is. Which is why I don't believe that it's commonplace. I just think most brokers want to come out of the gate being the most aggressive.
They want to bring their borrowers the most aggressive rates. They don't want to bring a borrower at a rate of 3.5% and then Judah Aderet is going to call the same borrower and say, hey, I know you're looking at that deal. I can get you 3.3%, and this guy's eyes pop out of his head, 3.3% from who? Well, from Fannie. I just got 3.5% from Fannie. Well, there might be something a little fishy there. That's why I don't think it's commonplace. Is it done? Probably the same way skimming is done in any other industry.
Andrew: How would an operator make sure of that? Just look through the documents ahead of time just to make sure that that's not being done?
Judah: Yeah. In the typical Fannie or Freddie application, there is a section there that says and it should say. I don't know if that's foolproof though. I've heard that there are times that it's not foolproof. Again, I don't know if there's any way to really be 100% certain of it. Like I said, if you don't feel 100% certain, you have to sit your broker down and be like, dude, I know that there is such a thing out there, maybe get them to send you an email.
If you don't really trust them, then come to me. If you don't want to come to me, then I'm serious now, get them to send you an email. I will not be taking any spread from the lender on this deal. Just to tell you, me personally at Princeton Capital Group, I do want my lenders to give me something because it's only fair. I give them a nice amount of business.
The way we have it structured is, hey, Judah, if you bring us X amount of deals this year and we do over X amount of dollars, we'll go out for a nice dinner. I'll buy you a nice watch. I don't have the nice watch yet, but that's the way I like it. Then I'm incentivized and they're incentivized to get deals done. They're incentivized to treat me well and to give me what I asked for at times and stretch because they want to keep their loan brokers happy.
Keep in mind, the guys that are skimming off the top get a bad rap over at the Fannie and Freddie servicers also. It's like, all right, here's this guy that's always trying to just make the most out of every single deal instead of trying to get the most deals done.
Andrew: Sure. Judah, what does the perfect mobile home park look like in your eyes and why?
Judah: It's a tough question. If I was looking to buy a mobile home park, I would probably buy one with infill opportunity, low rents, a good bone. The why is very simple. I don't want to be spending any money on the bones of the park, water lines and sewer lines are fixing up—real structural issues. On the flip side, I do want to have some value add there, and that would be my dream park. Go in there with either a bank loan or even a bridge loan, and infill, bring up rents to market, refinance two years later, and hold on long-term.
Andrew: Love it. Judah, what common mistakes do new operators make in their assumptions for financing?
Judah: Number one, first and foremost is assuming that the agency will do a park that might be a beautiful community, but has a ton of park-owned homes. They're underwriting with an agency kind of sizing and agency debt terms, when in fact, it's going to have to go elsewhere. That's the most common mistake.
Andrew: That's huge. What hurdles does the manufactured housing industry face moving forward?
Judah: On the financing side, I haven't seen any. I see the opposite. I see more banks opening up to realize, hey, smell the coffee, mobile home park communities have been the lowest default rates across the country. Why are we not lending on them? I think it's mostly ignorance. They just don't know it.
I just see more lenders getting into the space. Over the last six months, I've seen some lenders wake up and finally start calling me as a broker and saying, can you teach us about mobile home parks? Number two is I think the agency will start counting some park-owned home income more. Some will count [...] in a multifamily property where they might get a little more flexible on their vacancy when it's a vacant pad. I just see good things coming.
Andrew: That's great. During COVID, I know there were some reserve requirements and things like that.
Judah: That's gone.
Andrew: Now that that's gone, that's great, but I thought it was a good sign that they were still lending during that time. They didn’t shut down entirely.
Judah: Sure, yeah.
Andrew: That's great. Tell us a little bit about Princeton Capital Group. What makes you guys different? What's your value proposition?
Judah: Thank you. We don't have a secret sauce. There are no secret banks that we know about that nobody else knows about. In the manufactured housing world, given that it's a primary focus of mine, I obviously might know today of some banks that others might know about, but in a few months, those same other banks might be known to other brokers. They're not like hidden banks. They might be the regular banks people know about, just don't know that they lend them manufactured housing.
I would say anybody that comes to you and says, hey, I have a lender that nobody's heard about, and let's go do a loan with them, you should probably think twice. There's no secret sauce here. It's not like we're bringing you to any secret lenders. In the manufactured housing world, we know it well. We've done it. We've overcome hurdles. We know what roadblocks or road bumps to expect on the road.
More than anything else, we're a boutique mortgage shop. I was part of a larger mortgage shop, a more national mortgage, a larger firm. Not to speak ill of any of the large firms out there, but it's a different mentality, it's a different culture. The culture of Princeton Capital Group is that you're a family and all of my clients know that they can reach me anytime day and night. When there's an issue, they just want to catch up and schmooze.
Every client is not just a number, it's a real relationship. I keep up with my clients. We service our clients with everything we've got. I think that's the difference between a boutique mortgage shop and a larger mortgage firm is every deal gets the focus that it needs.
We're not servicing X amount of clients. Each client to his own, and we leverage that on both sides of the aisle. Banks appreciate that as well. I'm not just another guy that they're getting a quote form from this large firm. It's somebody that they know already, that they have a relationship within. That's what we try to do and try to bring the most aggressive financing that we can find out in the marketplace.
I'm confident enough to say that when it comes to mobile home park financing, there won't be anybody that will find you something more aggressive unless it's a bank that I haven't heard of, which is possible in the same way. I have banks probably that they don't know, not in this space. Otherwise, if we know the space well, we know how to squeeze deals into the agency box sometimes that otherwise shouldn't have gone there. Just keeping up that relationship with our clients.
Andrew: Awesome. Judah, how can our listeners get a hold of you if they would like to do so?
Judah: Anybody that wants to reach me, you can call me on my cell. My cell is 848-222-0738. If I don't answer, just shoot me a text. Don't leave me a voicemail. They can email me at email@example.com.
Andrew: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Judah. It was an absolute pleasure having you. One last final tip for passive mobile home park investors, what would it be?
Judah: Take Andrew Keel a lot more seriously.
Andrew: Awesome, Judah. Thanks again for coming on, man. That's it for today, folks. Thank you all so much for tuning in.
Judah: Thank you, Andrew.