There are different ways to invest in real estate. Have you tried them all? If not, consider mobile/manufactured homes. Today, Clint Coons of Anderson Business Advisors talks to Glenn Stromberg of Stromberg Investment Group. Glenn describes the profit potential in alternative types of real estate investments. He began his real estate career in 1982 and has 37 years of experience in the mobile home industry. Glenn is giving our listeners 50% off his online course to learn how to invest in mobile/manufactured homes: Mobile Homes Investment Education (Coupon Code: Anderson).
- What is Glenn’s take on investing in real estate, specifically single-family homes? Buy manufactured homes and follow the same strategy.
- What are mobile and manufactured homes? Real estate, not trailers. Homes go on concrete runners and tied into concrete. Many are wood-frame or vinyl construction. Siding and skirting options vary.
- Do mobile/manufactured homes qualify for financing? Yes, the same FHA financing as a single-family house is possible.
- Are construction standards associated with mobile/manufactured homes? Homes built since 1990 meet construction standards.
- What do most people not understand about mobile/manufactured homes? Homes that meet construction standards are built just as strong or better than other homes.
- Why are these homes cash cows and gold mines? They’re built in a factory, they come out at a better price, and they cost less.
- What do these homes offer investors and tenants? They get more square footage for the dollar, whether they buy or lease them.
- Are these homes listed on MLS, as manufactured and/or mobile homes? Yes.
- Is there much competition from companies considering manufacturing/mobile homes? No, they skip that designation because they view it as inferior.
- Do mobile/manufactured homes depreciate? A personal property mobile home will depreciate. When on land, it goes up/down with single-family house business.
- When you remodel a manufactured home, is there anything you have to know? It’s much easier because permits don’t need to be pulled, and the process is completed sooner.
- How much do mobile/manufactured vs. traditional homes cost? $80,000-$90,000 vs. $250,000-$275,000.
- Are there zoning requirements for mobile/manufactured homes? Depends on location, city, county, and state.
Mobile Homes Investment Education (50% off coupon code is: Anderson)
Full Episode Transcript
Clint: Welcome everyone. Hi, it’s Clint Coons with Anderson Business Advisors and this is another edition of our Anderson weekly podcast. In this episode, what I want to do is talk about another way to invest in real estate. Something that I myself have never considered.... Read Full Transcript
I know there’s a lot of real estate investors out there that have never heard of this as well and this is what really piqued my interest about it, is that traditional way is to go out and find a house and then either go in and rehab that. You turn it into a rental or maybe you can find new construction because the cap rates between existing versus new really doesn’t make that big of a difference when you factor in your CapEx within the next 5-10 years for maintaining that property.
I’ve seen investors go that route when they’re looking for single-family homes because they want to build a rental portfolio. But what really hit me out of the blue is when I met our next guest and he was talking to me about investing in real estate single-family homes and he has a different take on it.
That take has to do with buying manufactured homes and doing the same strategy. I never heard of it before, never thought about it. My idea of a mobile home and that’s how we originally discussed it was those trailers, those single trailers flat roof, metal siding, they sit in a mobile home park and I thought, “Who’s going to want to buy that? That’s a trailer. That’s not real estate.”
Little did I know. So I thought this episode, we’re going to devote it to talking about manufactured homes and that is why it’s my pleasure to introduce Glenn Stromberg of Stromberg Investment Group. He has over 30 years of experience in investing in manufactured and mobile homes. Today, what he’s going to do is share with you the extreme profit potential that can be found when looking at this alternative type of real estate investment. Glenn, I got to tell you, thanks for coming on.
Glenn: Clint, thanks for having me. I really, really appreciate it and am looking forward to being interviewed.
Clint: Awesome. I know people are listening right now and they’re probably piqued their interest because when people think about this, I would assume they take the same approach I do. You say mobile home. You’re thinking metal side trailers in a park. How often do you get that?
Glenn: I don’t buy those.
Clint: No, I know. Often when you talk to people about this, is that the initial…?
Glenn: All the time, yes. When you say the word mobile home, manufactured home, actually when I do presentations, I’ll show a picture of a metal-sided house which you talked about tires on the roof and 80% of the audience I ask them, they think that’s what a mobile home looks like.
Clint: Yeah, it’s because it permeates our culture. That’s what so many people are accustomed to thinking about. You just said something. You would never invest in that. Why not?
Glenn: Because it’s a whole nother asset class. The mobile home park can be a good investment if you got the right property management, but the homes take a lot of work, a lot of maintenance. That’s why it’s a whole nother strategy, a whole nother asset class.
I’ll just give you an overview for your listeners. We’re in five states. We’re in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia and we buy 10–15 properties a month. The homes are double-wide, usually 1200–2400 square feet, and they’re usually on half an acre to an acre tract of land, and they are all real estate depending on the state. They have a deed of trust or a mortgage on them.
We usually buy 1990 and later because that was when they picked up the construction standards for them. I always tell the story because my dad was a mason contractor and a builder in Chicago. He came and looked at about 15 of my properties in Texas, and he goes, “These are built better than tract houses in Chicago,” and I said, “Yeah, that’s what people don’t understand.”
I like to say it’s the best-kept secret in real estate investing because you buy the properties for probably a third to a half of the price and in many cases the cash-flow doubles every single time […] house, so they can be cash cows and gold mines.
Clint: I think the first thing that people should understand is that when you talk about the old-style mobile home where you got the tires you stated on the roof, that’s really a trailer.
Clint: This is not that. What we’re talking about here are those homes as we mentioned before we got started on the show that you would see going down the freeway on the back of a trailer where it’s a half a house, and their […] is somewhere, and they’re bringing half a house and putting them together.
Glenn: That is correct. They normally go on concrete runners. They tie them into concrete and for a homeowner, they qualify for the same FHA financing as a single-family house.
Clint: It’s a wood frame construction, correct?
Glenn: A lot of them are wood frame construction. A lot of them are vinyl construction. A lot of times people put brick skirting around them on the bottom and there are varying kinds of sidings.
Clint: It’s basically a house and that’s what I think where a lot of individuals when they’re considering this asset class, if they hear the word manufactured home, they think that’s an inferior quality because it was made in a factory and it was then carted out and dropped on a pad or on a cinder block foundation, therefore, it’s not going to be the same quality if we just build it from the ground-up.
Glenn: Correct. I’ve been to factories several times and if any of your listeners have a chance to go see it, it’s a fascinating thing to see it being built. They basically use the same materials as a site-built house. It’s always your plywood flooring, 2×4, 2×6 upgraded insulation packages, thermal pane windows, rounded countertops.
You can get any amenity, fireplaces, and the beauty of it is that because they’re built in a factory, they come out at a better price and they’re a lot less money. You get a lot more square footage for the dollar whether you buy it. In our case, we lease them out to tenants and they get a lot more square footage for tenants.
Clint: The whole thing about homes and for many people that if they never experienced this is that I guess the reason you call that a mobile home, you’re referring to as a mobile home, or some people call them a manufactured home. Mobile, because you can move it.
Reality is every home is a mobile home because when I grew up, we’d pick up a house for a dollar and then my brother and I would assist him. We would go in there, we would disconnect all of the utilities, jack the house up, bring in a trailer, and then load it up on the trailer to pick that house up, and move it, and put it on a new piece of property that we purchased right down on a cinder block foundation.
That’s a mobile home right there if somebody looks at it because the house itself was built from the ground up, but now we just made it mobile because you can cart it. Any house can meet that definition if you’re saying the house is movable.
Glenn: That is correct.
Clint: What intrigues me about this, talking about these homes is a cost. Let’s assume that I’m looking in my area. You talked about the five states that you’re in and for example, I live in Oregon and I’m looking at the ML ads for these properties. How typically are they going to be listed on the MLS? Will they be listed as a manufactured home? Or will they be listed as a mobile home?
Glenn: Every MLS district is different, but no they love the classification mobile/manufactured, and because they’re on MLS there’s real estate […]. The land is with it so […] been surrendered. They’re on MLS. In Carolina and Georgia, that’s the beauty of what we do. We can still buy most of them on MLS because we don’t have the competition all the single-family home guys have.
I’m in two real estate mastermind groups that some of the best real estate guys across the country are in and there’s a lot of guys spending $50,000 a month on post-charge trying to generate traffic right now and margins are being squeezed. That hasn’t affected us at all. We just have a way easier time finding the properties and because once again we don’t have the competition that all the other guys do.
Clint: When you say the competition, are you saying that most people are not considering manufacturing/mobile homes? That they see that designation, they’re going to skip past it because they view it as inferior?
Glenn: They absolutely do because of what you said in the beginning. Most people think of that metal-sided house with a flat roof, they have no idea how nice they are, the value. They do appreciate over time.
A personal property mobile home will depreciate. If it’s just the mobile home, it’s going to depreciate. But when it’s on land, the properties we brought in Texas in 2012 have more than doubled since because obviously the Dallas Fort Worth area is a very fast-growing market, but they go up and down with the single-family house business. So, you’re buying for a whole lot less.
In our case, we buy them. We fix them up like new. We put new carpet, new paint, new appliances, new air conditioner, new everything in it. We property manage it. We put tenants in it and we keep about a third of them for ourselves and we turnkey the other two-thirds to our investors.
We use all private money because our returns are much better than the single-family home. We have investors lined up for these things and we really create great win-win deals for them and for us, so it’s a really untapped market.
Clint: When you go remodel a manufactured home, is there anything you have to know? What are you going to run into inside of one of these manufactured homes that is a little more janky than just the standard?
Glenn: Honestly, Clint, it’s so much easier it’s not even funny. We never have to pull permits. We’re not in the cities. We’re normally in the outlying areas. It’s lipstick. It’s carpet paint. We’re not tearing down walls. We’re not remodeling. We don’t have to do all the stuff that a lot of guys who buy the older homes do because the floor plans are good. They come out of a factory. They have an engineer and an architect. All the floor plans are good. That’s one of the advantages of them.
We’re usually in and out of them in 2–3 weeks. We’re normally up and running after 2–3 weeks. We got the thing fully rehabbed and then we’re looking for the tenant to put in at that time.
Clint: Okay. This is what came to mind right away when you talked about how they’re made. When I buy a television or something, I get an instruction manual. It tells me about all the different ports that are on the TV, what they’re going to do. But these homes, do you get an instruction manual that tells you where everything’s located that you would just go towards it like if I got to move a hot water line, I’d go right to this spot and this is where I’m going to find it at this wall, at this location. Do they do that?
Glenn: No, and keep in mind we’re not moving anything. We’re buying the home, it’s already on the land. We’re not moving anything.
Clint: No, I understand that. I’m just saying, let’s say I decide to invest in this and I buy this manufactured home and I say, “You know what? I want to change the bathroom. I want the footprint on it.”
Glenn: You could do that. It would be the same if you did it in a site-built house. You go through the exact same process. We never do that. We just go ahead and we fix it up. Like I said, new carpet, new paint, new linoleum, the skirting. If it needs a new roof, we just do all that stuff and like I said I hear stories of people who take six months to a year to get a house rehab for some guys. We normally get it done in 2–3 weeks. I like that we are able to move really fast on ours. As I said, we normally have a tenant in the house up and cash flowing within 60 days.
Clint: Yeah, and that’s going to be dependent upon the condition of the property because you can have a tenant or someone that moves into a house that was manufactured eight years ago and they completely destroy that property.
Glenn: When you say destroy it, the best deals we’ve ever bought are the ones that are the roughest, but we still can be out of the houses in no time because like I said there could be some flooring works or stuff if they did really mess it up. But no, we are doing primarily lipstick. That’s what we’re doing. There’s no heavy lifting on these houses. It’s usually pretty simple.
Clint: But the structural integrity then, as you stated to nail this point down, it’s the same as a stick-built house from the ground-up, that if I wanted to go in, let’s say the floors, I wanted to pull out the carpets and I wanted to harden the whole property. Put in tiles, put in something […] or something on the countertops as well, no problem to do that?
Glenn: No problem whatsoever. A lot of times, depending on the situation, sometimes we’ll do something of that stuff, yes.
Clint: Got it. Let’s talk about price. We’re thinking of a manufactured home, typically how much of a discount can someone expect when they’re buying a manufactured home versus a traditional house built?
Glenn: That’s the beauty of it. I’ll use the Dallas Fort Worth area as an example. We’re going to be in one of our properties all in, I say. All in means acquisition cost plus rehab. It doesn’t matter which is which, but we’re going to be in it somewhere between $80,000 and $90,000. That house is probably going to rent for somewhere between $1200 and $1400 a month.
A stick-built, a site-built home that size in this area is probably going to start somewhere in the neighborhood of $250-$275. It’s a tremendous discount. A lot of times it’s a third to a half of the price depending on the area, the state, and the rents return way better money. Even if you fix and flip it, you’ve got bigger spreads in these houses than a lot of the single-family houses.
Clint: These homes, when it comes to finding a tenant, do you have to advertise it as a manufactured home when you’re leasing it or do you just say house for rent?
Glenn: Not at all. In a matter of fact, I’ll tell you what really happens in a lot of cases. Once again I’ll use the Dallas Fort Worth area as an example. Let’s take a 2000 square foot manufactured home. We’re going to rent that thing probably for somewhere between $1200-$1400. The site-built house will probably be $2000 a month plus we’re giving them an acre tract of land where the site-built house may have no place and usually in a better school district, too. In a lot of cases, we have people that prefer our houses versus the site-built houses.
Clint: Because of the location and the nature of the property […].
Glenn: The room to play, the yard for the kids to play in, all of the above. More square footage for the dollar. Better bank for their dollar.
Clint: What’s driving the increase in rent for the site-built versus the manufactured? Because if all things are the same, if you’re looking at a 2400 square foot home, why would you demand more for the site-built home?
Glenn: People pay more for them. I think with a lot of people, there’s a certain amount of people that want to live in a site-built house and not manufactured homes. There’s always a spread, but when you look at the numbers proportionally, like I said, $80,000–$90,000 for $1400 a month rent, versus $250–$275 for $2000 a month rent. Which one’s cash flow is better? Obviously it’s a no brainer.
Here’s the one thing that, just like you are, I’m part of the Think Realty Group as a resident expert and we went to Washington last year with the group. The Congress People know that there’s an affordability crisis in America. There’s a lot of places people cannot afford to buy homes.
Actually, Ben Carson is a big advocate for manufactured homes. You can Google it, he’s talking about they’re not for trailer parks anymore. They’re trying to get the municipality to ease up on the zoning to get more of them in because they are starting to recognize its need and how nice they are. It’s getting legs in Washington, too.
Clint: When you talk about zoning for these properties, let’s say I own a piece of land right now. I have a half-acre lot. If I had all utilities there, what would it take to buy a new one? Or maybe find an existing one. I want to pick it up and move it. Do you run into different challenges with permitting this type of property versus traditional?
Glenn: If you’re in the city of Dallas, you can’t do it.
Clint: Why is that?
Glenn: They just don’t let you. That’s why they have the zoning requirements. We buy properties usually about 30 miles outside of Downtown Dallas and Downtown Fort Worth. That’s where the properties are. They start in the suburbs where there are nicer school districts. It’s in the county and that’s where most of them are.
If you go to North and South Carolina, you’ll see manufactured homes next to brick houses. The zoning is a lot more lax there because North and South Carolina almost one out of five families live in manufactured homes, like 18%–19%, so it’s a lot more common there.
Clint: The county then has drawn a distinction on the home itself. If it’s classified as a manufactured home then they may have zoning that prevents the placement of that type of property within the county or the city.
Glenn: […] the county. It’s the cities, normally, that will have their certain subdivisions just for single-family homes. Usually, they’re on the outskirts of the city where the manufactured home subdivisions are. The beauty of it is once again there’s no permits, there’s no counties, there’s none of this stuff you deal with […].
Clint: What you just said, you’re buying in an actual manufactured home community, so when you come into that community, there’s going to be a lot of homes in there that look similar to yours, correct?
Glenn: Same as a single-family house community. They’re on an acre to two-acre tracts of land and a lot of them are really nice. There’s a bunch of different styles, a bunch of different looks. They look good.
Clint: If I had a piece of property then, and I wanted to put one of these homes on my existing lots. I’m not thinking of buying in the existing community. I just realized why go through the process right now? Trying to get a contractor number one is difficult. Trying to get a quality contractor in this market is almost impossible unless you know someone who knows someone that can give you that connection. What is one of these things that cost brand new? Right out of the factory?
Clint: Expense on the square footage I would say, manufactured homes are just like cars. There’s a low-end, middle-end, and a high end. You got to keep that in mind. They’re going to start somewhere probably at $60,000–$70,000 new and go to maybe $100,000–$120,000. That’s probably where the ranges for most of them if they’re brand new.
When we buy them, when we’re buying the existing used ones, we’re buying the land and the home normally like in the Carolinas, we’re buying those for usually $45,000–$50,000 is the all-in price. There’s a difference between Texas and the Carolinas and Georgia. In Texas, the land is a lot more too. The land is worth $40,000–$50,000 for one that’s ready with all the utilities. Say the home is $100,000. It’s more in Texas than in the Carolinas and Georgia so to speak, but it’s substantially less than a single-family home no matter what you do, substantially-wise.
Clint: Sure. To me that would be an interesting place that if you find lots rather than build your own property consider putting a manufactured home in there. If you intend to treat it as a rental and you’re definitely going to save money and your cap rates are going to go up because it’s not going to be as expensive. How about financing these things, any problem with that?
Glenn: We use all private money. We’re using […] private money. We have lending sources for our investors. It’s not the traditional Fannie and Freddie that you get in a single-family house. There are lenders out there that do it. Most of our investors pay cash for it. They just pay cash for them. The cash flow is so good. They pay cash for them and they’re happy doing that.
Clint: Am I hearing you correctly? Will this not fall in Freddie and Fannie guidelines?
Glenn: No. It’s other lenders. It’s like the Tier 2, Tier 3 lenders. There are people out there that do it absolutely.
Clint: Okay. That’s definitely a different way of investing. You mentioned five states. Why did you choose those five states?
Glenn: Because that’s where the homes are and we got a bunch more, too. We’re going to continue to grow. We know that Florida is a great state, Alabama is a great state, Louisiana is, Arkansas is, Oklahoma is. It’s more the southern states than the northern states. The northern states, there are more mobile homes parks that way. That’s really what’s up north for the most part. There’s parks in California up on the West Coast, too, Arizona and Las Vegas. There are pockets that do what we do, too. We just go where the houses are. That’s what we do.
Clint: Okay, because you found that’s a predominantly better area. The appreciation on them, are you talking about the Dallas market going back to that? You said that almost doubled, so I would imagine it’s not going to appreciate quite as fast as a site-built home.
Glenn: No, they actually do.
Glenn: Yeah. Percentage wise, they go up and down about the same percentages as the site-built homes in those areas. Using the Dallas Fort Worth area as an example, what I said earlier, the single-family home was maybe a hundred and a quarter back in 2012. It’s the same thing. It’s doubled just like how our houses have doubled. It’s pretty proportionate how they appreciate over time.
Clint: I get into this property and it’s producing great cash flow for me and I decided I want to sell this property in ten years. What challenges will I face then trying to sell it? Because just as you stated early, they sit on the MLS. People are looking past them. Is it, (a) because of the way they look at it, but (b) because of the financing?
Glenn: No, not at all. If you’re selling to an individual who’s going to live in the house, you can get FHA financing. The same FHA that’s not available for investors, but if you’re looking to sell it, you do the exact same thing as if you sell a single-family house.
Clint: Okay, that’s what I was missing when I asked you about the FHA. I was wondering if you could obtain financing?
Glenn: As long as you’re living and owner […].
Clint: Owner […].
Glenn: The same FHA financing as a single-family house. The same one.
Clint: Perfect. That makes a lot of sense. You’ve been doing this for a while and you find these homes. You source these properties for individuals, but you also train people on how to do this. I’m looking at your website, you got a great training package. Can you tell me a little bit about what that consists of?
Glenn: It’s a seven-hour online course that gives you the A–Z of what we do. I feel a real mission. Like I said, I really do believe this is the best-kept secret on real estate investing and I really want to help people. I believe in the abundance mentality. There’s plenty for us. There’s plenty for other people.
We’ve got an online course. I think it’s priced very very well, $1497 and it gives you the A–Z of […]. It’s not just theory. It’s what my company does every day. It’s designed to show somebody how to do it and to me, it’s such a no brainer for people because you want to go where the people are. I’ve heard the phrase all my life, “There are riches in niches,” and I found out that is very, very true. Our goal was to help a lot of people to help them learn and do what we do.
Clint: At the end of the day, we’re building our portfolios, we want to create cash flow, so what do you say is the typical cap rate on a property like this?
Glenn: When we’re buying a home, fixing it up, and renting it out, for a $50,000 investment and that’s where the leverage is. We’re paying a note in our finance deal, we’re making $400–$500 a month on the property. I don’t really figure by cap rate, but it’s good. It’s really really good. Like I said, substantially there’s way more cash flow in these than on our own single-family homes.
Clint: Why did you say owner-financed? Are a lot of these you’re approaching the sellers and they’re carrying the note?
Glenn: Sorry, I didn’t say that right. I’m bringing in lenders, someone who’s financing the property for me. They’re financing the $50,000 and I’m paying them an interest rate so that way I can rinse and repeat and do it over and over again.
Clint: What is the average price outside the Dallas market, let’s say they’re working with you.
Glenn: Like I said in the Carolinas, our all-in prices normally are $40,000–$50,000. That’s typically the all-in price.
Clint: And you’re making $400 and you leverage on what percent? 80% leverage on that deal?
Glenn: We’re actually leveraging at 100%. Our investors will leverage the whole thing. We teach people how to do that, too, because it puts their money to work. We’re buying the house. Let me say this. We’re buying it at $50,000, right? Let’s say our all-in cost is $50,000. That home is probably worth $70,000, $75,000, $80,000, in some cases $100,000. They’ve got plenty of spread in there, but our investors are financing the whole $50,000.
Clint: Got it. So you’re getting it at that price which then you have the built-in equity, so if you’re working with a traditional lender, you’re going to meet all their lending guidelines and that is what they’re going to see in it.
Glenn: Absolutely, yes.
Clint: Wow, that is a big spread that’s available inside those properties.
Glenn: Absolutely. The nice thing is we teach people. This is how we get a lot of our properties. We call real estate. We’re active in REI groups. Those throwaway mobile homes leads, just send them to us. You’ll do nothing, we convert them and pay you $1000. We probably get three deals a month doing it that way too.
Clint: You keep saying mobile homes, is that the best way to refer to this product or is it manufactured home?
Glenn: Honestly, Clint, the terms are synonymous. Manufactured homes is the current phrase for it. Once again we talked about that […]. That’s what they call them today, but technically they’re the same thing. The manufactured homes, like we talked about earlier, that’s how people picture the double-wides, the bigger, the nicer, whatever. Once again, the terms are actually the same, but that’s the terminology in this industry right now. They call them manufactured home versus mobile.
Clint: Interesting. Again, if people want to learn more, they need to go to your website to get this training. Seven hours for $1497 to learn how to go out and put these deals together, how to work with REIs, how to find them. I don’t know. That’s a great investment for that type of return.
Glenn: It is. We try to make it very affordable and once again we’re not looking at this as a big money-maker. I know it sounds corny, but we really want to help people. We really, really do. I’ve always believed what comes around goes around and I think we’ve had a lot of people purchase them. We’ve had a tremendous response from it that people have loved it.
Clint: It’s not some time-limited thing, either, where I have to watch it in eight hours and I have seven hours of content.
Glenn: You do it at your pace. Unfortunately, I think there are people that buy it and do nothing, which makes no sense to me, but I think it’s happened. No, it’s all your pace.
Clint: I got a link in the show notes for those individuals who want to check out your website and check out the training, but anything else that you’d like the audience to know about manufactured homes and what you do?
Glenn: Like I said, we have another opportunity for investors. If there’s anybody else there that wants to invest, they can feel free to contact my email or call me directly either way. We got opportunities there, but I just think it’s something to […]. If your people are in areas where these things are, it’s a no brainer in my opinion. They learn how to do this, they’ll make really good money. It’s not hard.
Clint: Yeah, definitely. You piqued my interest and I’m now reconsidering what I’m looking for as well. Glenn, thanks for coming on today. This has been very informative and I know people are going to get a lot of information out of here that’s going to help them with their investing going forward. I hope to get you back on the show later this year as well. We’ll talk about how your investment is doing in these different states, and we’ll see how much success our clients are having as well,
Glenn: Sounds great, Clint. Once again thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it.
Clint: Thank you, Glenn. Take care.
Glenn: Have a good one. Bye-bye.