Interview with Affordable Housing Influencer Franco Perez of Franco Mobile Homes

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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 Franco Perez of Franco Mobile Homes. 

Franco is a Forbes Featured Mobile Home Expert, Affordable Housing Influencer and Author, YouTuber and Manufactured Housing Innovator. He is on a mission to break the stereotype of mobile home ownership by showcasing the “green” energy efficient process of building mobile homes, along with the opportunities manufactured housing provides for low income families to build equity vs. renting. Franco Perez also discusses how affordable housing can uplift an entire community as he has seen in San Jose, California. With his YouTube channel, Franco Perez reaches the younger generation, showing them that owning your own home is feasible. 

After years of dedication to his vision, Franco has established a devoted team to unlock the pathway to homeownership and help families establish financial security through mobile home ownership.

Andrew and Franco discuss what they feel created the mobile home park stigma, the Mobile Home Park asset class in San Jose, the economics of the area, the importance of educating the younger generation and some of the pitfalls that new investors, owners, and manufactured housing developers may experience within the mobile home park industry.

***Andrew Keel and Keel Team Real Estate Investments (Keel Team, LLC) do not endorse any interviewee. This interview is for informational purposes only and should not be depended upon for investment purposes. ***

Andrew Keel is the owner of Keel Team, LLC, a Top 100 Owner of Manufactured Housing Communities with over 2,500 lots under management. His team currently manages over 40 manufactured housing communities across more than 10 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. Check out to learn more. 

Andrew has been featured on some of the Top Podcasts in the manufactured housing space, click here to listen to his most recent interviews: 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

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Talking Points:

00:21 – Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast

01:50 – Franco Perez’s background and journey into the Mobile Home Park industry

06:31 – The gap between renting and what people can afford

10:19 – The importance of knowing the value of your mobile home

13:45 – The stigma of mobile home parks in San Jose, CA

16:45 – Environmentally friendly mobile home park building and green production

19:58 – The “Not In My Backyard” Mentality (NIMBY)

21:40 – The cumbersome process of renovating a manufactured home

24:13 – Appreciation and equity

25:00 – Entities that want to close down Mobile Home Park communities

28:12 – The Economics of the Area: Where is the money flowing?

30:25 – Getting past the stigma of mobile home parks by reaching out to younger generations

32:35 – Reaching out to Franco Perez, contact info

33:18 – Conclusion


Links & Mentions from This Episode:

Franco Mobile Homes: 

Franco’s YouTube Channel: 

Franco Mobile Homes Instagram: 

Keel Team’s official website:  

Andrew Keel’s official website:  

Andrew Keel LinkedIn:  

Andrew Keel Facebook page: 

Andrew Keel Instagram page: 

Twitter: @MHPinvestors


Andrew: Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing podcast. This is your host, Andrew Keel. Today we have an amazing guest in Mr. Franco Perez.

Before we dive in, I want to ask you a real quick favor. Would you mind please taking an extra 30 seconds and head over to iTunes to rate this podcast with 5 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.

Franco Perez is on a mission to create affordable housing in Silicon Valley. Inspired to reimagine mobile homes and expand affordable housing opportunities, he discovered that the Bay Area’s mobile home parks offer an abundance of underused land with great growth potential.

After years of dedication to his vision, Franco has established a devoted team of like-minded individuals who strive to unlock the pathway to home ownership and help families establish financial security where it might otherwise seem impossible. Franco, we’re excited to welcome you to the show, brother.

Franco: I’m so excited to be here, too. I was mentioning earlier that I feel like we’ve met many times before, actually, so it’s really cool to connect here.

Andrew: Totally. I know you spoke at MHI Congress and Expo this year, and then also at SECO. I’m excited to have you jump on here and talk about affordable housing, so this will be fun.

Franco: I’m excited as well.

Andrew: Awesome. Would you mind starting out by telling us a little about your story and how in the world you got into manufactured housing of all things?

Franco: Long story short, I had immigrant parents from the Philippines, moved over, made their way to San Jose, California. Had a weird situation where my parents divorced. My dad was the main breadwinner, and I was left with my single mom and my younger sister at about 17–18 years old.

From there, I immediately had to give up a lot. I had to quit school, start working right away. I remember at the end of every single month the pain that I felt having to just gather as much money as I could just to pay for rent. That to me was the beginning of my learning lesson of understanding why the world’s this way.

I feel like we’re good people. Why is it that the wealthy get to benefit from home ownership while people like me are the working class? I can only rent, and it’s very difficult to own.

From there I work my way to being a real estate agent. Did that for a long while. Hated it, actually. I mainly just hated the part of having to tell people, you don’t make enough, you don’t have enough saved, and unfortunately if you make more or if you save more, I can help you later down the line. But the truth of it is that I knew that they were in my shoes that I felt back then, and it’s hard to find guidance when you aren’t in the right position.

I left being a regular real estate agent, dedicated my life to try and find a way just to help make homes more accessible for families of the working class and to get out of that rental rat race.

I accidentally came across mobile home parks. From what I thought mobile home parks were, I thought they were trailer trash communities for criminals and drug dealers, because that’s what we see in the media. But come to find out, there are a lot of beautiful things about mobile home parks and communities.

The main thing that I love is actually diving into it. There are working class families starting their wealth-building journey inside these communities. This is something that’s really missed and really underrated. We see that this is a place where people can actually feel financially secure in an expensive area like our area, which is the Silicon Valley, which is more expensive than anywhere else than most places in the country.

This has allowed for people to feel financially secure or build themselves out of being a mobile homeowner into a regular real estate owner, dedicated to building a business around helping people get out of that rental rat race into mobile home ownership and helping people transition from there to real estate.

Now, we convert a lot of old mobile homes into large, beautiful, 2000-square foot, 12-foot-high ceiling homes, and breaking stigmas as much as we can.

Andrew: That’s so awesome.

Franco: Where we’re at today,

Andrew: That is so fun, man. I think it’s important to note that in San Jose, California, the average home value is over $1.3 million. The average rental amount for an 800-square foot apartment is over $3000 a month. Obviously, big numbers in an area that desperately needs affordable housing, and manufactured housing is a big provider of that.

Where else are police officers, new nurses, teachers, mechanics, restaurant workers going to live? You want and need these people in any community to be able to have a good quality of life. And you want it to be a win-win where they can afford to live there and they don’t have to bust in from an hour away just to to work these jobs. It’s desperately needed.

Franco: It’s so important.

Andrew: It’s so, so important. Tell us about how manufactured housing is playing a role, specifically? What are you seeing? I know you have a dealership. You have a brokerage. You also do some consulting for mobile home park owners. How big is manufactured housing in San Jose? What don’t we know about this area and how it’s playing a role?

Franco: You touched on a lot of things there, and I want to get to two important things. One is that a lot of people don’t know about mobile home parks. I lived in San Jose for several years. People don’t have an excuse to go into a mobile home community unless you know somebody that lives there.

To my surprise, in our county, we have over 60 mobile home parks within that county. Most people don’t know about these, and in many metro cities they’re spread out throughout and there are several out there.

The second part is, you touched on the housing situation and the actual housing problem. I’m going to talk about our area in Silicon Valley. I was mentioning to you before that this is a housing problem that might be unique to our area, but it’s going to be a problem that will come up in many metro growing cities as well.

The prices I’m going to mention might be higher than most. I don’t want you to feel like it’s irrelevant, but the ratios are the same. Like you said, a two-bedroom apartment here goes for about $3300 a month for rent. An average single family home is around that $1.3–$1.4 million price point.

How does somebody that’s renting at that amount ever dream of owning a piece of real estate one day? Because that gap is too far to reach, it then becomes a dream and people start to lose faith that they’ll ever be able to grow their wealth. We need a bridge in between or a stepping stone in between.

What I love about mobile homes is that it’s a perfect in-between, it’s a hybrid of both. The owners are able to own the asset that’s above the land. They don’t actually own the land, which some people see as a huge flaw, but the truth is, it’s the big pro is that it’s a more attainable purchase price and they get to control the asset above.

An average mobile home in our area is about $300,000. If someone were to purchase a single family home, if they wanted to buy one, 10% of $1.3 million is $130,000. Whereas if they wanted to purchase a mobile home, 10% of $300,000 is only $30,000 as a down payment.

Now, their space front would be about $1000 and their mortgage would look somewhere around $2600. With that being said, this allows for someone that’s renting at $3300 just to pay just a little bit more, but start to get a lot of the benefits of home ownership, which is leveraging a loan to build their net worth, which is appreciation, which a lot of people don’t understand, these appreciate in many areas. It also allows for them to get tax benefits as well.

These benefits of home ownership is what allows for them to switch their current personal cash flow from full rent and ending up with nothing, to a better model with the mobile home ownership, that they’re able to have part of that cash flow going back to something that they can sell later down the line.

This is that zero-to-one mentality, helping people understand personal cash flow, get them out of where they’re at to a better cash flow, to then sell their mobile home later, and then be able to attain housing. The way it is now, there’s a huge wealth gap. We have to keep that bridge, and keep stepping stones in between.

Andrew: Totally agree. What mistakes have you seen manufactured housing investors make in your area? I know you’ve been doing this a while.

Franco: There are a lot of different angles. There are the park owners and then there are the residents themselves. What’s beautiful about what we do is that it benefits all parties and the social elements of it as well.

Every jurisdiction has different laws, and there are some entities that will drastically increase rents thinking that this is going to be the overall solution right away. Whereas we want to leverage the tool of them having this home as an asset, allowing for them to take care of the community, and building on whether it’s clubhouse and amenities or whether it’s allowing more access for the residents themselves to upgrade their old home to a new one.

That’s exactly what we’re known for as well. A lot of these people don’t know the value of their home. We teach them that this is an asset that they have. We enable them to understand that you can invest in your home replacing your old one for a new one, and this becomes a beautiful asset that you got a loan for but the end result is a higher asset for you.

Also, without the park owner having to put any value into that home, this raises the comps of the community, which allows more people to build up their homes as well. That whole concept and model is the beauty of what we do and how it benefits the park owners. It benefits the residents. It makes them feel more happy and comfortable that there are newer homes around. It also helps them understand that their home is a valuable asset and it appreciates by beautifying the park altogether.

Andrew: Got you. You’re a real promoter and fan of owning manufactured homes as a wealth-building vehicle for the service workers, the working class. Is that a good synopsis?

Franco: Absolutely. But we work as well with park owners also. We help do consulting as far as how we fill in their lots and that sort of thing. We just try to generally do all-around mobile home stuff as well.

Andrew: Very cool. My wife has an aunt that lives in a manufactured home in Huntington Beach. We went to her community, went out to dinner with them, and it was just amazing. They’re a couple of blocks away from the beach. They own the home, but they pay space rent. It may seem expensive, but this was the only way for them to live in Huntington Beach, which is an amazing, beautiful area.

I think there’s that stigma of like, oh aunt so and so lives in a mobile home. Oh, but it’s two blocks away from the beach and it’s in Huntington Beach, California, which is an amazing area that they can walk to downtown Huntington Beach.

There’s a stigma around living in a mobile home, and I’m curious how that stigma looks in San Jose. If it’s still there where people are choosing a lifestyle decision more so than something you tell your friends at the country club.

Franco: You touched on a very important thing. It is that stigma. Unfortunately, our only association with mobile homes is like what I mentioned earlier, is what we know from movies and TV. What we see is from Breaking Bad or Eminem videos, it’s the lowest of low.

But we have to understand that just like apartment buildings, there are apartment buildings that you don’t want your kids going around. It’s unsafe and that sort of thing. But there are also luxury-style apartments, where it’s resort-like, that sort of thing.

It’s the same spectrum with mobile home parks. There are bad, trashy parks. But there are also beautiful, luxurious communities with tennis courts, spas, gyms and that sort of thing, that shouldn’t be ignored and should be known that we should understand the asset class as a beautiful thing as well. It’s that misunderstanding and false stigma that causes us to feel like this is not a good thing.

Andrew: How hard would it be to get a manufactured housing community developed from scratch in San Jose today?

Franco: Oh, almost impossible. You see, in San Jose it’s a very dense area. Now, it’s only until recently that people started to understand why mobile homes are so important and that sort of thing. To be honest, in the dense core of these cities it’s going to be very difficult. The outskirts, however, are going to be a very viable thing.

I was just helping consult for a friend over in this Reno area. There’s this Tesla gigafactory that was just built east of Reno, and they’re trying to find the best way to get housing for their workers. This became the best use case for them to want to develop.

What we’ve realized is that with regular stick-built housing, if we look back, it’s built the same way it was a hundred years back, and there was no improvement. But when we look at everything we own—the phones, the cars—it was all improved by building out on an assembly line. That’s what’s allowed for it to be accessible for everybody.

I use this analogy a lot. Cars were originally only built for the rich and wealthy, and it was only until they built it on an assembly line in a streamlined way that we got cars accessible to everybody.

That’s exactly what we’re doing with mobile homes. We’re building these homes in a controlled environment, in a factory on an assembly line. That assembly line allows us to build with quality, to make the labor cost way more effective. In the end of the assembly line, having a much more affordable, attainable, and very quality home at the end. That’s the whole goal.

The premise of why we’re doing what we’re doing is we have to lower the cost and keep it attainable for everyone. If you see the videos that we do in these factories, it’s amazing how streamlined this is. People have to see how beautiful this whole process is. It is the future, whether we like it or not.

Andrew: And I think one aspect that gets overlooked is how green this initiative is. I was shocked at MHI to see that Clayton Homes only has one trash can full of waste for every manufactured home that they build.

There’s a housing development going up around where I live, and literally there are dumpsters out front of every home, and it’s like they’re getting dumped once a week. These are 40-cubic-yard dumpsters that every week are getting torn down or trash is getting filled and getting taken off to the landfill. It’s way less efficient.

Franco: It’s so much more green. The carbon emissions are way better. Just like you said, the actual stats that we pulled from that is that every single site-built home in a traditionally-built home that’s about 1500 square feet, there are more than three huge dumpster trucks of trash because that’s the easiest way to get rid of that.

Now, when we do a factory built home in a 1500 square foot, the same sized home, there’s less than a third of a dumpster truck of trash. The key thing to understand is that because we’re in a factory, there’s so much more of the reusability of the material.

When they cut a big piece of lumber, they know that if they cut that piece, they have a place to store the extra material over to another department that might need it. Whereas on a regular site, the easiest thing for us to do is just trash it and get rid of it. But because it’s in an assembly line, in a processed way, we can now optimize how we waste less material, how do we build better quality.

It’s the same as car production. That’s exactly what we have to do with housing. Just like you said, it’s great for the environment, it’s great for the social element of affordability, and it also provides quality jobs for people in many areas that need it.

I was just at a factory last week. I also got to point this out, too. On a regular job construction site in a traditional home, it’s all men working there. I was at a factory last week, and there were so many women jobs that were created because they’re in a factory. They don’t have to do a lot of the heavy lifting. They can do a lot of things, and it creates equal opportunity in jobs like that situation, too.

Andrew: That’s a great point. Wow. I never thought of that. That’s so true. Obviously Franco, you love manufactured housing. I’m a big fan of it. There’s a stigma that we acknowledge, but there are a lot of benefits to it. But let’s play devil’s advocate here. Why would someone not want to live in a manufactured home?

Franco: I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding. We do have to understand that every market in every city has its own different problems and priorities. One big thing that’s against our industry today is a lot of this not-in-my-backyard mentality. A huge energy of that is from the fact that we feel like having a mobile home park in our city brings in bad quality people, and that’s where our homeless communities are coming from or our drug problem is stemming from.

I think that has to all go away. We have to really understand what these communities look like in real life and not just what we see on TV, not just what we take in from the news or the media.

And why would someone not want to live in it? We have people coming from both ends. We have people downsizing, we have people coming out of renting and upsizing into these, but I think one of it is really a sense of that stigma.

Andrew: The stigma, yeah. The stigma of, oh, you live in a trailer home or something like that.

You were at the convention in SECO in Atlanta, and there were several Cavco homes that were set up there. I walked through all of them and it was absolutely stunning. If you haven’t walked through a manufactured home ever or at least in the last 10 years, they look completely different. They are full-on regular homes.

The stigma’s a big reason why someone wouldn’t want to live there. You rehab a ton of manufactured homes, too. It’s different. There’s different size drywall, there are different size windows, different size doors, the bathroom, size of the tubs. Everything is different sizes and special order.

Renovating manufactured homes can actually be quite cumbersome because you have to order stuff from a preferred manufacturer/supplier. I think that’s one thing that caught me off guard, like, oh, we can’t just go up to Home Depot, buy a tub, and put it in here. No. You got to special order the fiberglass a certain size. Would you agree with that from your experience?

Franco: It is a tedious thing, but there are usually some fixes again for that. I’m a part of a lot of factory consulting as well, and we’ve actually discussed that we have to start having more universal products.

But when it comes to any industry or any space, it’s like what’s more important than the other? It’s like, do we streamline price and value? Or do we make it easier for someone to fix up an older home.

There’s not much we can do about the homes that were already built in the past. That’s where a lot of these issues really come from. These past 1970s or 1980s homes still use whatever piping material it was back then and we don’t have that material anymore. Or because like we mentioned, they have a specific manufacturer that they have to get from.

Do we feel like the more important value is getting an affordable home for a family? That is going to be one of the flaws is maintaining it sometimes.

Andrew: Maintaining it might be a bit more expensive.

Franco: Yeah. But the pro of it is it’s actually something you own. We could play devil’s advocate on both sides. Should I rent where I don’t have to worry about maintaining anything? Or do I have an asset that will appreciate and that sort of thing? I don’t mind taking care of these little $500 fixes a year.

Andrew: Sure, and Franco, in your part of the country in San Jose, if you bought a manufactured home brand new from the factory back in 2000, and now it’s 2023, what type of appreciation would you have seen over that 23-year hold period?

Franco: In the last two years, we’ve seen an appreciation of more than 22%. That’s for an average 1970s home, which is huge. You own something that’s worth a hundred. Immediately, just by owning it, not doing anything, they’ve appreciated their net worth by $20,000 or more. That upside appreciation can make a big difference for a working class family.

Andrew: Totally. What’s the biggest threat to manufactured housing in your eyes?

Franco: That’s hard for me to think of something about that, but I’d say probably these entities that feel like this isn’t the right space for it, that want to close down communities. We have a lot of conversations around that lately. That’s part of our agenda is protecting and preserving these communities, to make sure that it is there to have housing accessible for people.

Andrew: Yeah. Like in San Jose, I’m sure if we take the square foot of a mobile home park, one of those 60 parks, and we said we’re going to tear this down and we’re going to build 300 apartments here, that probably pencils out. The numbers probably make sense if you’re renting those apartments at $3000, $4000, $5000 a month. How is the municipality, zoning and so forth making sure that doesn’t happen?

Franco: I’m glad you brought that up because I’m a big part of that as well. That’s a big thing that homeowners of mobile homes are very much afraid of. But what they don’t realize is that there’s very much an eminent domain approach to all of these.

This just happened in San Jose about a year-and-a-half ago, where a community was purchased and they did development of apartments and that sort of thing. But the key thing happening at the end of that is that the residents of that community ended up getting 160% of what their home value was worth.

They did a full appraisal of what their home was worth, and they had the option of either offering up an apartment to one of those families or getting them what the value of their home would be, plus the moving costs of having them move. The key element is they still have that asset. I think a lot of people are fearful that if that happens, their $300,000 investment is just completely gone.

We have to understand that banks are smart people, too. If we’re getting a loan from this entity and they’re investing 80% loan-to-value on our mobile home, they know their protections as well. They’re not going to make a huge risk knowing that this can one day close and then their assets are gone.

There are several protections that protect the residents themselves. But there are going to be times where that is the right thing for that city. The key thing is making sure that everyone gets what they deserve as far as compensation.

Andrew: Totally. There’s a right way to go about it. A lot of our listeners are passive investors, typically investing in apartments and things like that. If you were going to passively invest into a mobile home park with another operator or something, what would you say are the most important things that you’d look for in the deal or in the park itself?

Franco: I’m a big nerd on the economics of areas. I think that’s a key thing to understand. Where are the jobs coming from? Where’s the money flowing? And is this a future big need for that area? A lot of markets in North Carolina, a lot of markets in Florida where you’re at, if we understand the migration of people going in versus going out, and if we understand if housing is going to be a future problem four or five years down the line, that’s typically an area that I’d like to invest in.

Bozeman, Montana was something that my good friend noticed a while back, and it became a huge appreciating area from there. When you know econ and understand markets, you have this insight of, even if I make a ton of mistakes on the investments, you have a lot of wiggle room to be safe, and way more room to mess up and still come out positive. That’s how I would look at things.

Andrew: That’s a great tip. Looking at population trends, a website that we look at is They will show you what the population looks like over the last five years. Is it going up? Is it going down? A place like Bozeman is just skyrocketing, like 20%–30% per year population growth. When you have that happening, what does the value of homes do? What’s skyrocketing as well? And it’s pricing people out.

I remember in Denver. There was insane appreciation year over year because there were just such high net migration numbers. What happens is these working class people that we talked about earlier get priced out fast, and that’s where manufacturing manufactured housing becomes such a viable option. It’s just getting over that stigma.

I’m curious because, obviously, San Jose is exactly like that. How are people getting over that stigma? Do they need to just walk through a manufactured home and see that it’s not 8 Mile? How are you getting people through that hurdle?

Franco: What really made it for us has been our YouTube channel. I think part of what I’ve realized from nerding out on mobile homes is that we can’t get past that stigma, and how do we learn what younger generations are going to think, too.

Younger generations learn through video and visuals. That’s exactly what we’re doing now. We create video content of inside a factory. This is how windows are placed, this is how women are able to have jobs in this area. This is how we protect the quality of how this roof will look.

Then also showcasing tours of the beautiful homes we’ve built at the end product. This is a 12-foot high ceiling, quartz countertop, waterfall-style island, stainless steel appliances, and it’s 1600 square feet, three bedroom, two bath. People have to see this in real life to believe it.

There are so many fake concepts out there. I love it, I like innovation and that sort of thing, but what we have to realize is this is an already working thing. This has already been happening for several years. We’re building over, I believe, about 100,000 manufactured homes a year that’s already working. It’s something that’s already helping families.

We have to teach through video. As much as I sometimes hate being on video, sometimes I know the value of it and I know how it’s going to help people understand it. I feel, in my opinion, that’s the only way.

Andrew: Franco Perez is making mobile homes cool again. I love it. I love your YouTube channel. It’s super cool, it’s educational, and adds a lot of value.

Franco, if any of our listeners would like to get a hold of you or find out more about you, what’s the best way for them to do so?

Franco: All of our links are on Or you could just google Franco Mobile Homes. You should be able to find our stuff there. We also have 3D tours. If you’re listening to this—I know it’s a podcast—I urge people to take a look at these Matterport 3D tours of the homes. Our team does a good job of pushing the stigmas with the smart tech and all of that. I’d love for you guys to be able to see that firsthand.

Andrew: Super cool, Franco, Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Franco: Thanks for having me. I love what you’re doing as well, so thanks for doing this.

Andrew: That’s it for today, folks. Thank you so much for tuning in.

Andrew is a passionate commercial real estate investor, husband, father and fitness fanatic. His specialty is in acquiring and operating manufactured housing communities. Visit for more details on Andrew's story.

Keel Team provides unique opportunities for passive investors to enter the mobile home park asset class without having to deal with the headaches of tenants, toilets or trash.


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