Interview with Jordan Nodel of Nodel Parks

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Welcome back to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast, hosted by Andrew Keel. In this episode of the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast our host Andrew Keel interviews Jordan Nodel of Nodel Parks.

Jordan Nodel, the Principal of Nodel Parks headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, oversees a diverse portfolio of over 40 mobile home parks spanning across 10 states, including the unique landscape of Alaska.

On this episode of the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast, Andrew Keel and Jordan Nodel discuss Jordan’s journey into mobile home park investing and the nuanced generational differences in approach when evaluating mobile home park investments and making mobile home park management decisions. They also discuss strategic considerations such as optimal locations for mobile home park investments, emphasizing areas with burgeoning growth and employment opportunities. They also discuss competing in the mobile home park sales market and how short-term investment perspectives often clash with long-term sustainability goals. They both agree on investing in larger, more attractive mobile home park properties, particularly those equipped with essential public utilities for operational efficiency and ideal scale.

Tune in to uncover Jordan Nodel’s comprehensive outlook on the Mobile Home Park Industry, including his strategies for effectively managing his mobile home park portfolio scattered across the entire United States (from Alaska to Alabama), and Jordan’s insights into what defines “the perfect mobile home park.”

***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 3,000 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

01:20 – How Jordan Nodel got started in mobile home park investing

06:41 – Generational differences in buying criteria when choosing mobile home park deals and purchasing new mobile home parks.

09:02 – Buying mobile home parks in optimal locations with growth and employment opportunities

11:56 – Competing against other mobile home park investors who have a short-term outlook on their investments

14:00 – Larger and more appealing mobile home park locations, preferably with public utilities

15:45 – Investing in commercial real estate

16:53 – Stability and upside in a mobile home park for the residents and the investors

21:41 – From Alaska to Alabama: how Jordan Nodel manages his mobile home parks when they are so spread out

23:55 – People who are in the mobile home park business for quick money

26:00 – Getting in touch with Jordan Nodel

26:46 – The importance of trust in investing

27:28 – Conclusion


Links & Mentions from This Episode:

Nodel Parks website:

Keel Team’s official website: 

Andrew Keel’s official website:  

Andrew Keel LinkedIn: 

Andrew Keel Facebook page:

Andrew Keel Instagram page:

Twitter: @MHPinvestors


Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing podcast. With your host, Andrew Keel. This is the podcast where you can get the education you need to invest 100% passively in a highly profitable niche of mobile home parks.

Andrew: Welcome to the passive mobile home park investing podcast. This is your host. Andrew Keel and today we have a special guest in Mr. Jordan Nodel of Nodel Parks on the show. Before we dive in, I want to cut a deal with you. If you get more than $500 of value out of this episode, would you mind heading over to wherever you listen to podcasts at and leave this podcast a review? It should take 30 seconds or so, and it means the world to me. Thanks for taking the time to do that. 

Alright, let’s dive in. Jordan Nodel, based in Michigan, is a principal at Nodel Parks. Which has a portfolio of over 40 mobile home communities across 10 states, including a portfolio in Alaska. Jordan, welcome to the show.

Jordan: Hi, nice to be here. 

Andrew: Yeah, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind by starting out and just kind of telling us your story and how you got into mobile home park ownership and investing. 

Jordan: My story is the second generation of Nodel Parks. My father, Richard, I’ll say started the company, but really he just started buying parks one by one in the 80s. I don’t think he envisioned it as a company, but now in hindsight, we’ll say he founded the company. 

I, by education and training, was an attorney. I am an attorney, still, but I was practicing law in New York at a big firm doing complex civil litigation, nothing to do with real estate. Nothing totally prepared me for real estate had I known I would go into the field. It wasn’t a plan of mine. I’m not saying that was good. By design, it just wasn’t. I was working hard. I had a good experience at the law firm. It was probably invaluable for what I was able to bring in joining my father. 

But one day when he was visiting me in New York, I had some precious minutes, non-billable minutes, to have lunch with him. I was saying, Dad, you have grown a business brick by brick. You have ownership and equity in it. You kind of steer your own ship and have a nice life and you have a meaningful impact on employees and residents in your properties and I’m working really hard for a lot of other people’s interests.

My dad said to me, yeah, but you’re an attorney in a big firm. Why do you want to go to a mobile home park?  I said, well, what I just said about your life. He said, come to think of it, I guess, I do have it really nice. He kind of made the proposal to me of sorts that if I wanted to come back to Michigan where I grew up and shadow him, he said, I imagine after a year or two of just listening to me, you’ll know or at least have enough judgment to make the decisions I make. Let me know if you want to do that.

I thought on it for a few months and decided that though I hadn’t necessarily intended to give up law and go into manufactured housing. The ability to steer my own ship, so to speak, to grow, add value to the company, do more deals, to travel to properties, to see them, or to oversee our operations was something very attractive and so I jumped into that. It was about 10 years ago. 

It was at a time when I first learned from my dad to quickly value a deal, look at the current income, make a few minor adjustments and put an eight or nine cap on that, and make that offer to the owner. It actually sort of worked at the time, although now the cap we put on that income is much lower. 

Obviously, in hindsight, I would have done a lot more deals starting in 2013 when I joined and especially those early years, a lot more deals than I did, but so be it. With hindsight, I can only look at the deals that I have to look at today, but that’s how we did it. 

The company and my father’s approach was building a real estate portfolio really deal by deal. Never did he take on or have we taken on a fund because we didn’t want the pressure to have to allocate capital.

The fund has a lot of advantages, especially in certain deal environments. I know it advantages some groups now, but we had always chosen our deals very carefully for a group of close family and friend investors, mostly friends, not family, but we call them friends and family. They are like family at this point. We have now the children and even grandchildren of initial investors calling us for deals. 

As the ownership of Nodel parks is growing generationally so are our investors, it’s a good fit. We still go deal by deal. If we have a new deal under contract, we show our investors. They’re hungry for them. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing because our results speak for themselves. 

Sometimes I think we should buy more. Although I remind myself our careful approach to buying good deals and running them well has served us. It’s allowed us to sleep well at night. As someone once told me, there is no price you can put on sleeping well at night. If that’s how it’s going, I should appreciate it. I’m not sure how some of these groups that seem to buy anything that they’re offered are able to deal with the stress, but I think carefully choosing deals is important. 

Andrew: Totally, yeah. Thank you for that background. I think you have a different outlook than a lot of newer syndicators being that second generation. Maybe you can touch on that and maybe share a little bit about that generational outlook and kind of how that affects things. If you’re refinancing something for maybe the second time or the third time, what type of debt are you keeping on these assets? Do you have any debt on them? Do you want them to be free and clear? What does that look like? 

Jordan: That hasn’t been part of our strategy. In terms of how we do deals, it probably doesn’t differ a whole lot from how anyone else would invest in real estate, which is to try and have your equity sources be dependable and close by but use debt leverage to as big deals or as many as you can.

Nowadays with interest rates, pricing, and cap rates, things are a little different. But up until very recently, we kind of had a plain vanilla approach. We would get leverage on 75% of the purchase price, raise the down payment, and then a reserve fund in closing costs in equity. We would take long term debt probably for 10 years. 

Like many, we used to have great relationships with CMBS lenders, which over the past decade kind of merged or changed into agency financing. It was a 10 year fixed debt. Our plan was never to sell quickly, so 10-year fixed debt was not a problem.

Almost always, when the debt was maturing, we would refinance. Hopefully we will return a nice amount to our investors and they were very happy about that. While at the same time, continuing to own and cashflow the properties. 

Andrew: How much leverage upon a refinance, are you guys taking on? Is it a full 75% loan to value? 

Jordan: Typically take what we could, 70%, let’s say. We would do some analysis. We don’t want to unnecessarily leverage a deal if we don’t have to. We try not to be greedy, but if we can return investors money and then a little while taking on new debt that still allows us to cash flow, that’s a good position. 

Andrew: I think my biggest question revolves around pushing revenue and NOI growth from a generational outlook. While your father got into this in the 80s and then now you are getting into this back in 2013, how have you guys been able to push NOI? And has the theory of hwy 5%–10% rent bumps every year that has played out since the 80s with minimal turnover given how low market lot rents typically are. 

Jordan: We like to buy in areas of growth and jobs. We don’t really have a rural portfolio. They’re in the market. They’re in cities. We don’t have any special economic forecasting for which cities are necessarily a whole lot better than another, but in any town of 50,000, 100,000 or more that has decent economics, there’s a need for affordable housing. 

We’ve always started with the premise that good affordable housing is in need. If it’s in need, then nominal rent increases are always supportable. We are not a company that has done $100 rent increases ever. When we own parks, hopefully forever, so to speak, we don’t have that kind of need or pressure to do that. We do want to add value to the park, fix any issues, and make it a little nicer for folks. Then I think there’s an inherent justification for normal rent increases. 

Andrew: For modest rent increases for sure. 

Jordan: That’s what we’ve done. I wouldn’t say there’s an entirely special sauce to our operations other than having the patience to know that if we buy something that’s a good asset or has the potential to be a good asset and we’re going to operate it ourselves which we do, we manage everything yourself for a long time then we can let things play out. 

I think the healthiest for the economics of a deal because there’s not that year one or day one pressure. It keeps our residents happiest and our turnover is pretty low. It keeps our managers happy. They’re able to feel good about their jobs and also see residents that are happy. We have a lot of really long term managers. Folks that have been with us 10 or 20 years. We rely on them for whatever we can’t be in the field ourselves. 

I think this kind of approach to operations serves us well economically. We do the same thing anyone else does. We look for opportunities to add value and deliver great returns to our investors. If utilities aren’t being submitted, we’re not geniuses for realizing that that’s something that probably should be done, especially if the overall package residences is below market, which often it is. 

If there’s a dilapidated playground or the pool has been closed for years and it doesn’t take a ton of money to fix it, that’s something nice to do when we’re the new owners. Then people appreciate where we’re taking things. 

Andrew: Oh, totally. Jordan. What do you think is the toughest hurdle in mobile home park investing? Looking at the whole portfolio, what would you say is the hardest part?

Jordan: Nowadays it’s competing against folks that have a shorter-term outlook on their investment who are increasing rents tremendously in the first year who are looking to implement all of their value-add ideas immediately, and then maybe get out more quickly than us. It’s part of the game. It might be fine to do and might actually work out for a lot of folks.

It makes it a little more challenging for us, although again if those folks can come and go, we want to own good parks forever. We still in this environment where I’ve never seen things so expensive with interest rates also so high. The inability to highly leverage deals because of that. 

We still find a few deals a year. We found a few deals a year when not many people want to go to parks. We find a few good deals a year now that everyone wants them. I guess when you don’t have the pressure under you to have a fund or short term outlook, you could do a few deals a year and be very happy. Now where we own around 40 parks all across the nation, that’s a pretty good portfolio to have. 

Andrew: That is. How many pads is that?

Jordan: It’s around 9000 pads. 

Andrew: Wow, that’s fantastic. That’s a really nice portfolio. 

Jordan: Also, I’ll say there’s a lot of small parks out there that are great for folks getting involved and people can add a lot of value to those properties and make them nicer. Our parks tend to be bigger. Just doing the math, I guess our average size would be like 200 or 250 pads. I mean, we do have some smaller parks under 100 units. We have some very large ones, 600 units. We like the big stuff because it allows us to do nice things at scale. 

Andrew: Maybe talk about that. What is that criteria? The size is obviously important. When you look at private utilities, what’s your secret like buying criteria?

Jordan: It sounds somewhat conservative bigger nicer areas on hopefully public utilities. But we always make exceptions to everything and often every deal has one exception that we made and that’s how we’re able to find a deal or do well.

I will say I’m about at three strikes and you’re out. I’m making that exception to sewer plants. Unfortunately, they are a pain and take up most of our management time for those particular parts. Private water, not such a big deal. Those aren’t that big a deal. Bigger parks, it’s not even that it has to be 600 pads, it could be 70 pads or 50. If it looks like a community or it looks like it can be made into a community, that’s something we like. 

Andrew: More like a subdivision type of look,  not a beat-up kind of ratty-looking trailer park. You’re not doing that kind of heavy lift. 

Jordan: Those beat-up ratty things on the side of the freeway, they deserve to be made nice too. I’m not looking down on that, but I want to take something where you can create some community sense, not just be pressing the guy that’s got a raggedy lot and a raggedy home for more money. I’d like to do something. 

We get our managers, we give them a lot of autonomy. We don’t tell them exactly what to do. We say do a back-to-school event, do a Thanksgiving event, do something that gives people a sense of community where they’re living. 

Andrew: Yeah, I love that. That’s great. What are the most important things like if you were going to invest passively into another mobile home park operator, another GP’s deals, what are the most important things you would look out for before investing money with that other syndicator?

Jordan: Investing in cash flowing real estate is a more slow and steady proposition. This isn’t venture capital. Don’t look for huge multiples and grand slams. Find an operator that’s buying quality products and quality assets and running them well and that has a longer term perspective and you’ll probably get a decent return.

Andrew: That’s good. 

Jordan: Keep it [inaudible 00:18:34] and you’re probably be better served in the long run than someone promising a three-figure rent increase and a massive turnaround and an exit in year three that assumes cap rates will necessarily be so low or that interest rates will remain so low as they didn’t. Then I think operators and investors get themselves in trouble or don’t quite realize their expectations. 

Andrew: No, that makes sense. What does the perfect mobile home park look like in your eyes and why? 

Jordan: The perfect park in terms of buying one is something that has some stability and some upside. I think probably anyone would agree with that proposition. Stability in terms of it being an existing community that has functioned fairly well and maybe the owner just didn’t have the resources to fill up all the spaces. Maybe the owner wasn’t as comfortable with rental homes or didn’t have such solid relationships with manufacturers or dealers to fill up the park or didn’t have the management platform to oversee a leasing manager and maintenance guy. 

If enough was there that we could turn that around, but still, the owner can show some steady income year over year, we’re happy to bet a little bit on the upside and make a very strong offer knowing that we can probably go a little more quickly in filling up occupancy. We can probably do a little better and in spotting obvious needs of improvement, whether it’s the roads or infrastructure or just some basic amenities. That’s kind of our ideal. 

I would like to find a deal—most of our deals we did find like this, less so these days— where it’s stable enough to attract the best kind of financing and has 15% vacancy so that we can say year one we’re going to bring in 20 homes or 30 homes and get those all leased up and then we have an even bigger park. Park-owned homes has been a major component of our growth. 

Andrew: [inaudible 00:21:08] rentals, park-owned homes.

Jordan: Straight rentals are rent credit hybrids, whatever it is to give someone a sense that they’re in a home that is better than where they were living. I think that whether it’s a rental or whether it’s rent to own or a sale, if someone’s in a place that is better than where they came from and they like where they’re living in what they’re living in, then I think they’re going to want to stay as long as you don’t make it too bad or screw it up for them. We have very low turnover. We tend to increase occupancy and not have a lot of people leaving. Our trick is just to get the homes in quickly. 

During the recession, it was a little bit before I came on board, but my father, as he explains it and he still works with me when he’s not chilling out in Florida. I still discuss every deal with him though so I want to give him credit. But I said, what’d you do then? 

He said, well, I went to my investors. I said, session’s bad. People are losing their homes. There’s folks picking off homes. I need a fund. We need to raise cash and we’re going to buy the homes and we’re going to rent them out to the folks so that they don’t leave our property. It’s the recession. People still need the home and they’re gonna try and hold on to their home as long as they can so let’s just buy more homes and offer it to them. 

The investors asked a lot of questions because the park-owned home business was not part of the real estate playback then that it is more now, but they said okay, it seems to make sense. I do think we were one of the early groups to quickly pivot towards offering homes and being in the home’s business. It’s not something we’re that afraid of. I mean it can constrain stuff because lenders don’t love it and there are other issues and it’s more intensive. 

But frankly being in the business of also providing and maintaining the home is okay. We make money doing it. It’s part of our management structure. I think that’s been one area where we were quick to not shy from and it did as well. 

Andrew: That’s great that you guys were able to pivot like that. One thing I wanted to touch on just real quick, if you don’t mind, is just your portfolio is pretty spread out. From Alaska to South Carolina, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Alabama. I guess if you have a tip or it would seem like it would be very tough to manage being that spread out, maybe you can just speak on that for a second, I guess the scale. 

Jordan: We are from Alaska down to Alabama and a lot of places in between so you’re right. I don’t think there’s any of our parks where you can’t fly to a major airport and get to within two hours, if not less. I get that Detroit to Anchorage is far, but it’s an airplane ride and a short drive, and I’m able to see all our properties, hopefully every year, but certainly the folks on our core operations team are seeing them every year.

At the time when my father originated some of the Alaska deals, folks said to him, Alaska, whoa. Anchorage has a few hundred thousand people and a major airport and it’s a few more hours of flying time, that’s about it. There are people there just like anywhere that need home. 

I don’t see that as an impediment. We have, like I had alluded to, very long term dedicated employees, both on the ground and then now also at our corporate side. Through being on the ground as much as possible, talking to these folks every day, the geographic location isn’t such a big deal. 

As I said, though, we’re in cities. If ever I have to figure out too much where something is, like, is that a real city or next to a real city or far from a place you’d ever want to be or heard of, then it may not be the deal for us.

Anchorage, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Alabama, all great spots. I enjoy personally spending time in those cities visiting our parks there. We’ll go to where there’s a deal and we look around the states we’re in because we have some knowledge there, but I love new states. 

It’s been a little while since we’ve been to a new state. Alabama and South Carolina were our most recent new states, but I hope to do more deals in more states because that’s a great aspect of the business. There is something universal. There’s always hard working people that need affordable housing so it doesn’t have to be such a regional thing.

Andrew: That’s good. Jordan, what do you think is the biggest threat to mobile home park investing right now? 

Jordan: I think it’s folks in the business for quick money that have little concern for the assets they’re actually purchasing and the people who are living them. We’re in it to make money. I’m not acting like it’s altruistic. We’re not a government entity. There should be those for other kinds of supported housing. Not here. We’re here to make money. 

But it doesn’t mean we need to take advantage of our customers and I do think that nowadays a lot of folks are, as I say stuck in their spreadsheets, convince themselves that a number makes sense and that anything is possible and then are suddenly surprised when some legislatures are taking up the idea of rent control. 

I think rent control is misguided and a lot of the state, so called unfriendly landlords are very misguided. I joined the fight against them. But also, let’s be honest, how we got here, folks that buy a park with no plan to meaningfully fix it up thinking their heads are on their spreadsheets that rents are $200 below market and.

Say that day one, let’s pass through that increase. I think that’s very short-sighted. I don’t know what to say. All I can say is don’t be surprised when the city council member calls or someone talks to the news about you. Our investors, every time there’s an article in the newspaper forwards us and be like do you see this? I say, yes, it’s too bad. It’s not how we operate our parks. 

I’m equally concerned about rent control or some of these other initiatives. There should be standards. We’re buying property. We’re buying housing. We should be held to certain standards. I think that’s a danger to our industry.

Andrew: Thank you for sharing that Jordan. If any of our listeners would like to get a hold of you, what’s the best way for them to do so? 

Jordan: Check out our website, First off, you can see a map of where all our parks are. The photos are all real, all real residents. I promise you that there’s no stock imagery on our site, and you can contact us, and I will most likely personally see that email or someone will be able to respond if you’re looking to get in touch. I would welcome everyone to check out our site and learn more about our company. I’m certainly proud of it and how we’ve grown and what we’re doing. 

Andrew: That’s fantastic. Before we sign off, Jordan, what’s one last bit of important advice you would give an interested passive mobile home park investor just before we sign off here?

Jordan: If you’re passive and you’re putting your money with someone else to run with, make sure you trust them, and that their business plan makes sense to you. When I look at deals and the broker says there’s a lot of value to be added, that plan has to make sense to me. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you go with your gut, you trust the person, you like the deal too, and you don’t need to know a ton about mobile home parks or a city in a particular state. If the things seem right and you have a longer term patient perspective, you’ll probably be nicely rewarded.

Andrew: Awesome. Thanks again for coming on the show, Jordan. 

Jordan: Thanks. This is fun

Andrew: That’s it for today folks. Reminder, please leave a review if you got value out of this show. Thank you all so much for tuning in.

Hey, are you getting value out of this show? If so, would you mind please going to itunes and leaving the show a five star review? I have a goal of hitting over a hundred five 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.

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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