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 Pasha Esfandiary of Evoke Capital.
Pasha comes from a very non-traditional background. At the age of 19 he started playing professional poker and by the age of 26, he decided that playing poker wasn’t the lifestyle he wanted. Pasha then started his career in residential real estate, flipping houses he found at auctions. Pasha has since been involved in over $250 million of real estate transactions across multiple asset types. These include residential homes, boutique motels and the purchasing and management of large multifamily properties. He is now solely focused on acquiring mobile home park investments with his new firm, Evoke Capital.
Pasha’s journey from professional poker player to mobile home park investor has facilitated many lessons and strategies, he is now on the road to writing a book about it all. Today he shares with us many of those lessons, strategies and stories.
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 KeelTeam.com 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: 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.
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00:21 – Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing Podcast
00:55 – Pasha Esfandiary’s path into mobile home park investing
05:24 – Pasha’s professional poker journey and how it’s helped him invest in mobile home parks
08:00 – The strategy for Pasha’s first mobile home park deal
09:50 – Pasha Esfandiary’s Current portfolio and rapid growth
10:52 – Being investor-forward and customer-forward
14:00 – Building a great team
15:00 – The evolution of Pasha’s approach
18:35 – The importance of your pro forma and underwriting
21:00 – Do the incentives align for each other? Investors and operators
22:47 – Asking a lot of questions will sniff out bad GP’s
24:35 – Pasha’s perfect mobile home park
25:20 – Learning from others and reading everything you can
26:33 – The three metrics that Pasha looks for in mobile home park investment deals
27:38 – A year into the future for the Mobile Home Park industry
30:24 – Pasha’s dud deal
31:50 – Nationwide rent control?
33:40 – Raising mobile home park rent, but also giving tenants value
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Links & Mentions from This Episode:
Keel Team’s official website: https://www.keelteam.com/
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Andrew Keel LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewkeel
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Andrew: Welcome to the Passive Mobile Home Park Investing podcast. This is your host, Andrew Keel. Today, we have an amazing guest in Pasha Esfandiary.
Before we dive in, I want to ask you all a real quick favor. Would you mind please taking an extra 30 seconds to head over to iTunes and 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 review of the show. All right, let’s dive in.
Starting his career in residential real estate back in 2011 flipping homes that he found at auctions, Pasha has since been involved in over $250 million worth of real estate transactions across multiple asset types. These include residential homes, boutique motels, the purchasing and management of large multifamily properties. And he is now solely focused on the mobile home community sector, which is our favorite, through his firm, Evoke Capital. Pasha, welcome to the show.
Pasha: Thank you, Andrew. Pleasure to be on. I’m excited.
Andrew: Yeah, it was awesome running into you at the Re-convene conference a few weeks ago in Santa Monica and being able to connect over dinner. It was awesome meeting you.
Pasha: It was a pleasure getting to know you too. There are so many similarities in what we do. It was eerily so similar. It’s awesome. I just really enjoyed getting to know you, bouncing ideas off of each other, and it was just a great convention. Happy to be on, happy to talk about it, and happy to dive deep into whatever you bring my way.
Andrew: Awesome, dude. Would you mind starting out by telling us a little about your story and what inspired you to get started in mobile home park investing?
Pasha: Sure. My journey is definitely non-traditional. After high school, I went to a community college for one semester, and I just realized this was not for me. Right around that time after I had dropped out, my brother had won a really big poker tournament. This was the 2003-2004 era, where poker was getting really big. I said, well, if he could do it, I could do it. I just started playing poker.
I was 19 years old, and I started doing really well. That career continued until about 25, 26, when I really realized I don’t like the lifestyle. I don’t enjoy it. This is not going to be an indicative of a good family life, so I gave up poker and really just learned everything that I could about real estate. I went as an intern for three months for free with a buddy of mine at this company based out of LA, and I just learned the real estate game.
Really, when I talked about taking a few steps back in terms of pay, I did that. I went through it. Then I went back to Vegas, flipped my first house. I made $3000 net making some mistakes along the way. It was actually a mobile home that I flipped in a community. It’s full circle at this point. I got the bug.
You have to understand, back then, I was bluffing five figures in one hand. I made $3000 and I was like, this is it. I just realized that this is the game for me. I started flipping a lot of homes in Vegas. Me and my wife moved to Los Angeles, I flipped one home.
There’s this thing in poker called game selection. I want to get back to it. It’s really identifying better tables and better poker games to play. I flipped my first home in LA, and I really realized, there’s not a ton of potential here. I’m a small fish in a big pond.
Right in my area that I was which was in a path of progression, there was a lot of land on hillside available. I really just scrounged up all the money that I could, bought all the land that I could on the cheap, and started developing on hillside, even though I’ve never developed before. I saw the opportunity, I tacked it. It worked out really well for me, thank God.
After doing that for close to six years, I realized again, I don’t like this development game. I jumped into multifamily for more passive income. Really quickly, I realized, again, the game selection. Multifamily was so saturated, cap rates have really compressed. Let me go where there’s more of a niched product more conducive to my lifestyle that I want to build, which is passive income, which is the velocity of money.
When there’s more stigma around something, that’s typically sometimes a good thing to get into if you do the research, and that’s what I did. I jumped from multifamily into mobile home parks, and I just realized this is a no brainer, and I have to tack it.
Additionally, I had a partner who was going to put some money into a deal. I, in a way, went kicking and screaming. I said, well, let me look at the numbers. It doesn’t make sense to me, because I’m a multifamily investor. They showed me their numbers, I trusted them, got into it, and it worked out really well. It was yielding better than my multifamily deals. I said, all right, let’s do this. I’m just now attacking this opportunity. That’s a long winded answer.
Andrew: No, that is so awesome. I want to go back to being a professional poker player. How long were you doing the poker circuit?
Pasha: I was doing it anywhere for about almost eight years. I did do the circuit, I just was never a tournament player. When I was younger, when I was from 21-23, I would travel the world and go play the circuits and tournaments, the cash games, because the cash games were so good back then around the circuit. I never really played the tournament, but I played professionally for close to eight years.
Andrew: That is fantastic. I’m so curious, you mentioned game selection. What other tools have you taken from your time being a professional poker player? What other tools have you brought into your investing in real estate investing and mobile home park investing?
Pasha: That’s a good question. I’m actually in the middle of writing a book about this, the top 10 things that I’ve taken away from poker and really translated it into my real estate career. There’s a lot. The first thing that popped in my head is, poker really has to train you to have your foundation based in education. You have to get better. You always have to be constantly improving to beat your opponents.
Secondly, it’s long term thinking. What happens in the short term, it doesn’t matter. The variance doesn’t matter, as long as you made the mathematically correct bet. You can almost really do that in real estate. Once you know your numbers down pat is to understand that you have complete information.
Poker is a game of incomplete information. Everyone’s trying to lie to you, everyone’s trying to bluff you. Everyone’s trying to tell you a different story, and you have to decipher what the real story is. In real estate, you essentially can have 95%-99% of all the information when you’re buying a deal with enough education.
Education is a foundational piece. Secondly, it’s the way I’ve trained my brain to think about long term circumstances. I don’t care about short term results, I care about 10 years from now. Will I thank myself 10 years from now?
Game selection is a really big one, reading people is a really big one. But there’s a multitude of different things that I’ve taken into my real estate investing that I’m going to talk about in the book, which will probably take about eight to nine months.
Andrew: That’s so awesome. I want a copy of that, for sure. That’s such a cool starting point. Would you tell us about your first deal, that first mobile home park you bought, and what the strategy was for that acquisition?
Pasha: Sure. It was just essentially a 50-unit or 50-lot park, 40 of them were occupied with tenant-owned homes, fully occupied. When I was looking at it, I said, comparable to everywhere else, I don’t understand how we can make money. In multifamily, you compare the rents to other apartment complexes. But in the mobile home park space, because there’s such a lack of low income housing, it was completely 100% full, so we had room to grow.
The market really is comparable to what the rents are in apartment complexes, a house, or something like that. We definitely had room to grow. That’s what my partner taught me about the mobile home park. It was just an easy, easy property, not much heavy lifting whatsoever, all tenant-owned homes, just the ideal scenario. I just realized, I was cash flowing around 7%-7½% right off the bat. I said, I can’t get that in multifamily.
To me, I’m a cash flow investor. I love cash flow. I believe in the snowball, I believe in the snowball, 10 years from now. That was just an awesome, awesome property that we bought, and then it just translated then. From that, my portfolio or my risk profile has gotten more as I learned about the mobile home park space. Those are rare to find deals.
Andrew: Where was that first park located?
Pasha: It was in Alabama.
Andrew: Where’s your portfolio now? Maybe you can share a little bit about your portfolio, where it’s at, and what it looks like.
Pasha: Sure. We’re in nine different states, I don’t remember all of them. We were definitely located mostly in Alabama in the Huntsville area, Decatur area. And then we have a big portfolio in Texarkana, Texas. We’re in Pittsburgh, Wetumpka, Alabama, Dodge City, Kansas, Ohio. We’re in Arkansas as well, North Carolina. We’re a little spread out.
Andrew: How many lots is that, Pasha?
Pasha: We have right around 1400 lots total. If you count the apartment complexes we have, we have a little under 2000 total units.
Andrew: Wow, that is fantastic. When did you buy that first one? How long ago was that?
Pasha: About two and a half years ago.
Andrew: That is just amazing velocity, man. Holy smokes. Tell me about your team. Tell me about how you’re getting this deal flow and what that looks like.
Pasha: Sure. I have wonderful partners to help me with all of it. I’m more of an investor forward, customer forward building the business in the right way to be able to scale, which is I think really important. It’s funny, because, to me, it doesn’t seem like we grew all that fast. But I do know by measurement, it is quite quick.
What I really want to stress is that there’s an opportunity here, and it’s going to be gone in five years. There’s just such a big sense of urgency. Andrew, you and I have talked about this. In five years, operators like ourselves are going to be the only ones, at least the majority, selling these parks because they’ll be combed over. They’ll be ready for the debt to come up, and they’re going to be sold. Really, this is why we scaled the way we have, because we see a massive opportunity, and we want to just capture it, as you know.
Andrew: And that’s because you’re buying from mom and pops. That’s the opportunity that’s drying up. The baby boomers are retiring. Now, groups like us are acquiring these and improving them. You think it’ll look similar to the multifamily space, where I think it’s something like most of the properties over 50 units are owned. Something like 93% are owned by professional groups that own more than three properties.
Pasha: Yeah, and that’s what’s going to happen here. Because of the few years before Covid and the cap rate compression from the multifamily, everyone is chasing yield. Everyone is getting into mobile home park space, because our IRR numbers are a little bit higher. Our cash flow is a little bit higher. I believe in the velocity of money. Velocity of money being is, how fast can we return all the initial capital back, is a little faster in my opinion.
The opportunity is that we’re still really, truly buying underperforming assets from mom and pop sellers right now. That’s where the true absolute opportunity is, in my opinion, and this is again why we’re attacking it.
A little bit about the team, we have a team of a little bit of under 20 full time employees. We are vertically integrated. We do not third-party manage our properties. I don’t trust many property managers. We always have on-site management at every single one of our parks. We hire a lot of admins that we help incorporate. We have a regional manager or administrator over there, a director of operations, and then we have one head of operations, which is one of my partners.
We have our acquisitions team, which is another partner of mine. We have a head of acquisitions underneath him. He’s essentially our controller, or we have a controller underneath him. And then my side, where I’m investor relations capital. I’m also wearing the hat of CEO to build the business, which is just as important as the business itself. And then I have an assistant underneath me as well too for investor relations.
Andrew: That is fantastic. I know at Re-convene, I think we spoke about using VAs and how you guys have implemented that. That’s been a game changer for you like it has for us. Would you mind touching on that a little bit?
Pasha: Sure. I don’t know if there’s a stigma around VAs, but there are some incredibly highly intelligent people from other countries that are willing to work really, really hard. We specifically only hire from Mexico for a few reasons. (1) They understand our culture a little bit better. (2) They’re sometimes, not all the way, tenant-forward. They do speak to tenants if there are some issues after hours. We want them to be able to have that conversation with them. They’re in the same time zone. They just really, really work hard and really, really work to impress.
We utilize admins to really do a lot of our back-ends to try to take as much responsibility away from our park managers, who then can just focus on the really important things, making sure that the park looks clean, making sure that it’s up to our standards, making sure being our eyes and ears, and not bogged down with menial work. That’s not necessary. We absolutely use VAs, we love it, and we will continue to do so.
Andrew: That’s fantastic. Yeah, we’ve had a similar experience. How has your mobile home park investing strategy changed? It’s only been two and a half years. Has anything changed based on your approach and based on your experience? Does the ideal park for your funds now look a different way than it did a couple of years ago?
Pasha: No, the ideal park is still the ideal park, high cash flowing, bad mom and pop sellers. The biggest thing that has changed for us is, at first, we wouldn’t really touch any park-owned homes, at least at a 20% ratio. We’re now okay with certain park-owned homes. The last two parks that we closed on were all 2000 models and above. They were mostly park-owned homes. It was in the same market that we owned. Because of our systems and because of our sales team, we feel very comfortable turning them over to RTOs.
That, alongside with our infill play, I’m sure everyone knows it’s just an empty land you want to bring into a mobile home. We’ve gotten a little bit more comfortable, just because we’ve done a better working relationship with true homes and how fast we can get homes in. Plus buying property or buying homes, just third parties, and bringing them into our homes or communities, that’s also been something. But still, at the end of the day, we’re very conservative.
We’re not an infill type of operator. That’s not our bread and butter, which I know a lot of good operators make a lot of money from that. But that’s not our bread and butter. We go after badly operated parks. I think Andrew, you and I are very similar in what we look for. Infill is just part of the game. We’re okay with taking a little bit more headache upfront and brain damage up front because of it, because of our systems, and because of how our team is, but we still actively shy away from those parks.
Andrew: Why would you say that you shy away from the infill operations?
Pasha: At the end of the day, it’s a lot of brain damage.
Andrew: It’s a lot of work, right?
Pasha: It’s a lot of work. You’re putting a lot of control into the manufacturing plants, and they can change on a dime. You know this. A lot of operators got in a lot of trouble during the Covid time because of supply issues. It was a black swan event. It’s not their fault, but at the end of the day, they were out of control. They made a promise to investors, and they weren’t able to execute on their numbers. A lot of operators got in trouble during that time, because they got over ahead of themselves.
I understand, because the equity multiple that you get from bringing a home, it’s very sexy and it’s very juicy. But again, at the end of the day, we’re building this company to be around for 15 years. Sometimes that means not doing what’s good in the short term only, but doing what’s right in the long term.
We have turned down properties. We have thought, hey, we know we can probably do this. But we don’t like probablies. We only buy deals that are for us. We have a term, and it’s not scientific. It has to be a no brainer. If it’s a no brainer buy, then we buy it. That’s why we shy from infills just because of that. It’s taking us out of control.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s really diligent of you to stay focused on. We do a lot of infill, and it’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong, so you’ve got to really really plan it. That’s good feedback there. What mistakes have you made, Pasha, thus far that our listeners and myself can learn from?
Pasha: It’s always with the city. We bought a three-park portfolio, where one of them was in a flood zone and a floodplain. We went to the city, we contacted them, and we said, hey, we plan on buying this park, we plan on expanding this park. Are you okay with it? What is needed? They said, absolutely, no problem. You just have to get the permits. We said, great. You’re going to have to probably build it on stilts. No problem. Everything seemed fine. It’s one park out of the three.
Once we got into it, once we started to apply for it, the borough in that area just attacked us viciously. Even though we were going to go through the permitting process, even though we were going to do everything right, they adamantly were against us. One of the tenants was blaming us for the previous tenant who really didn’t do much.
They called the borough on us a few times when we were just really fixing all the pipes underneath the park. Because he just did such a hand-stitched job to it, there were leaks everywhere. We really essentially had to redo all the piping, and they would slow us down a lot. It’s things like that that are outside of your control.
What I will say for anyone who’s listening, even that property inside of that portfolio, again, back to the back topic, and I’m not trying to raise myself up or the way we do it, because I’ve been around the game long enough with my auctions and my development, is if you’re able to build enough cushion in your pro forma, you’ll be fine. We’re very conservative that way.
Even though that part is falling behind in the portfolio of three, we’re still hitting our numbers. We’re hitting it over our numbers by just a little bit. Just be really careful. What can go wrong will go wrong. That’s the way I look at real estate.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s how it is. How wrong is your pro forma?
Pasha: Yeah, that’s a really good way to look at it in a shit way. What am I not seeing? Can we add a little number here? A little extra cushion here? Does it still make sense after this? Yes, it’s a no brainer. All right, let’s go do it.
Andrew: Love it. Pasha, if you were going to invest passively in another sponsor, what are the most important things that you think you would look for before investing into that mobile home park or that fund?
Pasha: Two things popped up in my mind. When I look at an LP, and I actively invest as an LP, I say, are the incentives aligned exactly for each other? For example, in my next one that we’re doing, we do a European waterfall. We barely take any fees, we take a 3% acquisition fee. We don’t charge any other fees outside of that. After the pref, it’s a European waterfall, where we as GPs don’t touch a dollar until the GPs are paid back 100% in full.
Andrew: The LPs.
Pasha: The LPs, yeah. We don’t touch anything after the pref until the LPs are paid back, and they’re completely de-risked investment, and then we start making our returns. If I look at another operator, and I see that there’s a 2.5, charge here, 1% asset management, a 0.5 refi fee, some other shit fee that I don’t know what it’s for, and there’s this, what it screams to me is this, they need to buy a deal. This is how they make their money. Even though the bigger terms might be more indicative of what I’m looking for, they need to buy a deal to make rent, essentially, is the way I look at it.
Secondly, and this is just me on a personal level, I ask a lot of questions. I ask a lot of questions on the GPs. What happens is the GPs who are very transparent and very open are always willing and happy to share all the information with you. If you catch a GP who is not willing to share all the information with you, or you see that they’re responding slower to you, you have to understand their mindset is that, oh, man, this is becoming more work than it needs to be, let me go on to the next one.
When times get tough like a football team, that’s going to expand even more. I’m looking for the little cues up front and then obviously, traction like, what’s their track history? Previous success is an indicator of post success, in my opinion. Being in the poker world, you want to bet on the horse and the jockey. If you know that they’re winners, they’re typically going to win.
Thirdly for passive investing, and maybe this is not the greatest we’ll look at it, it’s probably my poker background, is I look at it as if I’m just happy to make anything. If it comes back, I’m happy to make anything. I look at everything as a loss. It’s never coming back.
Andrew: That’s a pessimistic way to look at it. The glass is half empty.
Pasha: Not really, because no matter what, I’m never investing an amount that’s going to hurt me, but things can go wrong. This is the way I look at it coming back to the performance. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. You never know what you don’t know.
Real estate is a little different. I 100% think I’m going to get returns on my real estate deals. In my startups and the other businesses that I invest in, I’m just like, this is a flier, it’s probably never going to work out because most businesses just don’t.
Andrew: That’s a good way to look at it. Like angel investors. What is it, like one out of every 10 deals if they’re winning?
Pasha: If they can get one out of every 10 deals, their numbers still are astronomically successful.
Andrew: They’re crushing it, yeah. Pasha, what does the perfect mobile home park look like in your eyes and why?
Pasha: Around that 150-250 lots, 2000 models and bigger or later, all tenant-owned homes. because we don’t want to own any of the utilities. That’s really the purest way. You can have an onsite manager, it’s scaled, and you don’t have to deal with any of the headaches like a bathroom, a roof collapsing, or just anything. That’s the ideal scenario, and that’s what we do. That’s how we stabilize all of our parks.
Andrew: That’s awesome. I’m curious, how did you get educated on mobile home parks originally? Was it through your partner? Did he have experience? How did you learn?
Pasha: I read everything that I could, and then I just picked everybody’s brains that I knew were in it. I am such a sponge for mentorship. Anybody that I had connections with that were in the mobile home parks, can I go visit them? Can I pick your brain? What are you doing today? I’ve had a lot of people help me along the way.
I just asked a ton of questions, because once I have my mind set on something, I have to attack it. I have to know everything. I have to know everything more than everybody else. It’s this insatiable thirst that I have.
Andrew: That’s awesome. When you’re looking at a market to invest in, what metrics do you look at? How do you determine if it’s a decent market?
Pasha: You and I are very similar on this one. I look at, first, population size. I am looking typically around that 50,000 population above. The second metric I look for is, what is the median household income in that area? What are the core root anchor manufacturing businesses there? Is it a lot of businesses? Or is it anchored in by the communities, schooling, and healthcare system?
I look for real manufacturing jobs that are going to last. I look up those companies. And then I also look at, what’s the median household price for that? After that, it’s just variables. What are the crime rates? What’s the demographics? What’s the outlook of that? Do they have a community plan for that city? What’s the proximity between another city?
I’m really just taking all these data points together and making the best educated outcome. Really, at the end of the day, strong and anchored jobs are really important. I don’t need a ton of population growth, because we all know that they’re very non-transitory in nature. But I do need some population growth, and I need good jobs that’s going to stick around for a long time.
Andrew: Awesome. Obviously, it’s October 2023 right now. Interest rates are, you know, insanely high, they got here really fast. How are you getting deals done right now? Are you getting deals done? What does the next 12 months look like in your eyes?
Pasha: Up to this point, I wish I could say we had some properties in escrow, I really do. I would love to buy in this market and in this interest rate environment. I really would, because that means when they drop down, it’s prime for a refi scenario. Throughout our firm, we’re putting in LOIs every single week. We haven’t found anything for almost six and a half months, we really haven’t. Nothing pencils out.
Only in the last month have we started to see some glimmer of hope of sellers coming back down to potentially where we need to be, but we still haven’t been able to buy anything or get anything under contract. That’s okay, it’s just the time of market. It is what it is.
For the next 12 months, I can’t predict the market. Some people say that there’s going to be more blood in the streets. Some people say we’re going to have a soft landing. For us, we keep our heads down and just say, does this property work? Because we’re long term holders, does this property work 10 years from now? If it works right now in this interesting environment, awesome. It’s even better for us.
We’re even going to do a pro forma where we might have to exit with one or two points above the interest rate where it is now. If it still works, it still works, but we just haven’t found anything. We’re in no rush.
We have our funds set up in a way where I only raise on a per deal basis, so I don’t have extra capital sitting on the sidelines forcing me to buy any deals. I don’t have any pressure. On the acquisition side, we’re just slow. I think all good operators are slow right now too. We’re just waiting for the time of the market.
Andrew: Yeah. I saw an email from a newsletter that I subscribed to. It was talking about transaction volumes and how it’s just a deal glut right now. It’s just like nothing’s really happening. It’s an MHP deal drought, saying how Fannie Mae has reported that 2023 MHC sales are down to just $1 billion nationwide, and that’s 58% lower than the first half of 2022. And that’s even lower than the $1.8 billion during the first half of 2020, which was the pandemic.
You’re not the only one. It’s definitely a slow time right now. Pasha, it’s only been a couple of years, but do you have any deals that are behind on pro forma or deals that are just turning out to be duds?
Pasha: Yeah, the property that I told you about in Pennsylvania. That one park in general is going to be fine. We were hoping to do the 13-park expansion, but no, we don’t. I almost wish I had a war story.
Going into this, especially because we’re bringing on investors, the risk appetite is way lower than if it was my own parks. In the mobile home park industry, I haven’t had anything that hit pro forma. In fact, we’re exceeding it by a lot. I think that’s also just because we’re super conservative.
There’s a pro and con to that. The con to that is we probably could have got our hands on a lot more properties and just been just fine with those properties. But again, we just go for no brainers and that’s it.
It’s a give and take. What do you do? Do you do it for infrastructure? You do it the right way, caps later on to have more assets. But again, if I’m thinking we’re going to be in this for 10-15 years, then you just got to avoid those. There’s a pro and con and a give and take on everything.
Andrew: For sure. Pasha, what do you think is the biggest threat to mobile home park investing?
Pasha: Nationwide rent control for mobile home parks. There’s just a lot of bad operators out there. Operators who will go and just jack up the rents by 100%-150%. We’ve ran into operators like that. They are just in it for the quick buck. They do not care about the tenants, they make the headlines.
We had one park in escrow about a year and a half ago where they did that. We ended up backing out of the deal, just because he underrepresented how bad the park was. I followed up with him recently, and about another 25% of his tenants left the park because of what he did, which I’m not surprised about. It’s really just nationwide rent control. Andrew, I think you’re one of the good ones. I think there’s a lot of good operators out there, but we’d like to sleep at night. I think that is the biggest problem out there.
What I will say is this. I think there is an absolute lack of low income housing. I do hope there is a solution out there, because even though we make money in the mobile home park community space, I do hope that America, technology, prefabs, or modular homes figures this out, because there’s a lot of underserved Americans out there. I will absolutely put the needs of theirs before mine. I’ll be just fine.
Andrew: Yeah, there’s a social side of this. A lot of our investors have started asking this. It’s like, hey, tell me about social stewardship. Those operators, like you mentioned, just come in and raise rents, and then put it up for sale and try to make a quick buck. They give the industry a black eye, so I agree with you.
You get to actually add value. You got to clean up the community, fix the deferred maintenance, and then raise rents. I’ve found that a lot of our residents actually appreciate the newer communities after they’ve been cleaned up. They’re fine paying a higher rate.
Pasha: For sure. We get a lot of outreach from our tenants. We do a lot of programs and community events. No one’s ever going to be happy that you raise the rents on it, no one no matter what. You’re going to get a lot of people who are angry at you, especially given this income bracket that most of our tenants are in.
For the most part, I know they feel safer. I know that they liked the lighting. I know that they enjoy the new roads, the new staff, and everything that we do and to try to keep it better, kickouting all the bad tenants. There are always going to be bad apples when money’s involved.
Andrew: Totally. Pasha, thank you so much for coming on the show. If any of our listeners would like to get a hold of you, how would you like them to do so?
Pasha: You can always email me at email@example.com. If you are interested as an investor, we do only a waitlist for our next fund. We haven’t found anything yet, but we do work off of that. You can just go to my website at www.evokecapital.net. There’s an investor login. If you sign up there, be a credit investor, we’ll schedule a 30-minute call just to get to know you. I try to do everything face to face still and just go from there.
Andrew: Awesome. Before we log off, what’s one last bit of advice that you feel is important for a passive investor to know about mobile home park investing?
Pasha: In my opinion, I think the greatest thing that I’ve discovered in commercial real estate and mobile home parks really is just the velocity of capital. How fast can you de-risk your investment? It’s really something I would want you to pay attention to.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s great. Also the preservation of that capital. What’s the chance of this going to zero? I think it’s a very good lens to look at any investment through. Awesome. Pasha, thank you so much again for coming on the show.
Pasha: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Andrew: That’s it for today, folks. Thank you so much for tuning in.