BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

BiggerPockets Podcast 195: Partners, College Town Rentals, & Mobile Home Parks with Rudy Curtler

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Trying to build a real estate empire while working a full-time job can be tough, which is why many people decide to use a partner to maximize their results. That’s the story on today’s episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast, where we sit down with Rudy Curtler to talk about how he is building a portfolio of college rentals and mobile home parks utilizing a partner. You’ll learn how (and why) Rudy is building his portfolio hundreds of miles from his home, the incredible benefits of investing in mobile home parks (“6x better than houses” according to Rudy), and how he’s able to put together the financing on deals using remarkable creativity!

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We just waRealtySharesnted to give a shout out to our podcast sponsor on today’s show: RealtyShares. RealtyShares is a crowdfunding platform that allows you to invest in professionally managed properties without leaving your living room!

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Rudy got started with real estate investing
  • How he transitioned from “interested” to “committed
  • His first investment
  • What makes a college rental different?
  • How many single family homes he has
  • What a suite equity partner is
  • Tips for those who wanted to start in the college rental niche
  • His view on working with family
  • The difference between investing in mobile home parks and mobile homes
  • The details on his mobile home park
  • How much he rents his mobile homes for
  • Tips on renting out RV pads
  • Why you may want to consider investing in mobile home parks
  • How he manages his properties
  • Thoughts on getting a mobile home dealer license
  • How to get a mind for creative finance
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “I think there is a big difference between somebody who’s just interested versus someone who’s committed.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Mobile home parks are another way for us to grow and find the exponential growth potential that’s there.” (Tweet This!)
  • “I didn’t want to stop. We want to keep growing, so we found a way to do it.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Rudy

Show Preview

Real strategies that work for real people seeking to build wealth through real estate investments. Co-hosted by Brandon Turner and David Greene, this podcast provides actionable advice from investo...
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    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I have received many LinkedIn connection requests since the posting of this podcast and I believe many are from people who watched the show. For those who may not be aware, you can connect with others on LinkedIn even if you are not a 1st or 2nd connection. The tip is that when you go to send the invite, LinkedIn will ask you how you know the person you are trying to connect with. The easiest work around is to indicate that you are a ‘friend’. If you’d like to connect with me via LinkedIn, indicate you are a friend and put ‘bigger pockets’ in the personalized message. That will be an indication to me that you are a real estate related connection…thanks!
    Alex McKnight Investor from Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Hi Rudy! I’m new to Bigger Pockets and have been listening to a lot of podcasts and yours really struck a cord for me. I’m relatively new to real estate so I’m sorry for any simple questions. I currently have two rental properties and my primary residence, all of which have been conventional bank loans. One of the rentals was our first home that we moved out of once we bought a new house. My question for you is about creative financing. Do you know of any good resources I can look through to learn about different options? I’d like to purchase another rental in the next couple of years with a goal of getting five, but as the sole provider for our family and a job as a teacher I feel like I really need to research all options to make it happen financially happen. I just don’t know where to look or who to contact. Thanks for the help! Alex
    Patrick Liska Investor from Verona, New Jersey
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Rudy, very informative show, If you think about it, the Parks are almost like college rentals where you rent ” by the room” instead you are renting by the space. instead of one multi family building you have a multi family piece of land. now you have got me thinking and wanting to do more research. I have a couple of student rentals myself plus some other multi family rentals and this may be another way to diversify my investments that i have not thought of.
    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks Patrick!
    Chad Rainwater Investor from Saint Paul, Minnesota
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Excellent show Rudy! You are a diversified investor and have me thinking about how to expand my portfolio as well as creative financing. Thanks for sharing!
    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks Chad!
    Nolan Smith from Wichita, Kansas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hey Rudy, when analyzing a mobile home park what do you use as your occupancy rate? Great show, nothing like something new to look at!
    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hi Nolan…great question…I look at the rent roll first to see what the seller is indicating for occupancy. I would start with the lot rents and the list price and then work from there. As an example, I recently looked at a 7 acre/45 unit park that was in really rough shape that would require additional capital and time to clean up. Park was listed in the high $700’s. None of this scared me until I drove by the park to see that there were only 18 CURRENT units being rented out. At current lot rents, assuming I could collect 75-80% of those rents monthly consistently, I would guess that park’s value to me as an investor would be closer to $300k…BUT, that also depends on if the utilities are getting billed back or added in to the lot rents too…so, several factors to look at. Does that help?
    Nolan Smith from Wichita, Kansas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks Rudy, there is a park in my town that has been shut down due to owner not paying the utility bill. All residences were forced to leave so i was trying to come up with a potential monthly income for the park. This is what makes it difficult, I don’t have a gauge on how many units are typically rented when in service. Any suggestions?
    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Run? Haha…not sure really…that sounds like a major project that will take lots of capital to get homes back onto the property (so, think $5-$15k minimum per home if they are older used homes, plus moving/setup/utility hook up (and maybe improvement) costs (so, approx another $3k-$6k)–again, per home…I personally wouldn’t look at it. From my perspective there are tons of other mobile home parks that can be improved without so much effort and capital…
    Brian Anderson from Clinton, Connecticut
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hi Rudy, Great podcast! I am currently getting back into real estate investing after having some bad luck with a few multi’s years ago (I was too young and not ready for landlording). I live in an area where there is quite a good opportunity in college rentals. Houses are renting for $700-$750 per bedroom in area where 4 BR SFH’s are in the low 200’s. My biggest concern is that many of the rentals are mixed into residential neighborhoods where the homeowners aren’t thrilled with having college students next door. Have you had any issues with your college rentals as it pertains to co-existing with other neighbors? Thanks for sharing such great info on the podcast. Brian
    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hi Brian. Thanks for the comments on the podcast! Great question on the college rentals. We definitely have had some good learnings about this segment. What we have done to mitigate issues is once we took over a property one of the first things we did is introduce ourselves to the neighbors (this is a smaller town—20k), which isn’t unusual in a community this size. The purpose was to break the ice and establish some rapport with the neighbors. We always let the neighbors know that we were converting the home to a rental. We never said that it was going to be a ‘college rental’, since that has a negative connotation and it hasn’t always been our renter base in each home. Then we let the neighbors know that we have high standards for tenants and cleanliness and that we want the neighborhood to be quiet and peaceful and we don’t want our house getting trashed (it’s a win for the neighbor and us since we are both concerned with long term property values) and that we are putting our expectations right in the lease for the tenants to know. We then politely let the neighbors know that if there are issues, they should handle it just like they would if the tenants owned the home…deal with it in person directly with the tenants or call the cops (i.e., disturbing the peace, etc), but if things are not worthy of calling the police, they can call us as a last resort. By letting neighbors know up front what our plans are we limit the number of issues that we have had to deal with (there’s always something of course, but usually it’s pretty minimal). Hope that helps! Rudy
    Brian Anderson from Clinton, Connecticut
    Replied about 4 years ago
    That sounds like a great plan of attack (or defense). As a homeowner, if I lived in these neighborhoods I can see how it would hopefully calm some of their concerns by meeting with them in advance. I will definitely employ that tactic when I have my first investment. A close friend of mine has 2 properties in this area that he rents to students, one of which is right next door to his residence and he has no problems! Thank you again for more great info on investing! Brian
    Tyson Hosey Rental Property Investor from St. Louis, Missouri
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Rudy, I loved the show even though our niche’s aren’t the same. The one thing that stood out to me (like a sore thumb) was the creative finance. When you said that you collateralize your Cash Value Life Insurance plan, was that done as a commercial loan, or was in on the consumer side of things? I’m extremely interested in that. Also, did you talk with your life insurance company first or was that something the lender initialized?
    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hey Tyson. Thanks for the comments. The collateralization (is that a word?) idea came from my financial planner and he gave me the names of a couple banks who he had worked with in the past who had done these kinds of deals. It’s worth asking around with some banks to see who might be open to these kinds of deals as not all banks I talked with showed interest.
    Eric Kouvolo
    Replied about 4 years ago
    I love the creative financing Rudy! I purchased vacation rental properties with a policy loan against my cash value. I like the interest rate and repayment terms (there are none) from the insurance company. Your cash value will still compound even with a loan outstanding if is a non-direct recognition policy. How is getting a bank loan better? What is to stop you from getting a policy loan once the bank has given you money?
    Rudy Curtler Investor from Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Hi Eric. From my experience both are good. It seemed that the bank loan against the cash value was slightly better since technically the interest on the life insurance is not tax deductible (obviously, I am not a CPA or Tax Attorney, so consult yours for a firm answer…). As well, leaving the cash value in the policy allowed it to compound faster since it’s compounding on a bigger base. Just my perspective…hope that helps.
    Don Spafford Investor from Idaho Falls, ID
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Cool podcast. Really enjoyed it.