Rookie Podcast 101: Campgrounds: The Investment You’ve (Probably) Never Thought About

Rookie Podcast 101: Campgrounds: The Investment You’ve (Probably) Never Thought About

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As a successful real estate investor, you may be looking for bigger and better deals to take on, but sometimes those deals may come in a different shape and size. Kier Vogt had mastered buy-and-hold rentals, house hacking, and flipping. She wanted to take on a bigger challenge, something that would give her more responsibility with even more upside. After taking a cross-country drive, she found the asset class she was looking for: RV parks and campgrounds.

If you’re a rookie investor, you may have never thought about investing in an RV park or campground, but there are some serious benefits to them. Since these are commercial properties, your ability to obtain seller financing is far more likely and you can build out multiple streams of income from one property, as opposed to solely collecting rent.

Now, Kier is in the stage of analysis. She already has a private-money lender, but has to find a deal that fits her purchasing power and her criteria. Kier shares the mindset behind going into this completely new asset class, and how you have to push through fear to cold call owners, send in offers, and finally get an RV park or campground under contract.

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Read the Transcript Here

Ashley:
This is Real Estate Rookie, episode 101.

Kier:
We love real estate, we’re always going to be doing that. But for the first season at that campground, we’ll definitely be focused on running it, learning everything that we can, getting systems and processes down, just figuring, because I feel like it’s like 15 businesses in one.

Ashley:
I’m Ashley and I’m here with my co-host, Tony. And it’s episode 101 Dalmatians.

Tony:
So crazy, we’re 101 episodes, and I think when I came along, we were episode 37. So we’ve just been like, boom, boom, boom, knocking them out.

Ashley:
Yes. This week we are doing a special series on campground and RV parks. I’m super excited for this because this is what I want my next investment to be, is a campground. So as you all know, this show is for my benefit. So we bringing on, we have Kiersten that is coming on today, and she is a rookie campground investor. She’s experienced buy and hold investor, has flipped houses, but this is her first time going into a campground. So she’s going to talk about what she’s been learning, how she’s going to do an acquisition, and even the due diligence period.
And then our next episode, we are bringing on Heather Blankenship. And Heather is an experienced investor in the RV, campground world. So we’re going to get a chance to talk to both of them and hear from a rookie and then also from an experienced investor on what it’s going to be like to purchase and run a campground.

Tony:
Yeah. And Kier dropped a lot of just really good gems in this episode. Obviously, like Ashley said, she’s still in the early phases of her RV park investing, but she talked really, really intelligently about using OPM, other people’s money, about the fear of getting started in the world of RV park investing, and how she pushed past that, what she looks for in the due diligence period, how she plans to finance this, how she plans to manage it. She’s got really, really big plans about managing her first RV park, which shows just complete and absolute dedication to getting this thing done. So lots of good gems throughout this entire episode.

Ashley:
Yeah. And even if you have no interest in investing in an RV or campground park, a lot of these things she says are really valuable just even buying any kind of property, things to look at. And then definitely when we go into the financing, getting a private money lender, she gives great points on that too on how to actually find one.
Well, let’s get into today’s show.

Tony:
Kiersten, welcome to the Real Estate Rookie Podcast. Super excited to have you with us today.

Kier:
Oh my gosh, I am so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Tony:
Absolutely. You’ve got a really interesting story, and I won’t spill the beans too much, but we’re going to be talking a little bit about RV parks today, which is Ashley’s new favorite thing to talk about and I might have some interest in it as well. But before we get into all of that, I guess just give us a little bit about your backstory. Who are you? How’d you get in the world of real estate investing?

Kier:
Yeah. Well, my name is Kier, I am a real estate investor and I’m actually an agent as well. I grew up around real estate. My parents flipped houses, they own rental properties, so I’ve always been around it. I always had an interest in it, always knew it’s what I wanted to do. So fast forward to, I met my husband, and he owned a remodeling company, so we decided real estate agent person that owns a remodeling company, let’s marry the two and flip houses. So now together, we own a remodeling company, we’ve flipped a couple houses, we’ve used the BRRRR strategy, we’ve house hacked.
And now we’re searching for an RV park, which has actually been on our goal list for five years since the first time we did a cross-country road trip. We fell in love with the RV park scene and we just didn’t think it was going to be something that was possible for like 10 to 15 years down the road, because back in 2016 when we first started exploring RV parks, I spoke to several campground brokers who told us it wasn’t possible unless we had 30% of our own money in our own bank accounts, whether we went with bank financing or seller financing, they were just like, “It is not possible.”
It’s like a lot of new investors how, when they want to get into buy and hold and flips and all that stuff, I was scared off thinking that we had to have all of our own money in our own bank accounts. So we put the RV parks on the back burner, we continued BRRRRing, house hacking, flipping, running the remodeling business. I kept going as a real estate agent. And actually, if I’m being honest, I do have to throw in there, we actually explored a whole bunch of other strategies like wholesaling, the rent-to-own model, we were interested in storage units.

Tony:
What weal estate investor hasn’t done that? Everybody’s done that. Everybody’s in that.

Kier:
Yeah. Basically, fast forward five years later, I’ve just learned that it seems like investors don’t use their own money, they’re all using other people’s money. And so I started educating myself on RV parks, talking to people about it, and it just snowballed into us finding a private investor who has a good chunk of a down payment to help us with an RV park, and so now we’re seriously searching for RV parks again.

Ashley:
Right there, for the rookies listening, you brought up a great point as to, just because one person tells you you can’t do something or this is the only way to do it, there’s so many… That’s what’s great about real estate, is there’s so many different ways to buy real estate or to get creative with the financing or different ways to find money. So listen to what she just said there because I think that’s gold right there.

Tony:
I was going to say, before we keep going, Kier, because you mentioned that you’re specifically looking at RV parks. For like a newbie, newbie, newbie, what is the difference between an RV park, a campground, a mobile home park? Are all of these interchangeable terms or what are the differences there?

Kier:
When I started researching, I thought they were all the same too, but there is a pretty big difference. It seems that RV parks are kind of like a step up from… Campgrounds are more like a primitive type thing where there may not be water, sewer, usually there’s electric, but water, sewer hookups. RV parks, they have a little bit more going for them as far as amenities and things like that. And usually the RV parks and campgrounds are either seasonal or they have transient people coming through who are just traveling. They stay there for a weekend, a week or something like that.
Mobile home parks, I haven’t researched them, but to me, they’re year round living. People live there permanently. So I think in my mind, that’s the main difference.

Ashley:
And so what is your criteria? So you’re a somewhat experienced investor, you’ve done buy and holds, you’ve done flips, and now you’re moving on to RV parks, and you also have a meetup that you run too. So you are helping a ton of people get started in real estate also. So you know that it’s important to have a criteria so that you’re not pulling all these different properties. So where are you starting with these campgrounds? What are you looking for? And why did you decide on that criteria?

Kier:
Ooh, that’s such a good question. And when I started, honestly, I didn’t know that there was so many things to think about, there’s location, the type of park, what kind of amenities you want, like how I was saying, do you want a primitive, or do you want transient, or do you want seasonal? At first, we started looking at everything because we had no idea what we wanted. We narrowed it down to, first and foremost, price because unless we can get seller financing, we know what we can afford. So we’re looking between one and 2.5 million price range. And then secondly, the location is super important for us.
Obviously, this is going to be our first RV park, and we do plan on being owner operators, and we actually would prefer to move onto the campground for at least the first season, get a feel for how it works. So the location is important to us. We would love to stay in Pennsylvania, and we’re also exploring the neighboring states, Ashley, New York, in your hometown. We’d also consider moving out west, we love Montana, Colorado, South Dakota. So the location for us, we have to enjoy where we’re living.
In addition to that, the location, it has to… It’s hard to say because we’re not 100% sure if we’re going to do like a destination park that has a ton of amenities where people are actually coming to that RV park to enjoy that park-

Ashley:
Like a resort park?

Kier:
Yeah, exactly, a resort park, where people just come just to be at that park. Or secondly, do we get a park that is at least surrounded by tourist attractions or state and national parks, things that are going to bring to the area. So we’re still on the fence about that part of our criteria. The one main thing, the infrastructure. Because this is going to be our first park. We definitely want to make sure like the sewer stuff is in good shape and the water lines and the electric. Just because we’re so unfamiliar with it, we don’t want to get in over our heads on our first park.

Ashley:
I have a question right there before you continue on, real quick. Is it common for campgrounds to have public water and sewer or are most of them the private well and septic because most of them are remote?

Kier:
I can’t 100% answer that, but from what we have been looking at, it seems like it’s more rare for it to have public sewer, which scares us because in our typical investing with house hacking and BRRRRing and flipping, we actually stay away from septic. So I’m a little bit nervous to get involved with that, but everyone else is making it work.

Tony:
One follow-up question from me, Kier. I love the way that you’re going as you’re moving into this, but when we talk about single family homes, we know that the revenue is generated from the rent that your tenants pay on a monthly basis. What are all the different ways that you generate revenue with an RV park? What are the things you’re considering when you’re looking at potential purchases?

Kier:
Oh, that’s such a good question. That’s another reason that we love this RV park idea because I feel like there are so many different revenue streams that you could create. One of our dreams, I feel like that’s another part of our criteria is, there has to be expansion possibility because we really would love to, at some point add some more sites, maybe bring in tiny homes or purchase other travel trailers or park models and put them on site and actually rent those out for additional income so that people who don’t own their own RVs can come and still enjoy the RV lifestyle or try it out, maybe they’re not sure if they want to do something like purchase an RV.
So I think that’d be really cool to do. And I have heard of people who are actually doing that. I had a Zoom call with somebody last week who is doing just that. So it is working. So that’s a revenue potential. And then obviously, from the seasonal campers, they pay you for the entire season, they stay there for the entire season, and then you have your transient people who either just come in for the weekend, the week, a night. I guess in addition to that, a lot of the campgrounds that we’ve been looking at have stores. One of our things is, as long as it has some kind of a store, you can always add different things to be sold in the store like, I don’t know.
We’re parked right now at a seasonal campground, that’s where our RV is, and I’m like, “How cool would it be if like the store sold like little cooking TPs or, I don’t know, merchandise with the campground’s name on it?”

Ashley:
Small sticks.

Kier:
Yeah. I guess those are all of the revenue streams that we’re looking for and that are typical, I guess, of campgrounds.

Tony:
One thing I just want to get some clarification on, Kier, you said that there are seasonal attendees. When you said that initially, I thought she just meant like there’s a season when travel is really heavy, but what you’re saying is that people will actually come and park their RV there for three months at a time?

Kier:
Yeah. So, the way it usually works, a lot of the campgrounds that we’ve been looking at, they’re open from, I don’t know, ours was the middle of April til the end of October, and so we paid $3,800 to keep our RV there for that entire time and so we’re considered a seasonal renter.

Tony:
So you’re not necessarily staying at the RV, it’s more so RV storage at that point?

Kier:
Yeah. We go up a lot of weekends and it’s just nice because your camp is already set up, you don’t have to carry it around with you everywhere and set it up, tear it down every weekend. It’s nice. I like the seasonal aspect.

Ashley:
The campground that I had looked into buying, that I put an offer in on, they had 160 sites been about 120 of them were seasonal. And so the people would come in, because in Buffalo, there’s snow. So you set up in the spring and then you leave in the fall, but they would set them up. People had sheds, they had fences, they had like outdoor dining areas, they had decks built. People really made these into really nice areas to spend time because they were going to be there the whole summer, or at least coming to visit on weekends or whatever, but they weren’t picking up and moving their trailer from campground to campground.
And I remember the owner saying that a lot of the people that were seasonal lived within 30 minutes of the campground and they would come on weekends or sometimes on weeknights and stay there and then commute to work from there. So it was very interesting that it wasn’t just people coming from far away to spend the night.

Kier:
I know. We’ve talked to a lot of our seasonal campground neighbors, there are people who’ve been at our campground for 22 years. They have built-in ponds, and like you said, sheds, and fences, and gardens. It’s actually nice because they’re improving the value of these parks because they’re taking such good care of their sites.

Ashley:
And you don’t have to check people in and out as much too. So if you’re all seasonal, you check people in one time in the spring and then take them out in the fall or whenever the season ends.

Kier:
Exactly.

Tony:
Can we talk a little bit more about the seasonality? What happens in the off season? Are you then just like storage for other people’s RVs or does the revenue just stop when you get into that off season?

Kier:
For the ones that we’ve been looking into, they actually do. Yeah, they allow you to keep it there for the entire year. So yeah, the season may be from April to October, but you then can keep your camper there and store it year round so you don’t ever have to move it. Ashley, I’m sure you’ve seen, there are seasonal campers who literally build decks and porches onto their camper that I’m like, “How are they ever, ever going to leave? They’re going to have to tear all of that down.”

Ashley:
And I think that’s part of the value of it, is that you’re getting people that are staying long term so you have less turnover. It’s probably more of the day rate, so when you do have the day rate where people are coming in and out, maybe spending three days there, spending the weekend or spending a week that you’re probably charging a higher daily rate than someone who’s there for the season. So there is that trade-off, and that’s something when you’re analyzing these campgrounds, you have to look at, what’s going to be your overhead if you are paying employees to check people in and out and make sure that daily price is set to cover all these things and make money.
And then the seasonal, make sure that that’s set too, so that you know you might not need as many employees because they’re there for the whole season. So I think that’s really interesting how you have the option to go those two different rates, whether it’s the daily or the seasonal. That campground I looked at, they actually had both. So they had a bunch of the seasonal and then they had the daily rates too. Is that something you’re looking into where it could be a mix of both?

Kier:
Yeah, for sure. I would prefer more seasonal, but I would still love to have a lot of amenities that would attract people to stay at the park for the weekend or for a week or two or something like that, or even a month. Not that I’m against all transient, but I just feel like it’s a lot of wear and tear too on your campground when you have people in and out all the time, driving on the roads. And then, I don’t know how to put this, but it’s almost like the seasonal campers, it’s almost like their second home, so they’re taking care of everything a lot better. When you have the transient people, they don’t care about putting hair down your drains. You know what I mean? Flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed.
Yeah, we’re definitely leaning more towards seasonal, but I would love to have some sites available for the transient and for the travelers because we do enjoy traveling and I would love to be able to provide that for people.

Tony:
One more question from me on the acquisition side of things. You talked about location being important to you in the RV parks that you’re looking at, but how are you actually your due diligence, your analysis on these? What information do you need from the seller to accurately analyze the property? And then, what steps are you taking to determine whether or not something is a good purchase for you?

Kier:
To be honest, we have only gotten to analyze two campgrounds. The hold that information so close to their hearts until they realize how serious you are. So the two that I’ve gotten, they’ve given me packets that say how much the utilities are, their phone expenses, the employees expenses, their insurance costs. I love when it’s nicely laid out. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do when it comes to a mom-and-pop seller who doesn’t have that all prepared for me already. But I also look into what Ashley and I were just saying, how many seasonal people are there, what’s the price that they’re paying for seasonal, versus how many transients they have, what’s their daily rate, what’s the occupancy for the seasonal versus the transient.
I feel like there’s a lot more that goes into analyzing RV parks and campgrounds than it is like a single family, or even a small multifamily property.

Ashley:
Heather, who we’re having on the episode after you, I had reached out to her originally because I wanted to know, is there like a calculator that you used? On BiggerPockets, we have to calculator reports for long-term rentals, wholesaling, flips. And I asked her if there was one, and she’s like, “No, this is a totally different animal. There is no set way to analyze or a calculator to use to analyze each campground because it’s so different, there’s so many different revenue streams coming in, so many different things to look at.” Real quick, before we move on to financing, I want to ask you your opinion on this, so long-term rentals, buy and hold, and then short-term rentals.
And I want to compare that to the seasonal people and then to the daily rate people. So on short-term rentals, you’re usually getting a higher return, but it is more of an active investment because you’re doing those turnovers, you’re having more active management. Would you say that’s a fair comparison than if you’re going at seasonal, it’s more of the long-term rental, and then if you’re going at the daily rate, it’s more of a short-term rental?

Kier:
I have never thought about it like that. I love that. Yes, that makes perfect sense in my mind. I think that is a perfect analogy for people that are looking to compare the two.

Ashley:
Yeah. And it’s like the passive and active, that you’re going to be a little more passive with the seasonal and the longterm, and you’re going to be more active. Look at me, I’m traveling all over and Tony’s actively managing a short-term rental. I am just kidding, Tony.

Tony:
But I think that brings up a good point too, deciding between… Because people do this in the short term rental space too, where they offer like longer, month long or two-month-long stays. And for them, they do it because they like the, you get more revenue than you would with the traditional long-term rental, but it’s still a less work than if you’re turning that property every three to five days. We don’t allow people to stay at our property for an entire month because for us, typically they want a discount when they do that. And for us, we would rather do the work that’s required to churn that property because we know that we’re going to make even more by that person only staying for three or five days.
So like you said, Ashley, it depends on your personality, it depends on how much work you want to put into it. But I think the beautiful part of it is that you have the option, you have the choice as the investor to make the decision that’s right for you. So if you like the idea of short term rentals or RV parks, but you don’t like the idea of having to check people in and check people out, then just offer 30-day minimum stays, and then you get the benefits of having this more higher revenue-generating asset class, but with less work than it typically would require.

Kier:
Absolutely.

Ashley:
That’s a great point, Tony. And that’s the best thing about real estate is, it’s flexible and you get to bake in too to build your business around your lifestyle.

Tony:
Now, here’s the part of the story where I tell Ashley that I was that buyer from LA that bought her RV park in Buffalo.

Ashley:
Oh no. If you guys are just listening to this episode or didn’t hear it before, I had another one, I did put an offer in an RV park and it was down to me and a buyer from LA. And now we know it was Tony. And I had suspected this all along. Okay, Kier, so let’s go into the financing of it. You had mentioned before that you had this limited belief because that one person told you needed 30% of your own cash. What are you doing now? And what are some different options people can explore if they’re looking to purchase?

Kier:
Yeah. Obviously, there’s the seller financing, which is what we’re really going after, because… I haven’t done it obviously, myself, but I’ve heard from talking to other people that doing the bank financing is a little bit more difficult for RV parks, and so we’re really going after the seller financing aspect. We do have an investor who if we stay within that one to 2.5 million price range, they will be able to do the entire down payment. And then we actually have the funds for CapEx, big items that we find such as if all the roads have to be paved or we have dump a bunch of money into the swimming pool or something like that.

Ashley:
Kier, before you go on, real quick, can you explain what seller financing is just in case someone doesn’t know?

Kier:
Yeah, absolutely. So seller financing is where the owner of the RV park almost acts as the bank. So instead of us going to a bank to get some traditional financing, the RV park owner would offer us the financing and we would pay directly to that RV park owner. And that’s usually if they own free and clear. I’m sure they have no mortgage and stuff, but I’m sure there’s ways to do subject to with RV parks, but I feel like that’s a whole another topic.

Ashley:
Okay. So how did you find your private money lender? What would be your advice for somebody who wants to reach out to one?

Kier:
Honestly, it is word of mouth. I feel like that is the answer for so many things, networking and word of mouth. I just started talking to everybody and anybody I could about RV parks. Anytime I could insert it into a conversation, I would. And I think after a couple months of people just hearing me continually talking about it, someone just reached out and said, “I see that you’re pretty serious about this, let’s have a chat.” And when we got on the phone, we already had our criteria listed out, and we were serious enough to actually move to a campground and they were like, “Yeah, I would love to finance this.”
And then we sat down and figured out their finances, where their money was coming from, and we’re just going to take it from there.

Ashley:
How are you able to just pick up and move?

Kier:
Because we always use our primary residences as… We’re always going to rent them out afterwards until we find our dream property because basically, we plan on renting out for the foreseeable future any properties that we buy.

Ashley:
So it’s the rental income, the passive rental income that you can rent those out and you guys have the option to move anywhere and to run the campground. If you move out of state, are you going to probably not continue to do real estate anymore and your husband’s remodeling business? You’ll be focused on the campground?

Kier:
I think we’ll ever stop. We love flipping, we love BRRRRing, we love the buy and holds. We will always do that for sure. The remodeling business is going to be the first thing that we drop. My husband does a lot of the work in the field. His body is just getting tired of it. He wants to change. So remodeling business will go by the wayside, but we love real estate, we’re always going to be doing that. But for the first season at that campground, we’ll definitely be focused on running it, learning everything that we can, getting systems and processes down, just figuring.
I feel like it’s like 15 businesses in one. So we’ll definitely take that first year to learn and hopefully down the road, be able to take all that and buy more RV parks and capitalize on everything that we’re going to learn on that first year.

Ashley:
Well, congratulations on that. Not many people have the option to just pick up and move, to go start their dreams. So congratulations on the success guys have built with your flips and your rentals to be able to do this.

Kier:
Yeah. And then the beauty of it too is, I mean, knock on wood stuff always will work out, but we always have that to fall back on too. I wouldn’t want to kick anybody out, but we do have the option to move back to the houses that we do have.

Ashley:
Or park your trailer in the driveway. The tenants own the house, they don’t own the driveway.

Kier:
Yeah, yeah. Get some water, sewer hookup out there.

Ashley:
Yeah.

Tony:
Also, if you ever want to move to Shreveport, Louisiana, if things don’t work out, I’m selling a house there that you might be interested in, so just hit me up if you have an interest. I want to go back really quickly, Kier, to the private money before we keep moving. First, BiggerPockets has a book, Raising Private Capital by Matt and Liz Faircloth. Great book. We just closed on, my partners and I just closed on our first rehab project using private money. And I learned a lot about the private money processes going through that. Obviously, once you find someone and they give you the verbal yes, you still have to go through like the correct legal paperwork side of setting up the private money.
And it’s going to vary state to state, but I just want to quickly run through what it was like for us in California. But we had to obviously find the person, we had to have our attorney draft up a promissory note, and then we also had them draft up, gosh, I can’t remember the name of the second document, I want to say it was a deed of trust, was the second document. And the promissory note gets held by the private money lender until we pay them back. And then the deed of trust gets filed with, at least for us in California, with the county. And that states the private money lender is the actual lender, the bank, on that transaction, and that gives them the right to foreclose on the property if for whatever reason, you don’t make your payments as agreed upon on the promissory note.
And the lender then just transfers or wires all the money into escrow or into title, whatever state you’re in, and that’s the funds that are used to make the transaction. I don’t know, Kier, have you looked into the process? Is it similar in Pennsylvania or what does it look like for you guys?

Kier:
Yeah, that is almost exactly it. I’ve looked into it, we obviously haven’t done it yet, but I did look into it so that I could sound educated when I talked to them on the phone about how their money was protected. So that sounds very similar to how it’s going to work for me.

Tony:
Awesome.

Ashley:
Have you put in some offers on some properties and what does those offers look like? How did you present them? Did you sit down with the people? Did you do letter of intents? And how did you structure them?

Kier:
We have not put any offers in. The one campground that we were the most serious about, we took our good old time, and I absolutely regret it now, we should have moved a little bit quicker, but we weren’t ready. Well, I shouldn’t say we weren’t ready, we were scared, to be honest. So we lost out because we were going to put a letter of intent in first and found out the night when we were getting it all ready that the campground went under contract. So we have not done anything yet, but I think our first step for that one was going to be a letter of intent first.

Tony:
Kier, what took you guys so long? Was it fear? Was it not knowing what steps to take? What do you feel caused that delay in getting that letter of intent out?

Kier:
Oh gosh, I think it was a little bit of everything. It was analysis paralysis, I think too, we didn’t even know where… Once we went under contract, we didn’t know what steps to take. Exactly. We didn’t know what comes first. You ask for all the financials first? Do you do a letter of intent first? Do you actually just put it under contract and then you get all that stuff? We had no idea how the process was even supposed to go. And I think that that held us back. And then over-analyzing every little thing, we tried to figure out beforehand.
We’d look up the property and who owned it, and was it in a flood plain? What are the taxes? Which are important obviously, but we just over analyzed it before we even had a letter of intent out there. So it was just a little bit of everything. And then obviously fear, for sure. We were like, “What if we do get this? What are we going to do? Are we really ready for this? Is this something that we seriously can do?” So a little bit of everything was holding us back.

Ashley:
I’ve definitely had that happen to me where I’ve been super excited for property and then when it’s actually time to sit down and write that offer and submit, it can be scary. Like, “Okay, this is getting real now.” And you almost have that hesitation, like, “Okay, yeah, this will be awesome if it gets accepted, but if it doesn’t, okay, well then, my fear goes up.” It’s a little mix of that, especially when I did that campground deal. I actually was way more devastated than I thought it was going to be. But when I first put my offer and I was like, “Okay, well, but if it doesn’t work out, I won’t have a ton of work to do the next six months. I will have to scramble to do all these things.”
But I definitely still get that fear sometimes, especially since this was the most expensive property I ever bought was $152,000, a six unit. So I went from my highest unit property to be 150,000 to a $1.4 million offer I was putting in. And that’s scared me. I think it’s just you get around that. And now that I know that I missed out, I need to jump on it more.

Tony:
Like Ashley now, do you feel more comfortable putting offers in at that higher price point?

Kier:
Yes.

Tony:
It didn’t even get accepted, but just the action of you doing it now expands your comfort level, which is so cool.

Ashley:
And do you feel the same way here now that you’ve missed out on that one deal, you are more than ready to jump on the next ones?

Kier:
Absolutely. It’s almost like you learn from your mistakes and you take that lesson with you onto the next. Still hoping, it still says pending, so I’m still hoping maybe something falls through with that campground. I keep my eye on it, but yes, we are ready to jump on something if it’s right.

Tony:
Just one other thought, this is a really important point for rookies to understand, that there’s so much fear that we build up inside of ourselves around taking action, but once you actually do it, that fear almost immediately goes away. And you realize that most of it was all in your mind and that you were making it out to be this thing that it really wasn’t. A quick side story, we’re looking to ramp up our wholesaling business. I’ve mentioned this in the podcast before, and we’ve been doing a lot of research in the best ways to get in contact with sellers and cold calling kept coming up as one of the top ways.
So I sat down on my computer and I started cold calling last week, but leading up to me sitting down, I just like kept putting it off. I was like, “Let me work out first.” And I was like, “Let me clean the garage.” It’s like, who wants to clean the garage for fun? I’m just doing all of these things, put off sitting down and making those phone calls. But once I sat down at my desk, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I’m like, “What are these people going to say to me, I’m going to get cussed out,” all these crazy things. But once I started making the phone calls, the fear just went away.
And when I talked to that first person and they were like, “Don’t ever call me again. Stop calling this number,” and they hung up on me, I was like, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.” So just for the rookies that are listening, that fear is there, but don’t let it stop you from taking action because once you take action, it goes away.

Ashley:
This doesn’t apply in all cases, but for that scenario, Tony, when you’re on calling that person and you’re hearing that, all I can think of is sticks and stones will break your bones and names will never hurt me. I know that that’s not really true anymore these days, but at least for cold calling, I feel like that’s okay, you hang up, I never talk to you again or see you again.

Tony:
So true. I never even thought about that, I’m never going to talk to you, just say whatever you want.

Ashley:
Yeah. You got to have thick skin doing it, so say it to yourself, unless they come up to your house with some sticks and stones, you’ll be okay.

Kier:
Yeah. They can’t throw those sticks and stones through the phone.

Ashley:
Yeah. We talked a little bit about acquiring a deal, analyzing it and then the financing of it. So how have you prepared yourself for when that offer is accepted? What does due diligence, what does that going to look like for you?

Kier:
I’ve talked to a lot of people who are actually buying RV parks and campgrounds, and I think a lot of it depends on if we do bank financing or seller financing. There’s a lot more, I think that goes into it for due diligence when you’re getting bank financing because of what they require. So I really, again, I’m still aiming for seller financing. I actually I’m trying to line up a call next week with a mom and pop campground owner. Someone brought it to me actually just a couple of days ago and I’m super excited about it, but we’ll see if… So for seller financing, and they’re interested in seller financing. So I have thought about like this due diligence process.
And I think for us, I definitely want to make sure, I really don’t want to buy it a flood plain. So we want to make sure that none of the property’s in a flood plain, I want to make sure that the financials are correct, that they have proof of all of that stuff so that I’m not just taking their word for it, whatever kind of septic sewer, all that has to be inspected. I need to make sure that that is in good working order, or at least I have some solid quotes on what it’s going to take to get it fixed. If there’s a pool, get that inspected. So a lot of inspections. And obviously, going out to visit the property is definitely a big part of the due diligence as well.
Maybe even spending a couple of days there and just checking it all out, seeing how the whole process works.

Ashley:
Are you part of the ARVC organization?

Kier:
No.

Ashley:
It’s ARVC, I don’t even remember what it stands for American RV Community, I don’t know. But it’s like a RV campground organization and they have, I think it’s $100 you pay to be a member for a year if you’re wanting to learn to invest in one. And they have a due diligence checklist and they have all these different worksheets and different things that you can look at. I think it would be super cool for you to look at, I think you would really like it and enjoy it.

Kier:
Oh, thank you. Yeah, that’s perfect. That’s exactly what I need because we haven’t done due diligence yet, but from what I’ve been speaking with other people, those are the kind of important things.

Ashley:
And just there’s so many different things to look at too in a campground just like we talked about the different revenue streams, there’s so many things to make sure that you’re underwriting correctly.

Kier:
Right, Exactly.

Tony:
I also love, Kier, that you called out to not buy in a flood zone. So that property that I was trying to sell you earlier in Shreveport, Louisiana, it’s in a flood zone and that’s what’s made it such a rough deal for us. We underwrote it initially with the flood insurance in place, but we didn’t realize that flood insurance can change pretty dramatically from year to year. And our premiums went way up this past year, and now we’re losing money on that deal. So I’m glad you have that foresight. That way you don’t have to use your platform as a BiggerPockets to try and sell this investment property that no one wants to buy from me.

Ashley:
You know what, maybe you needs to offer some meet up there so that you’re like, “I’ll coach you for a year.” They get a package deal.

Kier:
Well, now you just solidified why we’re not going to buy in a flood zone. So thank you.

Ashley:
I will say on the other side of it that I have a property in a flood zone and it does fine with the flood insurance. So it’s not always an awful thing, it can still make the numbers work, just make sure you know ahead of time what the rate is going to be on the insurance policy. And then Tony, you said yours increased, so talk to your insurance agent and see what is the likely event of that increasing and what would it increase to?

Tony:
Yeah. Kier, I know you mentioned that you and your husband are like a dynamic duo, but as you go into eventually operating this park, he has plans to live there, be on site. Have you talked through how you plan to divvy up the responsibilities of actually managing the property?

Kier:
We have. My husband is the one that wants to be out there, almost being the maintenance guy at first, learning what it takes to maintain the property. I am going to act more as like the manager and getting the business and the processes and systems in place. And we have talked about, depending on the size of the park, you definitely think that we’re going to have to hire one or two employees who are going to do the check-ins and stuff like that, so that I can focus on the marketing, the advertising, and the behind the scenes, like business stuff.

Tony:
Awesome. And then I guess one more follow-up to that as well, you talked about like check-ins and managing that process. How do you all plan to markets the RV park once you’ve purchased it? Is your plan to like have some direct booking website where people can find it and book directly with Kier? Or is there like an Airbnb for RV parks that you plan to market it on?

Kier:
Actually both. I definitely want to use, I forget what it is, maybe Ashley, do you know what it is? I know that there’s something like Airbnb for campgrounds.

Ashley:
Like outdoorsky, where you just do the RV thing? I think Outdoorsy.

Tony:
Outdoorsy. Oh, yeah. I see now.

Kier:
I think that’s it. So that’s definitely what we want to do, but then I definitely I have looked into programs that people will be able to go to, if there is a website, we’ll definitely create one, but go to our website and be able to book for themselves directly through our system. So a combination of the two.

Ashley:
Tony, this will be a great question for us to ask Heather on the next episode.

Tony:
Yeah, totally.

Kier:
I can’t wait to hear her answer.

Ashley:
Okay. So we’re going to move into our Mindset Segment. And we actually, I feel when we talked about fear and putting in big offers, we did touch on this, but Kier, what is something that you believed was true about real estate and then it ended up not being false or it ended up being false, something that you have changed your mind on, and you’ve really changed your mindset, and it’s helped you propel into the investor you are today?

Kier:
Ooh, that’s a really good question. I think it’s what we touched on earlier about needing to have all of your own money. That’s absolutely not the case. And I also always thought that you had to buy everything in cash. If you didn’t have the cash to buy it, and this wasn’t even, I’ve never even heard of Dave Ramsey until a couple years ago, so this wasn’t even brought on by him, but I always thought you needed cash to buy every single thing. And that is just not the case. I’ve learned that your first property can snowball into your second property because well, our first, I should say our second property, was a house hack and we used a HELOC on that to then go and purchase our duplex.
And then, I don’t know, it just all like snowballs. So I guess I didn’t really realize that you don’t have to have a W2 and save up all the money that you need to purchase an investment property. That’s just not the case. Creative a financing is out there too. I just started learning about creative financing a couple months ago, and I feel like that’s a whole another ball game to get involved with. So my mindset has definitely been changed on the financing, I guess, of real estate.

Ashley:
And do you think that you got to the point where maybe you were stuck that you weren’t going after RV parks because you didn’t have a million dollars or whatever amount to purchase it in cash? And I think it’s really important to show that instead of giving up, you went out and you researched, you talked to other investors in this strategy and you found other answers. And that I want you guys to take that away today is that if you are stuck, you have an obstacle, go and reach out to the people who are doing what you want to do and let them help you get around that obstacle, because there probably is a way.
There’s probably some kind of way you can maybe do creative financing, you can partner with somebody, but don’t let a limited beliefs stop you from getting started or getting into your next investment, reach out because there are so many people that are doing what you want to do, and they’re doing it in so many different ways. Don’t try and recreate the wheel by starting from scratch, sitting in your small little closet like me, sitting there trying to figure it out on your own. The best thing about real estate investors is that everybody is willing to help you. Nobody holds these closely held secrets like, “Oh no, this isn’t. I can’t tell you that this is how I do it.” There’s so many of us that share what we’re doing for free online.

Kier:
And too if you come across someone who tells you something’s not possible, go and talk to 10 other people about it because everybody is doing things different and everybody has a different strategy and a different opinion. So don’t stop at your first no, just keep going and keep talking to more people.

Tony:
Love it, love it. Kier, I want to take our Rookie Request Line, but just one of thought just on the concept of money as a real estate investor, I know for me, I grew up in a house where there was a scarcity mindset around money. I didn’t grow up poor or anything, but we didn’t really go on like family vacations. Oftentimes had like lucky owes instead of lucky charms. We were like a frugal family, so in my mind, it was always like, “Man, money is a hard thing to come by.” But as you, and this is what you were talking about, Ashley, expanding your network and talking to other people and seeing what’s really possible, as you start to insert yourself in the world of real estate investing, you see the money is really an abundant thing.
And there are so many people with the cash, but they don’t have the time, they don’t have the desire, they don’t have the knowledge, they don’t have the courage. And if you can fill one of those voids for that person, now you’ve immediately created value in their lives and they’re willing to help financially in return for that value. So that was a big mindset shift for me as I came to the world of real estate investing, is that money is really abundant. It’s that fear that makes you think that it’s a scarce resource.

Kier:
Absolutely. I completely agree with that.

Tony:
Kier, let’s go into our Rookie Request Line for today. Are you ready for today’s question?

Kier:
I hope so.

Carson:
Hi, Carson from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was wondering how you get over the fear of buying a rental property and not being able to fill it, having to pay this off yourself, no renters. Thank you.

Kier:
Oh, that’s a great question. Well, first of all, I think even though you can use other people’s money to purchase real estate, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have reserves or a way to cover yourself if something does happen. So, I like to have six months of reserves, so if something goes vacant for six months, I know I can cover it. So I think that’s a big thing. And it doesn’t mean you have to have the cash in the bank, maybe you have a private investor who would be willing to help you out in the meantime, or you can get a HELOC on your primary residence.
I think that there’s a lot of ways to have reserves without actually having the cash in the bank.

Ashley:
We’re going to take us to our random questions now where me and Tony each pick a question to throw at you. So I want to know what is one of the best habits you have formed. So think even maybe just in the last year, what’s a habit you have formed.

Kier:
My morning routine, hands down.

Ashley:
Do you want to share with us? What is it?

Kier:
Yeah. I feel like it’s changed just everything for me. I wake up between 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning. I don’t set an alarm, I did in the beginning, my body now just wakes me up naturally at that time. I get up, I either do a meditation, sometimes I skip it to be honest. It depends how hungry I am. Then I make a smoothie, drink my smoothie, then I do some yoga. And then after yoga, I will do some salary juicing or I don’t know, I love carrot, apple, ginger juice. If you watch my stories, I talk about that all the time. And I try and throw a little bit of reading in there. Every day is slightly different, but I do all of those things every single morning.

Ashley:
And why do you think that has made an impact?

Kier:
I just think waking up and knowing what you need to do instead of waking up and being like, “Okay, what am I going to do?” It’s like you wake up, you know what you have to do. It starts your day. And I think, especially exercising first thing in the morning and meditating, I feel like it clears your mind and allows you to energize your day and just be ready to like tackle whatever comes your way that day.

Ashley:
That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing with us.

Kier:
Yeah.

Tony:
By the way, have you read the book, Miracle Morning, Kier?

Kier:
I have. I read that two years ago. It took me a while to get my routine down, but it was a great book.

Tony:
Yeah. So how, the author of that book will be at this year as BP CON, so you guys just go to bpcon2020.com, I think it is, and you guys can pick up your tickets. It’s in October in beautiful New Orleans, and he will be one of the keynote speakers there. So excited to see him on stage. My question for you Kier, and I can’t remember if we actually touched on this specifically, but why are you looking to level up into the world of RV parks? Why not just stay with what seems like a pretty successful business that you guys already have? Why level up in RV parks?

Kier:
I think there’s a couple of reasons. Number one, we are planning on living there for the first year, so I think just having a little bit of a lifestyle change at first is going to be awesome. And then in addition to that, I think it’d be cool to diversify our portfolio a little bit, and we do the flips and we have the buy and holds, but then add in something else. Because like I said, earlier we explored so many other things like storage units, and at one point we were looking at commercial properties, and just nothing felt right.
And RV parks just seemed to fit, we have a passion for traveling, for Rving, and it just fits really well with our personalities and with diversifying our portfolio. I think it all just marries together and is, I guess, where we’re headed.

Tony:
Awesome.

Ashley:
Well, thank you for sharing. We’re going to go and highlight this week’s Rookie Rockstar. So if you guys want to be featured as a Rookie Rockstar, send me or Tony a DM on Instagram or post it in the Real Estate Rookie Facebook group. So this week’s Rookie Rockstar is Alex W. This is what he posted, “It finally happened. I closed on my first house hack in April, I’m over the moon.” That is awesome. He accelerated, educating himself on multiple streams of income and he stumbled across the Real Estate Rookie Podcast, and your first Real Estate Podcast, which Tony, that was your podcast, right?

Tony:
That’s was my old one. Yeah. You know, Alex.

Ashley:
And then just BiggerPockets in general. He used to educate himself. And he listened to over 350 plus hours of BiggerPockets podcasts. And he’s finally able to reach his fine number quickly than he ever anticipated. The asking price was 195,000, he purchased it for 177,000, and he rents unit one for 1,200, and unit zero as of right now because he is going to make it a short-term rental. So that is awesome. Congratulations to you, Alex.
Well, Kier, thank you so much for joining us on today’s show. Can you let everyone know where they can find out some more information about you?

Kier:
Yeah. I am super active on Instagram, so they can find me @realestate.kier. And from there you can go to my LinkedIn bio and go to a whole bunch of other stuff, like a blog and all that fun stuff. And then I also run the Like Minded Investors community. So I have a monthly meetup, and we’re actually starting a podcast that launches next week. So you can find me on @likemindedinvestors as well.

Ashley:
That’s awesome. So exciting. Congratulation.

Kier:
Thank you.

Ashley:
I can’t wait for me and Tony to be on it.

Kier:
I was just going to say, you guys are going to have to be one of our guests.

Ashley:
Yeah. We would love to.

Tony:
We would love to.

Kier:
Awesome.

Ashley:
Thank you guys for listening today. I’m Ashley @wealthfromrentals, and he’s Tony @tonyjrobinson on Instagram. And we will be back with another episode. We hope you guys really enjoy this RV series. We’re going to have Heather on, an expert investor on campgrounds and RV parks for our next episode. We’ll see you guys then.

 

 

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In This Episode We Cover

  • The difference between RV parks, campgrounds, and mobile home parks
  • Analyzing larger commercial deals and performing due diligence
  • The benefits of seller financing compared to bank financing
  • Submitting a letter of intent (even if you’re scared to do so)
  • Self-managing a property to learn about the business
  • The many different revenue streams an RV park or campground can offer
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Connect with Kier: