Five minutes into the introductory session of a Mobile Home University ‘boot camp,’ the multi-millionaire workshop’s co-founder Frank Rolfe tells attendees not to “make fun of the residents” when visiting the properties, and not to “throw peanuts at them.” Flashed on the screen as he talks is the bullet point, “When we are on the property, don’t make fun of the residents, or say things that can get us in trouble or offend anyone. I once had a bank come to a mobile home park and say in front of my manager, ‘Only a white trash idiot would live in a trailer.”
In an article titled, “America’s trailer parks: The residents may be getting poor but the owners are getting rich,” the Guardian reports that ‘ordinary’ people are looking to the examples of billionaire Warren Buffet and others who are raking in money off the poor and they want to do the same- hence, they are attending Mobile Home University, where, among other things they learn to curb their meaner instincts and disdain for mobile home park residents so that they can raise rents without raising too many eyebrows. The Guardian reports that Rolfe explained to an attendee:
“Raising the rent is typically part of the day one purchase, because often the ‘mom and pop’ [previous, family-run owner of a park] has not raised the rent in years so it’s far below market.
“[The rents] do not go down, that’s one thing that’s a safe bet in the trailer park world. Our rents do not go down.
“We traditionally raise our rents by an average of 10% a year or something like that, and it’s pretty much true for the industry. Our world record [rent increase] went from $125 to $275 in one month.”
Rolfe, who bought a pistol for personal security when he bought his first park, 20 years ago, says he sent a letter to every tenant at that park in Grapevine, Texas, telling them the rent was going to more than double but was still below the market rate of $325.
To learn the finer points of exploiting the mortgage crisis while lining your pocketbook by buying up mobile home parks and raising rents, you can register to attend Mobile Home University boot camp for just $2499. Addressing poverty in America as a potentially lucrative business venture, the site says:
Mobile home parks are the hottest sector of real estate right now, due to the endless decline in the U.S. economy. With over 20% of American households now making $20,000 per year or less, and another 10,000 baby boomers per day retiring into social security incomes that average only $14,400 per year, the demand for affordable housing is giant and growing daily. Mobile home parks are the only niche of real estate that grows stronger as the economy grows weaker. This contrarian hedge is why Warren Buffet is the largest owner of mobile home manufacturing and financing in the U.S. Its unique since virtually no new parks are allowed to be built and the fact that tenants can’t afford the $5,000 it costs to move a mobile home keeps revenues stable and makes it easy to raise rents without losing any occupancy. That’s why the largest mobile home park owner in the U.S. is Sam Zell, who was formerly the largest owner of apartments and office space in the U.S.