The Real Estate Law Podcast

41 - Earning Huge Returns Across Asset Classes with Sunrise Capital Investors CEO Kevin Bupp

March 08, 2022 Jason Muth + Rory Gill Season 1 Episode 41
The Real Estate Law Podcast
41 - Earning Huge Returns Across Asset Classes with Sunrise Capital Investors CEO Kevin Bupp
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we're speaking with Kevin Bupp, Founder & CEO of Sunrise Capital Investors, which invests in mobile home parks, parking lots, apartments, offices, and single family homes all across the US.

Kevin's story sounds very familiar to many real estate investors who started in the 2000s - build up a substantial portfolio, weather the 2008-2009 financial crisis (where Kevin lost everything), and pivot strategy to something new. In Kevin's case, he bought his first mobile home park in 2012 and since then has transacted on over 40 of them!

Kevin shares some excellent advice for people looking to gain traction in the mobile home space, explaining why he loves it as an asset class and what systems he has built with a decade of experience at Sunrise Capital Investors.

You will not want to miss his story about the very first mobile home park outside of Atlanta and how he won over the local city council and authorities with what had been a very undesirable part of town when under previous ownership.

In this episode, we talk about:
-- Investing in Mobile Home Parks and Communities
-- Kevin's journey from failure to success
-- Modeling the success of mentors
-- Building a portfolio of over 100 single-family homes
-- Losing almost everything during the financial crisis of 2008
-- Pivoting his business to the mobile home space
-- Figuring out who to trust when looking for a mentor or partner
-- Finding a blueprint that works and following it
-- Mindset changes when starting to take on outside capital
-- The responsibility involved with taking on friends & family money
-- Documenting your processes and talking about deals that you've done
-- What happens during the first month after acquiring a mobile home park
-- The broader community impact of supplying affordable housing in mobile home parks
-- The importance of getting city council on your side
-- Why relationship building and reputation are paramount to your success

Get in touch with Kevin:
Kevin Bupp - Kevin@KevinBupp.com
Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow Podcast - https://www.kevinbupp.com/
Kevin Bupp on Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbupp/
Kevin Bupp on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/buppkevin/ 

Join Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill of NextHome Titletown and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston, Massachusetts for another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast!

#bostonrealestate #mobilehomeinvesting #openhouses #realestatepodcast #nexthome #humansoverhouses #realestate #realestateinvesting #mentorship #realestateinvesting #mobilehomeparks #realestateagent #affordablehousing
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The Real Estate Law Podcast is hosted by Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill.

This podcast and these show notes are not legal advice, but we hope you find both entertaining and informative.

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Kevin Bupp:

I think documenting from beginning to end, all those, you know, all those deals that you've done up into the point where you're ready to go bigger is incredibly important. I think that's also if you're if you're really still, if you're spending your time around those that are doing bigger things, which you should be, as you're working up towards that goal, you should be spending time going to networking events and spending time around those that are already doing what you want to be doing. I think what you'll find is that you'll probably start to get noticed, and it will make those conversations a lot easier. And also, you'll have a better understanding of maybe what value proposition you can bring to the table for some of those groups that are already doing what you're doing.

Announcer:

You found The Real Estate Law Podcast, because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom argument. If you're a real estate professional, or looking to build real estate expertise, then welcome to the conversation, and discover more at realestatelawpodcast.com.

Jason Muth:

Welcome to The Real Estate Law Podcast. And I'm really glad that you've chosen to join us for another episode, we have a really special guest today. We're going to be talking to Kevin Bupp, who is a real estate investor out of Florida. And he's got his hands in a lot of different projects. And he's a podcaster himself. And he has an amazing podcast, real estate investing for cash flow, which has hundreds of episodes and run circles around this podcast, one of the ones that we aspire to be as good at some day. And we'll see how to Kevin in a second. Let's see how to Rory Gill, our co host attorney broker from NextHome Titletown Real Estate and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston.

Rory Gill:

Jason, how are you? I have my notepad in front of me because I'm expecting to take a lot of good notes here. Kevin, you know, with this kind of hot market that we've been working on thinking about different ways to invest and find ways to find cash flow. He's really taken a few strategies that you know, that are foreign to me. So I'm excited to hear what he's done the projects that he's working on. And without any more. I'd like to welcome him on.

Jason Muth:

Welcome Kevin.

Kevin Bupp:

Jason. Rory. Excited to be here, guys. Thanks for having me.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, we're recording this on a very balmy day in Boston. I think the temperature outside is about 12. Not including the windchill, you're wearing your polo shirt because you are enjoying some sunshine in Florida. So let me give you a quick little welcome and explain to everybody who Kevin is and why he's here on the podcast. He actually runs his own podcast and there's hundreds of episodes if you have not downloaded Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow, I strongly encourage you to do that. It's a great listen talks about all different facets of real estate. Lately, there have been a couple episodes about commercial real estate. I know one you just published has the word blockchain in the title. So you know, we're all talking about NFT's and blockchain and crypto and how that fits into real estate these days. And we don't really have to get into on this episode, because it's going to become an eight hour fight between me and Rory. But that's for another time. Let's start from the beginning. Kevin, I mean, like you've been doing this for a couple decades. And you know, you're, you're a real estate investor yourself, we understand that you've been working a lot in the mobile home space. And in parking lots. And we have not had that discussion yet, on this podcast, although lots of podcasts have covered it. So we're really curious to hear more about your success and your experience in those categories and a whole bunch of other things as well. But, you know, Kevin, tell us a little bit about, you know, how your career has evolved into where it is today?

Kevin Bupp:

Sure. No, no, absolutely. And, you know, I've been investing now for 21-22 years. So it kind of ages me a little bit. But I mean, I got started at 19 buying just like a lot of folks do buy in single family homes kind of follow the guidance of a mentor that I had met very luckily met at that young age who was doing the same thing in a small town, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, you know, just buying you know, you know, C+ class, single family residences that need some work, and we would flip them as needed to, you know, to generate more capital wholesale as needed. And then you would try to keep, you know, normally like one out of every three or four I keep it as you know, as an actual rental and now that I was really just modeling the exact same thing that my mentor had done, I was not reinventing the wheel at all, I figured what was the point he had done quite well in his life he was about 25 years older than I and so I was really following in his footsteps and so you know, that exact thing for you know, for the next couple of years and accelerated it quite a bit after moving to Florida, back in 2002. And a fairly substantial portfolio literally utilizing that exact method just literally following in the footsteps of what others had had already done and had had proven to be successful and you'll build up a portfolio of single family properties of about 130 of them by my by my mid 20s, and then start buying multifamily properties and kind of evolving into smaller commercial properties just trying to get a better understanding of you know, what now i You'll perceive to be is a bigger game, right, like bigger properties, just really bigger numbers. And ultimately, that carried me to 2008. 2008 was a very challenging time down here in Florida and essentially, long story short lost pretty much everything. Even my primary residence I was living it was just it was a very challenging time. Florida was kind of one of the, you know, one of the the couple of Ground Zero, where markets literally took a complete nosedive, not even down to the level they started that maybe years prior, but even to a negative level, no matter how much equity you have. You seemingly were upside down on most investments, even rents went down. I know, no one law people say the rents never go down. Well, they did. And they did for a period of a couple years down here in Florida, we had a just a ridiculous amount of excess supply. And so you'll fast forward a couple years after the crash was kind of working to figure out a way to rebuild myself and that's why I was introduced the mobile home parks and that was back in about 2010 When I was introduced to it and bought our first mobile home park at the beginning of 2012. And so you know, just now now a decade ago and bought that first park and it went quite well bought a second park that went even better bought a third park and you know, now here we are today have transacted you know, I don't know the exact number probably over 40 mobile home parks, we own park today in 13 Different states, your northeast southeast and a couple in the Midwest, and I built a business around it. And so really accelerated it about seven years ago to where we started bringing on outside capital outside of just your friend's family and our own capital. And aside from mobile home parks, we've expanded recently into the parking assets as well. So surface parking lots and parking garages in strategic locations. So it's a it's been quite a ride been a lot of fun. And mobile home parks were kind of a secret 10 years ago when I bought them why so we started buying. Now it seems to be one of the flavors of the year, or I guess maybe decade we could say. And I think the secret's out, I wish I would have bought more back before I went found out about it. But you know, either way, it's a great asset class to be in. And you know, we've always been kind of contrarian investors. And so I always felt that way with mobile home parks, it's now it's kind of mainstream, but parking lots, very contrarian in nature, very niche, and not many folks, you hear talking about it just kind of like 10 years ago, mobile home parks. And so we're hoping that we can, you know, maybe you'll get a foothold and start buying these assets, consolidating that marketplace before again, it becomes the the flavor of the decade. So anyway, there's a condensed version of my background on my story.

Jason Muth:

Rory, I have so many questions. So many places, I want to go with this. First, why don't we share with Kevin how important parking is where we live in Boston?

Rory Gill:

I mean, I started to people keep posting the individual parking spaces for sale. In the area, the most recent one I saw in not a prime location was $65,000 for a single parking space. And I'm sure it goes way up from there. And I'm sure you know, there are cities that are much worse in Boston on there. So you know, that caught my attention to I mean, another thing I would just kind of flag, I don't have questions on it. But we've spoken to a lot of people where the crash of 2008 really was foundational in their their journey and their mindset. And those who are still here talking about it had, you know, suffered real hardship, but made some real strong adjustments for it. So kind of going out from the the single family space that you were well-mentored in and starting to look elsewhere, I think is a lesson that everybody should be taking, you know, maybe not following the exact type of investments. But having that flexibility and that ability to reimagine their goals during a hard time, I think has been a theme that we've seen with a bunch of our guests here. You know, but with that, you know, you talked about a bunch of different asset classes, how is it you know, to go against the grain and to a less-traveled path and to look at parking lot storage units, mobile home parks, things that weren't the traditional single family or small multifamily rental?

Kevin Bupp:

So the question was, how was, I guess what, what sent me down that path? Is that Yeah, yeah, you know, mobile home park. So backing up before the crash, you know, we had sort of buying multifamily, you know, smaller multifamily properties, and I say smaller, you know, 20 unit, 24 unit, 36 unit, we didn't have anything larger than I think 72 was our largest. And so we just leading from single family properties, I realized the economies of scale and the efficiencies that were gained with the, the multifamily stuff and although that was kind of entering into a very turbulent time 2007 leading in 2008, I knew that when it came time to rebuild, you know, back prior to the crash, I was single, I mean, I didn't have kids or anything like that. And 2008 I met you know, who is now my wife, we have you know, two wonderful children together. And so like I knew that prior to that I had all the time in the world to build this little you know, single family home portfolio, which took a lot of time to acquire that many single family properties that I felt were worth keeping. And I want to you know, to do in a more efficient manner this time around again, I met my my now wife, and we knew that we were going to have a family together. And I figured there was probably a better way to skin the cat. And so looking back, I knew that it was going to be multifamily. When when it came time to rebuild, and you know, I just by happenstance, caught literally lunch conversation with a gentleman by the name of Randy back in 2010 is what sent me down the path of mobile home parks. I had never considered it as an asset class. I was introduced to Randy by just the mutual a friend of ours, basically saying like, Hey, Randy is a cool guy. He's been a banker for 30 years, you know, in some mobile home and RV parks. But bottom line, he's a nice guy, you should go have lunch with them, right? Just talk, business talk shop, whatever. He's just a great guy. And I did. And after that two hour lunch with Randy, where he basically threw in my face all the beautiful aspects of mobile home parks, and why we should consider that asset class and not multifamily. I walked away from that, that lunch meeting with Randy, basically committing myself to saying, Hey, I'm gonna buy a mobile home park over the next 12 months. And so everyone needs a roof over their head, a lot of this country needs an affordable roof over their head, mobile home parks, very well fit that niche. And again, back then, unlike today, it was a it was kind of an under the radar asset class, you know, like those that were in the know, didn't really talk about that much, they kind of kept the secret to themselves. Now I understand why. And so you know, there was a lot less competition going after these mobile home assets, mobile home park assets in there were in the multifamily space. So that's what we did. That's what set me down that path. And again, you know, I had a lot of trepidation, I didn't know what I didn't know, there was many deals that I backed out of that first year that now I kicked myself in the butt wish I would have closed because I kind of followed them along their journey. But we did buy when we pulled the trigger took me about 14 months to pull the trigger on a heavily distressed, foreclosed mobile home park in Atlanta, Georgia, which we literally just sold last year. So I held it for quite some time. And it was practically all vacant. I mean, it was a disaster, but we got a really good price. And I've done some big projects in the past. So that didn't scare me away. It just, you know, the unknown scared me more than anything else, when we got into it stabilized it in about a year. And ultimately, you know, quadrupled our money, you know, got our money back within the first couple years refinance that many times. I mean, we just we made a lot of money on it was a great asset. But after that first year, once we got stabilized, I was like, there's, there's something to this, I mean, there's for how much the amount of capital invested into this to what our returns were our returns were just, I mean, like 35 plus percent after we got it stabilized annual returns and, and I wanted to see if we could replicate that. And we did for many, many years continued buying and buying and buying and it just became an asset class, we knew very well we were comfortable with it. And again, you know, felt like we were going against the grain and we were buying assets and other people were kind of thumbing their nose at that or or you know, weren't even considering to be a good investment. And so that was really the introduction, and I'm glad I stuck with it. And I'm glad I had that lunch meeting with Randy cuz I would have continued buying apartments, which are great as well, I've got a lot of my own capital invested with a number of sponsors in the multifamily space. Love it, you know, I love multifamily, but mobile home parks were the the asset class that worked well for us.

Jason Muth:

I think it's a lot of lessons there too. You know, the blocking and tackling analogy that I've used before, but you know, Defense wins football games, right? You know, if you know the basics, then you're a little further along, because you focus in on what you want to do. Early on in your career, you you said that, you know, you had a mentor who was 20 or 25 years, your senior and you basically said, Well, let me just do what he's doing. It seems to work, and then leading up to the crash, it worked for you. Right? And absolutely, in a similar situation with mobile home parks now, where you had that meeting with Randy, and I'm curious how how, you know, to trust people, like in this space, because, you know, I think that in real estate, a lot of people want to help each other. But when it comes to asking for money, and that kind of thing, sometimes like, you know, your your guard goes up and you say, Well, geez, you know, do I do I give this guy money? Do I give this guy my time? Is this somebody that's going to screw me or not? And it sounds like you've had some success with finding some mentors then led you down a pathway, but maybe comment on that a little bit?

Kevin Bupp:

Yeah. So So Randy, I wouldn't say became my mentor. I mean, we stay in contact, and we never did a deal together. But you know, the underlying fundamentals I understood, you know, I understood that everyone is looking, you know, I understood, you know, finding your the right market, right, the right markets, the most important right location, right markets, guide me to a market that has a demand for that particular product. So I understood how to make that determination already. I was comfort with that I didn't as it was related to mobile homes, per se. But like, again, everyone needs a roof over their head, especially an affordable roof over their head. So I got comfortable at the market that that Park was in, I've got comfortable with knowing the you know, massive renovation side of it that was going to be necessary. The big unknown factor was just the the mobile home mobile home in comparison to an apartment, right, like it's a different type of living structure. That was the unknown part of it. And so what I, the partner that I that I brought in on that very first deal was it was a close friend of mine that I had done many other real estate transactions with I'd gotten to know him he and his brother when I moved down to Florida, they were huge investor. They had hundreds and hundreds of single family properties, lots of multifamily stuff. And so again, he was he was more of a friend and a mentor, although we had done deals together, but he had actually bought about a year prior he lost everything in the crash two and then a year yo yo two years went by and he went and bought a couple mobile home parks, I think and we never even talked about this. He just went bought a couple mobile home parks. And so he had already kind of he had taken a couple beatings and bruises buying it and trying to understand it, learn that asset class and so he'd already gone through some of the challenge that happened. I would have ultimately faced the thought of going out of the loan some of the unknowns. And so I actually brought him into that deal him and I partnered together, I trusted him already, we had already done some other transactions together, we both put money into the deal. And we literally, you know, JV'ed, I mean, he was as involved as I was. And so that's, that's really where my guidance came when that very first deal. And I was able to quickly eliminate some of those unknowns that cause trepidation. And moving forward, we bought a number of other properties together before I kind of went my own direction and formed what now sunrise capital investors and, you know, brought other partners in and start raising capital from outside folks and building a team underneath me. So, but again, I guess you could say he was a mentor, because he although we were partners that he, you know, he was the guiding light, I think, I think that's important, anything, I mean, you'll, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. There are the many other people out there that have already done what you want to do, and have done it successfully, you got to find those individuals, you know, weed out the bad apples and find the ones that are trustworthy. And I think trustworthy comes from gut a big part of its gut, I think your gut tells you a lot of everything you need to know when it comes to meeting somebody if your guts, you know, doesn't feel right, it's probably right, you should probably maybe reconsider that individual as being a mentor. But I think just, you know, speaking to like going to investment club meeting, you know, the 10% of that room, that's there are the ones that are actually probably doing something, you'll talk to folks find out who have that 10% are the ones that have a good reputation, have a good track record, you know, people speak very, very nicely about those folks, and very positive manner. And those are the ones that you want to spend your time with. And those are the ones that you want to ultimately, you know, follow their path and potentially maybe even have them become your mentor, if at all possible.

Jason Muth:

Another call for networking, you know, it's important to these groups.

Kevin Bupp:

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I think the important things with those groups. So, you know, I haven't been to one of those investment club meetings for many, many years. But I remember when I started going, when I moved down to Florida, there was three of them within a 30 mile radius a couple of different nights of the week. And very quickly, I realized that kept seeing the same faces, they're the same faces of the people that would seemingly never take any action, you know, end up being 90% of the of the group, like you realize that these folks are just coming here on off, they're coming for the free coffee or the crappy doughnuts or what but they're here, but they're not doing anything. There's really only a small select group of people in that in those meetings are actually taking action that are doing deals that you know, that are that are worthy of I think your time, right, we only have so much time in a day and you want to spend your time around that 10% Not the other 90% there that's there to network and talk and you know, just for something social to do.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, I think it's combination of people trying to find a niche and find a space and you know, getting excited in a new endeavor, if they say, Hey, I think I want to get into this, it's, you know, there is a lot of courage that goes into showing up all of those meetings for the first or second time, and then you start to see some friendly faces there. But yeah, to your point, if no one's really doing anything, it's just the same people that are socializing in a different manner. Amid the people that are actually taking action. We've gone to a bunch of them, Rory and I have. Lately we haven't with COVID, we ran one a little bit last year, we had a couple meetups and then you know, the city kind of shut down again. So, you know, we put that put that on ice for a little bit. Things are different in Massachusetts versus Florida and other places in the country. You know, we still have restrictions up here. But you know, it's super important. I mean, like networking online, you know, it's it doesn't really quite take the place of networking in person, in my opinion. It's it's not a suitable substitute, but it's not terrible. It's something, right? Well, we're all, you know, kind of working through COVID. But, you know, in person meetings are great when you find those right people, you know, the sniff test is important. Like if if it smells like it's sour, then, you know, run the other way.

Kevin Bupp:

I agree.

Rory Gill:

I wanted to ask you, you've obviously outgrown just using your own capital, you know, you've have you sunrise capital investors, will you start taking on outside capital and outside investors? How does that change your your mindset and just the way you go about doing your business?

Kevin Bupp:

That's a great question. I think it's an answer by saying this, and it's it's a huge responsibility. And I think it's incredibly important that it doesn't mean that it's the only way. But I do think that it's incredibly important for someone, let's say that you're going to start buying multifamily properties, let's just use that asset class, I think it's incredibly important for an individual that that wants to scale, I want to throw that word around, I want to scale I want to, you know, whatever, by 1,000 units, 2,000 units, I think it's important to actually risk your own money first, before you take the responsibility on of risking outside capital, right. And whether that means you go buy your first just a duplex or you know, a four-unit property. I think you need to prove that concept that it's all theory until you actually go out there and do it. And I don't think anything says like, I'm willing to put all this on the line unless it's your own money that you're putting on the line, right? And so I think that that alone, I think gets you in a much more comfortable state that you'll do everything within your power to protect and treat that other capital outside capital as if it's your own, because you're technically you've already risked your own capital and you probably risking your own capital in these next couple of deals that you're going to maybe bring outside capital in for. And so I was already like I was, I was already in that mindset because I use my own money. And then we start bringing in some friends and families money, right, which I think that's probably the most uncomfortable, if at all, is the friends and family money. And if you can get comfortable knowing that like you trust yourself enough, and like, you know, you've proven the concept like you know, your craft, so well, and you're confident that you can bring in friends and family money that I think you're already there. At least me personally, that's kind of how I felt like I just, I knew that we were really good at what we're doing. And that, if anything, I was giving value to those that were looking to place their capital with us like it was a win-win. It wasn't just me asking for something, it was us sharing a value with each other, you know, they were sharing their capital with me, but then in return for that I was going to share a wonderful opportunity with them. And so that's kind of how I looked at it. And again, that's why again, backing up, I think it's very important to prove your concept first. And even if it's on a small scale, I want to buy big multifamily properties of the duplex, document it use it as a case study. And again, make sure that your own capital is at risk. It's I think that's the only way i That's my personal opinion, but I think that's really the only way to get comfortable.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, that way those Thanksgivings are not that awkward. If you;'ve lose everyone's money in the room, you won't get invited in the future.

Kevin Bupp:

Even when you're even when you're doing well with family like seriously, even when even when things are going great. I still think it's me personally, I've always felt uncomfortable. And we've we've only ever all the friends of family man we've ever taken it like it's done really well, right? I mean, like it's we've done, we've exceeded expectations. But even then, it just for me, maybe that's just my awkwardness. But it creates just a weird dynamic. It's no longer just friends and family. It's the money that they worked incredibly hard for that could have a detrimental impact on their lives should something happen with the investment that you've taken that money in for right. That's just, it's there's a lot of responsibility on your shoulders there.

Jason Muth:

Let me ask a question, though. The next stage after that, you know, if you can think back to some of your early deals, because I think a lot of people who are listening to this podcast and probably yours and other podcasts that are out there, maybe they've done a couple deals, you know, they've done a couple rentals, they've done their own primary home, maybe they have a multi, maybe they have other asset classes, and they want to they want to start scaling they want to do either, you know, a mobile home park, a parking lot more multi families, you know, they kind of have gone past their money. Maybe they've done some friends and family money. What's the next step? Like? What advice would you give for somebody that is saying, alright, you know, I've done two multis, and now I want to take a big swing, where do they find the money?

Kevin Bupp:

Yeah, and I think that's the importance of documenting your your process along the way, documenting the deals that you have done talking about them, getting active in the real estate clubs, the meetings, other folks that are doing what you're doing social media, right? Social media is huge. I mean, like that. If you're not speaking about what you're doing on social media, and you're trying to build a reputation for yourself, and you're not out there sharing with the world of all the wins that you're having, then, then you're shooting yourself in the foot. And so, again, I think documenting from beginning to end all those, you know, all those deals that you've done up into the point where you're ready to go bigger, is incredibly important. I think that's also if you're if you're really still if you're spending your time around those that are doing bigger things which you should be as you're working up towards that goal, you should be spending time going to networking events and spending time around those that are already doing what you want to be doing, I think what you'll find is that you'll probably start to get noticed. And it will make those conversations a lot easier. And also you'll have a better understanding of maybe what value proposition you can bring to the table for some of those groups that are already doing what you're doing right like this, I always say like multifamily and bigger deals in general, it's a team effort, for the most part, very rarely do you ever see a 300 unit apartment complex, a 30 or $40 million transaction that's done by just one individual, literally one, you know, sole member of the LLC. It exists, it exists. But like that is not that that's not the common theme. The same goes with larger mobile home park transactions or larger parking transactions. It's it's typically a team sport that makes this happen. And so what I have found, there's a number of folks that we have, that are partners with us on some of our larger mobile home transactions. For example, we just did a deal a couple months ago, someone actually brought us a deal he had already done, you know, seven or eight small mobile home parks smaller meaning like a million dollars or less. And he was out there pounding the pavement and he ran across an opportunity for a two-part portfolios and was a 13 and a half million dollar deal. He had strived to get to that point. But he wasn't there. He didn't have the capital source to do it. He might have had the experience. They'll take it down but he didn't have access to capital to make it happen. And nor did he have the management infrastructure to actually operate at once once he had taken it down. So he came to us and ultimately, not only do we give him a big finder's fee, but we actually made him a a partner in the GP side of the deal. So now he's actually he's in that deal. We're working on the operation side with him, you know, there's some improvements that are we're gonna be making, but we're kind of teaming up with him in his smaller company to actually work this deal together, he's learning a ton, he's kind of seeing how maybe a slightly larger group, you know, is doing is doing things and maybe how he might be able to evolve his business to, to do these larger deals by himself in the future. And so, I think that's a great example of like, what you can be doing, if you've already done a couple deals you want to start, you know, getting bigger and doing some scale.

Jason Muth:

Kevin, when you take over a mobile park? A mobile home park? What's like, what do you do that first month? Like, tell us about like, day one? Day seven, day 14 day? 30?

Kevin Bupp:

Yeah, no, it's it's a great question. Obviously, every property is different than the next. But you know, we have a, we have a specific branding that we use throughout all of our parks. So you go to any one of our parks, the signage is the same, the name of the community might be different, but the signage is the same, the entrance looks the same. Even the landscaping at the entrance, assuming that it's similar climate like it looks, it follows all a the same theme. And so, you know, within that very first month of ownership, I mean, we're looking to execute on the improvement plan. And again, it's include signage, aesthetics, if the roads need repairs, we go in and repave the roads, if there's tree work that's needed, we go in and you know, take trees out, trim trees up, if there's general cleanup that's needed, we do that and we improve the offices, it's more cosmetic over that first month in anything else. And I'd say thereafter, that the the second step of that of that plan, because that will have that first step, not only does it improve the looks of the property, but it also builds a lot of trust with the residents, because most of the things that we're taking over, not that they maybe have been mismanaged, but most of them have some type of deferred maintenance. You know, they haven't been run as efficiently as maybe what they what they should be run. And so our objective is to go in and build trust with the residents, you know, just not this new owner coming and going to do the same, you'll do it the way that the old people did it for the last couple of decades. So that built a huge amount of trust that first of all, they see a lot of positive things occurring, we put in playgrounds, you know, if there's not a playground, there's like kids in the community. And then there after that, you know, we we just look forward to, you know, we look to executing our the rest of the business plan, and that might mean, bringing units into any of the vacant lots that are there. And if there's any vacant homes that we acquire, during the acquisition, we renovate those homes and sell them off to you know, you know, to new homeowners that we want to bring into the community. That's it, I mean, that that we find efficiencies if we're if the management side of things we have on site managers, each one of the communities, if we found that that was one of the challenges, we might bring in a new management team, there on site to help us execute on those goals. But that's, that's really, I mean, that's, that's kind of like the first three months, I would say, and then thereafter, you know, it's, it's, I don't want to say this, but it's not really all that much rocket science, it's really implementing the the business plan, you know, enforcing the rules, ensuring that, you know, rents are received between the first and the fifth of every month, if not, we have a protocol in place to hand out late notices and eviction notices and things of that nature, but it's really creating pride of ownership in the community. And you know, and that also means sometimes putting events in place like we do socials in the in the summertime, you know, do cook outs and things of that nature. We got prizes for nice yard, or you know, a nice flower bed and do just different things like that, to really engage the entire community, bring everyone together.

Rory Gill:

I want to ask you more about, you know, to comment more on the kind of the broader impact you have in the community and what regulatory hurdles you face, because I know, across the country, we have a desperate need for affordable housing. And I think that's part of why that the secret's out on mobile home parks and why they turn into such a great investment because there's such a demand for affordable housing there. So you know, how do you you know, how do you see your mission fitting in with the need for affordable housing? How do you relate to the communities? And do you face any resistance from local exclusive zoning rules or anything like that?

Kevin Bupp:

Yeah, no, it's a great, great couple of questions there and I try to try to break it down a little bit. So the first thing is like how do we fit into the affordable housing space and the best way to put it is that number one mobile homes especially new mobile homes that are rolling off the assembly line today, they literally utilize the same type of construction materials as that of a an apartment building or even a single family home. I mean, they have 2x4 studs in the walls. They use laminate flooring or plank flooring, drywall on the interior, recessed LED lighting, I mean, they're getting the same fits and finishes that you might find in a single family or an apartment, newer apartment complex. And so you could pick any market that we own a mobile home park and today, it doesn't matter. Northeast, southeat - it doesn't make a difference. And I can guarantee you in our mobile home park one, if someone's looking for let's call it a three bedroom, two bath, let's just pick that size of a unit. Our mobile home, a three bedroom two bath mobile home is going to be substantially less most of the time 20 to 25% less than a comparable three bedroom, two bath apartment and probably, you know 40%, less than out of a comparable three bedroom, two bath, single family stick built home. But I'm talking the same school district, same part of town, same quality of residence, same, fits, finishes what have you. But it's going to be substantially less. And so I think that that's a huge that's a huge piece of the puzzle right there as far as fulfilling the need for quality, affordable housing. In addition to that, most of the time, we put together creative plans most of our communities to where those that want to become a homeowner, they don't just want to be a renter, we give them the ability to define that path to homeownership to where they can actually own that unilaterally without having to come up with you know, 20% down or 25% down, even if they've got substandard credit. And so it gives those folks that don't want to continue renting their entire life and throwing their money away gives them the ability to actually become a homeowner and live in a home that's theirs, they can have Christmas lights and put their own decorations up and have their own yard and things of that nature. So it's a beautiful thing, it's a beneficial piece of the affordable housing landscape on the rental side, as well as on the homeownership side. So as far as like the your regulatory hurdles, you know, every every municipality is a little different than the next. I will say that mobile home parks, unfortunately, you know, due to a number of bad actors, years past, they just somehow got a negative stigma attached to them. And you know, it's unfortunate because you can go to any town, let's pick Boston, right? Like there's speaking to single family neighborhoods, there's the really bad single family neighborhoods that are just like on the wrong side of the tracks have a lot of drugs, sex and rock'n'roll going right like just bad things going on. Then there's the other end of the spectrum, there's incredibly high end, affluent communities, and you've got the good hard working blue class right in the middle, right, that exists in single family homes that exists in apartments. Same thing happens in mobile home parks, there's the really rough ones that are trailer parks that are run, you know, they're in bad part of town, bad school district just got the bad element. They're super high, nice ones here retirement communities that have really expensive homes and and then there's everything that's in the middle that's really feeding that, you know, the blue collar segment of the of the world. And but unfortunately, all mobile home parks somehow get lumped into the bad category, the bad bucket. And so when going into an in, we buy a new acquisition. A lot of times if it's been somewhat mismanaged, the taste in the mouth of the local municipality is normally not all that great. If it's been really mismanaged, it's there's a lot of initial friction, but normally what we do if we have the ability to, we always try to get together city council before we close on a property. And we actually sit down with whether it's the city manager or the entire council, whoever we can get that is going to be open minded to what are our plans are coming in. And we sit down and we actually share with them our business model who we are what we've done historically, and what we intend to do with this particular community, but then we actually do it. Right, even if they're not happy about it, we actually executed our plan. And what we have found, for the most part, is that the attitude changes significantly over the first year after we go in and execute that business plan. We keep the bad elements out, we're not a drain on the resources. We don't have the you know, the policeman called there, you know, twice a week, and do kids running around breaking windows and things of that nature vandalizing the neighborhood. So normally, you know, within that first year, we've become friends with the local municipality. And it's not an adversary relationship, like it may have been historically. In fact that I've got a good it's a good story on the very first park we ever bought that park in Atlanta that I told you about. It was bad. I mean, it was practically it was an REO. And so this is back. And you know, in the days when there was lots of REOs out there, still this thing it's at at 33 units in it. And it had sat vacant for for about a year. And so it had some squatters and I mean, like it just only had a couple units occupied but they're occupied by people that weren't paying the rent - drug dealers, what have you just bad elements. And so this, this park was known to all the local construction guys and placing go dump their excess construction materials. I mean, it just it was a drain on the resources of the police department of the city, and happened only be about an eighth of a mile down the road from the courthouse. That's also where the chief of police, that's where the police station was, and that's where the the local mayor's office was, as well. It's a small, small little town of a suburb of Atlanta. So they drive past this every day. The mayor would drive past us every day for years and years and just was he was fed up. He was over it. And so we had our plan in place. We had scheduled a meeting with the mayor and his council and there's about eight people in this meeting Chief of Police mayor and all their staff, and we thought we're you know, we're like riding high on our horse. We're gonna clean this place up, we present our plan to them, you know, after 15 minutes of us talking about all these great things we're going to do. The mayor looked at us and he's like and he's this guy let me let me paint a picture for us. About 6'4", a littlre overweight bald handlebar mustache hit a stuffed fox on his wall, you know rifle I mean this is it's kind of like a little bit of a rednecky suburb of Atlanta. And so he's fairly intimidating. And he looked at us he said, You guys are wasting your money you should get out of my town. I've been trying to shut that trailer park down for years now, and I'm not going to stop until I, you know, to accomplish my goal and so we're not, we're not going to work with you, we're not going to make it easy. Take your money, go spend it somewhere else. And my partner and I walked out of that meeting, like, well, that did not go how we expected it to go at all at all. And we looked at we should we should we still do the deal. And it was such a good deal. And we felt so confident about it. We're like, you know what, let's just go ahead, let's do it. You know, let's do we say we're going to do what we just told them we're going to do, and let's see if their attitude changes over time. So the first thing we did was establish a really good relationship with the code enforcement lady. And we worked really, we basically give our cell phone number, say, if you see any illegal dumping anything like that you call us, right, and we'll get it taken care of. We basically executed our plan within a year, I've got a call from the mayor, Mayor, Bobby Cartwright, and I didn't have the number programmed. And he called me personally, and he basically, it was an apology. It was an apology about, you know, he felt really bad about giving us such a hard time, he was very proud of what we had done. And in fact, he called to tell me that one of his employees actually lives in the community. Now, I didn't realize that, but they live in the community. And he actually wrote me a recommendation letter, you know, that we use now when we go in to different municipalities that we share that that recommendation letter with them, and, and basically let them know that hey, like, this individual didn't believe in us, you know, we proved them wrong. And we intend to do the same thing with you. And so it was a beautiful thing, it was a win-win for the community is a win-win for the residents. And, you know, it's still a beautiful place today.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, it says a lot about relationship building and reputation and how important those are, they follow everyone around whether it's good or bad. There's a lot of fear of the unknown, whether it's people living in the community, and you know, just by you going in there in that first month, and doing a lot of cosmetic repairs, and deferred maintenance, and just taking care of those things, they go super far with building that trust, as you've mentioned, you know, you have your formula, your recipe down, the landscaping is the same everywhere. That is exactly what you should be doing. Because it makes it easy. You don't have to make that decision. Right. But you know, building the relationship with the the town manager, municipal folks, you know that that's a great takeaway from from this, I mean, you have to get people on your side. And then you have to prove people wrong. If they doubt you. And you have to do it, you say, you know, which is it sounds like that's kind of the values that you guys use going forward with all your other deals,

Kevin Bupp:

I say one of the key elements, I think this is important for folks that are if you end up buying a property that's that's distressed, and maybe have some of the wrong element in it, and you're trying to get on the right side of the municipality. One thing we did in this community is we we renovated one of the very front units that was alongside the road that was leading to the to the mayor's office and the courts and police department that we donated it temporarily, but we renovate it, put the AC and the heat on, you know, stock the fridge with waters and Gatorade. And we donated it as a substation to the police department for the next 18 months. We knew we had planned other units that we had to fill up. And so we donated to them as a measure of good faith that allowed their officers a place to go, you know, in the middle of night to you know, we put some furniture in there to you know, to write a report, get out of the cold get out of the heat, whatever it might be. And that was huge as well. I mean, it was just it was, you know, the old olive branch, and that paid dividends.

Jason Muth:

Wow, amazing advice, Kevin, you know, there's so much more we can talk about this. We didn't even get into parking lots. But you know, let's save that for an episode, just because I want to get to the final wrap up, and then you could tell everybody where they can find you. We'll link everything up in the show notes, obviously. So you know, can we ask these questions of everyone who comes in the podcast, we get a whole variety of answers. We'd love to hear what you have to say. Our first question during the final wrap up is if you can get on stage with no preparation and talk for 30 minutes about any subject in the world. Not mobile home parks and investments. What do you think that would be?

Kevin Bupp:

You said not mobile home parks and investments?

Jason Muth:

No, like my mind, for example? Yes. Professional wrestling?

Kevin Bupp:

Yeah, I'm gonna deal with this. No, no, no, no, Great advice. I wish I had more time. I go through bouts of it. fantastic. So I'm a huge cyclist and you know, I health and fitness more than anything else it was, it was a critical part of me working through 2008-2009-2010 Those were really, really challenging years. And I really, there's You know, there's some times I'm really I think all with health. only one thing I could really control at that point in time. That was how I felt. And so I really, really grabbed on to health and fitness and just eating super healthy and I think we all do, right? Like even those that yeah, the most getting, you know a workout in every day looking to break a sweat each and every day. Matthew McConaughey said that years back and that always stuck in my head. And so I think just the importance of of being mentally fit being physically fit and making health and fitness a literally a part of your everyday life. dedicated we all do so especially that the holidays are the most challenging, I would say of all of them.

Jason Muth:

You know you look at I mean, I see the picture your family over your left shoulder. You know, you have two young children, I'm guessing they're below six or seven or so

Kevin Bupp:

That's I think that's a year two will be either five and eight now,

Jason Muth:

But five and eight now okay, you know, so you know, we have a Rory and I actually have a three year old like almost three she'll be three and a couple months. So it's you know, it's a challenge. Right, yeah to kind of parent and build business and do things like this, you know, but we look at people like yourself and say, well geez, like, you know, look at the empire he's built, he has these young kids and he finds a way to bike too.

Kevin Bupp:

You just gotta wake up earlier than the rest of the family. I'm not I'm not a 4am. Guy, but am I going on bike rides during the week, I wake up at 4am. And go and I, I dislike every morning that I wake up that early, but I feel really good after I get it done.

Jason Muth:

I can get you at five. I don't know if I can do 4.

Kevin Bupp:

It's rough. I have not used to have to do it for like 10 years.

Jason Muth:

Second question? Tell us something that happened early in your life a career that impacts the way that you work today?

Kevin Bupp:

That's a great question. I think I think just knowing that there's, you know, whatever, whatever you want to accomplish in life, there's many others out there that have already been there and done that, that can help you avoid a ton of mistakes. And so you know, whatever you need to do find that mentor or mentors, whatever that means to you. And what it is you have as an ultimate goal or goals. And so that's it. I mean, that my meeting, David, David was the very first guy I met back when I was 19. That was absolutely critical. When I say that, I don't know what I would be doing today, if I probably wouldn't be in real estate, I wasn't even overly interested in real estate. When I met him, it's we didn't go deep into that story there. But David not only played a critical role, you'll turn me down this path, but actually sending me down a successful successful path. If I'd tried to work my way through it and making my own mistakes. For all I know, I would have gotten discouraged and actually quit. And so find that mentor mentors, find those that are actually doing and have already successfully done what you want to do, and spend a lot of time around them and figure out how to add value to them. Right. I think that's probably the most important of actually finding the right one. But how do you add value to them in their lives, because they've already done it, they've been there and they've done it, figure out how you can add value to them.

Jason Muth:

Great soundbite. Number three. And our final question for you is what are you listening to or reading or watching these days?

Kevin Bupp:

And I can't think of the author but "Who Not How" I just wrapped it up. It's a fairly short read. And I can't think of who the author is, but "Who Not How" and it just, you know, being an entrepreneur, it's incredibly important to play to your strengths and delegate your weaknesses and I think we all no matter how focused we think we are on what our strengths are, we still find ourselves doing some things that probably are not the best use of our time and "Who Not How" it really speaks to that it just really you know, makes you think about it don't don't think of how do we do this? Or how do we accomplish this goal it's like who can help us accomplish the goal there might be someone better than you that you need to find the has the expertise that's been there and done that find that individual and implement them into your organization so it's an incredibly powerful book again really short read and I don't remember the author but I'm sure your your listeners can look it up and very quickly find it it's on Amazon

Jason Muth:

I'm sure it's a very quick Google search "Who Not How"

Kevin Bupp:

That's it "Who Not How" Kevin, this has been a fantastic conversation I really appreciate your sharing all of your experience and insight with the listeners of The Real Estate Law Podcast so let's talk about how people can find you and first I do want to encourage everybody right now to go find your podcast on iTunes or Pandora or iHeart or wherever you get your your podcasts because those the same places that we syndicate to but Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow. If you're watching this you can see it over his head right now but if you're not watching this Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow, you publish episodes what every week twice a week? Yeah, we actually do a couple times a week I do a couple times there's one main episode and then we've got some other you know recap. So we do three episodes a week right now. And I also have a another podcast it's a mobile home park investing podcast and I don't post it for about four years straight all of it's still very relevant most it was very operationally driven content about how we run our business and so I think we've got maybe 130 episodes but I do not post regularly on that podcast However, it's still very relevant and it has lots of great information for anyone that you know thinks they might have an interest in going down the road of mobile home park investing so both those can be found again on you know, iTunes or Stitcher, SoundCloud all those other different areas that we all syndicate to but basically it's a find me really there's two areas but my main website KevinBupp.com - that's actually where I host The Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow podcast so they can listen to episodes there again, find that on one of the other apps that we've mentioned. And then our company if you want to see a little bit more of what we've got going on in the mobile home park or parking lot investing space at sunrisecapitalinvestors.com so either one of those you can learn about me and our company and what we've got working.

Jason Muth:

And your Instagram is I loved it like little sound clips. You know, have you driving around to the car right? What's the Instagram handle? You remember?

Kevin Bupp:

Oh my gosh, and you're gonna you asked me I don't even know my Instagram and I think it's Kevin-Bupp , I believe.

Jason Muth:

Somehow I found it very easily but your name?

Kevin Bupp:

Yeah, yeah, I think I think it's Kevin-Bupp.

Jason Muth:

One total aside, I was thinking about this. I was dropping our daughter off at daycare. And I didn't have my phone on me today and it you feel so naked without your phone and I was thinking like God, one of the coldest days a year if I break down between here and there. What's gonna happen at this kid in the car now? Like, I could just call Rory and I'm like, Who else did I call like, I don't know any anybody else's phone number, you know, like, that's about you know, nobody knows their Instagram handles. Nobody knows their phone number. That's crazy. Yeah, yeah, you just it's in your phone you just go find it.

Kevin Bupp:

I know my wife's phone number and that's it. That's literally the only that's the only phone number I have now at my parents home phone line, which they still have, which is crazy.

Jason Muth:

From growing up, right?

Kevin Bupp:

That's it, phone number. Yeah, they have the same phone number. They've had it for whatever. 40 years.

Jason Muth:

Yeah. Thanks again. Kevin. Rory quickly tell everybody where we can find you.

Rory Gill:

You can find me at NextHome Titletown nexthometitletown.com or UrbanVillage Legal urbanvillagelegal.com.

Jason Muth:

Cool. So thank you for listening to The Real Estate Law Podcast. If you've enjoyed this episode, I encourage you to subscribe and to like to comment, and I'm sure Kevin would say the same thing for his podcast. So go download that. Go give us some love. And thanks again for tuning in. See ya. Thank you.

Announcer:

This has been The Real Estate Law Podcast. Because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom arguments. were powered by NextHome Titletown greater Boston's progressive real estate brokerage. More at nexthometitletown.com and UrbanVillage L,egal Massachusetts real estate counseling serving savvy property owners, lenders and investors more at urbanvillagelegal.com. Today's conversation was not legal advice, but we hope you found it entertaining and informative. Discover more at realestatelawpodcast.com Thank you for listening!