“Weekend” Investing in a Down Economy

In this down economy, many people with traditionally “secure” jobs are looking for greater financial security due to the number of job losses over the past year. The concept of “job security” is no longer what it once was.

The idea of retirement security through a pension or IRA investing is also no longer a reality in most industries.

We are going to have to take control of
our future financial security ourselves.

Many come to CRE Online seeking advice and education on how to go about securing their financial future through investments in real estate, mobile homes, and notes. After more than 12 years, I can still find no better website so rest assured you are in the right place.

The amount of information posted daily, archived on the forums, and contained in the articles is incredible and amazing. It is easy to get a bit overwhelmed with all the different strategies and techniques.

Fear not! We all experienced this and with some research discovered the niche that best suited our needs and personalities.

How I got started as a “weekend” investor…

Back then, I read everything I could get my hands on and attended real estate conventions and workshops. I was working full time as a police lieutenant, but I wanted to find a side business that I could create and continue building, well into my retirement years.

I was not personally comfortable with my skills of fixing up houses or how quickly I could flip a house for a profit when I first started. You might have the same concerns.

I eventually read a book called Deals on Wheels by Lonnie Scruggs that taught me, step by step, how to invest in mobile homes. Trust me, it took some time for me to even consider reading a book on mobile home investing, but once I did it changed my life forever. I have been investing in mobile homes ever since.

After several years of successfully investing in mobile homes that were in parks owned by other people, I decided I needed to find a way to own the land as well as the mobile home. I wanted the control of the property and the long-term (retirement) investment of real estate ownership coupled with the knowledge Lonnie taught about mobile homes as affordable, low-income housing.

My first “land” purchase

I did not feel comfortable buying a large mobile home park or even a small trailer park at this stage of the game. I simply did not feel I had the experience to take on such a large task and risk my money, as well as the bank’s, in trying to do so. I felt it more reasonable to gain my experience on smaller, mobile home related properties.

This led me to my first purchase of a mobile home with land. I bought a small lot that had a mobile home already located on the property. The home needed some repairs and clean up, but it was a project I felt I could handle on the weekends.

“Stick built” homes vs. mobile homes

I began crunching numbers and found that in my area, a small, starter house would cost well over $100,000. These types of homes were not renting for much more than the double wide and single wide mobile homes on land, but they cost many, many times more.

I had to be practical. I just could not invest 3 to 6 times the amount of money into one property to make maybe $100 or $200 more per month–not to mention the cost of repairing such a house.

I needed to get the biggest bang for my investment while gaining experience in repairs and management. The mobile homes with land were so inexpensive that I was able to capture nearly all the same rent as the starter home, but for far, far less.

I also learned that nearly any improvement I made in a mobile home, no matter how poor my skills were, still improved the property and the income it generated.

The expectations a mobile home tenant had for repairs and improvements were not as finicky as some of the stick built market I ran into. I always did my best to make each home safe, clean, and nicer than the homes my competitors had.

When I started this “weekend” investing, I had absolutely no hands-on skills whatsoever. By hiring handymen and contractors to do work I watched and learned and made future, similar repairs myself. I treated that contractor like a professor and made that repair my on-the-job training seminar.

It’s a safe, easy way to get started

There are many ways to make money with real estate, but by adding the mobile home (usually considered personal property) to the mix, I had more ways to make money, less money invested, and a larger target market.

With the decline in real estate prices and scarce financing for mobile home related properties, I believe now is a great time to buy a land/home property and begin to provide for your future financial security in addition to increasing your current income.

You don’t need to quit your day
job to make money in real estate.

And during this down economy, I suggest you keep the job for now–even if you don’t exactly love it–and become a “weekend” investor in a land/home property. Spend some of your extra time and buy one land/home property, fix it up, and see if you can’t rent it for a tidy profit.

If you are renting you may find that the depreciation of your rental property may help you recoup some of the taxes taken out of the paycheck you receive from your job.

You might decide to sell the mobile home on payments just as Lonnie teaches in Deals on Wheels and keep the land to rent and create a less “management intensive” landlord investment. As Lonnie says, “It is hard to hurt the dirt.”

One land/home property can get you started, give you the experience you need, require less of an investment, and make comparably better returns for the dollar invested. I invest in mobile homes with land full time and believe you too can do so to set yourself on the path to future financial security.

By CREOnline Contributor

A content contributor to the original CREOnline.com.