Frank Rolfe’s MHU 2023 Affordable Housing Summit with Maxwell Baker

April 13, 2023 by Maxwell Baker

In this special episode, we’ve turned the tables a bit. Instead of interviewing others this time, Founder and President Maxwell Baker of The Mobile Home Park Broker was proud to be the guest of Frank Rolfe on his 2023 Affordable Housing Summit Podcast. Let’s see how it turned out.

This podcast episode is brought to you by The MHP Broker’s’ proprietary Community Price Maximizer. Use this four-step system to get the highest price possible for your mobile home park or RV community when you sell it through The MHP Broker. Guaranteed. Ask Max for details.

Here Are the Show Highlights:

  • Max Baker was interviewed by fellow mobile home park industry insider Frank Rolfe. Frank asked Max his views on where he thinks the industry stands in 2023 and beyond. Issue one, both chronologically and in importance, was interest rates, “the 800-pound gorilla,” as Frank referred to it. (Frank, 00:34)
  • Max expressed the view that a lot of deals are stalling or falling through because of those high interest rates. Owner financing is more common, especially on lower-end deals. In what Max referred to as “mom and pop deals,” those south of $2 million in value–about 80 percent of the market, by Max’s company’s research–financing by credit unions is becoming more prevalent. He’s seen credit unions recently offer prime minus 50 rates, which is well under competitive bank rates these days. But those still-rising interest rates are raising cap rates and hurting everyone in the business. (Max, 1:54)
  • If interest rates go to 50 BPS, Max anticipated cap rates doing the same. Anecdotally, he saw the cap rates rise and the market stutter in the form of a $600,000 park in Virginia. Good location. In the recent past, investors would have jumped on this modestly priced community, but now it sat without a lot of investor interest. To Max, this proves the negative impact of rising interest rates and cap rates on their industry. (Max, 4:06)
  • Max got into the industry by buying homes in his dad’s mobile home park and offering owner financing lease options based on strategies learned by reading books by industry author Lonnie Scruggs. From this, he eventually turned to the brokerage business. Today, his business is about 80 percent brokerage and 20 percent park ownership. (Max, 5:47)
  • The low, near-zero, interest rates the industry is so familiar with came about during and after the Great Recession. For most period before then interest rates were in the 5-7 percent range, and Frank wonders if that’s where we’re headed and where rates will pretty much stagnate. (Frank, 7:03)
  • Max thinks the industry was a lot harder in his earlier, post-Great Recession days, when banks were unfamiliar with mobile home park financing, and less likely to advance funding. Today, there are a lot more prospective buyers who see the shrinking of the American middle class and recognize the value of mobile homes as an affordable housing option. That puts park sellers in control and keeps the market viable, in his opinion. (Max, 7:54)
  • Though the “wokesters” hate it, Max sees the strategy of raising mobile home rents as a logical defense against rising interest rates. (Max, 10:27)
  • Frank supported that thought by mentioning how rents might be at $300 a month for a mobile home while a three-bedroom apartment in the same market might be renting for $1,000. So, there’s obviously room to raise rents. Even at $500 a month, mobile home renters would be paying a lot less than if they leased a typical apartment. (Frank, 10:39)
  • Max thinks there’s still a lot of room to see rent growth, especially in areas of the country, such as the southeast, where people are migrating from much more expensive states like California. To those people, moving for jobs and a lower cost of living, even a mobile home community where rents are rising is cheaper than where they came from. (Max, 11:07)
  • Anyway, $300 rents are unrealistic and something of an urban legend. Park management can’t break even at such cheap rents, and $500 is probably a more realistic average. (Frank, 13:05)
  • When he started out in around 2009 Max saw mobile homes renting for $125 a month. Those same homes are now at $410. He thinks that, partly on account of these rising rents, mobile home parks could triple or even quadruple in value every ten years. (Max, 14:07)
  • Frank thinks that in certain markets where monthly rents for detached houses are so expensive, such as Dallas, we could soon see mobile home park rents at $1,000 and higher. He thinks this is much more realistic than park residents complaining when rents hit $500. (Frank, 14:52)
  • Max points out that low-rent expectations are even lower in states such as Mississippi, where park residents can pay as low as $85 a month! (Max, 15:34)
  • In addressing future market potential in the South, Max thinks it’s related to location, meaning proximity to such major highway arteries as I-75 and I-95. He points out Fayetteville, NC as about the third-fastest growing city in the nation. Southern mountain towns and resort cities can also draw residents, and other places where people vacation and might like to retire. (Max, 17:58 and 18:52)
  • Whereas Frank questions the viability of such states as Mississippi where there’s so much poverty and mobile home park rents can’t rise, Max thinks there potential in black college towns where the local economy is stronger. So he’s not ready to write off Mississippi. (Max, 20:55)
  • Asked about parks which use private utilities rather than municipal, Max admitted it can be a tough sell even at a higher cap rate. He’s brokering one such park in Atlanta, which sits near a lagoon that supplies tenants’ water, and it has a private septic sewer treatment plant. He said that the condition of the private utilities is key to keeping investor interest. (Max, 22:31)
  • Regarding how and how often potential buyers should contact brokers, Max advises against sending emails. That’s because brokers get a zillion emails daily, and any might slip by unread. As he mentioned in one of his own podcasts, Max thinks buyers should reach out to his team of brokers once a month, via text. That’s more noticeable, especially when brokers are not around their laptops, and they’ll be likelier to respond quicker. He also thinks phone calls to brokers once a month is acceptable and will probably get a response. (Max, 24:14)
  • It’s important for investors to stay in touch with Max and his team on a regular basis because The MHP Broker gets an average of about three to five leads a week from mailers and eblasts sent out regularly to park owners in the company’s marketing area, or from the company’s social media. So opportunities can come along regularly. (Max, 25:28)
  • Things that can get investors on Max’s “no call list” include those “short-term thinkers” who are hard to work with and constantly “nickel and diming” the broker and making Max wonder during every deal whether or not they’re going to get paid. (Max, 26:59)
  • Max is also not a fan of obviously automated emails from investors looking for deals and e-blasting all brokers. (Max, 28:05)
  • Asked about the good, the bad and the ugly on deal cap rates, Max said that the range today is basically a six to a nine, depending on the property. Maybe even a high five on the more desirable properties, and up to a ten or so on parks in poor shape or with multiple challenges. (Max, 29:58)
  • To contact Max and his broker team, you can go to the website and click on the Buyer or Seller page at Or call 678-932-0200 or send an email to info@themhpbrokcom. (Max, 31:49)

Reach out to Maxwell Baker and his broker team for help buying or selling manufactured home parks. Drop him a line at or call The Mobile Home Park Broker at 678-932-0200.

Power Quotes in This Episode:

(Regarding credit card loans to park investors) “Couple of days ago, they’re doing prime minus 50, which I had never heard of. And they’re doing the 30-year MOs, 5-10 year terms. Last time I checked, prior to a couple days ago, when the Fed moved it 25 BPS, they were at 6.22% fixed. So, there are some deals out there but the variable is, you know, when the money markets are giving out four and a quarter and CD rates are given out 5%.” (Max, 1:54)

“Lagoons and sewage water treatment plants are probably the kryptonite for a broker.” (Max, 22:31)

(On the less desirable investor contacts) “The problem was short-term thinkers out there that are trying to just nickel and dime you all the way to closing and, like, caused me so much headache when it comes to, you know, worrying about how much money I’m making on a deal, that I’m only owed X amount, because I’m just a broker.” (Max, 26:59)

(On today’s cap rates) “So, if it’s dirt roads, you know, bunch of park-owned homes, management’s a mess, north of a 10 cap easily.” (Max, 29:58)


Welcome back the 2023 Affordable Housing Summit. We’re glad you could join us again. Our next speaker is max Baker. Max has been in and around the industry for about 20 years and he is known as the MHP broker. He’s the guy many people have talked to about parks are looking at buying. We wanted to bring him on here and just get a sense for where the brokerage community the world of buying and selling mobile home park stands here in 2023 and beyond. So Max, can you hear us okay, are you there?

00:31 Maxwell Baker

I can hear you. Thanks for having me, Frank.

00:34 Frank Rolfe

Excellent, Max. Okay, so let’s just jump right into it here and let’s start first talking about the 800-pound gorilla in the room, which is interest rates. We’ve seen a huge, huge run up of interest rates highest since Ronald Reagan highest in 15 years, you can throw out all kinds of accolades, let’s just say it’s crazy. Because everyone always assumed rates would go up very gradually, because that’s under Trump when he tried to raise them a little. That said, they went up. So, they went up, you know, point two, five here, wait a while point two, five there, and then they immediately relaxed them again, because they felt the pain start to shake violently. They said, oh, well, maybe raising rates isn’t very good. hen COVID came in, they said, ah, screw it! So, no one ever anticipated maybe you did. I didn’t I don’t think anyone else did that Jerome Powell would just put the pedal to the metal he sees the highway is ending. There’s a big you know, stop sign. He’s gonna crash through the barrier. He’s going to try and jump the Snake River with his fed car just absolutely wild and crazy. What are the ramifications been on that for buyers and sellers? Because sellers were used to valuations based on those low, low cap rates, which were fostered by low interest rates. Now they’re suddenly finding, wait a minute, I thought I could sell my park at an x cap. Now I’m higher than an x cap. So, how is that playing out? What do you see out there?

01:54 Maxwell Baker

Um, I get this question a lot, Frank. But the biggest thing is we’re seeing a lot more owner financing just to get the deal done. We’re also seeing a lot of the deals that are north of $2 million stutter stepping pretty hard. I know some competitors out there. I don’t know if they’re struggling, but I’m hearing through the grapevine just through clients that a lot of their deals are falling out of contract. They like the big guys that are doing like, you know, $10 million and up and multi 100 million dollar deals from what I’m seeing is that just the debt is really putting a hinder in a lot of their transactions, especially because at that level, I think you’re really just trading paper. So, but in the mom and pop world, which is what I play in south of $2 million, which is about 80% of the market based off our research, we’re seeing that the best bet to get debt is the credit unions. Credit unions are providing. I got a quote a couple of days ago, they’re doing prime minus 50, which I had never heard of. So, and they’re doing the 30-year MOs, 5-10 year terms. Last time I checked prior to a couple days ago, when the Fed moved it 25 pips, they were at 6.22% fixed. So, there are some deals out there but the variable is you know, when the money markets are giving out four and a quarter and CD rates are given out 5%. I mean, you just can’t sell the deals like you used to I mean, you got a lot of these guys that were trying to sell parks at a five cap and we sold off probably the biggest aggressive without the outliers of being big value add deals, but the most aggressive park on a Cap rate wise was probably in the high fives but, it was like a main on main direct build a whole lot read mostly newer homes, but even still, like we’re just starting to see cap rates really mirror what interest rates are doing.


So, if it goes up 50 bips then you can anticipate cap rates to go up 50 bips I mean, it’s just kind of a, you might be a little finagling at the very end and try and get, you know, another 10 or 15 bips based off of like infrastructure, our communities, but for the most part they mirror so what sold for seven cap, you know, 12 months ago, you know, 15-18 months ago, I mean, we’re seeing them trade at like eight and a half, nine, nine and a quarter now. I mean, we got to deal in Virginia, that’s literally right next to a McDonald’s, you know, city water, sewer, mostly lot rent. I think the purchase price on is pretty low at $600,000. For some reason stopped moving and I was kind of shocked because typically those types of deals move fairly quickly. But I think interest rates are kind causing people to stutter step. Also, there’s just way more owner financing on the broker side that we’re trying to finagle to make sure the deal doesn’t fall apart. So, that way we get to the finish line and still maintain the purchase price that the sellers are used to. But, you know, they’re a little bit more open to owner financing. That’s kind of the beautiful thing about our industry. I know I’m going on tangent here, but our industry is just way more entrepreneurial. I mean, some of these other industries, I just don’t see the kind of stuff that you know, we get the benefit of as an industry but I don’t know if that answers your question, but hopefully it does.

05:38 Frank Rolfe

Yeah, let me ask you this max, back when you first got in the industry and I don’t think you were, were you a broker initially when you first got in?

05:47 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, so the first time I got into it, my dad had a park and I was doing Lonnie deals. I’ve read the two books that Lonnie Scruggs put out, rest in peace, great books if y’all haven’t read them. But that was the very first intro into my journey into this industry. I started buying homes in his park and doing owner financing lease options and then I moved over to do brokerage. Then I was buying deals, brokering deals. I mean, I’m very much entwined. More so, I would say 80% of my revenue comes from brokerage and 20%, just from Parks.

06:22 Frank Rolfe

Okay, so but you remember back before the Great Recession, right? That back 2003 through 2007. Interest rates were about what they are now is I recall, or maybe even a little higher, I can’t remember what the what the Fed funds rate was at that time but, do you think this is where we’re at right now is kind of the new norm. I mean, if you talk to the banking part of the industry, they’re already seen declines on mortgage rates, right? and in fact, some people project even within this year, maybe by the end of the year, you’ll see rates back in the high fours, at least on the Fannie Freddie and, and maybe even the conduit stuff.

07:03 Maxwell Baker


07:03 Frank Rolfe

So, but you know, if you if you look, historically, interest rates, for the first couple, hundred years of America were between 5-7 percent. Then we had this weirdo departure in 2008, where they just took it down to zero for the first time ever. Then with COVID, they took it down as low as you could humanly go but, that was all kind of a fantasy world, right? I mean, you could not maintain zero forever. So, they eventually whether it went up slowly, like slowly getting in your, in your swimming pool or just jumping in, you end up at the same spot. Right?

07:42 Maxwell Baker


07:42 Frank Rolfe

Temperature is the same. So, does this kind of remind you right now, as far as the interest rate environment in the deal construction, kind of that pre 2007 2008 era?

07:54 Maxwell Baker

I mean, I’ll give you the credit to this answer. With people in the industry pushing you know, education and knowledge and just lenders now being open more now than ever before to financing mobile home parks because back then, like, good luck trying to find some debt to get a deal but, now it’s not as difficult. I just think we’re in a different time right now. So, back then it was very difficult to sell deals. I remember, my very first deal I ever sold was back in 2009. It was a guy that I sold it lost it in foreclosure. Ironically, he’s still in the industry. I remember the banks having like no idea of like what a mobile home park was like, even to this day, like I still don’t understand why banks lend on Parks and don’t take titles and mobile homes but, back then it was prevalent. Every lender was like, I don’t want to park on homes. I’m like, well, you realize you’re shooting yourself in the foot but, now it’s just not happening. So, I think the biggest difference now Frank is just probably there’s more buyers, there’s more people trying to get into the industry, they see that middle class America is shrinking. A lot of the education that you’ve been putting out, really has been pushing the industry for, like forward and helping everybody as a whole but, I would say that’s probably the biggest difference as far as transactions. They were obviously slower, just because of the lack of interest in the industry. But as far as now is concerned, like I don’t know, man, I like I’m a little biased because like I’ve been in the industry for so long now and we’ve got a lot of relationships. So, I know, you know what people are buying what in certain areas and what they’re willing to pay. So, I don’t really I don’t think it’s going to affect the parks as much as it did back then. When it comes to interest rates just because there’s just more people buying up. I mean, there’s more competition. Anytime there’s more competition, and an asset that’s not expanding, like apartments or self-storage. I mean, it’s just the writing’s on the wall, you’re not going to see that much movement in favor of like, you know, the buyer. I mean, the seller is always kind of going to be in control here. My humble opinion.

10:22 Frank Rolfe

Okay, and then let’s talk about something about rents because obviously, rents are a big part of it, right?

10:27 Maxwell Baker

If the interest rate swap, how do you fix it? Well, you just raise your rents. Even though people hate it, when I talk about that write articles on it, I get all kinds of hate mail from every wokester media known to man.

10:39 Maxwell Baker


10:39 Frank Rolfe

There’s just that right. I mean, our national average rent, the rent of the parks, you look at, you look at those rents, and you go dude the rent is at 300, the average apartment in this market, three bedroom is at $1000. Why am I worried at $300? And you look at the round you go, you know, I could go up to $500 and leaves nobody.

11:00 Maxwell Baker


11:01 Frank Rolfe

I mean, how much? How bullish Are you still the ability to push rents in the industry, for the for these buyers and sellers?

11:07 Maxwell Baker

I still think there’s a lot of leg room and especially with the people that are mom and pops that have, you know, unfortunately mixed charity in their business and have slowed, the rent increases but, the institutional side of the business, I’m seeing like just a steady increase, three 5%. I’m not too sure everybody’s different as far as like what they raise, but there’s still a lot of legroom and like Fayetteville, North Carolina has, I think, number three in the whole country as far as like growth, and they still got a lot of legroom over there. I mean, there’s just wherever there’s growth, there’s going to be an increase in rents. Right now, all these secondary, tertiary markets have seen unprecedented growth, because of a lot of the tax incentives that Trump did. A lot of the just people migrating to a cheaper area to live. It’s just, you know, uses the same concept of people like living in California, and now relocating to Atlanta. They’re like, Oh, my God, how much house can I get? So. I think it’s going to, I think it’s going to force people to move. But as far as like rent growth, man, I don’t see a slowing down. It’s just a, it’s just a component of like, where the jobs are, and how many jobs are are and whether or not there’s migration towards the area, like, you know, it’s just you’re kind of in a pretty good spot as a park owner out there, like, you know, because wherever there’s demand, I mean, look at the price of eggs, like, you know, the price of eggs have gone up crazy. You don’t see the wokesters going crazy about that. I mean, it’s the same economic kind of, you know, breadcrumbs or follow the breadcrumbs. So, I mean, I just I personally feel like there’s a still a ton of room to see rent growth in some areas of the country that have just not been, you know, moved like they are still mom and pops there. So, but I don’t know if that answers your question, but I think there’s still demand.

13:05 Frank Rolfe

Do you think Max that one day like the benchmark and know, the industry has done some terrible job, as you know, from being active in, you know, events and associations and stuff? They don’t track any, any data? Really, for park owners? Right? We’re in a vacuum. I get asked all the time from lenders. Hey, so how do I get from MHI? The study on lot rents in America? And the answer is you can’t because they don’t have one. So, there’s like this urban legend that the average rent was like, 300. No one knows where that even came from but, you know, that’s what the industry would tell you, I can see an equilibrium that more maybe along the lines of a $500 You know, as like a national to me, that would be kind of a fair rent between both occupants and landlords is a significant increase from where we are, but that’s to me, that’s like the benchmark. Parks really need to be at to have the money to put in infrastructure, bring it back to, professional management, I mean, you can’t do it on $300 rent, right? I mean, give me a frickin break. That will be crazy cheap.

14:07 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, I mean, like when I first started and brokerage, I mean, parks were out lot rent at 125. And those same parks now are like close to 410 years based off of just me monitoring how quickly but I personally feel like I don’t know if there’s a metric out there for it but, every 10 years I would say rates could triple and quadruple as far as mobile home parks are concerned you know, I’m pissing in the wind here forgive my language here but I’m that’s what my guts telling me that I would see three to 4x over the next 10 years in a lot of the areas of the country. I don’t know how you feel about that.

14:52 Frank Rolfe

Yeah, I think what you’ll see is you’ll see like the two to three hundred. Rent of today is the five hundred of tomorrow. The markets like Dallas which are already at six fifty-seven hundred dollars, I can see those easily breaking up in over 1000. It just makes sense because you have the the lifestyle of the detached dwelling coupled in an insanely low price. I don’t know why we have to be so insanely cheap. That’s what always confuses me. I love the articles where they interview the resident who’s whining of the fact that rent went to 500 a month and then he says, and I got nowhere else I can go and live this cheaply.

15:34 Maxwell Baker 

Mississippi, I just said Mississippi yeah, I mean, they’re at $85 in Mississippi.

15:40 Frank Rolfe

Oh, yeah, it’s crazy!

15:41 Maxwell Baker

I mean, in no offense, to Mississippi, but the economy there is not as strong as say, like, you know, Atlanta or Asheville but, people can move and I mean, nobody’s a tree. I mean, that’s kind of my concept. Like, if it’s too expensive, then that’s why there’s this migration of secondary tertiary markets, just because the real estate values and Lot rent values are much lower and more affordable and you still have all that, you know, suburb, suburbia style, you know, retail and shopping that you were used to.

16:12 Maxwell Baker

Right. Now you’re down in Georgia, correct?

16:16 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, I’m in Atlanta.

16:17 Frank Rolfe

Right. So, my next topic is so you’re kind of in the south right? When most Americans think of the South you think of Mississippi Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana for some folk but the three biggies are Mississippi Alabama, Georgia, right that’s for most people but Florida gets excluded because it’s kind of in its own little Disney arena right?

16:42 Maxwell Baker

Part of the South but I don’t really consider Florida the south.

16:48 Frank Rolfe

I don’t either it’s not in my definition geographically so but I see nothing but positive articles on the south I’ve written many of them because if you track median home prices for example in Alabama there is good or better than any other state when you ask the average American what’s about what do you think about Alabama? Like it’s a bunch of idiot hillbillies banjo playing you know the deliverance that kind of stuff of course the deliverance was shot in Missouri my state but I guess tell me more about the South because you’re there I tell people all the time they say what area has the most opportunity I’m like probably the South because it hasn’t been as heavily worked and because the lot rents are crazy low in some markets like your example Mississippi, yeah $85 Rent makes no sense right? Like there’s no reason to own a mobile home park and an $85 rent when you get done paying taxes you’re making $30 a month. So, South specifically where do you see things heading in this year and beyond what it is, is the south rising again? I mean what is going on with the south?

17:58 Maxwell Baker

We will rise again Frank no, um, I would say the major arteries are probably the biggest proponents of growth around the South i 95, 75. Like I said, Fayetteville is one of the top three cities in the country I think it was number three or four I don’t remember what it was ranked but it was crazy high and it was because 95 runs and one of the major arteries are some of the major arteries actually run through there. So, as far as you know, the secondary or tertiary markets around the major highway arteries that would probably be the biggest thing to focus on if you’re trying to buy a deal obviously if you can pick off a deal and kind of resort style area of living like you know Asheville and some of those areas if you can actually get a park over there like it’s crazy like the man in the mountain towns for mobile home communities is just.


I also foresee mountain towns turn into what Colorado has turned into just you know, you don’t have to drive, you don’t have to fly all the way to Colorado but you can still enjoy the mountains and enjoy the snow and the wilderness and a lot of the hiking and stuff there’s a lot of the same things that they have out there but it’s literally two hours away. So, I’m seeing a lot of migration people living out there as well and the parks out there just they have a demand I don’t know what it is but for some reason Asheville, Frank like cap rates are like 150 to 200 bips lower than the rest of the South. I don’t understand why this is ridiculous. I’m like, your lot rents for $300 How the hell you are you able to get like this five and a half, six and a half cap rate I don’t understand what the people are buying that crap. I mean, it’s it’s just I don’t know it doesn’t makes sense to me. But you know, the day like you’re living in the mountains and you know, it’s beautiful, surrounded by apple orchards, like there’s a couple of deals I’ve looked at are just beautiful. So those areas are really strong as well. Obviously The primary markets you can get a lucky and find a deal there but like I said, there’s already areas that you see people vacationing here in the south as long as well as the major arteries with those small towns that are run through the states. Because as we become more and more a, you know, move your mouse and I’m gonna buy this, you know, shampoo and shipment there’s just gonna be more and more traffic coming up and down the highway and I foresee there’s gonna be some movement there. So, my cat is in the background, distracting me (laughs)

20:33 Frank Rolfe

(laughs) So, does Mississippi have any potential here it’s odd, because you’ve got, you know, multiple major cities in Mississippi, but the average American thinks nothing of Mississippi and it can’t be that backwards. I mean, there is industry there is

20:51 Maxwell Baker

You know

20:52 Frank Rolfe

Is there future for Mississippi or should we just cross it off?

20:55 Maxwell Baker

No, I mean, there is man like I’m looking at deals in these HS VCUs or whatever the historical black college universities like Deion Sanders has done a pretty big thing and going to these historically areas that are like black education, like pub centers, and he’s doing a number for the local economy, a lot of eyeballs are not going there and a lot of money’s going there. I think Home Depot just committed some more money to donate help them, you know, build out the the schools, so there’s always going to be some movement. I mean, and I think that the historically black college universities are going to be I mean, they’re, they’re pushing the envelope on those small Mississippi towns that I was like really missed that kind of airy market over there. So, I would say like probably in the small towns like that is probably one of the biggest ones or that’s going to be outlier. Those kind of universities are there.

21:53 Frank Rolfe

Okay, well, it’s kind of like Alabama’s catalyst which was automotive manufacturing right? Alabama had been written off for dead it was on life support and suddenly they realize you can build a car in Alabama for less it’s less money than building it in Mexico and they started to re-populate those factories and the cities and such. What do you see as far as the you know, private utilities in today’s world? Are buyers having problems getting loans on that? Are people having trouble getting deals done where the utilities of choice are not municipal, but rather a well, septic, packaging plant? Even lagoon, what are your thoughts on private utilities?

22:31 Maxwell Baker

I mean, lagoons and sewage water treatment plants are probably the kryptonite for a broker. I mean, they’re just tough to sell. I got a park here in Atlanta and a great market, but it sits on a lagoon and all lot rent, and I’m just can’t even get a nine cap out of it. So (laughs) they’re just kryptonite for Park deals, man, because everybody doesn’t understand them. I would say like, you know, somebody, there were a couple of guys out there and girls that I knew that were trying to specialize. In those types of facilities, and buying those types of deals, I mean, you can still make money on them. It’s just you, unless you know what you’re doing. It’s kind of a crapshoot but, as far as like, as far as bips on cap rate, I would say they probably fluctuate anywhere between 50 and then on a really bad day 100 bips on a cap rate based off of utilities. A lot of it is just determining on like the condition of them. So, it’s really the condition but there’s obviously there’s more variables, Frank, there’s gonna be a higher cap rate. I mean, just more and more points of risk, right?

23:42 Frank Rolfe

Yep. Well, let’s talk to me about broker etiquette. All right, so

23:48 Maxwell Baker

This sounds like a fun topic (laughs)

23:51 Frank Rolfe

So, I get asked all the time, how often can I contact the broker without becoming the past? because people are excited, they want to be on the top of your list, but at some point they can hurt themselves by maybe over contacting you. So, what’s the correct etiquette for a buyer? How often should they reach out to you how would you want them to reach out to you how does that work?

24:14 Maxwell Baker

So, me personally, I’m not in deal flow you have to reach out I’ll just tell you for me personally, how I tell people, actually did a podcast on it. How much you should contact your broker. So, avoid email at all costs because brokers get a zillion emails all the time don’t shoot an email asking me for city water and sewer direct build all lot rent in a primary market. Frank, you know how many emails I get with that request. I mean, if you caught me saying I specialize in lagoons I’m like, Well, I got plenty of them right here but, if you were looking for that other one, I’m like, well, there’s a line around the building 10 times looking for that deal. Going back to your question, I would say reach out to one of the agents on our team Eric, or Ryan, Paul, Courtney and Jeff, reach out to them once a month via text message or a phone call, do not email them because they, like I said or not, they’re going 100 miles an hour, and they’re responding to the brightest slide on the dashboard when it comes to emails, but texting, or calling once a month, I think is justifiable.


Just say, hey, you know, I’ve found a new lender, or I’ve got a new money partner, I’ve got good enough relationships to raise my money on my next syndication deal, or, Hey, I just opened a fund, like, just tell them what’s going on in your world, but also say, look, I’m still interested and you know what the criteria hit up last time, I feel a little more comfortable with like septic tanks now, because I just bought one, you know, the best thing you can do is meet him face to face. I think I mentioned this last year is like meet him face to face if you can upfront and then follow up with a phone call once a month or a text message just to check in with them because, I mean, we get we’re still getting leads every every week, we get like three to five new leads a week from park owners like getting our mailers are coming through us in social media stuff that we do, or the Eblast or the all the other different marketing tactics that we do. So, you know, we still are still getting those types of leads. So, you know, every week the deal flow is very different from week to week.

26:34 Frank Rolfe

What are some of the worst things someone can do to get on Max Baker’s ‘you’re never going to call them ever on a deal list’? Would it be tying something up? Dropping it for no good reason? Would it be what are some things people need to watch out for? Because doing one of these items might result in being forever banished? As being thought of as a decent buyer? What are some of those danger points?

26:59 Maxwell Baker

Oh, Frank, I have banished a few people I’m not gonna I’m not gonna lie. I’m not gonna bullshit you. The reason why they get people get banished is if you’re difficult to work with. Or if I always have to be looking over my shoulder to make sure that I’m actually going to get paid. Like, it’s the problem was short term thinkers out there that are trying to just nickel and dime you all the way to closing and, like, caused me so much headache when it comes to, you know, worrying about how much money I’m making on a deal that I’m only owed X amount, because I’m just a broker. Like, I’m just like, bro, like, y’all. I mean, you should be happy that the brokers making money simply because I’m going to bring you deals like if you make my life easier, and it’s easy for us to make money off you like, I’m gonna be calling you like, Hey, I got this deal. Let’s put this together, boom, boom, boom, you know, obviously, there’s a little negotiation on fee in the beginning. But once it’s done, like, move on, let’s focus on getting this thing close.


So, like, having to like, cut our legs off right before closing, like, you’re never gonna get a deal from us again. So, there’s that. The second thing is I get these buyers that reach out to me with these automated emails that are like you can tell that they just blast everybody because the font is very different from the name from the body and it’s like, Hey, Max, and then they just cut and paste there. They’re like, we’re looking for 11 cap deals, and I’m like, that just doesn’t exist. And they just keep on every single one of our deals, they send the same message over and over again, I’m just like, y’all like, I send it over my IT guy and I just say block them we’re not going to respond to these eblasts that are just the same record like if you’re interested in like, pick up the phone, give us a call shoot one of the guys on there a text or say Hey, can I meet you for lunch? It’s the same concept where people you know, it’s a people relationship type of business. So, those are probably the biggest two things that will get you on the we call it the blacklist we actually have something in Salesforce that’s like blacklist and there’s you know people in there that we just don’t do business with them because of what I just described.

29:22 Frank Rolfe

Right? Okay, and then let’s talk for a second on just the range of cap rates from your bestest deal in Nashville five star to your worst deal in Mississippi was the range of caps right now what do you as the low and what do you see as the high?

29:44 Maxwell Baker

First cap rates on the loan

29:46 Frank Rolfe

The things that actually sell not, you know, hey, here’s my park on the market even though it doesn’t sell ever because they’re asking way too much but, deals that actually transact what’s the rate of caps right now?

29:58 Maxwell Baker

I mean, on the smaller stuff that is financeable we’re seeing mid to upper nines actually transact. stuff that’s like direct build city, water, sewer, all lot rent newer homes. We’re still seeing sixes on those is because they’re anomalies. The good deals are still good deals, and people are still willing to pay money for them. I mean, it’s just if you’re in a good market, and you have newer, you know, homes in the, in the park, newer infrastructure with room to grow, and the lot rents are like north of four or $500. I mean, we’re, we were dealing with some institutional guys that were like, look, this is what we know, we’re paying a premium, but this is a lamping deal and we’re just going to hold on to it because it’s in a gray area. We’re still going to pay a high fives for it. So, it just depends on the product. I mean, it’s, you know, Porsches are still going to sell for a quarter million dollars and Honda, you know, Accords are going to sell for 15 grand, or whatever it is a used one goes for. So, it just depends on really what kind of park you’ve got. So, if it’s dirt roads, you know, bunch of park owned homes management’s a mess, north of a 10 cap easily. They may be tough, and that’s on a lot around the park, own home values are a crapshoot as you can as you know, Frank right now, it’s mean, I could throw a dart and tell you what it’s worth. People sometimes pay for that. I don’t know just the park home values are dramatically different all over the country.

31:43 Frank Rolfe

Max, if someone is watching this and says, Hey, I want to get on Max Baker’s, what do you have an email list or correct?

31:49 Maxwell Baker

So go to our website, You can register as a buyer or a seller. We have two different types of books, you’ll get the buyer’s guide, the seller’s guide, and it talks to bonus, depreciation, conservation easements, you know, 1031s, all the different types of tactics that we’ve seen as brokers people use. So obviously, a phone call is great and ask for one of our agents or Rockstar agents that are in the trenches and out there, you know, hidden every bush and check in every tree. Our phone number is 678-932-0200 or you can email us at

32:40 Frank Rolfe

Okay, well Max, really appreciate you taking the time to be here. We appreciate you being a resource for people to find parks to buy and also for people that parks as a resource to use or parks to sell. So, appreciate your insight spending the time here. We ran out of time for this segment, but we’re gonna go and take a short break and we’ll be back with the next speaker on the 2023 Affordable Housing Summit. See everyone in a minute.

33:05 Maxwell Baker

Thanks, Frank. Have a good day!

33:06 Frank Rolfe

Thanks, Max.


Frank Rolfe has been an investor in mobile home parks for almost two decades, and has owned and operated hundreds of mobile home parks during that time. He is currently ranked, with his partner Dave Reynolds, as the 5th largest mobile home park owner in the U.S., with over 200 communities spread out over 25 states. But it all began with one mobile home park, Glenhaven, in Dallas, Texas. “When I bought Glenhaven, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how a mobile home park worked. If I had, I would have never bought that park, as it saddled me with a master-metered gas and electric system – two of the biggest challenges a mobile home park owner can face – and a tenant base that was straight out of COPs. We had carnival workers, hookers, the absolute dregs of society. It even had a wrestling ring in the back. A few years later, I had unbelievably turned that dump into a nice, quiet, family community, with a neighborhood feel and kids riding bicycles down the streets. Another five years later, the park was worth around $1 million more than I had paid for it.” With his success with Glenhaven, Frank continued to buy more mobile home parks, focusing on parks that had good locations, but were terribly managed.

Frank has always believed that mobile home parks are all about “affordable housing”. “Beginning with Glenhaven, I noticed that a mobile home park – when properly managed – offers a significantly better quality of life than a comparably priced apartment. Nobody likes to have neighbors banging on their walls and ceilings, or the lack of a yard or nearby parking – or just the lack of a neighborhood “feel”. It occurred to me that I could have my phone ringing off the hook if I could deliver an affordable detached dwelling with a yard that was safe, clean and respectable. That’s what I delivered at Glenhaven, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

Along the way, Frank began writing about the industry, and his books, coupled with those of his partner Dave Reynolds, evolved into a course and boot camp on mobile home park investing that has become the leader in this niche of commercial real estate. “Dave and I have trained hundreds of investors on how to properly buy and operate a mobile home park, 100% based on our real-life experiences in the hundreds of parks we have owned and performed due diligence on. It gives us great satisfaction when people tell us about the mobile home park that they have purchased and how well it’s going. We really wished that someone had given us some direction when we began – it would have saved us a lot of money and stress. But I guess it all worked out pretty well in the end.”

Frank lives in a small town in Missouri with his wife and daughter. He is very active in community affairs, being a member of the Lions Club, the school board, and Chairman of the Landmarks Commission. He holds an A.B. in Economics from Stanford University.

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Maxwell Baker

Maxwell R. Baker founded The MHP Broker in 2009 as a commercial real estate broker specializing in helping Investors buy and sell mobile home communities throughout the Southeast. His family got started with mobile home parks in 2000 where Max gained experience in management, rehabilitation, and selling mobile home parks. Today, The MHP Broker has grown to a team of several agents with expanded services focused on owner and investor brokerage services, mobile home park audits, and in-depth market research, resulting in the sale of over $500 million worth of mobile home communities.