MHP Brokers Tips and Tricks Podcast, Cole Phillips and Maxwell Baker
In this episode of The MHP Broker’s Tips and Tricks podcast, Maxwell Baker, president of The Mobile Home Park Broker, interviewed Cole Phillips, president of Phillips Investment Properties, on his experiences buying and managing the mobile home setup and major renovations of a Mobile Home Park in Perry, GA. We also chatted a bit about SECO22, this year’s edition of the Southeast Community Owners annual conference.
This and every Tips and Tricks podcast episode are 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:
Reach out to Max to see how The Mobile Home Park Broker can evaluate your community, help you get the best selling price, and, if needed, bring in such partners as Phillips Investment Properties and other experts to increase the value of your community. Just drop Max a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at 678-932-0200.
Power Quotes on This Episode:
“(Cole’s company is the) here-are-the-keys type of third party that you can hire to come
in and essentially get your homes in there, and deal with all of the
knucklehead movers that are out there who are unreliable.” (Max, 1:37)
“The city manager, housing development guys, code enforcement was there, the utility
companies were there. There was a roomful of people; I think there was 10 people in
this first meeting.” (Cole, 5:23)
(Despite the) six-figure fine, it took me every bit of two seconds to answer. Sure, we’ll do
it, because I knew what I could do.” (Cole, 9:07)
“Within that 10 month stretch, you know, we moved mountains and what we
accomplished in that 10 months, you know, the park was great.” (Cole, 10:28)
“We’re the last frontier for affordable housing.” (Cole, 11:47)
“We are months, a couple months away from being completely done with this project,
meaning every lot’s cool, brand new houses in, two-car parking pads. It’s just a beautiful
thing.” (Cole, 11:47)
“If you’ve got a completely vacant park, Cole is the guy to call, because he will just hand
you the keys and really talk to the city and the county and can manage all the paperwork
and all that jazz and manage all the movers, which, if you’ve been in this industry long
enough, you know how hard that is.” (Max,12:44)
“I love SECO. SECO is a great place to network.” (Cole, 17:34)
Hello and welcome to the mobile home park brokers tips and tricks. This is the podcast where we talk about mobile home park investing, because that’s what we’ve been involved in for the last decade. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Here’s your host, Maxwell Baker.
0:22 Maxwell Baker
Hey y’all welcome to another beautiful episode of the mobile home park brokers tips and tricks, podcast. As always, this episode is brought to you by the community price Maximizer. It is our proprietary system that will guarantee you a higher price when you exclusively list your community with our four step program.
Today, I have the honor to be interviewing another industry juggernaut within the mobile home and RV community industry, Cole Phillips, welcome to the show. How’s it going?
01:00 Cole Phillips
Hi, good morning. I’m doing great.
01:03 Maxwell Baker
That’s good. So y’all Cole and I have done business together several times. I wanted to bring him on the podcast because he did something pretty unique and has been doing some stuff for park owners. As always, like I’ve mentioned in the past, we always try to add value to the park owners that are listening to this. Cole is a park owner has been born and bred since he was in diapers in the mobile home industry or manufactured housing industry depending on how fancy y’all are out there.
01:37 Maxwell Baker
I wanted to go over a specific property project called the Perry Georgia project that Cole was able to turn around, fill up, all that jazz; his company is Philips Investment Properties. They do a lot of setup. I mean Cole is probably the premier, make it happen, get 30 homes moved in within 30-60 days company. He is your handover the project and here are the keys type of third party that you can hire to come in and essentially get your homes in there, move them in there and deal with all the knucklehead movers that are out there that are unreliable. Cole has figured it out. So Cole, I’ll quit churching you up here a little bit and love to hear about what you’re doing for park owners, kind of what you’re seeing and we can go a little bit over this Perry Project you just finished.
02:37 Cole Phillips
Yeah, so I appreciate that Max, the Perry Project was just a unique project because it was kind of a take it or leave it scenario for the city and by that I mean, we looked at the property several years ago. Steve Case, my partner, which a lot of you probably noticed that he was my partner in this one. Several years ago, I told Steve no, no, thank you. I don’t want no part of that park. We revisited that park though in 2019 because he had a broker call him and say the park’s still available. The city’s coming down hard on him with fines and daily fines. It was craziness. They said, would you come back and look at it again. So we went back and viewed the property again. The city of Perry had done a beautiful job with the neighborhood not the park, but the neighborhood the park was in. So we looked at it and I told Steve, look, this is could be on the table again, because of what the city of Perry had done with the surrounding area. So we talked about it and we agreed, we said, well, here’s how we’ll do the project. We’ll either do it this way or we’ll walk away from it. Well, Steve was very adamant about this, take this project, let’s document it, and show people if the city will go along with us and help us and not fight us, which is what we run into 90% of the time…
04:09 Maxwell Baker
04:10 Cole Phillips
…We’ll take the project and we’ll document the whole thing. So with that in mind, we told the broker we said look, we won’t even sign a contract, we want to talk to the city first. If you’ll let us do that, you know, and then the buyer and the seller you know, knows this is the path we’re gonna go down, then we’ll take a shot at your park, but we first want to talk to the city. So that’s where the uniqueness of this this particular property comes in from the get go because we were not going to do it. I didn’t need to do that project. It was a complete disaster. However, knowing all the challenges that the communities that we’re facing, you know, we’ve said we could take this project if we could get the city to bite off on what we have, you know what we were thinking, this could be a beautiful thing for our industry because it would give other parks, other communities and other buyers and say, hey, look, here’s what was done in Perry, because the city was, you know, worked with us and didn’t fight us and it’s all documented right here. So that was our mindset going into the Perry project.
05:23 Cole Phillips
So we called the first meeting. The first meeting was me alone, I went to this meeting, and everybody was in there, everybody but the mayor. We had the city manager, housing develop guys, code enforcement was there, the utility companies where there. There was a roomful of people; I think there was 10 people in this first meeting.
05:47 Maxwell Baker
05:48 Cole Phillips
So, I pitched the idea that Steve and I had and it went something like this, city of Perry, here’s what we know, we know you’re fining this guy daily for not complying to just normal standards, really, they really weren’t asking much of the guy out of the norm, just to clean it up. Really, you know. So I said, here, you guys don’t know me. I’ll give you any references that you need. But here’s what I would like to do to this park. But after I explain to you what I want to do, you have to know that if you guys are not on board, I’ll have no part of this project and that’s how I started the meeting.
06:29 Maxwell Baker
06:30 Cole Phillips
I then went in and explained to them step by step exactly how I was going to do things. I’ll just give you a short version of this. But I demoed, I think 18 houses, you know, this is within days of me owning it, demoed 18 houses, we cut out I want to say 200 trees, had to go. It was crazy. Roads were just unbelievably in bad shape. We documented the whole thing. We droned it, pictures and all that and pictures don’t even do it justice. Anyway, that’s how bad a park this was. So I pitched the whole idea to the city. This was our first meeting. So they were like they love the idea. They wanted to see, okay, we hear what you’re saying. We’ve been told this before, by somebody else that was going to buy the park. They’re no longer in the picture. What makes you any different? I said, well, not a lot. But, I’m pretty well known in the industry. Let me give you some references and even take a trip up to Centerville, which is about 15 miles. You can take a look at another park that I own. I would like to duplicate that park with this park to make it very similar to the park that I own and they did.
07:46 Maxwell Baker
07:47 Cole Phillips
So we laid out kind of the terms of what we were doing. So the second meeting they called and still I don’t have this park under contract. The second meeting they called, same people, everybody was still in there, they went back and they had gotten them some questions that they wanted answered. Here’s what sealed the deal for the city to jump on board. So the park owner was getting fined daily and his tab had reached six figures. So they said if you can do what you say, we want to go along with you, we want to clean this park up, we want to see it you know, we know affordable housing, we gotta have it. We’ve done a lot of work in the surrounding neighborhoods; we really want to let you see this work. Here’s what we will do, we will support you. We will do everything in our power, not financially support and that’s not what we were looking for. We didn’t need the financial support; we needed their blessing support more than anything. So you lay out to us what you’re going to do and give us a timeframe, we will stop the daily fines that this guy was getting. But if you don’t complete what you say you’re going to do in the time you’re going to do it. You have to assume that fine.
09:04 Maxwell Baker
Oh, wow. That’s a pretty big deal.
09:07 Cole Phillips
As a six figure fine, it took me every bit of two seconds to answer. Sure, we’ll do it, because I knew what I could do. You know, it was a no brainer to me. But, to have them in my corner, on my team was way more important than anything else in the deal.
09:24 Maxwell Baker
09:25 Cole Phillips
So that was the whole, from the get go, that was the whole thing, it was to see if the city would say hey look and not, you know, back us morally and more support than anything. So to just to lay out real quick how it all went, I laid out exactly an outline of what I was going to do. Look, we could sit here for hours and hours about all the little bumps in the road that we had. But I’m just giving you a quick rundown of how this thing went. But I gave them the outline of exactly how I was going to do it. The timeframes, of course, I beat all my timeframes out of the water so I took over the project in February, Max.
10:03 Maxwell Baker
10:03 Cole Phillips
In December, that year, I was completed, fully completed.
10:07 Maxwell Baker
10:08 Cole Phillips
I demoed all of them houses, cleaned up all the lots, cleaned up all the mess. There were sewer issues, infrastructure issues, all that guy had done. All the trees, which was a big undertaking, brand new roads throughout the whole park, all the infrastructure was identified, ready for new homes to come in.
10:28 Maxwell Baker
10:28 Cole Phillips
Within that 10 month stretch, you know, we moved mountains and what we accomplished in that 10 months, you know, the park was great. You know, that was awesome that we did that. But what we did more is we showed the city, that we they couldn’t believe it. You know, it was just unbelievable what we did with that park in 10 months, everywhere we would go, oh, man, we can’t believe what you guys did. You know, that was the kind of feedback we got from the city. So we accomplished everything in that project, just because we had the city’s blessing, not necessarily their help, not necessarily their, you know, we didn’t have any financial help, but we just had their blessings. That’s why this project is so important, Max is because we now have something you can go back to, you got you got a mayor, you can call a city manager, building inspectors, I mean, you’ve got this array of people in this Perry project that was you know, hands on and as far as from the beginning to the end. Say, a city could call and say, hey, look, how did that go for you? Did they do what they was gonna do? Did they say they were gonna do it? You know and it could be a big thing for our industry, because Max, this is how you’re gonna have to start addressing projects.
11:46 Maxwell Baker
11:47 Cole Phillips
Who knows the cities and the counties, they don’t really, you know, look at this as a viable option, you know, they weren’t all parks gone, or whatever the case may be, and, and we know we’re not going nowhere. You know, we’re the last frontier for affordable housing, really. But, if you could take this project and say, hey, look, city or county, whatever, would you mind calling here I’ve got references to a city that actually let us come in and reposition a park, just with their blessings, not to fight us, not throw codes at us, not to, you know, start making requirements that can’t be done, and look what they did to it. It’s a beautiful thing. I can tell you right now that there are 60 brand new houses in this park. We are months, a couple months away from being completely done with this project, meaning every lot’s cool brand new houses in, two car parking pads, it’s just a beautiful thing.
12:44 Maxwell Baker
Yeah, and that’s one of the things that I really, I’ve actually introduced Cole to a lot of different operators. One is an operator, that’s pretty massive. I mean, I don’t know how many homes you set up for DAX, but you did a few and you did a hell of a job. All be it, keep in mind, I mean, this is a Cadillac style service, he’ll deliver on time or early. If you’ve got a completely vacant Park, Cole is the guy to call, because he will just hand you the keys and really talk to the city and the county and can manage all the paperwork and all that jazz and manage all the movers, which, if you’ve been in this industry long enough, you know how hard that is. And really just put y’all in your investment and your investors on the right path to success. Now, it’s not cheap. I’m not gonna tell you, it’s all daisies and roses. Cole does charge a fair price to do the setup. But it’s well worth it. Because he’ll deliver and he’ll do it on time, every time and he’s done it for several REITs out there. In your lifetime Cole, how many homes do you think you’ve set up?
13:53 Cole Phillips
I can tell you this, the last five years I have averaged right over 375 homes per year being set.
14:03 Maxwell Baker
So it’s over a home a day.
14:06 Cole Phillips
Ha-ha, yeah, we pump them out, for sure.
14:08 Maxwell Baker
14:09 Cole Phillips
What slowed us down and that average, what brought the average down was COVID. We couldn’t get houses fast enough. You know, Max, you and I have talked about this for many, many, many years about our industry, what we’re lacking. You know, years ago, when we talked about this at SECO, I mean many, many years ago, to community buyers, they’re all good. They’re so great with PNLs and you know, and spreadsheets and all that and they buy the parks with all this value add stuff and you know, and when you feel the value add out at the end of the day, you know, all the communities, these potential buyers are like, wow, this could be great. But the problem was is how do you get to the end of that value add? And how do you make that happen? And that’s what killed, is so crucial in our industry and it’s just, it’s very tough. I mean, dude, I’ve owned a lot of communities. You know that.
15:01 Maxwell Baker
15:01 Cole Phillips
Kind of my thing was to take very bad parks and I would go in and kind of wipe them clean and flip them. That’s what I did for my early part of my career not so much now, for my personal self, but that’s just what I did. So we know after you and I had talked and knowing that the industry was lacking this, that’s why I went and created this company so that community owners had somewhere to go and say, hey, look, you know, I got 100 homes coming, or I need to fill up 100 Lots, you know, six years ago, that couldn’t happen not at one time. So we kind of rewrote the rules in that category as far as taking homes. I mean, we’ve taken, you know, the factories could only ship, before COVID, they could ship me 10 homes a week. Well, I would take that for four weeks straight, you know, so we kind of put people on the map about the value add in, because you know better than anybody is that the value and part of it, if time is your worst enemy, if you don’t get these things …
16:03 Maxwell baker
16:03 Cole Phillips
… in and field or you know, whatever the case may be, you know, you’re still there bleeding. So, that’s kind of what we did, you know, we went in and make sure you know, and created something where people had somewhere to call and say, hey, look, you know, we’re a to z and then and then I can also break it down further than that we can also tailor what you need, well, I need this and don’t need this or you know, I need management but don’t need the home set or you know, whatever the case may be and as you and I talk that’s just super valuable in our industry.
16:36 Maxwell Baker
You know, it is man, I mean, like I said before, if somebody ever needs help setting up or dealing with the counties when it comes to getting permitting and all that jazz, like I was referring them to you and you’ve always performed just to close this up, SECO is about to come and y’all that are listening. It’s the I think it’s the first or second week of October and we are in September right now so it’s about a month away give or take, are you going to be putting on any classes about the move and stuff that you’re doing? Or what’s going at SECO Are you involved in any of that?
17:09 Cole Phillips
I’m gonna be probably doing a roundtable on the Perry project and some other things, but I will be there I’m not going to do a booth this year because I have I have a lot of things on my plate so I don’t have the time to put that in it but I’m gonna be there and got a lot of people that want to talk about a lot of things and you know, I don’t, you know me I don’t mind sharing anything with anybody as long as you know…
17:34 Maxwell Baker
17:34 Cole Phillips
…To help our industry. We’re, I’m super big on doing whatever I can to help people along and I love SECO. SECO is a great place to network. They have a lot of good class.
17:44 Maxwell baker
17:45 Cole Phillips
It’s one of the favorite things I look forward to. They’re going to have homes this year, which you know, I’m a big fan of so, SECO is going to be cool. Yeah, I’ll be there for the first two nights.
17:55 Maxwell Baker
Yeah, it’ll be probably one of the bigger ones that we see because everybody’s kind of getting tired of this internet world…
18:02 Cole Phillips
18:03 Maxwell Baker
… that we’ve been living in for the SECO stuff. This will be the first one back that’s physical and from what I was talking to Darren about, he’s one of the guy that runs that MH village. They were saying like 500 people are going to show up.
18:16 Cole Phillips
Now I would think they’re gonna have it full scale.
18:17 Maxwell Baker
Yeah, so it’s gonna be a pretty, pretty stout little get together here. So y’all, if you haven’t signed up, go ahead and go to SECO it’s the Southeast Community Owners event in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s actually going to be over in Stone Mountain, which is on the east side of the city. Do we have a website? What’s the website called? You know what it is? By chance? secoconference.com and you’ll see a nice little hotel they have a pool there right next to the mountain. Good little spot I grew up there. My grandmother used to live over there in Tucker so it’s not too far but yeah, Stone Mountain, a lot of great memories. The rooms are pretty nice. So yeah, go ahead and sign up. Go to the website. Be great to see everybody there. Look for Cole if you don’t know what Cole looks like just come on over to my booth, the MHP Broker and I’ll introduce him to you or, or whatnot. So yeah, Cole do you have any closing statements here before we sign off?
19:18 Cole Phillips
No, Max, I appreciate you letting me come on and I love talking about this stuff. So you know let’s get some more segments about setups and stuff? (Laughs)
19:27 Maxwell Baker
Yeah, definitely and there’ll be some more stuff coming up. We’re working on hopefully some big industry things coming out pretty soon between Cole and I so, we’re excited about that.
19:37 Cole Phillips
It’s going to be some; I think it’s going to be game changing. So, for sure.
19:41 Maxwell Baker
Yeah, man. So hey, y’all, thanks for listening. As always, this episode is brought to you by the community price Maximizer. It is our proprietary system that will guarantee you a higher price. When you exclusively list our community with us, give us a call (678)-932-020 or email me at email@example.com. Thanks for listening, be well!
Started my mobile home career in 1995 at the age of 18 on a mobile home retail lot selling new mobile homes in 1997 was promoted. In 2000, run my own retail lot. I managed that retail center for five years. In 2005, I purchased my first park a 166 pad community and then another 85 pad community 2 years later. April of 2014 I added a 189 pad community strictly as a park rehab and flip. I rehabbed the complete park and in October 2016 I sold it making a sizable profit as expected. From 2008 to 2015 I bought several smaller parks that were complete tear down and rebuilds.Then in 2015 – present. I started offering A to Z services to community owners struggling to get their value-add projects to the finish line. Services provided ranged from rehabs, new home installation, due diligence assistant and much more. 2019 I completely rebuilt a 100 pad park fully documenting the process known as the Perry Project. The story behind the Perry project is unique as it was a working partnership with the city. 2021-2022 built a 95 pad RV park.
Currently own 3 parks , 1 RV Park. I Have a retail center and offer A to Z services to 5 different portfolios.