The MHP Brokers Tips and Tricks Juggernaut Interview Series Podcast, with Kirby Horton

June 17, 2024 by Maxwell Baker

In this episode of The MHP Broker’s Tips and Tricks podcast, Maxwell Baker, president of The Mobile Home Park Broker, interviewed Kirby Horton. As president and CEO of The Firm, Inc., Kirby is involved in acquiring, developing, and operating manufactured home communities.

As with every Tips and Tricks Closing Cocktails podcast episode, this one 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. Call Max for details.

Here Are the Show Highlights:

  • Kirby Horton serves as the park acquisition lead and project manager at his company, The Firm, in Franklin Tennessee. Kirby has worked deals with Max’s company. (Max, 0:22)
  • In reviewing his career path. Kirby explained how he almost accidentally got into his current line of work. He earned a degree in Economics, then spent the next 20 to 25 years in financial services. Over time, he started to see that field becoming a commodity and the possibility for making a good living shrinking. He began to feel bored and less able to use his creativity. (Kirby, 1:35)
  • As a voracious reader, Kirby eventually stumbled on a book by Lonnie Scruggs, the legendary mobile home investor and author. (Kirby, 2:49)
  • Following the Lonnie Scruggs pattern, Kirby made a part-time job of buying cheap mobile homes and selling them on a rent-to-own (RTO) basis. His first sale, of a mobile home he paid $800 for, was to a park manager who has, since 1009, been Kirby’s employee for the longest tenure. (Kirby, 3:2)
  • Over time, Kirby bought and sold on RTO contracts a total of maybe 50 or 60 mobile homes. He’d spend the first week of every month knocking on doors and getting rent from his RTO contract holders.
  • When the SAFE Act regulation of Dodd Frank came out in 2008, Kirby realized that would pretty much kill his mode of business. zThe purpose of the SAFE Act was to regulate those who sell housing, and the rules and requirements were so complicated and involved that he figured he’d have to redirect the way he moved forward. (Kirby, 4:49)
  • That’s when Kirby began buying mobile home parks. He lost his shirt on that first deal, but learned plenty. For starters, he learned that owning communities isn’t “mailbox money” a matter of just waiting for the checks to arrive by letter carrier. It’s harder than that, and there’s much more to do to successfully run a park. (Kirby, 5:21)
  • In describing a park deal he worked with Max’s company, Kirby mentioned that a community that was shaky when he first bought it is now stabilized, with 100 percent occupancy and 90 percent collections and only responsible residents. (Kirby, 7:17)
  • When he bought it, the community was all park-owned homes (POH). One of the first things Kirby did was determine who he wanted living there and who he wanted out in order to clean up the community and improve the culture. He also turned all of the POHs into opportunities for the preferred residents to buy them. (Kirby, 7:37)
  • Kirby basically had only three park rules, and those who couldn’t follow them were evicted. The rules were, be a good neighbor…keep your yard clean…and pay your rent on time. (Kirby, 7:56)
  • Kirby enjoyed working with his good tenants, and either getting money upfront or working out payment plans so they could own their homes and he was only dealing with lot rent. Some of the homes were in such poor condition that he literally gave them to his tenants. His dream is that eventually the community (and others he owns) will become so stabilized that people will be proud to live there and fond of their childhood memories in a manufactured home community. (Kirby, 8:39)
  • Max observed that his start in the industry was much like Kirby’s, including being heavily influenced by Lonnie Scruggs books. (Max, 10:10)
  • Asked whether he’s ever tried syndication as a way of raising acquisition capital, Kirby said that it makes him nervous if he has to report to major investors. His preference is to go one deal at a time, with him and his family usually the sole investors on reasonably small deals. In the case of larger deals, he might bring together one or two friends who can invest, but he stays away from large pools of investors. (Kirby, 11:45)
  • Asked if he buys new or used homes for his parks, Kirby said that he’d love to be able to find affordable higher-quality used homes, but they’re almost impossible to find. Even if he could, they would each cost about $20,000 to $30,000 to buy and move in. (Kirby, 13:31)
  • Kirby mentioned some of the new home manufacturers he uses, and highlighted Hamilton Homes out of Hamilton, Alabama for how they came through when the supply chain was held up after COVID. He also had words of praise for Champion Homes, and Clayton for the high quality of their homes. Kirby said that the quality of new mobile homes today is generally as good as he’s ever seen. (Kirby, 14:21)
  • He says that talk of mobile homes depreciating like cars is false, and that a good quality mobile home, properly installed and cared for, will maintain its value for a long time. (Kirby, 15:12)
  • Stabilized lot rents should be set at $400 a month, bare minimum. (Kirby, 17:20)
  • Kirby resents experts who talk about “value add” as solely a matter of raising rents and metering the water. Where’s the value in that for tenants? While that kind of revenue raising sometimes must be done, he thinks park owners need to also create value for tenants by improving the communities, not just making them costlier to live in.. (Kirby, 18:01)
  • Asked by Max if he’d consider selling to a developer who wanted to turn the property into more expensive apartment units, Kirby said he’d probably sell if it was profitable As a business person, it’s his responsibility to keep his company healthy. (Kirby, 21:35)
  • Kirby said that, upon further consideration, that he might first go to the local government after receiving such an offer. He’d explain that he’s now offering affordable housing to families that would probably be displaced, and what can the local authorities do in terms of zoning and other issues to help him be able to responsibly reject the offer and expand instead. (Kirby, 22:50)
  • In 2022, Kirby’s company bought and installed 500 new homes in parks around the country. The rate has slowed somewhat since then, but they’re still very active. (Kirby, 31:34)
  • The lower number of homes purchased and installed is inversely related to rising interest rates. (Kirby, 31:47)

Do you need expert support and guidance in buying or selling manufactured home communities? Call up Maxwell Baker at The Mobile Home Park Broker, (678) 932-0200. You can also drop him a line at

Power Quotes in This Episode:

(On Kiry Horton’s desire to improve the communities he owns.) “We want to create memories for those young kids that we want them to have a safe, fun place to grow up.” (Kirby, 10:02)

(On his reluctance to bring in outside investors.) “It’s one thing to follow your gut when it’s your money. Yeah, it’s somebody else’s money, you better be following something more than just your gut.” (Kirby, 11:45)

“I’ll lose my own money, but I sure would hate to lose someone else’s.” (Kirby, 13:05)

“The quality of new homes is just so great today, there’s just no comparing a (manufactured) hom today to even ten years ago. The quality is that much better.” (Kirby, 14:21)

“ If that new home, if it’s a quality home, and it’s placed properly and installed properly, in the right location, will maintain its value over many, many years.” (Kirby, 15:12)

“Once you clean the place up…as you’re doing that, (residents) know what the rent increase is coming. It’s just…a whole lot easier to swallow and to deliver if you’ve (first) improved their community.” (Kirby, 1801)

(On raising rents without improving communities.) “I see a lot of investors do that. Typically, it’s the ones that are on razor-sharp margins when they buy that kind of stuff.” (Max, 19:35)

“If the media is going to interview me, I want it to be because of the progress that we’ve made because of improving the neighborhood, improving the community, not because I’m a carpetbagger, or somebody who’s trying to gouge the poor.” (Kirby, 20:39)


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.

00:22 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 with us Four Step Program, guaranteed, give us a call (678) 932-0200 but today, we are really excited to talk to our regular clients that we have done multiple deals with, the lead guy over there that we’ve got a great relationship with named Kirby Horton and he is the lead acquisition lead project manager. He kind of does a lot of stuff with his massive team over there at The Firm, Inc. Kirby. Welcome to our podcast man has been I’m excited to talk to you!

01:16 Kirby Horton

Max, Good afternoon. Likewise!

01:18 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, man. So, tell me about your background, like how you got started in the industry and kind of like how you became who you are today.

01:28 Kirby Horton

Okay. Obviously, it was not a straight line.

01:32 Maxwell Baker

It never is (laughs)

01:35 Kirby Horton

It never is! I’ve yet to meet anybody who went to school and had a burning desire to go into this business. You know, we started out after I spent five years in the US Navy back in the 70s. Then after I got out of the Navy, went to school, got my degrees in Economics and then went into the financial services field, Employee Benefits, Pension Plans. ERISA kind of business, employee group health insurance, was in that for about 20-25 years and then realized that, that particular industry was being homogenized and, and it was becoming a commodity and as we all know, if you’re thesalesperson in a commodity driven business, there’s not a whole lot of opportunity for creativeness and value add basically are a spreadsheet jockey, showing spreadsheets and taking orders and they don’t pay very well for that.

02:39 Maxwell Baker


02:40 Kirby Horton

That’s where that industry was heading and I’ve always been a voracious reader, I’ve always been a sponge for knowledge.

02:48 Maxwell Baker


02:49 Kirby Horton

In reading and understanding people and, and somehow I stumbled upon Lonnie Scruggs.

02:56 Maxwell Baker


02:57 Kirby Horton

Bless his heart, you know, you either love him or you hate him, there’s a little bit in between. But I tell you, the guy had a lot of jewels and a lot of wisdom.

03:07 Maxwell Baker

He totally did, man. You can’t even get the books anymore. Like I think you can get them for like 100 bucks on Amazon or sorry, eBay. It’s like, it’s like a jewel of industry if you can get a copy of them (laughs)

03:19 Kirby Horton

It really is; he’s a classic. So, I read that a few times and it was like, Dang, this guy’s on to something here.

03:28 Maxwell Baker


03:29 Kirby Horton

So, we basically, you know, on a part-time basis after hours on weekends, you know, started out being a Lonnie dealer. My wife thought I gone overboard in terms of craziness. I typically have crazy ideas, but she thought this one topped at all, you’re gonna do what? So, I finally bought our first mobile home paid $800 for it. That was unit number 13 and the park manager that who sold it to me is now an employee of ours actually. He’s our longest serving employee. He’s been with us since 2009, I think.

04:09 Maxwell Baker


04:10 Kirby Horton

He’s done a tremendous job but he was a park manager in this large park in Franklin, Tennessee, which wasn’t too far from our home.

04:17 Maxwell Baker


04:18 Kirby Horton

So, we bought it, we did a good job with it. Bought a second, third, fourth and when it was all said and done, we had probably, I don’t know, maybe 50 or so maybe 60 homes on Rent to Own contracts and everything was on a cash basis. I’d be over there the first week of the month collecting rent. After a while, I realized I timed myself to the mobile home park the first week of every month to collect rent.

04:48 Maxwell Baker


04:49 Kirby Horton

About that time, the SAFE Act came out, Dodd Frank. Of course, nobody knew anything about it or what was going on. Everybody had an opinion, but nobody knew anything. So, I saw the handwriting on the wall there and then started realizing that whenever I would collect from the residents, the next step I would go to would be the park office to pay the lot rent. I’m like, dang, these guys are first in line for everything.

05:18 Maxwell Baker

Seriously! (laughs)

05:21 Kirby Horton

So, we let the contracts run through, ran the course on the Rent to Own contracts and as that was happening, we went out and bought our first park, did a horrible job, learned a lot, lost a little bit of money, but learned a lot, relatively inexpensive tuition for what we learned. So, from there, you know, just put the head down and keep charging, keep going. It’s worked for us very, very well, it’s given us it certainly is not mailbox money, as you know, and your listeners know, if they think it’s mailbox money, they’ve never done it before, or somebody’s lying to them.

06:00 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, it’s, I see that. There’s a couple of people that claim it is, but it’s a living, breathing type of asset you’ve got to be, especially if you own homes, and they’re like, you’ve really got to have we’ve had a couple of; Well, I mean, the deal that we did together, there was a classic situation where the guy thought he could do mailbox money, and, you know, unfortunately didn’t work out. It was a tough situation. But you know, like you said, if it’s, if you think that’s the way you’re going to operate this business, you’re gonna have a come to Jesus moment real quick.

06:38 Kirby Horton

You really are. I’m glad you brought that one deal up because that guy took a haircut. Simply because he took his hands off the wheel and thought it was mailbox money and it went right in the ditch. But we were able to salvage that deal and turn it around and your associate Eric did a tremendous job helping us I mean, he busted his tail on that one getting it all put together and you know, we’re very appreciative of, of Eric and your team for, for doing that one with us. I think that was March 31 of 2023.

07:15 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, it was earlier.

07:17 Kirby Horton

Yeah, we’re already done with it. We’ve already revitalized the community. It’s stabilized. We’re running high 90% collections, we’re at 100% occupancy. So yeah. It’s a great stabilized asset right now.

07:30 Maxwell Baker

That one was a Park owned Home community. Did you end up keeping the units in there? Or what’s your plan of action on that one?

07:37 Kirby Horton

We sold the units off to the residents. Number one, the first thing we did was we went in to determine which residents we wanted to keep because it’s not so much who wants to stay there it’s who we want to stay there.

07:53 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, exactly. The culture.

07:56 Kirby Horton

That’s right. So, we determined, you know, who’s going to stay, and then you’ll basically file for eviction on the ones that that we didn’t want to stay. First, we gave him the opportunity to leave voluntarily, which a few did, but there were a few holdouts who thought that they had the upper hand. They only had the upper hand until it was set out day, and then we set them out. But you know, we only have really Max three principles that that we ask the residents to abide by. Now, obviously, our rules and regulations are probably 18 pages long, but it boils down to three things. Number one, be a good neighbor, keep your yard clean, and paying your rent on time.

08:38 Maxwell Baker


08:39 Kirby Horton

You know, if you can do those three things, just about anything else can be figured out and worked with, do those three things and we’ll take care of the rest. So, we went and we determined who we wanted to keep in the community. Then we worked out a sales process for each one of those people. Some homes were nicer than others, some are larger than others. So, we have some people who are willing to pay cash upfront for the home. Others needed to work out a payment plan, which we were happy to do and quite frankly, a couple of the homes needed to be just given away to the people living in there. So, we did those things. Today, like I said, we’ve got ourselves a very stabilized community. It’s safe to secure, it’s attractive. It’s a place where I hope that and this is one of the sappy things that that I have in my heart is, I hope one day 15,20, 30 years from now. Somebody is going to be talking to their children, about their experience growing up in their neighborhood in their community and that community is a manufactured home community that we owned, that we turned around, and that grown person talking to their children have fond memories of growing up in that community.

10:00 Maxwell Baker

Man, that’s a great goal.

10:02 Kirby Horton

Yeah, that’s what we want to create, you know, we want to create memories for those young kids that we want them to have a safe, fun place to grow up.

10:10 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, man, that’s, and you really do that man, because I’ve seen your work and I mean, y’all out there listening. Kirby knows what the hell he’s doing. I mean, he’s been doing it. You know, since 2009, I think you said, and, you know, it’s funny, you and I actually started similar. I read the Lonnie Scruggs book and started when I was in college, buying and flipping individual mobile homes. It kind of just blossomed from there. So, I share that that the part of the journey for I think all the people that have been in a long time involved, dealt and red and absorbed Lonnie Scruggs. So, it’s kind of awesome, but yeah, just being able to provide a safe, secure place for people to live is a no, it’s not rocket science. I mean, if you can figure out a system method and process to, you know, the buying of parks and follow those three great rules that you’ve just said, I mean, I think it’ll be successful. The one thing I’ll mention the all out there is Kirby’s Very good like his specialty is like, the communities out there that are this derelict or even empty. I mean, do you go out and raise money to do deals or we y’all self-funding? Tell us a little bit about like, you know, what the game plan is when you find maybe an empty park, y’all are raising a bunch of money up front? Or, you know, because I know that there’s a lot of different variables involved?

11:45 Kirby Horton

Sure. Yeah, you don’t actually, we’ve never gone out and done syndication, everything that we’ve done, has been, they’ve been little one off deals. When I say little, I don’t necessarily mean little in terms of the size, but in terms of the actual offering themselves, you know, they’re, they’re one off their, their family and friends type of thing. Usually, it’s just us occasionally, if the deal was a little too big for my wife and I to take down on our own, we’ll place a phone call to a friend or a family member, and do something like that. We do have people, investors, inquiring, wanting to be on our quote unquote, list. Next time we have an offering. We’ve never really done an offering. I think it’s interesting. I do believe it opens up a whole new dynamic in terms of having to report to investors and, you know, it’s one thing to follow your gut when it’s your money. Yeah, it’s somebody else’s money, you better be following something more than just your gut.

12:58 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, it’s a super white glove and it’s a very different culture,

13:05 Kirby Horton

It really is you know, I’ll lose my money but I sure would hate to lose somebody else’s.

13:09 Maxwell Baker

Yeah I’m with you, man. I’d much rather lose my own money, because I don’t mind slamming my head against the door but yeah, that’s pretty cool that you guys are still sell funding and then when you when you go to fill up, or you’re just doing new homes I know the used home market, as I mean, I’m aware of that, too, is very difficult to find use homes. Are y’all out there buying new homes, like what kind of homes are y’all getting?

13:31 Kirby Horton

New Homes, I mean, if you or anybody else has an inside track, to getting quality used homes at a reasonable price, please, please give me a call (laughs). Those things are just so darn impossible to find. And, quite frankly, we are going to do the math on his Max, you know, you know, as long as I do and your listeners that have been around the sun a few times they know was well, you know, you’re going to spend upwards $20,000 to $30,000 to get a decent used home moved in.

14:15 Maxwell Baker


14:16 Kirby Horton

You know, and then at the end of the day, you still have a used home.

14:20 Maxwell Baker


14:21 Kirby Horton

So, we’ve had tremendous success with Hamilton homes out of Hamilton, Alabama. Yeah, they they’ve done a really good job for us. We’ve done champion homes, Clayton, those companies are good quality companies that understand the community business. So, that’s helped us a lot. Hamilton was really there when we needed them during the supply chain problem. So, there’s some moral to there because of that. I think you’re just bringing in New Homes, you know You, the quality of these new homes is so great today. There’s just no comparing a home today to even 10 years ago, the quality is that much better.

15:12 Maxwell Baker


15:12 Kirby Horton

You know, people talk about it. Typically, it’s people that don’t know what they’re talking about. They talk about that a mobile home depreciates like an automobile as soon as you drive it off the dealer’s lot and all this. You know, that’s just not true. Now, there’s a little bit of depreciation early on, which is typically the dealers markup. That’s the depreciation. But if that new home, if it’s a quality home, and it’s placed properly and installed properly, in the right location, will maintain its value over many, many years.

15:48 Maxwell Baker

Especially if it’s occupied, right and producing rent. I mean, that’s absolutely different.

15:52 Kirby Horton

Absolutely and, you know, your R&M repair and maintenance everybody, everybody gets all caught up in the R&M on a Park Owned Home. If it’s a 2023, or 2024 model, and it’s from a reputable builder, and it’s installed properly, your R&M on that, for the first several years, is going to be very minimal. The only thing that you do have to watch out for is turnover with the residents because, as you will know, some of the residents don’t treat their home very, very softly, very gently. If there is any R&M, it’s usually at the turn, or when you’re flipping residents. Somebody’s left Linder, we’re having to replace it.

16:42 Maxwell Baker

Yeah. you got a whole in the wall.

16:44 Kirby Horton

Yeah you got the rehab cost there. But for the most part, you know, we find that the new homes are, are very affordable, very economical. There’s a little bit of sticker shock when you first see the price tag on a new home. But, you know, if you if you’ve got the right community in the right market, and you’ve done the math, it can work.

17:06 Maxwell Baker

What’s the minimum lot rent, you’ll look at, to pull a trigger on a deal that’s got new home capabilities?

17:12 Kirby Horton

Going in lot rent or stabilized lot rent?

17:14 Maxwell Baker

(laughs) Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say stabilized.

17:20 Kirby Horton

Stabilized lot rent, it’s got to be bare bones minimum $400 a month.

17:25 Maxwell Baker


17:26 Kirby Horton

So, if you can’t pull, especially this cap rate where they are today, you know, if you can’t pull $400 lot rent then there is no need to just in my opinion, there’s no need to be discussing, find new homes and bring them in because the math just doesn’t work. You gotta have a minimum $400 a month lot rent.

17:44 Maxwell Baker

So, like when you’re in new, smaller markets? Because I know you buy stuff and smaller stuff. I mean, you’re probably going to be the highest lot rent in town, if, you know, if you’re bringing in new homes, right? I’m assuming that’s what the game is?

18:00 Kirby Horton

That is correct

18:01 Kirby Horton

We set the market price on lot rent and in doing that, we have to make sure that we set the standard and the quality of the community as well. You know, it really gets under my skin, when I hear a lot of, “experts” talk about value add and then when they’re talking about value add, they’re talking about raising rent and submetering the water. You know, you go out there and you ask every one of those residents, if that was a value add to them, and they’ll tell you, no. How are you increasing their value by raising their lot rent and billing them back for water. Now, it needs to be done, you need to raise rents, you need to bill back for water. First, you need to get up before you start asking for those increases, you need to give back to the community you need to improve the community, then you’ve added value and then you can increase the market value of your asset by doing that, and it’s a whole lot easier thing that’s next, you know, it’s a lot easier to hand out rent increase notices, after you’ve paved the park, after you’ve taken those dinosaurs to the landfill. After you’ve gotten rid of all the vicious spring dogs. Once you clean the place up people as you’re doing that people know what the rent increase is coming. It’s just it’s just a whole lot easier to swallow and to deliver if you’ve improved their community.

19:35 Maxwell Baker

Yeah and I hear you on value add part of just increasing lot rent and it’s pretty one sided. It’s not a team oriented way of looking at value add like, you know, let me let me do something for you first, and then I’ll ask for something downstream. I see a lot of investors do that. Typically, it’s the ones that are on razor sharp margins when they buy in that kind of stuff, but those guys are have a high girls, guys, whatever have, you know my humble opinion, have a high probability of coming into the end of the our industry and then disappearing in a few years and then like people like yourself, I feel like I mean, they stick around like, you know, you have a good formula and it works. To be quite frank, you’re not abusing affordable housing, you know, people that live in affordable housing. That’s, I mean it for me personally, I feel like you can sleep better at night, too, if you’re not just trying to make money on that demographic, I think just adding value is, is big. So, that’s awesome.

20:39 Kirby Horton

That’s right, if I have a news report, I use; very few of the listeners probably remember the new show 2020. But, you know, I used to tell people, I don’t want to wake up Sunday morning and have a news crew from 2020 at my door, questioning why I did something. If the media is going to interview me, I want it to be because of the progress that we’ve made because of improving the neighborhood improving the community, not because I’m a carpetbagger, or somebody who’s trying to gouge the poor.

21:18 Maxwell Baker

So, I’ll ask a tough question then, too, because it’s it is a tough question to ask. If you have one of your communities, and the developer comes in and wants to develop some, you know, B or Class A apartments, what’s the Kirby Horton way of handling?

21:35 Kirby Horton

Great question, never been asked that before, I’ve never had that opportunity. I’ve never had that dilemma, Max. I think we’re in business and we’re business people. If the offer comes in, and they want to convert it to an amusement park, or a strip mall, for whatever they want to convert it to, that’s their prerogative and we would probably be a seller in that. You know, I’m a champion of affordable housing, but not to the point where it’s going to be detrimental to our company’s survival.

22:13 Maxwell Baker

You know, I’m, I’m with you on that I and I’ve been asked that by actually had a couple of media inquiries about stuff like that in the past. I mean, at the end of the day of me, we live in a society of capitalism. You know, you got to do what’s best for your investors, and you got to do what’s best for the company for years down the road. If you take that money and go improve the lives of some other people, I’m not saying, you know, it’s a wash, but it’s a tough situation, you know, and I just wanted to hear your opinion about it.

22:50 Kirby Horton

You know something Max, it’s funny, I’ve never been asked that before. So, you sort of stumped me on that but, I think now that I’ve had a minute or two to think about it, you know, what I might try to do in that situation is engage the local municipality and bring them into it and say, Okay, well, everybody complains about affordable housing. Your community is complaining about affordable housing. Right here, we have a situation where we’re offering affordable housing to 75 families, and I’m receiving the highest and best use offer that will get rid of that. What is your position on manufactured housing expansion, or developing additional manufactured housing in your community? What’s your position on allowing us to perhaps expand this park? You know, a lot of these municipalities, the way they’ve written their codes, you know, they’re so draconian, and if a home leaves the park, you know, in a lot of municipalities, if that lot has been vacant for a year or a set period of time, they don’t allow you to put another home or replacement home on that lot.

24:05 Maxwell Baker


24:06 Kirby Horton

You know, so I think if somebody came to me with an alternative for that property, I would probably try to deflect it to the local planning and zoning.

24:20 Maxwell Baker

I think that’s an awesome solution.

24:22 Kirby Horton

Put it on their plate.

24:24 Maxwell Baker

Yeah. Because, I mean, if you’re in Bartow County, or Borough county here in Georgia,

24:29 Kirby Horton


24:30 Maxwell Baker

(laughs) Can’t Guarantee you what’s gonna happen with them?

24:37 Kirby Horton

Bartow County of Georgia is perhaps one of the most anti manufactured housing counties there is. It’s really too bad.

24:49 Maxwell Baker

It’s a great area, man. I mean, it’s in it’s in high demand for affordable housing, and there’s a lot of counties. I mean, because we’re, we’re hitting 36 states now. It’s not really abnormal to see that I mean, up in Delaware, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to buy a deal in Delaware, but that state’s a nightmare for affordable housing. Even in Virginia, they have that new law. I don’t know if you saw the new law over there for kind of disclosures, but it’s interesting, because, you know, there’s a lot of a lot of different things happening around the country, that don’t help affordable housing. I feel like it’s up to us, the Kirby Hortons of the world and MHP broker of the world, to really kind of shine light on like, hey, like, there are still good people out there, doing big things for the industry, trying to help people with lower income, and just trying to make you know, the United States a better place to live, a community better place to live. So, that question came to me, and I think I’m gonna start asking it for now on, so I appreciate you allowing me to ask you that question.

26:04 Kirby Horton

Now, this is my bias, you know, being from the south and down here. Obviously, I think this is a sweet spot to, to live to raise a family and to operate in but, you know, we and again, it’s probably a personal bias, but no-go markets would be, for me anyway would be Illinois, even though downstate, Illinois has some great people and great opportunities. Everything was controlled by upstate by Chicago. So, Illinois, New York, California. Those are no gos as well as Bartow County, Georgia.

26:47 Maxwell Baker


26:48 Kirby Horton

Those are just no areas

26:50 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, I I’m with you, man. There are some states in; surprisingly, when I was working on a deal in New Jersey, I thought New Jersey would be just like New York. But a lot of states out there. I’m starting to see as I pick up deals, you know, to sell. They operate very differently. So, if you all are looking at deals across the country, like every state has their own culture, of how they review communities, like, you know, Cobb County compared to Bartow County is night and day difference when it comes to mobile home communities, or even the one park we have up in Ringgold for sale, that I think when you looked at like over there, it’s very different compared to Bartow.

27:36 Kirby Horton

Oh yeah

27:37 Maxwell Baker

So, you’ve just really got to get in there and see what’s going on with the local municipality and the culture and how they feel about communities but, I always tell everybody is like make sure you talk to the commissioner to see how he feels about mobile home communities. One thing I’ll say about Bartow is, I was looking at a deal up there, that was in Bartow, and they had the same issue that you had Kirby soon, as I mentioned, converting it to a tiny home community. Man, their tune changed dramatically. They were like tiny homes. Oh, we would love for that to be here, we would totally support, we would totally support the conversion of a mobile home park into a tiny home community. So, there might not you know, on Facebook, I don’t know if you’ve had any luck with that. I don’t think you’ve ever dealt with tiny homes. But I’ve seen you know that one park we had up in Tennessee with a smaller lots I know that’s a big variable that you’ve dealt with is smaller lots, but I don’t know what are your thoughts about converting some of these derelict communities that are kind of older or smaller lots, or even like some of the counties like Bartow, maybe, you know, looking through the weeds and in seeing that they are willing to do tiny home conversions. Like have you ever messed with that? What are your thoughts on that?

28:58 Kirby Horton

We haven’t. There’s so many opportunities out there inside of our wheelhouse with manufactured housing, we’ve not gone that direction, a few tiny homes manufacturers that I’ve looked at, tiny homes are not cheap.

29:12 Maxwell Baker

No, they are not.

29:13 Kirby Horton

They are not cheap and I just; that’s just not a direction that we’ve even entertained pursuing.

29:25 Maxwell Baker


29:26 Kirby Horton

Some people are hitting it hard, but it’s just not on our drawing board.

29:31 Maxwell Baker

Yeah. I’ve seen a couple of guys in Northern Georgia and Northern Alabama where they’ll just go on the middle of nowhere in the woods and build it and they’re charging like $400-$500 lot rents, it’s crazy. I’m just like blown away that you can charge in backwoods Alabama $400 lot rent. They do it. I mean, it’s out there.

29:53 Kirby Horton

It’s interesting seeing your growth, you know? I don’t know the last what 8 maybe10 years that I’ve followed you, you know, you’ve, you’ve expanded yourself from, you know, basically Georgia to over half the country and that that growth obviously comes for a reason you guys deliver the goods,

30:17 Maxwell Baker

I appreciate it, Kirby, we, you know, my wife and I work really hard on trying to do the best thing we can for our clients and for our brokers and it’s all about system, method and process, right, just like you, we were very excited about being on this side. You know, occasionally we buy, like, my goal is just to buy one deal a year, like, that’s all I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to do a zillion. If you know, if I can continue, you know, adding value and learning the industry and you know, we’re actually trying to do podcasts now with the manufactured housing associations in each state just to like, talk about what they’re doing and trying to, you know, just trying to help change the industry, like if we can make it easier for you like Kirby Horton, and the firm and to make money in certain states like, I feel like I’ve done my job well. So, I appreciate you, you saying that? Because it’s a passion of mine. It’s really exciting just to be to be on it.

31:20 Kirby Horton

That’s very obvious.

31:21 Maxwell Baker

Yeah. So where do you see the firm in the next three to five years? What do you guys; What are y’all most excited about evolving to? Or what is it that you guys are doing? That is exciting? Oh, what gets you excited?

31:34 Kirby Horton

Well, right now, you know, last year 2022, we brought in and set close to 500, new homes in, in various communities.

31:46 Maxwell Baker


31:47 Kirby Horton

It’s slowed down a little bit in 2023, you can, you can definitely track the interest rates and our home installations. There’s an inverse correlation there, you know, as that interest rate goes up, the number of homes that we’ve installed has gone down quite a bit.

32:05 Maxwell Baker 


32:06 Kirby Horton

We’re getting asked, and this is this is something that really came out of right field, and we didn’t expect this, but we are being hit up and asked by a lot of operators, larger operators, to, to assist them in the infilling of their homes or their communities, some of their capex items, I think, as we roll into 2024, we’re seeing a little bit more what we call contract work, where we, in addition to our own communities, you know, if we have scaled in that particular market, it makes sense, you know, if we’ve got the, if we’ve got the crew, which we do have, you know, I think three or maybe four crews scattered around the Midwest and the Southeast, that can do everything from A to Z, you know, everything from the site surveying, doing the mock prep, the setbacks, the permits, from the county, all of those items, prepping the lot, the water, the sewer, electricity, AC, skirting, decks, you know, landscaping around the home afterwards, cleaning it on the inside, getting it ready for moving. There’s a, there’s a huge gap, or a lack of consistency and quality for an organization to be able to do something like that.

33:38 Maxwell Baker


33:39 Kirby Horton

Typically, I know, in the past, you know, we had to piece it together, you know, you find a guy to do this, and the guy to do that and you just hope that everybody shows up when they’re supposed to show up.

33:49 Maxwell Baker


33:50 Kirby Horton

By assembling these teams that we’ve assembled over the years, I think we’ve got an asset there. I mean, our greatest asset is our people and if we’ve got the right people in the right place, the business is there, and just like the residents that live in our communities, we have three basic rules for them. You know, for our employees, we have three basic guidelines that I want them to follow, that is, you are empowered to do whatever it takes to get the job done as long as it’s legal, ethical and moral.

34:26 Maxwell Baker

I love that!

34:27 Kirby Horton

We might have made a mistake, it might have cost us some money. But hey, if it’s legal, ethical and moral, we’re gonna learn from the mistake you’re not gonna get fired. We’re gonna go forward.

34:37 Maxwell Baker

Love it!

34:38 Kirby Horton

Do not do something illegal, immoral or unethical.

34:42 Maxwell Baker

Yes. I love that man. That’s great. I mean, because it’s predictable, right? (laughs)

34:47 Kirby Horton

It is.

34:48 Maxwell Baker

(laughs) It’s all about I always mention that to a lot of my friends that are entrepreneurs is like I want making money to be as boring and predictable as possible right?

35:00 Kirby Horton

You’re spot on there!

35:02 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, man. I’ll ask you one last question and that is, what book are you reading right now?

35:06 Kirby Horton

I have for the third time. I’m on my third cycle of ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins.

35:16 Maxwell Baker


35:17 Kirby Horton

Once I get a jewel of a book, you know, it’s hard, like ‘Atlas Shrugged’ 1300-1400 pages, I probably read that five times.

35:28 Maxwell Baker


35:29 Kirby Horton

Jim Clayton’s book, ‘First a dream’ a few times

35:31 Maxwell Baker

Great book

35:32 Kirby Horton

Good to Great, like I said, I’m probably on my third or fourth reading of that. I do try to expand my reading beyond the go backs but some of those classics are classics for a reason. There’s nuggets in there that you can pick up the fourth time you pick that book up and read it. It’s amazing what I overlook the first three times.

35:56 Maxwell Baker

Yeah. Are you? Are you an audio guy? Are you a physical guy when it comes to reading?

36:01 Kirby Horton

Well, I was physical until they came out with audio and, you know, with our, with our travel and our business and everything I do like to read, if I had the opportunity in the mornings, or in the evenings, I’ll read physical. But if I’m in the truck driving, if I’m working out or running or something, you know, it’ll be audio, just whatever medium works at that particular time. I love listening to podcasts. I mean, there’s a bunch of you well, there’s not a bunch of you, there’s a few of you that have really good podcasts out there and that’s part of my morning routine, as I’m doing my shaving and oral hygiene is to listen to a few good podcasts.

36:47 Maxwell Baker

Nice man. Yeah, the tough thing about podcasts of not saying I figured it out, but I was actually talking about it today with an entrepreneur earlier for lunch is being consistent. Because like, when you first get a podcast, you peacock and you’re like, I’m gonna make a zillion episodes, but then you realize that’s not sustainable month after month (laughs). So, so like now I just do one episode a month, and then we do the other ones. But yeah, the podcast stuff is fun. It’s just, you know, if you’re, if you can figure out a way to make it consistent and as boring as possible, as far as like the production costs, or the production and you know, making sure that it’s like I said, predictable. It can be a lot of fun and be a lot about; you get to talk to like people like you and get to know you a little bit better and yeah, man. I love the podcast, because you get to learn a lot about people that you don’t normally get to sit down and talk about for you know, 30 minutes to an hour. So yeah, it’s;

37:48 Kirby Horton


37:49 Maxwell Baker

Well, cool. Kirby, any closing statements or comments here before we wrap things up?

37:54 Kirby Horton

No. Honestly, Max, I don’t think so. I think you’ve done this really well. I think your podcast is up there, you know, in terms of the highest of qualities, and, you know, we just; it’s nice working with nice people. That’s something my wife and I have, have always preached is, you know, we like working with nice people. You know, life is too short to work with a bunch of jerks.

38:20 Maxwell Baker


38:21 Kirby Horton

You know, transparency, honesty, you know, there’s a rule stuff, you know, treat people the way you want to be treated and sleep well at night.

38:31 Maxwell Baker

Yeah, man, told by an entrepreneur I follow. It’s totally not my acronym, but want it he says it y’all he says he always wants his business to be elf and I said, elf, you mean like little Christmas elf? and he’s like, well, it’s spelled the same, but the meaning is different. Elf means easy, lucrative and fun and if you’ve got anybody around you, that’s not making your life easy, lucrative and fun then they’re out right?

38:57 Kirby Horton

That’s right

38:58 Maxwell Baker


38:59 Kirby Horton

You got it!

39:00 Maxwell Baker

So, Kirby, I appreciate if anybody wants to get a hold of you. For this third-party stuff or the home setup, how do they get in touch with you?

39:06 Kirby Horton

Well, of course, LinkedIn, you know, we’re out there. Our website is, which is quite a mouthful, quite a lot to write down but it’s a firm like the movie, you know, and you know, they can find us there. They can find us on LinkedIn. Shoot me an email

39:37 Maxwell Baker

Nice, Kirby, we appreciate your time and all the knowledge nuggets you dropped here and as always, y’all 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 with us Four Step Program, give us a call (678) 932-0200 or email us at Thanks for listening and let’s keep moving forward!

Kirby Horton
Co-Chief Executive Officer of The Firm, Inc.

For more information about Kirby head to

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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.