My father, Rick Keel, has been a small business owner and entrepreneur since I was a child, I'm pretty sure I’ve received my entrepreneurial drive from him. He's bought and sold several businesses during my childhood years and seemed to always have enough time to coach little league baseball, basketball, and football, which I was very thankful for. My father has owned all types of small businesses including an office supply wholesale business, a commercial cleaning business, a soda and snack vending machine business, and a hurricane shutter manufacturing business. He is one of my idols and I'm thankful for all that he and my mom have poured into my brothers and I to get us where we are today. We grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida. The home I grew up in included a large pool, jacuzzi, full court basketball court and tennis court. Around 2006, my father, ambitious for another successful venture, took out a second mortgage on our primary residence in order to fund a new business. Little did he and many others know that the housing market was at the peak and two years later the house would be worth about half of what it was at the time. My father's new business venture, which was directly correlated to the housing market, dwindled until my parents were forced into foreclosure and ultimately bankruptcy. I was in college in 2008 and witnessed firsthand the struggles my parents faced having to downsize from a larger life they once lived. I vowed to learn as much as I could about personal finance and real estate investing to ensure financial security.
I graduated in 2010 from Augustana University, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where I majored in Business Administration. I was fortunate enough to play varsity football at "Augie" for all four years that I attended on an athletic scholarship; I even managed to earn First Team All-Conference honors during my senior season. College was a great season of my life and I made friends in South Dakota that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. During college I completed several business internships including time at Sanford Hospital as a health care administration intern, and time at Merrill Lynch as a Global Wealth Management Intern. I was working at Merrill Lynch on Sept. 29, 2008, which, at the time, was the date of the largest single-day drop in the Dow's history; this started my distrust of the traditional capital markets. I witnessed, first hand, the chaos of financial advisors getting phone calls all day long from clients who had just lost a substantial piece of their planned retirement in a single day.
The cold Sioux Falls (SD) weather ultimately sent me back to the Sunshine State (FL) where I began my professional business career after a short stint playing American football professionally for the 'Northern Lights' overseas in Oulu, Finland. I started out my professional business career as a Sales Representative at a company called BrandCo, a local Orlando-based company focused on branding small businesses. Our primary focus was branding real estate agents and this was how I got my first exposure to real estate as a whole. Over the four years I was employed at BrandCo I learned a lot and eventually became a Sales Manager traveling to over 152 Keller Williams offices around the United States. I sold over $1,000,000 in branding materials in 2014 and eventually left in 2015 to go into real estate full time.
I started out as an apprentice to a local Central Florida real estate wholesaler that took me under his wing to teach me the business. After wholesaling several residential real estate contracts, I quickly moved into full-on residential flips. This project management and construction experience was invaluable and unlike anything I had ever done before. I studied from some of the large local players in the space to ensure I was taking the proper steps to secure profits. After several successful flips, I started to realize how vulnerable my business model was as an Orlando, Florida house flipper. I realized that when the housing market started to shift again, which was only a matter of time before it did, I would be in a very bad spot. I also needed some residual cash flow to offset the inconsistent closings from my flips. At this point, I started looking for other alternatives to create more passive, recession-proof income, and this eventually lead me to mobile homes.
I started out initially looking for ways to generate monthly cash flow fast and mobile homes were the least expensive way to do so. I learned about Lonnie Scruggs and read his book 'Deals on Wheels' which taught me how to find, buy, and sell individual mobile homes. I became instantly obsessed with mobile homes due to the seemingly never-ending demand for the homes we had available. Through my journey, I met a mobile home park owner and offered to buy him lunch to learn about his path to mobile home park ownership, which was the obvious step up the ladder from what I was currently doing. That $30 lunch provided me the highest rate of return on any investment I've ever received to date and I'm so glad I reached out for mentorship! I left that meeting, went straight home, and wrote on my refrigerator in big black letters: "Goal #1: Buy a mobile home park in 2016!" Then, as you may be able to relate, I got sidetracked with my current "Lonnie Deals" while still wholesaling and flipping and didn't execute for almost a year.
Sometime later I was invited to a local live event hosted by the NuView Trust Company and it was focused on alternative self-directed IRA investment opportunities. At the event I heard a gentleman named Ryan Smith from Elevation Capital speak in-depth about mobile home park investing. I quickly approached him after the event and he was kind enough to speak in depth with me about mobile home park investing and he even gave me the book 'Trailer Cash' written by his wife, Jamie Smith. A short time after he invited me to another live event he taught all about mobile home park investing. I was fascinated and sat front row during the entire training with my wife Katie. On the last day of that event, he told me that he could already tell that I was going to "crush it" in the mobile home park business. That single line of encouragement gave me the confidence I needed to start making waves in the mobile home park space. I started searching for deals through cold calling mobile home park owners and mailing out letters to generate motivated seller leads, just as I had when wholesaling single-family real estate. A few weeks later I attended the MHU Boot Camp (Frank and Dave 3 day boot camp) and met some really great people that were interested in investing passively in mobile home parks. I also fine-tuned my skills on valuing and completing due diligence on mobile home parks at this great educational boot camp. You can tell what's coming next right? It was like all of the stars aligned and all of my prayers had been answered. God came through big time and I found my first lead on a mobile home park in Edwardsville, Illinois. It consisted of 67 lots, 58 of which were occupied. I came to terms with the sellers at a 10 cap price of $1.34M and then instantly reached out to my MHU attendee investors to try and put the deal together. It was a great success! We closed after 45 days of due diligence and some concessions on behalf of the seller due to some items we found during due diligence. 22 months after purchasing that property and getting it up to 100% occupancy we refinanced and the property appraised at $2.4 million!
Today I am blessed beyond words. We currently own and operate 971 lots across 16 mobile home parks in 7 states and we have a few mobile home parks under contract. We aim to keep growing and have hired several great team-members to help us do so efficiently. I have had the pleasure of being invited to speak on all of the top mobile home park investing podcasts (click here to listen: https://www.keelteam.com/podcast-links) and I have attended the MHU boot camp 3 times. We have scratch started our own Mobile Home Transport and Installation business, which removes one of the biggest pain points for us in our value-add, infill process (Learn more here: https://www.a1mobilehometransport.com). I have a beautiful wife, Katie, that supports me and together we have 2 awesome kids named Aria and Kai. We have moved 3 times over the past year to live in or near mobile home parks that we have renovated. We love this business and the financial freedom it has brought our family.
My goal is to own over $100 million (asset value) in mobile home parks. Affordable housing is in high demand and supply is limited. What we offer in mobile home parks is America's most affordable, non-subsidized source of housing. Several mobile home parks are being torn down and redeveloped every year, decreasing supply and literally pushing people to the streets. I believe that what we offer is a win-win for investors AND for mobile home park residents and that is why I believe I will be doing this for as long as I can.
I would love to connect with you now that you know my story. Please click here and reach out so I can provide value to you: https://www.andrewkeel.com/contact
Thanks for reading,