Investor Profile: Nicheole Amundsen
When Nicheole Amundsen was a little girl in Idaho her dream was to be a rancher, astronaut, and then Jacques Cousteau. Something within her wanted to seek, discover, and develop new lands, near and far. Little did she know then how those daydream callings would lead her to one day becoming a very successful woman in the field of real estate, and specifically mobile home park investing. She went on to attend the University of Idaho and then graduate school at The University of California, San Francisco. But, Nicheole’s future in real estate only first began as an answer to the taxes she was paying on the stocks she inherited from her grandfather when she signed up for a seminar. Soon she found her first mentor and made her first investment. Nicheole is now the President of MNA Investments, a successful Maryland-based real estate investment company with a 12 + mobile home park portfolio. As our long time client, we are honored that she agreed to be our first Investor Profile!
MQ: Nicheole, when did you start your company, MNA Investments?
NA: I formed MNA Investments in 1998 and The Reach Group in 2007. Internally we only have five people who work directly for us and for the property management companies that we own, but each property has its own on site managers, maintenance, and other staff.
MQ: What inspired you to get into real estate investment as a way to offset the taxes you were paying from the stocks your grandfather left you?
NA: In 1998 I went to a three day sell-a-thon and learned about real estate. One of the courses I bought there had their office, which was ran by Ernie Kessler, about ½ mile from where I lived. Ernie soon became my first mentor in the industry. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him in gratitude for what he taught me. My other mentor is Dave Lindahl whose specialty is apartment investing. I’m so grateful for my mentors.
MQ: What was your very first mobile home park acquisition like?
NA: I already owned apartment buildings by the time I entered into my first mobile home park deal, which was presented to me by a broker who said the seller was very motivated. I really didn’t know much about mobile home parks but still I could see it was a great deal and the seller was willing to carry paper. I learned there were were quite a bit of similarities to apartment investments as well as some significant differences. I also learned that they were little “cash cows” in terms of cash-on-cash return. It was a great experience, a fast and smooth deal, and turned out to be relaitively easy to turn around. It also came with extra land that I generated income from with self-storage units. We still own this property.
MQ: How many mobile home park properties are in your portfolio now?
NA: We currently have twelve. Right now we are also looking at three new potential acquisitions. We always work on more than one deal since any one can fall through and we want to maintain our goals, and I’ve found it is hard to walk away from a deal when you are only working one at a time.
MQ: Tell me about the properties you are currently looking at…
NA: One is in South Carolina: a 303-unit portfolio mix of two self-storage properties, a mobile home park, and a strip mall. I’m attracted to this deal because they are good properties that have been mismanaged so we are getting killer terms. The second is an off-market portfoilo of three mobile home parks located in Atlanta with owner-financing. And the third, our most recent interest, is a property in Georgia we are working on with Marcus & Millichap.
MQ: You’ve mentioned goals . What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as an investor, and what one piece of advice would you give to new investors today?
NA: Pete Fortunato and Jimmy Napier told me: don’t try to make something a deal if it really isn’t and sometimes the best deals are the ones you walk away from. To new investors I would say: find and work with a mentor first and success is about taking action and your mental attitude.
MQ: Have you ever done a 1031 Exchange?
NA: Yes, but my style is mostly buy and hold. When doing a 1031 Exchange you need to make sure you work with good representation as there are a lot of not-so-obvious rules.
MQ: Are you looking for co-investors at this time?
NA: Yes, always! And, we are partial to investing in distressed properties and/or those with value-add opportunities that can be realized in 2-3 years, and sellers who are open to creative options.
MQ: What do you see in the future for mobile home park investing?
NA: If we can change the image problem a bit, I think there is a good chance the country and law makers might begin to see communities as affordable housing and pass legislation and/or regulations to support the industry.
MQ: Super Bowl picks?
NA: The Ravens!