People are always going to need a place to live, but real estate prices are almost always on the rise, inevitably leaving out whole sectors of the population unable to find affordable housing. For Chimene Van Gundy, investing in mobile homes is a great niche market where you help these people and make money at the same time. Known as the Queen of Mobile Homes, she manages five different companies and has fixed, flipped, and wholesaled more than 300 units in just three years. She joins Monick Halm on the show and shares her rags to riches story and the part investing in mobile homes had to play in it. Chimene puts tremendous value on education and has spent the first few years of her real estate career taking classes with a mentor. Drawing from her rich experience, she now takes her turn to teach other people the good stuff.
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Investing In Mobile Homes – Interview With Chimene Van Gundy
We have an incredible guest. She has a super inspiring rags to riches story. She now helps others create great returns with an amazing and affordable asset class, mobile homes. After completing her BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas, San Antonio in 2006, Chimene Van Gundy worked multiple jobs in the corporate world as well as working as the lead paralegal for several different law firms. After being laid off in 2015 from her corporate job, she decided not to return to a job and go it alone.
Having spent time in and out of foster care, no one taught her about money, credit or budgets. She’d read the purple bible, Rich Dad Poor Dad, that has gotten many of us started in real estate investing. She states that this book changed her life and became a wakeup call for her. She took some real estate education classes, got herself a mentor, and the rest is history. She is a mother of five children and she runs and manages five different companies. She’s working and managing ten babies. She’s known as the Queen of Mobile Homes because she’s fixed and flip, and wholesaled more than 300 units. I believe she also owns five mobile home parks and she’s done this all in only a few years. Welcome, Chimene.
Thank you for having me.
Thanks for being here. I am thrilled to have you. You have a great story and I always love to start at the beginning. How did you get started in real estate investing? I know that you found the book but what got you started?
What happened was I had moved up to New Braunfels where we live for a job. I remarried and I was there for a little while. I was working a corporate job and it was a job where I was hired to start a new division in a company and I did that. As many others, I was promised all these things of what would happen as you’re bringing in new clients. All those promises were never met because we’re talking about the corporate world. I got laid off in 2015. I looked at my husband after I got laid off with tears in my eyes and I was like, “I’m smart. I’m willing and I am able. If you will believe in me, I can change our life. Just give me two years.” I have an amazing husband and he did.
I was talking to a friend back in February of 2015 and she had suggested that I read Rich Dad Poor Dad. I had never even heard of Robert Kiyosaki and Rich Dad Poor Dad. I picked up the book and read. It was life-altering for me and I know that’s probably a cliché, but the book impacted me. I got online and I started researching. I found out that his wife, Kim Kiyosaki had a whole other brand called Independent Woman. That resonated with me at that time. I went and got online and started looking. They offer some classes that you can take for free. They’re one-hour classes about whatever it is that you want to learn about regarding real estate.
I started doing that and signed up for an introduction to the program. I went there and the speaker was Nicole d’Ambrosio. She was on one of the seasons of The Apprentice so that was pretty cool. I met her and talked to her. They had put a draw in a hat to win a three-day basic and I won it. It was over the weekend before Mother’s Day of 2015. The trainer happened to be Dr. Marijo Wilson, who’s been an international mentor and trainer. She still is. She’s known as Dr. Tax Lien. I know you’re going to be having her at some point on your show as well. She became my mentor and it has changed my life literally.Investing in mobile homes allows you to help people find affordable housing as other asset classes become more expensive. Click To Tweet
Many times, it’s that one book that you read or somebody hands you something and it completely changes the trajectory of your life. After you took this three-day basic, what was your first investment?
After the basics, you go through the courses. They have something at the time called CORE, which is Crucial Operations of Real Estate so they wanted you to have the foundation. Since I had no credit to no money, I took the wholesaling course too where they teach you how to wholesale. A lot of people have mixed signals about what wholesaling is but this is getting something under contract, assigning your contract to another individual, and getting money for the assignment. To me, that was simple so that was my first deal. I found a home out in Abilene, Texas and that was my first wholesale deal. It was an actual house and I made $9,000. I’m like, “This works.”
You started with this wholesaling deal. What got you into mobile homes? You’re the Queen of Mobile Homes and that’s your focus now. What got you from wholesaling homes to doing the mobile home work that you do?
When I started wholesaling mobile homes, I was going out to tax sales here in Texas. It’s tax liens and deeds in Texas. I was trying to buy mobile homes at the auction for little money. I noticed when I was talking to other investors that they kept saying, “I’m not investing in trailer trash.” There was a bad connotation to mobile homes. I started making relationships with other individuals and investors. They started sending me all of their mobile home leads. With my paralegal background, a lot of them would have title issues or in Texas, Statement of Ownership issues. They kept sending me deal after deal with these issues. I was able to work through them with the client and take care of it. Everywhere I went, mobile home kept falling on my lap, so I went and ran with it. That’s how it happened.
Was the first home in Abilene a mobile home?
No, it was an actual home. The first mobile home that I wholesaled was in San Marcos, Texas.
How much later was that? You got the book in February 2015. When did you do your first wholesaling deal?
I took the class in May. My first wholesale deal came June 1st for the house. My first mobile home wholesale deal came on June 5th.
You took quick snap actions.
At that point in time, being a mom of five, I didn’t have anything left to lose. I’ve been married before for several years and that ended in divorce. I wasn’t even looking when I met my amazing, wonderful, sweet husband now. I’ve never had anybody believe in me because of my background. I married this amazing man, his name is Chad and he had faith and belief in me. I always tell my kids now, “Look what happens when somebody has faith and belief in somebody. Look at how they blossom.” My whole life has changed. It’s all changed for the better because somebody had belief in me.
A lot of times you just need somebody to have belief in you. It’s the same with my mentor. She changed my life and gave me positive affirmations that I started saying every day and went with it. At that point, she gave me three roles. She said, “You do what I say when I say, no debate.” I said, “I can do that.” I knew that if I did what she told me to do, I would have what she had. At that point, I was willing to stand on my head and blow bubbles if it meant that it would change my life.
From this first wholesaling deal, now you have five companies, hundreds of mobile homes and you’ve got a park. Talk about what you’re doing.
I realized there was this need for affordable housing. Not only this need for affordable housing. I was seeing even on the rental side, where you go in and they slap some paint, fix stuff, and then they want to put somebody in it. I was like, “I want something that I could put my grandma in, that she could be dignified living in.” I wanted to change the way that was done. What I do now is we get them. A lot of times I try. If I don’t have to move them out of a mobile home park, I won’t. I like that their personal property has many different advantages. We get a mobile home in a park that’s not doing good. As long as the structure of the mobile home is good, and the joists are good and balanced, you can rehab it. My favorite thing about mobile homes is you can crawl under them and see all that needs to be rehabbed.
From the get-go, you know pretty much what your costs are going to be on rehab for that. We go into parks, where they might tell people, “Move them out. We don’t want them.” I’m saying, “Why would you want to move them? That’s money that you can get without having to pull it out.” I started showing them pictures of my rehabs that I had done and they were blown away. We went in and did those rehabs. I would owner finance and seller-financed them out. They became little boxes that spit out cash. Now I have a turnkey system where I’ve worked out all the bugs, where an investor can invest, the mobile homes are rehabbed and owner financed buyers put in, and they get the cashflow. It’s turnkey and we have enough buyers. I have over 670 buyers on my buyers’ list that we pull from. If somebody happens to get laid off from their job or they can’t pay any more, that’s okay. We just turn it and put another buyer in so the investors are never without a payment.
You’ve had an incredible success in a short amount of time. Probably most people don’t have success without having some mistakes, failures, and things that don’t work out well where you’re like, “It wasn’t so easy.” It’s not always rainbows and unicorns. We all learn so much more from our mistakes than when things are smooth sailing. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?If you ever start a niche in something, protect it like it is your baby. Click To Tweet
I have two. The first mistake that I made was I was too open about my process and our proprietary information which allowed a few individuals that were working or selling with me to take my proprietary system and use it themselves. That was my big mistake, so ladies, if you ever start a niche in something, protect and guard it. That is your baby. I always tell people that you hear, “It’s business, it’s not personal.” I take offense to that, because every minute that I spend away from my babies and my husband, that’s personal to me. Even if we’re putting time into our businesses, anytime that’s taken away from my family, that’s personal to me. Guard it, love it, treat it like your child, and don’t let anybody take it. That was my first big mistake.
My second mistake was as I was growing and growing, I was not as present as I should be for some things that were happening like rehab and overseeing things. What I should have done was gotten somebody that could have come in and overseen some of those rehabs and projects that I was doing. They’ve been my mistakes and every mistake is costly. It’s growing pains that you learn but the thing of it is, once you learn them, you’ll never do them again. Your point is good. We always learn so much more from our failures than we do from our successes.
I like to ask this question too because hopefully one of our readers can learn from your mistake or the mistakes of everyone else and go, “Maybe I won’t do that. When I do have a process and spent a lot of time putting it together, I’m going to do what I can to protect it,” or different things like that. Hopefully, you’ve saved somebody else from having to make that same mistake. I think it’s helpful. On the flip side though, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the fact that I was able to find a niche market for individuals and make it into something and turn it sexy. I’m proud of the homes I put people in that are beautiful. You can’t even tell that that’s their mobile homes. It’s been amazing to see that journey. I have a teen daughter and she’s been able to do some of this journey with me and it’s been amazing to see her growth from it. Those are the things that I’m proud of. It’s being able to change my family’s life and finding this niche market where you can help people.
Affordable housing is so important because as housing gets more expensive, people have to have a place to live. I have this whole talk topic about apartment complexes. Sometimes the stuff that they require is ridiculous. It leaves out a whole sector of the population that needs help. One of the sectors that we help are migrant workers. They’re here legally and they need places to live. They don’t have Social Security numbers and most of them have no bank accounts. It’s great when you can help families who are hardworking and you can help them find housing and put them in it.
Part of my mission with investing is investing in a way that you leave a property in a community better than you found it and engage in things that are win-win. What you’re doing is definitely that. I’ve seen pictures of some of your flips and they’re beautiful. They don’t look like low-income housing. They’re gorgeous, so well done. What do you attribute your success? You’ve had a lot of success in a short amount of time. What do you attribute that to?
First is being coachable. That’s one of the biggest things that I want to talk about. Why reinvent the wheel? If you have a mentor and a coach and they’re telling you what to do and they’ve done it, listen and do what they say, because your success depends on their success. Believe me, if you have a coach and mentor, they want you to succeed. I know that anybody that I’m working with, I want them to succeed, and I want to be able to be involved in changing their life. You get to a point in life and at a certain age, where you think about what you want to leave as your legacy. I want to leave helping people and helping them change their lives. We need more of that and I believe that entrepreneurs were the ones that are going to move this country forward and are going to be the ones that make positive changes. If you find a coach and mentor that will help you, hold onto it.
The other thing is having a supportive husband. That’s important when you’re married. You don’t want to be sleeping with the enemy. You want to have your husband on board and sometimes you have to start out sleeping with the enemy to prove to them that it will work. People hear scam, this is a scam, or there’s no way, but those are their thoughts and beliefs being projected onto you. Tune those things out. Everything in life is a risk. You could walk across the street tomorrow and get hit by a car. There’s no guarantee. I’d rather take a risk living the life of my dreams and helping people than not.
I agree with getting mentorship and being coachable. If you have a partner and getting on board. I work with my husband in our real estate investing and it makes such a huge difference to have somebody that’s running with you or pushing you along versus pulling you back and pushing the brakes while you’re trying to move forward. That is a challenge. One of the things for ladies is if your husband’s not on board, get him also learning and reading the books. Go out there and be successful and show him through your example that this could be done.
It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
What advice do you have for a woman who’s just starting out in this field? What would you tell her?
If you are a single mom or a stay-at-home mom, you are on a fixed income and trying to figure out what you can do to either move your family forward or move your family forward that helps your husband, and you don’t want to be just a mom, my suggestion would be to try wholesaling. Nobody teaches wholesaling of mobile homes. I don’t see it and I haven’t seen it. I’m teaching it in my course. It’s something that’s needed because it requires no credit, no money, and nobody’s doing it. I did a Facebook Live and in one day I closed a deal for $3,800, another deal for $10,000, and another deal for $15,000. That’s not a bad day. For a lot of people, $3,800 is life-changing for them.
That’s what I would tell them to do. Reach out and try to figure out how you’re going to do things, but look for things that not anybody else is doing. If you see a need, try to figure it out. That’s one of the biggest things that I told them, and mindset. We are our worst enemies in our minds. You have to have the belief. I took a $1 and I put five zeros on it and I hung it on the ceiling. Every night I would look up and I would see $100,000 and every morning I would get up, I would see $100,000. That for me was part of the mindset shift that I had. It was a journey of positive affirmation. I was telling myself that I could do this and have a belief. When you’re in a system like foster care and you’ve already been a product of abuse, it is hard to think that you’re worthy of anything. I had to overcome that and think that I was worthy of anything.
It got to a point one day where I heard my daughter saying that she wasn’t good enough or she was this and that. All those things she’d heard from me. I thought, “What am I teaching her?” It was a journey of saying those positive affirmations every day to the point that a lot of times, my seven-year-old will turn around and she’ll say positive affirmations and tell my four-year-old positive affirmations. It became contagious and it’s cute. She’s been doing that now and it’s amazing what happens in the shift. Now I don’t allow my kids to say they can’t do something. “Can’t” become this taboo word. I don’t want to hear what you can’t do. Tell me what you can do and what’s the way around it and get them critically thinking about things differently.
It’s the same at my house. Can’t is a bad word. It’s a four-letter word. You’re not allowed to say that in our house and also anything after I am, you are making into your reality. It’s like, “Is that what you want to be?”Don’t let your mind become your greatest enemy. Shift your mindset through positive affirmation. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite quotes is from Audrey Hepburn and it says, “Impossible, what the word itself actually means is, I am possible. Whenever you say it’s impossible, it’s really not because I am possible.” That’s one of my favorite quotes.
Tell people how they can find out more about you and what you do. How can they reach you?
If you’re interested at all in coaching or mentoring, you can go to QueenOfMobileHomes.com and you can click on the “More Information” tab and send me a quick email. You can Facebook message me on the Queen of Mobile Homes page on Facebook as well. If anybody’s interested in coaching or classes, I do have a class called Mobile Home Millions. We get in the trenches and teach people how to mobile home invest in the system. That is starting out by wholesaling. When they come to the class, it’s a three-day course, wear your Carhartts or your overalls because we’re going under mobile homes. I want people to know and see about mobile homes, what you do and what they are. People can do a wholesale deal right there during the class or during that process. If they can see success right then and there, then how much more likely are they going to come back home and be able to duplicate that success over and over again. That’s what we’re striving for.
I’m super excited to share that I am putting together this new book project. It’s called Wealth For Women: Conversations with the Team that Creates the Dream. The Top Female Professionals Who Can Help You Get Wealthy in Real Estate. Chimene is one of our featured contributors. She’s definitely somebody who can help you get wealthy in real estate and I’m super psyched to have her in the book. Watch out for that. In the meantime, QueenOfMobileHomes.com or Queen of Mobile Homes on Facebook. We’re going to end with our famed end of show trinity. Chimene, we’re going to ask for a brag, a gratitude, and a desire. First, a brag. What’s one thing you’re celebrating now?
My biggest brag is the fact that I’ve taken my business internationally. We are in Ireland and in Ireland, mobile homes are holiday homes. I am so stoked about it and the fact that I get to visit this wonderful country three times a year. That’s one thing. That’s my biggest brag. Not a lot of people can say they’ve taken their business internationally in a few years. I’m grateful for my family, my amazing husband, and my kids. I have such good kids and such a supportive husband. Even my in-laws have taken me in like I was their own. I appreciate them as well. I have a couple of amazing brothers that support me as well so that has been helpful.
Probably my one desire is to help move women toward helping and freeing themselves. I’ve been the single mom, where you’re crying at night, not knowing how you’re going to take care of your kids because all of a sudden you’re married and now you’re not. Your ex-husband has nothing to do with the kids. Everything’s changed and it’s all on you. I’ve been there. To those ladies, have faith and belief in yourself because you can do anything. Tell yourself every day that you’re amazing and you can do anything. I want to help that population, college kids, retirees, single moms, and families starting out and moving forward. College kids are so strapped with debt. Imagine if you could do two wholesale a month, make $4,000 to $10,000 a month, and get rid of their college debts that are drowning them. It’s become a plague on them. That’s where my heart is. I want to move others forward and help change their lives. If I could do that even if I did it for one person, all of this would be worth it.
You are doing that for people. So shall your desires be or so much better than you can imagine under grace and in perfect ways. I love that desire. I hold it with you and beside you. Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you so much for your presence and energy. This was amazing. I know everyone’s learned a lot. Hopefully, everyone is as super inspired as I am by you. Thank you, Chimene.
Thank you so much.
It’s my pleasure. You can find her at QueenOfMobileHomes.com and you can connect with me at RealEstateInvestorGoddesses.com or on the Real Estate Investor Goddesses Facebook page. We will talk to you next time with another incredible real estate investor goddess interview.
- Chimene Van Gundy
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Nicole d’Ambrosio
- Dr. Marijo Wilson
- Queen of Mobile Homes – Facebook Page
- Mobile Home Millions
- Wealth For Women: Conversations with the Team that Creates the Dream. The Top Female Professionals Who Can Help You Get Wealthy in Real Estate
- Real Estate Investor Goddesses – Facebook Page
About Chimene Van Gundy
Chimene Van Gundy is known as the “The Mobile Home Millionaire” and she has been called the “Queen of Mobile Homes” because she has fixed, flipped, and wholesaled more than 450 mobile homes in just the past 4 years.
Chimene is on a mission to help others become cash creators and learn how to easily buy and sell mobile homes with no money down and even no credit.
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