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080: Franco Perez – The Wealth & Information Gap & Striving To Do Better

Franco Perez is an entrepreneur and Founder of Franco Mobile Homes, who is working on a social challenge that exists within our capitalist system, while building wealth for his own family and his team and teaching others to do the same. Franco’s mission is to address the affordable housing crisis with well-designed mobile homes.

Today, Franco joins the show to delve into the psychology of not having enough, the shame of some living situations, the benefits of home ownership, and the idea of building a company to solve a problem.

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Key Takeaways

00:53 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Franco Perez, who joins the show to discuss growing up as an immigrant and the contrast in what he witnessed in the Philippines and in the United States

06:21 – Choosing happiness and overcoming immense pain and hardship

19:53 – The importance of exercise and the decision to become an entrepreneur

27:29 – Staggering statistics on house affordability

32:42 – Franco provides his thoughts on why mobile homes are the best solution

35:23 – Solving the stigma of mobile homes

43:27 – One thing we can do to increase financial success and one thing to completely ignore

45:48 – One thing that Franco would want people to know about him

46:28 – Jonathan thanks Franco for joining the show and lets listeners know where to connect with him

Tweetable Quotes

“There wasn’t just a wealth gap, there was an information gap. There’s a lot that I wish that I knew back then and a lot that we thought was normal when it comes to finances that actually weren’t. There’s different norms on the wealth side of things.” (04:17) (Franco)

“Going through that problem – even though it was the hardest and saddest time in my life – allowed for me to mature and grow psychologically and also be able to take on bigger and harder problems. It actually built my drive to want to do better.” (10:33) (Franco)

“When you’re in a very desperate situation, you learn to become resourceful and you learn to use the resources you have to try to create the most out of it.” (15:52) (Franco)

“The way this world is set up is that there’s so many services out there for the rich and wealthy and there’s not enough people helping and giving the right advice to those that are average or working class. And that’s exactly what I witnessed and it’s shocking to me. I didn’t care if I made money on it or not – it was more of a side gig for me – but I just wanted to find something that would help ease a family like that.” (22:40) (Franco)

“Knowing the pain was there and knowing that other families need this need allowed me to ignore the noise of people, even investors, saying, ‘Hey, this mobile home thing is crazy. You shouldn’t do this.’ But it was the need to have to fix this problem that I saw as so painful, in this system that is unfair, that I had to do it. When the ‘why’ is important enough, you just ignore the rest.” (26:58) (Franco)

Guest Resources

Franco’s LinkedIn

Franco’s Website

Franco’s Website

Franco’s Instagram

Franco’s Facebook

Franco’s YouTube

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Episode Transcription

Jonathan DeYoe: Hey, welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Franco Perez. Franco is working on a social challenge that exists within our capitalist system, and he is brilliantly using that system to solve it while building wealth for his own family and his team and teaching others to do the same. We’re going to delve into psychology of not having enough, the shame of some living situations, the benefits of homeownership, and the idea of building a company to solve a problem. Franco is an entrepreneur and the founder of Franco Mobile Homes, and his mission is to address the affordable housing crisis with well designed mobile homes. Franco, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.

Franco Perez: Thanks for having me. I’m super excited to be here, and.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’m excited to have you on. I think we had a great little banter going on in the beginning there. But before we go too deep into this, where are you calling from? Where are you connecting from today? And where do you call home?

Franco Perez: Yeah. So home for me right now is San Jose, California, over Silicon Valley. We’re actually not far from each other, so we realize we’re in the same area. We got to grab coffee soon.

Jonathan DeYoe: Sounds good. Where’d you grow up, though?

Franco Perez: I actually childhood I was in the Philippines for a while, moved over with immigrant parents, this area, and hopped a lot of places between Sacramento and my parents made their way over here to the Silicon Valley.

Jonathan DeYoe: Later down the line, I ask everyone this question because I’m trying to make the conversation around money, something that’s just more accepted. So what did you learn about money and entrepreneurship? Growing.

Franco Perez: Wow. Learned a lot. I mean, growing of. I went through different parts of my life. I think growing up as a teenager, my dad was a main breadwinner at the time. And I’ve experienced living in the Philippines and being a kid and having people my age not be able to go to school because they had to sell cigarettes on the street and that sort of thing. So I lived that part of my life and witnessing like, hey, why, this is kind of weird. Ah, but it was normal back then when you’re young. And then also I kind of lived as a teenager being financially secure for a bit for a few years because my dad was working to be an engineer and that sort of thing. But at the age of 1718 years old, my parents split. My mom wasn’t really working and I immediately had to go from being a little bit entitled to having to fully leave school and work full time just to cover survival mode for my single mom and my younger sister at that time. So big roller coaster ride. It was honestly the hardest point of my life. I remember it vividly because at the end of every month I had to gather everything I had. I had to sell different things just to cover the rent payment and it was so painful to go through that. And I remember thinking like, why is life like this? I feel like we are good people, our family is good people, we do good for our friends and family. Why is it that we’re in this situation and the wealthy get to benefit from all these things like financial freedom and homeownership and we’re here just trying to survive at the end of every month. And there’s a lot I could dive into finances, but there was also not just a wealth gap but an information gap that I felt like there was a lot that I wish I knew back then and a lot of what we thought were normal, as far as, as you mentioned, comes to finances, that actually isn’t. There’s different norms on the wealth side of things. Right?

Jonathan DeYoe: So you have written about the contrast between the happiness you saw in the know with poverty and the discontent you’ve observed here in the United States amidst relative wealth. Can you kind of talk about that, the difference how happiness amidst poverty know, unhappiness with relative wealth?

Franco Perez: Yeah. So it’s such a shocking thing and I feel like a lot of immigrants that have lived through it can relate. But I think the main thing to talk about is perspective, right? If you’ve only grown up here and that’s all you’ve seen, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate what you have, right? However, vice versa, if we come from a place where, and it also has to do with who you’re surrounded by. I was in a place where my friends were living, were the happiest people I’ve ever seen. So grateful for everything. And then you go to their homes and they live in literally, uh, a, uh, metal shed that with a small, tiny. It didn’t even look like a. And. But why is it that they’re so happy and so grateful for having nothing? And then we go to America and it’s like we have a roof over our head, a, uh, ton of government support programs, but you find a lot of people depressed or stressed about certain things and that sort of thing. And it made me realize that it’s a huge part of psychology that really makes the difference of happiness. And we can point at different things like housing or drama and that sort of thing, but it’s a choice to be happy or not to be happy.

Jonathan DeYoe: So I want to pick at that just a little bit because I think that growing up in the US and having always know the roof over my head, I’ve always had family around me, uh, having always had, we didn’t always have enough to eat, but we had enough, we got along well. It’s a choice to be happy, and I agree with you, but I think there’s people that might be listening, that might say, well, I’m not in a situation where I can choose to be happy. So I’m a, uh, student of Buddhism myself. And so as a student of budhism, I recognize there’s two kinds of happiness. Like, there’s one kind of happiness that’s situational, that’s dependent upon my conditions, and there’s another kind of happiness that is not situational, that’s dependent upon my choice. So, uh, how does somebody in the condition of poverty choose happiness? That seems to be a leap.

Franco Perez: Yeah, man, that’s a deep question and wasn’t ready for it, but I want to try to answer it as best as I can. Like I mentioned, kind of that whole roller coaster ride, the first part of when my parents split, I was in a deep depression mode and that sort of thing. And during that time, it was hard to be happy. Um, and sometimes being happy and that whole element of the choice of being happy, it sounds so easy, but the truth of it is, it’s not at all right. But what I found for me, I don’t know why, but this sounds sad or whatever, but I didn’t really care for myself. For me, I can be depressed and that sort of thing, and I’ll just get on with it. But for me, it was a weird moment where I felt responsible for my mom and my younger sister’s life, I had to show to them that things are going to be okay. And whether I felt it or not, I had to pretend that I was happy so that they would feel okay. And I think that there’s another element or metric of that, of responsibility as well, when you care for another person. And I felt like if they weren’t around, I don’t know where I would have been, honestly. But knowing that they are under my responsibility to make sure that they’re okay, I had to force myself to be happy to kind of cheer them up as well. Right. And you’ll see that a lot with a mother or a parent. They could be going through the hardest time of their life, but they fight through it because they know that it’s better for their child. And in a weird way, I felt that same relationship as well. But, yeah, it’s that. It’s also perspective. It’s also how we process information, too. Some of us have an automatic reaction, default to take on stress and turn into panic or stress mode. Or can we perceive it a different way? Take in the information, analyze it, and process it differently, and stay calm and start to make decisions from there. Right. Uh, and it’s all about how we digest that information. Problems can happen. And what you’ll realize is there’s people that get attacked with problems all the time, but they’re calm and happy and they’re fine with it. And there’s people that have very tiny problems, like traffic or road rage and that sort of thing, and it ruins their whole day and sometimes their whole week. Right. And it’s how we process it that makes a difference of how we feel and how our mind works in reacting to situations. Huh.

Jonathan DeYoe: How much do you think the struggles earlier in life enabled you to process those things better? It is by flexing that muscle of overcoming hardship that enables you to be kind of okay with the craziness.

Franco Perez: It was almost everything for me, I think, that built my thick skin. There’s this whole element of the why. Right? I have friends that if the why isn’t deep enough, or if it’s not as, how do I say this? So going through that problem, even though it’s the hardest part of my life and the saddest time of my life, going through that allowed for me to mature and grow psychologically and also be able to take on bigger and harder problems, it actually built my drive to want to do better. In a weird way, when my dad left and left our family, he kind of never really said this on a show. But he kind of, in a weird way, said that he’s going to leave us because he’s going to do way better off without us. Right. Which hurt me so bad. And in my head, I shoot getting emotional, but in a weird way, I wanted to work so hard to make sure that he would realize we’re going to not only survive, but our family is going to thrive way better than he ever will. Right? And to me, that got me to wake up every single morning, work really late nights, and just make sure that he knew that we were going to be fine without him and then also be so successful and be able to make a positive change in the world. Right? And that was a big motive for me.

Jonathan DeYoe: I love that. I have to tell you, this is. And personally, I was married before. I’m, um, married again to my second wife, my first wife, when she went. And I remember sitting with my manager at the time, my first wife asked for a divorce, and I was, like, devastated. I was crushed. I didn’t know what I was going to. I mean, similar feeling. And I was talking to my manager, he goes, you know what? You just work harder now, and you prove that you’re going to be the person that you said you were going to be.

Franco Perez: Right.

Jonathan DeYoe: And it sort of gives you that extra effort to push over and push through and move beyond and go through all the obstacles and do this. That’s a great story, and I’m super grateful that you shared it here. That’s awesome.

Franco Perez: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever shared that, but I think I want to also point out that before that situation, I’ve always felt like I was doing my best and to become the best that I could. In my head, I always believed that. But it was only until that whole situation happened that I actually really pushed to do better. And it was that harsh. It’s weird to say this, but I’m very grateful for that harsh moment because it built the drive that I have today to be able to make me become who I am today. And I know for a fact if I didn’t go through that pain and that struggle, I would probably just be an average day to day. Um, I wouldn’t have owned a business. I wouldn’t have been able to create the impact that I’ve created and be able to make change in the world. So in a weird way, we can go through these painful times, but it’s actually a part of our path that we just have to understand, we have to get through.

Jonathan DeYoe: Your dad leaves. He says these horrible things. You sort of wake up to this, I’ve got to be better. What was the process? How did you decide? Okay, this is what I’m going to do. These are the steps I’m going to take.

Franco Perez: Well, first it was just anger.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, of course.

Franco Perez: I don’t know. I didn’t know how to process it. Yeah. And to be honest, it was the mix of that and the survival mode. I got myself into doing real estate first, actually. So I was working. I thought I wanted to be a graphic designer. That was like, my dream as a kid, doing video and that sort of thing. And I was doing that for a real estate company. I was like, hey, I need a job. I need a raise. I really need a raise because my family needs it. And they’re like, we can’t pay more for marketing, but we can teach you how to sell real estate and doorknock and that sort of thing. And it was a weird situation. So I was like, all right, I’ll do it. So I was just doorknocking, cold calling, morning tonight. That sort of thing ended up doing pretty well. But part of the process of doing that was I had to actually learn sales, I had to learn communication. And it kind of tied into a lot of business development mindset. So there was a lot of Brian Tracy moments, uh, a little bit of, like, Tony Robbins psychology stuff. And a lot of that allowed me to really realize, like, hey, what gets people out of these hard situations and allows for them to become successful? What are these moments? How do they process things? And a lot of that allowed me to mature and think differently than what my normal path of thinking was. But I don’t know that I answered your question, actually. But that was part of the maturity element of changing my mindset. And then from there, I kind of learned how to process my psychology a little better. And I don’t know how to, I wish I knew how to kind of dive into breaking that down, but I haven’t yet figured it out.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, so. But you did mention Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins. So did you actually listen to tapes, go see them live? That was part of the was.

Franco Perez: And you know, what’s fascinating is when you’re in a very desperate situation, you learn to become resourceful and you learn to use what you have to try to, um, use the resources that you have to try to create the most out of it. And what’s interesting is that I feel like my desperate need for help is what allowed me to take this information and actually use it, take it as the best information that I have and use it. And what I’ve realized is that if we’re not resourceful and I read that book or listened to that tape, I would have just taken it as whatever you have to be in the right mindset to take the information, to execute the information. Right. If you’re not in that mindset, you could give another person the same book or the same tape, and if they’re not in the right mindset, they’re not going to be able to grow from it. So, uh, in a weird way, the environment is so important on top of the information that you have. And I think I would really, uh, like one of the big words that I feel defined my life was learning to be resourceful because I didn’t have the money to take to buy books at that time. I think I was illegally downloading it from the Internet or something like, you know, I knew that I needed that to be able to better my position. When, uh, it came to the real estate side of things, do you think.

Jonathan DeYoe: That became like the Brian Tracy things? Was that a daily habit? Did you build that into the daily. I need to listen a little bit of this stuff and take some information in and use that to sort of code my day?

Franco Perez: Absolutely. So I was in the car a lot, and that’s all I would listen to. And that was part of my, it was almost like my psychiatrist. I don’t know how to say it, my therapy. Right. So it’s like I would listen to a lot of different stories of people that were in tough situations and how they got past it. Right. And you can find it on YouTube. It’s all out there. Right. But it just depends on what you’re looking for. And I was actually looking for like, hey, these stories and kind of like what you’re doing by having this show, sharing these stories, this is going to make a difference for someone out there. Right. But for me, I didn’t have hope. I didn’t know that we were going to make it out of that hole. But I listened to different stories of people that have made it out of there, different motivational stuff as well. And that’s really what kept me going, is like, hey, if this guy did it, if this guy was a drug addict back then and blah, blah, blah, but made it out of the hood and succeeded, then maybe I have a chance, too.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. What year was it you started to make that shift and start listening to the new things and taking new information?

Franco Perez: Roughly, it was about 2009, 2010 that started to happen. Yeah.

Jonathan DeYoe: So, right. Around great recession, period. Like right around, uh, real estate collapse.

Franco Perez: Okay, exactly. And it was that collapse that kind of broke my family and that sort of know, but a lot of people went through that.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’ll just. You’ve disclosed so much. I’ll share something with you as well. Do you know Eric Thomas? E. T. The hip hop preacher at all?

Franco Perez: Yes. I would listen to him too.

Jonathan DeYoe: This is 2008. This is about when he started coming out and he was doing the University of Michigan. He’s doing his five minute videos and every Monday, thank God it’s Monday, I would listen to him and he would help me constantly. Uh, and I’ve listened to all the Brian Tracy stuff and all that. But I loved et. I loved everything he said, every message he had. It was awesome. I go back to it sometimes today. Oh, uh, it brings tears to my eyes. I love him, so it’s great.

Franco Perez: I got to listen to that. There’s one specifically where he was in a class and I can’t remember what it was about, but yeah, he’s a big one. And it reminded me of one other element that’s part of actually that last question that you said. I do feel that being not just mentally strong is important, but also having physical. How do I say this? Working out got me through the pain, too. And I would listen to this working out, and in a weird way, and there’s so many studies around this, but being physically fit has so much to do with how your brain works and how you take emotion when working out allowed me to go through so much more pain, and being fit allowed for me to go through so much pain, too.

Jonathan DeYoe: Absolutely. Amen. Ah. In my first book, I talk about the 200. I weighed 290 pounds. And I hated myself. I hated everything about everything I did. And it was about that time I started listening to Et. I’d lost like 70 pounds, I got fit again, and it literally turned my entire life around. Ended up selling an eight figure business. So I totally agree that fitness is like number one, stage number one. If you do that, everything else kind.

Franco Perez: Of falls and it’s m hard to think that’s true. It really does.

Jonathan DeYoe: It’s huge.

Franco Perez: It’s like, why would I work out? I’m already so tired. I had a long day. I’m not going to work out.

Jonathan DeYoe: Work out every day. Lift those weights. What made you think you could be an entrepreneur? Like, what was the thing? Okay, I’m not going to just sell real estate. I’m going to start a business. Uh, where did that idea come from?

Franco Perez: Yeah. So I talked about being an agent and that sort of thing, and I really did well, and I became a little bit financially secure in that sort of thing. But behind the back of my head, I really hated the whole real estate agent industry so much because it kind of trains us to help the wealthiest people that we can help get their second or third investment or get the most expensive home that they could. And I had to turn away. It hurt me so, so much to turn away people and say, hey, you don’t make enough right now. You don’t have enough saved as a down payment, but save more, make more, and I can help you later down the line. And every instance that happened, it hurt me, and I couldn’t sleep thinking about it. And it was more the pain, uh, knowing that they were in my shoes back then. And if I only had someone to guide and help me back when I was going through that pain, it would make my life so much easier. And I made the decision to try to find ways to. How do we make it easier for those families, the working class families that are working hard, that just want a little bit of a chance to have that sense of financial security. Because the truth of it is, the way this world is set up is that there’s so many services out there for the rich and wealthy, and there’s not enough people helping and giving the right advice to those that are average or working class. And that’s exactly what I witnessed. And it’s shocking to me. And I didn’t care if I made money on it or not. It was more of a side gig for me. But I just wanted to find something that would help ease a family like that. And then got into checking affordable housing stuff with the government. I really didn’t like how that worked. And I, uh, really deep studied finances and why is it that this is the way it is? How does home ownership work? Why does this work? There’s really a personal cash flow element of it. There’s so many benefits of homeownership. There’s tax benefits, there’s leveraging a loan to build up your net worth, there’s appreciation. And once you’re in, into, uh, that homeownership element, then everything’s easy from there. But the problem is, the leap from being an average renter to home ownership is there’s such a big gap, and we need that bridge in between. And I was really searching for anything, and I accidentally came across mobile homes and what I thought were mobile homes, I thought it was just a place for criminals and bad quality homes. And that sort of thing, because that’s all we see in movies. Breaking Bad, eminem music videos, that’s all our association with mobile homes. So that’s what I thought it was, and I studied it, I met the families there, and I saw the communities for myself, and I was like, whoa, wait a second. This isn’t what I thought it was. And actually, this is a perfect place for people to start their wealth building journey, because it’s really a hybrid of home ownership and renting. And the perk to that is that people are able to better their personal cash flow from full renting into a better personal cash flow just to get them a little bit better, to be able to boost themselves, to get out of that, into that home ownership element that we were talking about.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Um, it sounded like it was a very slow sort of natural progression. But as you’re talking to family and friends, and I’m doing really well as a real estate agent, but I don’t like it. I’m trying to do this other thing. What was the feedback you got? I mean, did people say, God, you’re crazy, why would you start this whole thing? You’re doing so well on your own. What did people tell you?

Franco Perez: Uh, the feedback was bad, I guess the first thing. I don’t know how to say this, but there’s, uh, this weird moment where I learned not to listen to people, never to listen to. I mean, listen, but don’t take it in as real information all the time, but not to take advice from someone that you wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. And in a weird way, my mom was a big part of that, too. As much as I love my mom and that sort of thing, she didn’t have the right advice for me. She’s like, hey, just keep doing what you’re doing. Even my mom hated this, too. Keep doing what you’re doing, blah, blah. Follow the regular path is the advice I got. But it was that pain of knowing what I went through and knowing that even if I just helped one family that’s struggling, I knew that it would fill me to feel better. And I think there’s a lot of millennials and younger generations that can resonate with this, but at some point, money does not matter, but purpose and fulfillment and impact, for me, matter so much more than money. Uh, there’s a point that I was in survival mode, and money was everything. But after I got past that, I just wanted to make an impact for another family out there. And I think it was going through that pain that really caused for me to have that really big sense of wanting to make an impact. But, yeah, I think knowing that pain was there and knowing that other families need this, need it allowed for me to ignore the noise of people, uh, even investors and that sort of thing, saying, hey, this mobile home thing is crazy. You shouldn’t do this. But it was the need to have to fix this problem that I saw as so painful in this system that is unfair that I had to do it. And when the why is important enough, you just ignore the rest.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yep. The how doesn’t matter when the why is big enough. So I know there’s some really staggering statistics around sort of house affordability. Could you paint that picture really quick? Especially you’re in Silicon Valley, or that’s where you started. But what was that like in.

Franco Perez: You know, the Silicon Valley is a very expensive area, or the Bay Area is a very expensive area compared to most of the country out there. But if you’re in another area, I want people to understand it’s kind of the future problem of all metro cities, and it’s going to happen. The costs are high. The numbers that I’m going to mention are very high, but the ratios are kind of similar. So if I were to kind of paint the picture in our area right now, an average rent for a two bedroom apartment would be about $3,300 a month. An average single family home to purchase is about $1.4 million. How does somebody that’s stuck in this rat race of paying this huge amount of rent with one or two incomes, how do they ever even dream and hope that one day they’re going to be able to purchase a single family home that’s that expensive. Right. And the problem is that the leap is so high that there’s a huge barrier of entry that, let’s say you wanted to put 10% down. If that was, uh, what you needed to, it would be about $140,000, and your monthly payment would look close to 7000, $8,000 with insurance and taxes. So why would someone ever want to do that and put themselves in that situation? But the key of this whole element that we built is creating a stepping stone in between giving financial advice of like, hey, the truth of it is we’re not taught this thing. I, uh, talked about this earlier, but there’s so much information that we aren’t taught. Being middle class, we’re not taught this in school. But when we’re paying for rent, money doesn’t just go one way. Um, goes a payment for housing doesn’t always just go one way. I want to put this into the right words, but when someone’s paying $3,300 a month for rent versus $3,300 a month for something they own, yes, the money is coming out of our bank account, but we have to understand that a huge part of that is something that’s going to come back to you when you sell later down the line. Right. And that’s the big key element that the wealthy understand. But being middle class, I did not understand that. So we use that cash flow effect to say, hey, if m you spend this amount, you’re spending fifty k over the course of three years. Or we can help you get into this mobile home. You’re making just a little bit more on your monthly payment, but the end of three years, you’ll have x amount of equity, you’ll have better tax benefits, and at the end of the three years, if you want to move, you’ll sell this and you’ll have an extra 50k, uh, outside on top of if you were to keep renting. And it’s fixing that cash flow for people to get out of that rental rat race into mobile home ownership. That allowed for people to really have that chance at getting out of that rat race. So hopefully I explained that well enough. I think it’s perfect.

Jonathan DeYoe: So you’re looking at the mobile home ownership as a bridge. So, uh, are there people that you’ve put into mobile homes that have bridged and actually spent the three, four, five years, built up their cash flow, built up their equity in that mobile home, and then actually transitioned into a regular, traditional, stick built home?

Franco Perez: Oh, absolutely. So many families have. So we’ve really ran the numbers. If someone were to be renting at $3,500 a month versus making that same exact payment for a mobile home over the course of five years, it’s a $90,000 difference, and that’s average. Right. So that means that when they sell after five years, they have might not be in their bank account, but it’s equity that when they sell that, they can now use that to be able to purchase real estate later down the line. Right. And, uh, in a weird way, being middle class and being where I was, we’re not taught a lot of these wealth building things that are important. We’re only taught career, and that’s it. And sometimes we focus 100% of our energy on career and not on building assets, while the wealthy are doing the opposite. They’re spending a lot of time on assets and building that out uh, building our career, sometimes at getting 10% raise every year. While I guess what I’m saying is you should be spending maybe a little bit less time on the career element and more on the personal cash flow and asset building as well, whether it’s 80 20 or 60 40. But don’t ignore where you can build wealth and build your net worth through assets.

Jonathan DeYoe: Absolutely. I’m going to wager that not many of the podcast hosts you meet have been in a mobile home. I have. I’ve had really good friends live in them. I have family that currently lives in them, and I’ve spent many holiday seasons in my grandma’s, uh, double wide. So why do you see mobile homes as the best solution? Because there’s a lot of solutions out there. There’s a lot of m tiny homes. There’s a lot of things that are out there that are possible. But why is mobile homes the best solution?

Franco Perez: Like you said, there’s a lot of options out there. Right. And what I’ve found is, with a lot of government programs, you see a lot of reduced rent, people feel like having a reduced rent situation is going to help get a family up ahead. Right. But the problem with that is that, yes, you’ve alleviated them for a few years and that sort of thing, but, uh, at the end of it, they’re out of that home, they aren’t left with anything. Right. And the whole element of what we’re doing is starting that wealth building journey for people. Equity without government help or anything like that. You kind of brought this term to my head earlier, but it’s using that capitalism approach in a world and helping bring that availability to lower income families so that they can benefit from it. Right. And it allows for a, uh, middle income earner to start benefiting from homeownership. They’re making a payment towards an asset that they own, and they get to benefit from those four that I mentioned, the appreciation, the tax benefits. They get to leverage a loan to build up and purchase something that they own, and then it builds up their net worth. Right. And so at the end of this, they have something that they own. They’ve also reduced their financial responsibility of having to pay rent to survive. Right. And this is the whole financial freedom element. It’s like we have to understand that financial freedom is really the new freedom that this world needs. And we don’t see that the world is kind of, this wealth gap is spreading further and further. And m when you ask if mobile homes is, I hope it’s not the only solution. But, uh, the way I see it, it really is the last hope to get families out of poverty and to start their wealth building journey through mobile homes and start getting ownership through mobile homes. In a lot of these metro areas where home ownership is very difficult, I’m all for as many options as possible. But for me, the way I’ve seen is it’s allowed for people to stay in metro areas, it’s allowed for people to stay in quality homes and communities. Uh, and it’s allowed for people to start that wealth building journey in these areas and still be able to be financially free.

Jonathan DeYoe: So can you touch on the stigma around mobile homes and tell us how you’re solving the stigma?

Franco Perez: Yeah. So just like I said earlier, it’s not just what I used to think back then, but most people that haven’t been in a mobile home have the lowest. I mean, the news, the movies, shows and that sort of thing. That’s most people’s only association with mobile home parks. They think trailer trash, they think horrible quality homes. But the truth of it is, it’s a whole different asset class of housing. And if we think about it this way, there’s apartment complexes that we don’t want our kids running around and that sort of thing. And then there’s luxury style apartment complexes that are like a resort. And there’s a full spectrum when it comes to mobile homes as well. Yes, there are some trashy mobile home parks, but there’s a full spectrum where communities look like resorts as well. There’s spas, there’s swimming pools, gyms, they have tennis courts. And they shouldn’t all be written off as just one side of the spectrum. Oh, you’re in a mobile home park. You must be going through the worst conditions as possible. Right. But the truth of it is, and what I love about the people in these mobile home communities is that they’re very humble individuals. They don’t care what people think. They’re in it because this is what they need for financial security and they understand it. Right. And these are the people that I love resonating with and I love helping. And that’s really what got us into helping them convert a lot of these old style mobile homes into new, luxurious style, 2000 square foot, twelve foot high ceiling, three bed, two bath homes. And the reality of it is that these communities can be beautiful and these homes can be amazing. As know there’s people are already making a ton of sacrifices just to live in a certain area already. Why can’t this be the sacrifice that they’ll make right. An example is somebody lives in our area, the Bay Area. They’ll chase that dream of home ownership, but they’ll buy a home 2 hours away, and then they’ll commute to work in the bay. And then they’ve realized like, shoot, I can’t do this anymore. It’s tough. And I’ve seen people do that and make that sacrifice and regret it later. But people should have the right to live in the area that they want to live and still feel financially secure. And this is what’s allowing people to do that.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, this might be too specific, but I’m curious about how the changing interest rate environment has changed your business.

Franco Perez: Uh, our business itself is working on a lot of lending programs for this, so it’s kind of a separate entity. But what’s changed our business a lot is when it’s not a beautiful thing, uh, but it’s good for our business. But when it’s very difficult to purchase single family housing, then mobile homes are doing really well. And, uh, in a weird way, when we built our business, it was very lucky. But Covid hit that sort of thing and we didn’t know how we were going to survive and that sort of thing. But there was this huge housing problem all homes were getting. People all of a sudden needed more space. They realized that their families at home and everyone’s cramped, or they needed an extra office to work out, a room for an office to work out of. And it was great timing. We didn’t expect this, but people started to try. They needed to find something that’s a better solution for them to live with more space and more amenities and that sort of thing. And it grew our business exponentially. And it also helped us because we did really well online with our YouTube channel and showcasing what mobile home communities actually look like. We did a lot of how to, how do we build these homes and that sort of thing. And that’s really where we kind of kicked off and did well. And people started to really understand that this is a perfect way to live in an expensive area and have what they want and not have to deal with a landlord and continuously pay full rent. Full expensive rents everywhere. The low inventory of housing is when mobile homes do well. I never want anything bad for anyone, but I want all housing to be affordable for everybody. But the rising interest rates and the low inventory of housing allowed for us to grow as a business. But unfortunately, the sad world of it is that it also makes it difficult for many families to have difficulty to ever own real estate too, right?

Jonathan DeYoe: And hopefully, in time, the rates come back down, but not for a while.

Franco Perez: I don’t think, and I want to express, too, that there’s so much of a problem happening, and I don’t know why this isn’t on the news or why it isn’t expressed as a big problem. But you mentioned interest rates. But, uh, we also kind of have to mention that housing is such an. There’s such a big issue. Building homes has never been harder. We’re building homes the same way we’ve built 100 years back. Construction materials are getting more expensive, and finding skilled labor is so much harder as well. All of our skilled laborers working with hammers are 45 years and older, and they’re at the age that they want to retire and slow down and that sort of thing. And we don’t have enough young people that want to work and build homes. So how’s the world going to look later down the line? I don’t see how housing prices can get lower. Right. And that’s part of what I love about what we’re doing now, is that if we think about it, I’m going to add this analogy that might seem random at first, but cars were only built for the rich and wealthy initially. And it was only until they built it on an assembly line in a factory that they were able to make it accessible for everybody to afford. And that’s exactly what we’re doing now with mobile homes. We’re trying to make the most efficient, most affordable housing that there is out there. And we’re building these homes in a factory, on an assembly line, and maximizing the material and also maximizing the skilled labor that we have so that at the end of the line, we come out a very affordable home that’s built with a high level of quality that can be affordable for a perfect family. I’m sorry. It could be a perfect home for a middle income family. And that’s exactly what’s already happening now. That’s what we’re building now. And it’s not just interest rates that’s the problem. It’s the construction element that’s the problem as well. And that’s a big part of your previous question of why I feel like mobile homes are going to be a huge element of fixing that housing affordability problem, especially in the future.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I’ve heard a lot about, um, manufactured housing. When I think of mobile homes, I think literally of the ones that have the wheels, and they might put the things over the wheels, but you can put them on a trailer, and you can carry them someplace. You’re actually talking about more of a manufactured housing then?

Franco Perez: Mhm. Yeah. So basically these factories are doing the same thing. So they are on steel eye beams, they are on wheels, and we’re using the whole element of these manufactured housing factories and bringing those into mobile home parks, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. So there’s the same level of quality for new homes and same level of material is being done for these mobile homes as well. Sorry to interrupt.

Jonathan DeYoe: No worries. There’s a lot of noise out there, and I like to ask every single guest to simplify it for us. So if you were sitting with somebody who maybe saw you on your YouTube channel, what is one thing you would tell them to do today that would lead to greater personal and financial success tomorrow?

Franco Perez: That’s tough. I think, uh, one thing I want to put out there is focus on creating an impact. I know I touched on this earlier, but I feel like there’s so much noise out there about how do I make x ten grand a month and blah, blah, blah. And that seems so attractive. But I think there’s a huge amount of people out there that actually really want to make a difference and create an impact for the world. And I want to encourage the people out there that have that energy in them to want to create a difference and not focus so much on the money, but learn how they can create an impact and make the world a better place. And that’s what I would want to put out there.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I love it. And then if you thought that was hard, here’s a harder one. What’s one thing that they should stop doing?

Franco Perez: Uh, what’s one thing they should stop doing? I think stop taking advice from only one group of people. I think it’s so important to know, to learn where you get your advice from. And I think the most common thing is to get advice from our friends and our initial circle. I love my friends so much, but you got to understand there’s different mindsets out there and try to get different information out there. And as much as I love my friends, I don’t ask them for financial advice and that sort of thing. But when it comes to personal advice, guess what? I talk to my friends because I know that they’re the best people that I know. When it comes to business growing, I’m going to ask who I know that’s the best at business, or when it comes to finances, I’m going to ask who the best that I know is for finances. But we have this common thing to want to ask our best and closest friends for advice on XYZ, but our friends might not have accomplished or experienced how to get out of XYZ. Right. Um, so stop taking advice from who you normally take advice.

Jonathan DeYoe: Uh, that’s a great answer, actually. So, Franco, is there anything that people don’t know about you that you really want them to know?

Franco Perez: Man, you’ve pulled a lot of things that I never told anyone about my family. I think that’s the biggest thing. I think also, people might know this, but if they don’t, I love making videos. It’s always been my dream as a kid. So I love being a foodie. We love promoting small business restaurants, uh, on our channel, and we just do that for fun as a hobby. There’s no financial element to it, but we just love promoting restaurants and doing video.

Jonathan DeYoe: Very cool. And you’re good at it. The YouTube channel is very fun to watch, so, uh, thanks for that. Tell people how they can connect with you, where they find.

Franco Perez: I mean, I know we’re on a podcast, but I urge people to real. And like you said, nobody’s seen mobile homes. Most people really haven’t seen it. And if you haven’t, take a look at our stuff. We have 3d tours, we have videos, and our team does a good job of showcasing how they’re built and also educational stuff of how it helps families financially. But all of our links are at www. Dot Franco TV. Or you could google Franco mobile homes, and you can find our YouTube channel and stuff like that. But definitely, if you haven’t seen it, see for yourself, because we really push hard to fight those stigmas.

Jonathan DeYoe: Thanks, Franco. This has been great. Excited to have you on, and I look forward to chatting, uh, later, too.

Franco Perez: Same here, man. Thanks for doing this, because I know, like I said earlier, someone listening to this might need this, and it helps people out there, too. And you’re doing a great job by having this channel and inspiring people. So I love it.

Jonathan DeYoe: Thanks, Franco.

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