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Rising Stars: Meet Cedric Utley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cedric Utley.

Hi Cedric, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Mobile Home Matadors started as a traditional fix and flip business. My first flip was a home bought at auction in Texas in the summer of 2017 because California was too expensive even to buy a junky house that needed renovations. After the repairs were complete, my business partner and I sold it for profit and quickly moved to the next project.

Despite what many would consider a success, I couldn’t help but feel unfulfilled. The money was good, but I knew the person we sold it to had plans to rent the house at a premium, as it was now the best house in the neighborhood. Something about that rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like I should be giving back to society, not adding to the pressures of making housing more expensive and unfordable.

Several years later, my wife came to me with a brilliant idea… mobile homes! She isn’t big on investing, but she is brilliant. She felt it was a niche market that was overlooked despite the more than 22.5 million people who live in them. I was skeptical, but she had never been more sure.

We had early success; more than anything, I enjoyed working with the sellers who felt they had no representation and had to settle with low offers and connecting them with families who needed an affordable place to live. We were hooked, and working with my wife was a great bonus.

We decided to call ourselves “Matadors” because there was no bull involved, just a desire to help those who needed affordable housing.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There have been many challenges along the way because growing is never easy. One of the biggest challenges has been money and funding. Everything in society costs money; there is no secret there.

We had to figure out a way of making money to expand and help more people while also keeping costs down to keep places affordable. In the first two years, this meant working a 9 to 5, so we could fund the business and spending countless weekends on projects to cut costs when homes needed repair.

To keep our values intact, we decided that we would like to sell every mobile home at a discount of at least 10% of the going rate of other homes in the park. And to grow the business, we needed to reinvest. We have not taken out any money we have invested or made as of this writing. We downsized the way we lived to put even more money into it.

The other challenge is finding people as passionate as you about helping people in these communities. Through trial and error, we have been able to find several people and companies in different states that are as passionate as we are. That includes California, Nevada, Texas, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Florida.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Most of my previous work was centered around diversity and analytics. Initially, I started working for the U.S. Senate on an initiative that focused on bringing more diverse candidates to Capitol Hill.

This job was transformational because it helped me realize what type of impact a good job could have on other people. Keeping this in mind, I realized that the further away I got from impactful work, the less I enjoyed a job.

Even as an entrepreneur, the skills from my MBA are essential, but my empathy and desire to help others matter most. This work is about the human experience and how we are all connected in making the world better, as cheesy as that may sound.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Be kind to one another, and never forget that we are on this journey called life together.

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