FORBEARANCE (‘a refraining from the enforcement of a debt, etc.’)

March 26th, 2020

Blog # 578 @ 26 March 2020; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE serve U!’ Goal: Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Forbearance trumps foreclosure, in my opinion, any day! But is the price one has to pay (i.e. no eviction proceedings), in this instance, really worth not being able to collect one’s site rent? And how have you been enduring the past few weeks of the coronavirus hiatus? I’m certain there are many interesting tales that’ll come out of this massive national experience once it has passed. Professional property management is not talked about nearly enough in land lease community circles. Bottom line? If you’ve not been trained and certified in one of the three national programs presently available to land lease community owners/operators, you are selling yourself (as sole proprietor) or your firm (as salaried PM exec) far short of your professional property management potential! GFA

I.

FORBEARANCE
(‘a refraining from the enforcement of a debt, etc.’)

“To support multifamily property owners during this national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) announced Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of COVID-19.” Institute of Real Estate Management press release dated 23 March 2020.

II.

& What Have You Been Doing While Hunkered Down?

First off; maybe you haven’t been ‘hunkered down’ during the past week or soon two. Rather, you’re one who’s still able to go to work, enjoyed Spring Break at the beach, or as a prepper – go off the grid somewhere, until the coronavirus threat diminishes and disappears. Good for you – as long as you stay healthy!

Since Carolyn and I are in our mid-70s, our adult kids haven’t given us any choice: ‘Stay home, stay healthy, and enjoy – from afar, the benefits of being grandparents and great grandparents!’ Well, that’s what we’ve been doing since Sunday morning, 15 March. We’ve cultivated a pleasant daily routine together: arising in the AM to enjoy breakfast and some ‘daily quiet time’; followed, in my case, with some relaxing piano playing. Then it’s onto whatever activities we have at hand, ending the afternoons together, working on a complicated 1,000 piece jig saw puzzle of Noah’s ark and many many very small animals.

The unexpected consequence of being ‘shut in’ these past six, almost 11 days now, probably 14 by the time you read this blog posting, has been getting a leg up on several personal/professional writing projects.

First project was to revise and expand a ‘Writing for Publication, Profit, and Personal Satisfaction’ teaching outline I use with novice writers and friends/acquaintances who want to have some, or much, of their musings published. The outline is now ready for the one day Writers’ Conference I’m hosting on 3 August 2020, either at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, or a nearby hotel, in Elkhart, IN. Yes, that’s same day this year’s Class of 2020 (i.e. 10 RV & 10 MH pioneers) will be inducted into the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame. For tickets to the banquet, phone (6574) 293-2344. For more information about the Writers’ Conference, phone me via (317) 346-7156 or gfa7156@aol.com

Next project was to prepare a new (3rd) edition of Collection of Figurative Language & Figures of Speech – a writer’s guide, first penned in 2011, as a tribute to my late mother. As I perused new collected material, deciding what to include or not, came across some examples of lexophile creativity (Lexophiles are lovers of words and word games – synonymous with what author Richard Lederer labels as verbivores). Here they are:

You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish
To write with a broken pencil is pointless
No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery
I’m reading a book about antigravity. I just can’t put it down.
When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble
When chemists die, they barium
England has no kidney bank, but does have a Liverpool
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.
And the list goes on and on, but surely you get the drift of the humor and word play. The new edition will likely be ready for distribution at the aforementioned Writers’ Conference.

My perennial project has been an autobiography. Started this more than a year ago, and am pleased the first DRAFT copy has been penned/typed and awaits initial edit. Seven chapters. Boyhood memories; Eastern, Carolyn & Susan; USMC & RVN Years; From Combat Leadership to Business Management (1970-79); A Career in Property Management (1980-2000); Bringing it Together as Writer, Author, Consultant (2000-2020); and, A Personal Swan Song. Still some decisions to make. Have a lot of material to work with (e.g. 350 color photographs from 1968 & 69 in Vietnam), plus business experiences described in 30+ years of newsletter publishing. For now, I’ll be satisfied to effect the initial audit and effect changes to the manuscript. Estimated publication date? Have no idea. Year 2020 would be timely; but 2023 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam – making the book all the more marketable; and during 2026, Carolyn and I will, hopefully, be celebrating 60 years of marriage –the common thread through all but one of the chapters in the autobiography. A word of encouragement to you. Like me, you have a story – personal and or corporate – to tell. For help, request a FREE copy of the booklet Who Will Preserve Your Legacy? Answer: You! Not only is this an engaging read (contains excerpts from all ten autobiographies penned by manufactured housing pioneers during the past 70 years), it gives you an outline as to how to proceed with your personal or corporate story! Again, phone or email me today!

In closing this part of blog # 578, here’s a ditty I found in my file:

The demanding person runs into resistance.
The defeated person runs into indifference.
The dedicated person runs in to help!
Author unknown

III.

WARNING!

Be careful what you read, and by whom, about management of land lease communities!

I’ve noticed a spike recently, in one or another of the few print and online trade publications serving manufactured housing and land lease communities. Feature articles are being penned by individuals on the hunt for fee-management contracts of individual properties or entire portfolios. In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with doing so as a marketing ploy. However, know there are far fewer fee-management firms afoot in the land lease community market – compared to conventional garden style apartments, given the average size of such properties is less than 100 rental homesites apiece. This is generally not enough to support a logical percentage fee, unless it’s a turnaround project effected for a set amount during a set timeframe.

The ‘rub’ for me, is the lack of professional property management training and credentials evident among these johnny-come-lately, self-proclaimed fee-management specialists. To put the matter simply: we go to doctors for our medical needs, patronize CPAs for their accounting expertise, and frankly, should be putting our multimillion dollar real estate investments into the hands of individuals formally trained and vetted, by their peers, as bona fide professional property managers, e.g. Certified Property Manager™ (‘CPM’) members of the Institute of Real Estate Management (There are about 125 who claim affinity for our realty asset class nationwide today), Accredited Community Managers™ (‘ACM’) designated by the Manufactured Housing Educational Institute (‘MHEI’), and/or one of the nearly 1,500 Manufactured Housing Managers™ (‘MHM’) trained and certified by EducateMHC.

To learn more about these three professional property management programs, along with their schedules of training classes, access: IREM.org, MHI.org, & EducateMHC.com

C.S. Lewis & the Threat of Coronavirus

March 20th, 2020

Blog # 577 @ 20 March 2020; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!’’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM™ class

INTRODUCTION: In 1981, perennial author of thrillers, Dean Koontz, authored The Eyes of Darkness. Today, readers believe the lab-produced, ‘deadly biological weapon called Wuhan-400’, in the novel, predicts the COVID-19 threat we experience today, 39 years later! When I attempted to buy the novel, I found it was selling for $650.00/case bound copy. Was able to chase down a paperback edition, and will review it for you when read. Part II. Thinking about going into the land lease community business in California? Think again – after reading Part II of blog posting #577. Maybe not a good idea. And Part III? Something for our public companies to consider….GFA

I.

C.S. Lewis & the Threat of Coronavirus

My guess is many of you, reading this blog posting, know C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), as the British writer (‘Chronicles of Narnia’) and lay theologian (‘Screwtape Letters’) who taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities during the last century. Well, his writings are legend and enduring, making him one of the most influential writers of his, of all time.

The following excerpt is from his essay ‘On Living in an Atomic Age’, written in 1948. His is a voice of sanity and wisdom in a world that seems to be losing both. And though Lewis’s essay addresses fears of a different kind than we face today, his observations about how to live life in the midst of crises, real and perceived, resonate during this time of coronavirus.

‘In one way, we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply, ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut our throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

‘In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented; and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics, but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.’

‘This is the first point to be made, and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but the need not dominate our minds.’

As I read and reread those inspirational paragraphs my memory drifted back to early 1969. I was a Marine lieutenant in the Republic of Vietnam at the time, and along with several other junior officers, volunteered for Atomic Demolition Munition training (‘ADM’), and possibly action. ADM placement was U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s ‘worst case scenario’ counterattack plan; to send us behind enemy lines with soccer ball-sized nuclear devices strapped to our chests, to destroy (in my case, a large steel bridge on the outskirts of Hanoi) enemy facilities in North Vietnam. This didn’t happen, but the potential gruesome results of such an action did give me pause, to consider consequences to self and countless faceless multitudes.

Now today, like you, I ponder the coronavirus threat. Yes, I’m elderly, no denying that. Our adult children are quick to admonish Carolyn and me to ‘stay home’! Hmm. For me, that means writing, reading, and putting together the latest jigsaw puzzle. In any event, I refuse to become unduly troubled or depressed by this vague cum maybe lethal specter. And you?

II.

Just How Difficult Can Land Lease Community Operations Become in California?

The following paragraph was recently emailed to me by a 40 year land lease community portfolio owners/operator domiciled in California. Hard for me to believe all this is true:

“George. If you have not heard, the California legislature is proposing at least seven new legislative bills that can kill our industry for years! The major ones are 1) statewide rent control with 2) no vacancy decontrol – 3) no going out of business by changing the current zoning – 4) no long term leases – 5) no recovery of legal fees – 6) require at least 18 hours of yearly (continuing) education for all responsible parties – (&) 7) long term leases that extend beyond year 2025 are voidable.” (Lightly edited, with numbers added. GFA)

Yes, it can be a long journey between the proposal of new legislation and actually turning it into law and regulations. But this is certainly a discouraging anti-business agenda for the state of California. Did you know? It’s a long known ‘peculiar secret’ that California is home to more owners of land lease communities than any other state in the union, but these owners/operators, for the most part, own and manage more such communities outside the state than within!

III.

Time for REIT & Public Manufacturer Email Newsletters?

As you likely know, EducateMHC, started, with January 2020 shipment and public market statistics, reporting on the four public HUD-Code housing manufacturers and three real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’) owning land lease communities. I wasn’t surprised about how well this new ‘first ever’ performance record was received, but I was surprised at the volume of requests for copies, and coverage going forward. So, watch for the early April MHShipment ‘#s & $s’ Report (&) Manufacturer/REIT Market Data report.

In the meantime, the suggestion was made by a few respondents, about how they’d like to receive some sort of Investor Relations Email Newsletter from one or more of these seven public companies on a regular periodic bases. Frankly, I hadn’t thought of that before now. Rather than a flurry of Press Releases, it seems investors are looking for consolidated releases providing ‘an interesting array of non-financial contextual information on industry dynamics and key internal value drivers, such as innovation, customer relationships, and human resources.’

What do you think? Enough information ‘out there’ about your manufacturer and REIT of choice, or would you prefer to learn more from such a newsletter, as well as our new report?
GFA7156@aol.com
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM c/o EducateMHC

Making a Year 2020 Case for Rental Manufactured Homes on Rental Homesites Within Land Lease Communities

March 13th, 2020

Blog # 576 @ 13 March 2020; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aaol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM™Class

INTRODUCTION: Two things this time around. Part I, when you get right down to it, contains not only some unrecorded 1970s & 80s’ history of mobile home & mobile home park rentals, but also ‘splains’ how we got back into the business of selling and leasing new HUD-Code homes on-site in land lease communities, circa 2000-2010 & beyond! AND, how the REITs execute this business model well. Part II contains timely loan origination information, provided by Art Tuverson of Berkadia Commercial, in the event you need acquisition financing or refinancing of existing land lease community debt. By the way, the 22nd annual National Registry of ALL Lenders, one of 12 special Resource Documents available only from EducateMHC, will be distributed next week with the premier March issue of The Allen Confidential business newsletter. Frankly, if you’re one of the 25 realty-secured banks and loan brokers listed therein (along with their contacts and contact information), you will want this document, as it among other things, clearly describes the lending market during 2019 and moving forward into 2020 – supplied by originators at Wells Fargo. To get a copy, visit www.educatemhc.com or phone me via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

I.

Making a Year 2020 Case for Rental Manufactured Homes on Rental Homesites Within Land Lease Communities

Funny how sometimes ‘history repeats itself’, i.e. the leasing of manufactured homes on-site within land lease communities – surprising ‘old timers’ that anyone would ‘do that again’. At the same time, new ‘players’ to the land lease community investment and management scene might well view said leasing of new homes to otherwise-qualified-but-cash- shy ‘prospective residents’ as one smart business move! How’d all this come about in the past, and what’s today’s stake in this still emerging trend in the national rental housing market?

First a little history. During the mid-1970s, when the infamous HUD-Code building code regs appeared on our business scene, amidst the most aggressive development of raw land into ‘mobile home parks’ in our history, an abrupt disruption of new home shipments (Plummeting from 579,940 new mobile homes in 1973 to only 246,120 during year 1976!), saw tens of thousands of vacant rental homesites begging for homes! One strategy? Go out and buy as many used (resale) mobile homes as possible, move them on-site, and rent them to anyone who could fog a mirror!

Did this strategy work? Sure, for a while; and as well or poorly as property management policies and procedures, put in place to control tenant screening, rent collection, rules enforcement, and resident relations, were enforced. My first property portfolio was comprised of four (then) mobile home parks in the Midwest, having 1200 rental homesites with 350 reconditioned rental mobile homes in place, with half of these configured as duplex units – yes, two families living in the same 14X70 manufactured home. As I took over responsibility for the properties, chaos reigned. Only after I replaced all four on-site managers, tightened tenant screening, and changed from monthly to weekly rent collection (where rental units were concerned), did operational turnaround occur, resulting in vastly improved rent collection efficiency, taking the properties, altogether, from a net loss position to positive cash flow!*1

Now, between 1980 and the REIT wavelet of 1994 & 1995 (including the Resolution Trust Corporation or RTC era of 1989-1995), it was common practice to convert rentals (i.e. park-owned homes) into contract sales, before marketing land lease communities ‘for sale’.*2 As a result, there were far fewer rental units, per se, to be found on-site then, and through the first decade of the new millennium.

However, by the time year 2009 arrived, new manufactured homes shipments again plummeted, this time from 372,943+/- in 1998, to an historic nadir of only 49,789+/- new manufactured homes! This time it was the loss of easy access to chattel capital for home-only loans that crippled new manufactured home production and shipments. What happened to address this serious matter? At least three things:

• 2/28/2009 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. 100+ HUD-Code manufacturers and land lease community owners/operators convened, and agreed on a new home design favorable to rental homesite installation, and featuring durability-enhancing cabinetry and plumbing, to speed ‘make ready’ between renters and contract purchasers. Hence the Community Series Home, as consultant Don Westphal labeled it later that year.

• Given the lack of even reasonable access to chattel capital for home-only loans, land lease community owners/operators toyed with a variety of home finance measures (e.g. contract sale, lease option, ‘captive finance’ and more) to sell and seller-finance new homes on-site (given disappearance of 10,000+/- independent-street-MHRetailers). However, these finance measures were oft offset by unexpected appearance of the S.A.F.E. Act, then Consumer Finance Protection Bureau or CFPB regulations.

• Return of rental homes to rental homesites within land lease communities – only this time around, with an emphasis on new manufactured homes instead of used units. YES! Communities was one of the first major property portfolio firms to embrace this old-but-new strategy; and for a time – maybe even to this day, enjoyed success as long as they carefully screened prospective home renters, and visited said rentals on a regular basis, under the guise of changing filters and exterminating vermin.

Today, all three real estate investment trusts, and a host of other property portfolio firms, engage in the rental of new manufactured homes on-site within their land lease communities. Every Fall the ALLEN REPORT surveys 500+/- land lease community portfolio firms, and enjoys a healthy 20 percent return of survey questionnaires. Here’s the definitive statement, about presence of rental units, featured in the 31st annual ALLEN REPORT distributed during January 2020:

“44 of 100 ALLEN REPORT respondents, in 2019, confirmed presence of rental homes on-site within their communities. Unadulterated total of rental units = 47,542 or 1,081 per community. These totals are down from 53,931 and 1,100 reported during 2018. Furthermore, when 25,530 rental units among just three mega portfolios, in 2019, are subtracted out, it leaves an average of 541 rental units in each of the remaining portfolios.” NOTE. It is nigh impossible, given the wide range in property sizes within portfolios, to accurately extrapolate the total number of rental units that might be afield among all 500+/- portfolios nationwide and in Canada. 200,000+ anyone? And the slightly reduced total number of rental units has more to do with which portfolio firms responded with usable data and which ones simply chose not to share information this time around. GFA

So, what are the economics behind a successful rental program? Besides the policy and procedure measures recommended earlier, product selection, financing of new homes as rentals, estimating rental rates, and more, all play important roles. What follows from here are some casual observations and recommendations from portfolio owners/operators ‘all in’ the rental home scene.

• Vacant rental homesites earn $-0-. What’s it cost to install a new singlesection or multisection home, and is it possible to gross a 20% ‘return‘ on that? If so, you should be able to net 10% unleveraged. Finance the home, and one’s ‘return’ depends on interest expense. For example, a $50,000 cost new home, with 80% financeable, will cost $2,800+/- per year. Rent-wise, the home should gross $10,000/year (i.e. $800/month rent) and net $5,000. Subtract out the $2,800+/- interest cost and realize $2,200/year as a return on the value of the rental homesite.

• We recommend rental customers staying three years or less, rent our homes. This increases occupancy for us, by making it easier for them to qualify and move into the community, and it makes it easier for them to leave when the time comes, because they don’t have to worry about reselling the house.

• Renting simplifies matters greatly for us. A resident needs but one month rent, plus one month security deposit or $1,600, as opposed to homebuyers/site lessees who need 10% down payment plus one month rent, generally about $8,000. The difficulty getting prospects financed these days, results in us renting eight homes for every one we sell. And we maintain 95% rental home occupancy! Our total maintenance cost for a rental unit is only $600+/- per unit per year.

So, are rental units in land lease communities ‘here to stay’? Your guess is as good as mine. They’re certainly filling the affordable housing need right now, especially in the face of tightened financial regulations and lack of reasonable access to chattel capital for home-only loans. But, like the last decade or two of the 20th century, unforeseen circumstances might, once again, make it advantageous to convert rental units into contract sales – especially before marketing land lease communities ‘for sale’.

End Notes.

1. For the complete story of this saga, and how it played out a decade later, read the short story ‘An Error to Die For’ in SWAN SONG, available via www.educatemhc.com

2. Why convert rental units to contract sales during the period 1980 thru 2009? Reconditioned manufactured homes used as rental units were an expensive proposition, where basic repairs and ‘make ready’ maintenance were concerned. Furthermore, land lease community ‘buyers’ oft aggressively negotiated the value of rental units ‘down’ from their capitalized income value to minimal replacement values. And, at the time, most lenders, as well as the GSEs until they dropped out of the manufactured housing market, eschewed financing and guaranteeing ‘park-owned’ home loans.

Part II.

$ Market Updates for Land Lease & RV Communities…

Record Low: US Treasury rates dropped to record lows, with the entire yield curve below 1% for the first time in history; and the 10-year US Treasury hit a record low of 0.32% on March 9.

Record Flow: Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are being inundated with new loan requests, submissions are at $9 billion a week for each lender, triple their normal pace! (Expect GSEs to be cautious about guaranteeing loans with firms who might plan to greatly increase rental homesite rents soon after deal ‘closings’, adding to discontent already fanning the flames of landlord-tenant legislation. GFA)

Agency Response. Agencies continue to provide loan quotes injecting liquidity into the market during times of high volatility; and their response to record inflows and the low Treasury rates has been to increase spreads and institute tight floor rates – currently financing rates around 3.0%.

Agency Forecast: If new submissions maintain at the current pace, expect spreads to increase and credit tighten throughout the year, as agency lenders manage their 2020 volume caps.

Other Lenders. Life companies actively quoting financing rates in the low 3.05 range, and conduit lenders on ‘standby’ until the market provides price clarity.

Thanks, again, to Art Tuverson for supplying the gist of this information for blog floggers (readers). And, no kidding, YOU DO WANT your personal copy of the 22nd annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving Land Lease Communities & the Manufactured Housing Industry!

George Allen, CPM™Emeritus, MHM™Master
EducateMHC

Postscript. I rarely do postscripts, but in the event YOU are interested in writing MH & LLCommunity trade-related articles for one or more of three trade publications, know I’m planning a day long Writers’ Seminar at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., on 3 August, roughly from 9AM-3PM (lunch together). Attendance must be limited, so if seriously interested, respond NOW to this invitation, via email: gfa7156@aol.com or the phone number listed above. Minimum fee to cover handouts and necessary meeting expenses.

Also know, EducateMHC, the same day is hosting its day long, and very popular, Manufactured Housing Manager professional property management training & certification program at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. Today, nearly 1,500 MHMs own/operate land lease communities throughout North America! To register, visit www.educatemhc.com

Something New, or ‘Not So New’, is a-Coming Your Way!

March 9th, 2020

Blog # 575 @ 9 March 2020; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Moto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Only one blog topic this week, the newly combined MH Shipment ‘#s & $s’ Report for 1/2020; &, 3/3/20 ‘Manufacturer/REIT Market Data’ Report. At the risk of overstating the importance, timeliness, and utility of this proprietary information coming your way, know the manufactured housing industry has waited nearly seven decades for these key private and public data sets to be published and shared together industrywide!

I.

Something New, or ‘Not So New’, is a-Coming Your Way!

If you were active in manufactured housing and communities during the mid-1990s, you might recall reading the periodic report I penned, titled: ‘The MHCommunity REIT Report’. It was an exciting, albeit short-lived effort to track REIT stock performance at the time.

Why exciting? Because Wall Street analysts initially viewed REIT IPOs (Initial Public Offerings – of stock) as being Growth Stocks, not the Value Stocks they were! Hence, from the ‘git-go’, REIT execs faced expectations-cum-demands, to increase dividend payments quarter after quarter – a near impossible task given the illiquid real estate assets in REIT portfolios. It was the realty asset class’ first brush with rent control and other forms of landlord-tenant legislation.

Why short-lived? Look at the ‘Rental Homesite Counts Among LLCommunity REITs’ chart within any ALLEN REPORT and that story is clear. Four new REITs were in play between 1994 & 1997; five between 1998 & 2003; six during 2004 & 2005; but then back to the present day three by year 2009, with no change during the past decade. Those chaotic times made it nigh impossible to keep accurate track of who was acquiring whom, how, and why.

So, what’s new coming your way? An expansion of the widely-referenced monthly MH Shipment ‘#s & $s’ Report prepared and distributed by EducationMHC. In brief, monthly HUD-Code housing shipment volume is tallied and reported by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety. IBTS is HUD’s perennial contractor for this valuable service, to national MH advocacy entities like HUD, MHARR, MHI, NAMHCO, & EducateMHC. There’s generally a two month lag time between end of month shipment tallying (e.g. January) and reporting (March)

Starting with the January 2020 report (distributed during early March 2020), a second half has been added: ‘Public Market Side of Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Portfolio Investing’. No lag time here! As soon as the first half this report is complete, public market data is gleaned online and reported to readers as four HUD-Code housing manufacturers and three real estate investment trusts, where stock prices are concerned. There will also be corporate ‘news’, market cap ‘value’ comparisons, and a new combined (MH & LLCommunity) stock index.

How to obtain your copy of this new tool, to help you quantify and understand the ‘industry’ and ‘realty asset class’ aspects of manufactured housing and communities? Simple. Subscribe to the Basic edition of The Allen Confidential newsletter, and you’ll receive this valuable resource document digitally every month.

***

Here We Go Again, & Again….

February 28th, 2020

Blog # 573 @ 28 February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com and visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: There’s a LOT to digest in this blog posting! First, I’ll be asking you to embrace ‘findings’ documented 29 years ago by a presidential commission looking into exclusionary land use regulations – akin to what HUD is preparing to do today! And while you’re at it, don’t miss reading the March 2020 issue of The Allen Confidential, containing 18 specific regulatory barriers to affordable housing – again; identified 29 years ago! And Part II. A cost effective way to get your firm’s product & service message in front of 500+/- portfolio owners! Finally; hope you’re as excited as I am we’ll get to network with one another during the MHCongress! We’re already working on something very special to share with you there….gfa

I.

Here We Go Again, & Again….

HUD & Others Seek to Reinvent the Wheel of Exclusionary Land Use Regulations

What follows here, is quoted from the October 2019 issue of the Allen Letter. “During the past 50 years there have been at least five “presidential commissions and federal initiatives to eliminate local barriers to housing development”. The most comprehensive of these enterprises was the 1991 HUD-appointed commission to “investigate the nature and extent of regulatory barriers to affordable housing” – with final report released in early July 1991. Have you ever seen or read it? Well here’re some particularly pithy extracts from Anthony Downs’ (of The Brookings Institute) summary of those findings.

• “The main problem concerning regulatory barriers to housing affordability was not whether they existed, or how large they were, but how to overcome the great political obstacles to reducing them.” P.1097. Think NIMBY, LULU & BANANA.*1

• “Regulatory barriers raise housing costs much more than most people realize.” Some say 50%! Remedial strategy? “Emphasize state government pressure on local governments.” P.1098. Year 2020 has federal government pressuring local governments

• Several key perspectives: “Deal with big-city and suburban barriers to housing affordability”; “the problems low-income households have in paying for decent housing without spending more than 30 percent of their income for shelter”; and, “difficulty many households have in buying their first homes, regardless of income.” p.1099

• Here’s where ‘the rubber meets the road’; “Why local governments retain regulations that raise housing costs.” It’s “a common error in social policy analysis: a mistaken presumption of common goals.” P.1100. Again, think NIMBY,LULU, & BANANA*1

• “Local zoning codes (that exclude almost all moderate or high-density housing developments, including most multifamily housing)”, and “other specific regulations: building codes, subdivision codes, environmental regulations, the Endangered Species Act, historic preservation regulations, and labor regulations.” P.1101. And there’s more!

• A list of 18 ‘Specific regulatory barriers to affordability’- well known since 1991, will be published in toto, in the March 2020 issue of recently reconfigured newsletter: The Allen Confidential. You don’t want to miss this, as it presupposes results of “HUD’s impending study, designed to identify and assess local barriers to the siting and utilization of HUD-Code manufactured homes.” From MHARR Press Release dated 18 February 2020.

• Here’re three thought-worthy observations contained in the afore-referenced 1991 report: First, “…eliminating all regulatory barriers to housing affordability would not come close to ending the existing housing affordability problems of America’s low-income household. Those are caused more by poverty and low incomes than by high housing costs.” P.1105. Second, “…any requirements for minimum unit sizes of above, say 500 square feet per unit, or for maximum densities of below, say 35 units per acre, are the result of local government regulations, not of physical requirement for satisfactory living.” (Here think Tiny houses, park model RVs, & other types of Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs). P.1009. And third, “…current housing quality and density standards in many communities are set unrealistically high in relation to the true economic capabilities of millions of American households.” P.111 In other words, “…a crucial way to reduce the costs of building housing is to reduce the quality standards such housing is legally required to meet.” P.1112.

Once again, you will want a copy of the aforementioned list of 18 Specific regulatory barriers to affordability, soon to be featured in the March 2020 issue of The Allen Confidential. It’s as close to ‘the school solution’, as we’ll get – and it’s been around now for 29 years! Makes it an historic document, a template for planning and action, and provides HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities, a ‘leg up’ in affirming our long respected place as this nation’s best factory-built, unsubsidized housing alternative to solve the perennial affordable housing crisis!
End Note. 1. NIMBY = ‘Not in My Back Yard’; LULU = ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use’’; and, BANANA = ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone!’ All three are today being pressured and modified as: YIMBY = ‘Yes, in My Back Yard!’; LULU = ‘Locally Useful Land Use’; and, ‘Build Appealing New Apartments Near Affordable housing need areas!’
II.
How to Put Your Firm’s Message in Front of 500+/- Portfolio Owners/operators of Land Lease Communities in North America!
Wager most of you don’t know this unique service exists in year 2020!. Well it does, and here’s how this one-of-a-kind direct mail marketing program works to serve you and 500+/- portfolio owners/operators of land lease communities domiciled throughout North America.
First off; the 600 direct mail communiques you prepare, are sent, via EducateMHC, directly to the decision-makers of portfolio firms. We exercise this exclusive, highly confidential mailing list several times a year, and always use first class postage – so delivery accuracy is near 100%! Why 600 rather than 500 pieces? While there are 500+/- sole proprietor owners, partnerships, corporations, and three public REITs in this property portfolio data base, we include another 100+/- ‘players’ whose property count does not yet qualify them as a portfolio (e.g. minimum of five standalone land lease communities, and or 500+ rental homesites in one or more properties).
The typical, though not mandated communique you prepare, can be a letter on your firm’s letterhead, accompanied by a descriptive brochure; sometimes even a bounce-back postcard – encouraging recipients to respond, even if not ready to respond to your product or service offer or request for information.
Who uses this direct mail marketing program? A wide variety of land lease community-related firms:
• Lenders and loan brokers specializing in land lease community mortgage origination and or refinance
• Independent, third party chattel capital lenders
• Real estate brokers with land lease communities, or portfolios, listed for sale
• Would be land lease community investors seeking one or more properties to acquire*1
• Land lease community owners/operators interested in selling one or more properties in particular local housing markets
• Insurance companies
• Aftermarket suppliers of product and services for manufactured housing
• National advocates for manufactured housing and or land lease communities seeking to increase their membership
So, what’s next, if interested in availing yourself of this valuable marketing service? Contact Erin Smith, MHM, via Educatemhc@gmail.com. Then prepare 600 pieces of direct mail. Envelopes must be stuffed, sealed, and stamped with first class postage stamps – not postage meter impressions. Then ship the package, along with requisite payment, to EducateMHC @ 170 Commerce Dr., Franklin, IN. 46131.
End Note. *1. Some of the largest property portfolio firms in business today, got their start ‘decades ago’ by exercising this unique data base of 500+/- land lease community portfolio owners/operators domiciled in the U.S. and Canada.
III.
Special Advance Notice!
Apparently I’ll join many of you at the MHCongress in Las Vegas @ 6-8 April 2020. Why am I telling you this? Plans are for me to participate in a professional property management panel presentation – which I hope you’ll attend! But I also have something else in mind to share with you as we network throughout the event. Based on material created and used during plant tours and home sales seminars, held these past several years at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Indiana, we’ve printed an ‘In-community, HUD-Code Housing Marketing & Sales Tool’, available nowhere else! Hint. It contains latest FMR (Fair Market Rent) methodology; Six Right Ps of Marketing; and, uses of AMI (Area Median Income) & AGI (Annual Gross Income) to affordably ‘size’ new homes and rental homesites desired by homebuyers/site lessees!
George Allen, CPM, MHM

MHI 2.0

February 20th, 2020

Blog # 572 @21 February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com, and visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM Class!

INTRODUCTION: The three parts following here are self-explanatory in their own right. In brief; embrace the ‘MHI 2.0’ focus for year 2020; continue to watch for progress with the CrossMod™ home and GSE’s two DTS $ programs designed to support sales thereof; and finally, let elected and salaried leaders, among all three trade advocacy bodies, know you’d like to see the manufactured housing product and land lease community lifestyle promoted during the weeks and months ahead….

I.

MHI 2.0

In my opinion, Dr. Leslie Gooch well-walked the fine line between micromanagement and getting the job done. In this case, given group discussion participation by gathered members, she oriented and focused the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) going into year 2020 and beyond! How did she do this? By pretty much dominating every division meeting with her description of, and request for input about, what she labeled ‘MHI 2.0’. On one hand, this was akin to micromanagement; but was necessary for everyone to hear and discuss, to achieve ‘buy in’ among three areas Leslie emphasized:

• MHI’s team is 930+ members strong, plus staff. Leslie expects everyone to be on board during the weeks and months ahead as the institute advocates for the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class. What was really novel, to me anyway, was her insistence considering legislators, as well as government agencies and regulators (e.g. GSEs) to also be part of the MHI team.

• How to best tell our manufactured housing story going forward? That means doing things that are newsworthy and needed, e.g. being part of the solution to our nation’s ongoing affordable housing crisis. Also continuation of the Innovative Housing presentation on the National Mall later this year. Some even suggest revisiting the land lease community evaluation and recognition program of the late 1990s.

• How to grow manufactured housing markets? This was a lively topic among all division meetings, as ‘how to do so’ can, and will, take on many visages – each tailored to particular segments of the manufactured housing industry. One oft-visited line of thinking had/has to do with identifying and removing local housing market regulatory barriers to all forms of affordable housing.

No question about it, ‘MHI 2.0’ is Dr. Leslie Gooch, CEO, & President Mark Bowersox’ orientation for year 2020. Suggest you watch weekly newsletters from MHI expanding on this theme. And if not already aboard, as a member, become a member of the team!

II.

CrossMod™ Is Not a Modular Home

Modular Home Builders Association (‘MHBA’) Lashes out, Claiming MHI Usurping Popularity of ‘Modular’ Type Factory-built Housing!

In a recent online communique, Tom Hardiman, executive director of MHBA takes MHI to task, in his view, for misleading prospective homebuyers. How so? Quoting MHI’s research on the matter, allegedly “The term ‘manufactured home’ only appeals to nine percent of potential home buyers. But add the ‘undefined use of mod’ to the name, and suddenly it (the appeal) jumps to 46 percent!”

Hardiman goes on to say, “Putting a manufactured home on a permanent foundation, adding a pitched room and a porch doesn’t make it modular. It makes it a damn nice (HUD-Code) manufactured home. And that’s nothing to shy away from. Take pride in your own industry and own it! But don’t high-jack our industry because your marketing team thinks it will help with sales.” Which, by the way, has NOT been the case to date. According to GSEs, during a recent Listening Session in St. Louis, their MHAdvantage and Choice MH finance guarantee programs have seen little to no traffic where new CrossMod™ homes have been concerned!

MHBA, via its’ Hardiman, calls upon the “…Manufactured Housing Institute to stop marketing this product and to stop misleading the public. (And) We are asking the public to ask one simple question when considering this product: ‘What code is this built to?”.”

This is not the first time MHBA and MHI have crossed horns. Nor is MHBA the sole national trade entity claiming to represent, and or advocate in behalf of, modular homes. There’s also the 1) Building Systems Council (‘BSC’) of the National Association of Home Builders (‘NAHB’), 2) Modular Building Institute (‘MBI’) – a commercial buildings trade group; and, in the event you didn’t know this,3) the National Modular Housing Council (‘NMHC’) of – yes – MHI. Confused yet?

And so, unless MHI reverses direction relative to marketing CrossMod™ manufactured homes fabricated to the HUD-Code, and I don’t see that happening at this point in time, expect to see and read more of this battle continuing into the building season this Spring and Summer.

Post MHI Winter Meeting Observation on this topic? CrossMod™ was a topic of conversation, just never excitedly that I heard, during said meeting. Two things. I did remind one audience how ‘manufactured housing’ has been down this road (i.e. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks!’) before; in 1998, when we shipped 372,943+/- new HUD-Code homes, a.k.a. Developer Series Homes. Our Achilles Heel then? Independent (street) MHRetailers not trained or equipped to be site prep contractors needed to ensure safe, secure installation of these homes! And, as far as I know, that situation has not changed where CrossMod™ homes are concerned. Also, it was good to hear, via Dick Ernst, the two GSEs are working to meld characteristics of their two DTS programs, MHAdvantage & ChoiceMH, so as to cause less confusion among prospective homebuyers. Bottom line? Status quo continues with the CrossMod™ HUD-Code product.

III.

‘MHIndustry Image Improvement & More New Home Sales via Public Relations & National Housing Brand Advertising’

This was the topic of focused and lively conversation during the conclusion of the 28th annual Networking Roundtable, in Indianapolis, IN., in early September 2019. Unfortunately, the conversation among 20+/- businessmen and women, did not continue beyond that venue – except for some thoughtful and inspiring ideas put into writing by Paul Martens, principal of QND Properties, LLC, in San Diego, CA.

Where do you think we should go with this line of thinking, and eventually planning and implementation? I’ve been around the manufactured housing industry long enough to have seen this singular matter discussed and shelved, almost with regularity, during the past three decades. Why does it go no further? There are reasons. One of which has to do with HUD-Code housing manufacturers being perennially concerned about financing (sponsoring) a (national) program that might wind up helping non-MHI member firms sell more new homes! Seriously. And until we get past that selfish hurdle, there will be no MHIndustry Image Improvement & More New Home Sales via Public Relations & National Housing Brand Advertising!

Post MHI Winter Meeting Observation on this topic? Unless I, somehow, totally missed progress on this subject, there’s really been no planning or movement in this area of MHIndustry image improvement & more new home sales via public relations & national housing brand advertising! And that’s NOT due to the lack of funds available….

***

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
EducateMHC
170 E. Commerce Dr.,
Franklin, IN. 46131

Increasing Affordable Housing Supply (&) Maybe PCE is Answer to your Marketing & Opns. Challenges…

February 13th, 2020

February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com, and visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: This week’s blog posting contains two questions: ‘What Measures Did You Recommend?’ for eliminating barriers to affordable housing; and, ‘Is there a Professional Community Evaluation in Your Future? In the first instance, that’s still a viable opportunity if you decide to participate. In the second instance, perhaps a PCE is what your property or properties have needed for some time now.

I.

& What Measures Did You Recommend?

As you likely recall, during November 2019, HUD published a Request for Information (‘RFI’) targeting how to ’Eliminate Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing’ that artificially raise the costs of affordable housing development, and contribute to shortages in America’s housing supply. Every national advocate for manufactured housing, including EducateMHC, responded to the RFI, and some of those measures were shared here, and previous blog postings. Even the Institute for Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) participated. Here’s a summary of their proposal:

• Encourage private insurance companies, by reforming regulations, to write more flood insurance in flood zones. This’d lower costs, making the property more affordable.

• Combat rent control by introducing legislation that’d restrict localities from receiving Community Development Block Grants (‘CDBGs’) if they adopt rent control programs

• Increase Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (‘LIHTC’) by 50 percent, in each state, to encourage more affordable housing development throughout the U.S.

• Encourage more incentives to voucher landlords, e.g. security deposits to match those of conventional tenants, quicker inspection times, reserves for damage, etc…

There’s still quite a buzz ‘out & about’ where these measures are concerned. Remember what I shared with you last week about the changing foci, with NIMBY becoming YIMBY, and evolution of LULU and BANANA – traditional anti-affordable housing shibboleths (‘password or slogan’).

II.

Is There a PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY EVALUATION in Your Future?

There certainly should be, if you own and or manage one or more land lease communities anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. The Professional Community Evaluation (‘PCE’) is professional property management’s equivalent to one’s annual physical health examination, or review of one’s corporate financial wellbeing. But first; how did PCE come about, where land lease communities are concerned?

Mystery Shopping (of income-producing properties) examine and grade (then) manufactured home communities until the late 1970s. At the time however, it was a routine means of observing and evaluating on-site telephone interview, and in person performance of apartment leasing consultants, their proficiency at ‘making (units) ready’, and maximizing curb appeal. Early Mystery Shopping assignments involving land lease communities covered much of the same territory, as leasing of rental homesites was the primary work focus for on-site staff. By the time of the REIT mini-wave in the mid-1990s, Mystery Shopping, at least among larger property portfolio owners/operators, became a near routine performance review practice.

Focus changed however, at the turn of the century, when it seemed ‘everyone discovered land lease communities’ as investment vehicles. Then Mystery Shopping assignments morphed into what many called ‘pre-due diligence inspections’ of properties soon to be acquired. Here the emphasis changed from evaluating leasing performance to ‘sales know how’, with less focus on curb appeal, but much more on infrastructure condition. And as some novice investors bought too quickly, remedial Mystery Shopping, and post-due diligence consulting, became commonplace. Bringing us to now…

Professional Community Evaluation or PCE, to some extent, follows procedures characteristic of Mystery Shopping and pre-due diligence inspections of the past, but with improvements. And all PCE assignments are conducted in the utmost of confidence.

• Documentation and analysis of etiquette and sales/leasing skills during anonymous, unscheduled telephone conversations with the property’s on-site staff. Tip. Anyone who answers the Information Center telephone MUST know how to qualify prospects and schedule a home sales and or site leasing appointment on-site!

• Documentation and analysis of signage (on & off-site), curb appeal, condition of housing, and other visual clues to operational efficiency and property rules enforcement, or lack thereof…

• Documentation and analysis of in-person sales/leasing skills observed during anonymous, random on-site visits to the property’s Information Center. Tip. Anyone who conducts an on-site interview MUST know how to qualify prospects and sell or lease a home and rental homesite!

• Functionality review of social media and website effectiveness. This platform is fast becoming the most strategic marketing tool for land lease communities nationwide.

• Comparison and analysis of property’s Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’) with land lease community published norms. Also use of other performance formulae, e.g. physical & economic occupancy, turnover, traditional 3:1 rule for evaluating site rent, etc…

• Investigate property-owner targeted concerns and make recommendations as appropriate.

• Preparation of a written narrative of findings (i.e. including photographs, and samples of material handed out on-site), and appropriate suggestions for corrective action.

• And when desired, provide professional property management training in toto (e.g. one day Manufactured Housing Manager Certification class) or in part, e.g. home sales, site leasing, advertising design, resident relations, and more…

As you might suspect, this highly specialized and valuable service does not come at a bargain rate. Most assignments of this nature require a minimum of a couple days’ time, plus travel expenses.

To learn more about PCE and you, communicate to EducateMHC@gmail.cm or phone (317) 697-1717.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master

ERRATUM

February 7th, 2020

Blog # 570 @ 7 February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.cm and visit www.eduatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Correcting one’s errors can be instructive, even humorous. Part I describes a recent error with an instructive correction. A decade ago I penned a booklet on MH finance; a misprint therein suggested using ‘pubic finance’, when I meant to say ‘public finance’. Part II is serious stuff! I’ve been around this (MH) business for 40 plus years, and current threats of landlord-tenant legislation are the most widespread experienced to date. Pay attention! And Part III was kinda fun to write. I’ve known Ralph Cochran ‘for decades’ and admire what he’s done in the field of Christian education. Maybe if we’re fortunate, he’ll return to the land lease community investment fold one of these days…

I.

ERRATUM

We corrected an ERRATUM (misprint @ blog # 568) in last week’s (#569) posting; so, why do so again, here in # 570? Ha! Making mistakes is NOT my habit or amusement, but it does happen from time to time. Here’s the latest misstep and it’s a doozie:

Pull out your 31st annual ALLEN REPORT and turn to page # 6, where the list of 100 land lease community portfolio owners/operators begins. Look at year 2020 ranking # 2, listing SUN Communities, Inc. In the 7th column across, where we show 266 communities – the correct number is 382. Why the difference? When compiling the ALLEN REPORT I missed seeing a small print footnote at the bottom of the data questionnaire indicating: In addition to 266 land lease communities, the firm now owns/operates 116 RV parks; for a total of 382 MH&RV communities! Hence, total should have been 382 and not 266. Certainly underscores the decade long emerging trend of including recreational vehicle rental sites and properties in heretofore ‘land lease community only’ portfolios.

Sorry ‘bout that oversight. But since the ALLEN REPORT is now distributed digitally, all copies henceforth will have the correct total in place! Speaking of which, if you have yet to purchase your copy of said report, visit www.educatemhc.com to order. You’ll be glad you did, as there’s no more comprehensive a compendium of realty asset class stats and trends available anywhere else in the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry!
II.

Be Aware & BEWARE!

I’ve used that headline before and now, for good reason both times!’

What you’re about to read here, are summaries of a half dozen landlord-tenant legislation regulations now in place in at least one state, where rent control was anathema (‘something accursed’) just a year or so ago. You ready? Here goes:

Landlords prohibited from refusing to rent to a tenant on grounds he/she was the subject of prior eviction proceedings.

Attorney’s fees, in behalf of landlords, in landlord-tenant proceedings, are no longer collectable from the tenant if landlord is awarded judgement based on tenant’s default.

If landlord charges a fee for conducting a background or credit check, the total amount cannot exceed the actual cost of the background and credit checks, or $20 dollars, whichever is less.

Unless landlord can prove to the court a tenant is ‘objectionable’ (‘whatever that means’), a warrant of eviction, and collection of costs of an eviction proceeding, may be stayed by the court for a period of not more than one year, if court finds tenant cannot, within the neighborhood, secure suitable premises similar to those occupied by said tenant.

Illegal evictions prohibited. Prohibits landlord from using or threatening force, interrupting or discontinuing essential services, or ‘engaging in a course of conduct which interferes with or is intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of the occupant in the use or occupancy of the dwelling unit…

Limit security deposits to one month’s rent, only.

So, are you shocked at what’s happening to leaseholds in some parts of the U.S.? All the more reason for you to take steps now, so as to not have this occur in local housing markets you serve with your land lease community or communities! How to effect these steps? Several measures come to mind:

• Join and be active in your state manufactured housing association! And extend that membership status and activity to the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division. Anything less is counter-productive.

• Have your community operators trained and certified as professional property managers! Easiest and most economical means of doing so is enrollment in the popular one day Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) class. Visit www.educatemhc.com

• Join local Chambers of Commerce wherever you have land lease communities! Encourage local staff to attend events and cultivate a positive local image wherever and whenever possible. Success? When chamber sends you prospective homeowners.

• Purchase a copy of Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry for every land lease community! MHM class participants receive this book as a matter of course. It addresses most on-site management challenges. Has to be best text available, now that Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) stocks and sells it to Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) members & AMO organizations. Visit www.educatemhc.com

I realize, as many of you do, our unique income-producing property performance hiatus, and unwanted legislative attention, is as much to blame on ‘outsiders’ acquiring communities ‘at whatever cost’, then increasing rental homesite rates to whatever level necessary to pay operating expenses and inflated debt service payments. So it behooves you, as an owner/operator, to do whatever you can to protect your investment and job – starting with the four bullet points just articulated. If you have additional suggestions, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com

III.

Ralph Cochran Rides Again!

Not everyone reading these lines is old enough to recall, nearly two decades ago, when Ralph Cochran was identified as one of our realty asset class’ Young Wealth builders, a.k.a. Young Lions in the ALLEN REPORT. After a few years run, Ralph liquidated his property portfolio, and headed off in a different career direction, founding and growing classical Christian schools back East.

A couple months ago, Ralph released his new book, Story Marketing for Christian Schools, ‘The Expert’s Guide to Growing Enrollment through Word of Mouth Marketing, Story Telling, and Inbound Marketing’. I read the book recently, and was pleasantly surprised (?) – no, encouraged, to read Ralph suggesting a formula similar to one used by land lease community owners/operators to market and sell new HUD-Code homes on-site. Here’s what Ralph has to say on the subject of, what he calls, Inbound Methodology:

“To effectively market the Right Way to the Right Audience at the Right Time and achieve your marketing goals, you also need a working knowledge of the inbound methodology, a four-phase process:”

• Attract the right visitors to your school website ( or land lease community website)

• Convert visitors into school enrollment leads (Convert inquiry phone calls into on-site visits & visits into completed applications!)

• Nurture those leads through the Buyer’s Journey to the enrollment decision (Using ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ to ensure buyer purchases the house he/she can afford!)

• Delight your enrollees to the point they become your WOM (‘Word of mouth’) marketers (Cultivate good resident relations to generate referrals & encourage retention!)

See what I mean? The parallels are clear. And, if Christian schools are of interest to you, consider buying a copy of Ralph’s book. It’s available online.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

One Story You’ll Likely Not Get To Read….

January 31st, 2020

Blog # 569 @ 31 January; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource and communication media for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE served U! Goal: promote HUD-Code manufactured housing &^ land lease communities as U.S> source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Part I describes a worthy ‘read’, but you’ll have to chase down the manuscript on your own. Part II is, in large part, a repeat of material shared last week re YIMBY, LULU & BANANA. Part III invites you to exercise your writing ability and share your knowledge. Part IV. The near weekly peek at what’s contained in the text that belongs in every LLCommunity!

I.

One Story You’ll Likely Not Get To Read….

It’s not so much a narrative, but a 30 question interview with Mark Weiss, 25 year president & CEO of MHARR in Washington, DC. conducted by a representative from online trade media.

What’s covered in this multiple page review of manufactured housing topics and issues?

• Attempts to compel full compliance with major reform aspects of MHIA@2000
• Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) provisions of Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (‘HERA’)
• Post-production debacle re: zoning issues and lack of home-only financing
• Diversion of GSE attention to ‘new class’ HUD-Code homes & realty-secured financing
• Hint of need to regulate perceived business monopoly in manufacturing & finance
• Call for an independent, national, post-production association to advocate nationally
• FHA Title I program a non-starter due to lender regs and lack of $ data sharing

If you want to obtain a copy of this Q&A document, contact Mark Weiss (202) 783-4087.

II.

Meet NIMBY, YIMBY, LULU & BANANA

Yes, I mentioned these long-used, anti-affordable housing acronyms in last week’s blog posting (#568), but enough of you requested further explanation, I decided to run them past you again.

There is indeed a fledgling movement among affordable housing advocates these days, to change land-use policies and practices in a manner resulting in more instances (i.e. increased presence and volume) of all forms of affordable housing, workforce housing in particular. The most popular change-handle has been YIMBY or ‘Yes, In My Back Yard!’, more than a symbolic 180 degree turnaround in attitude regarding affordable housing, i.e. away from the long-lived NIMBY or ‘Not In My Back Yard!’ shibboleth!

Now, LULU and BANANA, to date, haven’t attracted that much attention, but their built-in negative messages have been pointed out, repeatedly, as being ripe for change. So, don’t be surprised, in time, to learn LULU, has morphed from ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use!’ to ‘Locally Useful Land Use!’ and, the all-encompassing BANANA slogan of ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone!’ has evolved into ‘Build Appealing New Apartments Near Affordable’ housing need areas!

Now those are healthy and helpful changes to local land planning and use regs we can work to implement and build-to during months and years ahead! Already, some housing industry observers are predicting “…single-family housing starts to average around 1 million annualized this year (2020).” Quoted from the HousingWire AM edition dated 24 January 2020.

III.

ERRATUM

In last week’s blog posting (#568) we announced beginning preparation of a new edition of the manufactured housing industry classic, How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community, published by J. Wiley & Sons in 1996. However, when I meant to say “We’re NOW in the process of recruiting new contributors to this text”; it came out as NOT doing so. Let’s be clear: If you possess writing skill and hands-on experience in one or more realty-related specialties related to land lease community marketing, acquisition, management and new home sales and finance, please let me know of your interest in joining the writing team. Via (317) 346-7156 or gfa7156@aol.com

IV.
ANSWERS to Internal Challenges Occurring Within Land Lease Communities…

Using knowledge gleaned from Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry

‘How to Market & Sell New Homes Within Land Lease Communities’

During the past four plus decades I’ve enjoyed and appreciated numerous opportunities to contribute to the land lease community pool of knowledge. This has included articulating the first Industry Standard Chart of Operating Accounts & Operating Expense Ratios (described in a previous blog posting), proofing the New Rule of 72 as a means of estimating capitalized income value of an average land lease community (for a future blog posting), even the widely-used ABClassification of Communities, to pinpoint property quality as being A, B, or C grade (also already posted). And yes, of course, the weirdly-named ‘Ah Ha & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ – now a standard means of calculating new and resale housing price points for homes to be sited on realty conveyed fee simple or on a rental homesite within a land lease community. All these tools are part and parcel to the text: Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry –available via www.educatemhc.com

A couple years ago I saw the need to educate land lease community owners/operators how to market, sell, and seller-finance new HUD-Code homes on-site in their properties. Hence, the ‘two days of plant tours and seminars’ was birthed at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. While I’ve since relinquished control of this seminal annual event to the IMHA/RVIC (Indiana), some of the ‘basics’ remain, e.g.

Four steps to selling & Financing New Homes On-site Within Land Lease Communities =
• Getting Ready!
• Buying Homes!
• Selling Homes!
• Financing Homes!
Part and parcel to these four steps are the Six Right Ps of Marketing! An expansion of the original Four Ps of Marketing, taught at most universities, the manufactured housing industry has seen the practical value of adding two more Ps to the classic list of product, place, price & promotion. And all this can be found on page 58 of the above-referenced text

The next plant tours and seminars event will occur 4 & 5 August at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. For more information and to register, phone (317) 247-6258.

***

Responses to Request for Information Pursuant to Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing

January 24th, 2020

Blog # 568 @ 17January 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ’mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource and communication media for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSHNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@ao.com , & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Call this a potpourri of topics today! Part I is your glimpse of packages submitted to the White House council on eliminating regulatory barriers to affordable housing. Part II summarizes what occurred at the semi-public meeting of land lease community owners/operators during the Louisville MHShow. Part III is your hint of a resource possibly to debut during year 2021. And Part IV; well, it’s my need for input from you, relative to a unique career pattern among MHIndustry & LLCommunity executives. Enjoy!

I.

Responses to Request for Information Pursuant to Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing

At least one real estate, and two manufactured housing-related, national advocacy bodies have prepared and submitted formal replies to the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing! Copies of packages were received from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), The Real Estate Roundtable*1, and EducateMHC. At this writing we can only assume the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) submitted a like formal reply to the White House Council request for input. As an MHI member, I’d have liked to seen and read it along with the three just mentioned.

Frankly, everyone in the HUD-Code manufactured housing business should read the comprehensive response researched, prepared and submitted by MHARR. It is textbook-like in presentation and content, and useful to boot (‘in addition’). To request a copy, phone (202) 783-4087. Talk to Mark Weiss and tell him ‘George Allen sent you!’

Four topics stood out in The Real Estate Roundtable white paper: support for more manufactured housing; YIMBY not NIMBY; need for GSE reform; and rent control as a non-solution. Specifically:

• “Promote strategies to increase production of manufactured housing.” Or, meet dire Need with more Supply! While recommendation described only one of the two (i.e. Freddie Mac’s Choice MH program, but not Fannie Mae’s MHAdvantage) realty-secured DTS (Duty to Serve) programs, it made NO mention of the continuing need for reasonable access to chattel capital by hundreds of owners of land lease communities nationwide, except for the following remark:

• “Deploy GSE reform efforts with a focus to improve liquidity for mortgages serving low and middle income homebuyers, and prioritize middle-income rental housing creation.” Chattel capital should be the focus of the second round of DTS program planning, but will it be?

• “Support ‘Yes in My Backyard” (‘YIMBY’) land-use policies….” – just as is the case with contemporary ‘zoning reform’. But why stop with morphing from NIMBY to YIMBY? Let’s also flip LULU from ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use’ to ‘Locally Useful Land Use!’, and BANANA from ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything’ to ‘Build New Apartments (or Assets) Near Affordable’ housing need areas!

• ‘Rent Control is Not a Long-Term Solution to Address the Housing Crisis” Amen to that.

There was much more contained in The Real Estate Roundtable submission. Perhaps, in time, more of the content will appear publicly.

Then there’s the response submitted by EducateMHC. The distinguishing feature here, unlike the two aforementioned replies, was the point to carefully and clearly define the concept of ‘affordable housing’ in general, then Low Income Housing (‘LIH’) & Very Low Income Housing (‘VLIH’) in particular, followed by the six widely-used measures of said concept:

• Housing Expense Factor or HEF, commonly used in manufactured housing sales environments, using the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Form’ for estimating housing price points.
• Housing Opportunity Index or HOI; formerly NAR & NAHB’s ‘Housing Affordability Index
• Housing Wage or HW measure
• Workforce Housing or WFH measure
• Income to Home Value Ratio or IHVR measure
• ‘One, or anyone, who believes they live in affordable housing’, a matter of perspective.

Much of the remainder of this response had to do with citing examples of how HUD-Code manufactured housing, and its’ sister lifestyle, the land lease community, when allowed to do so, outperform traditional, site-built housing time and again.

End Note.

1. “The Roundtable brings together leaders of the nation’s top publicly-held and privately-owned real estate ownership, development, lending and management firms with leaders of the major national real estate trade associations, to jointly address key national policy issues relating to real estate and the overall economy.” From correspondence date 17 January 2020.

II.

LLCommunity Owners Convene During Louisville MHShow

It wasn’t a big meeting, it was not intended to be a big meeting. Rather, an opportunity for interested land lease community owners/operators to convene in a semi-public meeting, to identify and discuss various industry/asset class issues and emerging trends, troubling and otherwise.

What happened? Nearly 20 individuals met for 1 ½ hours late morning on the 16th of January.

• Dr. Leslie Gooch, CEO of MHI, and the institute’s VP of Communication were present and assured everyone of improved communication and advocacy, especially via the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division.

• Some talk about MHI’s ‘new type’ HUD-Code manufactured home. identified as a CrossMod™, and appropriate for GSE’s realty-secured loan programs (i.e. MHAdvantage & Choice MH), but not for home-only financing needed for in-community placements.

• Passing mention of self-help measures, to influence and pressure acquirers of land lease communities from outside the industry, who have been raising site rental rates flagrantly.

• The most passionate conversations occurred when Spencer Roane, MHM, of Pentagon Properties in Atlanta, GA., called for a National Advertising Campaign – one funded with floor fees from manufacturers, to promote manufactured homes nationally, and land lease communities locally!

No plans were made for a future ‘continuation’ of this meeting. However, it was noted, every time land lease community owners caucused nationally in the past (e.g. 8/31/1993; 2/27/2008, 2/27/2009 & more), significant progress occurred, resolving troubling issues such as need for improved national advocacy; an ‘action plan’ to revive ‘everyone’, following the year 2009 nadir; and, agreement on the need for a Community Series Home design. So, continue to follow the news shared in this weekly blog posting series to be the first to hear of ‘the next time we get together’!
III.

Is It Time?

In 1996, John Wiley & Sons, New York publishers, revolutionized the marketing and acquisition of (then) manufactured home communities, with the release of the first case bound text ever researched and authored on the specialized investment realty property type.

The 500 pages book, How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community, when released, sold out within six months, there was so much demand for this information. A second printing sold out in another 12 months, and today the text is out of print – though used copies continue to be sold on amazon.com, often for a higher price than the $95.00 charged 25 years ago! So, is it time to readdress this timely and strategic topic?

Given there are no quality HOW TO acquire land lease community texts on the market these days – discounting collections of real estate broker ‘war stories’ masquerading as guidance, consideration is indeed being given to preparing a new edition of the 1996 tome.

If YOU believe you have bona fide ability and experience in one or more skill areas, where land lease community marketing and sales is concerned, let me know – in writing via gfa7156@aol.com You see, the first edition featured input from more than a dozen individuals with such specialized skills in this area, but most have since retired or left the realty asset class. So, we’re not in the process of beginning to recruit new contributors for this project. Interested?

IV.

Allen Legacy column in MHInsider Magazine…

I’m seeking to identify manufactured housing industry executives and land lease community owners who served in the U.S. military during the 1960s & 70s, and served a combat tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam during that timeframe. If this describes you, or you know someone with this background, please let me know via voicemail: (317) 346-7156. I think this would make an interesting and appropriate Allen Legacy column during the months to come.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC