Archive for November 27th, 2011

News You Can Use & Some That’ll Concern You

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Bound & Determined to Begin This Blog with Fun Information!

This may not be the newsiest summary you read this week, but there’s ‘takeaway’ value here to apply to your unique business interests; before we return to ‘What’s happening & Not been happening’ in the MHIndustry.

I.

Earlier this year I was hired by Marcus & Millichap (Our asset class’ largest national realty brokerage of landlease communities) to address their brokers about, you guessed it, landlease communities. I began my remarks with a recitation of some of the most unusual and interesting properties I’ve visited during the past three decades, along with some of my most unusual freelance consulting assignments.

First there was the landlease community – based nudist colony in central Canada; then two gypsy family – owned conclaves in South Carolina and Arizona; even a ‘biker hangout’ in central, Florida. Ever visit a several hundred site ghost LLCommunity, where every fully – developed rental homesite, complete with utility risers and paved off street parking, is vacant and overgrown with high grass and the like? Gives one an eerie feeling. And some say there are no $1,000.00 per site ‘deals’ to be had these days, like the LLCommunities I acquired in the early 1980s. Well, within the past six months, one 50 site, management – challenged property, 100% occupied with (mostly) rent paying homeowners, went for $40,000.00 cash. I’m confident there’re additional investment opportunities like that ‘out there’.

My most unusual management consulting assignments? An in – person damage assessment of several large landlease communities in Homestead, Florida, the day after Hurricane Andrew, 20 years ago. We have stunning photos to prove it; showing single section manufactured homes stacked atop one another like cord wood, and tall pine trees with 24” diameter trunks stripped of all their limbs and needles! Then there was the time I quietly terminated a volatile, but otherwise competent community manager, after he threatened to kill the tight – fisted, out of state property owner. How’d I do it? Got the manager a similar job, the next day, in another state, managing a 100% ‘rental home’ LLCommunity. And he remains on the job to this day.

Most unusual International Networking Roundtables during the past 20 years? There was a string of ‘em, beginning in 1999, in Colorado Springs. During the final night of the event at the Marriott Hotel, five feet of snow fell (Turned out to be the heaviest pre – season snowfall on record for the area!) paralyzing the city and transportation for three days. We all helped shovel snow, took our meals in the lobby of the hotel, and lived to tell about it! The very next year, 75 of us faced – down Hurricane Georges, at another Marriott Hotel, this time on Florida’s East coast, at Delray Beach. As the hurricane roared outdoors, we hardly noticed it inside, except for when swinging one’s feet out of bed in the morning, onto a water soaked carpet. The very next year, the Tragedy of 9/11 forced postponement of the Roundtable until November, with an even larger number of registrants showed up at the event in Chicago. Then, the following year in 2002, we had a commitment from President George W. Bush’s liaison staff, for him to maybe briefly visit the 11th annual Roundtable – acknowledging previous year’s Roundtable attendees convening despite the threat of international terrorism; this year’s event held on the Gulf coast in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. At the time, President Bush was planning to be in town to play golf with his brother Jebb, then governor of Florida. Extra security was already in place at the host hotel, to accommodate a convention of Florida Judges. And we tentatively reserved the presidential suite at nearby Hotel Don Cesar. But, at the last minute, the first Afghanistan conflict heated up, and his trip to Florida was canceled; so, no very special appearance. Now there were four successive years to remember!

How ‘bout some Lessons Learned during the last the last four plus decades, as a young Marine officer, lumberyard supervisor, property manager, business entrepreneur, management consultant, newsletter writer, book author and MHIndustry publisher.

• KISS principle = Keep It Simple Stupid – or Sweetheart, depending on audience.
• 6 – P Rule of Planning: ‘Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!’
• SMEAC. Military abbreviation for the management process: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration & Logistics, Command & Communication.
• ‘Don’t expect anything of your men (Marines) you wouldn’t do yourself!’
• Use of homemade, laminated ‘wallet cards’ containing vital info & procedures
• ‘Praise in pubic, criticize in private; &, Ask, don’t tell, & keep ask out of trouble!’
• ‘Be firm but fair!’ in work environments, add ‘diplomatically’ in property mgmt’
• ‘No one really cares whether you succeed or fail in business, except you and your spouse or significant other!’
• Need to ‘hustle’ (new business) is challenging, fun, frustrating & rewarding; as ‘coasting’ allows time to reenergize & enjoy the fruit of one’s labors – for awhile.
• Definition of profit? The reward for taking risks!
• Maximum income & minimum expenses = best return of & on one’s investment!

For many more personal and business truisms, along with reproductions of several copyrighted Management Wisdom wallet cards, read Chapbook of Business & Management Wisdom, PMN Publishing, 2008. Don’t miss the chapter titled: ‘Scintillatingly Salient – but – Salacious Secrets to Business Management Consulting Success….’ Available via MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633.4764.

II.

Now, that update re status of critical MHIndustry matters parsed in recent blog postings:

• ‘Time for a Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute’ debuted 13 November 2011. Everyone in the MHBusiness knows national manufactured housing advocacy is anemic at best, given the perennial ‘He said’ – ‘She said’ Abbott & Costello politico – comedy routine, betwixt MHI & MHARR. Said Radical Change Proposal put ‘all things manufactured housing production & distribution’ under Danny Ghorbani, and ‘all things landlease community’ under George Allen, ‘all in one national advocacy body’! Response to date? Substantial email and telephonic support of the proposal (See end note # 1), but abject silence from all but one industry leader! However, this was expected! How so? Just this past week, a staffer at one of the national advocacy bodies commented, ‘Oh we don’t pay any attention to the manufactured housing industry press’, or words to that effect. Surprised? I’m not. The offhand comment simply underscores an ongoing shortcoming.

Anyway, the aforementioned Radical Change Proposal, given continued disregard, simply clears the way for an even more far – reaching alternative, that will qualify, if and when made public, as the largest of all paradigm shifts in the history of the manufactured housing industry and landlease community real estate asset class! One might even be wont to say, ‘This is really the only option remaining for this industry, so set in its’ ways, it refuses to consider modifying its’ business model to remain viable and survive!’ Keep reading here….

• The MHInitiative® successor to the National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) series of caucuses originating in 2008 and 2009. Not much to be said here now, about the tentative national meeting for manufactured housing industry businessmen and women owners, scheduled on or about 27 February 2012, ‘somewhere in the South.’ The original list of 100 MHInitiative® supporters continues to grow in number each week. It’s so obvious grassroots stakeholders, from all segments of the manufactured housing industry and landlease community real estate asset class are ‘more than anxious’ to caucus at a national brainstorming session among peers with ‘the most to lose, to identify one or more solutions to our industry and asset class’ present state of malaise. Are YOU one of these? If so, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com

• MHI’s ‘water sprinkler’ proposal to the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee or MHCC. Despite exposes in this online media outreach, and reader communiqués to MHIndustry leaders; to the best of my knowledge, there’re
no regrets, no recall, no nothing, afoot to modify the proposal, that in the minds of many LLCommunity owners, potentially puts our properties and livelihoods at risk of increased liability and decreased marketability, when water sprinkler – equipped homes seek installation on vacant rental homesites in our LLCommunities oft served by water lines not designed, and perhaps incapable of servicing greater water pressure and volume requirements pursuant to fire suppression. This is likely the last word you’ll read here about the matter. It’s
now in your hands, if you own and or manage landlease communities.

• Demise of manufactured housing (vehicle) titles & possible supplanting with recorded (realty – type) deeds, may well result in higher homeowner taxes for landlease community residents, beginning in Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, and Maryland – the initial seven states targeted by the Uniform Law Commission. More information as details become available.

End Note. *1. These unsolicited quotes from blog floggers (readers) at this website:

“WOW! Good Stuff. I agree. This is a marvelous idea. Danny Ghorbani is the right man! You would be great as director of all (landlease) community owner affairs (except for your slanted view of MHRetailers). I would vote for and support this Radical Change (at the Manufactured Housing Institute).”

“As an active participant in our (manufactured housing) industry for almost 30 years, including membership and board and officer positions in the __________Manufactured Housing Association, and membership in MHI and its’ NCC, I feel the proposal by George Allen to merge MHI and MHARR should be given serious consideration. Mr. Allen’s experience with landlease communities would very nicely complement Mr. Ghorbani’s experience with manufacturers and national regulatory issues. I would be glad to elaborate on this endorsement if you like.”

***

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156