Archive for January 15th, 2012

Gist of the 2012 Louisville MHShow, inside & out

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

So, What’s Happened this past Week?

Gist of the 2012 Louisville MHShow, inside & mostly outside it…

I.

Outside the MHShow…

Still NO reply to ‘the 12/29/2011 letter of inquiry’ to MHARR & MHI chairmen! See copy attached to BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) announcing this blog posting. Are you, like me, experiencing that ‘growing up in a mushroom farm feeling’ of being kept in the dark as we await a new load of compost – and worse, to be dumped on us?

National Summit (of independent ‘street’ MHRetailers & in – LLCommunity salescenter operators) planners and aficionados met for 2 ½ hours at the Crown Plaza Hotel outside the Louisville MHShow Exhibit Hall, discussing how to enhance working relationship(s) between these key segments of the MHIndustry. Result? In my view, the eventual solution will have to address two mutually exclusive perspectives: 1) landlease community owners/operators sorely need freelance new home marketing and sales consultants NOT heretofore tainted, and still enamored, with a flawed HUD Code manufactured housing fabrication & distribution business model, i.e. build and ship per home manufacturer’s choice, not per customer’s needs or wants, and counting of ‘shipments’ rather than ‘homes sold’. AND, 2) independent ‘street’ MHRetailers are encouraged, once again, to market, sell, finance, and site new and resale manufactured homes into small to mid – sized landlease communities throughout the U.S. – even learning, once again, to buy and operate some of these unique, income – producing properties themselves! Want to participate in this unfolding business model enlightenment and redirection? Contact Chad Carr @ (800) 336-0339.

Upcoming FOCUS Group, 1/26 & 27/2012, in Tampa, Florida, likely to draw largest group of landlease community owners in 20 years! Maximum attendance cap has been surpassed, as property owners from 15 states have committed to participate; and interestingly, all but three property owners are younger than 50 years of age, and slightly more than half are second generation ‘players’! And you should see their agenda….

23rd annual ALLEN REPORT is now in circulation, as it was mailed this past week as a lagniappe (‘freebie’), enclosed with the January 2012 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. Chock full of interesting and useful asset class statistics, trends, and nearly 20 new portfolio owners/operators added to this year’s rankings. To subscribe to the newsletter, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. The ALLEN REPORT will eventually be available for purchase as a separate document, but not for awhile. Many Thanks to those of you who donated to underwrite most of the cost of this year’s seminal LLCommunity report.

MHInitiative®? ‘Everyone deserves another chance!’ That’s the rationale for postponing the popular national call to, once and for all, discuss and plan ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ on 2/27/2012. More than 125 of you (out of 500) reading this blog, had already committed, 1 ½ months early, to support the MHInitiative® (nee National State of the Asset Class or NSAC caucuses: 1/27/2008 & 1/27/2009) with your participation in said brainstorming and networking session, likely in Florida. For that commitment, I’m very grateful! And despite the aforementioned ‘stonewalling’, by MHARR & MHI elected leaders, we ALL should attend the Manufactured Housing Institute’s legislative meeting in Washington, DC., (also) scheduled for 26 – 28 February 2012. Furthermore, if you own/operate one or more landlease (nee manufactured home) communities, plan to attend the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division meeting between 2:30 & 4PM, the afternoon of 27 February. I certainly plan to be there. Let’s listen to what our elected leaders have in mind relative to ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ Depending on what we hear, we’ll know what to do going forward. To register, phone Lisa Brechtel @ (703) 558-0666.

Manufactured Housing Manager® Class of January 2012 was a complete success! More than half the landlease community owners/operators present, were from Ohio. The rest from GA, MO, & KY, with two special guests from CA and OH; in one case, a possible ‘instructor in training’ for future MHM® classes. This graduating class of MHM®s brings us a step closer to having 1,000 certified property managers owning/operating LLCommunities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Interested in facilitating this professional property management training and certification program at your company or state association? Phone (317) 346-7156. Only costs $250.00 per MHM

January Contest. Many state MHAssociation execs received the following email message this past week: “We want to know YOUR top 3 ways to keep your park full of tenants. We know some people struggle with keeping their parks full, so we would like to hear your tips. If you have a full park, tell us how you keep it that way. If you win (the January Contest) you’ll receive a custom mobile home park T-shirt from Frank & Dave’s Trailer Wear department.” Is this for real? Assuming so, and taking aim at the use of defunct trade lingo, I responded with this short satire: ‘Top three ways to keep a ‘park full of tenants’? Let’s see. Using your lingo, that could mean anything from an RV park to a city park. If the latter, and located near a major city, invite members of the Occupy Protest Movement to move into the park, and require them to pay for the privilege; OR, if an RV park…depends on whether a transient or destination park; and, when you think a tenant become a resident. OH, I get it, you’re talking about where trailers park. Like along an interstate highway, where there’re rest areas for tractors and their trailers.’ GFA

II.

Inside the MHShow

Fleetwood Homes exhibit enjoyed a steady stream of homebuying landlease community customers interested in the firm’s line of Community Series Home or CSH models! During the book signing session Wednesday afternoon, I autographed and gave away nearly 100 copies of Landlease Communities, Manufactured Home Communities, Mobile Home Parks, trailer Courts & Camps, and Affordable Housing. Do YOU have a copy yet? Available for only $24.95 (including shipping and handling) by phoning the aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE. And, if you’re unfamiliar with the CSH line of homes, or want to buy one or more to fill vacant rental homesites in your landlease community(ies), phone Fleetwood’s Business Development Manager (‘BDM’) Steve Quick at (615) 202-0245. You know, the ‘sad thing’ about this? Fleetwood Homes, to date, seems to be one of the few, if not only HUD Code home manufacturer taking the landlease community owner/operator ‘new home’ market seriously. There certainly were precious few of them on display at this MHShow. Talk about ‘missed opportunities’. No wonder, as an industry, we’re only shipping 50,000 new homes per year! It’s commonly believed filling 250,000 vacant rental homesites, nationwide, in 50,000+/- landlease communities, is the market of the immediate and foreseeable future. When will the rest of the HUD Code home manufacturers finally Get On Board!?

A cute but inspiring story. While at the Louisville MHShow, you likely saw Landon and his brother Hunter, two pre – teen boys, ‘walking the home exhibits with their parents’. I was told each owns a manufactured home – as an investment, in their individual self – directed IRA. Well, they do; and they’re downright serious about their housing investments; serious enough, that each young man carries his own business card. Hunter’s identifies him as an Investment Manager; Landon’s describes him as a Portfolio Manager. Their Mission Statement? ‘We Buy, Sell & Lease Properties!’ As my old college professor, Dr. Grigolia, used to say, ‘Now how bout them apples?’

A special meeting with one of the Big Four + 1 chattel lenders. Have you participated in a meeting where you truly felt history was being made? My first such epiphany occurred on 8/31/1993, when 19 of us convened in Indianapolis, IN., to form the Industry Steering Committee (ISC’) predecessor to MHI’s present day National Communities Council division. Well a similar feeling prevailed during a meeting inside the exhibit hall at this year’s MHShow in ‘Luavul’. Wednesday afternoon, Spencer Roane from Pentagon Properties, and Dr. David Funk from Capstone Investments, and yours truly, sat down executives from one of our industry’s august chattel lenders. Purpose of said meeting? To learn about and critique a new, common sense $$$ program, not yet named, designed to enable small to mid – sized landlease community owners to sell and self – finance more new manufactured homes on – site in their properties! Details aren’t available for this week’s blog posting, as changes pursuant to our meeting are now being made. So, keep reading here for more information as it’s released. Only hint being that it has the potential of being a WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN proposition for all four parties involved! Remind you of another chattel initiative you’ve read about of late, with four key participants: a HUD Code home manufacturer; an independent third party chattel lender; pre – qualified landlease community owners/operators; and prospective, qualified homebuyer/rental homesite lessees interested a new home – where price and down payment make sense; loan terms are fair and reasonable; and, rental homesite rent is in sync with other multifamily rental properties in the same local housing market, and ‘package price’ is less than what it takes to acquire a home owned fee simple there as well!

There’s more that could be covered here, but these have been some of the more important highlights. For example; do you really want to read of a new lender’s proposal to offer 30 year chattel mortgages, when only a decade ago, many a homeowner realized, after 20 years of making house payments, they owed more money on their home than it was worth – so often walked away from it. Surely we don’t want to repeat this sad history again, as we’re on the cusp of finally deciding ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’

***

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