Archive for October, 2013

Site Rent Credit Program, CSH & More….

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Blog # 269 Copyright 2013 26 October 2013

‘George Allen Writes About Key MHBusiness Interests & Concerns!’

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

Purpose of this blog. ‘To be the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Ways to respond: ‘Critical responses & helpful ideas for future blog coverage, via email gfa7156@aol.com; Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

I.

What Keeps Me Going?

Email messages like this! “They are a bunch of bullies, and I hate it (when) people you trust can’t be trusted. I now know you and (Carolyn) well enough to say: ‘One thing NO ONE can take from you is your integrity; you have more than most people can dream about. You say things how they are, and you are one of the few people in this world I never have to worry about what you are saying behind my back, because it’s the same thing you are saying to my face’.” SF

“How did the (MHI) annual meeting go? It sounds like not – so – well, which disappoints me. They wouldn’t allow proxy votes? Is that legal? You’ll always have my vote!” Responses to blog posting # 267.

II.

Musings from Chairman Zell

During the final session of the first day of NCC’s Fall Leadership Forum, MHI chairman Nathan Smith, prompted by a question from the audience, encouraged his interviewee, chairman Sam Zell of real estate investment trust ELS, Inc., to comment briefly on several personal ‘Thou Shalt Not’ business cautions. Three of these are described in the November issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.*1

What most forum attendees did not realize is, during year 2004, a small booklet was published with this Sam Zell quote as its’ title: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And inside the front cover of the 3 ¾”X5”, 24 page mini-book, is this credit line: ‘Quotations From The Chairman’.

Here’re a few of Chairman Zell’s gems of universal (business) wisdom, found in said booklet:

• ‘Unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”

• ‘Trying to be right 100% of the time leads to paralysis.”

• ‘If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.”

• ‘With a long-term asset such as real estate it’s a lot better to be early than late.’

• ‘Be a risk taker; however, define risk by your own terms.’

Understand; each of these maxims is accompanied by an oft humorous pen and ink drawing, to illustrate and underscore the truth being communicated.

Where to obtain a copy of this publishing rarity? Have no idea. Contacted the copyright holder, Equity Group Investments, LLC., but to no avail. Perhaps one day, my sole copy – presently part of our extensive corporate library on ‘manufactured housing’, will wind up in the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library in Elkhart, IN. Then you’ll be able to read and enjoy it in full.*2

III.

RENT CREDIT PROGRAM

Details of the following Rent Credit Program, allegedly used by one of the 500+/- known portfolio owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities, was recently and publicly described by an industry consultant, during a manufactured housing plant show in Texas.

The drill goes something like this. The new or resale (manufactured) home is leased on a month-to-month basis, with lessee receiving 50 percent of the amount paid for rental of the home (excluding separate homesite rent) as a credit toward the purchase of any home sited throughout the LLLCommunity.

For example. If site rent is $300/month, and the home is rented for $400/month, the resident would accumulate a credit of $200/month, over time, to be applied toward eventual purchase of the home being lived in, or any other home, in the LLLCommunity. So, if sales price of the desired home is $25,000, the lessee would accumulate enough credit to buy it in ten plus years; e.g. $200/month X 12 months X 10 years = $24,000.

A caution. Not recommending this Rent Credit Program. Generally, leases can not involve equity accumulation (i.e. credit toward purchase of a home), or they’re considered a credit transaction and in violation of the S.A.F.E. Act. So, you should check on the matter yourself, with legal counsel, before starting the same, or a similar, program, on – site in your LLLCommunity.

Any other creative self – finance programs out there we should know about and consider?

IV.

Unfortunate, But Obvious Disconnect During NCC’s Fall Leadership Forum

Community Series Homes, a.k.a. CSH Model manufactured homes have been a staple of the HUD – Code scene since year 2009, when ‘smaller homes with durability – enhancing features’ were requested by land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, and were subsequently designed and manufactured by housing factories. At the time, they supplanted the ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ Developer Series Homes made popular during the 1990s, and at the turn of the 21st Century, by independent ‘street’ MHRetailers enamored with the land-and-home package business model, and for a time, competed head-to-head with stick builders.

What’s a CSH Model HUD – Code manufactured home? From the Official definition: “…contemporary renditions of (the) popular (manufactured) homes of the sixties and seventies, featuring updated, attractive , functional and durability – enhancing features desired by homebuyers and land-lease-lifestyle community owners.” What are some of these features? 3BR2B design; open floor plan with ‘WOW factor’ interior design; shutters on windows; vaulted ceiling; asphalt shingles; linoleum in kitchen, utility room and front door areas; 40 gallon hot water tank; 200 amp service panel; wood cabinetry; non – plastic sinks and tubs.

Who manufactures Community Series Homes? Most HUD-Code firms; specifically, Adventure Homes, Cavco Homes, Champion Homes, Clayton Homes, Colony Factory crafted Homes, Commodore Corporation; Fleetwood Homes, Harmony Homes; Liberty Homes; and Titan Homes, to name a few. For a FREE ‘contact’ list of these firms, along with the names of their Business Development Managers or BDMs, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. And, for that matter, if you’re a HUD – Code home manufacturer and your name is not on this list, but should be – use the same contact information and request to be added!

The aforementioned DISCONNECT? Several manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community corporate and elected industry leaders held forth regarding today’s smaller (now slowly getting larger – again) HUD-Code homes with durability – enhancing features, but NONE of them, NOT ONCE, referred to them by their CSH Model ‘handle’. Go figure.

As a somewhat related aside, regarding home features; there was a point during one panel presentation, when history seemed to be repeating itself. This occurred during Stephen Braun’s (Hometown America) description of how his firm’s ‘age – qualified residents’ have indeed ‘aged’, and now his firm is faced with ‘repopulating’, via implementation of service improvements and socialization efforts. Kudos to Hometown America for recognizing and dealing with the challenge! But know what? This is not the first time that matter has been identified. More than a decade ago, Randy Rowe – then still head of Hometown America, along with some of his LLLCommunity owner/operator peers, encountered a similar challenge. Guess what they learned from their experience? Go ahead and make adjustments to homes (e.g. raise driveway to entry door threshold level, install grab bars and panic alarms, and wheel chair accessible vanities), and offer new services (transportation, and meals at clubhouses), but expect to encounter stiff resistance from – guess who? ‘Age – qualified’ but younger, still healthy and mobile residents, who do NOT want to be visually reminded of what’s likely in store for them during the next several years!

***
End Notes.

1. To subscribe to the Allen Letter professional journal, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. $134.95/year

2. To become a lifetime member of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s ‘Wall of Fame’ (as I & many others are), phone (574) 293-2344.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Blog Has Name! & NCC Forum = Precursors?

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Blog # 268 Copyright 2013 19 October 2013

‘George Allen Writes About Key MHBusiness Interests & Concerns!’

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.”

Purpose of this blog. ‘To be the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Ways to respond: ‘Critical responses & helpful ideas for future blog coverage, via email GFA7156@aol.com or Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

I.

Did You Notice? This Blog Now Has a Name!

This popular weekly blog, with more than 300 postings to date, to 1,000+/- weekly readers, needed a working name, to be featured by Amazon.com. So we penned a word picture of what the posting has been doing for the past six plus years: ‘George Allen Writes About Key MHBusiness Interests & Concerns!’ in behalf of HUD – Code manufactured housing industry aficionados & land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide!

And it seems apropos, to inaugurate this formally – named presence, during the same time frame MHI’s National Communities Council hosted its’ first Fall Leadership Forum, in Chicago, Il; featuring #s, summary and commentary info regarding the event.

II.

NCC’s First Fall Leadership Forum;
a Precursor, in More Ways Than One?

A month ago, the 22nd International Networking Roundtable attracted 220+/- land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators and their favorite realty mortgage lenders to the Chicago suburb of Bloomingdale.*1 Last week, Spencer Roane, MHM® and a half dozen or so Georgia – based LLLCommunity owners hosted at least 110 of their peers at the annual SECO 2013 Symposium in Forsyth – where no fewer than eight new HUD – Code Community Series Homes, or CSH Models were on display!*2 Also last week, the Manufactured Home Communities Association of Arizona, under the leadership of Susan Brenton & Neil Haney, rallied 100+ members, for two days of seminars and networking!*3 An easy to miss common denominator: Nary an MHI or NCC elected or salaried leader was present at any of these three events, attracting more than 400+ MHIndustry & LLLCommunity businessmen and women.

On the other hand, less than a month ago, on 30 September 2013, the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division meeting in Carlsbad, CA., convened with only 14 land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators in the room (out of 17 registered for MHI’s annual meeting – which drew, by the way, 116 in toto, from all segments of the MHIndustry d& LLLCommunity asset class).

Now, a scant two weeks following NCC’s meeting/elections in CA, the council has hosted its’ first Fall Leadership Forum in downtown Chicago, IL. Promoted as ‘Building a Vision for the Future’, the event attracted 149 registered attendees (with, I’m told, 31+/- sign – ups at the door). When the final session, a panel led by Randy Rowe, and titled, ‘The Future of the Land-Lease (Community) Business Model’ occurred mid – morning Friday, 50 individuals remained in attendance.

First ‘the numbers’; related solely to the aforementioned 149 registration list – which, by the way, contained NO helpful contact information for anyone. Go figure.

70+/- of the 149 individuals listed, were land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators from 22 property portfolio firms (out of the 500+/- known nationwide), plus 19 small, or Mom & Pop – sized property owners. Taken together, 41 LLLCommunity sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and two REITs were represented. Furthermore; of the 22 portfolio ‘players’ present, half – or ten of them (i.e. along with their 31 executives) hailed from Chicago and the city’s surrounding suburbs! And of the same 22 large portfolio firms, nine ranked among the 20 largest LLLCommunity firms identified in the 24th annual ALLEN REPORT.*4 Who was missing from that august Top 20 ranking? One REIT, four California – domiciled firms, two Canadian portfolios, and one company each from FL, WA, & MI. These numbers, by the way, are ‘off by one’, due to liquidation of ARC.

Who rounded out the 149 registrants? 20+ lenders ‘of all stripes’ (i.e. chattel & real estate mortgage originators), 14 HUD – Code home manufacturers (e.g. multiple reps from Clayton Homes, Champion Homes, Cavco, Adventure, Skyline, & Fairmont), nine freelance consultants & seven real estate brokers (at least three of whom doubled as single LLLCommunity owners), seven insurance agents, more than a half dozen attorneys, five state MHAssociation executives, and several ‘your guess is as good as mine’ hangers on.

What was learned during this two day forum? That’ll be covered in more detail in an upcoming issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.*5 For now, however, suffice it to say:

• When listening to ‘What the Industry Can Learn from the Small Operators’, some walked away with a better ‘feel’ for compensation packages now in play around the country, based on the number of rental homesites in a land-lease-lifestyle community, variety of job responsibilities – including ‘new & resale home sales’, put on the shoulders of on – site property managers, and other considerations. Details to follow.

• During another panel, ‘Tackling the Obvious: More Action, Less Reaction’, at least one really good ‘refurbishing of manufactured homes’ tip was shared and had everyone’s pen moving at the same time. Details to follow.

• For many in the room, the most informative and thought – provoking hour of the entire forum, occurred when NCC chairman David Lentz, & HAS Capital’s J. Peter Scherer, co – presented ‘Home Financing in the Future’. They first provided statistical background information as to ‘Where we’ve been’, as an industry; then, ‘Were we’d like to go’, but don’t know – at this point – how to get there! They diligently sought to identify a New (chattel capital) Lending Model for manufactured housing and on – site housing sales within LLLCommunities – even creating a new paradigm if need be, that’d also facilitate ‘third party financing’ of new and resale homes, based on ‘risk’ and ‘alignment’. Bottom line? NO answers – but some enlightenment in two areas: FIRST, ‘What we must do individually and collectively (re: property portfolio $ policies and procedures), to entice chattel capital back to our industry; and SECOND, ‘Why we’d best step back, and realize that ‘this bird that quacks like a duck is likely a duck’, and call it – this New Lending Model, what it is and will continue to be: ‘The 15%’er Solution!’ How so? Well, there’s ‘more than a hint’, as to why, elsewhere in this blog posting. But for the complete, albeit blunt description of said New Lending Model, read the Allen Letter professional journal – the only MHIndustry trade publication that’ll share this hard truth with you!

Oh Yes, there was more. More than we’re going to cover here, or in the aforementioned newsletter. But for now, suffice it to say, Nathan Smith’s interview with Sam Zell was another highlight of this forum. In it, Zell commented briefly on the lease-option fad (my word choice, not his) popular with single family site – built housing these days; probable future of the GSEs; how ‘low interest rates are addictive, even suicidal when consistently lower than the inflation rate’; his views on RVs & MHs in the same mixed use land-lease-lifestyle community property; Washington’s ‘wealth redistribution track’; and finally, three of his ‘Thou Shalt Nots….’ Again; details to follow in the Allen Letter professional journal.

Finally; try this on for size. First; re read the fifth paragraph of this Part II to the blog posting (“70+/- of the 149…”). Done? OK; now ask yourself the following question, in light of this inaugural event being in downtown Chicago and 50 percent of property portfolios present, being from ‘the Chicago area’: Was this the second attempt, during the past few years, to suggest moving the seat of land-lease-lifestyle community power Westward from the nation’s capitol? Frankly; I wouldn’t have remembered or thought about that possibility, if it hadn’t been for three LLLCommunity owners suggesting it privately during one – on – one conversations. Think about it.

***
End Notes:

1. For an ‘invite’ to the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable in early September 2014, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-5764.

2. For an ‘invite’ to the annual SECO 2014 Symposium, during the Fall 2014, phone (678) 428-0212

3. For an ‘invite’ to next Fall (2014) meeting(s) in Arizona, phone (480) 345-4202

4. 24th ALLEN REPORT available FREE, for a limited time, by phoning the above referenced (End Note @ 1) Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. The 25th anniversary ALLEN REPORT will likely be published as a lagniappe in the January 2014 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. HINT. Suggest you subscribe to the newsletter ASAP – before the NEW ERA dawns in January, when a whole new Business Model for serving the research, resources, communication, networking, deal – making, and professional property management training/certification needs of LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide, is implemented….

5. Ibid

III.

With NCC Outa the Way, a NEW ERA to Begin

The NCC Fall Leadership Forum inspired Three Exciting Projects to likely occur during year 2014. And all three relate to the increasingly talked about Dawning of a NEW ERA for land-lease-lifestyle communities:

• A Spring Retreat for owners/operators, patterned after two decades of land-lease-lifestyle community FOCUS Group gatherings. Likely in late March or early April, at an inexpensive, easy-to-access hotel in a relaxing, resort setting. Never been to a FOCUS Group before? Well, we solicit ‘your choice’ of hot topics, schedule five of them, then convene ‘the night before’, at a restaurant for a group networking meal, followed by a day of Open Group Discussions led by LLLCommunity – experienced moderators. Sometimes even held on – site if a LLLCommunity clubhouse is located nearby. Seriously interested in being on the ‘invite’ list? Let me know via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE or via email: gfa7156@aol.com

• 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, to be at a ‘killer time’ this year, and featuring a Surprise – but – obvious choice, actually maybe two, for keynote presenters! Looking closely at a lower Midwest location often requested by past INR devotees…

• Exciting Theme for a New LLLCommunity Book! To be comprised of writings submitted by successful land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, willing to share their personal and corporate Lessons Learned, as well as Secrets of Their (& Firm’s) Success, along with Pithy Insights realized with their business peers. Want to participate? Open to owners/operators of LLLCommunities ‘of all sizes’, nationwide, even our peers in Canada. Also; interested in underwriting the printing cost of the new book – like Marcus & Millichap did with Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! ? If so, let me know. Call for submissions will occur within a future issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

That’s all for now. There is much more to come; but for now, ‘read between the lines’! GFA
***

George Allen, CPM & MHM
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

New SSRD & More #s & $s from MHI Mtg.

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Blog # 267 Copyright 2013 12 October 2013

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.”

Purpose of this blog. ‘To be the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Ways to respond: ‘Critical responses & helpful ideas for future blog coverage, via email gfa7156@aol.com or Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.’

I.

COMING SOON: ‘From Park to Community & Beyond…’

II.

Updated & New ‘Signature Series Resource Documents’ in November issue of the Allen Letter professional journal!

III.

More #s & $s from MHI’s Annual Meeting, Carl$bad, CA.

***

I.

COMING SOON: ‘From Park to Community & Beyond…’

‘Contemporary Archetype of Truly Affordable Housing in the U.S.’ didn’t start out to be ‘the defining document of what’s good & not-so-good about HUD – Code manufactured housing (finance), and its’ realty component, land-lease-lifestyle communities’, but that’s what it’s becoming! How so? Not long after it was published as a feature in the Allen Letter professional journal, and shortly before being showcased in chapter # 6 of Bruce Savage’s new book, The First 20 Years!, a national realty finance publication picked it up, to eventually make a major statement regarding our industry’s chattel finance imbroglio, and its’ effect on land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide.

During the negotiation stage of this international publication opportunity, the question kept coming up, ‘To be consistent, what term should we use to describe this realty asset class that’s, heretofore, been associated with HUD – Code manufactured housing?’ That’s when the decision was made to begin researching, and now soon publish, a second article in what’s become a three part series, this one tentatively titled, ‘From Park to Community & Beyond…’

Most of the work is done. The retrospective traces this unique realty asset class’ terminology from “…trailers and trailer camps or parks; in the 1960s & early 70s, mobile homes & mobile home parks; from the late 1970s through 1980s & 90s, manufactured housing or manufactured homes, & manufactured home communities.” To today’s houses & homes, in general; Community Series Homes or CSH models in particular; and, land-lease-lifestyle communities or simply, communities.

Did you notice? The hyphenation of land-lease-lifestyle communities? Now that’s a very recent adjustment, appearing for the first time right here, suggested by grammarians who were consulted for advice in the matter. You’ll learn more about the adjustment when this second of the three part series of articles is published in an upcoming issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

The third article? Still in the design stage, though likely to do with a sorry bit of manufactured housing history, finally identified with a label, in Part II of this blog posting.

If you haven’t yet obtained a copy of The First 20 Years!, or need to subscribe to the Allen Letter professional journal, so as not to miss ‘Contemporary Archetype of Truly Affordable Housing in the U.S.’, and ‘From Park to Community & Beyond…’, simply phone the above – referenced Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. In the meantime, get used to ‘land-lease-lifestyle community’, or LLLCommunity in short. It’s an apt word sign for today, and a precursor of our business future.

II.

Updated & New ‘Signature Series Resource Documents’ in November issue of the Allen Letter professional journal!

First the old being updated, then the new. Most readers of this weekly blog posting know there’re – until today, a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents, or in short, SSRDs. These begin with publication of the annual (25th anniversary in 2014) ALLEN REPORT (A.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land-lease-lifestyle Community Owners/operators Throughout North America!), in January; thru the popular Lenders’ Registry; and, eventually the industry historian’s ‘Paradigm Shifts of Mobile & Manufactured Housing….’, featured in the November issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. For the first time, all SSRDs are published ‘under one cover’ in chapter # 5 of Bruce Savage’s new book, The First 20 Years! Got your copy yet?

There’re two significant adjustments afoot. This year’s update of the industry’s paradigm shifts, designates years 1998 thru 2000 as being manufactured housing’s Enronesque Period. For readers who ‘lived & worked’ through that troublesome period in our industry’s history, you know ‘why’. If not, suggest you go back and reread ‘Upside Down in a Mobilehome Park’, an expose’ published in the July 2000 edition of the Allen Letter. (Phone 317/346-7156 for a FREE copy of the article if need be.) Then the label will make more sense; as enronesque (an adjective), is generally defined as relating to accounting methods meant to deceive, e.g. Business owners are cautioned to ’avoid Enron-esque Retirement Plans.’

The second significant adjustment – or in this case, addition, to the SSRD identifying paradigm shifts, has to do with announcing year 2014 as the start of a NEW ERA for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide! This has to do not only with LLLCommunities becoming an increasingly cash business, given the difficulty securing chattel capital for qualified new/resale homeowners, and finding qualified prospective homebuyers; but other apt reasons as well. For the interesting details, read the October issue of the Allen Letter professional journal! And no further information here, until after NCC’s Fall Leadership Forum in downtown Chicago later this week.

The new, #13 SSRD? As yet unnamed; but an expansion on manufactured housing and LLLCommunity data and statistics contained in the highly popular Industry Briefing Sheet complement to information published online by the Manufactured Housing Institute. This new SSRD, tentatively titled ‘Past & Present Statistics, Trends & Consolidations throughout the HUD – Code Manufactured Housing Industry & Land-lease-lifestyle Community Real Estate Asset Class, during Two Distinct Periods in MHIndustry & LLLCommunity History: pre – HUD Code & post – HUD Code’. Some of this timely and salient statistical data is available nowhere else! Watch upcoming issues of the Allen Letter professional journal for the debut of this new and informative #13 SSRD.

III.

More #s & $s from MHI’s Annual Meeting, Carl$bad, CA.

$6.95 for a candy bar and $5.95 per minutes of online time, in the resort/spa’s business center. That’s how I’ll remember my two day visit at LaCosta, the high – priced site of MHI’s annual meeting a couple weeks ago.

Already told you, in last week’s blog posting, for the first time in four or five years, MHI finally attracted more than 100 (actually 116 per registration list) attendees! Of that number, there were at least 25 state manufactured housing executives present – the most highly represented segment of the MHIndustry – and for good reason. Why? Ask them.

And where land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators are concerned, there were approximately nine ‘owners’ & eight ‘operators’ listed, but only seven of each category could be accounted for during the National Communities Council meeting on 30 September. Also interesting that eight ‘new’ NCC members were identified as having joined the division since the last (‘closed’) NCC meeting in February of this year, while 10 members resigned – plus at least one more since the aforementioned ‘rejected proxy’ election that day , for a net loss of three. Bottom line? After 17 years of representation and advocacy in behalf of an estimated 50,000 LLLCommunities nationwide, total NCC membership count continues to languish at ‘less than 100’ individuals and corporations.

Here’s a triplet of interesting $ facts. Given MHI’s 2014 preliminary operating budget of slightly more than $2,000,000., the manufacturers’ division is expected to contribute 60 percent of that amount in dues (floor fees) – DOWN from the 75+ percent, of decades past; and, the NCC is expected to contribute 17% of the total amount – UP from 0%, 17 years ago when there was no NCC division – and that’s from fewer than 100 direct, dues – paying members! Makes one wonder how the political complexion at MHI might/would change, if/when LLLCommunity owners/operators saw enough VALUE to join the institute en masse. For example, 400 NCC members dues (Versus the fewer than 100 members today!) would likely equal or exceed the 60 percent expected of manufacturers today. Hmm. Perhaps said VALUE would be recognized and appreciated if and when 1) timely & useful research (e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT), 2) helpful resources (e.g. 12, now 13 SSRDs!), 3) print & online communication (e.g. pithy newsletters every month, along with blog postings – like this one, every week), 4) superb peer networking & deal – making opportunities (e.g. annual Networking Roundtable & periodic FOCUS Groups), along with 5) a professional property management education & certification program (e.g. Manufactured Housing Manager® with nearly 1,000 MHMs® already in place), exists and thrives, supplementing national advocacy efforts already in place!

However, with ‘big property portfolio players’ now in control of our collective future, for yet another year, don’t look for ALL that to happen anytime soon; certainly not within the confines of existing national trade bodies. The end game? Whether this Measure of VALUE will eventually be adopted within said entities, or be forced to continue, in a ‘for profit’ or ‘not for profit’ manner, elsewhere?

Oh, by the way, there were far more insurance firms and executives present at this year’s MHI annual meeting than there were independent ‘street’ MHRetailers.

A Final Thought. If you’re planning to attend the NCC’s Fall Leadership Forum in downtown Chicago this week, make and take along a copy of Part III of this blog posting; and Be Prepared & Gutsy Enough, to enter the VALUE measure into group discussion at the appropriate time – if there is an appropriate time! Who knows, YOU alone might be the catalyst to alter the very nature and timing of the aforementioned ‘NEW ERA for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, of all sizes, nationwide’, in the offing for year 2014. Are YOU up to the challenge? I’ll be there to support you! GFA

***

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247 (317) 346-7156

Setting Bully Stage for ‘Next 20 Years’?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Blog # 266_ Copyright 2013 5 October 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

Purpose of this blog. ‘To be a national Advocacy voice, statistical Research Reporter, & communications Resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!

Opportunities to respond. ‘Critiques, reactions, & suggestions for future blog coverage: gfa7156@aol.com or Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.’

Setting the Bully Stage for ‘The Next 20 Years?’*1

– OR –

Sculpting, figuratively speaking, a New Mt. Rushmore in Chicago

Ever get the feeling you’re ‘being played’ by someone, even a friend, perhaps a national advocacy body, for reasons other than those stated or presumably obvious? Well, that’s the sense I’ve been pondering since ending last week’s highly successful 22nd annual Networking Roundtable*2, and now looking ahead to this mysterious Fall Leadership Forum hosted by the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division.*3

To begin with, what national trade body needs ‘yet another meeting’, scarcely two weeks after its annual membership meeting? However, that strange scenario started making some sense, as I read Ken Rishel’s feature, ‘NCC Fall Leadership Forum & the Building of Mt. Rushmore’ in the September issue of his free online newsletter, Manufactured Housing Chattel Finance.*4 Are you a subscriber? You should be!

On The Surface; Rishel suggests industry leaders will “…discuss the future of land lease communities and, in no small part, the future of the manufactured housing industry itself.” Really? I’ve been in receipt of the same promotional mailings as Ken, and nothing seen or read to date, suggests such a grand and timely scheme. So, is he right, wrong, or have something else in mind?

Below The Surface; Ken drops hint after hint of turmoil, disunity, and cliquishness between and among various MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class leaders. He suggests the Fall Leadership Forum might be the place to unify, and bring peace and prosperity back to our collective business and advocacy dealings. I think not; for reasons cited in these paragraphs. Here’s the first one: ‘Have Danny Ghorbani and key members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) been formally invited to participate in this event? Without them, there is no unity!

The full and true story of this Mt. Rushmore – like sculpting saga begins eight months ago, when the NCC chairman convened a ‘closed meeting’ during MHI’s annual Legislative Conference, in Arlington, VA – attended only by his executive committee and a few friends. To date, there’s been NO public disclosure of what transpired during that secret meeting – except for some vague but unrealized plans for the future of the NCC. But it’s obvious; the upcoming Fall Leadership Forum is one expensive fruit of that shrouded session. The forum agenda? Phone MHI and ask; while you’re at it, inquire who the unnamed presenters are, besides Sam Zell?*5 Knowing that, would help some decide whether to attend or stay away. Again, per Ken Rishel’s article, this Leadership Forum might be – could be, akin to preparing the bully foundation for, figuratively speaking, sculpting a new Mt. Rushmore – this time in downtown Chicago.

So, is this grand future planning exercise, if indeed that’s what it is, for the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunities, the sole or dual purpose of the Fall Leadership Forum? Methinks not! Quiet, behind the scenes maneuvering during the past eight months, including a plethora of hot – & – cold personal relationships, suggests something more elusive, even pervasive is afoot. Maybe even eventual usurping of ‘for profit’ LLLCommunity research reporting, resource distribution, print & online communication, peer networking & deal – making opportunities, as well as property management training & certification, by either Chicago area portfolio owners/operators of this unique, income – producing property type – or a national advocacy body. Let’s look further and deeper into these two suppositions, one at a time…

Political influence in the Illinois state capitol, Springfield and beyond? Well, it’s a – happening. First, the (needed) purging of staid, lackluster leadership from the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association. This was accomplished at that body’s annual meeting this Spring. Now political influence is being wielded in a new, refreshing and aggressive fashion, presumably for ‘the good of the manufactured housing industry & land lease lifestyle community asset class’. And what better way to solidify that emerging state of affairs, and sustain lobbying momentum, than to pressure Illinois businessmen and women to participate in this upcoming, extravagantly expensive Fall Leadership Forum? Furthermore; anyone want to bet whether raising money for state and national PAC funds will be part of the three day agenda?

Ensuring LLLCommunity owners/operators, of all sizes, from coast to coast, continue to receive the research reporting, resource distribution, print & online communication, peer networking & deal – making opportunities, as well as the property management training & certification services they’ve enjoyed for the past 30+ years, has become an issue of some importance these past few years. When MHI failed in its’ bid to acquire even a few of those unique products/services (i.e. rights to the annual Networking Roundtable, ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’ Registry, and exclusive 500+/- name portfolio contact data base.*6), all sorts of alternative succession vehicles have been proposed, but not effected to date. Scheduling this Fall Leadership Forum, less than a month after the aforementioned, highly successful 22nd Networking Roundtable, and in the very same host city, is – in this industry observer’s opinion – an obvious indicator the NCC is inclined to at least attempt to usurp this valuable educational, peer networking & deal – making opportunity. What’s next? Depends on the whim of the next elected chairman of that body and MHI.*7

Personally. What’s been most troubling about this quasi ‘sculpting process’, of the past eight months, has been the duplicity exhibited by friend and foe alike, among some within the manufactured housing industry, and a few – though certainly not the majority – of the largest size LLLCommunity portfolio players! But then, I suppose secret proceedings (e.g. Aforementioned February 2013 NCC meeting), behind closed door strategy sessions, and – worst of all, undisclosed personal, corporate, and trade body ‘double dealing agendas’ (e.g. Using elected office for personal or corporate gain, where access to selective resources – legal and otherwise, are concerned) trend in that duplicitous direction. If necessary, reread previous paragraphs.

Historically. This ‘sculpting process’ is NOT the way 19 (then) manufactured home community owner/operator pioneers Set the Stage on 31 August 1993, for national advocacy birthed and matured during the 20 years between 1993 & 2013! So, why do today’s leaders Set their Bully Stage, in the secret manner just described, selectively involving (i.e. by dint of high meeting participation costs) just the wealthiest and most successful businessmen and women from throughout the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class? For a refreshing reminder of how leadership used to function, read Bruce Savage’s The first 20 Years!

Will what transpires at this Fall Leadership Forum sculpt the next 20 years of manufactured housing and its’ land lease lifestyle community component, between 2013 & 2033? OR, will the resulting grand scheme simply implode on itself – or, as a Mt. Rushmore – like sculpture, break apart, per missteps just described?

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End Notes.

1. A play on the title of Bruce Savage’s new book, The First 20 Years!, published by PMN Publishing, Franklin, IN., 2013. Available via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 for $24.95 postpaid

2. 22nd International Networking Roundtable drew more than 220 land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, & their preferred lenders, from 25 states.

3. NCC annual meeting @ 30 September in Carlsbad, CA., and NCC Leadership Forum in Chicago on 16 – 18 October 2013. For more information, phone (703) 558-0666 – and tell Jenny Hodge, ‘George Allen suggested I call….’

4. To sign up for a free subscription, phone (217) 971-3968 – and tell Ken, ‘George Allen suggested I call….’

5. Besides resource @ end note # 3, phone (703) 558-0678

6. Reportedly, $55, 000 paid over a five year period, and requiring a ‘non – compete agreement for life’ from GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing & George Allen.

7. This blog manuscript was prepared prior to MHI’s annual meeting in Carlsbad, CA., @ 9/30 & 10/1/2013. During that event, attended by 116 MHI members – according to the distributed attendee list, it was formally announced the next annual meeting, in 2014, would occur during the same time frame as the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable….

George Allen, CPM & MHM
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247