Archive for October 27th, 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!

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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.

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