Archive for October 17th, 2015

Something Special Afoot, & SECO goes National!

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

Blog # 370 Copyright 2015 COBA7® Worldwide Proprietary:

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve Business Model Performance!’


Something Very Special Is Afoot

I’ve been hired to research & prepare the most comprehensive ‘Introduction to the Land-lease-lifestyle Community’ ever published! That’s the client’s preferred property type term, not mine – though I certainly don’t disagree!

What’s so very special about this assignment? Believe it or not, no one has done this before. Sure, I co-authored and edited a couple textbooks to this end, 20 years ago:

• Development, Marketing, & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities, George Allen, David Alley & Edward Hicks; J. Wiley & Sons, New York, 1994

• How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community, George Allen, et. al., J. Wiley & Sons, New York, 1996 & 1998

Both books continue to sell – one better than the other, depending on the nature of the LLLCommunity business at the time, i.e. time to develop raw land with improvements, or time to acquire from others?

And since then, there’ve also been much shorter books, dealing with the history and ‘numbers’ characteristic of the realty asset class. You know, 1) Landlease Communities, Manufactured Home Communities, Mobile Home Parks, Trailer Courts, & Affordable Housing; and, 2) Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb, & Helpful Measures (for LLLCommunity investment & management). Both books were published by PMN Publishing, during 2011 & 2012 respectively – and are available ‘for sale’.

All four texts are available by phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Back to this Very Special project. There is no new book, at this point in time, being planned. Rather, an educational offering at least two hours long – no more than maybe four, during which a dozen key LLLCommunity-related topics will be presented, then encouraged for group discussion. The initial public presentation is scheduled for 11 December 2015 in Indianapolis – and will qualify attendees to receive continuing education credit, if licensed real estate professionals in the state of Indiana!

Additional sessions? Yes! Possibly during the Louisville MHShow, in mid-January 2016, if Midwest Housing Federation decides to host this top quality presentation. And a third session is being included in the Inaugural Plant Tours & ‘How to Sell New Homes On-site’ Program being planned, by COBA7®, for late Spring 2016; and a fourth session, likely at the 25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable in early September 2016.

If you’re reading this, as a state MHAssociation, national advocacy entity, or LLLCommunity portfolio firm, and want to offer this introduction to the land-lease-lifestyle community program to your members and or employees, contact COBA7® via the above-referenced Official MHIndustry HOTLINE.

What’re the Hot Topics comprising this package? Well, first – here’s the long but descriptive title of the Very Special project:

The Land-lease-lifestyle Community

(a.k.a. trailer court, mobile home park, manufactured home community)

Subtitle: ‘All You Ever Wanted to Know, But Didn’t Know What or Who to Ask!’

Digest of Topics: Statistics, Trends & Insights into the U.S. Most Affordable Housing type & Its’ Unique Multifamily Income-producing Property Type!

Semi-specifically, information modules include, but are not limited to: past & present Trade Terminology; all the salient MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Statistics; Property & Portfolio Size Gradations; Property Quality Grading – yesterday & today; the Major LLLCommunity Portfolio ‘Players’ – who they are, why & how they ‘play’; Operational Benchmark Statistics ‘for real’ & ‘not what some claim them to be’; Major Trends within the 15+ Year Paradigm Shift between 1998 & 2015; Rules of Thumb & ‘working the numbers’; ‘The Book’ & how it’s changed ‘value appraisal’ methodology & asset class’ investment history – the little known story; More MHIndustry Data, Trends, & Troubling Issues; and, ‘How to Find, Value, Buy, Manage & Sell a LLLCommunity as a Real Estate Investment’!

Is it even possible to deliver this array of technical and timely topics in a few hours time? Guess we’ll find out. First class will likely be a private affair, attended only by invited MAI®s (That’s short for Member of the Appraisal Institute®) and licensed real estate professionals from throughout the state of Indiana. Again, if you or your state MHAssociation, group of investor friends, property portfolio firm, or otherwise, would like to schedule a two to three or four hour session during year 2016, contact me in the near future. Right now, Dennis Ohnstad, MHM®, Bruce Savage, & Dennis Hill have ‘first dibs’ on hosting this program during the Louisville MHShow. Beyond that, the schedule is pretty much open.


SECO ‘Summit in the South’ Exceeds Expectations
Takes on a Decidedly National Flavor!

First the numbers. As I cobble together this week’s blog posting, the SECO planning committee finalizes their attendance and financial performance statistics for the 14 & 15 October event in Atlanta, GA. But when I left, on the final day of the event, this much was clear:

• Attendance exceeded expectations! More than 175 manufactured housing industry professionals (home manufacturers, LLLCommunity owners/operators, exhibitors), from at least 23 states, participated in the two day program. National perspective? Said total is 25 fewer than the record attendance at the COBA7s 24th annual International Networking Roundtable in early September, but 50 more than attended the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) annual meeting last week in Florida! Combined attendance at all three events was eclipsed by the ‘more than 600’ present at Rent Mangers’ annual conference – also last week – for its’ customers and clients.
• Furthermore, in rounded numbers, 120 registrants hailed from throughout the Southeast, e.g. GA, FL, NC, AL & TN); 20 from the Midwest (MI, IN, KY, IL, WI, & OH); and 20 from the Northeast (NY, NH, VT) & West (CA, CO & OR), plus a dozen individuals from elsewhere across the U.S.

So yes, the fifth annual SECO Summit in the South, planned and hosted entirely by LLLCommunity owners/operators, takes its’ rightful place among national venues worthy of support by MHIndustry & LLLCommunity businessmen and women.

What attracted so many folk to this event? For many, it was the five Community Series Homes on display throughout the program; three singlesection homes and one multisection home, supplied by Champion Home Builders, River Birch Homes, and Schult Homes. There was also a large Survive-a-Storm Tornado Shelter on display as well. The six structures were arranged in a large rectangular, the center area serving as a gathering place for luncheons and evening receptions. All homes were SOLD by the end of the SECO event!

For others, it was the superb program. Ken & Katie Hauck, both MHMs, of Hauck Homes in Dixon, Illinois, shared their Lessons Learned as LLLCommunity owners/operators, with their peers. Here’s just a sampling of their experienced wisdom:

• Hire managers who think like landlords (i.e. property managers)

• Run your company like a franchise, standardize operations as much as possible

• Have someone other than on-site manager, periodically audit the property, homes and rental homesites.

• Give to local charities. Here the Haucks shared their vision for MHGives, a charity they’ve founded to work with orphans in Honduras

• Become involved in one’s state MHAssociation!

In addition, the Haucks shared a plethora of tips about acquiring LLLCommunities.

At one point it was interesting to hear two ‘What goes around comes around’ observations about the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class:

• ‘Many LLLCommunities are now routinely featuring rental units on-site.’ Yes they are; a practice that was also common during the mid-1970s. Exit strategy? Convert lessees to contract sale or lease option homebuyers, before putting property up for sale.

• ‘Why aren’t local independent (street) MHRetailers more interested in putting ‘spec homes’ on-site in LLLCommunities, or filling vacant rental homesites?’ Three reasons: far fewer MHRetailers in business today; many sidelined by ‘land & home package’ distraction during late 1990s and yet to rekindle past relationships with LLLCommunity folk; and, few MHRetailers will send qualified prospective homebuyers to a LLLCommunity where the owner/operator is actively selling new homes at minimal profit margins – they can’t compete.

And a similar discussion occurred where Community Series Homes were concerned, i.e. ‘Finding balance between including enough ‘durability enhancing features’ to minimize maintenance ‘make ready’ costs upon homeowner turnover, versus pricing said home and features beyond the homebuyer’s capability to buy it.’

And the list goes on – the list of Good Things to Know about manufactured housing and how to market and sell it successfully on-site in LLLCommunities!

Know what you should do now? Establish contact with the SECO management company (i.e. email and or any of the show’s planners: David Roden, David Protiva, Steve Case, Spencer Roane, MHM®, Ron Cobb, David Greene, Don Hudgins, Robert Love, CPM®, Michael Power, Mark Titshaw, & Jay Zandman, they’re all apt sources as to when the sixth annual SECO Summit in the South will occur during 2016.