Archive for February, 2020

Here We Go Again, & Again….

Friday, February 28th, 2020

Blog # 573 @ 28 February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com and visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: There’s a LOT to digest in this blog posting! First, I’ll be asking you to embrace ‘findings’ documented 29 years ago by a presidential commission looking into exclusionary land use regulations – akin to what HUD is preparing to do today! And while you’re at it, don’t miss reading the March 2020 issue of The Allen Confidential, containing 18 specific regulatory barriers to affordable housing – again; identified 29 years ago! And Part II. A cost effective way to get your firm’s product & service message in front of 500+/- portfolio owners! Finally; hope you’re as excited as I am we’ll get to network with one another during the MHCongress! We’re already working on something very special to share with you there….gfa

I.

Here We Go Again, & Again….

HUD & Others Seek to Reinvent the Wheel of Exclusionary Land Use Regulations

What follows here, is quoted from the October 2019 issue of the Allen Letter. “During the past 50 years there have been at least five “presidential commissions and federal initiatives to eliminate local barriers to housing development”. The most comprehensive of these enterprises was the 1991 HUD-appointed commission to “investigate the nature and extent of regulatory barriers to affordable housing” – with final report released in early July 1991. Have you ever seen or read it? Well here’re some particularly pithy extracts from Anthony Downs’ (of The Brookings Institute) summary of those findings.

• “The main problem concerning regulatory barriers to housing affordability was not whether they existed, or how large they were, but how to overcome the great political obstacles to reducing them.” P.1097. Think NIMBY, LULU & BANANA.*1

• “Regulatory barriers raise housing costs much more than most people realize.” Some say 50%! Remedial strategy? “Emphasize state government pressure on local governments.” P.1098. Year 2020 has federal government pressuring local governments

• Several key perspectives: “Deal with big-city and suburban barriers to housing affordability”; “the problems low-income households have in paying for decent housing without spending more than 30 percent of their income for shelter”; and, “difficulty many households have in buying their first homes, regardless of income.” p.1099

• Here’s where ‘the rubber meets the road’; “Why local governments retain regulations that raise housing costs.” It’s “a common error in social policy analysis: a mistaken presumption of common goals.” P.1100. Again, think NIMBY,LULU, & BANANA*1

• “Local zoning codes (that exclude almost all moderate or high-density housing developments, including most multifamily housing)”, and “other specific regulations: building codes, subdivision codes, environmental regulations, the Endangered Species Act, historic preservation regulations, and labor regulations.” P.1101. And there’s more!

• A list of 18 ‘Specific regulatory barriers to affordability’- well known since 1991, will be published in toto, in the March 2020 issue of recently reconfigured newsletter: The Allen Confidential. You don’t want to miss this, as it presupposes results of “HUD’s impending study, designed to identify and assess local barriers to the siting and utilization of HUD-Code manufactured homes.” From MHARR Press Release dated 18 February 2020.

• Here’re three thought-worthy observations contained in the afore-referenced 1991 report: First, “…eliminating all regulatory barriers to housing affordability would not come close to ending the existing housing affordability problems of America’s low-income household. Those are caused more by poverty and low incomes than by high housing costs.” P.1105. Second, “…any requirements for minimum unit sizes of above, say 500 square feet per unit, or for maximum densities of below, say 35 units per acre, are the result of local government regulations, not of physical requirement for satisfactory living.” (Here think Tiny houses, park model RVs, & other types of Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs). P.1009. And third, “…current housing quality and density standards in many communities are set unrealistically high in relation to the true economic capabilities of millions of American households.” P.111 In other words, “…a crucial way to reduce the costs of building housing is to reduce the quality standards such housing is legally required to meet.” P.1112.

Once again, you will want a copy of the aforementioned list of 18 Specific regulatory barriers to affordability, soon to be featured in the March 2020 issue of The Allen Confidential. It’s as close to ‘the school solution’, as we’ll get – and it’s been around now for 29 years! Makes it an historic document, a template for planning and action, and provides HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities, a ‘leg up’ in affirming our long respected place as this nation’s best factory-built, unsubsidized housing alternative to solve the perennial affordable housing crisis!
End Note. 1. NIMBY = ‘Not in My Back Yard’; LULU = ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use’’; and, BANANA = ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone!’ All three are today being pressured and modified as: YIMBY = ‘Yes, in My Back Yard!’; LULU = ‘Locally Useful Land Use’; and, ‘Build Appealing New Apartments Near Affordable housing need areas!’
II.
How to Put Your Firm’s Message in Front of 500+/- Portfolio Owners/operators of Land Lease Communities in North America!
Wager most of you don’t know this unique service exists in year 2020!. Well it does, and here’s how this one-of-a-kind direct mail marketing program works to serve you and 500+/- portfolio owners/operators of land lease communities domiciled throughout North America.
First off; the 600 direct mail communiques you prepare, are sent, via EducateMHC, directly to the decision-makers of portfolio firms. We exercise this exclusive, highly confidential mailing list several times a year, and always use first class postage – so delivery accuracy is near 100%! Why 600 rather than 500 pieces? While there are 500+/- sole proprietor owners, partnerships, corporations, and three public REITs in this property portfolio data base, we include another 100+/- ‘players’ whose property count does not yet qualify them as a portfolio (e.g. minimum of five standalone land lease communities, and or 500+ rental homesites in one or more properties).
The typical, though not mandated communique you prepare, can be a letter on your firm’s letterhead, accompanied by a descriptive brochure; sometimes even a bounce-back postcard – encouraging recipients to respond, even if not ready to respond to your product or service offer or request for information.
Who uses this direct mail marketing program? A wide variety of land lease community-related firms:
• Lenders and loan brokers specializing in land lease community mortgage origination and or refinance
• Independent, third party chattel capital lenders
• Real estate brokers with land lease communities, or portfolios, listed for sale
• Would be land lease community investors seeking one or more properties to acquire*1
• Land lease community owners/operators interested in selling one or more properties in particular local housing markets
• Insurance companies
• Aftermarket suppliers of product and services for manufactured housing
• National advocates for manufactured housing and or land lease communities seeking to increase their membership
So, what’s next, if interested in availing yourself of this valuable marketing service? Contact Erin Smith, MHM, via Educatemhc@gmail.com. Then prepare 600 pieces of direct mail. Envelopes must be stuffed, sealed, and stamped with first class postage stamps – not postage meter impressions. Then ship the package, along with requisite payment, to EducateMHC @ 170 Commerce Dr., Franklin, IN. 46131.
End Note. *1. Some of the largest property portfolio firms in business today, got their start ‘decades ago’ by exercising this unique data base of 500+/- land lease community portfolio owners/operators domiciled in the U.S. and Canada.
III.
Special Advance Notice!
Apparently I’ll join many of you at the MHCongress in Las Vegas @ 6-8 April 2020. Why am I telling you this? Plans are for me to participate in a professional property management panel presentation – which I hope you’ll attend! But I also have something else in mind to share with you as we network throughout the event. Based on material created and used during plant tours and home sales seminars, held these past several years at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Indiana, we’ve printed an ‘In-community, HUD-Code Housing Marketing & Sales Tool’, available nowhere else! Hint. It contains latest FMR (Fair Market Rent) methodology; Six Right Ps of Marketing; and, uses of AMI (Area Median Income) & AGI (Annual Gross Income) to affordably ‘size’ new homes and rental homesites desired by homebuyers/site lessees!
George Allen, CPM, MHM

MHI 2.0

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

Blog # 572 @21 February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com, and visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM Class!

INTRODUCTION: The three parts following here are self-explanatory in their own right. In brief; embrace the ‘MHI 2.0’ focus for year 2020; continue to watch for progress with the CrossMod™ home and GSE’s two DTS $ programs designed to support sales thereof; and finally, let elected and salaried leaders, among all three trade advocacy bodies, know you’d like to see the manufactured housing product and land lease community lifestyle promoted during the weeks and months ahead….

I.

MHI 2.0

In my opinion, Dr. Leslie Gooch well-walked the fine line between micromanagement and getting the job done. In this case, given group discussion participation by gathered members, she oriented and focused the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) going into year 2020 and beyond! How did she do this? By pretty much dominating every division meeting with her description of, and request for input about, what she labeled ‘MHI 2.0’. On one hand, this was akin to micromanagement; but was necessary for everyone to hear and discuss, to achieve ‘buy in’ among three areas Leslie emphasized:

• MHI’s team is 930+ members strong, plus staff. Leslie expects everyone to be on board during the weeks and months ahead as the institute advocates for the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class. What was really novel, to me anyway, was her insistence considering legislators, as well as government agencies and regulators (e.g. GSEs) to also be part of the MHI team.

• How to best tell our manufactured housing story going forward? That means doing things that are newsworthy and needed, e.g. being part of the solution to our nation’s ongoing affordable housing crisis. Also continuation of the Innovative Housing presentation on the National Mall later this year. Some even suggest revisiting the land lease community evaluation and recognition program of the late 1990s.

• How to grow manufactured housing markets? This was a lively topic among all division meetings, as ‘how to do so’ can, and will, take on many visages – each tailored to particular segments of the manufactured housing industry. One oft-visited line of thinking had/has to do with identifying and removing local housing market regulatory barriers to all forms of affordable housing.

No question about it, ‘MHI 2.0’ is Dr. Leslie Gooch, CEO, & President Mark Bowersox’ orientation for year 2020. Suggest you watch weekly newsletters from MHI expanding on this theme. And if not already aboard, as a member, become a member of the team!

II.

CrossMod™ Is Not a Modular Home

Modular Home Builders Association (‘MHBA’) Lashes out, Claiming MHI Usurping Popularity of ‘Modular’ Type Factory-built Housing!

In a recent online communique, Tom Hardiman, executive director of MHBA takes MHI to task, in his view, for misleading prospective homebuyers. How so? Quoting MHI’s research on the matter, allegedly “The term ‘manufactured home’ only appeals to nine percent of potential home buyers. But add the ‘undefined use of mod’ to the name, and suddenly it (the appeal) jumps to 46 percent!”

Hardiman goes on to say, “Putting a manufactured home on a permanent foundation, adding a pitched room and a porch doesn’t make it modular. It makes it a damn nice (HUD-Code) manufactured home. And that’s nothing to shy away from. Take pride in your own industry and own it! But don’t high-jack our industry because your marketing team thinks it will help with sales.” Which, by the way, has NOT been the case to date. According to GSEs, during a recent Listening Session in St. Louis, their MHAdvantage and Choice MH finance guarantee programs have seen little to no traffic where new CrossMod™ homes have been concerned!

MHBA, via its’ Hardiman, calls upon the “…Manufactured Housing Institute to stop marketing this product and to stop misleading the public. (And) We are asking the public to ask one simple question when considering this product: ‘What code is this built to?”.”

This is not the first time MHBA and MHI have crossed horns. Nor is MHBA the sole national trade entity claiming to represent, and or advocate in behalf of, modular homes. There’s also the 1) Building Systems Council (‘BSC’) of the National Association of Home Builders (‘NAHB’), 2) Modular Building Institute (‘MBI’) – a commercial buildings trade group; and, in the event you didn’t know this,3) the National Modular Housing Council (‘NMHC’) of – yes – MHI. Confused yet?

And so, unless MHI reverses direction relative to marketing CrossMod™ manufactured homes fabricated to the HUD-Code, and I don’t see that happening at this point in time, expect to see and read more of this battle continuing into the building season this Spring and Summer.

Post MHI Winter Meeting Observation on this topic? CrossMod™ was a topic of conversation, just never excitedly that I heard, during said meeting. Two things. I did remind one audience how ‘manufactured housing’ has been down this road (i.e. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks!’) before; in 1998, when we shipped 372,943+/- new HUD-Code homes, a.k.a. Developer Series Homes. Our Achilles Heel then? Independent (street) MHRetailers not trained or equipped to be site prep contractors needed to ensure safe, secure installation of these homes! And, as far as I know, that situation has not changed where CrossMod™ homes are concerned. Also, it was good to hear, via Dick Ernst, the two GSEs are working to meld characteristics of their two DTS programs, MHAdvantage & ChoiceMH, so as to cause less confusion among prospective homebuyers. Bottom line? Status quo continues with the CrossMod™ HUD-Code product.

III.

‘MHIndustry Image Improvement & More New Home Sales via Public Relations & National Housing Brand Advertising’

This was the topic of focused and lively conversation during the conclusion of the 28th annual Networking Roundtable, in Indianapolis, IN., in early September 2019. Unfortunately, the conversation among 20+/- businessmen and women, did not continue beyond that venue – except for some thoughtful and inspiring ideas put into writing by Paul Martens, principal of QND Properties, LLC, in San Diego, CA.

Where do you think we should go with this line of thinking, and eventually planning and implementation? I’ve been around the manufactured housing industry long enough to have seen this singular matter discussed and shelved, almost with regularity, during the past three decades. Why does it go no further? There are reasons. One of which has to do with HUD-Code housing manufacturers being perennially concerned about financing (sponsoring) a (national) program that might wind up helping non-MHI member firms sell more new homes! Seriously. And until we get past that selfish hurdle, there will be no MHIndustry Image Improvement & More New Home Sales via Public Relations & National Housing Brand Advertising!

Post MHI Winter Meeting Observation on this topic? Unless I, somehow, totally missed progress on this subject, there’s really been no planning or movement in this area of MHIndustry image improvement & more new home sales via public relations & national housing brand advertising! And that’s NOT due to the lack of funds available….

***

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
EducateMHC
170 E. Commerce Dr.,
Franklin, IN. 46131

Increasing Affordable Housing Supply (&) Maybe PCE is Answer to your Marketing & Opns. Challenges…

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com, and visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: This week’s blog posting contains two questions: ‘What Measures Did You Recommend?’ for eliminating barriers to affordable housing; and, ‘Is there a Professional Community Evaluation in Your Future? In the first instance, that’s still a viable opportunity if you decide to participate. In the second instance, perhaps a PCE is what your property or properties have needed for some time now.

I.

& What Measures Did You Recommend?

As you likely recall, during November 2019, HUD published a Request for Information (‘RFI’) targeting how to ’Eliminate Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing’ that artificially raise the costs of affordable housing development, and contribute to shortages in America’s housing supply. Every national advocate for manufactured housing, including EducateMHC, responded to the RFI, and some of those measures were shared here, and previous blog postings. Even the Institute for Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) participated. Here’s a summary of their proposal:

• Encourage private insurance companies, by reforming regulations, to write more flood insurance in flood zones. This’d lower costs, making the property more affordable.

• Combat rent control by introducing legislation that’d restrict localities from receiving Community Development Block Grants (‘CDBGs’) if they adopt rent control programs

• Increase Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (‘LIHTC’) by 50 percent, in each state, to encourage more affordable housing development throughout the U.S.

• Encourage more incentives to voucher landlords, e.g. security deposits to match those of conventional tenants, quicker inspection times, reserves for damage, etc…

There’s still quite a buzz ‘out & about’ where these measures are concerned. Remember what I shared with you last week about the changing foci, with NIMBY becoming YIMBY, and evolution of LULU and BANANA – traditional anti-affordable housing shibboleths (‘password or slogan’).

II.

Is There a PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY EVALUATION in Your Future?

There certainly should be, if you own and or manage one or more land lease communities anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. The Professional Community Evaluation (‘PCE’) is professional property management’s equivalent to one’s annual physical health examination, or review of one’s corporate financial wellbeing. But first; how did PCE come about, where land lease communities are concerned?

Mystery Shopping (of income-producing properties) examine and grade (then) manufactured home communities until the late 1970s. At the time however, it was a routine means of observing and evaluating on-site telephone interview, and in person performance of apartment leasing consultants, their proficiency at ‘making (units) ready’, and maximizing curb appeal. Early Mystery Shopping assignments involving land lease communities covered much of the same territory, as leasing of rental homesites was the primary work focus for on-site staff. By the time of the REIT mini-wave in the mid-1990s, Mystery Shopping, at least among larger property portfolio owners/operators, became a near routine performance review practice.

Focus changed however, at the turn of the century, when it seemed ‘everyone discovered land lease communities’ as investment vehicles. Then Mystery Shopping assignments morphed into what many called ‘pre-due diligence inspections’ of properties soon to be acquired. Here the emphasis changed from evaluating leasing performance to ‘sales know how’, with less focus on curb appeal, but much more on infrastructure condition. And as some novice investors bought too quickly, remedial Mystery Shopping, and post-due diligence consulting, became commonplace. Bringing us to now…

Professional Community Evaluation or PCE, to some extent, follows procedures characteristic of Mystery Shopping and pre-due diligence inspections of the past, but with improvements. And all PCE assignments are conducted in the utmost of confidence.

• Documentation and analysis of etiquette and sales/leasing skills during anonymous, unscheduled telephone conversations with the property’s on-site staff. Tip. Anyone who answers the Information Center telephone MUST know how to qualify prospects and schedule a home sales and or site leasing appointment on-site!

• Documentation and analysis of signage (on & off-site), curb appeal, condition of housing, and other visual clues to operational efficiency and property rules enforcement, or lack thereof…

• Documentation and analysis of in-person sales/leasing skills observed during anonymous, random on-site visits to the property’s Information Center. Tip. Anyone who conducts an on-site interview MUST know how to qualify prospects and sell or lease a home and rental homesite!

• Functionality review of social media and website effectiveness. This platform is fast becoming the most strategic marketing tool for land lease communities nationwide.

• Comparison and analysis of property’s Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’) with land lease community published norms. Also use of other performance formulae, e.g. physical & economic occupancy, turnover, traditional 3:1 rule for evaluating site rent, etc…

• Investigate property-owner targeted concerns and make recommendations as appropriate.

• Preparation of a written narrative of findings (i.e. including photographs, and samples of material handed out on-site), and appropriate suggestions for corrective action.

• And when desired, provide professional property management training in toto (e.g. one day Manufactured Housing Manager Certification class) or in part, e.g. home sales, site leasing, advertising design, resident relations, and more…

As you might suspect, this highly specialized and valuable service does not come at a bargain rate. Most assignments of this nature require a minimum of a couple days’ time, plus travel expenses.

To learn more about PCE and you, communicate to EducateMHC@gmail.cm or phone (317) 697-1717.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master

ERRATUM

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Blog # 570 @ 7 February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.cm and visit www.eduatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal? Promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. main source of affordable attainable housing! Attend an MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Correcting one’s errors can be instructive, even humorous. Part I describes a recent error with an instructive correction. A decade ago I penned a booklet on MH finance; a misprint therein suggested using ‘pubic finance’, when I meant to say ‘public finance’. Part II is serious stuff! I’ve been around this (MH) business for 40 plus years, and current threats of landlord-tenant legislation are the most widespread experienced to date. Pay attention! And Part III was kinda fun to write. I’ve known Ralph Cochran ‘for decades’ and admire what he’s done in the field of Christian education. Maybe if we’re fortunate, he’ll return to the land lease community investment fold one of these days…

I.

ERRATUM

We corrected an ERRATUM (misprint @ blog # 568) in last week’s (#569) posting; so, why do so again, here in # 570? Ha! Making mistakes is NOT my habit or amusement, but it does happen from time to time. Here’s the latest misstep and it’s a doozie:

Pull out your 31st annual ALLEN REPORT and turn to page # 6, where the list of 100 land lease community portfolio owners/operators begins. Look at year 2020 ranking # 2, listing SUN Communities, Inc. In the 7th column across, where we show 266 communities – the correct number is 382. Why the difference? When compiling the ALLEN REPORT I missed seeing a small print footnote at the bottom of the data questionnaire indicating: In addition to 266 land lease communities, the firm now owns/operates 116 RV parks; for a total of 382 MH&RV communities! Hence, total should have been 382 and not 266. Certainly underscores the decade long emerging trend of including recreational vehicle rental sites and properties in heretofore ‘land lease community only’ portfolios.

Sorry ‘bout that oversight. But since the ALLEN REPORT is now distributed digitally, all copies henceforth will have the correct total in place! Speaking of which, if you have yet to purchase your copy of said report, visit www.educatemhc.com to order. You’ll be glad you did, as there’s no more comprehensive a compendium of realty asset class stats and trends available anywhere else in the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry!
II.

Be Aware & BEWARE!

I’ve used that headline before and now, for good reason both times!’

What you’re about to read here, are summaries of a half dozen landlord-tenant legislation regulations now in place in at least one state, where rent control was anathema (‘something accursed’) just a year or so ago. You ready? Here goes:

Landlords prohibited from refusing to rent to a tenant on grounds he/she was the subject of prior eviction proceedings.

Attorney’s fees, in behalf of landlords, in landlord-tenant proceedings, are no longer collectable from the tenant if landlord is awarded judgement based on tenant’s default.

If landlord charges a fee for conducting a background or credit check, the total amount cannot exceed the actual cost of the background and credit checks, or $20 dollars, whichever is less.

Unless landlord can prove to the court a tenant is ‘objectionable’ (‘whatever that means’), a warrant of eviction, and collection of costs of an eviction proceeding, may be stayed by the court for a period of not more than one year, if court finds tenant cannot, within the neighborhood, secure suitable premises similar to those occupied by said tenant.

Illegal evictions prohibited. Prohibits landlord from using or threatening force, interrupting or discontinuing essential services, or ‘engaging in a course of conduct which interferes with or is intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of the occupant in the use or occupancy of the dwelling unit…

Limit security deposits to one month’s rent, only.

So, are you shocked at what’s happening to leaseholds in some parts of the U.S.? All the more reason for you to take steps now, so as to not have this occur in local housing markets you serve with your land lease community or communities! How to effect these steps? Several measures come to mind:

• Join and be active in your state manufactured housing association! And extend that membership status and activity to the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division. Anything less is counter-productive.

• Have your community operators trained and certified as professional property managers! Easiest and most economical means of doing so is enrollment in the popular one day Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) class. Visit www.educatemhc.com

• Join local Chambers of Commerce wherever you have land lease communities! Encourage local staff to attend events and cultivate a positive local image wherever and whenever possible. Success? When chamber sends you prospective homeowners.

• Purchase a copy of Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry for every land lease community! MHM class participants receive this book as a matter of course. It addresses most on-site management challenges. Has to be best text available, now that Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) stocks and sells it to Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) members & AMO organizations. Visit www.educatemhc.com

I realize, as many of you do, our unique income-producing property performance hiatus, and unwanted legislative attention, is as much to blame on ‘outsiders’ acquiring communities ‘at whatever cost’, then increasing rental homesite rates to whatever level necessary to pay operating expenses and inflated debt service payments. So it behooves you, as an owner/operator, to do whatever you can to protect your investment and job – starting with the four bullet points just articulated. If you have additional suggestions, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com

III.

Ralph Cochran Rides Again!

Not everyone reading these lines is old enough to recall, nearly two decades ago, when Ralph Cochran was identified as one of our realty asset class’ Young Wealth builders, a.k.a. Young Lions in the ALLEN REPORT. After a few years run, Ralph liquidated his property portfolio, and headed off in a different career direction, founding and growing classical Christian schools back East.

A couple months ago, Ralph released his new book, Story Marketing for Christian Schools, ‘The Expert’s Guide to Growing Enrollment through Word of Mouth Marketing, Story Telling, and Inbound Marketing’. I read the book recently, and was pleasantly surprised (?) – no, encouraged, to read Ralph suggesting a formula similar to one used by land lease community owners/operators to market and sell new HUD-Code homes on-site. Here’s what Ralph has to say on the subject of, what he calls, Inbound Methodology:

“To effectively market the Right Way to the Right Audience at the Right Time and achieve your marketing goals, you also need a working knowledge of the inbound methodology, a four-phase process:”

• Attract the right visitors to your school website ( or land lease community website)

• Convert visitors into school enrollment leads (Convert inquiry phone calls into on-site visits & visits into completed applications!)

• Nurture those leads through the Buyer’s Journey to the enrollment decision (Using ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ to ensure buyer purchases the house he/she can afford!)

• Delight your enrollees to the point they become your WOM (‘Word of mouth’) marketers (Cultivate good resident relations to generate referrals & encourage retention!)

See what I mean? The parallels are clear. And, if Christian schools are of interest to you, consider buying a copy of Ralph’s book. It’s available online.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC