A Potpourri of Blog Commentary

A Potpourri of Blog Commentary

What readers of this weekly blog are saying about it, and what’s ‘going on & not going on’ throughout the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class….

One faithful reader (Defined as someone who’s communicated with this blogger several times during the past 90 weeks of blogging), when reflecting upon the alleged Grand Conspiracy and or Near Perfect Storm endured by, and seriously affecting, HUD Code manufactured housing these days, was inspired to put the matter into prose:

‘While we watch the cheese move, some move and eat their fill.
Tis the right of passage on the open market.
The old way is the old era, and it is now gone.
Today we’ll win with new ideas, despite HUD’s and government’s design for us to fail.’
Lightly edited. GFA

Obvious references here, to the business bestseller Who Moved My Cheese, and last week’s bold blog, announcing the ‘End of an Era & Beginning of Another’. Miss reading it? Just scroll back into the blog archives at this website to read ‘the rest of the story’.

Let’s see, it was 2 June 2010, that fateful day in Elkhart, IN., when during a Manufactured Housing Finance Roundtable, co – hosted by Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Federal Housing Commissioner David H. Stevens, the FHFA confirmed distancing itself from ‘all things chattel’, when it came to financing manufactured housing sited in 50,000+/- landlease (nee manufactured home) communities nationwide! Well, a scant two weeks later, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) restricts Freddie Mac from providing LLCommunity realty – secured lending! That means Fannie Mae will continue as the sole GSE participating in this mortgage arena. What else might be in the offing? Watch here for news about a new emerging conduit market….

Understand; I only report – and occasionally comment on, MHIndustry & LLCommunity NEWS. I generally don’t ‘make the news’, except when releasing a new annual ALLEN REPORT, announcing the International Networking Roundtable, and awarding Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) certifications. But readers, like you, often comment on MHIndustry & LLCommunity NEWS from a personal perspective. The following quote, from a respected portfolio owner/operator of LLCommunities, is straightforward and thought – provoking:

“I have said it before and still believe it; the REITs and big operators squeezing people on (high) rent is what started this whole mess. The little guys thought they could simply follow suit. When the big boys became REITs, they gave the (LLCommunity asset class) legitimacy on Wall Street. The money flowed into the REITs and into financing their (and our) home sales, and thus we had the false (housing) boom of the late 90s. This (manufactured housing) industry should be good for a couple hundred thousand homes per year. I am getting tired my friend. But I will push on as I have faith this is the best (housing) product for our market segment. (Prosperity) will return when all the shaking – out is done, and I hope we can be satisfied with our niche and not try to expand it beyond its’ reality.” Lightly edited. GFA

On the East coast this past week, there was a hush hush meeting between LLCommunity owners/operators and a major national name brand lending institution, to talk about the dire and timely need for chattel financing in LLCommunities, for new and resale home transactions. Here’s part of the initial report I received regarding proceedings:

“Our exploratory meeting with…went well, (and) as is frequently the case with such meetings, we ended up discovering areas of interest we didn’t anticipate early on. They are now considering the idea of several veteran LLCommunity owners putting on a ‘MHFinancing 101’ seminar for their clients and non – clients, interested in this form of investing. We’re planning the follow – up meeting.” Lightly edited. GFA

Know what? Assuming this chattel finance initiative, by LLCommunity owners, ‘grows legs’, it’ll be very interesting to hear ‘the progress report’ during 19th International Networking Roundtable (‘INR’) in Phoenix, AZ., 15 – 17 September 2010. It’s already on the agenda!

Now here’s a cryptic paragraph for you. Veteran MHIndustry & LLCommunity folk will know ‘in a heartbeat’ about which timely and historic matter the writer describes. The rest of you will have to be content to wait till an official announcement of approval is forthcoming, and I can ‘splain’ it fully in this weekly blog posting or elsewhere….

“We have gone to the ‘mountain’ one last time, and returned without any darts in our neck. We have succeeded. Considering the benefit to this (manufactured housing) industry, you would think it would be on the nightly news on all channels – but of course it isn’t. This is the biggest change in basic foundation design since the Greeks and Romans started putting rocks in trenches, under walls, for better support (That’s about 3,000 years ago!). It is truly a marvelous engineering discovery and only the MHIndustry can use it. Sadly, installation never was of much interest to most people in this business and it still isn’t.” Lightly edited. GFA

This is exciting stuff! And when we can finally ‘go public’ with it, expect to read the full story – and description of the entire revolutionary process, in the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter and the Allen Letter professional journal.

In last week’s blog posting, after describing the paradigm shift intrinsic to the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class, beginning at the ‘turn of the century & advent of the new millennium’ during year 2000, and consummated at the aforementioned 2 June 2010 Manufactured Housing Finance Roundtable in Elkhart, IN., I reiterated desirable business model features and changes for HUD Code housing manufacturers and property owners/operators alike. Then there was talk of ways to calculate homesite rental rates in sync with local housing market characteristics (e.g Area Median Income or AMI) as well as property features (e.g. good vs. bad location, all adult vs. family, new vs. functionally obsolete, verbal month to month vs. written long term leases, etc.). Some felt the formulae too simplistic; others decried guidelines altogether, i.e. favoring charging ‘What the market will bear!’, proofing the old bromide: caveat emptor. Fortunately, others take a more enlightened view, seeking a fair balance between the affordability needs of the lessee, and profitability for the lessor. In this instance, the tenant ‘fairness factor’ can be, and increasingly is, enhanced with desirable guarantees related to future rent increases, change of use, ‘closure’, and other resident concerns. FYI. This topic too is already on the agenda of the aforementioned 19th INR @ 15 – 17 September 2010!

Assuming you read this blog during the week of 21 June, you know the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) annual Summer meeting and legislative session, in Washington, DC., is only three weeks away! If not already a direct, dues – paying member, you should seriously consider becoming one, and attend this meeting! Simply phone Thayer Long @ (703) 558-0678. The agenda he’ll provide is compelling. And in addition, there’re other reasons to attend:

• National Communities Council (‘NCC’) convenes 13 July. If you own/operate one or more LLCommunities in the U.S., this is your national advocacy body! If you don’t participate, and make your views known, you deserve to have happen to you, whatever it is you don’t know about, or support or fight!

• National CONSORTIUM of print & online MHIndustry & LLCommunity trade publications, will hold its’ second meeting during the MHI function. To attend, tell me of your print or online publication(s) and interest in participating.

• Possibility of a planning meeting re the Grand ‘Once & For All’ Tour series of meetings, comprised of actionable seminars and issue discussion groups, scheduled for seven geographic regions throughout the U.S. later this year and during 2011. All this in preparation for the possible launch of an independent, not for profit, Manufactured Housing & Landlease Community Think Tank in year 2012. This is yet another initiative spawned by the aforementioned ‘End of an Era & Beginning of Another’ blog posting from last week.

As usual, I solicit your responses, pro and con, regarding the content of these weekly blog postings. It’s easy to do. Contact me via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or via (317) 346-7156, FAX @ (317) 346-7158, email: gfa7156@aol.com; and easiest of all, respond via this website.

Use this contact information to subscribe to the Allen Letter professional journal; order the 21st annual ALLEN REPORT; request an ‘invitation to attend’ the 19th annual International Networking Roundtable; schedule the one day Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) professional property management class and certification program for your team of on – site and regional LLCommunity managers; even order the recently – released Manufactured Housing $$$ Primer, and FREE copies of the Real Estate Lenders’ Registry, ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 2010’ list of freelance consultants, and list of three dozen Business Development Mangers (‘BDM’) specializing in Community Series Homes (‘CSH’) for placement in our unique income – producing property type.

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM® Emeritus, MHM c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247

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