Alphabet Soup for the MHIndustry & LLCommunity Good!

Alphabet Soup for the MHIndustry & LLCommunity Good

‘MHI MHARRvelous Dream’ Revisited; October 2011 to be Meeting Hell!

Why RVs ‘eat our lunch’ marketing wise; In Support of the MHI’s NCC!

BDMs & CSHs = Success or Failure? New Issue for LLCommunity folk

I.

MHI MHARRvelous Dream! Turns out MHMSM; you know – the nearly two year old online ezine at MHMSM.com, has a timely take on last week’s post at this website: ‘MHI (‘My’) MHARRvelous Dream’! Like many who make their living in one or more segments of the manufactured housing industry, the publication believes the time has come, once again, for the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) national advocacy bodies to work together! Once again? That’s right. If a novice in the MHIndustry and LLCommunity asset class, know many of us have seen these bodies ‘bury their bloody hatchets’ in the past, to pass or fight legislation. Think the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, for starters. This time around, however, we need the ‘MHI MHARRvelous Dream’ to become Reality on several fronts: defeat of Dodd – Frank legislation, HUD’s full implementation of aforementioned MHIA @ 2000, even the veritable survival of the manufactured housing industry! For more information, visit MHMSM.com And remember; we can either ‘hang together’ during these trying times, or for certain, die separately. Me? I’m all for strength in numbers.

II.

Why October will be meeting hell! Do we already forget the mishmash of meetings this Spring, as MHI’s annual Manufactured Housing Congress competed for registrants, with at least two other states hosting regional manufactured housing shows? Oh yes, I know, it’s a free country, and everyone is fighting for every bit of business they can get – but scheduling meetings with overlapping dates, or in the cases following, ‘too many in one month’; well, everyone suffers!

October 2 – 4 will find MHI aficionados at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, AZ., for the institute’s 75th anniversary annual meeting. Information, phone Greg Rinck @ (703) 558-0646.

October 11 – 13 will see WMA’s (Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association) members convening at the Southpoint Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV for their annual meeting. For info, call (916) 448-7002.

October 16 – 18 are the dates of LCS’ (London Computer Systems) annual Rent Manager soiree; this time at the Belaggio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Call Nichole Sandy @ (513) 583-1482X243

October 25 – 28 will find members of the Urban Land Institute’s (‘ULI’) Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’) meeting in Los Angeles, CA. To join in the fun, contact David Lentz via (727) 826-8868.

So, let’s see. If I’m a landlease community owner/operator who lives in California, but owns one or more properties, I’ll begin my month at MHI’s annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ; return home for a few days before patronizing WMA’s meeting out in Las Vegas. And hey, might as well stay there, over the weekend, to participate in the Rent Manager program in the same city ‘next week’. And to cap off my month long goosing of the economy in the Western half the U.S., might as well stay home in CA., and ‘do’ the ULI MHCC meeting in Los Angeles. Hmm. What’s all this gonna cost me? Certainly a minimum of $1,500.00 per meeting, or a heady $6,000.00 if I attend all four; even more if domiciled on the East coast, owning properties ‘out West’. And keep in mind, this is also the time of year some states like to have their annual meeting as well. Whew! Sure hope business is very good, for me during October 2011.

III.

Why RVs ‘eat our lunch’ marketing wise. Recent headline from Woodall’s Campground Management newspaper (June 2011, page # 8): ‘Go RVing Coalition Introducing New ‘Away’ Theme for 2012’. Read the following direct quotation, that appeared at the beginning of this news story, and substitute manufactured housing’s theme words ‘Go Affordable Housing!’ when you read ‘Go RVing Coalition’, to get my point. Here it is: “The Go RVing Coalition has voted unanimously to move forward with production of an all – new, integrated television, print and digital campaign with the theme, ‘Away’, the coalition’s leadership reports.” The program was the product of “…a creative work group of 16 coalition representatives from all segments of the industry and Canada, represents a strategy shift back to the emotion – driven, family focus of past campaigns – with a continued underlying emphasis on the affordability and flexibility of RV travel and camping…according to the RVIA.”

Why can’t the HUD Code manufactured housing industry do something similar? Yes, I know, the home manufacturers are deathly afraid non – contributing manufacturers might indeed benefit from a national ‘integrated television, print and digital campaign’. Plus, this too harkens back to the ‘MHI MHARRvelous Dream that’s presently a nightmare, but begs to become a positive and game – changing Reality, where our two national advocacy bodies are concerned. Nuff said – for now.

IV.

In support of MHI’s NCC. Maybe you haven’t heard or read it, but there’s insurrectionist verbiage floating around the internet these days that “…the HUD Code industry’s independent retailers and communities should have their own independent association in the nation’s capital (sic) to represent their specific interests, and the sooner, the better.” Wanna guess who penned that line? Wasn’t me!

Frankly, landlease community owners/operators who’re direct dues – paying members of MHI in general, and the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) in particular, are probably the happiest we’ve been in years – where national advocacy association representation is concerned. How so? The lousy business climate for HUD Code home manufacturers has created a more favorable internal environment for the NCC within MHI. Specifically, the council is now a full – fledged division of the institute. And as manufacturer dues volume declines, landlease community membership revenues have generally, though not always, increased, ensuring MHI’s survival. And ‘yes’, while criticism that the NCC has become a ‘big boys club’ is somewhat valid, the fact that the majority of direct dues paying NCC members present at the last national meeting in Washington, DC., were sole proprietors and small portfolio owners/operators ‘sent a subtle message’ to everyone present. And the ‘icing on the cake’ these days has been the hiring of Lisa Brechtel, to keep landlease community owners/operators on the influence map.

Now, if you’re a little confused about some excited chatter going on, regarding quiet formation of a new national not for profit platform to ensure continuation of such non – MHI/NCC functions as print communication (i.e. the Allen Letter professional journal & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! newsletters); professional property management (‘PM’) education and certification (i.e. Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM®) program; the ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Landlease Community Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’); annual Networking Roundtables; perpetuation of the 500+/- name data base of portfolio ‘players’; even weekly blogging, here’s the explanation. The aforementioned NCC is our asset class national advocacy body relative to thing politic and regulatory. What we also need – no, must have, is ongoing credible research and regular publication of key statistics, helpful information, PM education and certification, superb interpersonal networking, effective deal – making, and the like, open to ALL landlease community owners/operators nationwide – and perhaps in time, Canada as well. That’s why the eventual (think 2012) new national not for profit entity will have a name inclusive of research, resources, maybe even affordable housing.

V.

BDMs & CSHs = Success or Failure? The Business Development Managers (‘BDM’) at Fleetwood Homes and Adventure Homes are marketing and selling Community Series Homes (‘CSH’) on a regular (I hear feverish!) basis. If any of the other BDMs are doing so, they’re not telling me about it.

A month ago, letters were sent to every HUD Code home manufacturer in the U.S., along with a copy of the official ‘Landlease Community Business Development Managers (list) for Major HUD Code Home Manufacturers’, inviting them to supply names and contact information for ‘new’ BDMs to add to the present 28 name list. Any guess as to the number of responses we’ve received to date? NONE.

This causes me to ask; “Is it worth continuing to throw good money after bad (i.e. as in printing and mailing costs, reprints, directories, etc.), in attempts to cultivate this two year old landlease community (customer outreach) program? Evidently, HUD Code home manufacturers, 1) Don’t understand (How BDMs can sell more homes!) the program; 2) Don’t want to sell more homes into landlease communities; or, 3) Simply don’t need the extra sales cum production cum income right now. Which of these possibilities do you think it is? Me? NONE of the above. Rather, I’ve come to believe most HUD Code home manufacturers were seduced – away from our core affordable housing product at the turn of the century, when they bought into the ‘bigger box = bigger box’ mentality, and competed with site – builders at every turn. And to date, they’ve not returned to the reality that the only homes they can successfully sell in today’s overstocked (i.e. Foreclosed and under priced resale site – built homes) housing market, are our ‘stock in trade’ smaller, efficient, affordable manufactured homes! And you know the further ‘rub’ in all this? We’re pretty confident there’re more than 250,000 vacant rental homesites in landlease communities throughout the U.S. today! Granted, half or more of them are functionally obsolete (i.e. too small to site today’s behemoth homes), but the underutilized opportunity is there nonetheless, for new home sales! There, I’ve said it. Now, prove me wrong Mr. home manufacturer! GFA

VI.

New Issue for LLCommunity folk. Received the following insightful, even prophetic lines, from a fellow landlease community owner/operator recently, and thought I’d pass it onto you intact – and encourage YOU to comment as you wish, or not.

“Have you thought about this? If landlease communities are going to account for much of the industry’s future production/sales (Relate this to the previous paragraph, where it appears HUD Code home manufacturers are NOT interested in filling 250,000 vacant rental homesites in landlease communities throughout the U.S.!), isn’t it time someone gets concerned about the number of such properties that’ll be ‘going away’ during the next decade or so? Several of my landlease communities are now worth more for their commercial development land value (a.k.a. ‘highest and best use of realty) than their capitalized net operating income value. While those values have dropped some over the past three or so years, they will be back! Don’t know about other states, but in ours, you can’t get land zoning for landlease communities within 50 miles of any metro area.”

What say YOU? Other blog floggers (readers) would like to know your ‘take’ on this, and the preceding topics in this week’s blog posting.

VII.

If you haven’t already done so, print off the 20th annual International Networking Roundtable brochure available on this website, and register for this year’s stellar event. 14-16 September 2011 is still 2 ½ months away, but we’re already at 25% of our 200 attendee maximum count! There is no better, more comprehensive line – up of topics and presenters at any other manufactured housing or landlease community venue during the year, so don’t miss out on this one. And this year’s 20th annual event is even more special, as we celebrate MHI’s 75th anniversary, and the National Communities Council’s 15th anniversary! As has been the case the past two years, we’re working to have a couple sample Community Series Homes, possibly including a ‘park model’ RV, on hand for first hand looks by roundtable participants. Have questions about the event, or to register by phone, call the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

*****

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156.

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