‘Adding Value’ & ‘Parsing Paradoxes’

July 19th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 307 @ 20 July 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource 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.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.’

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com website:

I.

‘Value Added to 23rd Networking Roundtable!’ Given it’s already widespread ‘rep’ for educational (20 seminars & panels), networking (eight social meal events) and deal-making opportunities, it’d seem impossible to ‘add (more) value’. But the addition of two NATIONAL PUBLIC FORUMS this year, on 9/11/2014, certainly does so. And the pre-event distribution of a serious Official WHITE PAPER, to all event registrants, is not only unprecedented, but ‘icing on the cake’ of ‘value addition’ for manufactured housing aficionados and LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide!

II.

PARSING PARADOXES. This blogger hasn’t had so much fun penning a blog column, in a long time. Paradoxical statement have long fascinated me. In fact, I read some every day during ‘personal meditation time’, from The Valley of Vision, ‘A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions’, compiled by Arthur Bennett. (717) 249-5747. Enjoy!

III.

REMINDER. Hope some of you join Al Hesselbart and me for the ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ 2 ½ hour seminar in Elkhart, IN., on 4 August 2014! DUELING CURVES author Bob Vahsholtz too, will be on hand, to chat with would be writers, answer questions about his latest book, and share in the MH & LLLCommunity experience.

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I.

‘Value Added’ to 23rd Networking Roundtable!

An Official WHITE PAPER describing ‘manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle community statistics & trends’, will be distributed during August and early September, to registrants for the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable. This Official WHITE PAPER will facilitate personal preparation for two historic NATIONAL PUBLIC FORUMS scheduled for the morning of September 11, 2014, in Peachtree City, GA. Every business owner, senior salaried executive, and real estate investor, will want a copy of this comprehensive compendium of key industry data and strategic asset class news – past, present, and yes, ‘future’. Why? Because much of the information, frankly, is available from no other source serving the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity real estate asset class!

What’s included in this unique and timely document? Again, past, present, and ‘future’ characteristics of manufactured housing and LLLCommunities, in terms of:

DESCRIPTION (of the unique HUD-Code housing product & property operations)

REGULATIONS thereto pertaining….

DESIGN & SIZES of homes, and income-producing properties per se

SHIPMENTS (of manufactured homes over the decades and into the ‘future’…)

DISTRIBUTION of product, and local housing market demographics, $ & more…

RETAIL FINANCING (emphasis on compliance with regulations, and includes a ten point ‘shopping list’ of self-financing alternatives – never before published!)

REAL ESTATE FINANCING of LLLCommunities; an ever shifting tide….

LIFESTYLE relative to LLLCommunities

INVESTMENT relative to LLLCommunities

TAXATION of realty-secured, fee simple conveyed homes, & within LLLCommunities

SERVICE; as in customer service of new homes, & resident relations, referral, retention

SECONDARY MARKET = perennial missing redoubt of manufactured housing industry

By now, you should be getting the clear and convicting idea this Official WHITE PAPER is indeed ‘something special’, in that it covers not one or the other of these two major industry/asset class topics, but both of them, with equal fervor and appropriate detail!

“The goal of this Official Manufactured Housing Industry WHITE PAPER is to facilitate personal and corporate preparation for the two NATIONAL PUBLIC FORUMS on 9/11/2014. ‘There & then’, 23rd Networking Roundtable attendees will engage in Open Discussion intended to shape the Future of ‘manufactured housing vs. trailers’ and LLLCommunities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’.” Quoted from Official WHITE PAPER.

SPECIAL NOTE. This comprehensive industry & realty asset class WHITE PAPER will NOT be available for purchase before or after the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable. Why? There’re plans already afoot, to incorporate Lessons Learned and Ideas, from aforementioned NATIONAL PUBLIC FORUMS, into a Preliminary Master Plan Document, available to one, maybe more, national advocacy bodies who accept the challenge to schedule, host and facilitate a National Strategic Planning Session within six months following the two NATIONAL PUBLIC FORUMS in Peachtree City, GA .

And if elected and salaried national advocacy body leaders don’t embrace this challenge to caucus, strategically plan, and effectively lead the manufactured housing industry out of its’ decade long malaise? Then they’ll have no room to criticize, if and when someone else, or a bevy of businessmen and women, step into the leadership void.

For more information about the upcoming 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, and or to ‘register’ for same, use brochure attached to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) accompanying this blog posting, or telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request it.

II.

Parsing Paradoxes

Paradox. “A statement that apparently contradicts itself & yet might, or might not, be true”; also “a seemingly absurd but possibly true statement, something self-contradictory”; & “logical paradoxes are invalid arguments that are still valuable.” Huh?

Was playing around with some paradoxes last week, and found it interesting how some appear to ‘play’ to manufactured housing production and customer service; land-lease-lifestyle community acquisition and operations; even pose a couple MH conundrums; highlight Mystery Shopping as a job performance influencer; and even justify the existence of COBA7®!

• The Productive Failure paradox = “Providing less guidance and structure, and thereby causing more failure (on the housing production line), is likely to promote better learning.” Hmm. Think so, or think not? Ah, the paradox.

• The Service Recovery paradox = “Successfully fixing a problem with a defective product (recently delivered housing), may lead to higher consumer satisfaction, than in the case where no problem occurred at all.” Hmm – again. This just might be the sole antithesis to the ol’ bromide: ‘You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression!’ What do you think?

• The Icarius paradox = “Some businesses bring about their own downfall thru their own successes.” Ah, think of past LLLCommunity portfolio builders who ‘acquired too many LLLCommunities too fast’, and were unable to anticipate or control the unexpected and serious lethal consequences of too rapid growth….

• Jevons paradox = 1st MHIndustry conundrum, i.e. “Increases in efficiency lead to even larger increases in demand.” Hmm. Certainly reads and sounds right and good, but is it just wishful thinking where present day manufactured housing is concerned – thanks to the dearth of easily accessible chattel capital financing. Consider the Lessons Learned from Bob Vahsholtz’s recent tome, DUELING CURVES – compared to the harsh reality of years 2000 to 2014. Book = $35+ S&H, order via (805) 481-2574. Not an easy, but certainly a worthwhile read.

• 2nd MHIndustry conundrum cum truism = “We learn from history that we don’t learn from history.” George Hegel. Proof? Just consider the many $ cycles we’ve experienced throughout manufactured housing industry history!

• The Observer’s paradox = “The outcome of an event or experience is influenced by the presence of the observer.” Ponder that! It’s surely the case when the ‘observer’s identity’ is known; but how ‘bout when a Mystery Shopper shows up?

• The Arrow Information paradox = “To sell information, you need to give it away before the sale.” Reminds one of the ‘loss leader’ concept in retail sales, as well as ‘free gifts to the first 50 customers’. But to ‘give away’ the ALLEN REPORT & a dozen other Signature Series Resource Documents for 30 years before debut of COBA7®? Now that’s a bit extreme. To affiliate with COBA7, simply phone the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. If not presently reading the Allen Letter professional journal, and dozen(+) SSRDs, you should be!

And so, what is, or what are, your favorite paradox or paradoxes? Inquiring peers would like to know!

III.

REMINDER

The time is drawing nigh, for you to learn how, and become motivated, to research, organize, pen, and publish your personal memoir(s), autobiography (there’s a difference between the two), or your corporate history or marketing story!

On 4 August, at 9:30 AM, Al Hesselbart (RV historian) and I will begin a 2 ½ hour seminar titled, ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ Cost is only $44.95/person – and less, if you’re registered to attend the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet that same evening. For more information, about the seminar, and to register, phone (317) 346-7156. For information about the induction banquet honoring the Class of 2014, phone (574) 293-2344. And there might be a brochure attached to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) announcing the posting of this weekly blog at community-investor.com

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American Dream $ & 14 SSRDs for You!

July 13th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 306 @ 13 July 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource 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.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com website

If you missed the ‘American Dream price tag: USA TODAY analysis shows a family of four needs $130,357 a year’ headline story, on 6 July 2014, try to find and read it; OR, read the adaptation that follows, substituting manufactured housing for a McMansion.

I take SSRDs for granted. I’ve been researching, writing, and distributing them for so long – up to 25 years in one case, I forget that folk new to manufactured housing and the LLLCommunity asset class ‘don’t know what they’re missing’. So here’s your summary.

I.

‘American Dream Price Tag: $130,357/yr’,
When American Median Income is only $51,371/yr!

Did you read this story in the 6 July issue of USA Today? The manner in which 15 categories of essential expenses, extras, and taxes/insurance were calculated and presented was nothing short of being simultaneously instructive, discouraging, and convicting. So much so, the final line of this front page article read: “…it’s clear that though the American dream is still alive, fewer and fewer of us can afford to live it.”

Following here, are the expense categories cited in the article. Read thru them twice; first time to see what’s included in the American Dream Price Tag of $130,357 personal income. Then read thru a second time, to see how much less annual income would be required, if paying the median price for a new HUD-Code manufactured home at $61, 900, instead of $275,000 for the site-built home cited in the article.

ESSENTIAL EXPENSES # I.. Median housing @ $17,062/year (10% down payment; financed @ 30 years at 4%, +1% for annual maintenance). Groceries @ $12,659 for family of four. One 4wheel drive SUV @ $11,039/year. Healthcare premium & expenses @ $9,144. Other purchases & extras (including household utilities) totaled $25,596. And taxes @ $32,357 (30% of income). College savings = $5,000/year for two children. Retirement savings = $17,500. Grand total is $130,357. Note. Article wasn’t clear about how ‘property taxes & homeowner’s insurance’ costs, as in the’ T&I’ of housing PITI (‘principal & interest’) were handled.

ESSENTIAL EXPENSES # II. Median housing @ $3,208/year (same terms as #I above), plus $3,996 for rental homesite rent if $333/month. And for the moment, keep remaining categories of essential expenses the same as in #I above. Grand total is $120,499; nearly $10,000 less income required per year.

But if this $61,900 home is sited on realty conveyed fee simple, or rent free on – a relative’s property, that’d be another ‘savings’ of $3,996/year., bringing the American Dream Price Tag down to $116,503. Also, ‘taxes’ computed at being 30% of the $130,357 income level would be less, as the American Dream Price Tag inched closer to $100,000/yr.

But still, even with the significant adjustment for a truly affordable HUD-Code manufactured home, at $61,900, instead of a $275,000 McMansion, the American Dream Price Tag is still roughly at $100,000/yr income, almost double the Area Median Income, or AMI, during year 2012, of $51,371.00. Not an encouraging picture.

II.

Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs

Oldest SSRD will be 26 years in 2015 & two new ones to debut during 2014

When you’re the owner/operator of one or more land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities) it’s a fine line between being ‘in the know’ and unaware of the operating statistics and emerging trends that affect one as an income-producing real estate investor and purveyor of HUD-Code manufactured housing. And that ‘fine line’ is comprised of what, until recently, was a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs, available only from GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing; and now the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®.

Have you ever wondered what comprises the full array of 12 cum 14 SSRDs? Well, here you have the complete list, published publicly for the first time:

• ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land-lease-lifestyle Community Portfolio Owners/Operators Located Throughout North America!’ This is the ‘granddaddy’, so to speak, of SSRDs, having been published continually for 25years, since 1988/89. The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT will be distributed during January 2015. Research for the report begins with a questionnaire circulated to the 500+/- known portfolio owners/operators, During August 2014.

• ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’ outline, supplemented with a comprehensive list of ‘issues’ identified by LLLCommunity owners/operators during research (questionnaires) the previous Fall. Now that this two part outline is updated annually, businessmen and women, as well as association executives, have been using it to brief employees, members, politicians, government officials, and other interested parties. Out in February.

• National Registry of Lenders now includes real estate-secured mortgage originators (for LLLCommunities) as well as chattel capital sources and servicers. While the aforementioned ALLEN REPORT is the most sought after SSRD, the National Registry of Lenders runs a close second place. It is distributed during March.

• ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 201_?!’ This SSRD is the only independently published directory of freelance consultants who serve the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class nationwide. Literally, ‘anyone who’s anybody’ in this ‘double dual industry’ is featured, though not endorsed, in this handy reference that is distributed, like other SSRDs, as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal – in this case, during April.

• The annual Directory of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Print & Online Trade Media Resources has become the ‘go to’ reference among association executives, as well as businessmen and women, who need to stay informed about industry and realty asset class matters. A recent addition, in the form of a comprehensive Social Media directory, is included in this special SSRD. Out in May.

• Official Lexicon or Glossary of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class has ‘grown legs of its’ own’ since debuting five years ago. Now often included in the back material of books, guides, and pamphlets, to ‘spread the word’ and lessen misunderstanding of various trade terms and definitions. Updated every June.

• Professional Property Management Training & Certification Programs deserve more emphasis throughout the LLLCommunity realty asset class. This particular SSRD is getting us there, as it describes the various professional property management training and certification programs: CPM®, MHM®, ACM®. Look for it in July’s edition of the Allen Letter professional journal.

• The ‘Industry Briefing Sheet’ & ‘Mobile/Manufactured Housing-related Statistics’ SSRDs have been combined in 2014, as one reference document! Frankly, it contains more and various MHindustry & LLLCommunity statistics, including Canadian, than any other such document in existence today! Look for it in August 2014.
• During September, shortly after the annual International Networking Roundtable, the Trade Advocacy Body Directory makes its’ appearance for all to see and use. Like many of the other SSRDs, the information contained herein is not available, in collected fashion, anywhere else, from anyone else.

• Annual Summary of Proceedings from the International Networking Roundtable. Published in narrative form, it describes what took place at the year’s networking roundtable, including topics presented, as well as the names and contact information of all the presenters! What other trade body in MH and LLLCommunities does that for their (often working for free) speakers? No one.

• MHIndustry Paradigm Shifts Timeline has been around ‘for years’ but isn’t as widely known as other SSRDs. Why? Well, it can be a bit controversial, as it contains stats, trends, even quotes, that some individuals would sooner forget than remember. But it ‘tells the story’, over time, of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class. Distributed with the November newsletter.

• December of each year generally sees a mish mash of reports and narratives that don’t easily fit elsewhere. Used to be referred to as the National State of the Asset Class, or NSAC caucus report (Recalling the exciting events of 2/27/2008 & 2/27/2009); though supplanted by the Manufactured Housing Initiative® moniker of late. And now with COBA7® on the scene, methinks there’s yet another evolution on the horizon.

Well, there you have it; a summary of the SSRDs that LLLCommunity owners/operators ‘in the know’ have relied on, for much of the past 25 years, to keep them informed. Well, at this year’s 23rd International Networking Roundtable, two additional (new) SSRDs will debut; they are:

• Directory of Real Estate Brokers Who Specialize in Marketing ‘for sale’ LLLCommunities nationwide.
• Directory of HUD-Code Home Manufacturers. This is something ‘left undone’ since John Griffin left the industry a few years ago.

Bottom line. If you’re not presently receiving the dozen, soon to be 14 SSRDs just described, YOU are missing OUT on numbers, trends, advice, and more, that you should be using to improve the profitability of your LLLCommunity-related business interests. What to do about it? Affiliate with COBA7®, the sooner the better! There’re three options:

I = $134.95 for subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal only. No SSRDs
II = $544.95 for Allen Letter subscription and all SSRDs!
III = $944.95 = for Allen Letter subscription, all SSRDs, and subscription to the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! – a very special monthly newsletter for CEOs and business owners!

To effect your affiliation with COBA7®, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Is affiliation worthwhile? Well, more than 200 of our peers, since the first of this year, have certainly seemed to think so. Where else are you going to have such access to research, SSRDs, communication via print & online, networking & deal-making opportunities, professional property management training & certification, and national advocacy, e.g. Official ombudsman (press) of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class. And the list of benefits, tangible and otherwise, goes on….

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Coming: a Manufactured Housing WHITE PAPER

July 6th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 305 @ 6 July 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource 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.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com website

Two sequential National Public Forums are scheduled for the morning of 9/11, at the 23rd International Networking Roundtable, in Peachtree City, GA. These forums are important and historic (i.e. ‘First such event in 75+ year history of factory-built housing!’) to the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community realty asset class. So, the WHITE PAPER that’s being prepared, for distribution to registrants before the event, is the sole subject of this week’s blog posting.

WHITE PAPER

‘…an authoritative report giving information on an issue.’

WORKING TITLE: ‘Past, Present & Future of Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities’ in North American Housing Markets.’

A formal WHITE PAPER is being prepared (Following is quoted from said document)

“…to facilitate personal and corporate preparation for two National Public Forums the morning of 11 September, during the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, at the DOLCE Conference Center, in Peachtree City, GA.”

A print copy of said WHITE PAPER will be mailed to individuals upon receipt of their registration to attend what is shaping up to be the Premier International Manufactured Housing Event of Year 2014! How so? While designed and facilitated, during the past 22 years, for owners/operators of LLLCommunities large and small, every segment of the manufactured housing industry, including home manufacturers, and lenders, will be represented at the networking roundtable this year. Many businessmen and women have already registered, as well as ‘first time participants’ from several federal agencies, academia and national realty organizations!

The WHITE PAPER documents Past & Present statistics & trends germane to manufactured housing & LLLCommunities in light of ten or so characteristics apiece, e.g. Description, Design, Regulations, Production, Distribution, Financing, Service, and more. Then the WHITE PAPER addresses the probable Future(s) of manufactured housing & LLLCommunities in light of those same characteristics. Special Attention is expected, during the National Public Forums, regarding manufactured housing’s future as ‘housing’ vs. ‘trailers’; and LLLCommunities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’, large & small, family & adult, urban & rural, public & private.

When WHITE PAPER readers arrive at the Networking Roundtable they will thus be informed and ready to engage with nationally known and respected presenters who’ll address the two National Public Forums from their perspectives, then participate in informed dialog and open discussion regarding the future nature and direction of manufactured housing and LLLCommunities! Strong interest in attending this year’s superb educational, networking, and deal-making event, has already been expressed by industrialists and realty investors from throughout the U.S., Canada, even France.

It is anticipated the professionally printed and bound WHITE PAPER will be ready for distribution to individuals during August 2014. To ensure receiving your WHITE PAPER in sufficient time for study and reflection, before the Networking Roundtable convenes, make your event and hotel reservations soon! Also know, attendance this year is limited to 250 businessmen and women. The copyrighted WHITE PAPER will not be available for purchase before or after the Networking Roundtable and two National Public Forums!

For a descriptive registration brochure, describing the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

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Lemons into Lemonade – Again?!

June 29th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 304 @ 29 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource 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

* ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com website

We are living in exciting, if not challenging, times! This week, we look at how the manufactured housing industry, beginning in 1976, turned a proverbial regulatory ‘lemon’, during the next 20 years, into business success ‘lemonade’ – and what it’s going to take today to launch a resurgence of prosperity now absent for the past five years!

COBA7 continues to identify and meet the practical business needs of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators coast-to-coast! Last month it was the mantle of Official Ombudsman (press) to the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class. This month it’s the announcement of two new Signature Series Resource Documents long needed, and now formally requested by owners/operators.

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I.

LEMON INTO LEMONADE–AGAIN?

How the manufactured housing industry turned the sour-tasting, performance-based, HUD-Code building regulation of 1976, into sweet-tasting new home shipment success, when there’s chattel capital to be had for financing home sale transactions on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities & elsewhere. But can the industry do it again?

The tripartite formula for preserving this unique and valuable source of quality, non-subsidized, truly affordable housing (i.e. ‘half the cost’ of site-built housing, not including underlying developed land), is simple and straightforward:

1. Maintain federal preemption of the HUD-Code relative to manufactured housing. Proof of value? Modular homes are another type, perhaps even more sophisticated form, of factory-built housing, but look how poor-to- marginal their annual production ‘numbers’ are, thanks to the plethora (i.e. ‘superabundance’) of state and local building codes affecting design, construction, and installation of ‘mods’

2. Uniform building standards – that apply nationwide, with variation for snow loads and a very few other performance-related factors.

3. Uniform building standard enforcement – that remains pretty much the same coast to coast.

Today, the only ingredient missing, from making this tripartite work well, is MONEY. Without rehearsing the sordid details, recently outlined in Mark Fogarty’s article titled ‘Manufactured Housing Suffers Worst Decline of Any Mortgage Niche’ in National Mortgage News, the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry continues to suffer dire consequences from the bursting of its’ chattel finance bubble shortly after the turn of the century.

Nearly 15 years following that debacle, when we have creditworthy prospective homebuyers, we rely on the (now) ‘Big Five + One’ independent, third party chattel lenders: 21st Mortgage Corporation; Triad Financial Services, Inc.; CU Factory Built Lending; U.S. Bank- Manufactured Housing; Green Hill Financial; and, Vanderbilt Mortgage (in-house @ Clayton Homes), to underwrite too few transactions.

With that said, the two parallel fallout trends that have emerged, since shortly after year 2000 – as annual new home shipments plummeted from 372,843 in 1998 to 49,789 by 2009, are:

1) Transition from reliance on home sales and placements by independent (street) MHRetailers, TO on-site marketing and sale of same, new and resale, by land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators; and,

2) Transition from reliance on aforementioned independent, third party chattel lenders, TO all manner and degree of self-finance, ‘captive finance’ and otherwise on-site, including rental of property-owned manufactured homes.

Interestingly, writer Fogarty, an ‘editor at large’ at National Mortgage News, believes he knows, and therefore ‘understands’ the “…outlook for a resurgence of this kind of (chattel capital) lending.” He recites six obstacles standing in the way of resurgence; others opine ‘eight’:

1. Competition from distressed sales of site-built single-family loans (homes?)

2. historically low interest rates

3. record affordability for site-built homes (in some local housing markets)

4. limited conventional financing options due to titling of most manufactured homes as personal property

5. underdeveloped secondary market for (new) manufactured home loans

6. pending financial regulations that could further curtail manufactured home lending

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7. almost nonexistent secondary market for resale home valuation, sales, and lending

8. continued limited access to chattel capital via independent, third party chattel lenders

So, is all this ‘too much’ to overcome during the weeks and months ahead? What do YOU think?

Well, there’s a soon-to-occur event where you’ll be Welcome to make your observations, considered opinions, even helpful suggestions, known to people who ‘make things happen’.

You’re invited to participate in two sequential National Public Forums, on 11 September 2014, during the 23rd International Networking Roundtable, at the DOLCE Conference Center, in Peachtree City, GA. For a descriptive registration brochure, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Attendance at this historic event (First time in manufactured housing industry history that businessmen and women from throughout North America are coming together to collectively plan their Free Enterprise futures!) How can you not want to participate? But remember, attendance is limited to 250, so don’t delay and miss this stellar opportunity!

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II.

COBA7 Announces Two New SSRDs!

Last month, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, formally took on the mantle of Official Ombudsman (press) to the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class. Already, businessmen and women, academics, even federal agencies, from across the U.S. are sending inquiries our way relative to needed statistics, hard to find information, requests for business contacts, and more.

Well, this month, in response to requests from COBA7® affiliates, we’ve started work on compiling two new Signature Series Resource Documents® or SSRDs®.

In the first instance, we’re culling our list of real estate brokers who specialize in the marketing of LLLCommunities, to produce an SSRD that’ll list, this time around, those who generally work nationally. Future editions might expand to include regional representation.

In the second instance, we’re culling our list of HUD-Code home manufacturers, including those affiliated with the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) and the Manufactured Housing Association of Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) – the latter being more difficult to obtain as their member list isn’t often made public, as well as ‘non members’ of either body, to create an SSRD that’ll be helpful to everyone in the MHBusiness.

Plan is to have both new SSRDs ready for distribution at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014, in Peachtree City, GA. Just One More Good Reason for YOU to participate, wouldn’t you say? Hope YOU do so.

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YOU = ‘Making & Writing MH History!’

June 21st, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 303 @ 22 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource 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

* ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com website

Nine blogging ‘shorts’! Culled from previous blog postings & anticipating future events

I.

A Final Response, for now, to the ‘MH vs. RV Issue’

This from a longtime blog flogger (reader): “I have to say, I’m enjoying the ‘RV vs. MH argument’, including the irony of ‘MHI & MHARR’ foisting more (building) regulations (on others). Geesch! Having personally opposed the entry of the HUD-Code in 1973, and effected in 1976, I CONTINUE TO FIND THE BEST BUSINESS REGULATOR IS THE MARKET PLACE! Is it not time (for us), to look at the ‘NAHB & RV’ industries’ combined success & market dominance, to see & learn that regulations do not win, and how good quality (shelter) products that meet needs, do?” NB

II.

Nice to be Appreciated from Time to Time…

“Thanks George. You and Carolyn will always be friends I am truly thankful to have. (And) You know how I feel about what you have done in our (MH) industry. You are the glue that keeps us all together as friends. You have made a difference! We have learned a lot and made lifetime friends.” LL

III.

A ‘Freebie’ Worth Requesting & ‘SSRD’ Worth Buying!

Creighton Weber, real estate mortgage originator with Wells Fargo Multi-family Capital Group, offers blog floggers the 32 page booklet, Manufactured Home Community Financing Handbook, ‘for the asking’. Simply phone Creighton via (248) 723-3119. This generous offer serves as an apt reminder of the availability of COBA7® Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD # 3, the ‘16th National Registry of LLLCommunity (real estate mortgage) and chattel capital lenders and servicers’. This seminal, annually updated resource contains $ statistics, names & contact information for no fewer than ‘20 realty lenders & 20 chattel capital sources & loan servicers’! It’s the second most requested SSRD, after the (25th annual) ALLEN REPORT. And it’s available FREE to affiliates of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Select Option II @ $544.95 for a one year subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal and 12 timely SSRDs – available nowhere else ‘at any price’!

IV.

You Tell Me: An Anomaly or Re-emerging Trend?

(Anomaly = a deviation from the common rule, or something abnormal or irregular)

Following paragraph is quoted from a ‘new manufactured home Service Request’, sent to the factory, by a land-lease-lifestyle community owner selling homes on-site:

“In the multisection home, the floor at the marriage wall was even, but the ceiling of one room was ¾”-1” higher than the other. Our setup crew said the repair was to open the ceiling or room, jack up the lower ceiling, install lag bolts in the beams where the ceilings fit together, then close the openings in the ceiling or roof. He wasn’t comfortable doing work that extensive. Since factory service personnel were needed to address the issue, we also had them install, tape, mud, and paint two sheetrock panels in the living room, patch cracks in other sheetrock, and install a wider aluminum strip over the marriage wall flooring to cover erratic staples. They also addressed other similar service issues in the singlesection home. Except for the marriage wall ceiling issue, all the service items, in both homes, could/should have been flagged and fixed before the home left the plant.”

“Furthermore, the plant rep phoned to say ‘some items on your list of 71 service issues were excessive’. I didn’t know anything about such a list, so asked to see it. Well, it wasn’t ours. Evidently another buyer of their housing product brand sent in their list – so guess we’re not the only ones who need a significant amount of service after delivery.”

Bottom Line? LLLCommunity owners, who buy from this HUD-Code manufacturer, need to plan on spending at least $1,500.00 more, for inside trim and finish work, than spent with other plants and manufacturers.”

For now, let’s hope this type ‘customer service’ matter – where the LLLCommunity owner/operator is the initial homebuyer, is indeed an anomaly, and NOT a re-emerging trend from years gone by….GFA

V.

Irony of 9/11as ‘National Tragedy’, now a Public Forum!

Longtime supporters of our realty asset class’ annual International Networking Roundtable will recall 9/11/2001. That’s the day of our nation’s tragedy, the terrorist attack on New York City and U.S. Capitol. It was to have been the first day of that year’s Networking Roundtable. But as it turned out, we postponed the event until November 2001, when we enjoyed record high participation – a clear sign of Free Enterprise support for our nation and its’ president at the time!

Well this year, 9/11/2014, not only commemorates the 13th anniversary of that national tragedy, but marks an historic event for the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide! That’s the day when back-to-back National Public Forums will be held during the 23rd annual Networking Roundtable at the DOLCE Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA. By now you likely know the two emphasis topics will be:

• Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ vs. trailer heritage

• Future of land-lease-lifestyle communities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investments’

A lineup of nationally known and respected industry leaders and asset class presenters, has been selected to guide these two forums the morning of 9/11/2014. Hopefully YOU will be in the audience, as ‘We make MHistory together!’ To ensure you are, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request a Networking Roundtable brochure, or see it online at this website: community-investor.com.

Here’s a related, late-breaking, and exciting extension to what’s expected from these two National Public Forums on 9/11/2014. The strategic thinking and planning, emerging from these sequential events, will be ‘guiding principles cum methodology’, in the new book, How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in Leased Land Communities. SO; wouldn’t YOU like to be an integral part of this anticipated historic paradigm shift re manufactured housing and LLLCommunities nationwide? Thought so. See YOU there!

VI.

COBA7® Affiliates Welcomed MHI to Indianapolis

One of every eight registrants at the Manufactured Housing Institute’s Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN., during June, were affiliates of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®!

Why is this important to know? The presence of so many COBA7® affiliates underscores two separate and distinct realities:

• In the first instance, it’s COBA7®’s tacit recognition and support of the institute’s continuing role, via Manufactured Housing & National Communities Council divisions, as a national advocacy influence, for manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities.

• And second, since COBA7® is NOT a new, national advocacy entity, but an affiliation of businessmen and women with an affinity for land-lease-lifestyle communities, their presence their needs, relative to ongoing statistical research; distribution of valuable resources; weekly & monthly print & online communication means; superb networking & deal-making opportunities; professional property management training & certification, via the Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program; and, national advocacy when need be (e.g. recent announcement of COBA7® as official ombudsman (press) for the industry and asset class), are being fulfilled by the new business alliance.

So, it’s accurate to say, a NEW ERA has indeed dawned for LLLCommunity owners/operators, of all sizes, nationwide and throughout Canada! Where today, ‘national advocacy’ = MHI. And, ‘everything else’, where LLLCommunities are concerned = COBA7®. To affiliate with COBA7®, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. More than 200 have affiliated since 1 January 2014!

VII.

On-site Property Manager Compensation Study

Gotta be careful here. But it appears the long-awaited, often back-burnered ‘On-site Property Manager Compensation Study’ has experienced a breakthrough.

And the reason for mentioning that here, is because we’ll likely be soliciting volunteer input from blog floggers and or COBA7® affiliates, to test the practicality, accuracy, and applicability of emerging formulae to this end. Interested? Let me know via email: gfa7156@aol.com

Here’re a few hints as to the direction the Compensation Study is going. Emerging methodology, at this point, uses Area Media Income or AMI, per local housing market(s) postal zip code as a base salary starting point; property size (i.e. per rental homesite count); and, efficacy (economic occupancy = # rental homesites occupied & paid!)); and relationship re alternative forms of potential personal income enhancement (e.g. site leasing & or home sales commissions; concessioned rent; housing allowance – if any; utilities; and specialized services (via contract or extra-compensation) such as mowing & snow plowing, potable water testing, wastewater treatment & reporting). Continue to follow this unfolding story here….

VIII.

(&) ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’

This rare opportunity to learn ‘How to Record & Share Your Memoir, autobiography and or Corporate RV or MH Story/History, even LLLCommunity, Campground/RV Park Owner/operator Legacy’, will be here sooner than think!

The morning of 4 August, RV historian Al Hesselbart and I will spend 2 ½ hours sharing the basics, and insights involved in penning and publishing one’s memoirs & autobiography (There is a distinct difference between the two), as well as research and write a firm’s corporate history and or story (for legacy &/or marketing purposes). Hopefully you’ll be there with us!

To register for ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ seminar, phone (317) 346-7156. To register for Class of 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Banquet later the same day, call (574) 293-2344. Basic fee is $44.95; and if you register for the banquet, the seminar fee drops to only $29.95 . What a deal! – especially considering the handouts you’ll receive….

And as we’ve told you before, Bob Vahsholtz, author of the recently released manufactured housing book, DUELING CURVES has committed to make a guest appearance that morning, staying over for lunch to answer queries, sign copies of his book, and add to the value of the 2 ½ hour writing seminar.

Think about it! When and where will the following alignment occur again? Attend this year’s 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable in Peachtree, GA. (10-12 September) and MAKE (industry) HISTORY1 Participate in the ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ in Elkhart, IN. (4 August), and RECORD (your) HISTORY! Who else in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class offers YOU two such heady personal and corporate opportunities during August and September of this year?
IX.

Camel’s Nose, or ‘Help is on the Way!’?

Once again, good ol MHARR (Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform) let’s us know, before anyone else, what’s afoot ‘inside the capitol beltway’ of Washington, DC.

“…HUD Program administrator, Pamela Danner…announcing the Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. (formerly known as NAHB Research Center) as the new Administrating Organization (AO) for the HUD program’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC).” Online correspondence dated 18 June 2014.

A couple quick thoughts while we await MHI’s ‘take’ on this breaking news, as well as further opining from MHARR:

Given Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. (‘HIRL’) past and present (?) affiliation with the National Association of Home Builders (Rarely a MHIndustry friend in Washington, DC), does their selection as AO signal allowing the Camel’s Nose* inside the already weakened HUD-Code manufactured housing industry tent?

OR, is it…

‘Help is on the way!’ Hmm. Let’s see; how that pencils out? Since industry representation on the MHCC has been decimated (‘literally, one tenth’) during the past few years, and annual national new home shipment volume has languished at nadir level for the past five years (i.e. between 49,789 in 2009 & 60,228 – per MHARR, in 2013). Maybe it’s time indeed, to ask the NAHB, & RV industries (GASP!), for HELP! (Re-read Part I of this blog posting

As usual, focus your news-sleuthing nose here, Sunday after Sunday, for new information and updates; then read the Allen Letter professional journal for longer treatment of key topics (e.g. June issue’s Case Study expose’ re consequences of ‘too high’ rental homesite rents in LLLCommunities) This is a Must Read for every owner/operator of LLLCommunities! And when you really want to know what’s going on inside this ‘double dual industry’, subscribe to the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, like dozens of our COBA7® affiliate peers.

End Note:

* ‘The camel’s nose is a metaphor for a situation when the permitting of a small, seemingly innocuous act will open the door for larger, clearly undesirable action.’

***

‘How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in LLLCommunities’

June 14th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 302 A 15 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

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

* ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

‘How to Market & Sell Homes On-Site in Leased Land Communities’ = new book!

‘MH vs. RV Issue’ = Protect housing market share or fill more vacant rental homesites?

‘23rd Networking Roundtable brochures’ = Ready for distribution & registration!

Remember, U & COBA7® = ‘U support US & We serve U!’

I.

How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in
Leased Land Communities!

Gary Pomeroy, of Golden West Homes, was the first and last author to pen a cae bound text on ‘mobile home sales’, and that was way back in 1977. Titled, How to Successfully Sell New & Resale Manufactured Homes, it’s been the MHSales Bible for more than 35 years! The time has come for a total rewrite of this home sales tome, ideally as a HOW TO ‘HOME SALES’ GUIDE, encompassing past and contemporary trends and cycles, even what hasn’t changed, during the past four decades. For example:

• Cyclic homebuyer preferences: In the 1970s, ‘single wides’, then ‘double wides’ cum multisection homes during late 1990s; and since year 2010, a balance of singlesection & modest-sized multisection homes shipped throughout the U.S.
.
• Major shift in reliance on independent (street) ‘dealers’ cum MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ to fill vacant rental homesites, now a prevalence of home sales & self-financing on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities, pursuant in part to disappearance of most independent third party chattel finance firms since 2000.
• Home placement preference swings from ‘in-park’ placement (1970s), to land & home contracting (1990s); & back again, to installation within LLLCommunities.

• Emergence of Developer Series Homes (i.e. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’) circa 1990s, to Community Series Homes (i.e. CSH Models designed with a WOW! Factor & durability-enhancing features) since 2009. Often marketed by factory-appointed Business Development Mangers. Call for FREE list of BDMs throughout the U.S.

• Contemporary renewal of the ‘park-owned rental home conversion to contract sale dance’ of the late 1970s, to the ‘no rentals & few contract sales’ on-site reality of the 1990s; to today, where almost everyone does ‘whatever it takes’, post 2010, to fill approximately 250,000 vacant rental homesites in leased land communities nationwide – staying in compliance with state and federal $ regs.

• Affordable housing as a housing trade term, though preempted by ‘low cost housing’ aficionados, now has a clear, working definition among serious practitioners: Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income of AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment or buy a home in their local housing market” & not exceed the 30% Housing Expense Factor or HEF. Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb & Helpful Measures, PMN Publishing, 2012, page # 37.

AND, what hasn’t changed!

• Still no secondary market for efficient and effective marketing and resale of manufactured homes, particularly those sited in LLLCommunities. Self-defeating

• Still a stark dichotomy between the upscale home & lifestyle choice, at one end of the manufactured housing and LLLCommunity spectrum; and, trailer/park squalor ever present and far too visible at the other extreme. Again, self-defeating

• Federal manufactured home installation regulations, as over engineered as they are for some locales (e.g. Demand to replace perfectly good, decades-old concrete ribbon foundations with expensive ‘below the frost line’ new ones), are ‘on the books’, but not universally and evenly enforced; in effect, relieving HUD-Code home manufacturers of responsibility for the safe and secure siting of their housing product. Reminiscent of D&R or ‘Drop & Run shipments’ of 1970s

So, what’s this new book describing HOW TO MARKET & SELL HOMES ON-SITE IN LEASED LAND COMMUNITIES going to contain? Here’s the preliminary chapter titles and Appendices for this new work:

Part I.

1. Introduction to Manufactured Housing as a a Type of Factory-built Housing

2. Introduction to Communities

Part II

3. Preparing to Market, Sell & Finance Homes On-site….

4. Using the ‘5 Right Ps of Marketing to Plan, Implement, Evaluate, & adjust Marketing & Sale of Homes On-site.

Part III
5. Selling New Homes On-site

6. Importance of customer Service & Resident Relations

Part IV

7. Financing of Homes Sold On-site

8. Important Role of Compliance in Home Finance Today

Part V.

9 Summary & Conclusions

10. Future of Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities in U.S.

Appendices

List of HUD-Code Home Manufacturers, complete with contact information.

12 Signature Series Resource Documents produced by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, e.g. ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’s Registry, Lexicon, etc.

Who’s going to author the new text? Likely, a team of writers. Already have several capable (published), industry and asset class-experienced, motivated individuals in mind; and some have been asked to participate, and they’ve accepted the challenge. Are YOU seriously interested in being considered for this special team? If so, contact me directly via email: gfa7156@aol.com or via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4765.

The chapter I’m most concerned about, at this time, will deal with the critical decision-making involved in ascertaining whether a LLLCommunity, given its’ 1) unique local housing market characteristics, 2) anticipated sales volume (i.e. given number of vacant rental homesites to be filled), and 3) proximity to housing factories fabricating and shipping appropriate sizes and quality of homes, can or should launch an on-site home sales operation! To that end, I’ve asked Business Development Managers, working for HUD-Code home manufacturer around the U.S., to recommend present day, successful on-site home sales managers, who might, with their employer’s permission, want to and be able to participate in this major project for the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class.

There’s more to share with you, but not at this time. Continue to follow this weekly blog posting for further information, as well as other topics of note.

Also know, How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in Leased Land Communities is a project of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®., presently a subsidiary of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, officed in Franklin, Indiana. For more information, use the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. There likely will be a meeting of co-authors, for this book, during the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014.

II.

MH vs. RV Issue

Protect Housing Market Share or Fill More Vacant Rental Homesites?

What’s the RV Industry want? Apparently, total exclusion of recreational vehicles, by definition, from the HUD (housing) Code!

WHY? The answer depends on WHO one asks. But know this, a ‘full blown national trend’ finds more and more recreational vehicles, of various types and sizes, already sited on heretofore vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities), paying rent right along with manufactured and modular homes similarly sited. But that observation doesn’t really answer the WHY question does it? So, let’s try again. The RV Industry evidently desires easier access to LLLCommunities, without the regulatory burden of being subject to the HUD (building) Code.

What’s the MH Industry want? Apparently, for the RV folk to just go away!

WHY? To protect their present miniscule share of the national housing market – even though HUD-Code home manufacturers often fabricate and ship ‘park model RVs’, a.k.a. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, per HUD; and ‘granny flats’ elsewhere. In any event, many ADUs wind up on rental homesites in LLLCommunities.

So, ‘Where’s the rub’? Again, more RVs sited in LLLCommunities likely means fewer shipments and sales of new HUD-Code homes nationwide! So what! Independent (street) MHRetailers are few and far in between these days, as are ‘company stores’, and the lonely dozen Factory Expo home sales centers adjacent to factories. Consequently, RVs have become, in many local housing markets, a default form of affordable, even desirable shelter.

What are stated or formal positions of two of the three MH-related national advocacy bodies on the ‘MH vs. RV Issue’?

1. Here’s an interesting quote, dated 4 June 2014 PR from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR: “The intensive ‘scorched-earth’ campaign in Congress by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) for an expanded RV exemption in the federal manufactured housing law with the appropriations process…is rapidly becoming a double-edged sword for that industry, as more and more stakeholder constituencies begin to fully recognize the extremely negative long-term consequences of any such change. This includes 1) consumers – who have always been opposed to an expanded RV/park model exemption, 2) state authorities who would see a proliferation in the misuse of larger RVs and park models as unregulated de facto housing, 3) manufactured housing industry members who would be subjected to unfair competition by such a proliferation of unregulated RVs and park models, and 4) ‘pure’ (i.e. single industry) HUD Code state associations which correctly perceive an expend (sic) RV/park model exemption would lead to major problems affecting zoning, placement, taxation, and a host of other related state and local-level issues.” (Blogger’s note: ‘Numbers’ added for clarity; observe how LLLCommunities are not listed as a fifth stakeholder constituency; and, the four ‘extremely negative long-term consequences’ are simply undocumented assumptions)

2. And this input from the Manufactured Housing Institute minutes, approving a resolution offered by the Manufactured Housing Division, at MHI’s annual meeting on 4 October 2011, more than 2 ½ years ago:

“Whereas the RVIA has asked MHI to support legislative and regulatory changes to amend the (HUD-Code) to allow for the construction of RVs and Park Trailers that are larger than 400 square feet when erected on site;
Whereas the MHCC has considered this issue and opposes such a change;
Whereas such a change would encourage permanent living in recreational vehicles; Whereas the construction standards for RVs are not designed for permanent living; and Whereas such a change would further confuse the market perception of manufactured homes, and is inconsistent with industry efforts to advocate policies designed to treat manufactured homes on a parity basis with other types of single family housing; Therefore be it resolved the MHI opposes changing current size restrictions for RVs and Park Trailers. And further, the MHI supports changing the HUD regulations to clarify the differences between RVs and Park Trailers, and to specify that Park Trailers be constructed to the ANSI A119.5 Standards for Park Trailers.”

And here’s your 10 June 2014 update. At its’ Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN., the Manufactured Housing Institute, as well as its’ National Communities Council division and Manufactured Housing division, declined to take a formal position on this contentious matter. Following said meeting(s) however, two observations were overheard; and in this industry observer’s opinion, clearly illustrate the inherent dichotomy of the ‘MH vs.RV’ issue:

• “Temporary housing does not sell lifestyle!” a housing executive
&
• “Expensive homes don’t fill vacant sites.” LLLCommunity owner

Hmm. Do you see what’s been happening here, ‘over the years’? These two separate but different, yet related initiatives:

The recreational vehicle industry, being unsuccessful in times past ’to be included within’ the HUD-Code, has now asked ‘to be entirely exempted from it’. Yet parts of the manufactured housing industry continue to oppose RVIA’s initiatives ‘for pretty much the same reasons’, i.e. Protect Housing Market Share. OK, so what’s different today?

RVs are now commonplace within many LLLCommunities, and will likely become even more so, especially if/when RVs are NOT subject to the HUD-Code, i.e. they’re less expensive to fabricate when not encumbered by federal building regulations.

And where MHI’s Manufactured Housing division ‘carried the day’ back in October 2011, effectively protecting its’ housing market share; today, the National Communities Council division has ‘a dog in this fight’, given members’ efforts to fill more of the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide – many of which are functionally obsolete and can easily site a variety of recreational vehicles 1) seasonally, 2) for construction workers, 3) even opening a new vein of affordable shelter!

Bottom lines? So far, everyone, among the aforesaid national advocacy bodies, is doing what one would expect, but with a twist – in the first instance::

The MHARR, founded to keep ‘regulatory reform’ under reasonable $ control, now foists HUD’s ‘performance-based building code’ onto a sister industry, the RV folk, to protect members from further shipment volume reduction due to housing market share incursion .

And MHI, to date, continues to be quiet on the subject. Why? Methinks, a preference to let someone else (MHARR) carry this fight, so as not to put its’ Manufactured Housing division and National Communities Council divisions at odds with one another. This too again, in fear of fewer, new HUD-Code homes being shipped versus. LLLCommunities’ continued need to fill more vacant rental homesites coast to coast – if need be, with recreational vehicles, of all types and sizes, as affordable shelter alternatives!

So, what do you think? An average of a dozen blog floggers (readers) respond, in writing, each week, to the topics aired here at the community-investor.com web site. So don’t be shy! We’d like to hear from you, via gfa7156@aol.com or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

III.

23rd annual International Networking Roundtable
Information & Registration Brochures
Now Available Upon Request

Three things YOU may or may not know about the International Networking Roundtable:

1. This is the longest running (23 years) annual trade event planned and hosted to meet the educational (20 sessions), networking (9 social events), & realty deal-making penchant of land-lease-lifestyle community (A.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators, large and small, worldwide.

2. This year’s program features, for the first time in manufactured housing history, two National Public Forums to refocus our ‘double dual industry’ re: ‘Face the Future of Manufactured Housing & the LLLCommunity realty asset class!’ And, ‘Anyone who’s anyone’ in the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity business environs, will be present for this stellar event, 10-12 September in Peachtree City, GA!

3. Attendance is limited to 250 participants. We’ll soon distribute descriptive event brochures to 500+/- LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators in the U.S. & Canada; to 200+ COBA7® affiliates; and, individuals who attended last year’s Networking Roundtable in Chicago, IL. So, if interested in attending, but not on one of those three lists, use the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to request your brochure. You don’t want to miss this one!

Reps from AHA, MHARR, MHI, Freddie Mac, & Fannie Mae have been invited to attend and or participate in this year’s Networking Roundtable. So far, only one of the five has not responded affirmatively. Also hearing from academics & would be investors

Follow the $ & Keep $core!

June 7th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 301 @ 8 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource 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.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

‘Follow the Money’ is title to Part I. There’s no clearer picture of what’s going on…

‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ = one of those ‘once in a lifetime learning opportunities’.

‘Keep Score!’ Surely hope you do! We need more action and less benign neglect at NCC

‘COBA7® Affiliates Receive National Public Forum Worksheets’ You can too!

Together, U & COBA7® = ‘U support US & We serve U!’

I.

Follow the Money

Why RV Industry Want$ Exemption From the HUD-Code

1. Various types and sizes of RVs fit nicely onto vacant rental homesites, functionally obsolete and otherwise, in land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), VERSUS some (manufactured) home owners/site lessees view an RV moving next door as a threat to home value – unless of course, it’s a tricked-out $100,000.00 RV ‘parked’ next to their $30,000.00 home.

2. RVs excluded from the HUD-Code likely qualify for chattel financing as vehicles, so might not be subject to the S.A.F.E. Act & Consumer Protection Finance Bureau’s regulatory oversight, VERSUS anticipated reduction in chattel financing of manufactured home (transactions) encumbered by state and federal finance regulations

3. Exempted RVs possibly become a new class of unregulated ‘shelters cum residences’ sited in LLLCommunities*, VERSUS reduction in number of new HUD-Code manufactured homes shipped, that are otherwise encumbered by state and local building codes

So, how do you feel about this contentious matter? More interested in filling some of the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide, with various sizes and types of recreational vehicles (‘RVs’); OR, protecting HUD-Code manufactured housing market share, ensuring most or all structures sited in LLLCommunities are indeed bona fide ‘homes cum residences’?

There’re contrasting views on this complicated matter. Some believe the RV legislative initiative, for the third or fourth time, is ‘going nowhere’; while others opine, this is the only way to return ‘truly affordable shelter’ to modest rent rate LLLCommunities – at further reduction in size of HUD-Code market share – already at an historic nadir for the past five years..

To express your opinion(s), use input instructions at the beginning of this blog posting…

Important End Note.

* Watch for a ‘primary residence rule’ to possibly play a deciding role here, e.g. ‘RV not exempted if owner lives in it for more than two months at a time.’ That gimcrack smacks of Big Brother closing the farmyard gate long after the cows have left the barn. Good Luck finding and rounding ‘em up.

II.

‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’

Newest Manufactured Housing Author to Make Guest Appearance

You likely already know the basics. The morning of 4 August 2014, YES, the same day as the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, will find would be and experienced writers alike, gathered at the RV/MH museum and library in Elkhart, IN., for a 2 ½ hour writing seminar.

Subtitled, ‘How to Write & Publish Your Memoir(s), Autobiography, &/or Corporate History or Story!’, the program will be co-hosted and led by Al Hesselbart, RV/MH Hall of Fame RV historian, and George Allen, publisher of the Allen Letter professional journal, and author, co-author of all books in print today – but one, relative to the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity realty asset class.

The program begins promptly at 9:30AM, with check-in, handout of class materials, and introductions of co-hosts and participants, until10:00AM. From 10 – 11AM we’ll concentrate on memoir & autobiography research, writing and style. And from 11 – Noon, we’ll cover corporate history and stories, along with an introduction to self-publishing alternatives.

We expect Bob Vahsholtz, author of DUELING CURVES – the newest book about ‘manufactured housing in the 21st Century’, to join us during the seminar, even have copies of the book to sell and autograph. At the end of the program, we’ll likely enjoy a networking lunch together, where we’ll ask Bob questions about his latest tome. If you’d like to order a copy beforehand, phone (805) 481-2574. The price is right! And if you’d like to read a lengthy review of same, phone MHIndustry HOTLINE and request a FREE copy of the June issue of the aforementioned Allen Letter.

For a brochure containing details about the ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’, and to register for the seminar, phone the MHIndustry HOTINE or (317) 346-7156. Space is limited, so don’t delay deciding to participate. AND, the $49.95 per person cost is reduced to $29.95 if/when you register to attend the Class of 2014 RV/MH Hall of Fame Banquet that same evening! If you’ve ever thought YOU – or your company, have a story to tell, now is the time to learn how to go about the process. Hope to see you there!

III.

‘ Keep Score!’

How Many of Ten Topics Requested, Will be on NCC’s Agenda?

As faithful blog floggers (readers) know, we shared nine topics with you several weeks ago, and #10 has been added since then. The initial nine recommended topics were sent to MHI’s NCC staff in Arlington, VA., with a request they be placed on the meeting agenda for the National Communities Council division, to be held the morning of 9 June 2014. Well, that’s tomorrow morning, if you’re reading this posting on Sunday, 8 June 2014.

It will be interesting to see how many, if any of them – besides maybe ‘Intimidation by Litigation’ gets aired among this small but august group of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators. The list, again:

• The ‘value proposition’ of NCC division’s $500.00/year membership fee. What specific products & services are direct, dues-paying MHI/NCC members presently receiving, in addition to lobbying efforts on our behalf?

• Revisit MHI’s October 4, 2012 board resolution opposing “…changing current restrictions for RVs & Park Trailers”, in effect discouraging permanent living in RVs. Review said opposition in light of need to fill an estimated 250,000 want rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide.

• Recommend change to MHI bylaws (NCC has none) to permit properly executed absentee ballot use during annual election of division officers.

• Discuss the ‘intimidation by litigation’ environment apparently spawned by Right of First Refusal clauses within or outside some LLLCommunity leases.

• Status of MHI web page re NCC content and newsletter?

• Why discontinuation of the MHI Membership Directory in 2014? Who effected its’ demise? Why not make print subscription copies available at profit for MHI?

• NCC is formally invited to participate in the first ever National Public Forum examining the ‘Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ vs. its’ trailer heritage’, & ‘Future of LLLCommunities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’.

• NCC is formally invited to affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®

• Status of Duke University (Dr. Charles Becker) research project?

• (+) Recommend MHI broaden its’ policy to allow announcement of regional and national manufactured housing and or LLLCommunity-related events!. Today, only MHI-hosted and member state association-sponsored events, including ACM classes, are posted on the website. Why not include the RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet @ 4 August 2014, same day as the multi-state (AL, LA, MS, TN) meeting begins; the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable @ 10-12 September 2014 – hosted by longtime MHI member GFA Management, Inc.; annual SECO Symposium @ 1 & 2 October in Atlanta, GA., hosted by area LLLCommunity owners; even the ‘How Housing Matters Conference’, @ 16 October 2014, hosted by the National Building Institute in Washington, DC.

Well, there you have it. Probably too late for you to encourage your state MHAssociation exec to intervene and request these timely and pithy topics be added to the NCC agenda.

IV.

COBA7 Affiliates Receive National Public Forum Worksheets

The 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable is only three months away! Descriptive registration brochures will be mailed during June to all 500+/- LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators in North America. And during July and August, same brochures will be enclosed as lagniappes in that month’s issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. And during August the brochure will be sent to everyone who patronized last year’s 22nd annual Roundtable, along with the favored real estate and chattel capital lenders who serve the real estate asset class.

In the meantime, preparations have already begun for this superb networking, educational and deal-making event! 20 seminar presenters and panelists are readying their ‘talk outlines’, and just this week, COBA7 affiliates were mailed National Public Forum worksheets for the two topics to be presented and parsed on 9/11/2014:

• Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ versus ‘trailer’ heritage

• Future of land-lease-lifestyle communities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investments’

Who’s interested in these two mega-topics? Evidently ‘everyone’! Already, even before aforesaid roundtable brochures are ready for distribution, we’re receiving inquiries from academics, federal agencies, housing lobbyists, HUD-Code home manufacturers, as well as businessmen and women, praising us for finally doing something ‘many’ feel should have been done ‘years ago’. Will YOU be present for these historic National Public Forums?

As it stands, the worksheets cover both topics separately, with basic concepts and present day MH-related realities displayed in outline fashion, with room for COBA7 affiliates (Who hail from every segment of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, by the way!) to append additions, recommend deletions, and more. By the time we arrive at the DOLCE Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA., in early September, the nationally known presenters, ‘working’ these two topics, will have rich material with which to work.

SO, if you really want to ensure an ‘invite’ to this exciting annual event known for its’ superb networking, invaluable education, and unique deal-making opportunities, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request a descriptive Networking Roundtable brochure ASAP! Also beginning to seek out sponsors for this year’s event. Interested?

***

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

More Protection/Pricing & Market Share re RVs

June 1st, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 300 @ 5/25/2014 Copyright 2014

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

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource 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

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

Do you have any idea what a six year tall pile of hard copy blogs looks like? How ‘bout a stack of paper 12+ inches tall! But that’s what National Building Institute library wants.

‘Protection/pricing’ & ‘Protecting MH Market Share vs. More RVs On-site’ continue to confound. Evidently no paladin in the first instance, & ‘Let’s not talk about second one.’

How does one fit 2 ½ pounds of valued business sustenance into a 1 ¼ pound bag? Well, on 9 June 2014, in Indianapolis, IN., at the NCC meeting, we’ll see if it can be done!

How’d you like to see your income cut by 300%, and at the same time, your expenses increased by 250%? That’s what HUD-Code manufacturers faced & face again soon.

I.

Celebrating Six Years of Blogging For the
Manufactured Housing Industry &
Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class

II.

Third Week in a Row for Protection/Pricing!

III.

‘Protect MH Market Share or Fill More Sites with RVs?’

IV.

National Communities Council division meeting, 9 June 2014

V.

Pending HUD Rulemaking Increase of Manufactured Housing Certification Label Fee, from $39.00 to Between $95.00 & $105.00 Trounces Prospective Homebuyers

*******************************************

I.

Celebrating Six Years of Blogging For the
Manufactured Housing Industry &
Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class

This week you’re reading the 300th consecutive blog posting; begun at the Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, & continued, to this day, at the community-investor.com website.

A recent congratulatory email message from a land-lease-lifestyle community owner just outside Chicago – at this time – makes me feel all the effort has been worthwhile; but unfortunately, is far from being over….

“George, just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for your leadership and the passion you display for our industry. You have been a leader for a long time, and from what I see, retirement is going to be a long time away.” JZ

And then this questioning letter from an Ohio LLLCommunity owner, affiliated with COBA7, that provides opportunity to describe, from my perspective, the nature and scope of activities of three national ‘players’ on the HUD-Code manufactured housing and LLLCommunity asset class scene.

“George; I have been following your blog and the Allen Letter. If I have understood properly, the asset class is represented on the national level by MHI, MHARR, and COBA7. MHI, the very big boys (REITs, and a few non-REIT biggies, (home) manufacturers, retailers, and communities). MHARR, the manufacturers. COBA7, the communities. Thus, if I understand the picture, each one, except COBA7, has serious conflicts (This of course will be denied) in their agendas, from time to time. My question: Will the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance remain pure; that is to say, represent only the smaller community owners? If so, what will be the cut off in size. Will all others be permitted to affiliate as associate members only? Just curious.” GS

MY REPLY. “You pretty much have things right as you’ve penned them. And what you bring up at the end is worthy of thought and discussion, but won’t get much for awhile – and in a few minutes, I’ll explain why.

MHI represents all segments of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry. In terms of $ dues collected and internal political influence; in my opinion, the institute is dominated by the Big 3-C home manufacturers (i.e. Clayton, Champion, Cavco). All told, according to their web site, they have slightly more than 300 dues-paying members, including Certified Representatives from member state MHAssociations. And of the total membership, 88+/- are aligned with the National Communities Council division.

MHARR represents only HUD-Code home manufacturers. Most are smaller, regional players, though a few, if not most, of the largest MHI manufacturer members are also members of MHARR. Member count? Fewer than 100 firms.

COBA7 is ‘the new kid on the block’, and NOT a not for profit national advocacy body like MHI & MHARR. It is simply an alliance of businessmen and women, like thee and me, with an affinity for LLLCommunities. The unexpected surprise has been, however, since the first of the year (2014), when this NEW ERA dawned for LLLCommunities, individuals and companies from every segment of the MHIndustry have paid to affiliate with COBA7! And to date, nary a one has expressed any interest in ‘taking over anything’. They simply expect COBA7 to live up to its’ symbiotic slogan:

‘U support US & WE serve U!’

via Seven Function Areas, being: ongoing statistical research; resource updating & distribution; print & online communication; superb peer networking; deal-making opportunities; professional property management training & certification; and, national advocacy when need be, e.g. official ombudsman (press) to the MHIndustry.

Since COBA7 is not an organization, no one has any voting rights at this time. And beyond that comment, I will not go, until the time comes when we talk face to face. All the more reason for you, and our peers, to be present at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable at the DOLCE Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA., 10-12 September 2014!

Anyone reading this blog posting, wanting to ensure an ‘invite’ to this popular annual event, and/or desiring to affiliate with COBA7, should phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

II.

Third Week in a Row for Protection/Pricing!

If you don’t know about what this headline refers to, it’s strongly suggested you scroll back into the blog archives at this website and read blogs # 298 and 299, for what follows to make sense to you.

I haven’t been surprised, just dismayed, that neither national advocacy body has much (of anything) to say about this rarely publicized, but often endured issue. My ‘take’ on it is, neither august body has ever been able to do anything much about HUD’s unilateral calls for product changes resulting in increased housing cost to home manufacturers and prospective homebuyers.

With that said, I’ll share some thought-provoking commentary from Bob Vahsholtz, of Arroyo Grande, CA., author of DUELING CURVES, ‘The Battle for Housing’, that debuted last month. A full length review of this new addition to manufactured housing literature takes up most of the June 2014 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. If you haven’t yet purchased a copy of Bob’s book, you should do so. The price is right, at $35.00 per copy and, I believe, $7.00 for shipping. Simply visit Vahsholtz’s website: www.kingmidgetswest.com

Here’s what Bob had to say in recent correspondence, responding to Protection/Pricing:

“George, I (would) not want to be a manufacturer today – or really any other business. Regulation is out of control. HUD probably thinks its’ benevolent oversight has been the prime factor in the improvement of manufactured housing. It has not. The trend has been obvious and continuous, from the earliest days, with notable interruptions. One such was the introduction of the HUD-Code in the midst of market chaos (i.e. Circa early to mid 1970s).”

“Progress is made despite the drag of regulation, and will continue as long as the market thrives – a somewhat tenuous assumption at the moment. But really, the industry has bent over backward to comply with conflicting and sometimes counterproductive regulations. The price increases you mention may happen, but they should not. If we don’t need bigger exit windows, and I suspect we really don’t, the industry – all of us – should work together to illustrate today’s larger citizens (can) make their way out of the already standard exits. If panels in closets threaten life and limb, proof should be demanded. If HUD can make good arguments, they should be acknowledged, and changes phased in over time, giving learning curve a chance to cover the cost. Do our water heaters not have control settings?”

“C’mon now, the government and the rest of us want low cost housing for the citizens. Let’s join together to get it produced!” Bob Vahsholtz

Know what my first – and continuing reaction was/is to Bob’s commentary? That’s why we all worked so hard to effect passage of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, a.k.a. MHIA@2000. And said passage, in part to implement a timely, practical working relationship among disparate government, regulatory, business, and consumer parties, in the form of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee or MHCC, which has not met in a long long time.

Bottom line? There is none; just more confusion! Only MHARR has ‘gone public’, since the first of the year, proclaiming its’ primary goal for 2014 is full and complete implementation of MHIA@2000; in effect, repositioning HUD-Code manufactured housing as ‘housing’, and further distancing us from our trailer heritage! But know what?

There’re serious rumblings ‘out there’ in opposite directions! One way is to ‘take us all the way over to housing’, by doing away with vehicle titling, personal property taxation, and moving us away from chattel capital mortgage financing. The other way is to ‘keep us right where we are’, precariously straddling the demarcation between housing and vehicles, relying on the federal preemptive performance-based national building code to protect manufactured housing from incursions by site-built housing, recreational vehicle manufacturers, and others. Which business model path do you prefer?

And there you have the rationale behind one of two National Public Forum topics to be presented and parsed at the 23rd International Networking Roundtable on 11 September 2014 in Peachtree City, GA, to wit: The ‘Future of Manufactured Housing as ‘housing’ or ‘trailers’! The other topic? The ‘Future of Land-lease-lifestyle Communities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’. How can you not want to be present for this historic (i.e. ‘first time ever’) and precedent-setting National Public Forum discussion of two key industry issues?. Again, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to ensure you receive an ‘invite’ to participate. Already, two of three national ‘players’ have committed to be on hand, along with representatives from government agencies.

III.

‘Protect MH Market Share or Fill More Sites with RVs?’

This perennial topic too has spouted legs, from last week to this, motivating the following reminiscing from a veteran Midwest independent (street) MHRetailer:

“Several years ago, the RV issue was discussed at a _____meeting. I wasn’t totally clear on the issue then, or even now. I do remember several ‘Nanny State’ types who felt they could use the RV request to insert HUD oversight into the RV industry, saying: ‘You now, some people are living in them. We should be regulating them.’ I remember thinking, ‘What did I care if someone owning an RV stayed in a few days longer than what our ‘Nanny State’ mentalities deemed ‘temporary’? I had no interest in extending HUD’s regulatory reach into the RV arena. Just saying that the RV folks need to carefully consider whatever requests they are making.” AB

Well, reality has changed, and is now counterintuitive. How so? First off, this time around the RV industry is not looking for a ‘change’ that would have them brought into the HUD-Code that regulates manufactured housing. NO; this time around, they wish to insert language in the HUD-Code that broadens the definition of RVs to be excluded from said HUD-Code. This is the counterintuitive part. If not only ‘park model RVs’, but now much larger type RVs, are formally excluded from HUD-Code oversight, by definition, it likely makes it easier for these units to be sited on vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities, where they’re not otherwise outlawed by local housing market zoning ordinances. Anyway, that’s my ‘take’ on the matter. Anything you care to add or change?

And here’s what author Bob Vahsholtz adds to the discussion:

“Ah George, the use of RVs as homes is not so much a matter of preferences as it is of needs. Millions of Americans need low cost homes, (and) thousands of LLLCommunities have vacancies they can’t fill with affordable and appropriately-sized HUD homes. The laws of economics urge those spaces to be filled with used RVs that are inexpensive, because those who ‘travel in RVs’ want new stuff”

“Housing regulations in this country strive for a well-ordered nirvana that exists only in academic and government minds. When regulators define the size of Johnny’s bedroom, they’ve gone too far. When MH manufacturers, retailers, and community operators flock to the monstrous high-buck home choice, they join regulators in creating a wondrous void in the market.”

“The RV industry made a reasonable, if arbitrary choice, in limiting ‘park models’ to 400 square feet, and those little rascals are pricey. Still ‘park models’ prove, just as early mobile homes proved, that a home need not be big to be quite livable.”

In any event, it will be interesting to observe whether this ‘Protect MH market Share OR Increase RV Occupancy in LLLCommunities?’ issue makes it onto anyone’s agenda at the upcoming MHI Summer meeting in Indianapolis on 8-10 June. If so, ‘Good!’ If not, ‘Why not?’ An inquiring business public wants to know….

IV

National Communities Council division meeting, 9 June 2014.

And this note from a direct, dues-paying MHI/NCC member and COBA7 affiliate: “What is the purpose of the (6/9) meeting? Is it (to be) a REIT-driven, rubber stamped 1.5 hours?” TT

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. And as loyal blog floggers (readers) know, we publicly suggested here, last week, a Nine Topic Agenda, one of which has to do with ‘Intimidation by Litigation’. Now there’s a new and troubling subject most LLLCommunity owners/operators should want to discuss. But will it be? If so, ‘Good!’ If not, ‘Why not?’ An inquiring business public wants to know….

V.

Pending HUD Rulemaking Increase of Manufactured Housing Certification Label fee, from $39.00 to Between $95.00 & $105.00 Trounces Prospective Homebuyers!

If effected, this would be the first increase in certification label fee since 2002, that’s 12 years ago. BUT, seeing as how HUD-Code manufactured home numbers have plummeted from 168,491 shipped during year 2002, to an average of 53,310 units per year through 2013 – that’s a production DECREASE of 115,181 units or 300%, it certainly does NOT justify an INCREASE in label fee of 250%! What are these people thinking? The information in this paragraph supplied by MHARR.

In other words, how’d you feel if your take home pay was cut from $600.00 per week to just $200.00; and, your household water/sewer bill shot up from only $39.00 to $100.00 per month?

This is why most major business types have a national advocacy trade group headquartered in the Washington, DC., area; to lobby in their behalf and protect members from regulatory incursions and excesses like this. As it stands, however, manufactured housing has not one, but two national advocacy bodies, one domiciled in Washington, DC., and one in Arlington, VA. (Reread Part I of this blog posting). But not everyone is pleased with the arrangement. This from a longtime reader of this blog: “The MHI/MHARR duel is really quite interesting and really a waste of valuable time. They need to get to work on how we get more business – access to relevant financing tools for sure – and work together to win!” NB

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

Protection/Pricing & OneUpmanship Ridivivus….

May 25th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 299 @ 5/25/2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

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

* Ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

Didn’t have to scratch hard to expose a few of manufactured housing’s perennial issues:

• Alleged HUD-forced, but unverified, product changes & housing price increases!

• Protect HUD-Code housing market share or fill more LLLCommunity rental sites

• Continuing battle for turf, influence, & power inside Washington, DC beltway

• National advocacy for & by LLLCommunity owners OR executive cronies?

Our industry’s frequent contretemps read more like housing soap than business model! Go ahead, look it up: Contretemps is right word choice to describe our industry’s plight.

************************************************************************

I.
It’s Called ‘Protection/Pricing’

II.
You Favor More RVs On-Site in Communities
OR
Protect Manufactured Housing’s Market Share?

III.
One Upmanship Redivivus* or Finis*?

*(‘living again, revived’ or ‘the end’)

IV.
YOUR OPPORTUNITY
To Input the National Communities Council Agenda

********************************

I.

It’s Called ‘Protection/Pricing’

Here last week we changed a rhetorical question into this statement: ‘How HUD-Code home manufacturers deal with a new type MHRetailer!’ Meaning, of course, how HUD-Code home manufacturers are navigating uncertain waters, marketing new homes into land-lease-lifestyle communities, where they are sold and often self-financed to prospective homebuyers/site lessees – by this ‘new breed of MHRetailer’.

To that end, another interesting question surfaced, and was also featured in last week’s blog posting at this website:

When HUD-Code home manufacturers unilaterally issue allegedly HUD-Code forced Product Change Information, and resulting Price Increase Warnings, who verifies the veracity of said modifications and necessity of said price increase(s)?

Well, that pithy two part question sat online for a week; and to date, there’s been no credible or helpful, response from either manufactured housing national advocacy body!

But we did receive this insightful message from a retired HUD-Code housing manufacturing executive:

“The ‘protection/pricing’ issue is historical and remains relevant. (When) adequate foreknowledge was available, and we could pre-buy (inventory) to protect our backlog of pending orders, we did so. Often, however, there was no (advance) notice period of (any) consequence, particularly on commodity items, so we would increase (prices) without notice. Once I even took an increase on our backlog of orders. ‘Stuff happens’ ya know?

Were you, as a MHRetailer, willing to contract for (multiple home) purchases, and the manufacturer likewise, things could be different. But when I proposed (this) to our dealers, what do you think they said about committing to a certain number of homes by contract and delivery times? – You are right.

Hence the title of Part I of this week’s blog posting: ‘It’s called ‘protection/pricing’; and the Lesson Learned? ‘Live With It!’ You have no paladin after the fact, only before…

There’s an apt corollary here. Imagine yourself a small HUD-Code home manufacturer, and a HUD-forced Product Change comes your way, increasing the cost of your housing product by $100.00 per unit. You’re producing 500 floors per year; that’s a $50,000 increase in product cost, for this single change, during 12 months – the wholesale price of at least one, if not two homes. For the firm producing 2,000 units per year, that’s a $200,000 increase, maybe. The difference? Buying Power, on the part of the larger firm, will likely enable it to mitigate the severity of the cost increase associated with the HUD-Code forced Product Change, perhaps even passing on less a Price Increase to the firm’s ‘company stores’, affiliated independent (street) MHRetailers, and new breed of MHRetailer – the LLLCommunity owner/operator selling new homes on-site. Bottom line? Continued vigilance needed in regards to ongoing regulatory reform!

And next week, in this blog posting at community-investor.com, DUELING CURVES author, and retired manufactured housing factory executive Bob Vahsholtz, will share his ‘take’ on this ‘protection/pricing’ matter. Here’s a taste: “George, I’d not want to be a manufacturer today….Regulation is out of control.” And more….

II.

You Favor More RVs On-site in Communities
OR
Protect Manufactured Housing’s Market Share?

This was the question posed in last week’s BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) covering email message accompanying blog posting # 298 at community-investor.com

Here’s what I’ve learned since that posting a week ago. Upon querying MHI, I was sent a copy of its’ board meeting minutes from 4 October 2011 – that’s 2 ½ years ago. Then, the manufactured housing division sought and received this Resolution from the board: “Therefore be it resolved, MHI opposes changing current size restrictions for RVs & Park Trailers.” In effect, opposing a ‘change (that) would encourage permanent living in recreational vehicles.’

2 ½ years later, MHARR views the same matter in similar fashion, i.e. “…an intricate and highly complex issue that will have significant substantive impacts and repercussions on multiple constituencies, including consumers, state and local regulatory authorities, and both the manufactured housing and RV industries.” From MHARR correspondence dated 16 May 2014.

More to the point however, is this prediction by MHARR: a “…likely proliferation of the use of larger RV products as unregulated de facto residences….” (and without saying so) increasingly parked on some-to-many of the estimated 250,000 vacant, frequently ‘functionally obsolete’ (i.e. too small for today’s behemoth HUD-Code manufactured homes; you know, the ‘big box = big bucks’ or Developer Series Models of the late 1990s) rental home sites in land-lease-lifestyle communities coast to coast.

A congressional hearing, on this matter, has been requested, so “…all affected stakeholders can be heard, and address the intricacies of this matters, as well as its’ likely and potential unintended consequences.” (The latter maybe being, fewer smaller new manufactured homes shipped and sited on erstwhile vacant rental homesites in LLLCommunities – now occupied by a variety of recreational vehicle types).

As they say, ‘Stay tuned’, and this web site blog will keep you informed regarding this heady matter, as the legislative drama unfolds. And it’ll be interesting to see if this matter appears on the agenda of the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division of the Manufactured Housing Institute, the morning of 9 June 2014.

A related sidebar. This conflict of interests is nothing new for the manufactured housing industry. The classic contrast of views, in years past, played out with HUD-Code home manufacturers favoring open zoning – in effect, allowing manufactured housing to be sited just about anywhere in a local housing market. At the same time, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators quietly preferred said homes to generally be restricted to that unique, income-producing property type and scattered building sites outside cities and towns.

III.

One Upmanship Redivivus* or Finis*?

* (‘living again, revived’ or ‘the end’)

In March 2014, this blog headlined ‘MH Politics as Usual in DC’, describing the unfolding melodrama that led to Pam Danner being named HUD administrator, all the while another was widely viewed as frontrunner. What was not publicized, at the time, was an attempt by one national advocacy body to usurp credit for insertion of ‘manufactured housing-friendly language’, specifically proposed earlier by yet another national advocacy body, into GSE reform legislation.

Well, the latter contretemps resurfaced a week or so ago in a Press Release from one national advocacy body, and a HOUSING ALERT from the other….

“…the inclusion of MHARR’s consumer financing amendments in bi-partisan GSE reform legislation – first in the original March 16, 2014 Johnson-Crapo bill, and now in the final committee-approved bill – breaks the ice and sets a political benchmark for future GSE reform efforts to fully include, recognize and protect all types of manufactured housing….”. This from MHARR’s Press Release dated 16 May 2014.

& this

“Included in the Johnson-Crapo bill are provisions explicitly requested by MHI that would allow manufactured home loans, including those secured by personal property, full access to the newly envisioned secondary market system.” This from MHI’s HOUSING ALERT dated 15 May 2014

In a memorandum sent to both lobbying bodies, this simple question was asked: ‘Are we talking about the same provisions here, in the Johnson-Crapo bill, or not?”

Reply(ies) to date?

Only this from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR, in correspondence dated 16 May 2014:

“The MHARR News Release (dated 16 March 2014) shows in detail, with specific quotes, the MHARR-developed language, how (said) language (was) drafted and submitted to the Senate committee shortly after a September 26, 2013 meeting between MHARR and (the) Banking Committee staff, was (then) incorporated into the Johnson-Crapo bill, to include all types of manufactured housing loans (chattel, real estate and hybrid) within the definitions of ‘eligible single-family mortgage loan’ and ‘residential real estate loan’. There is no mistaking this, because the bill language includes a specific proviso drafted by MHARR, excluding manufactured housing loans from certain title insurance mandates found in another part of the bill.” And the memorandum continues…

To date, at the posting of this weekly blog on or about 25 May 2014, there has been no reply from the Manufactured Housing Institute, or MHI, regarding this contentious matter. But then, as is oft said, ‘No reply is a reply!’

Draw your own conclusion(s).

IV.

YOUR OPPORTUNITY

to Input the National Communities Council Agenda

MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division will convene at 10:45AM, the morning of 8 June 2014, meeting until Noon; that’s 1 ¼ hours for a meeting that usually lasts 2 – 2 ½ hours. One wonders, ‘Why the reduced time frame?’ As one of the NCC’s 86 members (according to MHI’s website list), will you be present? If past performance is an indicator, the answer is ‘No’. But I will be, on your behalf!

On the average, only a dozen or so bona fide NCC members, including certified representatives from state MHAssociations, show up for these get togethers. The rest of the (usually) many individuals in the meeting room, is an eclectic mix of state MHAssociation execs, product and service suppliers, and folk with nowhere else to go.

On 13 May I contacted NCC staff via email, asking: “Are you planning to solicit NCC meeting agenda topics before said meeting…?” And I offered five agenda suggestions. Two days later, on the 15th, I received this terse reply: “Thank You for sharing your suggestions. An agenda will be distributed prior to the meeting.” My rejoinder, later the same day? “That’s OK. I see matters continue unchanged at the NCC. Tight control at the top, little communication with members, and no desire to solicit input from members that would make our occasional meetings worth attending. See you there.”

SO, with no assurance the five topics I recommended will be on the NCC meeting agenda – they certainly haven’t been in the past; I’ve decided to ‘take the matter public’, asking YOU what you’d like to see and hear brought up before the august officers of the NCC. To date, my list has grown to nine in number. Here’s the list to date:

• The ‘value proposition’ of NCC division’s $500.00/year membership fee. What specific products & services are direct, dues-paying MHI/NCC members presently receiving, in addition to lobbying efforts in our behalf?

• Revisit MHI’s October 4, 2012 board resolution opposing “,,,changing current size restrictions for RVs and Park Trailers”, in effect discouraging permanent living in RVs. Review said opposition in light of need to fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide.

• Recommend change to MHI bylaws (NCC has none) to permit properly executed absentee ballot use during annual election of division officers.

• Discuss the ‘intimidation by litigation’ environment apparently spawned by Right of First Refusal clauses within or outside some LLLCommunity leases.

• Status of MHI web page re NCC content and newsletter?

• Why discontinuation of the MHI Membership Directory in 2014? Who effected its’ demise? Why not make print subscription copies available at profit for MHI?

• NCC is formally invited to participate in the first ever National Public Forum examining the ‘Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ vs. its’ trailer heritage’, & ‘Future of LLLCommunities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’.’

• NCC is formally invited to affiliate with the Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance, or COBA7.

• Status of the Duke University (Dr. Charles Becker) research project?

I’ll report on how (or ‘if’) any of these important and timely matters are aired and acted upon during the NCC division meeting on 9 June 2014.

What would YOU like to see added to this list? Simply respond via email (gfa7156@aoo.com) or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Better yet, if an NCC member, send your suggestion(s) on corporate letterhead. That’ll carry, by far, the most weight. I’ll report your suggestions during the New Business portion of the meeting – IF the 1 ¼ hour NCC meeting ‘gets that far’; and, hopefully, the results thereof, in a future blog posting – or a newsletter feature article.

Selling Homes On-Site? Who’s Got Your Back?

May 18th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog#298 @ 5/18/14 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

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

*Ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

What was bound to happen sooner or later? Lack of representation where Product Change Information & Price Increase Warnings are involved. (&) Lack of industry wide dialogue about new housing Product & Pricing, where filling vacant rental homsites is concerned.

And, what’s going to be done about both matters?

The number of COBA7 affiliates continues to grow, as the alliance takes up more and more of the slack where others appear to fear to tread. OR, as the distance and distinction between national lobbying and ‘everything else’ (e.g. ongoing research, resource distribution, print & online communication, peer networking, deal-making, PM training & certification, & national advocacy when/where need be…) appears to lengthen, grassroots businessmen and women are increasingly gravitating to affiliate with peers who share their concerns, needs, and wants.

Have YOU affiliated with COBA7 yet?

I.

It Was Bound to Happen, Sooner or Later, So Here It Is!

II.

More Benefits for COBA7 Affiliates!

I.

It Was Bound to Happen, Sooner or Later, So Here It Is!

‘How HUD-Code home manufacturers deal with a new type MHRetailer’
&
‘Increased presence of mixed RV/MH rental homesites clouds legislation’

Independent (street) MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ are far fewer in number today, than prior to and at the turn of the century, when ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ Developer Series Homes competed head-to-head with site builders, via land-and-home packages. Since 2009 though, singlesection and modest-sized multisection homes, designed and labeled as Community Series Homes, a.k.a. CSH Models, with built-in WOW! factors and durability-enhancing features – sited in land-lease-lifestyle communities, have become, in many regions of the U.S., de rigueur for the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry.

Today, the land-lease-lifestyle community owner/operator, for the purposes of this blog message, is ‘ the new type MHRetailer’, when marketing, selling, siting, often self-financing new Community Series Homes on-site! With that said, here’s the recent Product Change Information & Price Increase Warning received, by one LLLCommunity owner/operator, from their HUD-Code home manufacturer of choice:

“As of June, we will have to meet new HUD guidelines. HUD has decided no manufacturers windows are large enough for egress. They have to be increased in size. This may mean the number of windows will change. This will cause an increase in pricing.”

“HUD has also decided panel boxes can no longer go in closets. We will have an option for a panel box cover for those who don’t want to see the cover. They also have decided we need anti scald faucets. This will cause an increase in prices. We are working to see the cheapest way around this.”

“President Obama has hit all factories with Obama care insurance. Each manufacturer has a different date of enrollment. Ours just hit.”

“All these things will affect our pricing. I don’t know how much yet. We will let you know as soon as we can pin everything down. Please cover yourself on quotes to customers.”

Do you see the obvious and serious challenge contained within this correspondence? The issuance of Product Change Information & Price Increase Warnings, with little to no advance notice or substantiation of change claims! If you’re a LLLCommunity owner/operator, and what you just read – or other correspondence akin to it, the first you’re hearing of such matters affecting the marketing and sale of new HUD-Code manufactured homes on-site? If so, you – we ALL need an answer to this question?

WHO, from a national advocacy perspective, is looking after your/our collective manufactured housing business interests in and around the nation’s capitol these days?

There are two national manufactured housing advocacy bodies presently in place.

One entity does not accept LLLCommunity owners/operators – or any other segments of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry except manufacturers, as direct, dues-paying members. However, that entity faithfully and routinely educates all segments of the manufactured housing industry, relative to technical HUD-Code home matters, via its’ monthly column in the last remaining manufactured housing trade print publication, The Journal; as well as via email and FAX messages of import, to state MHAssociations and other interested parties. But remember, if you’re not a HUD-Code home manufacturer, they are not representing you in Washington, DC. Are YOU on their mailing list? If a LLLCommunity owner/operator, you should be. Call the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE for contact information.

The other entity? Represents the ‘Big Three C’ HUD-Code home manufacturers (i.e. Clayton, Champion, Cavco), some of the largest LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators, and other segments of the manufactured housing industry, informing members via weekly email summaries and monthly shipment reports. Hosts an annual national trade show featuring seminars, but no longer pens a column for The Journal. With that said; if you have business interests in one or more segments of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, you should consider becoming a direct, dues-paying member of this body, or a certified representative from your state manufactured housing association, at periodic national meetings. Again, for contact information, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE listed at the beginning of this blog posting.

So, HOW are we, as LLLCommunity owners/operators (i.e. new type MHRetailers), being backstopped, relative to substantiation of Product Change Information & Price Increase Warnings cited above? To the best of my knowledge, we’re not. So, the questions begging answering are, ‘WHY NOT?’ & WHAT, if anything, should be done about this present day information verification and representation vacuum? And the sooner the better!

Would like your input on this important matter? A thought. This might be worthy fodder for the upcoming, first ever, National Public Forum @ 11 September 2014 in Peachtree City, GA. For more information on that event, and to input relative to this timely matter, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Have YOU noticed the increased mention and presence of ‘mixed use properties’ in trade banter characteristic of land-lease-lifestyle community operations? While an increasingly common phenomenon among many, if not most, of the 500+/- portfolio owners/operators of LLLCommunities (i.e. in control of the majority of the 7500+ LLLCommunities containing more than 100-150 rental homesites apiece), in time (some say) the trend will likely affect smaller properties as well. Reportedly, the present day RV rental homesite count amidst the several hundred property portfolio of the largest LLLCommunity owners/operator in the world, is in the neighborhood of being 60% RV.

The trend, to mix recreational vehicle sites, with one’s manufactured housing rental sites, makes sense, from the LLLCommunity owner/operator perspective, for several reasons – all related to increasing physical and economic occupancy, cum cash flow, at these income-producing properties. Specifically, the practice…

• Broadens the overall business base of the operating company, making it less susceptible to unexpected, at times damaging, economics-related swings in local housing market circumstances, even demographics

• Attracts a broader clientele, e.g. homeowner/site lessees, AND seasonal or year round RV owners/site renters, AND others, e.g. construction workers.

• Especially strategic in older LLLCommunities, where ‘doing so’ can be a cash flow-restoring means, or business model, by putting functionally obsolete rental homesites back into operation, siting – where permissible – park model RVs and other types of recreational vehicles.

But here’s ‘the rub’! LLLCommunity owners/operators have routine differences of opinion about operating With OR Without 30 day or long term written leases; also whether to feature a full array of on-site amenities (e.g. pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, etc.) OR operate with none! Likewise, the ‘legality’ of siting recreational vehicles in general, ‘park model RVs’ in particular – as seasonal and year round residences is controversial, in the eyes of certain trade protectionists, local zoning boards and planning commissions; but less so, among LLLCommunity owners looking to fill vacant, oft functionally obsolete rental homesites, to restore cash flow. This RV matter today?

On one hand, there’s federal legislation afoot to amend the existing HUD-Code, expanding an RV-related exception. This change might create a new class of unregulated, and potentially competing, (smaller) structures useable as de facto housing – lacking consumer protection; but preserving present day RV chattel financing and taxation as personal property. At the same time, such smaller structures are in keen demand in LLLCommunities throughout the U.S., yet HUD-Code home manufacturers appear reluctant to fabricate smaller units at cost effective price points. With all that said, it’s felt in some circles, said legislative effort would be better effected via change in the regulatory process, not law.

On the other hand, there’re some strenuous advocacy efforts afoot to prevent said change to the HUD-Code altogether. This is, in part, to prevent erosion of manufactured housing market share by dint of increased RV production; but also to protect the MHIndustry’s efforts, since passage of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, to position the HUD-Code product as bona fide ‘housing’, distancing it from the vestiges of its’ trailer heritage. In other words, preserve the obvious distinction between housing and temporary occupancy vehicles. To this end again, HUD-Code home manufacturers should see ‘the handwriting on the wall’ and begin to routinely produce and ship smaller CSH Model homes with WOW factors, durability-enhancing features, and cost effective price points! *1

A further SPECIAL MESSAGE to HUD-Code home manufacturers, particularly the smaller, regional ones. There’s an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide. UNDERSTAND; They Are Your Fertile New Home Sales Market For NOW! LLLCommunity owners/operators increasingly and eventually, will routinely market, sell, and often self—finance the new HUD-Code homes they buy from you IF & WHEN you produce and ship CSH Model homes with truly cost effective price points! If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Community Series Homes, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE and request the one page information sheet detailing the above-referenced ‘durability-enhancing features’ of these homes, and add your Business Development Manager’s name to the several dozen already listed there!*2

All this begs yet another obvious question, similar to the one posed in the first part of this blog posting: HOW are we, as LLLCommunity owners/operators, going forward, to make our preferences known – for debate and resolution among ourselves, on policy matters such as this/these? Since it’s easy to see ‘both sides to this issue’, whether to host RVs or not, within LLLCommunities, it becomes all the more important for elected and salaried national and regional leaders of the realty asset class, to provide such opportunity and forum! As was pointed out earlier, perhaps this heady topic too, is a matter to bring before the first ever National Public Forum on 11 September 2014 in Peachtree City, GA. What do YOU think?

But first, some of us, including a few reading this blog posting, will be convening in Indianapolis, IN., on 9 June 2014, for a morning meeting of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division. Let’s wait and see if the two matters publicized in Part I of this week’s blog posting are brought up as New Business items before that august body, maybe even before the parent body at large. I won’t be the one to do so! Will you?

End Notes.

1. “…the RVIA is moving to include 400 sq. ft. travel trailers in the same category as recreational park trailers. Since the Park Trailer Industry Association merged with RVIA last year, the effort has been to merge those units that are under NFPA A1195, so there is (to be) one category = RVs. As for non-RVIA sealed units, once unified, the seal will probably be the RVIA A 1192 on all units. And if land-lease-lifestyle communities want RVs in their communities, that would be no problem. As for non-RVIA units, there are not likely too many of those. RVIA represents about 90% of all units manufactured.” From one of my confidants.

2. The one continuing ‘information shortfall’ among LLLCommunities marketing, selling, and self-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site, is the woeful lack of readily accessible, easy-to-use, HOW TO information per selling said product in a community environment, as opposed to the independent (street) MHRetailer’s salescenter. For example; the latter lives from ‘deal to deal’, while the LLLCommunity owner/operator is shepherding an annuity type investment lasting ‘for years’, hence great concern for maximizing one’s commission versus ensuring credit worthiness and verifying stability of one’s homebuyer/site lessee. To this end, a writing team is being formed to prepare a new text on this very subject, the first one since Gary Pomeroy’s 1977 classic: How To Successfully Sell New and Resale Manufactured Homes. If you’d like to be considered as a co-author in this project, let me know via (317) 346-7156.

II.

More Benefits for COBA7® Affiliates!

Nary a day goes by anymore that the phone doesn’t ring, or emails appear, asking how one affiliates with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. As I’ve penned before, in just four months the alliance has grown from two dozen affiliates (The original ‘inner circle’ of LLLCommunity owners/operators who suggested forming said alliance) to 200+/- individuals and firms who’ve affiliated at one of these three levels:

• Option I = Allen Letter professional journal® only, @ $134.95/year

• Option II = Allen Letter plus 12 Signature Series Resource Documents®
or SSRD®s, including the 25th anniversary edition of the ALLEN REPORT (A.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’) @ $544.95. This is how vast majority of folk have affiliated to date

• Option III = Allen Letter plus a dozen SSRDs & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!
business newsletter @ $944.95/year

And by way of review, here’re the Seven Function, or parts, that comprise COBA7®:

• Ongoing statistical research & reporting, e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT®, etc..
• Resource production & distribution via Signature Series Resource Documents®
• Print & online communication via two newsletters and a weekly blog posting
• Superb peer networking via annual Networking Roundtable & FOCUS Groups
• Unique realty deal-making opportunities via relationships with national brokers
• Professional Property Management Training & Certification via the Manufactured Housing Manager® program, with nearly 1,000 MHMs® designated to date.
• National Advocacy when need be, e.g. Official ombudsman (press) for MHIndustry & LLLCommunity owners/operators. (Inquiries arrive daily)

With each passing week and month, COBA7® learns of new and additional ways to serve its’ increasing bevy of affiliates. Here’re several recent additions:

• Unofficial COBA7® Slogan: ‘U support US & WE support U!” COBA7®

• What else does affiliation with COBA7® garner YOU, besides the seven function areas in general, newsletters and SSRD®s in particular? Opportunity to participate in the updating the dozen SSRD®s – Where would you like to help? And when it’s time to research and author a book, or update an edition of an existing one (e.g. Landlease Community Management text for MHM® program), capable, experienced, motivated COBA7® affiliates will be given first opportunity to volunteer. And COBA7® affiliates are to whom I look first, when recruiting presenters for the annual Networking Roundtable, FOCUS Groups, and MHM® instructors. The values, for YOU, in all this?

There are several ways YOU benefit from all this! 1) Opportunities for YOU to stretch and mature as a researcher, writer, and eventual expert in LLLCommunity matters!2) An opportunity for YOUr name to receive national, even international exposure, as an industry and realty asset class resource, even expert. And, since all COBA7® books (12 published via GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing) and 12 monthly SSRDs® will eventually be housed in either the National Building Institute’s huge library in Washington, DC., or at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s library in Elkhart, IN., 3) YOU – as a writer, author, researcher, realize an immediate legacy in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class by dint of your COBA7® affiliation! And, as unofficial historian of the LLLCommunity asset class, I get to ensure 4) worthy individuals are feted in books dealing with the history of the realty asset class, e.g. Bruce Savage’s 2013 tome, The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing.

If a COBA7® affiliate, and seriously interested in participating in the seven functions, in some fashion, let me know via letter to GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247, or phone (317) 356-7156. To affiliate with COBA7®, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Or ask for a COBA7® brochure.

FYI. GFA Management, Inc. dba PMN Publishing is a long time, direct, dues-paying member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) – and by extension its’ National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division; and would belong to the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) if permitted to do so. Also am an early supporter and continuing big fan of the work of the American Housing Advocates (‘AHA’), ‘online advocate for all things factory-built housing’ – even taking on The New York Times in recent weeks. And now, of course, COBA7® is in this heady national mix of three business advocates and one alliance. Opportunity to affiliate with COBA7® has been offered to all three national bodies, but to date none have responded. Also, all have been invited to participate in the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014, in Peachtree City, GA. Two of the three have indicated they’ll be present for the first ever National Public Forums, scheduled for the morning of 11 September 2014. To ensure YOU receive an ‘invite’ to this historic event, phone the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. Attendance limited to 250.

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