OLIGARCHY = national MH advocacy?

November 22nd, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 324 Copyright @ 23 November 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 the 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.’

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

I.

This is a first, among 324+ blogs posted during the past six plus years! = Only one topic this time around. That’s how timely and important this matter is to many of us in the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry & land-lease-lifestyle community asset class!

I

‘National manufactured housing advocacy’ today?

Some say OLIGARCHY. But what is that?

‘Governing power in the hands of the few’

Two and three weeks ago this blog column opined, the manufactured housing industry might soon reach the critical ‘tipping point’, in baseball and criminal justice, of being ‘Three Strikes & Out!’- in our case – of the national affordable housing market!*1

STOP HERE! Strongly suggest YOU reread blog postings # 320 & 321 in this website’s blog archives (Just scroll backwards from this blog #324), before you proceed beyond this paragraph. If you don’t have the inclination to do so, that’s OK too. Just read End Note * 2 following, for a summary description of the ‘three historic strikes’ with the potential of knocking our industry out of the national affordable housing market!

BACK NOW? Last week the BEBA (‘Blast Email Blog Alert’) memo with blog posting # 323, again at this website, posed this bold Question and hopeful Answer:

‘Why doesn’t MHIndustry talk about its’ challenges and plan its’ future? Answer here next week!’

So, here we are, and I suppose one might say, ‘Away we go!’ This veteran industry observer’s ANSWER, in the form of a considered opinion, is simple and straightforward:

Lack of Leadership, in Breadth and Depth, among those enjoying elected national office! First in breadth, as MHI is the commonplace presence among the ‘Big Three C’ home manufacturers (Clayton, Champion, Cavco), controlling an estimated 80+/- percent of national manufactured housing market share, but not including many of the regional producers. And then MHARR, comprised primarily of smaller, regional HUD-Code home manufacturers – with all meetings conducted behind closed doors. To make matters worse, the two national advocacy entities, except upon rare occasion, do NOT routinely speak and work together in a united, let alone public fashion, i.e. ‘To talk about manufactured housing’s challenges and plan its’ future!’ So much for depth of effort!

Here’s yet another leading indicator of lack of breadth and depth within this major segment of the manufactured housing industry. Ever wonder WHY there hasn’t been a national brand and or advertising (include here, ‘image improvement’) campaign to date? Simply a selfish fear, among home manufacturers, that non-participants in the funding of such a program(s), might benefit (Gasp!) from the largesse of those financing same, and actually sell new HUD-Code homes to our nation’s home buying public! Believe it!

And the independent, third party chattel capital segment of the manufactured housing industry isn’t much better, maybe worse! With the recent departure of U.S. Bank from the (manufactured) home (indirect) lending scene; of the remaining (now) ‘Big Three plus One’ Lenders, two of them: 21st Mortgage Corporation and Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance, Inc. (i.e. Clayton Homes’ inside lender) are owned by the same parent company, Berkshire Hathaway. And the remaining two firms, CU Factory Built Lending, and Triad Financial Services, to the best of my knowledge, remain independent, but are regional ‘players’ at best. So, very limited breadth and no depth there anymore…

As a related aside, regarding less access to chattel capital, let’s not forget the two Key Reasons cited by U.S. Bank for departing our industry: we’re too small a niche market, encumbered with too much financial regulation! The question that begs answering here is, ‘What are the two national advocacy bodies doing with this damning info from U.S. Bank, to bring pressure on Congress to mitigate the sorry effects (i.e. less access to chattel capital by folk least able to acquire housing elsewhere) of the S.A.F.E. Act, Dodd-Frank legislation, and the CFPB?’ Know that a half dozen states, at this writing – maybe more, by the time you read these lines, have taken the initiative to reach out, via formal correspondence, to their federal legislators, to this very end! All we can hope for is a ‘prairie fire’ of passion and action ‘By US On Our Own Behalf NOW!’

The content of the foregoing paragraphs should not surprise readers, as the state of OLIGARCHY will continue to exist, during year 2015, among elected officers of MHI, where senior salaried executives from the two cited Berkshire Hathaway companies, and a senior salaried executive from the world’s largest owner/operator of land-lease-lifestyle communities, fill three of four elected offices on the institute’s executive committee. There’s nary a small HUD-Code home manufacturer, chattel capital lender, or land-lease-lifestyle community owner/operator amongst the merry mix.

Know what? All the foregoing could be bearable, maybe even desirable, if there was effectual outreach from national advocacy bodies’ leadership, demonstrating sincere desire for input from grassroots businessmen and women, like YOU & ME, who are, in many cases, their very dues-paying members; and a willingness to convene and facilitate the manufactured housing industry’s ‘first ever’ National Strategic Planning Meeting for the Good of Us All, rather than continue ‘business as usual’ among the OLIGARCHY!

A few more OLIGARCHY indicators? How ‘bout the LLLCommunity income-producing property type itself. What’s going on there? Not much from some quarters, much from others (See second following paragraph for positive strokes). When was the last time you heard or read anything about the Urban Land Institute’s Manufactured Housing Communities (product) Council? Me neither. And how ‘bout MHI’s National Communities Council division, or the NCC? Annual MHI meetings attract maybe a dozen participants, and present elected officers number one bona fide property portfolio owner, and a couple senior salaried executives from other mega portfolios, but nary an owner or property manager of a single or couple LLLCommunities.

And then there’s this imbroglio. Wouldn’t YOU like to know about Rishel Consulting’s periodic HOW TO training sessions re: ‘Effectively raise chattel capital for in-community lending’, e.g. 13 & 14 January 2015 in Chicago? And how ‘bout the popular Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® professional property management training/certification session on 20 January in Luavul, KY? And the Louisville MHShow, 21-23 January? Well, you won’t find them on any national advocacy body’s website or industry calendar – only the events they plan and host, along with those of their state MHAssociation members… So much for MHIndustry leadership Breadth and Depth!

Now for some Good News. The Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance® or COBA7® has been active for nearly a year. Its’ primary focus is NOT national advocacy (except when ‘need be’, e.g. as the MHIndustry’s official ombudsman (press). It’s other six functions are fully engaged, including

1) ongoing statistical research, e.g. 26th annual ALLEN REPORT due out 1/1/2015
2) updating & distribution of a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents *3
3) weekly & monthly communication online and in print via blog & newsletters
4) superb networking opportunities via networking roundtable & FOCUS groups
5) deal-making opportunities for real estate brokerages and owners/operators
6) professional property management training & certification via the Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program

And the sooner we move COBA7® away from being ‘the one man show it has to be today’, the better I – and all its’ affiliates, a.k.a. ‘MHInsiders’ will like it! To affiliate with the Breadth & Depth of COBA7®, exercise method described in End Note # 1.

The Much Bigger Questions Remain: How do we effectively avoid the imminent tipping point of ‘Three Strikes & We’re Out!’ of the national affordable housing market – due to exorbitant product price increases described in End Note # 2. And how do we move national advocacy bodies away from being oligarchic in nature, effecting more Breadth and Depth of membership, participation, and leadership, than is evident today?

For that matter, ‘Where do we ALL go from here?’ Suggest you ask your national advocacy entity of choice!

***

End Notes.

1. affordable housing = “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” Quoted from Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! This seminal book, describing the launch and early growth of MHI’s National Communities Council is available for purchase from COBA7® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

2. The ‘Three Strikes’ against the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, and by association, it’s real estate component, the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class, are: 1) Loss of easily accessible chattel capital for ‘MH loans within LLLCommunities’ at turn of this century, nary to return; 2) surprise advent, and now onerous presence, of over (finance) regulation, as an unintended broader consequence of the national recession between roughly 2008 & to date; and, 3) recent near cavalier acquiescence to ‘add to the sale price of new manufactured homes’ via 165% increase in HUD license/label fee, and now, proposed addition of $2-3,000.00+/- per home, to comply with new DOE energy efficiency innovation recommendations.

3. Signature Series Resource Documents, or SSRDs, have become so popular with COBA7® ‘MHInsiders’, we’ve begun researching producing and distributing what is being referred to as SSRD-PLUS. These are reprints, not tied to a month of the year (e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT is distributed every January), covering specific topics of lively interest to LLLCommunity owners/operators. For example, Jay Zandman’s recent Allen Letter feature titled: ‘Loss Control Measures’ for the LLLCommunity. And soon there’ll be Spencer Roane’s elaboration on the ten means of raising capital in support of the on-site financing of new home transactions – which first appeared among End Notes to the Official WHITE PAPER distributed to registrants at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable earlier this Fall. If you haven’t seen said list, ‘You don’t know what you’re missing!’ Two more good reasons to affiliate with COBA7®!

Exciting & Worrisome News @ MHIndustry!

November 14th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 323 Copyright @ 16 November 2015

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

This blog posting ‘is the national advocacy voice, 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.

‘Slow Week for News? No! ‘Carefree Communities, Inc., 26th ALLEN REPORT, NCC’s Leadership Forum, & U.S. Bank announcement, make for exciting & worrisome reading!

II.

‘There’re serious issues brewing across this land’ Here’re ten matters we see week after week after week. The ‘Mr. Obvious question’ being: ‘When will they be addressed?’

***

I.

Slow Week for News? No!

Well, it started off a slow news week for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class – except for exciting announcement how Carefree Communities, Inc., officed in Scottsdale, AZ., acquired 18 land-lease-lifestyle communities (containing 4,530 rental homesites) from Vedder Communities in California. The entire property portfolio will be professionally managed by Bessire & Casenhiser, also of California. And that mega-acquisition increases Carefree Communities, Inc. property portfolio to 101 such properties & RV parks, with 27,000 sites! Depending on how the rest of the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT ‘pencils out’ during the next 30 days or so, this could boost Carefree Communities (Think David Nap & Coleen Edwards) to #5 (in size) among their 500+/- portfolio peers in North America.

Then came this stunner. U.S. Bank – Manufactured Home Finance has exited ‘…the Indirect Lending Manufactured Housing business… but will continue to offer manufactured housing loans directly to consumers through U.S. Bank Home Mortgage….’ WOW! Guess that makes the1 ½ decades long collective chattel capital lender sobriquet of the ‘Big Four + One!’, now just the ‘Big Three + One!’(*1). Hmm. This ‘one more firm biting the dust’, so to speak, leaves 50 percent of the independent third party chattel lenders in business today, owned by one firm, Berkshire Hathaway.

And all the while, some folk – leaders of one of three manufactured housing &/or land-lease-lifestyle community national advocacy entities, now talk of, even encourage, the adding of a minimum $2,000.00 to the price of new HUD-Code singlesection manufactured homes, and even higher markup for multisection models! Another WOW! Why? Well, think about it! Higher (home) product prices, plus ‘even less access’ to chattel capital, will likely NOT make for increased shipment volume during year 2015!

Back to the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT. We’ve hinted at this before, but now that we’re ‘crunching the numbers’ we’re more than cautiously optimistic this will be the most statistics-laden ALLEN REPORT published in 26 years! How so? Well, this year, for the first time, we’ve offered a FREE copy of said report to every LLLCommunity portfolio owner/operator who completes the entire questionnaire, not just the ‘portfolio size’ portion, as has been the custom of many submissions over the decades. As a result, when the 30 September deadline arrived, we had more than 50 (closer to 70) fully-completed questionnaires on hand (A record and a ‘first’!) from which to cull benchmark statistics (e.g. occupancy, OERs, etc.) sought by owners/operators from coast to coast.

So, if you’re reading this blog, and own or fee manage more than five LLLCommunities OR 500+ rental homesites, and haven’t submitted a questionnaire, to ensure your firm’s inclusion in the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request a blank form. Complete it ASAP & fax it to (317) 346-7158. You just might still get in under the wire and have your portfolio included in this seminal annual digest of LLLCommunity stats!

The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT will be distributed as a lagniappe (‘freebie’) in the January 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal going out to Option II & III affiliates (a.ka. ‘MHInsiders’) of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® or COBA7®. If you’re not yet an affiliate, sign-up when you phone; you’ll be Glad You Did, as you join with more than 200 ‘MHInsiders’ from throughout the U.S. & Canada.

Speaking of COBA7®, here’re some interesting factoids for you. Remember the NCC’s Leadership Forum, last month, in downtown Chicago? Turns out, more than 45 affiliates of COBA7® participated in the event; that’s more than 20 percent of the 201 names on the distributed registration list. Furthermore, 80+/- were LLLCommunity owners/operators, evenly divided between bona fide owners and their property managers or acquisitions staffers. 30+ attendees were from the immediate Chicago area. There were 18+/- HUD-Code home manufacturer reps present from seven or eight different firms, mostly Champion Homes; 13+/- real estate brokers who specializing in ‘for sale’ LLLCommunities – though from only four realty firms. Among the audience were 13+/- chattel capital sources and servicers and 11+/- real estate mortgage originators, from seven+/- lender/brokerage firms. And there were nine+/- freelance consultants, and ‘eight’ unknowns, plus some attorneys, insurance salesmen, and various product/service vendors. Most notable among the absentees was incoming NCC chairman Steve Adler.

II,

Serious issues brewing across this land

Take your pick of the following heady topics of nationwide concern to many of us, passionate about the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and its’ realty component, the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class:

• Why ongoing disunity & political ineffectiveness at the national advocacy level?

• Is our future better as purveyor of consumer products OR ‘affordable housing’?

• When will we finally define & describe what we mean by ‘affordable housing’?

• Does ‘affordable housing’ apply similarly to mfd. housing & LLLCommunities?

• Revamp chattel capital model with longer terms and more stringent guarantees?

• Begin or end conversation about replacing vehicle titles with long term leases & ?

• Is business model better as federally-regulated housing/product or non-regulated?

• When will be right time, way & $ to effect national brand advertising & image+?

• How to effect representation parity among all LLLCommunities, large & small?

• Time to measure manufactured housing performance via sales & not shipments?

• ‘Elephant in the room’; consistently safe & secure home installation nationwide?

OK, there are just ten of many serious national issues, begging attention and discussion among businessmen and women who make their corporate or entrepreneurial living within the MHIndustry and or LLLCommunity asst class. If YOU are one of them and believe there’re even more such serious concerns, this inquiring mind would like to know – and the sooner the better. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

A SUGGESTION. Copy down these ten topics, maybe add a few of your own, and post the list next to your wall calendar or on your PC or SmartPhone. Then, ‘wait & see’ if one or another of our national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR, COBA7®*2), take any definitive steps toward addressing these matters as we segue from 2014 into 2015. If NOT, that malaise alone should tell you something significant, and it might just be this:

They’re unwilling to bring members, affiliates, etc., together for serious and sincere conversation, in attempts to better our industry/asset class – even the business environs in which we operate – by strategically planning our collective future!

End Notes:

1. the ‘Big Three Plus One’ = 21st Mortgage Corporation, CU Factory Built Lending, Triad Financial Services, and Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance, Inc. (latter being Clayton Homes’ inside lender)

2. MHARR = Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (202) 783-4087; MHI = Manufactured Housing Institute ((703) 558-0400; & COBA7® = Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***

‘Here We Go Again!’ & ‘Did YOU Know?’

November 8th, 2014

COBA7® community-investor.com Blog # 322 Copyright @ 9 November 2015

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

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

I.

‘Here We Go Again?!’ It’s almost scary how, ‘What goes around, comes around (again)’ in manufactured housing. Here we are, facing ‘Three Strikes & We’ll be Out!’- as an industry, of the national affordable housing market – and now we’re told, by MHI leaders, the DOE’s proposed energy efficiency standards are a ‘win-win’, for homebuyers & the environment. Yet, in my opinion and that of others, it must be a ‘win-win-win’ proposition for everyone involved – for our industry to survive! But to date, there’s been no ‘cost benefit analysis studies’ published for proposed energy efficiency innovations!

II.

‘Did YOU Know?’ By default, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, recently assumed the mantle of Official Historian to the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class. This is evidenced by the Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class SSRD (Signature Series Resource Document) published and distributed every February, and the Paradigm Shifts of Mobile & Manufactured Housing, since 1970, circulated every November.

I.

Here We Go Again?

MHI & DOE’s much ballyhooed ‘win-win’ energy efficiency standards MUST BE ‘win-win-win’;
OR,
Risk the Manufactured Housing Being ‘Three Strikes & Out!’ of the Affordable Housing Market Mix!

What follows here, is a sequel to last week’s blog posting: ‘Three Strikes & Manufactured Housing is Likely Outa the Affordable Housing Game!’

There you read

STRIKE # 1) = “Easy access to chattel capital went away (circa 1998-2001), nary to return!”

STRIKE # 2) = “We’re now (post 2010) so overregulated financially, homebuyers who need our brand of affordable housing, can no longer qualify for it!” And now maybe,

STRIKE # 3) = Would be do-gooders, under the PC (politically correct) auspices of ‘energy conservation standards’, favor jacking the purchase price of manufactured housing out of the reach of individuals and families needing – but are least capable of buying – new, heretofore affordable (*), homes!”

With that said, let’s begin this week’s blog posting with a direct quote from the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (recent) HOUSING ALERT, titled:

‘MHI Leadership Yields Positive Results for Industry in Energy Efficiency Standards’, where the following statement, with parenthetical editorial remarks inserted therein, reads thusly:

“…the new proposed energy efficiency standards will increase first costs (i.e. New home prices!), consumers will realize significant cost savings. The impact will be lower monthly net costs and improve affordability (*), a win-win for our homebuyers and the environment.” (But NOT the manufactured housing industry, struggling to ship more than 60,000 new HUD-Code homes per year for the past six dismal years, 2009 thru 2014!)

Did you catch that? These measures are being promoted as a ‘win-win’ for ‘homebuyers & environment’! As nicely PC as ‘energy efficiency standards’ implementation might be, without that third ‘win’ in the sequence, we have no national advocate championing HUD-Code manufactured housing – the very industry fabricating, marketing, and selling affordable(*) homes to the American home buying public! Again and again, there must be a third ‘win’, inclusive of the ‘MHIndustry’, OR, ‘We’ve swung and missed, for the third time since year 2000’ – and are likely priced out of the affordable housing market!

Why the ‘Here We Go Again?!’ title at the beginning of this blog posting? Because we’ve ‘been here’ time and again, as this ‘win-win’ scenario reminds one of the first two Strikes against the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry; which were:

Strike # 1 = circa 1998-2001. I easily recall the gala days at national advocacy group annual meetings, and the like, in Palm Springs, CA. and elsewhere – when horsdeoeuvres and wine flowed copiously. Where every attendee received really nice gifts from numerous independent chattel capital lenders courting manufacturers and (then) manufactured home community owners/operators. Yes, those were the ‘go-go’ days for the MHIndustry – even though some waxed uncomfortable with the knowledge that many, if not most, of our home buying customers were being ‘turned upside down’ (financially), in their newly purchased HUD-Code homes nationwide. We deserved that strike called against our industry.

Strike # 2 = pre and post 2010, as conventional housing’s financial bubble burst – like manufactured housing’s had ‘years earlier’. At the time, we suffered a spate of naïve national leaders – who, in retrospect, should have seen the regulatory storm brewing; initially via the S.A.F.E. Act; later, in the form of Dodd-Frank legislation. And all the while, one Midwest freelance consultant (not me) sounded warning after warning, to both national advocacy bodies, but all fell on deaf ears. Why? Perhaps because one lobbyist believed it ‘knew all the answers’ – but in retrospect didn’t; and the other, had little to no firsthand knowledge at the time, of the financial needs and workings of post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry – and is still learning. Bottom line? As an industry, we’re now way overregulated, and don’t really deserve this strike against us.

Strike # 3 = is on the horizon, as we end year 2014, and enter 2015. Today we’re being asked to support a ‘win-win’ proposition for ‘homebuyers & environment’ that should be a ‘win-win-win’ proposition for homebuyers, the environment, and the manufactured housing industry! Without that third, important ‘win’, methinks we’ll see Strike # 3 come our way – in the form of 1)‘higher new home prices’ (In excess of $2,000 per new singlesection manufactured home) & 2) ‘fewer sales & shipments’ (i.e. likely back down to 50,000 or fewer homes per year)! I hope not – but until the DOE and both national advocacy bodies ante up publicly, with comprehensive cost-benefit analysis studies for every energy efficiency standards to be implemented, we won’t know the whole story, and will not be able to accurately predict the probable $ consequences. There’s more…

Consider this sobering business truism, so characteristic of the MHIndustry:

The Big Three ‘C’ HUD-Code home manufacturers, due to their large size and estimated collective national factory-built housing market share of 80+/-%, are far more capable – due to economy of scale – of absorbing federally-mandated & self-imposed unit price increases, like those related to implementing these energy efficiency standards and innovations, than smaller, regional factory-built housing manufacturers! Can you see the likely inevitable (predatory) handwriting on that wall? You’d have to be blind not to…

And next week here, maybe read how this example of ‘cram down environmentalism’ is now likened by some, to Obama Care, as a forced tax on homebuyers – since shelter is one of those basic human needs.

POSTSCRIPT

Now, what follows here, will be a curious ‘read’ for some, but not for others. Depends on one’s perspective, i.e. whether an entrepreneur businessperson, salaried corporate executive, managerial employee, association bureaucrat, or otherwise. In any event, I circulated a DRAFT copy of this blog posting to seven carefully selected, thoughtful individuals, some being COBA7® ‘MHInsiders’, others not. Besides the expected and received content and edit recommendations, there was this telling gem from one of the brightest minds active in manufactured housing finance today:

“I truly dislike government intervention into business.” All HUD-Code homes can be energy efficient, when manufacturers (perform) on a level playing field. But that is only part of the challenge. Another “…part of the problem arises from (our industry’s) failing to correct a specific problem regarding structuring retail finance, to safely utilize longer (loan) terms.” In the meantime, we continue to push for cheaper construction, instead of coming together to address this perennial, systemic but solvable, maybe even industry saving, issue!

I’ve already gone on record, calling for MHI & MHARR to co-host the MHIndustry’s first National Strategic Planning Meeting, this Winter, in an easily accessible, affordable location, with the venue open to anyone ‘in the MHBusiness’ willing to pay their own way! MHARR has already dismissed the idea; MHI has been mute on the matter. So, either COBA7® will proceed alone to this end, OR you, the aforementioned entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and bureaucrats, must ‘catch the vision of restructuring and righting our industry’, OR together face it’s likely demise, as we suffer ‘Three Strides & We’re Out!’ of the national, affordable (*) housing marketplace.To express your interest and or support of this (meeting) goal, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or email: gfa7156@aol.com And it certainly wouldn’t hurt for you to contact the national advocacy entity of your choice, and let them know your ‘take’ on this timely and strategic topic and meeting.

The writer quoted in the earlier paragraph has committed himself to support a National Strategic Planning Meeting for YOU and our peers – and I’ll be there as well! GFA

***

End Note. (*) Working definition of affordable or affordability: “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ’…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” – defined by postal zip code and or county. This quoted from Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2014, pp. 105 & 106

II.

Did YOU Know?

Historians are few and far in between throughout the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industries. Just this month Al Hesselbart, longtime recreational vehicle industry writer/author, and Foundation Historian at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Library & Museum in Elkhart, IN., retired.

This leaves the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, by default, as the sole historian in behalf of manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide, and in Canada.

How does Official Historian responsibilities manifest itself where COBA7® is concerned? For starters, the alliance researches, publishes and distributes the industry/asset class’ annual Official State of the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity Asset Class outline (one of a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs updated monthly) every February, as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal. This comprehensive outline is made available to every state and province manufactured housing association throughout North America, & COBA7® often addresses the topic..

And in November of each year,’ The Paradigm Shifts of Mobile & Manufactured Housing…since 1970’ is published and distributed as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal. This SSRD makes for an educational, and at times humorous ‘read’, for MHIndustry executives & LLLCommunity owners/operators, e.g. Did YOU know…

• When & where the phrase ‘D&R Deliveries’, of mobile homes originated? What do the letters D&R mean? Hint. They mark the sorry beginning of our perennial ‘image challenge’ among would be home buyers and consumers nationwide..

• In what year was the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR, founded? Hint. Some say it was a philosophical spinoff from MHI.

• When was this MHIndustry mantra popular? ‘We have no $ down, no job, no problem deals for you!’ Let’s hope we never return to those enronesque days….

• And when was this rallying cry popular in MHCircles? ‘Be a stud, sell a HUD!’

• When was the ‘Year of the hudular’? (A combination of HUD-Code & modular home design and construction popular for a time)

• And when did we hear this self-serving cry? ‘When does hurricane season begin?’

• During what year was this LLLCommunity neo-reality labeled: ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender!’ For that matter, who coined this latter day term for ‘dealer’: independent (street) MHRetailer(s). No, it wasn’t me. Think ‘rainmaker’

And there’s much more to this ongoing historical record of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class. If you’d like to be privy to all this, and much much more, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and affiliate with COBA7® at the Option II level for $544.95. You’ll receive an annual subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal and a dozen SSRDs, beginning with the popular ALLEN REPORT, in January 2015. Become a true ‘MHInsider’ and affiliate with COBA7® today! More than 200 of your peers have done so since January 2014!

‘Three Strikes & You’re Out! & COBA7 rules!

October 30th, 2014

COBA7® @ community-investor.com Blog # 321 Copyright @ 2 November 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(R(, 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.

‘Three strikes’ is the bad news count for batters in baseball; repeat offenders in crime; and now maybe, HUD-Code manufactured homes in the U.S. housing industry! Why?

II.

Now that COBA7® is a ‘bona fide player’ in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class, would-be leaders clamor to get involved!

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

I.

‘Three Strikes’ & Manufactured Housing is Likely Outa the Affordable Housing Game!

Yes, you read that right. It’s the sole conclusion one reasonably reaches upon reading MHARR’s (*) 10/27/2014 Press Release. Peruse this redacted, but still lengthy sentence, and decide for yourself:

“ ‘Working Group’ (@) U.S. Department of Energy (re) manufactured housing energy conservation standards…has recommended…costly new standards (to) increase consumer purchase price of a single-section manufactured home by an average of (‘Gasp!’) $2,170.00.”

This heady dollar amount would be in addition to the 165 percent increase in HUD label fees effected recently; and ‘passed onto unsuspecting prospective homebuyers’!

Apparently, their new home purchase price increase could be even higher, according to MHARR, who further writes in the same Press Release:

“…based on relevant costs for smaller (home) manufacturers, indicate the retail price increases would actually range from $4,745.00 for a single-section home, to $6,234.00 for a double-section (sic) home in large (unspecified) areas of the country.”

Now, let’s return to the worrisome prognostication that, “‘Three Strikes’ and manufactured housing will likely out of the affordable housing game” once and for all! How so? Well, recall these historic strikes against the manufactured housing industry:

STRIKE # 1. Circa 1998 – 2002. Flagrant abuses of chattel capital to fund new home purchases within (then) manufactured home communities resulted in, according to the CFPBs (*) 9/28/14 White Paper, at least $1.3 billion dollars in MH repossessions! And more than a decade later, easily accessible chattel capital has not returned to manufactured housing one whit.

STRIKE # 2. Can you say, ‘Safe And Fair Enforcement, of mortgage licensure laws, or S.A.F.E. Act; Dodd-Frank federal legislation; &, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’ – all in one breath? Neither can I. Likewise, neither can the manufactured housing industry long endure unnecessary, restrictive financial regulation and survive, let alone prosper!

And STRIKE # 3? You just might be reading about it, for the first time, right here! In summary and conclusion: 1) Easy access to chattel capital goes away nary to return; 2) We’re overregulated to the point where homebuyers, who need our brand of affordable housing (*), can no longer qualify for it; and now, 3) Would be do-gooder outsiders, under PC (*) auspices of ‘energy conservation standards’, appear to favor jacking the purchase price of manufactured homes out of the reach of individuals and families needing, but who’re least capable of buying, new homes!

So, if one truly cares about the present and future of HUD-Code manufactured housing, what is one to do? Simple! For starters, reach out to your respective national advocacy body – there’re two of them in and around Washington, DC – and ask specifically whether MHARR ‘has it right or wrong’! If wrong, request a detailed explanation why the numbers are incorrect. And, whether ‘the numbers’ are right or wrong, pass a copy of that information onto me. Why?

What is needed now, is honest-to-goodness ‘cost benefit analysis’ of said ‘energy conservation standards’ increasing prices for new HUD-Code homes. Better this done in the light of day, than behind the scenes, as with other recent regulatory cost shenanigans.

II.

COBA7® What a Difference a Year Makes!

There’s renewed interest, on the part of LLLCommunity owners, as to who will succeed me as national asset class researcher, resource source, print & online communicator, networking & deal-making event planner, historian, professional property management trainer, and official ombudsman (press).

Me? No real change here. Carolyn and I are onboard for the long haul – till health fails, she says ‘retire!’, or a new leadership team is in place and well handling all seven functions of the exciting, growing Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®.

Are new leadership team prospects in view? Yes! And not just one possibility, but five! Three are in the Midwest, one on the East coast, one on the West coast. In one instance, a state MHAssociation, with excess office space and able staff is toying with the idea. In another, a well known product/service supplier is considering adding COBA7®, in part, as a market ‘draw’; and three – that I know of – LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators believe the momentum and work of the alliance of ‘MHInsiders’ must continue! And no, nary a word of interest from either national advocacy body. No surprise there.

So, if you’re reading this, and haven’t yet affiliated with COBA7®, to become a bona fide ‘MHInsider’, do so soon, and join the more than 200 businesses who’re already affiliates! Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. All segments of the MHIndustry are welcome! And know there’re more LLLCommunity owners/operators affiliated with COBA7® today, than the total number of realty asset class members among all other national trade advocacy bodies combined!

***

End Notes.

(*) MHARR = Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform

(*) Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

(*) affordable housing = “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.”. Quoted from Bruce Savage’s book, The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, Indpls, IN., 2013, pp.105 & 106

(8) PC = politically correct

MHOmbudsman (press) & YOU; & much more…

October 25th, 2014

COBA7® @ community-investor.com Blog # 320 Copyright @ 26 October 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.

‘Official Ombudsman to the MHIndustry.’ Two-story HUD Code homes, Lease-Option, and more, on the agenda of COBA7® in behalf of affiliates (‘MHInsiders’) nationwide!

II.

‘First National Advocacy Body Bows Out of National Strategic Planning Meeting Plans’
No surprise here, just disappointment. Perhaps Land-lease-lifestyle community owners should teach manufactured housing industry folk something about CONSOLIDATION.

III.

‘Entrepreneurism Stymied by Stockholm Syndrome’. You think? Bold commentary by faithful blog flogger makes one stop and think about current and future business models.

I.

Official Ombudsman to the MHIndustry

Stream of inquiries & complaints continue, as COBA7® fulfills its’ important & timely role as Official Ombudsman (press) to the manufactured housing industry & land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class!

Two story HUD-Code homes, a popular concept but rare in application, have been around more than a decade, with prototype multifamily projects in southern California and in Maryland. Renewed interest is evident today, as at least one private parties struggle to bring ‘new floor plans, with a WOW! Factors’ to fruition; and at least one HUD-Code home manufacturer plans to run a new (two story) floor plan through its production line in November. Your official MHIndustry ombudsman (press), COBA7®, is ‘right in there’ helping make this happen! And if YOU want ‘in’ on this project, let me know directly, and COBA7® will add you to the MHInsider information distribution list.

Lease-option. Seems everyone’s heard about it, but few understand the concept, practice and appropriate application. That might be about to change! How so? The MHIndustry’s leading advocate for lease-option practice on-site in LLLCommunities, is working with at least one independent finance company and industry consultants, conducting state-by-state research. Near term goal is to take a generic lease-option program public! If you have helpful and definitive information, regarding this timely, and possibly industry-saving deal-making technique, and are willing to share it, let me know via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSG or 633-4764.

Those are but two of several ombudsman (press) projects ‘in the works’ at COBA7®. And no, we’re not looking for more to do at this time – unless there’s legitimate immediacy involved. Just want YOU, as COBA7® MHinsiders, to know how your affiliation fees are used for the good of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunities.

II.

First National Advocacy Body Bows Out of National Strategic Planning Meeting Plans.

OK, this will be a ‘short take’ on the subject. As faithful readers of this blog posting know, two National Public Forums occurred 9/11/2014, at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, in Peachtree City, GA. They were designed to lay the groundwork, via an Official WHITE PAPER, for a National Strategic Planning Meeting planned and hosted this Winter. The hope has been to have said gathering facilitated by the two national advocacy bodies claiming to represent the manufactured housing industry, along with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance; and, to have it OPEN to anyone in the industry and realty asset class, small business and large, willing to pay their own way to participate.

Well, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, a.k.a. MHARR, has made it clear they are not interested in participating in this potentially industry-rejuvenating effort. That leaves just one national advocacy body in play, along with COBA7®.

What does this mean? Well, as they say, ‘It’s in the eye of the beholder.’ Frankly, we’ve found no one who feels the National Strategic Planning Meeting is anything but a timely and potentially industry-saving initiative that should have occurred a year or more ago! But to date, there’s been no communication, of any sort, from the remaining national advocacy body, regarding this matter.

What happens if both manufactured housing national advocacy bodies decide to ‘sit this out’ and not participate in a National Strategic Planning Meeting initiative to return our industry to its’ prosperity of the mid-1970s, and prior to the turn of this century? What do you think? There certainly will be a clear defeatist message there worth pondering – and remembering, during the months and year (2015) ahead.

III.

Entrepreneurism Stymied by Stockholm Syndrome?!

To understand the following commentary from a faithful blog flogger (reader), scroll back thru blog archives at communnity-investor.com (website) and reread blog posting # 312, and Part III of posting # 313; reading in part:

“’Manufactured Housing Industry Likely Suffers from Stockholm Syndrome’ or
captive-bonding, ‘..a psychological phenomenon in which a hostage (i.e. manufactured housing) expresses empathy and sympathy, and has positive feelings toward their captor (i.e. their HUD regulator), to the point of defending and identifying with or perpetuating them (i.e. Accepting a ‘165% inspection/labeling fee increase’ without complaint).” Recall this passage shortly.

Just last week, in blog posting # 319, Part III title posed this question on another subject altogether: ‘Next Big Story’ OR ‘Much Noise About Nothing’? – describing the…

“Ongoing fracas (‘noisy fight’) among manufactured housing and recreational vehicle national advocacy bodies, plus HUD” – about alleged HUD change in definition, regarding ‘overhangs’ and park model RVs.

Now you’re ready for the aforementioned commentary from a faithful blog flogger:

“HUD is lost and has no clue – good grief! Relative to RV/MH, I’ll be your curmudgeon George. I say leave it alone (i.e. the ‘overhang’ issue) and join in creating (housing) products customers want, that are not regulated, and throw HUD out the window. What the RV guys are doing is creating new profitable business (products), and we should see it that way, not as a threat (to manufactured housing). Any reason we can’t join in? This is FREE ENTERPRISE at work. It’s time to understand all HUD has done, and can do, is hold us back. Fire them.” NB

Pretty strong words, I agree. But it’s important they see the light of day, as they articulate one point of view, in my opinion, not heard frequently enough in national manufactured housing leadership circles.

Sure I understand, as should you. In the first instance (re Stockholm Syndrome), how the MHIndustry since 1976, has turned the HUD ‘regulatory lemon into lemonade’, thanks in large part, to the federal preemptive nature of this sole national building code. Today, housing manufacturers don’t want to lose this distinct marketing advantage, even at the expense of no longer being true FREE ENTERPRISE practitioners.

And in the second instance (i.e. Whether porch overhang square footage is included in, or kept separate from, the 400’ limit for manufactured home applicability); ‘the jury is still out’, and will be, until RV & MH industries come together in agreement; lobby for legislation to protect their respective but related industries(*); or, put themselves entirely at the ‘mercy’ of HUD.

What difference does it make? Simply this; whether FREE ENTERPRISE or Stockholm Syndrome prevails; or the latter, once again, stymies the former.

End Note. (*) Recreational Vehicle Alliance for Camping & Travel is already rallying support for H.R. 5658, The Recreational Vehicle Certainty Act of 2014. ‘This bill makes clear, recreational vehicles are not houses, and HUD has no regulatory jurisdiction.’

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White Paper Redux, new book, & destination trailers?

October 18th, 2014

COBA&® @ community-investor.com Blog # 319 Copyright @ 19 October 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 topics at community-investor.com website:

I.
What no one else will tell you about Insights & Errors gleaned from the CFPB’s ‘Manufactured-housing (s) Consumer Finance in the U.S.’ White Paper. Installment # 2. ‘The errors & confusion’

II.
‘Calling All (would be) Authors!’ Time (year 2015) is ripe for fourth MHIndustry guide in 30 years

III.
‘Next Big Story’ OR ‘Much Noise About Nothing’? The ongoing fracas (‘noisy fight’) among manufactured housing and recreational vehicle national advocacy bodies, plus HUD

I.

What No One Else Will Tell You About Insights & Errors Gleaned from the CFPB’s ‘Manufactured-housing (sic) Consumer Finance in the U.S.’ White Paper!
Installment # 1 = last week’s blog posting at community-investor.com website

Installment # 2 = this blog posting at community-investor.com website

Last week we identified interesting and helpful ‘stats’ gleaned from the subject White Paper. This week we focus on errors, terminology missteps, and confusing statements contained in said document.

Let’s begin with terminology. Throughout the 54 page narrative, CFPB White Paper writer(s) arbitrarily mix manufactured-housing (sic) & manufactured housing; manufactured housing communities, manufactured home communities & land-lease communities; along with lots, plots & sites – when they mean ‘rental homesites’ or simply ‘sites’.

There’s this questionable statement: “Historically, around 25-30 percent of manufactured homes have been placed within manufactured housing communities, though the share of new homes placed in communities has grown in recent years.” P.9 Really? During what time frame? Many, if not most, manufactured housing veterans will likely tell a different story, and it goes something like this:

During the 1970s, as much as 80 percent of ‘mobile home’ shipments wound up sited in (then) ‘mobile home parks’. That percentage shifted 180 degrees by the mid to late 1990s, when 80 percent of ‘manufactured home’ shipments were sited on parcels of improved realty conveyed fee simple, and were commonly referred to as being land-home-packages, whether installed within subdivisions or on scattered building sites. This occurred as the manufactured housing industry, for a relatively short time, competed head-to-head with stick or site-builders for market share.

Since the turn of the century, an increasing number of manufactured homes (After 2009, oft referred to as Community Series Homes or CSH Models, vs. Developer Series Homes, a.k.a. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks!’ models of the earlier era), now ship directly into land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities. Why? LLLCommunity owners/operators can no longer rely on independent (street) MHRetailers, or even company stores, to ‘fill their vacant rental homesites’ with new homes, given lack of easy access to chattel capital. Today’s LLLCommunity owners/operators often must sell, even seller finance on-site transactions to remain viable. An apt, but disturbing contra sidebar to this trend, is most small LLLCommunities (i.e. 85% of 50,000+/- such properties in the U.S., characterized by fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece), have NOT shifted to the ‘buy here, pay here’ business model of the 500+/- portfolio owners/operators just described!

“…the decision whether to title a manufactured home as real or personal property affects property taxation, applicability of consumer protection laws, and financing options.” P.10 And more! This statement is a precursor to the (maybe) next paradigm shift to confront manufactured housing’s business model of the past 70 years. Think about it. And if you’re unclear about what’s being alluded to here, read this blog posting weekly (to learn) – or contact me directly!

“Restrictive zoning and prohibitive land development costs are among the reasons there has not been significant development of new manufactured home communities in the past decade, though recent trends indicate that investment in existing communities is increasing.” P.11 While the last statement is certainly true, the first one is incomplete. Add these to the list of reasons for choked development: difficulty securing raw land development financing, and perhaps ‘most important of all’, lack of easy to access chattel capital, to finance the sale of new manufactured homes on-site in newly developed land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities). This stagnant state of affairs will not change until easy access to chattel capital returns!

‘Manufactured Housing Share of Occupied Housing Units, by State’ graphic, on page # 12, as interesting as it is, e.g. 17% of homes in South Carolina = manufactured homes, while only 1% in NJ, MA, & MD contains a fallacy. Of concern is the paltry 2% shown for IL, surrounded by 5% in IN, 6% in MO, 4% in IA, & 3% in WI. Frankly, Illinois has approximately the same number of LLLCommunities as Indiana, but due to unique ‘home rule’ provisions in Illinois, (i.e. giving ‘home rule’ cities control over LLLCommunities within their boundaries, rather than the state board of health), many such properties are absent from the state inventory. Reality? Illinois has closer to 5% share of manufactured homes in the state, not the 2% shown in the White Paper graphic.

“Nationwide, ground rents in non-age-restricted manufactured home communities averaged $393 per month as of late 2013.” P.21 (citing information from a press release). Not! The LLLCommunities picked for inclusion in these various regional studies are, by and large, ‘institutional investment grade’ in nature, i.e. 200+/- rental homesites in size, and for the most part, in one or another of the 500+/- known property portfolios existent throughout the U.S. and Canada today. Truth be told – and we will never really know, given the difficulty of polling Mom & Pop owners/operators of LLLCommunities containing 100 and fewer sites in size (Again, comprising approximately 85% of the 50,000+/- such properties in the U.S. today), the national average rent – among ALL SIZES of LLLCommunities , is likely closer to $220-250/month, than $393.00! After all, there’re still smaller, rural LLLCommunities, where monthly site rent barely exceeds $100.00 per month. This misleading $393.00 stat, unfortunately, might encourage rent increases among properties charging much less per month.

And if anyone can make sense of the following statement, please let me know:
“The monthly cost differences between manufactured and site-built housing were narrower among renters in general, and in particular in non-metropolitan areas, where monthly rents for manufactured homes were about $100 less than rents for site-built properties ($654 compared with $551).” P.21 Maybe makes sense IF comparing one rental manufactured home on a parcel of land, with a stick-built home also rented and on a like-sized parcel of land. True or false?

“…a comparison of the prevalence of occupied manufactured homes in U.S. counties and various available measures of local affordable housing availability shows no clear correlation between housing availability and the proportion of households that live in manufactured homes.” P.22 Aside from a couple missing commas, to ease understanding, this is one of those instances where a writer inserts the word or concept of ‘housing affordability’ or ‘affordable housing’, without specifically defining how it’s being used. Would have been illustrative here. For example, here’s the definition of ‘affordable housing’ cited in Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! (released by PMN Publishing during year 2013), “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” Pp. 105 & 106

“Since 2004, about one-quarter of new manufactured homes were titled as real estate, though in recent years this proportion has decreased; in 2013 only 14% of new manufactured homes were titled as real property.” P.23 Hmm. It’d be nice (and convenient) If we could use this as the bellwether statistic demonstrating increased number of new HUD-Code manufactured homes (i.e. Community Series Homes) being shipped directly into land-lease-lifestyle communities. But I dare say that’s not possible. We still need HUD-Code manufacturers to step up to the plate and provide those ‘stats’ so we can track the trend – and stimulate more home sales into LLLCommunities, and by the property owners/operators. HUD-Code home manufacturers; are you listening? We need your assistance, we need your statistical input, and the sooner the better!

“Production remains 15 percent lower than the overall peak in 1998 when production exceeded 373,000 units before it declined through the 2000s. Since 2009, however, shipments have showed slight but steady gains.” P.39 (Where have all the commas gone?) I don’t read the historic shipment numbers the same way. For example: 1998 = 372,843 (i.e. less than 373,000 units, not more); followed by 49,789 home shipments in 2009; 50,046 during 2010; 51,606 in 2011; 54,881 during 2012; and, 60,228 by year end 2013. Point? 60,228 home shipments is not ’15 percent lower than the overall peak in 1998’, but simply and tragically, ONLY 15 percent of the 372,943 homes shipped during that acme year! 15% off the 372,843 peak would be 316,917 units. We can only wish that’d been the case….

“The manufactured housing retail industry consists of dealerships which sell new and used manufactured homes to consumers through retail storefronts.” P.40 & “…the largest few manufacturers maintain company-owned networks of stores….” P.41. All that was true at the turn of this century, it’s far less true today. MHI staff, a couple years ago in Congressional testimony, cited 1100 independent (street) MHRetailers having been reduced in number to 400, perhaps even fewer today. But, something else has changed, to pick up part of that home sales slack. Are you reading these paragraphs carefully? If so, you likely know who.

“There are about 60,000 land-lease manufactured home communities in the U.S.” p.42 per Housing Assistance Council case study in 2011. I beg to differ. The figure is closer to 50,000+/-. Read ‘Just How Many Are There’, Manufactured Housing Merchandiser. Free reprint available upon request. See end of next paragraph for ordering instructions.

“The largest publicly-held portfolio of manufactured-home communities is owned by Equity LifeStyle Properties, a Chicago-based REIT, and consists of 201 community properties with over 70,000 manufactured-home and park model homesites.” P.42 2014Q2 Investor Presentation cited. However, the 25th annual ALLEN REPORT lists ELS, Inc., as owning/operating, during year 2013, 376 LLLCommunities containing 138,869 rental (mix of MH & RV) homesites. Interesting differences in reporting. Copies of the 25th annual ALLEN REPORT are available ‘free on request’ till end of this year; then available only via affiliation with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® @ $544.95/year. Phone the Official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and leave a message.

“The industry has been marked in recent years by consolidation….” True, but it’s the unique, income-producing properties being talked about here, not the home manufacturers. Bottom line? In 1987 there were but 25 known property portfolio owners/operators; during year 2014 we polled 500+/- portfolio owners/operators! Who qualifies to be polled? A sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or real estate investment trust (‘REIT’) that owns and or fee manages a minimum property portfolio of five LLLCommunities or 500+ rental homesites.

“Some communities support community occupancy by offering in-house lending to prospective manufactured-home buyers, either through the community’s line of credit or a partner lending institution.” P.43. That dual source statement barely scratches the surface, relative to all ten unique ways LLLCommunity owners/operators secure funds to support seller-financing of new and resale home transactions on-site. For the complete list, read End Notes contained in the Official WHITE PAPER, distributed during September 2014 at two National Public Forums held on 9/11 at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable in Peachtree City, GA. For a copy, again, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE

Well, that about does it for the second installment parsing of the CFPB’s White Paper titled: ‘Manufactured-housing consumer finance in the United States’.

Hope YOU decide to affiliate with COBA7®. A couple hundred (+) of your peers have already done so, and are now ‘MHInsiders’, relative to key statistics and pithy information available nowhere else in the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class!

As in the past, we’d like to hear and or read your comments on the preceding material. Send them to GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247, or fax to (317) 346-7158 or email: gfa7156@aol.com

II.

Calling All (would be) Authors!
Time is ripe for a fourth MHIndustry HOW TO Guide in 30 years

The following offer is open to anyone in the manufactured housing industry and or land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) real estate asset class! But first some background…

In 1988, I self-published Mobile Home Park Management, a 175 page paperback book. The first printing sold out within six months of its’ release. The book is in its’ sixth edition, retitled Landlease Community Management. Today, it is sold exclusively by the Institute of Real Estate Management (a.k.a. IREM), as its’ only approved text on this unique realty asset class, and via PMN Publishing. It is also the sole text used by the popular Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® professional property management training and certification program, offered exclusively by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® or COBA7®.

In 1992, Ed Hicks, David Alley and I co-authored the first MHIndustry tome in two decades, titled Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities. The 427 page case bound text was published by the law division of New York publisher, J. Wiley & Sons. Paired with a series of land development seminars during the 1990s, it spawned hundreds of new (then) manufactured home communities, and expansion of others. New copies today, are sold exclusively by PMN Publishing; used copies reportedly sell for $100.00+/- apiece via ebay.com. This text went through several printings until the housing market cooled soon after the turn of the century.

In 1996, with the assistance of eight primary contributors, and as many secondary contributors, I edited the 508 page text J. Wiley & Sons published with the title How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community. This book is oft referred to as the ‘bible of MHCommunity investment’. A second edition debuted in 1998, and the book continues to sell well to this day, 18 years later! It too is exclusively sold via PMN Publishing and on ebay.com

In 2015, with co-authors and or contributors yet to be selected and identified, plans are afoot to pen (working title) Marketing, Sale & Financing of Homes in Land-lease-lifestyle Communities. Are YOU interested in being considered part of the writing team for this heady project? If so, read on….

If you believe you have the ABILITY to communicate in writing – even if not already published; have a decade or more manufactured housing marketing and sales (e.g. factory rep, MHRetailer, in-community home sales) – and/or – hands on LLLCommunity management EXPERIENCE, I want to hear from YOU – in writing! That’s where MOTIVATION comes in play. Almost everyone emails, talks on the telephone, and engages in interpersonal networking; but not many are able to communicate well on hard copy (paper). So, IF seriously interested in being considered and selected to be part of this writing team, engaged in this once-in-a-career-making opportunity, compose a one page letter to me. Following the opening paragraph greeting; in the second paragraph, succinctly describe your industry and or asset class experience to date, including names and dates. In the third short paragraph, tell me why YOU should be selected for this unique opportunity. Mail your correspondence to George Allen, c/o PMN Publishing, Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247. Please, no phone calls or emails about this opportunity at this time.

Compensation as a co-author or contributor? That depends, and varies, relative to the number of individuals engaged in writing and preparing the text. The dollar amount, &/or number of free copies of the book proper, will be modest. One’s greatest reward should come from having your name cited as one of the few individuals in all of manufactured housing, capable, experienced, and motivated to team pen one of the industry’s four cornerstone texts! All three earlier HOW TO classics have found a permanent home in the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame Library in Elkhart, IN. There’s no reason to believe this one won’t wind up there as well!

Why this text now? Beginning in 1988, we needed professional PM guidance to better operate (then) ‘mobile home parks’ cum manufactured home communities nationwide. During the early 1990s, some foresaw the coming MH renascence, as occupancy rates climbed – knowing new income-producing properties would need to be built. And shortly thereafter, in support of the property consolidation trend (i.e. think REIT wave @ 1994 & thereafter), the first and only realty investment text debuted. Today? Many large property portfolio firms have figured out how to buy new HUD-Code homes (i.e. Community Series Homes, or CSH Models featuring a WOW! factor and durability-enhancing features) directly from the factory; set-up on-site sales centers to market said homes at varying profit margins; often engaging in seller-financing to consummate transactions. (Hopefully one or more savvy individuals from such firms will express interest in sharing expertise and knowledge). Unfortunately, this learning curve has not been embraced by the majority of smaller LLLCommunity owners/operators, for various reasons – one being ‘lack of HOW TO knowledge’. That’s where and when this book can and will play a key role during the years ahead – assuming easy to access chattel capital does not return to the industry, and owners/operators must continue selling and financing new and resale homes to survive, i.e. keep rental homesites occupied and paying rent!

If seriously interested in being considered for selection to this writing team, we’ll be accepting letters until 1 December 2014. Not much will happen until the first of the year. If selected, and accepting the challenge, the first step will be to critique a preliminary book content outline that’s being crafted for the project. And once the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT has been distributed, during January 2015, focus will shift to getting this historic project underway!

In conclusion; what you just read is one of several key reasons the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, was launched early in 2014. A couple dozen LLLCommunity owners/operators saw significant challenges, like this one and others, on the business horizon. However, no one within the industry (home manufacturers, national advocacy bodies, etc.), appeared willing to address continuing needs for ongoing statistical research, resource update & distribution, print & online communication, networking & deal-making opportunities, PM education & certification, and when need be, even national advocacy, e.g. ombudsman (press) responsibilities. Perhaps now is time for YOU to affiliate with COBA7®, become a bona fide ‘MHInsider’, and be considered for selection to this historic writing team.

III.

‘Next Big Story’ OR ‘Much Noise About Nothing’?

One has to be out of touch with the MH & RV industries to not know, read, see, even hear, the ongoing fracas (‘noisy fight’) being waged among national advocacy bodies representing all these folk, plus HUD…

With that said, for the time being we’re backing away from this unfolding story – to gather more information about the confab over whether roof overhang dimensions should, or should not be, included in the 400+/- square foot demarcation between HUD-Code manufactured housing and park model RVs.

However, to titillate you in the meantime, there’s also an additional issue, regarding the end use of park model RVs. The question is whether they’re year round or part time (i.e. seasonal) dwellings, within and outside land-lease-lifestyle communities, RV parks, and campgrounds. Know what complicates the matter still further? HUD’s published use of the term Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, to describe park model RVs, and other similar structures. Some, if not many of us are happy to simply refer to these ‘small building’s, or one bedroom efficiency units, as ‘granny flats’!

Oh yes, and there’s one more factor – or perhaps a ‘red herring’. That being this: ‘Do you know the difference between a park model RV and a destination trailer?’ Didn’t think so! Well, we’re still learning tool. A hint. Investigate Breckenridge, part of Hartland RV, a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc. And the plot thickens….

Hey, if YOU can shed some definitive light on this convoluted, complicated, multifaceted matter for me, please do so, and the sooner the better!

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CFPB’s White Paper: Insights & Errors, & More…

October 11th, 2014

COBA7® @ community-investor.com Blog # 318 Copyright @ 12 October2014
Perspective. ’Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.la. 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.
‘What No One Else Will Tell You About Insights & Errors Gleaned from the CFPB’s ‘Manufactured-housing (sic) Consumer Finance in the U.S. White Paper’!
II.
NEW ERA Continues to Unfold as CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY Forms Arrive with Pithy Ideas. However, national advocacy bodies show no interest in planning & hosting the manufactured housing industry’s first National Strategic Planning Meeting for businessmen and women.

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I.
WHAT NO ONE ELSE WILL TELL YOU ABOUT INSIGHTS & ERRORS GLEANED FROM THE CONSUMER FINANCE PROTTECTION BUREAU’S
‘Manufactured-housing (sic) Consumer Finance in the U.S.’ White Paper, released the last week of September.
Installment # 1 = this blog posting (insights) @ community-investor.com
Installment # 2 = next week’s blog posting (errors) at this website
Not a bad first, albeit somewhat flawed, attempt to describe and understand manufactured housing (one of four types of factory-built housing) and its’ joined at the hip real estate component, the land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) real estate asset class.
Here follows a recitation of interesting industry-related stats, some commonly known, most not so, with many recited here for the first time. Next week we’ll turn our attention to errors and omissions found throughout the White Paper.
“Manufactured housing accounts for six percent of all occupied housing…in the U.S.” p.4
“A greater proportion of households that live in manufactured housing are headed by a retiree (32 percent) than site-built households (24 percent).” P.5.
“About three-fifths of manufactured-housing residents who own their home also own the land it is sited on.” P.6 (Note the hyphenated M-H and dangling participle) Also, not footnoted.
“An estimated 65 percent of borrowers who own their land and who took out a loan to buy a manufactured home between 2001 and 2010 financed the purchase with a chattel loan.” P.6 (Where have all the commas gone?)
“…in the year 2000 alone, more than 75,000 consumers had their manufactured homes repossessed, about 3.5 times the typical number during the 1990s. Between the beginning of 1999 and the end of 2002, repossessed inventory grew more than fourfold to $1.3 billion.” P.6
“A factory-built home constructed after June 15, 1976 is eligible for designation as a manufactured home if…the structure is at least 320 square feet (in size) and constructed on a permanent (steel) chassis.” P.8 (Hmm. I always thought the figure was closer to 400 square feet)
“…in 112 U.S. counties – predominately in southeastern and southwestern states – over one-third of homes are manufactured housing.” P.11
“…the heads of households …in manufactured housing are a bit more likely to be younger than 30 or older than 70 than are site-built owner-occupant household heads.” P.13. A.k.a. homes long popular with the ‘newly wed & nearly dead’
“About 20 percent of households who recently purchased a manufactured home moved in from a previous manufactured home residence.” P.16 Not footnoted.
“…the median net worth among households…in manufactured housing of $26,000 (in 2010 dollars) was just about one quarter the median net worth of families in site—built homes.” *.17
“The median combined value of manufactured homes and associated land (among households that own the home and the land)is about 42 percent of the median value of existing site-bu8ilt homes in the U.S.” p.21
“…manufactured homes in land-lease communities – about 30 percent of all manufactured housing placements in recent years – are generally only eligible for chattel financing.” P.24. But the associated footnote goes on to say: “Anecdotal evidence and American Housing Survey data suggest an even greater share, potentially almost half, of the stock of manufactured homes purchased in recent years are located in (land-lease) communities.” NOTE. This is a clear indication of WHY WE NEED to identify the number of new HUD-Code homes, especially Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, going from the factory directly into land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) throughout the U.S. today! GFA
“In mid-2003 Fannie Mae owned or guaranteed $9.1 billion in manufactured-housing (sic) securities, and by the end of 2004, after substantial impairments, the portfolio was valued at just $5.4billion.” p.29
“…it appears the national lending market for chattel loans is concentrated among five lenders: 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage, Triad Financial Services, U.S. Bank, and San Antonio Federal Credit Union.” P.30 Commonly known but rarely put in writing.
“…most manufactured-housing (sic) purchasers finance between $10,000 and $80,000.. The median loan amount for site-built home purchase(s) was $176,000, more than three times the manufactured home purchase loan median of $55,000.” P.30
“Due to the limited secondary market for…manufactured-home (sic) chattel and mortgage loans, over 70 percent of manufactured-home (sic) loans in HMDA are held in portfolio, compared with about 16 percent of mortgages for site-built homes.” P.37 HMDA not defined.
“…compared to approximately 88 manufactured housing producers in the U.S.in 2002, around half that many are active in the space today.” P.39
“The largest three manufacturers held almost 70 percent (national) market share of new manufactured housing production as of the end of 2013. Clayton Homes…has been the largest manufacturer…with home production share of 45 percent as of the end of 2013. Other large national and regional manufacturers include Cavco Industries, Champion Home Builders, Legacy Housing, and Skyhline Corporation.” P.40
The smaller-dollar loan exemption FOR “Transactions secured solely by a manufactured home and not land will be exempt from the (‘in-person’) appraisal requirement if the creditor gives the consumer one of three types of information about the home’s value.” P.53
Well, that does it for now. Remember to return here next week, for a list of errors, terminology missteps, and other shortfalls, gleaned from CFPB’s White Paper titled: ‘Manufactured –housing (sic) Consumer Finance in the U.S.’

II.
NEW ERA Continues to Unfold as CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY Forms Arrive with Pithy Ideas. However, national advocacy bodies show no interest in planning & hosting the manufactured housing industry’s first National Strategic Planning Meeting for Businessmen & Women.
Last week or so we shared the first ‘matters & suggestions’ offered in support of discussion regarding ‘The Future of Manufactured Housing as ‘housing’ versus ‘trailers’.
Here’re the latest ideas to arrive:
• Maybe reorient our industry to think home ‘sales first’ and ‘shipments second’, reversing the decades long practice of needlessly saturating local housing markets with new homes for which there are few or no legitimately qualified buyers.
• Begin to allow prospective homebuyers to ‘shop and buy’ new manufactured homes online, matching them with qualified installers, independent (street) MHRetailers, even land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators who’re selling and seller-financing new homes on-site.
• Perhaps cultivate capable, qualified, experienced manufactured housing installers to become customer service and or warranty work agents for HUD-Code home manufacturers.
• Seriously explore the possibility of promoting net zero (utility usage) home designs, presently enjoying popularity in California, to other local housing markets in the U.S.

And then there’re ideas relating to ‘The Future of land-lease-lifestyle communities’ as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’:
• Continue the Networking Roundtable-initiated conversation with Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, to identify real estate-secured mortgage vehicles that also take into account the full or partial value of new manufactured homes sold and seller-financed on-site.
• Effect wider knowledge and distribution of tools already in place, designed to ensure we sell new and resale homes on-site to prospective homebuyers qualified to buy them, e.g. Use of ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet, the 3:1 Site Rent Rule, etc..
• Once and for all, replace the obsolete Woodall Star Systems of quality-grading land-lease-lifestyle communities. Reconsider the ABClassification System rejected by the NCC a decade ago – or come up with an entirely new, workable quality grading system.
It’s not too late for you to make your ideas and views known. Simply mail them to GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 or FAX them to (317) 346-7158, or email: gfa7156@aol.com

CFPB White Paper, new SSRD, & Challenge/Opportunity Forms

October 4th, 2014

COBA7® @ community-investor.com Blog # 317 Copyright @ 5 October 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.

I.

Coming soon (maybe next week): Statistical Insights & Errors mined from CFPB’s ‘’Manufactured-housing Consumer Finance in the U.S.’ White Paper, released 9/30/14

II

COBA7’s New SSRD: ‘Directory of Government Enterprises, Federal Agencies, & Nongovernmental Organizations (‘NGO’s) with Ongoing Interest in Manufactured Housing and the Land-lease-lifestyle Communities!’ This has not been done before!

III

‘They’re Arriving, They’re Arriving! What?’ ‘The CHALLENGE, the OPPORTUNITY’ forms distributed during National Public Forums distributed during the 23rd Networking Roundtable, 9/11/2014. If you haven’t done so yet, FAX form to (317) 346-7158 ASAP!

IV.

‘2014 NCC Fall Leadership Forum.’ Quick & easy way to spend $1,000+ in Chicago!

I.

Coming Soon: Statistical Insights & Errors Mined from CFPB’s ‘Manufactured-Housing (sic) Consumer Finance in the U.S.’ White Paper, 9/30/14

TWO Official WHITE PAPERs, both describing HUD-Code manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle communities are published within 30 days of each other!

Hmm. Is there a message there? Sure. The MHIndustry & LLLCommunity property type were first profiled in preparation for two National Public Forums the morning of 9/11/2014 in Peachtree City, GA… And now, a second one is released @ 9/30/2014 on an even broader scale. What’s going on with manufactured housing and LLLCommunities?!

I hope our national advocacy bodies and leaders are paying attention. First, an Official WHITE PAPER published by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®; and now, one from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB – both effectively ‘setting the stage’ for a much-needed NATIONAL STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETING this Winter! Where and Why? At an easily accessible, reasonably-priced meeting venue, in the Midwest or warmer clime, to plan and put our industry/asset class on the track to restored prosperity! An event planned and co-hosted by the MHARR, MHI, and COBA7®.

In the meantime, what’s the gist of the CFPB’s ‘Manufactured Housing Consumer Finance in the U.S.’ White paper? Here’s what they describe as being key findings:

• “Manufactured housing is disproportionately located in non-metropolitan areas.”

• “Compared with residents of site-built homes, manufactured-housing (sic) residents are somewhat more likely to be older and tend to have lower incomes or net worth.”

• ‘Manufactured homes typically cost less than site-built homes.”

• “About three-fifths of manufactured-housing residents who own their home also own the land it is sited on (sic).”

• “An estimated 65 percent of borrowers who own their land and who took out a loan to buy a manufactured home between 2001 and 2010 financed the purchase with a chattel loan.”

• ‘Manufactured-home owners typically pay higher interest rates for their loans than site-built borrowers (sic).”

• “The current state of manufactured housing production, retail, and financing reflects in part a rapid growth during the 1990s and subsequent sharp contraction.”

Beyond the intermittent use of ‘manufactured-housing’ & ‘manufactured housing’ lingo, a dangling participle, omission of a needed comma or two, and use of ‘site-built borrower’ instead of ‘site-built homeowner borrower‘– all in just these seven key findings, the White Paper does provide historic and helpful descriptions of industry trends, along with a few factual errors.

For a complete review of the CFPB White Paper, read it in an upcoming issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, the Allen Letter professional journal, or maybe here. To subscribe, affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® or COBA7® via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

II.

COBA7®’s ‘Directory of Government Enterprises, Federal Agencies, & Nongovernmental Organizations (‘NGO’s) with Ongoing Interest in the Manufactured Housing Industry & the Land-lease-lifestyle Community Realty Asset Class!’

This is the lengthy but apt title of another new Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD. Available only from the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®! This ‘breaking new ground’ SSRD will be distributed as a lagniappe, in the November 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

This first edition SSRD lists nearly a dozen GSEs, agencies, and NGOs that routinely interface with the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community income-producing property type. It also brings the total number of SSRDs, updated annually and reprinted month-by-month, to 15! The e new directory does not list national trade and advocacy bodies with an affinity for manufactured housing and LLLCommunities. Those not for profit and for profit groups are identified, along with respective contact information, in the ‘MH Trade Body Directory’ SSRD distributed earlier in the year.

No other national MHIndustry and or LLLCommunity trade or advocacy entity provides anywhere near this volume and variety of published statistical research; product, service, lender, media, association and consultancy contact information; even the Official Lexicon, ‘State of the Industry’ outline, and formal history of the industry and asset class! So it’s understandable, COBA7® affiliates are increasingly referred to as ‘MHInsiders’.

To ensure receiving your inaugural copy of this new SSRD, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Elect to affiliate with COBA7® at the Option II level for $544.95. This provides an annual subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal, and 15 SSRDs!

III.

They’re Arriving, They’re Arriving! What?

‘The CHALLENGE, the OPPORTUNITY’
worksheets, distributed during two National Public Forums at 23rd Networking Roundtable.

OK, but what are they saying? Here’re samplings of the first bunch that have arrived, re: The Future of Manufactured Housing, & The Future of LLLCommunities. Have taken the liberty of editing to use consistent terminology throughout the commentary.

The Future of Manufactured Housing

• How to identify and reach owners/operators of smaller (i.e. less than 100 rental homesites apiece) LLLCommunities, to sell them new Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, to fill vacant rental homesites – and teach them how to sell & seller-finance these transactions! The larger portfolio-owned properties are already well into the routine. Smaller owners, in many cases, don’t seem to know they have a problem – of if they do, how to deal with it (e.g. filling functionally obsolete rental homesites)

• Agree as to what to call our housing product going forward: manufactured housing, housing, or what?

• Get this matter out into the open (discussion): What happens if vehicular titling of manufactured homes goes away, replaced by ‘what’? What might be the tax consequences, and otherwise, for homeowner/site lessees. Good or bad for the manufactured housing business and LLLCommunities nationwide

The Future of Land-lease-lifestyle Communities

• Let’s make the most of the opportunity Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac executives offered during their panel presentation, and open discussion afterwards, to find a way, or create a new ‘finance vehicle’, whereby real estate-secured mortgages might be enhanced, value wise, by at least partial – if not full – inclusion of the value of ‘park-owned homes’ on-site in LLLCommunities being refinanced.

• Once and for all, ‘proof’ whether Allen’s 3:1 ratio, for estimating site rent to be in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing (e.g. 3BR2B conventional apartments) in the same local housing market; or, bless some large property portfolio owners/operators preference for a 2:1 ratio, e.g. where apartment rent = $900/month; and 3:1 ration = site rent at $300/month; or, 2:1 ratio = site rent at $450/month. Yes, every local housing market has its’ own characteristics, and might well be ‘different’, but a proven guideline would be helpful to some of us.

• In 2008, Randy Rowe talked, in Tampa, about LLLCommunity owners/operators providing a fair ‘value proposition’ for our homeowner/site lessee residents. Know what? No one, to my knowledge, has ever quantified that concept. Sure would be helpful to know when, and when not, our housing and rent packages together are fair ‘value propositions’.

• At the recent Networking Roundtable, during the Lenders Panel, and during the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac panel, individuals referred to the ‘star value’ of various LLLCommunities. The Star System (Described in Woodall’s Mobile Home Park Directory) hasn’t been published, let alone be updated, since the early 1970s – that’s nearly 50 years ago! The ABClassification System was created and published, but not blessed by MHI’s NCC, in 1998. Its’ seven part methodology and letter/diamond classifications are used today by some RE brokers and appraisers. When will we ever have a universally approved and used quality classification system for land-lease-lifestyle communities?

OK, this will have to do for today. Still have a fair number of other ideas and suggestions sent to me for consideration. Of course, Nathan Smith & Dick Jennison of MHI; as well as John Bostick & Danny Ghorbani of MHARR are receiving this input. So keep your contributions a – coming, along with encouragement to MHARR, MHI, & COBA7® to jointly plan and facilitate a National Strategic Planning Meeting this Winter.

If you haven’t yet mailed your completed ‘The CHALLENGE, the OPPORTUNITY’ form to the five MHIndustry leaders listed on the verso side of the form, please do so ASAP! Your ideas and opinions are valuable!

For blank form, phone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

IV.

NCC’s 2014 Fall Leadership Forum will

be 10/27-29, at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago. Learn from Ritz Carlton executive trainers how to run your manufactured housing business!

Feeling ritzy (showy & costly)? Early registration for NCC members is only $549.00 per person, but jumps $250.00 up to $799 after 10/26! And the Drake hotel’s rack rate is only $239/night, before taxes and other related charges. So, this two day event will cost you a minimum of only $1,047.00!

Of course, this not so modest event amount does not include one’s transportation to and from the event. BUT hey, if you live and work in Chicagoland, they’ll be minimal anyway, as or if you return home each night to forgo the luxury of the Drake experience.

Hmm. This second consecutive year venue in downtown Chicago suggests it be renamed Chicago’s Fall Leadership Forum.

In any event, if you decide to attend & spend; hope you learn something useful, like how to affect a Ritz-Carlton culture transfer to your land-lease-lifestyle community portfolio.

Interested? Telephone (703) 558-0666 & ask for Jenny Hodge.

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‘MHInsiders’ Ready to Transform MHIndustry!

September 27th, 2014

COBA7 via community-investor.com Blog # 316 Copyright @ September 28, 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.

‘Four Timely Announcements’ Now is time to mark your calendar for next year’s premier LLLCommunity educational, networking, & deal-making event. And here’re three timely ‘MHSales’ & rental homesite filling resources now available nationwide.

II.
‘Are YOU Teed-up & Ready to Go?’ You’ve got the resources! But do you have the gumption to make your views and suggestions known, about ending the six year malaise that’s afflicted manufactured housing & its’ realty asset class component? YOUR MOVE

III.

‘26th annual ALLEN REPORT’. Maybe more ‘stats & trends’ in this year’s report than at any previous time in its’ 26 year history! Deadline for data submission is 30 September. For blank questionnaire, phone MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

IV.

‘Are YOU an MHInsider yet?’ For good reasons, this is the new ‘status statement’ describing affiliates of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance. Every conscientious MHIndustry & LLLCommunity owner/operator should be an MHInsider!

I.

Four Timely Announcements

24th annual International Networking Roundtable is scheduled for 9-11 September 2015. Location to be announced in the not too distant future. To ensure your name is on the list of invitees, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

John Ace Underwood, CMI®, freelance consultant, is available to assist land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators establishing on-site MHRetail salescenters and training staff ‘to sell’. Reach him via (520) 241-9907

Spencer Roane, MHM®, is making his freelance consulting services available to teach the ‘Seller-financing of Manufactured Homes On-site via his Lease Option 101’ program. Reach him via (678) 428-0212

And for those owners/operators interested in not only fee-based professional property management services, but the marketing and selling of new homes on-site, contact Newport Pacific Capital in CA. The firm operates nationwide. Contact Michael Sullivan, CPM® via (949) 852-5575

II.

Are YOU Teed-up & Ready to Go?

‘What the Official WHITE PAPER, 23rd Networking Roundtable, & two National Public Forums have done to position YOU to INFLUENCE!’

But first, here’s one of several written responses to the Official WHITE PAPER ‘making the rounds’ among manufactured housing and LLLCommunity leaders and aficionados these days:

“My question is, ‘Who is our customer?’ And this applies not just to the manufactured and modular homes we build and sell, also to (MH) communities, even the local housing markets. And once we have a handle on ‘that’, ascertain ‘What they can afford’, What they can finance’, and ‘How can we attract them and effectively sell our housing product to them?’ (Paraphrased. GFA)

Want a FREE copy of the Official WHITE PAPER? Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request it! Nearly 300 circulated to date. HUD-Code home manufacturers & LLLCommunity owners/operators have underwritten the cost of printing, binding, and mailing this important document.

What’s next? Read the October issue of the Allen Letter professional journal for Bruce Savage’s summary of proceedings at the 23rd Networking Roundtable, and two National Public Forums conducted there. Then reread blog posting # 315 (last week) to revisit the Turnaround Steps identified there. FYI. Bruce Savage, via Affordable Housing Advocates, or AHA, is widely recognized as having become the ad hoc SPOKESPERSON for the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry. Reach him and learn of his services via (202) 664-4512.

So with the Official WHITE PAPER, National Public Forum proceedings, and (MHIndustry) Turnaround Steps in hand, tell our elected and salaried leaders at the MHARR, MHI, and COBA7®, it’s high time for a joint 1 ½ or two day National Strategic Planning Meeting this Winter, at an easily accessible, reasonably-priced, central or warm location, focused on issues identified in the just-identified resources.

OR

Simply sit back, do nothing, and be prepared to endure yet another six or more years of HUD-Code home shipment malaise! Which will it be? Remember the old adage: ‘You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem!’ For YOU, which will it be?

III.

26th annual ALLEN REPORT

Is shaping up to be a chock full of new and exciting land-lease-lifestyle community-related statistics.

Remember; the deadline for submission of completed questionnaires from property portfolio owners/operators is this week, specifically 30 September. Again, if you need a blank questionnaire, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 63304764. And FAX completed questionnaires to (317) 346-7158.

The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’ is COBA7®’s first Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, of the new year; released 1/1/3015 by PMN Publishing.

IV.

Are YOU an MHInsider Yet?

MHInsider? The new ‘status statement’ describing affiliates of the Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®.

Don’t know why it’s taken me so long to figure this out. What? Why so many businessmen and women, from across the U.S. & CN, have been affiliating so quickly and enthusiastically with COBA7® since its’ launch on 1/1/2014). But NOW I know and fully understand!

COBA7®, unlike any other national trade or advocacy body, for a modest price, provides a wide variety of INSIDER INFORMATION available nowhere else! Here’s a partial list of COBA7®’s MHInsider information resources:

• Sole source of land-lease-lifestyle community statistics, trends, and ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’

• Sole source of contact information for 500+/- land-lease-lifestyle community portfolio owners/operators working throughout North America!

• Sole source for the only ‘State of the MHIndustry’ public briefing outline that includes LLLCommunity information as well as manufactured housing numbers.

• Sole source of lender contacts routinely originating realty-secured mortgages for LLLCommunities AND chattel capital/servicing for new home sales transactions.

• Sole source of contact information for 40+/- freelance consultants who routinely work the manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle community asset class.

• Sole source of contact information identifying all MHIndustry & LLLCommunity print and online media, along with social media platforms for marketing & sales.

• Sole source of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’s Official Lexicon or Glossary – updated annually. Includes all LLLCommunity terms as well.

• Sole source of descriptive and contact information for all professional property management training and certification programs in the U.S. and Canada today.

• Sole source of the widely referenced Industry Briefing Sheet containing MHIndustry & LLLCommunity statistics & contacts information in U.S. & CN.
• Sole source of directory containing descriptive and contact information for all national MHIndustry & LLLCommunity trade and advocacy entities

• As MHIndustry & LLLCommunity historian, the sole collector and publisher of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity paradigm shifts from 1970 to present day.

• Sole source of contact information for all national real estate brokerages specializing in the marketing of ‘for sale’ land-lease-lifestyle communities.

• Via two monthly print newsletters and a weekly online blog posting, the trusted source for timely and valuable MHIndustry and LLLCommunity news and views

• Sole source of contact information for all HUD-Code home manufacturers in the U.S.

• And soon, sole source listing all federal government agencies & nongovernment organizations with timely interest in the MHIndustry and LLLCommunities.

Yes, COBA7® affiliates are treated to more ‘insider information’ than is available from all other national manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community-related resource and advocacy organizations combined. Affiliates choose their level of ‘inside information’ involvement:

• Option I @ $134.95 = Allen Letter professional journal, one year subscription

• Option II @ $544.95 = Allen Letter & Signature Series Resource Documents

• Option III @ $955.95 = Allen Letter, SSRDs, & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!

So, if not presently affiliated with COBA7®,. But would like to become a bona fide manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle community MHInsider, simply decide today and phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. At Option II level it’ll be the Best $544.95 you spend during all of year 2015!

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How to Effect MHIndustry Turnaround; TRENDS

September 20th, 2014

COBA7@ community-investor.com Blog # 315 Copyright 21 September 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.

‘Participate in MHIndustry Turnaround! How? Get FREE Copy of Official WHITE PAPER &…’ Five Specific Steps to Effect the MHIndustry Turnaround – and the sooner the better! These are things YOU can do NOW – if you care about your livelihood.

II.

‘Recent Past, Present, & Emerging Trends Throughout the LLLCommunity Asset Class’
NO ONE ELSE will describe the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly of the past 15+/- years! Read & Learn, then Commit to Participate & get our industry & asset class back on track!

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I.

Participate in MHIndustry Turnaround! How?
Get FREE Copy of Official WHITE PAPER &…

But first, read what a few attendees, at the recently concluded 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, had to say about it:

• “Well Done! One of the Best Values in any type of conference I’ve attended in ages!!!”

• ‘Thank You, George & Carolyn, for another Great Conference. The Future of the (manufactured housing) industry is an important topic which would benefit from more open and vigorous discussion!”

• “I would like more from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac on the possibility of financing (manufactured) homes within manufactured home communities. Furthermore, this venue was a nice change of pace. We need to feel inspired and excited about the future of our industry..”

The writers are not identified, as the Event Evaluation Forms did not ask for individual’s names or contact information. But, as they say, ‘The beat goes on!’ Next year’s 24th annual International Networking Roundtable is scheduled for 9-11 September 2015. Where? That’s not been decided, but we’re open to suggestions: Phone (317) 346-7156.

Now, take the following FIVE SPECIFIC STEPS to effectively move HUD-Code manufactured housing up and away from its’ six year ‘malaise-afflicted state of being’ (50,000+/- shipments/year since year 2009), onto a productive business model route to new HUD-Code home shipment recovery!

STEP # 1. Telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request a FREE copy of the aforementioned Official WHITE PAPER! The research, preparation, and distribution of this salient 20 page document, initially during the 23rd annual Networking Roundtable – and now to YOU, has been funded by several HUD-Code home manufacturers and LLLCommunity owners/operators, all tired of operating in a vacuum, and now seeking renewed prosperity! So, read the Official WHITE PAPER closely, record your ideas and suggestions in the spaces provided therein, then…

STEP # 2. Read the proceedings from two stimulating National Public Forums (‘NPF’) held the morning of 9/11 at the Networking Roundtable. Professionally prepared by the staff of American Housing Advocates, or AHA. Said proceedings will be published in the October issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. Either read the proceedings as a newsletter subscriber or, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE and request a FREE copy! Now, with your Official WHITE PAPER notes and NPF proceedings in hand…

STEP # 3. Ponder and complete the CHALLENGE-OPPORTUNITY Worksheet that’ll be mailed to you with the WHITE PAPER and NPF proceedings. This one page worksheet is designed to outline your ideas and suggestions for discussion at a National Strategic Planning Meeting this Winter. Instructions on the CHALLENGE-OPPORTUNITY Worksheet encourage you to make five copies of your handiwork, then mail them to five of manufactured housing’s national advocacy leaders and influencers! At that point it becomes their responsibility – if they have a mind to do so – to rally, organize and lead MHIndustry and LLLCommunity businessmen and women via…

STEP # 4. A National Strategic Planning Meeting, to which anyone and everyone (especially YOU) in the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity asset class, no matter what national association, institute, or affiliation. Just be willing to ‘pay your own way’! It’s envisioned such an historic two day event would be planned and facilitated jointly by MHARR, MHI, & COBA7®*1; occurring, again, sometime this Winter in an easily accessible central location, in a facility that’s reasonably priced, – possibly in a warm climate. Once strategic planning is complete, return home and together…

STEP # 5. DO IT! But is all this possible? You bet it is! What follows, in the next section of this week’s blog posting, is a summary of recent Past, Present, and Emerging Trends, related to the land-lease-lifestyle community asset class. The common thread through all the trends? How LLLCommunity owners/operators did not ‘sit on their hands’ and wait for chattel financing to return, or the national economy to improve – but rather, took matters into their own hands, and crafted new avenues to business success! Now it’s time for the HUD-Code home manufacturing/distribution segment of the manufactured housing industry to plan and perform similarly. Are YOU aboard?

II.

Recent Past, Present & Emerging Trends

Throughout the LLLCommunity Asset Class

RECENT PAST TRENDS.

Circa year 2000, independent (street) MHRetailers, featuring Big Box = Big Bucks ‘developer series’ manufactured homes were competed head-to-head with traditional stick builders, and filled vacant rental homesites in (then) manufactured home communities. The trend? In a futile effort to sustain new HUD-Code home annual shipment levels at the 1998 acme of 372,843 units, ‘we’ often turned homebuying/site lessee customers ‘Upside Down in Mobilehome Parks’!*2 Consequence? By year 2005,, more than 250,000 repossessed manufactured homes, and a slide from the all time high physical occupancy level of 95%, in 1998, down to 75+/-% within a decade!

A corollary trend, subsequent to turning homebuyers/site lessees ‘upside down’ financially, and near wholesale chattel capital exit, then hiatus, from the manufactured housing scene, precipitated MHCommunity owners/operators to buy, resell, and self-finance repo, resale, and eventually new homes, even modular units, and RV park models on-site, throughout the U.S.. In fact, the variety of shelter types now found on-site, suggested the new collective term of ‘land-lease-lifestyle community’ or LLLCommunity, as being more appropriate than the previous moniker.

PRESENT DAY TRENDS

Year 2008 saw the birth of another new trend, this one in manufactured housing design. On 27 February 2008, 100+/- HUD-Code home manufacturers and community owners/operators convened at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s new Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN., to ‘Discuss & agree on what it’d take to sell more new manufactured homes into communities!’ The answer? Community Series Home models, designed specifically for in-community placement. CSH models are generally smaller size multisection homes and modest-sized singlesection homes, but all feature a dozen or so durability-enhancing features, to facilitate unit repairs between tenants or homeowners.

At that same time, a core of several dozen Business Development Managers, or BDMs, were named by home manufacturers, to specialize in marketing CSH models to community owners/operators nationwide. Most active among these sales pros, are Steve Quick of Fleetwood Homes, Byron Stroud of Champion Homes, Rick Grewe of Hart Housing, Michael Kinsbury of Adventure Homes, Bill Danforth of Cavco Homes, and Mark Ledet of Legacy Homes. For more on CSH Models & a list of all BDMs, phone (317) 346-7156.

So prevalent has the practice of buying new manufactured homes directly from the factory, then selling them to homebuyers/site lessees on-site, and engaging in self-finance, of one sort or another, the (now) land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators have become widely recognized as being the trend: a ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’! But there’s a hitch, actually some shortcomings, that need to be addressed if the manufactured housing industry expects to fully recover from its’ six year malaise (Year 2009 to present day) and eventually regain national housing market share. Answers to these shortcomings might be found in at least two emerging trends….

EMERGING TRENDS

Research, resources, communication, networking, deal-making, professional property management, and (when need be) national advocacy are seven key functions, that until recently (1 January 2015), lacked a singular national identity and source among LLLCommunity owners/operators. Enter the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. Now, along with the Manufactured Housing Institute’s National Communities Council division, whose sole emphasis is ‘national advocacy’, these seven bases are now well covered. By phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, any LLLCommunity owners/operator in the U.S. and Canada, can access needed statistics & directories; online & print communication, networking & deal-making opportunities; professional PM training & certification; even national advocacy – since COBA7®’ assumed the role of official MHIndustry ombudsman (press). To tap into MHI’s NCC division’s ‘national advocacy’ interest, phone (703) 558-0666 and talk to Jenny Hodge.

Then there’s manufactured housing Sales Training! Until recently, that’s been the continuing bugaboo (Beside identifying sources of chattel capital for seller-financing of sales transactions) of on-site home sales in small to mid-sized LLLCommunities and property portfolios. Where to go? Who to use to learn to effectively market and sell new and resale homes on-site? Oh sure, large portfolio folk have used the past half decade to recruit conventional home marketing and sales personnel from outside the MHIndustry, then fashion in-house programs to meet their unique needs. But there’re NO existent in-industry trainers willing or able to make the transition from independent (street) MHRetail sales center operation (i.e. Selling product & price) to on-site LLLCommunity sales center methodology (Selling home & lifestyle) – till now. Effective with his keynote presentation on this subject during the 23rd annual Networking Roundtable, John Ace Underwood, CMI®, of Selling Edge, appears to have successfully ‘made that transition’. *3. But truth be told, for this emerging trend to flourish, we need more such trainers, and the sooner the better. Seriously interested? Let me know ASAP!

FUTURE TRENDS.

Obviously I don’t know what they’ll be, anymore than anyone reading this blog posting.. But one thing is certain: the manufactured housing industry, and by dint of its’ close relationship – LLLCommunities, are at a critical crossroads in their 70+ year history. Either continue to muddle along as we’ve been doing, for the past six to nine years, or make a concerted effort to strategically plan and effect our collective future going forward, where respective Business Models are concerned – along with Image Improvement, National Advertising, and more….

But I will go out on one ‘future trend’ limb. With the census of independent (street) MHRetailers having plummeted from approximately 1100 (circa 1998) down to fewer than 400 nationwide today, who’re manufactured home buyers, owning scattered building sites conveyed fee simple, going to buy new manufactured homes from, going forward? The following is an unsolicited quote from a LLLCommunity portfolio owner/operator:

“While visiting one of our properties this week , two phone calls came in from prospects wanting to buy new manufactured homes from us, for their private property. Our manager tells me he gets these calls frequently; also at another of our other properties. While most of us are glad to sell homes within our LLLCommunities, pretty much at cost to get the site rent; if demand continues to increase for such homes outside our properties, we may have to get comfortable with that end of the business too.”

In a similar vein, we’ve also been hearing from LLLCommunity owners/operators, who’re marketing and selling new and resale homes on-site, complaining about factory and warranty service challenges. Again, ‘years ago’ one could count on local independent (street) MHRetailers to handle some of this responsibility to our home buying customers, but that’s not the case anymore. SO, who’s to step in and become the customer service rep of the 21st Century? Some now opine that since home installers must now be ‘licensed to perform’, they should be encouraged to broaden their business service base to include this opportunity ‘for a price’. What say you? Again, interested minds would like to know.

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End Note.

1. Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform @ (202) 783-4087; Manufactured Housing Institute @ (703) 558-0400; &, Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, @ Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764..

2. ‘Upside Down in a Mobilehome Park’ is one of the classic trade publication articles that describes, in fictional story-telling fashion, what happened to the average homebuying/site lessee customer at the turn of this century. To obtain a FREE copy of the reprint, simply telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

3. John ‘Ace’ Underwood recently addressed the Illinois association’s annual meeting, on how to engage in on-site home sales, and will be a featured presenter at the SECO Summit in the South on 1 & 2 October, followed by similar presentations in Indiana and Iowa, during the months ahead. Reach him via junderw794@aol.com