30+% of New HUD Homes into LLLCommunities!

February 27th, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 338 Copyright @ 1 March 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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

COBA7® Motto is: ‘U support US & WE serve U’!, and Goal of its’ three print & online publications is: ‘Not only to share information & opinion, but to transform & improve!’

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

The Big News in manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle community circles is the PROOF an increasing percentage of new HUD-Code homes is going directly into this property type! But will this Big News be sufficient to motivate factories to focus more of their marketing efforts on the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’? Let’s hope so!

Everyone knows the Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® was launched in early 2014, to serve the research, resources, communication, networking, deal-making, professional property management, even national advocacy needs (when necessary) of LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide and throughout Canada. To that end, here’s an array of FREE wallet cards available for the asking. Get yours today!

Have a loved one or acquaintance fighting, suffering from, an illness or disease? Here’s a unique way to show your support and love, & financially contribute towards eradication of said health issue(s), as well. Frankly, I hope everyone gets on this brave bandwagon!


Increasing Percentage of New HUD-Code Homes Going into LLLCommunities…

Actually, we’ve sensed this trend for awhile, just couldn’t ferret out shipment statistics to proof it. Last week’s announcement at this website (Blog 337), made the matter official:

30% of New HUD-Code Homes in 2013 were shipped directly into land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide! Expect higher %s for 2014 & 2015!

And it turns out ‘blog floggers’ too, are as excited about this newly documented state of affairs, as they responded enthusiastically to last week’s historic announcement:

“Your breakdown of the increase in market share of manufactured home sales going into LLLCommunities is encouraging, and I agree with your contention it is likely understated. COBA7® can take credit and solace from the accomplishment sir!” NB

“Truth be told, this was suspected for quite some time. Thanks for shedding light on the real selling of HUD-Code homes. The LLLCommunity owners should have the right and responsibility to offer the type of new home product available on his/her land.” Independent (street) MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ are being supplanted by LLLCommunity owners/operators who buy new homes for resale on-site, then self-finances or leases them as the local housing market supports. It’ll be interesting to see what happens among what ‘was’ the Big Four + One lenders, ‘now’ the Big Three + One’, eventually (?) the ‘Big Two + One’, or fewer, independent third party chattel capital originators. No wonder we’re calling LLLCommunity owners/operators the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’!

As you likely know by now, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR, was equally responsible for ‘breaking this historic news’ to the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity asset class. What will be interesting now, is to see whether either or both national advocacy bodies encourage HUD-Code housing manufacturers to capitalize on this trend, and redouble their efforts to sell more new Community Series Homes into this unique, income-producing property type. Hope so!

In the meantime, ‘where & what’ do we, as LLLCommunity owners/operators, ‘go & do’ from here? There’re a number of helpful possibilities:

• Contact COBA7® for a FREE list of Business Development Managers, or BDMs, adept at selling Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, to LLLCommunities. The list also talks of WOW! Factors, a.k.a. ‘eye candy’, and the many durability features characteristic of CSH Model homes. (317) 346-7156. Call today!

• Attend the Northeast Super Symposium in Albany, NY. @ 24 & 25 March 2015. Why? There’ll be several Community Series Homes on display. Walk and inspect these CSH Models before buying to resell on-site. (518) 867-3242. And this will be your best opportunity all Spring to learn ‘What’s going on’ in the MHIndustry.

• IMPORTANT REMINDER: If a LLLCommunity owner/operator, ensure the HUD-Code manufacturer, from whom you purchase Community Series Homes, clearly cites in their Installation Manual(s), the Frost Free Foundation®, or FFF®, is an approved installation procedure for their product! Otherwise, you run the very real risk of having to replace perfectly good concrete foundations on-site, if they don’t presently extend below the frost line characteristic of your property.

• Need help establishing your compliant home finance source, likely a separate operation from your LLLCommunity? Contact Rishel Consulting for guidance to this end, via (312) 878-2802. Also obtain a copy of the 17th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders, for a comprehensive list of chattel capital sources and servicers. Indispensable. MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

• Explore lease-option as a viable alternative in your state. In this instance, visit Spencer Roane’s websites: LeaseOptionMHSales.com & http://LeaseOptionMHSales.com

Let’s hope, this time next year, we can report 50 percent of all new HUD-code homes going directly into LLLCommunities nationwide.


Talking About Resources…

“And what cards do you carry in your wallet?”

Have you seen and or used the new plastic COBA7® ELEVEN 3X5 inch wallet card? Didn’t think so. But you’ll surely want to do so! Why? One side contains interesting factoids relating to the number and characteristics of land-lease-lifestyle communities (e.g. inventory #s, OER%, rent $, New Rule of 72, ‘cap rates’ & more). The verso or reverse side lists 11 solid reasons to affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®. How to get your FREE ‘COBA7® ELEVEN’ card? Simply phone the official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 & leave your postal mailing address.

And hey, while you’re at it, ask for the other FREE ‘tools available to the LLLCommunity ownership/operations trade’:

• The ‘5-RPs of Marketing & Selling New & Resale HOMES within a Land-lease-lifestyle Community’ on one side; and, ‘5-RPs of Marketing & Leasing Rental HOMESITES or sites, within a LLLCommunity’, on the other side of this FREE plastic 3X5 wallet card. Distributed last year yes, but we still have some left.

• ’50 Business Card Design Ideas’ for the reverse, back or verso side of your business card! This invaluable eight panel plastic synopsis of business card wisdom is summarized from the book: Is Your Business Card a Keeper? The 2 ½ X 4” pocket guide is FREE for the asking.

• Not one, but two renditions of the GFA Management, Inc., ‘Number Crunching Cards’. One contains the ‘Cash on Cash Return methodology’, IRV valuation formula, and a loan amortization chart. The second fold over card contains every formula used in LLLCommunity ownership/operations, e.g. physical & economic occupancy, turnover, OER computations, ‘cap rates’, and the Industry Standard Chart of Accounts with characteristic OER percentages.

And, if you’ve not yet seen or read ‘A Toast to the Community Owner!’, by all means ask for it when you request the above-referenced FREE plastic wallet cards and book synopsis. You’ll be glad you did. The ‘toast’, actually a poem, honors the memory of the late LLLCommunity portfolio owner/operator Bud Zeman of Chicago.



A Unique Way to Honor & Support Loved Ones Fighting Illnesses

Our oldest granddaughter has been fighting a difficult and potentially debilitating disease for a few years. Our immediate and extended family are united in efforts to help her through periodic surgeries, recoveries, treatments, and more.

I recently came across a website simply called BRAVELETS; actually, bravelets.com. Anyway, they feature several lines of metal and leather bracelets designed to express support of individuals afflicted with one or more of a dozen or so illnesses. You pick out the bravelet design and illness on your mind, or in your heart, at the time, and purchase for $35.00. The Bravelet folk then contribute $10.00 of your purchase to the foundation or organization most involved in combating ones’ friend or loved one’s illness.

Carolyn and I now both wear bravelets in support of our granddaughter’s fight against her illness. Surely you have someone who deserves your love and support as well.


Proof of ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’!

February 21st, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 337 Copyright @ 22 February 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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.

COBA7® Motto is: ‘U support US & WE serve U’!, and Goal of its’ three print & online publications is: ‘Not only to share information & opinions, but to transform & improve!’

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

When was the last time you had, figuratively speaking, a light bulb turn on in one’s brain experience? Well, during the past two weeks I’ve had a pair of enlightening afflatuses!

The first, described in Part I following, has to do with finding U.S. Census Bureau data confirming the long-sensed trend of an annually increasing percentage of new HUD-Code homes being shipped directly from factories into land-lease-lifestyle communities!

The second, has to do with the unvarnished back story regarding the Dodd-Frank Act cum corporatism; what really precipitated the 2008 financial crisis; and, what must yet happen during the years ahead to see this regulatory nightmare repealed.


‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’

U.S. Census Bureau Data Confirms Emerging Support Role of Land-lease-lifestyle Communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) in behalf of the Manufactured Housing Industry

Here’s how we got to where we are today…

Easy access to chattel capital, for loans on new manufactured homes going into (then) manufactured home communities, ‘went away’ soon after the turn of the 21st century. As that lifeblood $ dried up, the number of independent (street) MHRetailers – traditional ‘filler’ of vacant rental homesites in 50,000+/- MHCommunities nationwide, waned from thousands to a few hundred retail salescenters in the U.S. At that point, owners/operators of (larger communities or property portfolios) this unique, income-producing realty type, were forced to sell homes on-site, whether ‘repo’ units, good quality resale homes, or (Gasp!) new manufactured homes. For decades earlier, these owners/operators eschewed new home sales, preferring homebuying customers ‘eat the depreciation’ on said transactions; or, pass them onto ‘street dealers’ who owned such properties, and at times engaged in ‘closed park operations’, i.e. ‘buy here, pay here – twice’.

In any event, by 27 February 2009, (then) MHCommunity owners/operators, having already launched their own national advocacy body, the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), realized, at their first National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus, in Tampa, FL., they must take control of their destiny, or risk being marginalized by similar factors affecting the manufacturing and distribution of HUD-Code manufactured homes. A year later, on 27 February 2009, a mix of home manufacturers and realty investors met at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN., to agree, once and for all, ‘What it’d take for MHCommunity owners to buy more new homes; and, what manufacturers needed to do to incentivize the purchase of more new homes?’ Answer? New home design! By year end, Community Series Homes (so-named by industry consultant Don Westphal), or CSH Models: singlesection homes & modest-sized multisection homes with WOW factors and a plethora of durability-enhancing features (to ease the turnaround of such ‘park-owned homes’ between owners or renters) were being marketed by dozens of Business Development Managers (‘BDM’) coast-to-coast. And the process continues; to such an extent, it’s almost standard parlance in the manufactured housing industry today, to refer to (now) land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators ‘selling & self-financing new homes on-site’ as the New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender.*1

Here’s where we are today.

U.S. Census Bureau data confirms what’s described in the previous paragraph:
the increased sale and placement (i.e. installation) of new HUD-Code manufactured homes on-site within (many but certainly not all) LLLCommunities throughout the U.S.

To mine this data, launch one’s computer browser to ‘Manufactured Homes Survey’. Once there, left click on the ‘Historical Data’ heading. And once on that view, left click on the ‘Selected Characteristics’ label – listed vertically, where statistics are grouped by year, e.g. 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013, with a choice of accessing either PDF or XLS. At each of those years, compare the number (thousands) of manufactured homes going ‘Inside MHCommunities’ with total number of homes shipped that year, e.g.

2009 12T into (now) LLLCommunities, divided by 55T = 22 percent
2010 13T ditto 51T = 25.4 percent
2011 12T ditto 48T = 25 percent
2012 15.6T ditto 52.8= 29.5 percent
2013 16.9T ditto 56.3= 30 percent

The Good News, of course, is that the number and percentage of new HUD-Code homes being shipped directly into LLLCommunities, and not necessarily via independent (street) MHRetailers, continues to increase. It will be interesting to see the results for year 2014.

Concerned about the relatively few homes going into ‘subdivisions’ mixed in with the numbers shown above? I’m not. While undefined at the moment, there’s more than one way the demarcation between ‘land lease’ and ‘conveyed fee simple’ might be blurred, e.g. resident-owned communities, etc..

In any event, it’s instructive and encouraging to see, once and for all, clear evidence of the evolving trend so many of us ‘knew’ was occurring, but had little to no empirical data supporting said contention. Bottom line? ‘Long live the New Breed of MHRetailer & Chattel Capital Lender!’


Here’s What I Learned This Past Week About ‘The New Corporatism of Dodd-Frank’, & ‘GSEs, the Federal Reserve, & the Elements of True Financial Reform’

Following quotations are from the book, Dodd-Frank: A Law Like No Other, a collection of writings from seven lecturers sharing their thoughts at Hillsdale College during 2014.

David A. Skeel. “Once every generation or two, after a major financial crisis, Congress redesigns American financial regulation.” P.2

‘The Dodd-Frank Act is Congress’s redesign of financial regulation for our generation. …there are two very odd features of the Dodd-Frank Act.” P.2

‘The first is…built on the premise the same guys who orchestrated all the bailouts that caused so much trouble, should be the ones who decide what to do about it.” P.3 (Specifically, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, & Ben Bernanke)

“The second odd feature…closely related to the first. Traditionally, American debates over how to regulate our major financial institutions, have pitted those who believe the biggest institutions should be broken up if they begin to dominate Amercican finance, against those who believe giant institutions are inevitable and government should simply make sure it has the tools to control them.” p.3

“…key architects of Dodd-Frank hailed from the big-is-okay side of the traditional divide.” P.4

“…the Wall Street reform portion of Dodd-Frank has two very clear objectives: the first is to limit the risk of the so-called shadow banking system by more carefully regulating the key instruments (e.g. derivatives & financial innovations) and institutions (e.g. .J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, or AIG) of contemporary finance.” P.4 Note: “Shadow banking…is the use of nontraditional sources of finance.” P.5

“The second objective is to limit the damage in the event one of these giant institutions fails. The Dodd-Frank Act thus has two simple objectives – limiting risk before the fact and trying to limit the damage if a giant financial institution nevertheless falters.” P.5

“It also has a recurring theme: partnership between the government and the largest banks. This partnership, in which the government locks arms with a small group of dominant institutions, looks a lot like the European style of regulation that is known as corporatism.” P.5


Peter J. Wallison. “The 2008 financial crisis was a major event, equivalent in its’ initial scope – if not its duration – to the Great Depression of the 1930s.” p.49

“By 2000, the developing (housing) bubble was already larger than any bubble in U.S. history, and it kept growing until 2007, when – at nine times the size of any previous bubble – it finally topped out and housing prices began to fall.” P.54

“With the largest housing bubble in history deflating in 2007, and more than half of all mortgages made to borrowers who had weak credit or little equity in their homes, the number of delinquencies and defaults in 2008 was unprecedented. One immediate effect was the collapse of the market for mortgage-backed securities that were issue by banks, investment banks, and subprime lenders, and held by banks, financial institutions, and other investors around the world. These were known as private label securities or private mortgage-backed securities, to distinguish them from mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie and Freddie. Investors, shocked by the sheer number of mortgage defaults that seemed to be underway, fled the market for private label securities; there were now no buyers, causing a sharp drop in market values for these securities.” P.55

“This radical withdrawal of liquidity from the market was the financial crisis.” P.56

(And) “…the crisis was not caused by insufficient regulation, let alone by an inherently unstable financial system. It was caused by government housing policies that forced the dominant factors in the trillion dollar housing market- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – to reduce their underwriting standards.” P.56

“What…should have been done? …a thorough reorientation of the U.S>housing finance systems away from the kind of government control that makes it hostage to narrow political imperatives – that is, providing benefits to constituents – rather than responsive to the competition and efficiency imperatives of the market system.” P.56.

“A bubble energizes itself by reducing defaults as prices rise. This sends the wrong signal to investors: Instead of increasing risk, they tend to see increasing opportunity.” P.57

In conclusion, “…Dodd-frank was based on a faulty diagnosis of the financial crisis. Until that diagnosis is corrected – until it is made clear to the American people, the financial crisis was caused by the government rather than by deregulation or insufficient regulation – economic growth will be impeded. It follows that when the true causes of the financial crisis have been made clear, it will become possible to repeal Dodd-Frank.” P.57.


End Note.

1. New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender, a.k.a. New Breed of MHRetailer & Chattel Capital Lender. A new moniker for land-lease-lifestyle community; specifically, where the owner/operator routinely engages in the on-site wholesale purchase, retail sale, and when need be, the self-financing or renting of said manufactured homes to prospective homebuyers and renters, mainly to ‘keep the site rent meter running’.


Responses to ‘Trade Restraint’ & Special Announcements!

February 14th, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 336 Copyright @ 15 February 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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

COBA7® Motto is: ‘U support US & WE serve U!’, and Goal of its’ three print & online publications is: ‘Not only to share information & opinions, but to transform & improve!’

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

I’ve penned thusly before, and will likely do so again in the future. When Monday morning dawns, following the Sunday morning blog posting, I oft wonder: ‘What to cover this week?’ By the time Wednesday arrives, there’s an idea or two in mind, maybe even a few quotes and thoughts on paper. But by Friday, ‘Something noteworthy has occurred somewhere in the MHIndustry & among LLLCommunities nationwide. Hence, Part I following, contains reader commentary on last week’s stimulating topics; & Part II is awash with the most exciting news to ‘splash’ our industry and property type in months – and there’s more a-coming!


‘Simple Statement’ & ‘Trade Restraint or Protectionism’ Blog Postings Last Week Generate Interesting Commentary

In the first instance, “Since their creation more than (a) half-century ago, nearly everything about manufactured housing has improved – except the way they are sold and financed. High-interest loans, shorter loan terms, and sales tactics that turn what could be a good deal into an expensive proposition.”, garnered this pithy reply…(read carefully):

“Strictly chattel loans involve a tough, almost impossible business model; one where lenders have to charge high enough interest to cover their risks and costs – which in turn and time, all but guarantee failure of said loan transaction. Furthermore, the size of the borrower market (i.e. Those who can satisfy the lender’s requirements) is very small – almost too small to be practical. And pre-S.A.F.E. Act lenders could, but generally didn’t, mitigate their risks – hence justifying lower rates, via a partnership/affiliation with LLLCommunity owners, who helped with application processing, underwriting, collections, repossession, rehab, even resale of homes. Today, it’s near impossible for such cooperation without stepping into the crosshairs of regulators.” An MHM®

In the second instance, talk of the pros and cons of continuing under HUD’s regulatory oversight – and enjoying the benefits of a federally preemptive building code; OR, coming out from under said control to enjoy entrepreneur freedom to respond quickly to local housing market needs, generated the usual and expected supportive and contrarian responses:

“Good for you to open that can of worms again. Challenges to the ‘approved everywhere – sorta’ benefit of having HUD regs is certainly real, but the opportunity for renewed (shipment) growth, particularly with lower product costs would likely be greater! The latter is the entrepreneur’s dream of FREEDOM to WIN, instead of restrained freedom to continue being mired in mediocrity. Or, think of this as the opportunity to ‘meet our customer’s needs’, not the ‘requirements of government’.” NB


“Without the protection of federal preemption there would be no manufactured housing. Just look at how stagnant ‘modular housing’ figures are. Why? Because they must meet a myriad of local building codes, always changing, always different. How can anyone think it’d be any different for unfettered manufactured housing?” State MHAssociation exec.


Exciting News to Share with Blog Audience!

I love it when a news story comes together in time to post here, or share via the Allen Letter professional journal and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter. Also get a genuine thrill from knowing beforehand, an upcoming regional or national meeting will serve the education, networking, and deal-making needs of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide! But best of all is the feeling of personal fulfillment, when a whole new aspect of manufactured housing score-keeping (i.e. statistical benchmarking) unfolds before one’s eyes. All such ‘excitements’ are described in the following bullet points:

• 24th annual International Networking Roundtable will occur 9-11 September 2015 at the Hilton San Diego Resort on Mission Bay. That’s right; where we’ve been twice before! And the lineup of 25 topics and presenters? Details to follow, but how ‘bout reps from IREM, MHI, MHARR, maybe GSEs, & COBA7’s national buyers group; plus, all you wanted to know about Frost Free Foundations®, and more, but didn’t know who to ask – since no one else is telling you!

• MHARR will soon (This week?!) make an announcement of significant importance to owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide. Hint. It has to do with the volume of new HUD-Code homes being shipped directly from factories into LLLCommunities nationwide. We finally know. This is a game-changer!

• Signature Series Resource Document ‘17th National Registry of (all) Manufactured Housing Industry-related Loan Originators’, when distributed on 1 march 2015, as a lagniappe to the Allen Letter professional journal, will be the Biggest & Best such SSRD researched and published to date! Relative to real estate-secured loan (acquisition & refinance mortgage) originators alone, the number of reporting firms (lenders & brokers) has jumped from 18 to 25 since last year! And Rishel Consulting, continuing its’ helpful contribution to last year’s edition, will publicize all known sources and servicers of chattel capital per manufactured homes in LLLCommunities. This is a MUST HAVE document!

• Two more Manufactured Housing Manager® classes have been scheduled this Spring; one in Dixon, IL., on 31 March, and one in East Peoria, IL., on 20 June 2015. If you’re in search of professional property management (‘PM’) education and certification for yourself and or your LLLCommunity managers, this is where to send them! Class is only $250.00/person for the one day class, there’s no testing, and it’s the only PM class in the U.S. taught by a veteran LLLCommunity owner, Certified Property Manager® Emeritus, and RV/MH Hall of Fame member. Get certified and join the other nearly 1,000 MHMs at work in LLLCommunities throughout the U.S. and Canada!

• Double Treat in Albany, New York on 26 March 2015! Pam Danner, esquire, manufactured housing program administrator for HUD will be present to brief owners/operators from NY, PA, NJ, MD, DE, and all of New England. And I’ll deliver the ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ keynote – with this added feature: ‘Watch Out, Here Comes Another Property Consolidation Wave!’ – based on a feature in the March issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. This NYHA Super Symposium is a ‘can’t miss’ event for MHIndustry folk in the Northeast. Phone Nancy Geer @ (518) 867-3242.

To register for the 24th annual Networking Roundtable, affiliate with COBA7® – to receive a copy of the 17th annual National Registry of (all) Lenders; and, sign-up to attend either of the two Manufactured Housing Manager® classes, simply telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


MH Trade Restraint or Protectionism?

February 6th, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 335 Copyright @ 8 February 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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.

COBA7® Motto is: ‘U support US & WE serve U!’, and Goal of its’ three print & online publications is: ‘Not only to share information & opinions, but to transform & improve!’

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

Friends in the MHBusiness sometimes oft ask if I tire of ‘challenging & goading the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity realty asset class’ elected & salaried leaders to openly address Ongoing Issues (e.g. lack of easy access to chattel capital), Strategic Matters (e.g. restraint of trade) and Troublesome Barriers (e.g. financial ‘over regulation’) affecting manufactured housing shipments’ (i.e. ‘or lack thereof’); and the answer is YES! But know what? There’re too few businessmen & women afoot today, let alone investigative trade journalists, doing so! Hence; until that markedly changes, if it ever does, my career work path is laid out before me; and to great extent, rejuvenates me week after week, month after month, year after year! All I ask of YOU, is to read & ponder what I pen, then support me as you will – by word, deed, & affiliation with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®! 2015 promises to be one exciting year!

The two following op/ed pieces play to the frustrating yet stirring business scenario just described.


Sometimes, a Simple Statement Says It All!

And this is one of those times! Recently, a short op/ed story titled, ‘The Hidden High Costs of Mobile Homes’ made the rounds among businessmen and women engaged in manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities. The simple statement, actually a subtitle to that cited in the first sentence, reads thusly:

• “Since their creation more than (a) half-century ago, nearly everything about manufactured housing has improved – except the way they are sold and financed. High-interest loans, shorter loan terms, and sales tactics that turn what could be a good deal into an expensive proposition.”

Stop and read those two sentences again; then, sit back and ponder this question:

• Is it possible to reposition manufactured housing, from being an Expensive Proposition (especially when sited within LLLCommunities), into a Good Deal, featuring 1) low-interest loans, 2) longer term loans, & 3) effected by professional, courteous sales and leasing professionals?

Your answer? Mine is: ‘Why not replace the old business model with a new, fair and attractive one?!

Specifically, replace the half century paradigm, characterized by these negatives, pursuant to increasing number of LLLCommunity owners/operators filling their vacant rental homesites – rather than relying on declining number of independent (street) MHRetailers and ‘company stores’, using low-interest and short term loans, marketed and sold by professionals – with added surety of homes installed on realty controlled by the property owner.

This is already happening in increasing numbers, as enlightened LLLCommunity owners/operators either sell new home inventory ‘close to cost’ (to lowering the sales price) and or meld mortgage terms to fit homebuyer/site lessee’s ability to repay the loan and site rent each month. This is why LLLCommunity owners/operators, in many local housing markets throughout the U.S., are increasingly being referred to as the NEW BREED of MHRetailers & Lenders!

The secondary, but equally compelling challenge is ‘How to involve the owners/operators of single LLLCommunities, and small property portfolios, to embrace this new manufactured housing paradigm?

What say YOU? Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Trade Restraint or Protectionism?

The Regulatory Control Dilemma Few Talk About Openly,
‘Hiding One’s Light Under a Basket, or Protecting it from Wind?’

This subject is difficult to get first hand public information about, from official sources, whether they be government agencies, national advocacy bodies, or corporate executives and related stakeholders. But here’s the historical gist of the matter.

Allegedly, ever since annual shipment numbers of new HUD-Code manufactured homes ‘tanked’ to less than 50,000 per year (down from 372,843 in 1998), by end of year 2009 – and only averaging 54,146/year since then (2009-2014), the federal agency (‘HUD’) tasked with regulating the industry, has supposedly struggled financially (i.e. not enough label license fee income to fully fund the program). In fact, money has been so tight, it’s likely a reason the new manufactured housing installation standards, codified in 2007, have yet to be fully implemented and enforced eight years later.

Then, a couple years ago, effort was made on the federal level, to gauge industry reaction and identify supposed (business) consequences if HUD oversight disappeared from the manufactured housing regulatory scene altogether. While most of the results of this brief field study remain anecdotal, it was easy to see how ‘the industry’ was uncomfortable with even the thought of deregulation. Uncomfortable enough, it turned out, to accept – without protest (that I heard of), a 165 percent increase in label license fees during the Fall of 2014. And now, in early 2015, we learn of a supposedly $-rejuvenated HUD, now intent on enforcing those installation standards of eight years ago!

Why uncomfortable? The HUD-Code manufactured housing industry has learned to live with said national, performance-based building code, one that preempts all local housing codes! And since the code’s implementation in 1976, the manufactured housing industry, to its’ credit, has turned this otherwise regulatory lemon into sweet lemonade – in time, supplying up to 25 percent of the national housing market share of new homes in 1998. Eleven years later, that percentage plummeted to less than 5 percent and has remained there for the past six years.

But here’s ‘the rub’. Is the manufactured housing industry’s supposed reluctance to deregulate, a form of ‘trade restraint’ (i.e. Perpetuating a significant ‘barrier to entry’ for would be new manufacturers, among other factors), or ‘protecting’ it from other (predatory) housing producers, including local zoning boards, who’d likely use deregulation to outlaw manufactured housing altogether? In other words, does HUD regulation also serve as a basket of sorts, dimming our ‘affordable housing’ message to otherwise prospective homebuyers (i.e. When was the last time you saw, read, or heard of any overt, let alone covert, promotion on the part of HUD, encouraging American citizenry to ‘Buy a manufactured home!’? Maybe never, and also our ‘protector’, again, from other types of less affordable shelter who’d be only too happy to see us go away?

All this is the sort of pithy trade conversation, evidently going on behind closed doors in Washington, DC. but certainly not in pubic circles, among – again – government agencies, national advocacy bodies, corporate executives and their stakeholders. Bottom line? Which is indeed Best for the majority of us? Business as usual, at the whiff and whim of HUD-Code home manufacturers; or ‘turn us, as an industry, loose in the housing market place, to create a new business model that works better than the one we suffer today – realizing the significant risks that go with doing so?’ As long as it’s not talked about openly and seriously, it’s doubtful we’ll ever know, let alone see it happen. Just telling you sheep…

Back to the reason we’re, as an industry and realty asset class, way overdue for a National Strategic Planning Meeting, facilitated by the two national advocacy bodies presently representing manufactured housing in Washington, DC.; both effectively controlled by HUD-Code home manufacturers and no one else. So, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the status quo?

When we distributed a DRAFT copy of this week’s blog posting to the dozen MHIndustry businessmen and women I consider to be ‘Serious Thinkers & Contemporary Influencers’, we received this (edited) reply from one of them (a state MHAssociation executive):

IF HUD ‘went away’, what would we lose? Lots!

Local & state building code legislators and enforcers would pressure the MHIndustry into modular housing code construction regulation. Modular home production is a fraction (@50+/-%) of HUD-Code home shipments (e.g. 64,331 manufactured homes in 2014).

In states where RVs & modular homes are banned from LLLCommunities, laws would have to be changed to allow such sitings. Until change is effected, only ‘mobile homes’ & aging ‘manufactured homes’ would be available; no replacement manufactured homes.

State tax codes often provide tax relief for HUD-Code manufactured homes (e.g. sales tax exclusion of 35% in WI). And real estate taxes are oft supplanted by lower personal property or user taxes on HUD-Code manufactured homes. Not available to modulars.

So you see, this is not a simple Yea or Nay issue, for sure. But it certainly is one worth talking about openly – if and when we can get the elected and salaried leaders of manufacturer-controlled national advocacy bodies to arrange for us to do so during year


Potpourri of MHIndustry News & Views

January 31st, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 334 Copyright @ 1 February 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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.

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

13 must be this week’s ‘lucky number’ for blog floggers (readers), since that’s the number of News & Views described in the following paragraphs. And hey, when you see, read or hear of MH-related matters to likely interest our peers, let me know ASAP!


The Occasional Potpourri of MHIndustry News & Views!

Collection of News & Op/ed Bites, Interesting to Read & Ponder

COURTESY. There’s at least one, and maybe the only one, HUD-Code home manufacturer executive, who answers the telephone, accepting calls from businessmen and women in the MHIndustry. Recently, a young home designer in southern California heeded my advice and phoned this particular CEO. He not only took her call, but assisted with factory connections she needed to expedite the fabrication of a prototype two story HUD-Code home with a small footprint. Guess who’ll likely get her business in the future, as she markets this forward-looking home design? A unique home design, by the way, featuring ‘green materials’, modern interior & exterior finishes, energy efficiency & photovoltaic-ready options. ‘You GO, Sabrina!’

FROST FREE FOUNDATIONS®. Speaking of HUD-Code home manufacturers. COBA7® recently polled HUD-Code home manufacturers, requesting sample Installation Manuals featuring factory-approved Frost Free Foundation® protocols. Once research is complete, we’ll inform land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators, from coast-to-coast, which HUD-Code home manufacturers, by including HUD-approved FFF® protocols in their Installation Manuals, are helping them avoid expensive retrofitting (i.e. estimated minimum of $5,000 per site) of performing foundations on rental homesites! Bottom line? Guess where informed LLLCommunity owners/operators will likely purchase their new homes in the future?

DOE STANDARDS. One LLLCommunity owner/operator, who sells and self-finances new HUD-Code homes on-site says, “I see a possible silver lining relative to DOE standards. If they come with a reasonable payback period, financially-challenged home buyers might well be able to afford our homes! And maybe we should be sending the ‘energy tax credit’ directly to homebuyers, to be used as part of their down payment. If legally doable, such a move would add many potential homebuyers to the prospect pool, rather than keeping them from it. GREEN and AFFORDABLE; now we’d have something to SELL!”

RENT vs. BUY HOMES. Another LLLCommunity owners/operator opines: “A reemerging business model appears to emphasize ‘rental homes’ as opposed to ‘buying homes’ in LLLCommunities. While I’m a strong proponent of filling vacant rental homesites via lease-option, to families with a ‘buyer’ mentality, many of today’s prospects don’t want home payments and maintenance responsibilities, preferring to rent their homes. From my perspective, ‘rentals’ are more management & maintenance intense, and experience higher turnover & more rehab costs, making frequent inspection of home interiors a necessity.” Five Tips for Successful MHRental operation, assuming tacit support of one’s local housing market: provide truly habitable shelter, establish & enforce screening standards, collect rent weekly not monthly, enforce posted rules & regulations, and inspect interiors regularly while changing air filters and engaging in pest control.

COBA7®. Did you read the Chapter # 1 of ‘COBA7® History’ in the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’? If not, the ALLEN REPORT is still available for purchase @ $544.95 (postpaid), or via Option II affiliation (same $ amount) with COBA7®. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to order or affiliate. Year 2015 is one of likely transition for the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, as affiliates grow in number from more than 200 now, to 400 by year end 2015. For more information and to affiliate, use the COBA7® brochure attached to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) introducing this week’s blog posting at community-investor.com

HUD & UL. A manufactured housing industry pioneer opines: “Whoa ________! I guess you’re not a fan of big government. Well, neither am I, but guess we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable future. I see NO charm in seeking government aid in any fashion, but it’s my opinion the HUD-Code is a done deal. One option would be to negotiate with UL, or some other credible independent party, to replace HUD, and pay what it costs – probably no more than we already pay at present. That worked well in Canada, the last I knew. But even that would require a degree of leadership and industry cooperation that’s nowhere in sight. I suspect we’re stuck.”

NO to AD CAMPAIGN. From yet another MHIndustry pioneer opines: “Never mind a national ad campaign! We have no significant single market to address. Our industry has become a game of niches, just as it used to be. So the best course is to utilize our one great strength: low construction cost, to provide the nation with good low coast housing everywhere we can, however we can. Build no trash! Clean up our soggy image – the most important thing we can do. For that, we’ve clearly demonstrated we need someone hovering over all our shoulders, lest we cheat. Our industry is as honest as any other, but we’ve earned ourselves a terrible image and we can’t afford backsliders.”

YES to AD CAMPAIGN. “Speaking of selling, someone mentioned selling GREEN as part of a national campaign. I for one, have had enough of the stonewalling on the national campaign issue. It is painfully obvious the controlling interests in manufacturing are not interested in pursing this strategy. We may have to work through state associations to raise money for a campaign. Car dealer networks pay to have commercials made that can be bought into by individual dealers, and then at end of the commercial, they insert a ‘tag’ with the dealer’s info and short message. That way the heavy cost of production is spread amongst users. I see this as having to be regional. If I am selling houses in Indiana, I don’t want palm trees or desertscapes in my commercial, and I’m sure desert dealers don’t want oak trees and streams.”

CHRIS STINEBERT. If you were listening to NPR radio on 28 January, you likely heard MHI’s former president & CEO, Chris Stinebert, now with the American Financial Services Association (‘ASFA’), in discussion with other auto finance execs, discussing used car loans and subprime financing of same, with all its’ challenges. Chris handled himself well in the face of sometimes stiff questioning by other radio program guests. Just goes to show you, there’s life after manufactured housing….

AFFORDABILITY of HOUSING. “Housing expenditures are conventionally considered affordable if they do not exceed 30 percent of family or household income. Since 1975, housing has become increasingly unaffordable for poor and minority families, and households with children that are burdened by housing costs has more than doubled. Sixty-five percent of children in low-income families now live in households that are ‘housing cost burdened’, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing-related expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance.” This quoted from ‘Housings’s & Neighborhood’s Role in Shaping Children’s Future’, a feature article in the Fall 2014 issue of HUD’s EVIDENCE MATTERS publication, page #7.

SUPERBOWL 2015. According to media reports, its estimate that at least 46 percent of those viewing tonight’s Superbowl Game will be women. As a result, watch to see how much of the program material, throughout the day, is geared towards the woman viewer.

ALLEN LETTER professional journal for February 2015. Besides carrying Part II of the series parsing the past, present, and future of HUD-Code manufactured housing & the LLLCommunity real estate asset class, there’ll be at least three lagniappes: the Signature Series Resource Document: ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ outline to use when you brief employees, stakeholders, etc.. And there’s a really handy month-by-month Maintenance Checklist for Manufactured Homes, prepared by the Factory-built Owners of America! You’ll want to copy and distribute this seminal HOW TO document to all your residents. And Robert Coldren, esquire, has prepared an interesting piece describing his newest project: El Dorado! The Allen Letter professional journal is available only to COBA7® affiliates. So, if YOU own/operate one or more LLLCommunities, you owe it to yourself to be reading this timely, helpful monthly material. Affiliate with COBA7® today! Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. This sort of information is available from no other source in the U.S. and Canada today!

COST EFFECTIVE MEANS of FILLING VACANT RENTAL HOMESITES. I’m cautiously optimistic about the viability of this ‘whole new method’ of filling vacant rental homesites with new HUD-Code homes, especially in the smaller, one-off LLLCommunities NOT in anyone’s property portfolio. Seriously. Just learned of the unique opportunity, so will be researching and ‘proofing’ the methodology during the next week or two, before ‘going public’ with a step-by-step description in the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter, then the Allen Letter professional journal. So, as they say, ‘stay tuned’ and be prepared (hopefully) to help set our industry on its’ ear, as we sell and ship more new HUD-Code homes during year 2015, than any previous year since 97,000 in 2007!

Well, that about does it for this week’s potpourri of MHIndustry News & Views! Hope you enjoyed it…



January 24th, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 333 Copyright @ 25 January 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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

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

My-Oh-My; as YOU likely know, WE – as an industry & realty asset class, are engaged in an exciting NEW ERA regarding the ‘Evolution of the Manufactured Housing Business Model, Past, Present & Future!’ & ‘Look(ing) into Manufactured Housing’s Uncertain Future’ – these being the dual titles of last week’s blog posting at this website!

So much response from nearly 1,000 blog floggers (readers), we prepared and posted a rare mid-week follow-up op/ed blog titled ‘This Has Not Happened, in this Volume, Before!’ Hopefully you read both postings. If not, scroll back into this website’s blog archives before proceeding. Then, move onto…

‘NEW ERA MH Trade Lingo, circa 2015’; ‘What this observer experienced at the MHShow in Louisville, KY’ this past week; and a heady ‘WISH LIST for YEAR 2015!’

We’ll likely revisit the ‘Evolution…’ & ‘…Uncertain Future’ responses in next Sunday’s blog posting. So, keep those responses a-coming! And respond to these three parts following, as well!

Know what? Talked to a former MHI chairman recently, and a top level executive who continues to be active in the manufactured housing industry, and they tell me they value the news & views gleaned from this blog posting and the Allen Letter professional journal. Do YOU? If not reading both, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE today!


NEW ERA MH Trade Lingo, circa 2015

It’s time to stop messing around with the way we casually and formally write and talk about (manufactured) housing. There’ll always be Luddites hanging onto ‘trailer talk’ & ‘mobile homes’, even ‘status quo you know’ folk putting ‘manufactured’ in front of everything homey and community. But that doesn’t mean YOU have to do so…

Those of us with present and future Free Enterprise business prospects anchored in factory-built housing and investment real estate, understand the NEW ERA that dawned in early 2014, and is maturing during 2015, provides a unique platform and opportunity to revisit, restart, and routinely use, nearly a dozen, image-enhancing trade terms in our routine business communication. Try these on for size…

Housing = formerly, manufactured housing

Homes = formerly, manufactured homes

Community = formerly, manufactured home community & before
that ‘mobile home parks’; and in contemporary
journalistic circles, land-lease-lifestyle community
or simply landlease community & LLLCommunity

Independent (street) MHRetailer = formerly, dealer & dealership

New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender=No single precedent, as this new trend supplants
decades old symbiotic relationship between (then)
‘dealer’ & ‘mobile home park’ owners/operators.
Now it’s communities selling & oft self-financing new & resale homes on-site to fill vacant rental

Resident = formerly, tenant; a.k.a. ‘homeowner/site lessee’

Transporter = formerly, toter

Singlesection (home) = formerly, singlewide mobile home

Multisection (home) = formerly, doublewide mobile home

Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance = formerly, all the products & services
provided to community owner/operators by GFA
Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing

Is it really so difficult to adjust one’s use of trade terms, like these, to reflect today’s appealing new designs of homes and, in many instances, the desirability of the community lifestyle? Methinks not, but the transition must begin with YOU! GFA

The 2015 MHShow in Louisville, KY.

Short takes on what & who I saw and heard this past week in Luavul…

• Overall, the MHShow was ‘OK’. Far too few Community Series Homes & far too many ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ show-off units! And, time for a program change!

• Colorado-based real estate investor, & ARC founder, Scott Jackson is back! Just acquired a large turnaround challenge community in Indianapolis, IN. Go Scott!

• Illinois MHAssociation likely established a new practice, by affixing bright orange ribbons, bearing the ILLINOIS name, to their member’s show ID tags

• Jim Clayton & Kevin Kimsey were easy to spot, but a tad bit difficult to identify, as they sported Abraham Lincoln beards with gray and black color schemes.

• Sad news! Sherrie Clevenger of NADA is leaving manufactured housing next month for other pastures. Her successor? Eric Westermeyer. (800) 966-6232X238

• Day before the MHShow, 13 Manufactured Housing Managers®, or MHMs® trained & certified nearby, by Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®!

• Kudos to ‘Maynardville Communities’, a Clayton Co. Just enough pre-show promo to motivate one (me) to visit & photograph their Community Series Home.

• This MHShow was a swan song of sorts, for retiring Wisconsin Housing Alliance executive Ross Kinzler. But with Amy in place, it’s a succession plan that’ll work

• Familiar with NextStep? I wasn’t until this show. Now working with them on pre-purchase counseling of prospective homebuyers project, and possibly more…

• I must have introduced Mark Weiss, MHARR’s newly named president & CEO, and successor to recently retired Danny Ghorbani, to 20+ friends & associates

• Here’re two startling exhibit firsts: only one community portfolio owner/operator: ROC USA; & only one real estate broker: MHRE, Inc., at this year’s MHShow!

• Greetings to Dr. Lesli Gooch, MHI’s newly named Sr. VP of Government Affairs, (703) 558-0660. Hopefully, she’ll be with us for the long haul & successful!

• COBA7® signed up several new affiliates, enroute to serving 400+ ‘MHInsiders’ by year end 2015! You affiliated yet? Call MHIndustry HOTLINE this week

• If I heard ‘lease-option’ mentioned once, I heard it a dozen times, as L-O guru Spencer Roane, MHM® circulated thru the MHShow, connecting with associates

• Looking to buy resale manufactured homes in IN & KY? Contact Tamar Pierce @ (502) 643-2920. And Jackie Tucker in Indianapolis, IN. ((317) 717-3390

• New chattel capital lender, ParkLane Finance Solutions was present, testing the market. Rick Cason @ (434) 975-5088. And they hosted Best Reception of all!

• Finally, life continues to be good, as long as Don Westphal exhibits at the Louisville MHShow! Who doesn’t enjoy stopping by and chatting with him?

OK, so when am I going to see YOU again? Depends. Due to family reasons I won’t be attending MHI’s Winter meeting in New Orleans in February.

COBA7® affiliates are clamoring for a much needed planning meeting, in late February or early March, maybe even during the MHCongress in April.

Then there’s the New York Housing Association-sponsored Northeast Super Symposium, 25-27 March in Albany, NY! I’ll be presenting the ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’, plus describing the latest multifamily consolidation wave. Also hear Pam Danner from HUD & Jenny Hodge from MHI’s NCC division For meeting info, talk to Nancy Geer via (518) 867-3242.

Then there’s the annual MHCongress in Las Vegas. I’ll likely be attending this year, but maybe not the NCC Forum. Why? No invitation to be a presenter, even though I’m an NCC founder and board member. But know what? Craig White, ACM® and I used to host an early morning ‘Prayer for Our Nation & Its’ Leaders’ meeting during this event. If you’re interested in restoring the practice, let me know, via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Hopefully you’re planning on attending the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s Induction Banquet on 3 August, in Elkhart, IN., when we fete Joe Kelly (Iowa MHAssociation exec) and nine others being inducted that evening.

And, of course, there’s the 24th annual International Networking Roundtable, 9-11 September, likely in San Diego, CA. Some very Special Speakers & Topics are being invited and scheduled for this Best Educational Event of the Year – with as many as 25 offerings! Hint: Some are ‘movers & shakers’ from segments of the MHIndustry in favor and support of meeting sponsor COBA7® and its’ motto: ‘U support US & WE serve U!’


WISH LIST for YEAR 2015!

During the MHShow in Louisville, KY last week, I asked many businessmen & women for their ‘WISH LIST for 2015’. Together, they want to…

• Clearly and accurately identify the total number of new HUD-Code homes shipped directly from factories into land-lease-lifestyle communities! Knowing this would encourage increased production of Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, confirming the seven year paradigm shift away from independent (street) MHRetailers, to the ‘New Breed of MHRetailers & Lenders’ (i.e. LLLCommunities with vacant rental homesites to fill). Yes!

• Encourage LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators selling new homes on-site, to start marketing product outside their property, to home buying prospects throughout the local housing market! Factory Expo Homes does this online, throughout the U.S. (Google it & see!), ‘Why not here?’ More sales!

• Encourage single LLLCommunity and small portfolio owner/operators to learn how to market, sell, even self-finance new and resale homes transactions on-site, to fill vacant rental homesites and sustain profitability! This alone would activate 85% of the 50,000+/- LLLCommunities not presently selling (shipping) new homes. Hard parts? Identifying and training the owners/mgrs.

• See HUD-Code home manufacturers, upon purchase of one or more new homes by LLLCommunity owners/operators (i.e. ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’), allow for allocation of some or all the ‘floor fee’ $ line item on the unit invoice, to national advocacy and or resource entity of their choice!

• See more Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, with WOW! factors & durability-enhancing features, on display at regional MHShows! In addition, home manufacturers to ensure Business Development Managers, or BDMs, are listed in ‘Official Directory of HUD-Code Home Manufacturers’ when updated and distributed during October of each year, via the Allen Letter professional journal, to COBA7® affiliates & ‘MHInsiders’ nationwide.

• Have a pre-purchase counseling and training program in place, tailored to the MHIndustry ‘experience’, and encourage routine usage by independent (street) MHRetailers, ‘company stores’, and the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’ (i.e. LLLCommunities selling new & resale homes on-site)! Needed!

• Finally codify the lease-option alternative, for enhanced application in states where this method is permitted, making it easier for LLLCommunity owners/operators, large and small, to effect transactions on-site! In progress!

• See professional property management given more than ‘lip service’ among portfolio owners/operators of LLLCommunities nationwide! Ensure hiring of a minimum of one Certified Property Manager® as executive or regional property manager; and either Manufactured Housing Managers® or Accredited Community Managers® employed as on-site property managers.

These eight WISH LIST items came up, time and again, during conversations at the MHShow. They are not listed in any particular priority order, though the first four were most frequently cited by LLLCommunity owners/operators selling and self-financing new and resale homes on-site. Interestingly, few complained about the ‘lack of easy access to chattel capital’, almost as if they’ve learned to ‘make do’, on their own, and have moved beyond that business restriction.

Let’s hope HUD-Code home manufacturers are reading these WISH LIST items too, and take the initiative to implement the first four ASAP.

For more on these matters, read Part I (in January) & Part II (in February) of the MHIndustry retrospective & future, respectively, in the Allen Letter professional journal!

Finally, the 12 page, 26th annual ALLEN REPORT is now available for general purchase. The price is $544.95 for the report alone, OR, same price, @ $544.95 for one year affiliation with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®. In this latter case, the COBA7® affiliation also means you receive the Allen Letter professional journal for 12 months, and an updated Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, each month. February = ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’, February = 17th annual National Registry of Lenders – both real estate-secured mortgage originators, and chattel capital sources and servicers. Plus ten more SSRDs thru year end. To affiliate, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Immediate Responses to Blog Posting # 332

January 18th, 2015

Copyright 2015 George Allen, CPM® & MHM® First North American Rights Only

This Has Not Happened, in this Volume, Before!

Within hours of today’s (1/18/15) blog posting at community-investor.com, multiple pithy responses, telling observations, & insightful questions poured back in response to ‘Look into Manufactured Housing’s Uncertain Future’ & ‘Evolution of the Manufactured Housing Business Model, Past, Present & Future!

These email responses came from HUD-Code home manufacturers, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, state MHAssociation executives, and at least one freelance manufactured housing consultant. Obvious by their absence, was anything from national advocacy entities.

A sampling of what we’ve received so far, in no order of priority.

“Good commentary, you account for the ills of the industry! By mentioning tiny houses and energy efficiency momentum in the (same) sentence, it makes readers think how old HUD-Code (home) factories have not kept in touch with other forms of housing.”

“What do repurposed shipping containers and Tiny Houses have in common? Neither comes close to complying with building codes, and building inspectors are turning a blind eye to them. Why? Because both (forms of housing) are sexy and inspectors don’t want to be seen as anti-green.”

‘Excellent post today George! Unusually well written. Is there a soon-to-be-announced editor in the works for COBA7®?” (Answer: Yes; stay tuned to this weekly news source)

“I say ‘bring on the new (DOE energy efficiency) rules’. Let’s be the most energy efficient housing (type). BUT, only if we are willing to tell that story in a Big Way, and we tie it to the 40th anniversary of the HUD-Code.” – (coming in 2016)

‘When will we hear more about the Pre-Purchase Counseling (‘PPG’), and lease-option?” (Answer: As soon as I hear and see more material on the two timely, strategic topics!)

‘I hope to see something other than a 1970s ranch home in Louisville (this week). Our designs are boring. Affordable doesn’t have to be boring. If (manufacturing) plants say ‘Yes they do’, then lack of sales (i.e. home shipments) is their fault.”

“Good comments about the changing (or changed?) MH business model and ‘green’ interest in manufactured housing. The Community Series Home (trend) during the past 5+ years (i.e. since National State of the Asset Class caucus on 2/27/2009 in Elkhart, IN.) has had significant affects on the MHIndustry. We’ve always had two to three distinct (HUD-Code) housing segmentations, e.g. lower priced & functional, versus ‘big box – big bucks’. Now we clearly differentiate between the two. While profit margins in the former are lower, I think it represents the sustenance of the MHIndustry today, because the latter segment is much smaller – competing head to head with site-built housing, and financing is tough (i.e. those who qualify for a $75K MH can also qualify for a lower interest $100 K site-built home.” We now know CSH Model homes, with one or more WOW! factors and a plethora of durability-enhancing features (to ease make-ready, between homebuyers and renters), are the favored housing type for in-LLLCommunity installation on rental homesites.

“Comments from a leading MH manufacturer, recently, that ‘MHIndustry can survive with 80,000 homes shipped per year, (given) increasing stability of LLLCommunity owners/operators, (a.k.a. ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’), suggest to me, we may actually have a future! A national advertising program supported by an organization representing interests of those actually selling new manufactured homes – (Again, the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’), with more focus on ‘green’ and a return of ‘some form of chattel financing’ – that works when homebuyer and owner/operator have ‘skin in the game’, are what the MHIndustry needs most and now!”


Repurposed Steel Shipping Containers or Manufactured Housing?

January 17th, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 332 Copyright @ 18 January 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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

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

Beginning this Introduction differently from previous postings, as Parts I & II following, have to do with the gist of what’s quoted here from the January 2015 issue of RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE magazine. First the quote, then my introductory comment:

“As the McMansion era continues to fade into the abyss, the green building movement is picking up speed with each passing day. In fact, many of today’s buyers are trading square footage for spaces that are not only smaller, but eco-friendly to boot. There’s also much more attention being paid to unique building materials such as re-purposed steel shipping containers.” P. #6.

But wait! Why are these folk overlooking the greenest, efficiency supportive housing type manufactured in the U.S., to consider living in re-purposed steel shipping containers? Probably because 1) HUD-Code manufactured homes are no longer ‘affordable’, and will be less so in the days ahead, as our industry acquiesces to comply with expensive DOE energy standards; 2) we lack easy access to (chattel capital) financing needed to mate homebuyer/site lessees, to rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities; and, 3) we do nothing to ‘spread the word’ about the desirability of contemporary singlesection and multisection Community Series Homes, or CSH

Models. Now, ‘read on’ for the details…


Not a fan of crystal balls! But now. in manufactured housing history, I clearly see what ‘projects’ & more, must be done, if this industry & its’ real estate component, LLLCommunities, are to be revived as this nation’s main source of affordable housing!


‘Evolution of a Business Model’, continues the challenge described in Part I of this week’s blog posting; and let’s you know, as a blog flogger (reader) where to go for, as radio commentator Paul Harvey, used to say, ‘the rest of the story’, and how to get it!


A Look Into Manufactured Housing’s

Uncertain Future

There Are Projects Afoot & Planned That’ll Affect All of Us!

Sometimes searches for the hidden and obscure cause us to overlook the obvious, even what’s ‘hidden in plain sight’. Such was our experience recently, when pondering, ‘Why aren’t manufactured housing’s national advocacy bodies communicating contemporary paradigm shifts occurring throughout the industry and land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) realty asset class? ANSWER? Because, for the first time in the 70 year history of the manufactured housing, we have NO print trade publications reporting industry’s news beyond publication of self-serving Press Releases! If you think I jest or err, pick up the sole remaining tabloid and search for ‘new news’ & ‘new columnists’ therein. You’ll find neither. Take a look at the Allen Letter professional journal. What do you find there? ‘New news’ yes, but only pertaining to the LLLCommunity income-producing property type. And yes, there’s also the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, but that’s a high-priced business newsletter featuring strategic MH & LLLCommunity ‘stats & info’ for dozens of senior corporate executives and portfolio owner/operators who insist on ‘Knowing what’s going on’ well before their peers.

Hence the gist of this week’s blog posting. A taste of projects afoot and planned, that’ll affect all of us, during the weeks and months ahead:

• Did you know? There’re efforts afoot, right now, to create a web-based Pre-home Purchase Counseling Program for individuals and families contemplating buying a new or resale HUD-Code manufactured home sited within a land-lease-lifestyle community. Yep; sure is. And if you’d like to be in touch with the folk preparing said aid, to serve as a resource, or perhaps ‘user’ of the program, let them know via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Hint. Yes, these are Community Owner (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® affiliates hard at work in your behalf.

• Lease-Option. To date, much talked about, but little done, to fully articulate a practical $ program that’ll ‘pass regulatory muster’ across most state lines, and enable small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators to effectively consummate home transactions on-site in LLLCommunities. Again, if you’d like to be considered a resource person, or potential end user, of such an L-O program when ready, make your presence known via the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. Yes again; COBA7 affiliates at work on your behalf.

• LLLCommunity owners/operators = as you likely already know, the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’. In fact, that moniker will go into the new edition of the MHIndustry’s Official Lexicon when updated in June, and distributed with the Allen Letter professional journal. Anyway, the project here, is to quantify the number of new HUD-Code manufactured homes being shipped directly into LLLCommunities nationwide! We already know certain large property portfolios buy new homes in bulk, need to know what percentage of 2014 & 2015 shipment volume is being affected in this manner. Why? Think about it….

• Frost Free Foundation or FFF. As you likely realize, this is the third blog posting covering this subject. See blog postings # 326 & 331. The project here is to encourage every HUD-Code home manufacturer to include complete description and protocols of FFF in their firm’s Installation Manuals shipped with new homes. To not do so, subjects LLLCommunity owners, siting new homes, to $5,000.00+/- in reconstruction of rental homesite costs – even if existing decades old foundations haven’t failed, but do NOT meet the federal manufactured housing installation standards codified in 2007, but not fully enforced until year 2015 and beyond. When will national advocacy bodies get on board with this timely and cost savings project, where our housing product & LLLCommunities are concerned?

• The Big Picture in Two Parts, maybe Three. Huh? That’s right; someone has taken the time, and made the effort, to – once again – describe the sorry and sordid events, of the past few decades, that brought the manufactured housing industry, and by extension LLLCommunities, to its’ knees, shipment wise, for the past six years (@ average of 53,000+/- new homes/year). Part I was the feature story in the January 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. Part II, a detailed description of manufactured housing’s flawed operating model and ‘Ten Recommended Model Changes’, will be the feature in the February 2015 issue. Hopefully you’re reading the newsletter. If not; well, you’re missing the effort to turn our industry and asset class around, to reclaim national market share of factory-built housing! To participate, phone the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE and affiliate with COBA7 at any one of three $ option levels.

There’s more, much more going on, but these five projects suffice for now. That’s why you need to read this weekly blog posting – to get ‘new news’ available nowhere else!



‘manufactured housing’


There was a time when state MHAssociations together, were as politically powerful as the (then) one manufacturer-funded national advocacy body; when there was only one such trade entity (pre-1986) ‘inside the capitol beltway’; mobile home park owners did not buy new homes – ever, to fill vacant rental homesites; and everyone, for awhile, seemed to be in collusion to turn our homebuyer/site lessee customers ‘upside down’ in their new home transactions.

Yes, all this occurred until the turn of the 21st Century. The HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’s Business Model, prior to year 2000, was a lively and profitable interaction among 1) home manufacturers, 2) independent (street) MHRetailers & ‘company stores’, 3) (then) manufactured home community owners/operators, and 4) independent third party chattel finance companies. Then the $ bottom fell out, as easily accessible chattel capital went away, nary to return.

Today? 1) home manufacturers now ship new homes at 20% of their estimated optimum capacity of 250,000 homes per hear, and 2) two thirds of independent (street) MHRetailers are gone from the marketing scene, and 3) easily accessible chattel capital, after 15 years has not returned to manufactured housing. BUT, some of the shipment slack has been picked up by 3) land-lease-lifestyle community (portfolio) owners/operators, a.k.a. ‘The New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’ – buying and selling new homes on-site and often self-financing the transactions. And what ‘cherry picking’ of $ deals there is to be had, is garnered by the now ‘3 Lenders + 1’ who remain active in the MHBusiness: 21st Mortgage Corporation, Triad Financial Services, Inc., & CU Factory Built Lending, + Vanderbilt Mortgage& Finance, Inc.…the first and fourth firms being Berkshire Hathaway companies.

Tomorrow? Depends on whether the ‘selling & self-financing of new homes on-site in LLLCommunities’ trend continues to grow in $ volume, and breadth (i.e. spread among smaller owners/operators not presently engaged), OR we realize a new and practical means of filling vacant rental homesites with new homes (e.g. modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, ‘tiny houses’, etc.) – complete with financing. If NOT, manufactured housing will continue to languish at 60,000 new home shipments per year – until home manufacturers treat their LLLCommunity partners with respect, relative to home design, emphasis on Community Series Homes (characterized by WOW! factors & durability-enhancing features), and market their product like they want it to SELL, i.e. emphasis on ‘affordable pricing’ rather than default, every time they have an opportunity, to the fallible ‘Big Box = Big Bucks!’ mindset.

Specifically, here’s what some folk believe is needed to move this future scenario today?

• Manufacturers. Cultivate working ‘home sales & service’ relationships with not only LLLCommunity owners/operators with large property portfolio, but small Mom & Pop-sized properties too. Ask what they want on their Community Series Home, in the way of durability-enhancing features, and deliver at a truly affordable price and (now) reasonable freight charge. One example. Do you realize how much it’s appreciated when hot water heaters are mounted three inches off the floor, so drain hoses can be attached and effective maintenance effected? (Yes, we’re asking for that courtesy!) And, IF you want your firm, and your Business Development Managers included in the Community Series Home directory being updated, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. By the way, COBA7® is negotiating with a national buyers’ group to secure bulk purchase discounts on building materials and aftermarket goods. If you want your firm to be part of this initiative, affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® when you phone!

• Land-lease-lifestyle Communities. Face it, if we’re to have a viable FUTURE, as property owners/operators, we must separate ourselves from trade bodies tightly controlled by a few housing manufacturers and as few mega-portfolio players. As a realty asset class, our collective influence there numbers fewer than 100 firms nationwide, among 50,000+/- LLLCommunities and 500+/- property portfolios. A mere ‘drop in the bucket’. As one mid-sized property portfolio owner/operator recently put it:

‘When I buy a new MH, or a dozen MHs, the ‘per floor fee’ passed onto me – and ultimately the homebuyer/site lessee customer, should go to the national advocacy body or bodies directly promoting and protecting my political, regulatory, and business interests, not just those of the manufacturer(s) who sold me the home(s).” (Lightly edited re ‘homebuyer/site lessee’. GFA)

This is a message increasingly communicated, out of frustration over perceived marginalization during the past several years. It’s not too late to turn that situation around, but will it be soon and effective enough to make a difference? It’s going to take enlightened and bold leadership, the sooner the better.

• What else? Yes, there’s more, much more, but you’ll have to read about it in Part II, of the two part series, published in the (February) Allen Letter professional journal. To do so, phone the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINIE, and affiliate with COBA7®. Goal is to have 400+/- COBA7® MHInsiders by the end of year 2015.

Speaking of COBA7®. If you plan to be at the MHShow in Louisville, KY., this week, 21-23 January 2016, make it a point to look me up – and share your views on what’s good and not so good about manufactured housing and LLLCommunities these days. How to find me? Stop by the IMHA (Illinois) booth and ask for me by name. And if you have business interests in Illinois, take time to become a member of this rejuvenated state MHAssociation!

And know what? If you’ve read the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, ‘Chapter 1 of COBA7® History’, you know ‘Luavul’ is where I was challenged, two years ago, to “Do what you’ve gotta do!”; and this time last year, we did so – birthing the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®! So, especially if you’re among the 200+ ‘MHInsiders’ affiliating during the past 12 months, stop by and introduce yourself! And if you haven’t done so, but want to affiliate, ask me for a COBA7® brochure! Plus, I’ll have special gifts for you, & MHInsiders, until my supply runs dry! See YOU in Luavul! GFA


George Allen, CPM, MHM
Box 3 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

‘FFF’ & your new MH in a LLLCommunity!

January 9th, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 331 Copyright @ 11 January 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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

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


There’s a Perfect Storm a-brewing for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators coast to coast, and most don’t see it coming, let alone know & understand it. Scroll back in the blog archives at this website to # 326, Part I: ‘FFF’= the ‘Silver Bullet’ of manufactured housing, before reading Part I in this blog posting # 331. So important!


In texting lingo, ‘OMG!’ If COBA7® affiliates, a.k.a. ‘MHInsiders’, thought 2014 was exciting, they haven’t seen (hardly) anything yet! 200 new affiliates during past 12 months; plus 200 expected going forward. And now, not only ‘seven functions’, but official ombudsman (press), historian, & soon, ‘think tank’ to the MHIndustry!


Save $5,000.00+/- per Rental Homesite!

Your Decision!



If you own/operate one or more land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) and buy new HUD-Code manufactured homes, in general; and or Community Series Homes, a.k.a. CSH Models *1 in particular, purchase them ONLY from manufacturers who feature Frost Free Foundation® or ‘FFF’ protocols in Installation Manuals shipped with each HUD-Code home sent your way! AND, ensure the rental homesite foundation(s) upon which the home(s) will be installed, is(are) in full compliance with Frost Free Foundation® engineering guidelines prepared and sealed specifically for your property or properties! *2

Otherwise, install the new homes in accords with whatever other Installation Manual instructions apply to your LLLCommunity(ies) – including Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, Final Rule 24 CFR 3285, U.S. Department of HUD, October 2007

Now, here’s WHY we use the word ONLY in the opening paragraph, and HOW using the Frost Free Foundation® potentially saves you $5,000.00+/- per rental homesite?

The aforementioned federal installation guidelines, for the most part, appear to exceed what’s presently in place within most of the 50,000+/- LLLCommunities in the U.S. So, if present concrete ribbons, piers, floating slabs, or otherwise, do NOT meet said federal standards, it’s estimated the average new (replacement) foundation cost, to be in compliance, is in the neighborhood of $5,000.00+/-. per rental homesite!

OR again, one can have a licensed engineer prepare and seal Frost Free Foundation® specifications tailored to your specific property/properties, then effect needed improvement(s), if any are needed, for likely less cost, to be in compliance.

That’s why you want to buy new HUD-Code manufactured homes from manufacturers conversant about FFF, who include said protocols, in their official Installation Manuals, right among other factory-approved means of installing manufactured homes. If FFF isn’t there, expect local and state regulators and inspectors to challenge your use of the FFF cost-saving system.

At present, most HUD-Code home manufacturers presently, are NOT featuring FFF in their Installation Manuals. Look for yourself. Why the omission? Ask them. But know they can contact the Systems Building Research Alliance, or SBRA, to arrange for authorized permission to use FFF protocols in said Installation Manuals. Phone (212) 496-0900.

Bottom line, for now. In my opinion, the key question here is, ‘Why would you, as a land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owner/operator, patronize a HUD-Code home manufacturer who does not provide every legitimate option to you, in their official Installation Manual – including FFF, for the installation of their housing product?’

End Notes.

1. Community Series Homes, or CSH Models. Manufactured homes designed especially for in-LLLCommunity placement; usually singlesection homes or modest-sized multisection homes with one or more WOW! factors and a host of durability-enhancing features. If you’d like a FREE copy of CSH Model design features, and list of HUD-Code home manufacturers marketing via Business Development Managers, or BDMs, simply ask for it by phoning the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. For that matter if you’d also like the Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD titled: ‘Major Factory-built Housing Manufacturers, to include HUD-Code Homes, Modulars, & ‘RV Park Models’, & Major MHRetail Outlets’, affiliate with COBA7® for $544.95 and receive not only that SSRD, but the Allen Letter professional journal and 11 other SSRDs just as informative!

2. Frost Free Foundation® or FFF principles:

• There are three factors necessary for frost heave: frost susceptible soil, freezing temperatures, and soil moisture content above 80 percent saturation. Eliminating any single factor prevents frost heave!

• Due to the unique design of manufactured home foundations, the easiest frost heave factor to control is moisture content.

• The design is consistent with generally accepted engineering practices and embodies the approach commonly taken by civil engineers in preventing frost heave in other types of construction, such as roadways.

This material quoted from the conclusion to ‘A Frost Free Foundation® (FFF): an Alternative Shallow Frost Protected Foundation Design for Manufactured Homes’, by Paul W. Hayman, MS, PE, Hayman Engineering, Inc. For more information contact the Systems Building Research Alliance via (212) 496-0900.


COBA7® in Year 2015

What does ‘FFF’ (Reread Part I), group purchasing $$$ savings, MHIndustry history, debut of a ‘think tank’, as well as PM training & certification all have in common? COBA7®!

That’s right. As we kick off a new year (2015) all these exciting matters, and more, fill the activity bucket of your Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance! Here’s how…

You just read again, about the Frost Free Foundation®, or FFF. Tell me; has anyone else, anywhere in the manufactured housing industry told you anything whatsoever about this legislation cum enforcement, after 10 years, of Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, in 2015? And how your likely best home installation strategy is to buy new homes from a manufacturer(s) who’ve paid for permission to write FFF written into his Installation Manuals? Didn’t think so.

Group purchasing…This continues to be a ‘work in progress’ as we negotiate an ongoing, working relationship, with a national buyers’ group.

MHIndustry history. I’ve long ‘played historian’ for the LLLCommunity segment of the MHIndustry, but now it’s pretty much official. Why? Because NO ONE else seems interested in stepping into recently retired Al Hesselbart’s shoes, certainly not where the LLLCommunity asset class is concerned. Here’re three evidences, to date, of our firm’s documentation of our MH business legacy to date: 1) Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! A worthwhile ‘read’ describing the birth and growth of MHI’s National Communities Council division (PMN Publishing contracted with Bruce to author this text). 2) The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, now available for purchase, contains ‘Chapter # 1’ describing the founding of COBA7®. And, 3) in March, you’ll read of 40+/- MHIndustry trade terms (lingo) in everyday parlance, and ‘who’ crafted them over the years! Be prepared for some surprises. And there’s more ‘history’ yet to come….

Thought we had a ‘think tank’ a few years ago, but it’s pretty much faded into minimal existence. Several blog ‘floggers’ (readers) have asked COBA7® to pick up that mantle and advance forward with it. Seems these LLLCommunity owners/operators were inspired by first the Official White Paper, then two National Public Forums on 9/11/2014 at the 23rd Networking Roundtable in Peachtree City, GA. Their general comment? ‘If MHARR & MHI are reluctant to tackle major national issues, and chart the future of our ‘double dual industry’, fine; let’s organize, meet, and do it ourselves!’ SO, expect to read more about this ‘think tank’ opportunity for you, for all of us, in the not too distant future. And let me know specifically, if YOU are interested in participating, leading, supporting this novel effort.

PM training & certification. This certainly isn’t something new, but it’s the first one day Manufactured Housing Manager® class conducted during 2015. Expecting we’ll have 20 – 25 in the class on 20 January in Louisville, KY. What a great ‘twofer’ opportunity! Attend the MHM® class and become certified; then spend the night and attend the MHShow at the Fairgrounds, the next day or two! For more info on any of this, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

If you’re reading this and haven’t yet affiliated with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, consider doing so soon. The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT is ‘in the mail’ as you read this blog posting. More than 200 copies were mailed, mostly to COBA7® affiliates, a.k.a. ‘MHInsders’ and many to LLLCommunity owners/operators who completely filled-in their questionnaires early in the Fall. And in February we’ll be distributing the Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asst Class (outline) Signature Series Resource Document, as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal. So, don’t be left out; affiliate today! How? Use aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE!


Manufactured Housing to the Rescue & a Personal Message

December 31st, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 330 Copyright @ 4 January 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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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 63304764

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


Rare have been opportunities, to directly address needs for increased ‘home ownership’ & ‘affordable rental housing’ by a HUD secretary. Well, such an opportunity is now; and hopefully, HUD Secretary Julian Castro will read this blog posting, Believe & Respond!


I’m not good at baring my soul in public, certainly not on the internet. But I was inspired recently, to finally understand the import of ‘WHY I do what I do’, for friends& peers owning/operating LLLCommunities in the U.S. & CN. Hope You Sense the Passion!


Manufactured Housing to the Rescue!

HUD Secretary Julian Castro’s dilemma: How to 1)‘spur homeownership while promoting more 2) affordable rental housing’? The answer is simple: HUD to promote 1) new HUD-Code manufactured housing, sited as ‘rental homes’ &/or ‘contract sale’ units, on 2) rental homesites within 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) located throughout the U.S. today! Hey, HUD already regulates us!

First, a little background. In a recent feature article, titled FINDING EQUILIBRIUM, in the December 2014 issue of Multifamily Executive magazine, writer Lindsay Machak, describes HUD secretary Julian Castro’s dilemma in this manner:

“…the nation’s homeownership rate continues to decline – from a high of 69.2 percent in 2004 to today’s 64.4 percent. How can he spur homeownership at a time of tight mortgage restrictions while also promoting a more affordable rental market, as he recently discovered, is anything but affordable?” p.27

In the same piece, Stan Humphries, chief economist at Seattle-based Zillow, put this spin on the same matter:

“The fact we’ve ignored affordable rental housing for so long is coming to repercussion now for homeownership. Today’s renters are tomorrow’s buyers. The fact that rents are unaffordable makes it very hard for them to save up and get a down payment.” P.27

Neither writer likely has knowledge of key, timely, multiple, overlapping roles 1) HUD-Code manufactured housing; 2) land-lease-lifestyle communities in general; and 3) rental homes as well as ‘contract sale units’; and 4) rental homesites in particular, already and routinely play in ‘homeownership’ & ‘affordable rental housing’ scenarios! Do you? If you’re a LLLCommunity owner/operator, you almost certainly do, especially if you’re one of 500+/- property portfolio owners/operators, of whom 111 participated in a survey this Fall, to prepare the seminal 26th annual ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’).

Here’s what we learned about ‘rental homes’ & ‘contract sale homes’ from statistics published in this latest ALLEN REPORT, distributed during January 2015, as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal.*1

“Slightly more than 40 (that’s 36 percent of the 111 reporting firms) LLLCommunity owners/operators report a total of 35,605 rental (manufactured) homes occupied on-site in their properties. Two mega-portfolio owners/operators alone report more than 10,000 rental units apiece! And when their combined 20,635 rentals are removed from the mix, it leaves an average of 374 rental units per property portfolio among the remaining firms. Then there’s this: virtually the same number of portfolio ‘players’ also report an average of 370 ‘contract sale’ (manufactured housing) units in place among the same properties! Bottom line? Manufactured housing rentals and contract sale units, at least this time around, are equally represented among 40+/- reporting property portfolios comprised of land-lease-lifestyle communities siting manufactured homes!” Quoted from email correspondence between GFA &o Carl Pearse, a Florida-based professional property manager, dated 19 December 2014.

Given HUD’s regulatory oversight of the manufactured housing industry since 1976, secretary Julian Castro probably already knows – or should have at least been informed by his MH administrator, Pam Danner, esquire, (She was emailed a copy of the previous paragraph in mid-December), that

1. On a cost per square foot basis, according to statistics published online by the Manufactured Housing Institute, the cost of HUD-Code manufactured housing, on the average, is at least 40 percent less than site-built housing, not including the value of underlying, improved realty.

2. Where rental homesite rent rates are concerned, many, if not most, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators attempt to keep monthly homesite rents at 1/3rd the amount charged by the largest 3BR2B conventional apartment or townhouse communities in the same local housing market, after adjusting for how utility charges are handled.

3. Reappearance, since around year 2005, of ‘rental homes’ and ‘contract sale’ units on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities. This was a common phenomenon too, during late 1970s & early 1980s, as a means of ‘keeping the site rent meter running’, due to limited access to chattel capital to finance home sales on-site. Such home rental and contract sale arrangements, for the most part, are helpful and affordable states of affair for would be homeowners/site lessees who can’t afford housing elsewhere.

How so? Not only does the new housing product cost considerably less than site-built housing, but LLLCommunity owners/operators often sell new homes at close to the wholesale (plus freight & setup charges) prices they paid the factory, minimizing their profit margin(s). And if rental homesite rents, on occasion, appear to be exorbitant – and they can be, there’re usually other such properties in the same local housing market, charging less. Today, at least four major HUD-Code home manufacturers, including the Big 3-C home manufacturers, controlling 70+/- percent of national market share of factory-built housing, directly or indirectly, offer new home finance packages via LLLCommunity owners/operators. There’s only one thing missing; read on….

A summary of this business model goes as follows: Need affordable rental housing? Go to nearest LLLCommunity, where rental units are in place, and rent a manufactured home. Then, as one’s financial picture improves, convert home ‘renter’ to ‘homeowner/site lessee’, often remaining in the same home! This is happening day in, day out, in this unique, income-producing property type, throughout the U.S. However…

A key piece is missing from this timely and affordable housing business model: ‘Understanding, Backing, & Promotion’, by HUD Secretary Julian Castro – of the very shelter manufacturing program his department has been regulating for 39 years! And not only that, know there’re rumblings in the manufactured housing industry today, for some sort of widespread branding and advertising program, offering the affordable HUD-Code product and LLLCommunity lifestyle, to would be homebuyers/site lessees nationwide!

Secretary Julian Castro, are you listening? We have this multifaceted answer to your ‘homeownership’ & ‘affordable rental housing’ dilemma already in place. Now is the ‘Time to Talk to All of Us about It!’ *2

End Notes.

1. 26th annual ALLEN REPORT is available for purchase @ $544.95. Or, for the same $ amount, affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, and receive said report, along with a year long subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal, & a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents, a.k.a. SSRDs: mix of directories, official state of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, industry terminology glossary/lexicon, and popular Industry Briefing Sheet…To order, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

2. Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, a.k.a. MHARR @ (202) 783-4087 – Mark Weiss, esquire.

Manufactured Housing Institute, a.k.a. MHI @ (703) 558-0678 – Dick Jennison.

Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7® @ Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 (not a lobbying entity, but an alliance of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators in the U.S. & CN.) – George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master



A Personal Message from George Allen, to his Friends in the Manufactured Housing Industry

I now understand WHY I’ve been driven, for the past 35 years, to serve your information, resource, communication, networking, and training needs; as fellow LLLCommunity owner, property manager, consultant, author, newsletter writer, book publisher, meeting planner, and professional property management trainer/certifier. I’ve known from ‘day one’, in early 1980, I wanted you to have what was not available to me, as a first time property manager of (then) ‘mobile home parks’.

This realization was confirmed recently, on a couple pages in a book titled LeaderXShift, by Dr. Gary L. Johnson, Moeller Printing, 2013.

My epiphany was inspired by this statement: “Leaders must know their mission, protect their mission, and be willing to pay the price of fulfilling their mission – it’s all about ‘the why’.” My WHY, and Yes, it is!

Johnson goes on to paraphrase from a book written by Simon Sinek, Start With Why (2009), with this summary:

“…most companies and organizations approach business from the outside by first knowing WHAT they do, then knowing HOW they do business, and with only a few of the people knowing WHY they exist. The majority of their constituents (i.e. management, labor, shareholders, members, etc.) know WHAT products or services they provide, and some of the constituents even know HOW they are provided, but very few individual s know WHY they do what they do.” Pp.48 & 49

Sinek continues, “…effective companies and organizations (however), work from the inside out. The majority of their constituents not only know WHAT they do and HOW they do it, but importantly , they know WHY they exist. They know WHY they exist because these businesses and organizations start with why. They thoroughly and repeatedly communicate their why.” P.49

And I’ve tried to do ‘just that’ over the years, now decades. Sure, I could have likely ‘made more money’ concentrating on the real estate investment and fee management sides of our original business model at (the early) GFA Management, Inc., but I didn’t. When offered opportunities, in the mid-1980s, to write columns for The Journal and now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazines (also Community Management and Modern Home magazines too), I did so, in a sincere effort to share Lessons Learned as a young property manager, eventually as a (then) manufactured home community owner. At all times, ‘My WHY was My GOAL’: to assist peers in the manufactured housing industry, and owners/operators throughout the land-lease-lifestyle community asset class – beginning with the inaugural ALLEN REPORT back in 1988.

It’s now year 2015, and my ardor has not waned. If anything, My WHY has become stronger, now there’s a transition vehicle in place to ensure continued serving of my/our business constituency for years, yes decades, yet to come!

That vehicle? The Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. It’s more than a year old now, with 200+ paid affiliates, a.k.a. MHInsiders on board. That number is expected to swell to 400 by year end 2015. Why? Because of ‘My WHY’ has become ‘COBA7®s WHY’ since early 2014, continuing to aptly claim…

U support US & WE serve U!

Already, most LLLCommunity owners/operators throughout the U.S. & Canada know there’s only one entity routinely fulfilling these seven key functions in their behalf:

• Ongoing statistical research, e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT. 26th edition, due out January 2015, is by far, the ‘biggest & best’ ever penned and published!

• Updating and distribution of a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents, one per month all year long; plus, addition of several new SSRD-PLUS resources.

• Weekly and monthly online and print communication keyed to manufactured housing & LLLCommunity professionals via blog posting and two newsletters.

• Superb networking opportunities, via annual international networking roundtable and FOCUS Groups as needed or requested by COBA7® MHInsiders.

• Deal-making opportunities via unique relationships and special meeting venues

• Professional property management training and certification via the Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program, via one day seminars & correspondence

• National advocacy ‘as need be’; to date: Official ombudsman (press) & historian for the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class.

Yes, those seven functions comprise ‘My WHY’, now ‘COBA7®s WHY’ for serving YOU going forward into year 2015 and beyond, adding to the 35 years already past! So, if not already affiliated with COBA7®, do so today, by phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.