a Threefer: 3 & 12 Aug; 9-11 Sep; & More!

July 25th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 358 via community-investor.com Copyright 26 July 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 or633-4764

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

INTRODUCTION. WOW! How can so many exciting things be happening in 30+ days throughout the U.S.? Tomorrow, 3 August, finds Elkhart, IN., at the ‘center of the RV/MH Universe’, with a minimum of eight activities at the RV/MH Hall of Fame; from a golf tournament, to a Writers’ Conference, to the Hall of Fame Induction Banquet! Then comes the 24th annual Networking Roundtable a month later, 9-11 September. Read of the exciting additions just made to the already chock full of information and networking program! FINALLY, as an industry, we’re getting accurate MHIndustry statistics out of Washington, DC. Maybe we’ll see industry unity someday after all – but don’t hold your breath! Hey; submitted your thoughts on a name for the next (2015-2025) ‘Decade of Manufactured Housing’ yet? Still time to do so! And finally; Where Will You Be on 12 & 13 August 2015? Hopefully with me in Denver, Colorado. Read all about it in Part IV. Who says we’re part of a boring and dying industry and asset class? Not me!

I.

Exciting Updates, 24th Networking Roundtable!

‘All Things Chattel Finance!’ in land-lease-lifestyle communities’

Yes; upon popular request, we’ve tweaked this year’s agenda to ensure everyone gets to hear and learn the latest information relative to employment of chattel capital to finance, lease option and consummate new and resale home transactions on-site in LLLCommunities, large and small, nationwide. Frankly, there will be nowhere else for you to go, the rest of this year, to receive a better $$$ briefing than you’ll receive at the 24th annual International Networking Roundtable! (More $$$ info in final paragraph here following)

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The hinted-at, but now promised treatise, titled ‘Affordable (Manufactured) Housing’, and subtitled: ‘From Factory to Family; a Bold Look into the Future of Housing & Community!’ will be distributed to every registrant present at this year’s (expected record-breaking) roundtable event.

The document picks up where last year’s WHITE PAPER left off, assuming readers – and hopefully ‘users’ know what is needed to move beyond the widely-recognized paradigm shift of the past decade, toward a WAKE UP CALL, marshalling all the intrinsic benefits of HUD-Code manufactured housing and the community lifestyle!

Haven’t registered yet? Use the brochure attached to this week’s blog posting, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

FLASH NEWS! The ‘GSE Hour’ Friday morning, following the ever-popular Lenders Panel, will not only feature senior executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – where real estate-secured mortgages are concerned; but the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) as well – with its’ focus on chattel capital and other $$$ matters! How can you not want to be present for this almost ‘once in a career’ opportunity to hear and learn from these folk?

This is what you’ve requested, and COBA7® is delivering on 9-11 September 2015!

II.

Manufactured Housing Statistics Update

‘Ah, these times are exciting, as we finally get a handle on our salient #s!’

1. Monthly ‘manufactured housing shipment totals’, among three of four national reporting entities agree! Henceforth, refer only to the monthly ‘manufactured housing shipment totals’ published by the IBTS, MHARR, & COBA7®, and you won’t go wrong.

2. Statistics germane to independent (street) MHRetailers (and likely, ‘company stores’) are literally ‘in the mail’ to COBA7® offices from IBTS; and will be reported to you once received, examined and put into MHIndustry perspective.

3. Unfortunately, the ‘Percentage of new manufactured homes going directly into LLLCommunities’ figure, for the end of year 2014, has been delayed from July to early September. As soon as COBA7® is provided that important trend tracking data, it will be passed onto you via this blog, the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter, and the Allen Letter professional journal.

4. It’s almost that time of year again! You know – if you own/operate five or more land-lease-lifestyle communities in the U.S. & Canada. The ALLEN REPORT questionnaire, pursuant to preparation of the 27th annual edition of this seminal document, will be mailed to 500+/- property portfolio owners/operators during the month of August. If you don’t think you’re on the exclusive and confidential ‘500+/-list’, and want to be, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. However, an important Word of Caution: Be aware of misleading imitations of this 26 year ranking of LLLCommunity owners/operators! One in particular does not include ‘RV rental sites’ in its’ property portfolio counts, while the ALLEN REPORT has always done so.

III.

Thanks For Your Responses!

‘Here’re Suggestions for Naming ‘Next Decade of Manufactured Housing’!’

As they say, ‘the ink was barely dry’ on last week’s posting, when responses started arriving to last week’s blog request of ‘blog floggers’ (readers) to name the next Decade of Manufactured Housing’! Without any further ado, here’re the suggestions to date:

• ‘Dawn of Factory-built Housing Efficiency!’ Steve Lefler of Modular Lifestyles

• ‘Decade of Resident Service!’ Michael Power of MHCommunity Investor

• ‘Decade of Affordable HUD-Code Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities!

• (Your suggestion? Still time to submit your ideas)

Hopefully these suggestions stimulate creative thinking on your part, and you’ll fire off your contribution during the days ahead. Remember, we hope to announce the ‘best selection’ at the 24th International Networking Roundtable, 9-11 September, in San Diego, CA. – as we ‘Celebrate National LLLCommunity Week’ together.

Again; to register, use the brochure attached to this blog posting, or once again, phone COBA7® via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

IV.

12 August 2015 in Denver, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Housing Association (‘RMHA’) has invited George Allen, CPM & MHM, to meet with owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), to together experience four of the following six timely and strategic topics, all germane to the realty asset class:

• State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class! (+) ‘Watch Out, Here Comes the Fourth LLLCommunity Consolidation Wave Since 1978!’

• Use the ‘5-Right Ps to Market & Sell New & Resale Manufactured Homes Within LLLCommunities’ (i.e. Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People)

• ‘(Insurance) Risk Management Guidelines Tailored to the LLLCommunity’

• ’10 Statistical Symptoms of Troubled LLLCommunities & How to Address Them!’

• ‘Using Area Median Income (‘AMI’) to estimate Housing Price Points when entering a new Local Housing Market; &, Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’) When selling new or resale manufactured homes to prospective homebuyers on-site.’

• Basic & Advanced Formulae & Rules of thumb Characteristic of LLLCommunity Operations, e.g. physical & economic occupancy, turnover, operating expense ratios, ‘cap rates’ pursuant to income valuation computation, Old & New Rules of 72, calculating local housing market rental homesite rent rates, the ‘Two Faces of ROI’, and more….

To learn more about this knowledge-packed day, on 12 August, and RMHA meeting the following day, 13 August, contact Tawny Peyton via (303) 832-2022. Product & service vendors especially should want to be on board to interact with LLLCommunity owner/operators!

And other state MHAssociation execs reading this; to learn more about having these or other pithy topics available to your members, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Also know the Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management training and certification program is offered monthly throughout the U.S. If you’d like to host this one day MHM® program at your firm, or for your state association members, also know there’s a $50.00 rebate per paid registrant when there’re more than ten participants in the class. To date nearly 1,000 MHM® own/operate LLLCommunities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Are you MHM® trained and certified yet?

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Name the Next MHIndustry Decade!

July 18th, 2015

COBA7 presents Blog # 357 via community-investor.com Copyright 19 July 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

INTRODUCTION to Blog Posting # 357. Never before have you, as MHIndustry businessmen & women been offered an opportunity to ‘name’ our next decade! Here it is! AND, do you have any idea ‘What’s really going on in & around you’, politically, in the MHIndustry? Well, there’s an OPEN LETTER, even a formal treatise, being prepared for your reading education & enjoyment. And finally; There are at least eight (just learned of a ninth – but too late to detail here) activities going on in & near the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., throughout the day and evening of 3 August 2015. Already more than 500 RV & MH industry notables, pioneers, & dignitaries are registered! Are YOU?

I.

Help Name Next Decade of Manufactured Housing!

‘Here’s a rare & unique opportunity for YOU to affect MHIndustry Marketing for the Next Ten Years, & Label MHIndustry History!’

To begin with, those of us who’ve been active in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class for decades, know we label our decades differently. How so? We measure and label ten year segments of history beginning and ending mid-decade, e.g. 1995 – 2005; 2005 – 2015; & now, 2015 – 2025, the decade we’ll to label, with your assistance, during the weeks ahead!

That first decade, occurring between 1995 & 2005 was labeled The Decade of Manufactured Housing and the Manufactured Home Community. Was it apropos? You bet! By the end of year 1998, HUD-Code manufactured housing industry ‘new home shipments’ crested at 372,843 units, heralding the too short-lived renascence of the time. It was during that period of time, Land & Home Packages (Think ‘Big Boxes = Big Bucks!’) ‘became the rage’, as independent (street) MHRetailers oft became contractors, competing head to head with site-builders for new home sales. On the (then) MHCommunity side of the MHIndustry, when national average physical occupancy hit 95 percent (highest in the 50 years history of the asset class) during the mid-1990s, dozens, if not hundreds of new communities were developed and existing properties expanded. And don’t forget, it was in 1994 & 1995, we saw several property portfolio firms launch IPOs and become real estate investment trusts. But then, by 2005, the chattel capital lending bubble had burst, and the industry/asset class has not fully recovered to this day (2015).

The second such-labeled decade occurred between 2005 and 2015. It’s moniker? The Decade of Factory-built Housing and the Land-lease-lifestyle Community. Certainly not the ‘Rah Rah’ times of the previous decade, but one with its’ distinctions nonetheless. On the MHIndustry side of the house, so to speak – and no pun intended, there was short-lived renewed interest in fabricating modular homes (like manufactured homes, one more type of factory-built housing – oft referred to as being ‘hudulars’), and in year 2009, the Community Series Homes, or CSH Model homes, concept was birthed. These being singlesection and modest-sized multisection homes, with one or more WOW factors, and a plethora of durability-enhancing features to speed ‘make ready’ between owners and renters of these new homes sited on-site in LLLCommunities. And this income-producing property type? For a relatively short time, until 2007, ‘park closures’ caught everyone’s attention. But the conventional housing finance bubble bursting that year brought a near end to much speculative (re)development. Today, among owners/operators, a major interest is in the ongoing consolidation of sole proprietor-owned properties into one or another of the 500+/- known LLLCommunity portfolios in North America.

Now, during the closing days of year 2015, we’re in need of a new moniker, one to highlight where we are today, and anticipate what’s might occur during the next 10 years, between 2015 and 2025. So, what do you think might be the best way to describe/predict the present and near future of HUD-Code manufactured housing and the LLLCommunity realty asset class? We really would like to know, and will value your input…

Here’s how to make your voice and suggestions known. Via GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247; fax to (317) 346-7158; phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764; &, gfa7156@aol.com

Furthermore, MHIndustry veterans recall, when both previous labeled decades began, GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing circulated 1 ½ inch diameter, solid Sterling Silver, Executive Decision Maker coins, during that year’s (1995 & 2005) International Networking Roundtable. The reverse side of each coin featured the years spread and moniker of that particular decade. Many continue to carry that rare and valuable coin on our person, others have it on display in their office. Retail value used to be $50.00 apiece! Today? All but priceless, given the escalating cost of Sterling Silver. However, ‘all is not lost’. While we may, or may not, have a ‘2015-2025 Decade’ moniker selected by 9-11 September, when the 24th Networking Roundtable begins; COBA7® has ‘something akin in the works’ for distribution to everyone in attendance that first day! Care to guess what it is? Just one more, of many reasons to be present this year! Use brochure attached to this blog posting to register today!

II.

Here’s What We’re Working on Now, for YOU

An Open Letter to LLLCommunity Owners/operators Nationwide

If you think business is difficult now, operating under far less than favorable auspices of the S.A.F.E. Act, financial regulations resulting from Dodd-Frank Legislation,

&

Now, imminent enforcement of year 2007 Federal Installation Standards, even implementation of Dispute Resolution nationwide – if HUD can find any complaints.

Look What Else is Coming Your Way!

Possible marginalization of ‘Duty to Serve’ Legislation and more….

Oh Yes, and about another matter: ‘Why does MHI continue to ‘go it alone’, when reporting monthly ‘new home shipment totals’ at odds with everyone else, i.e. IBTS, MHARR, & COBA7®?’ The reason might surprise you; then, it might not…

FLASH NEWS: In response to requests from the manufactured housing industry at large, COBA7® will soon begin reporting statistics germane to independent (street) MHRetailers!

By now most of you realize, to stay atop ‘What’s really going on inside the Washington, DC., beltway, affecting those (of us) outside the beltway and beyond’, you’ve gotta be reading this blog posting weekly, and the Allen Letter professional journal monthly! To subscribe, affiliate with COBA7® @ $134.95/year for 12 issues. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

III.

3 August 2015 in Elkhart, IN.

A Bunch of Good Reasons to be at or near the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Library, & Museum Facility, Elkhart, Indiana, all day & evening, 3 August 2015.

• Golf Tournament at Bent Oak Golf Club. Breakfast @7AM & Shotgun Start @ 8:30AM. Phone (574) 293-2344 for details and to sign-up. Always a sell-out!

• Writers Conference @ 9AM-Noon. No fee. You must call to learn specific location of the conference: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Several signed-up.

• Louisville MHShow Board Meeting @ Noon. Closed session

• ‘Let’s Talk Shop’ about Manufactured Housing & LLLCommunities’ @ 2- 3PM. In the RV/MH Hall of Fame library, with George Allen, CPM & MHM

• Special Reception for RV/MH Hall of Fame Members @ 1:30-3PM

• Free time to relax and prepare for evening festivities @ 3-5:30PM

• Reception Honoring ‘Class of 2015’ Hall of Fame Inductees @ 5:30 – 7PM

• RV/MH Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony @ 7 – 9;30PM

For more information about official RV/MH Hall of Fame functions on 3 August, telephone (800) 378-8694. More than 500 guests are expected for the banquet that evening. This is one gala RV/MH networking event you do not want to miss!

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MHIndustry Missing or Avoiding an Opportunity?

July 10th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 356 via community-investor.com Copyright 12 July 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

Seriously Interested in Writing for Publication, Profit & Personal Satisfaction?

If so, You’re Invited to Participate in a Unique Learning Experience, 9AM-Noon on 3 August 2015 in Elkhart, IN.

In three hours, learn the basics & practical tools of writing, variety of personal & business writing for publication, and ‘How to get started!’ Group size is limited to ten, but will proceed if only a few attend. Fee? $20.00. payable at the door, to defray cost of handout material.

An RSVP of your intent to participate is required! Phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. You’ll be told the specific location at that time. Session leader has authored a dozen books, pens monthly business newsletters, a weekly blog, & features for various magazines. Come for a unique learning experience!

Later that same day, at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, also in Elkhart, IN., there will be a Hall of Fame Banquet, inducting ten RV/MH Industry pioneers into the foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame. If interested in attending, phone (574) 293-8694. Already, nearly 500 have signed-up for this gala and historic event. See you there?

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Is Manufactured Housing Industry Missing an Opportunity to Recover?

Gist of the matter: ‘Should we embrace or eschew (avoid) RVs to fill vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities?’

It’s estimated there’s a minimum of 250,000 vacant rental homesites among 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) nationwide awaiting housing units of any type! And since ‘easy access to chattel capital’ has not returned to the manufactured housing industry, we continue to bump along at a six year nadir average of only 55,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped per year since 2009 (i.e. Some predict 70,000 by year end 2015). This anemic performance compares to 372,843 new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 1998.

Not that some in the MHIndustry aren’t trying! Since 2009, when 25 percent of new home shipments went directly into LLLCommunities; the same year, Community Series Homes were introduced. And since then, an increasing number of the 500+/- known property portfolio owners/operators have been buying new CSH Models (Something rarely considered two decades ago), reselling them on-site, even seller-financing when need be. Result? By year end 2013, 30 percent of new home shipments went into LLLCommunities, and that percentage is expected to continue to rise as Community Series Homes are more aggressively marketed.

Furthermore, owners/operators of LLLCommunities, especially some of the 500+/- known property portfolio ‘players’, boast mixed-use LLLCommunities. In fact, one of the real estate investment trust owner/operators count more RV sites in their huge property portfolio than MH sites – but more about that later in this blog posting. This mixed-use business model underscores the reality there are now as many as six types of shelter to be found in LLLCommunities across the U.S.: pre-HUD Code ‘mobile homes’; post-HUD Code manufactured homes; modular units; park model RVs, ‘RVs for a season’, and in FL., even stick-built homes constructed on-site to imitate HUD-Code homes!

So, ‘nearly everyone’ appears to be doing ‘whatever it takes’ to market and sell more new homes (e.g. Community Series Homes) and fill vacant rental homesites with whatever type shelter is permissible and fits on the rental homesite, e.g. park model RVs on otherwise functionally obsolete rental homesites! Parenthetically, these survival measures have already resulted in at least two MHIndustry terminology adjustments:

• Land-lease-lifestyle community supplanted manufactured home community, given the six types of shelter sited therein, vs. ‘just two’ in previous years.

• New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender, a moniker only recently coined to describe LLLCommunity owners/operators routinely buying, selling, and seller-financing new and resale homes on-site to get the rent meter running.

While aggressive self-help measures have fought this rear action to ‘Save the MHIndustry’ from itself (After all, ill-advised industry $ practices chased chattel capital lenders away at the turn of the Century), there now appears to be an internal movement afoot, one whereby the MHIndustry appears to be distancing itself from its’ sister recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry. How so?

The first indicator, in this industry observer’s opinion, occurred a year ago, June 2014, at MHI’s Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN. ‘Defining & describing’ park model RVs, at HUD and elsewhere, was a hot topic at the time. And just when it appeared MHI was going to weigh-in on the side of the RV industry, all went silent. The reasons can be debated, but the MHIndustry has not involved itself in the ‘HUD & RV definition debate’ since.

Less than a year later, during MHI’s annual Congress in Las Vegas, its’ National Communities Council division unveiled their new ‘Top 50’ List’ of LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators. While a patent imitation of the 26 year ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’), there was one significant – and telling, difference. Before crafting this first ‘Top 50 List’, MHI staff stripped all RV sites, (…or so they thought they did at the time – but didn’t) from the total rental homesite counts. The question ‘Why?’ has been asked repeatedly, but not answered – other than to maybe differentiate the new data base form the imitated ALLEN REPORT – which has always included RV with MH sites. In any event, that’s the second indicator, again – in my opinion, of manufactured housing leadership ‘distancing itself from the RV industry’.

And there’s more, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Especially considering most major HUD-Code home manufacturers also routinely fabricate and ship all types of recreational vehicles. Moving on…

I recently read published commentaries by Sherman Goldenberg, publisher of Woodall’s Campground Management newspaper, and Ross Kinzler, retiring executive director of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance, and publisher of Industry Insights. Both suggest, in round about fashion in the first instance; and directly, in the second, that perhaps the manufactured housing industry is ‘missing the boat’, maybe even ‘missing a golden opportunity’ altogether. Their commentaries?

Sherm’s piece, titled ‘Park Model Builders Buy into Go RVing Campaign’ observed: “RVIA’s Seasonal Camping Committee, comprised largely of park model RV manufacturers who vacated their former association (the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association three years ago to join RVIA) took the next step toward integrating their affairs with that of the nation’s RV industry by voting to invest their own financial marketing reserves into the Go RVing Coalition’s national marketing campaign.” One thing is for certain, they’re not investing financial marketing reserves with the MHIndustry! Why should they? They’re obviously, ‘Not welcome!’ And yes, I understand there’s controversy, within RV circles, about becoming too closely aligned with the MHIndustry, and maybe facing the unintended consequence of park model RVs coming under federal building code oversight via HUD.

Ross’s piece, titled, ‘Industry Needs to Embrace Tiny House Movement’ goes down yet another rabbit hole, of sorts, promoting shelters 12 by 40 foot in size (as long as we keep them at 400+ square feet in size, they qualify as manufactured housing). He makes a good case for these being practical answers to rejuvenating long vacant functionally obsolete rental homesites, an ideal application of manufactured housing interior design expertise, and something today’s millennials will likely buy. How ‘bout that for a proverbial WIN WIN WIN solution to today’s ‘new HUD-Code home shipment slump’ and need for beaucoup more new homes on-site in LLLCommunities nationwide!*

So, where are YOU on all this? Do you think, as I do, that MHIndustry leaders, elected, salaried, and otherwise, are mistakenly distancing us from the RV industry? Or do you tend to be a purist (Some say Luddite) who believes we’re solely manufactured housing focused, i.e. It’s what brought us to the affordable housing dance and it’s likely who we’re going to go out (of business) with! (Sorry; couldn’t resist that crack).

In any event, we’d like to learn your opinion(s) on the subject and subjects. Simply use the contact information at the head of this blog posting. Again; the question: Should RVs continue to be an integral part of the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity asset class, OR, shunned per recent indicators on the part of at least one national advocacy body?

End note. Yes, it’s violation of some local zoning ordinances, in some states, to site RVs in LLLCommunities. But that doesn’t mean a statute can’t be changed….

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Celebrating Independence Day with Sam!

July 4th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 355 via community-investor.com Copyright 5 July 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

When I first read the following story, I counted it worthy of sharing with family members and friends throughout the manufactured housing industry. I hope you enjoy and appreciate this historical moment in our nation’s history as much as I did and do…GFA

Celebrating Independence Day with Sam

The following true story, from the Revolutionary War days of our nation’s history, is titled ‘A Minuteman Who Refused to Fade Away’ and is told in the recently-released book, The Warrior’s Soul, by Jerry Boykin & Stu Weber. It’s my opinion, the biography of this little known patriot should be required reading for every American citizen.

The authors begin by telling of “…the most famous patriot soldier you’ve likely never heard of. This tough old buzzard should have stopped, even died, a dozen times. And he almost did. He was a living legend in his own day, so I suppose you could say in his old age he’d tried to just fade away on his farm surrounded by scores of grateful descendants. But it wasn’t to be. When his country was in trouble, his warrior soul couldn’t resist responding – even when he was in his 80s!” p.7

Samuel Whittemore was “Born around 1695,…served as a captain of the King’s Dragoons. He was already 50 when he fought the French at the Fortress of Louisburg in Nova Scotia in 1745. There he acquired his favorite was trophy, a saber he’d taken from a French officer. When asked about it, Sam, without elaboration, simply explained the Frenchman had ‘died suddenly’.

When the hostilities ended, he bought a farm at Menotomy, built a house with his own hands, and settled his family there. When war kicked up again with the French, Sam volunteered, and at age 64 he was sent to help recapture Louisburg. The following year he was part of General Wolfe’s expedition that took Quebec from the French.

Later, nearing 70, he fought in the frontier Indian wars. He came home this time astride a much finer horse than he’d left with, and he now owned a brace of pistols, whose previous owner had also, in Sam’s words, ‘died suddenly’.

For Sam, back in Menotomy, life was good. Having traveled far and wide, survived multiple combat deployments, and fought against enemies of varying stripes and tactics, in his senior years he was now loving life and basking in the admiration of his wife, his children, and his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

But in the Spring of 1775, Sam could see storm clouds gathering. And he was deeply concerned about threats to his freedom, both foreign and domestic. Freedom was what Sam had always fought for, and he found living in freedom to be a glorious way of life. Freedom’s song hummed in his soul. He openly stated he wanted his descendants to live in a free land where they could govern and be governed by their own laws and not have their lives dictated by a king on the other side of the earth.

April 19, 1775 – arguably the most important day in American history – was a fine Spring day. The air was clear, and the smell of freshly turned soil filled the nostrils of 80 year old Samuel Whittemore as he breathed deeply of freedom.

You know what happened that glorious day. A corps of hundreds of British regulars – the world’s finest professional soldiers at the time – had been given secret orders to march out from Boston and capture colonial militia supplies at Concord, eighteen miles up the road (It was an early attempt at gun control on American soil) But the Minutemen wouldn’t give up their guns. The colonials got word of the British operation and made their own plans. As the Redcoats advance element headed out, they made contact with Captain John Parker’s Minutemen at Lexington, armed and ready.

The veteran Parker had prepared his grim-faced company with these famous words from his warrior soul: “If they mean to have a war, let it begin here!” By early morning, eight freedom-loving Americans lay dead on the green. Six of the eight were three fathers and their three sons. So it is in every freedom-loving generation: the ones who ‘get it’ pass it on.

Leaving Lexington…the British companies moved on toward Concord (where) they fought hard. The Redcoats, overwhelmed in this deadly clash, fell back. Their road back to Boston would take them through Sam Whittemore’s hometown of Menotomy. And Sam had decided they were gong to get a bellyful.

He had methodically loaded his trusted musket and his already famous set of dueling pistols. He stuffed his well-traveled pack with more powder and ball, strapped on his previously captured French saber, told his family what he was up to, then ordered them to remain inside until he returned.

Then he walked to a position he’d selected near a tavern, behind a rock wall at a strategic intersection the British would have to pass on their return to Boston. Records suggest a number of other militiamen tried to talk Sam out of the vulnerable position, but Sam wasn’t out that day to avoid a fight. He intended to pick one. The greatest moment in Sam Whittemore’s life was about to unfold.

As the British pushed ahead, the fighting in Menotomy was particularly fierce, from house to house and cellar to cellar. Death came to many, some were even reportedly shot by the British after being taken prisoner.

While the shooting got closer, Sam held his fire. Minuteman on both sides of him were firing their muskets, then they’d sprint away to reload. But not Sam. Waiting for the right moment, when the enemy was almost on top of him, he stood up and fired his musket, dropping on British regular in midstep. Sam then jumped out from behind the wall and fired off both his fine pistols, killing one Redcoat immediately, and mortally wounding another.

That kind of opposition draws a lot of attention. Fire draws fire. With no time to reload his weapons, Sam drew his saber and ‘flailed away at the cursing, enraged Redcoats who now surrounded him.” Think of it: most of those British soldiers would have been less than half his age.

One of the regulars shot Sam point blank in the face, tearing away half his cheek. The .69 caliber ball knocked him to the ground. Dazed, he rose, still trying to fight, but was again knocked down by a musket butt, and bayoneted 13 times by the vengeful Redcoats.

The aftermath has been described this way:

When the last Britisher had left the scene and were far enough away for them to come out in safely, the villagers who had seen Whittemore’s last stand, walked slowly toward the body. To their astonishment, he was still alive and conscious – and still full of fight! Ignoring his wounds, he was feebly trying to load his musket for a parting shot at the retreating regiment.

Using a door as a makeshift stretcher, the townsmen carried Whittemore into the nearby tavern, where a doctor ‘stripped away Sam’s torn, bloody clothing, and was aghast at his many gaping bayonet wounds, the other numerous bruises and lacerations, and his horrible facial injury.’ The doctor remarked it was useless to dress so many wounds, since Whittemore could not possibly survive for very long. But Whittemore’s neighbors persuaded the reluctant doctor to do his best. When the bandaging was finally finished, old Sam was tenderly carried back to his home to die surrounded by his grieving family.

To die?

Not quite!

That old warrior thought differently. Sam survived – and went on to live another 18 years.

When later asked if he regretted his losses that day – injuries that left him lame and disfigured – Sam responded, “I would take the same chance again.’

Sam Whittemore eventually died of natural causes at age 98. He was survived by 185 direct descendants – and he was especially proud to know every single one of them was living as a free American.” Pp. 8-13

***

POSTSCRIPT. Every free American reading Sam’s story should have tears in his or her eyes – I certainly do. Tears of pride and gratitude for the patriots, then and now, who have blessed all of us with their service and sacrifice these past 240 years! ‘Happy Independence Day to You and Yours!’ GFA

***

An Open Letter to Blog Floggers (readers) from George Allen

June 27th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 354 via community-investor.com Copyright 28 June 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

An Open Letter to Blog Floggers (Readers)

You likely know what is commonly said, derogatorily, about ‘making assumptions’. Well, I don’t want to be guilty of ‘assuming’ you 1) know what I’m about; 2) why I pen this weekly blog posting; and 3) where the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) realty asset class is possibly headed these days. So, in the following paragraphs I’ll address these legitimate queries.

First off; I’ve been involved in factory-built housing since 1970, a year after returning from a 13 month tour of duty, as a USMC combat engineer officer and shore party company commander, in the Republic of Vietnam. The newspaper ad I answered, for that first job, read simply: ‘WANTED: former military officer with background in construction’. After working for two PA & IN firms, in housing component fabrication, I segued to ‘mobile home park’ management in 1978, overseeing four large properties in Indiana and Kentucky, earning my real estate broker license, and Certified Property Manager® designation along the way.

In 1980, Carolyn and I founded GFA Management, Inc., as a fee management firm; one that, in her words, ‘managed anything that didn’t move’, e.g. strip malls, apartments, houses, offices, and yes, ‘mobile home parks’. With a partner, we bought our first income-producing property in the early 1980s; turning it around operationally and selling it. We continue as real estate investors and property managers to this day. Why – besides the income? If I’m going to write, and teach the Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management training & certification program,, I need to be regularly involved with what’s going on in and around the manufactured housing industry and its’ various segments.

By 1988, when we self-published Mobile Home Park Management (since retitled Landlease Community Management & in its’ 6th edition), I’d moved into freelance consulting, routinely Mystery Shopping properties, engaging in turnaround planning and execution, as well as authoring textbooks for J. Wiley & Sons Publishers: Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities (with David Alley & Edward Hicks), and How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community. All three books continue to be available from PMN Publishing via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (:877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, & community-investor.com website.

Also during the late 1980s and early 1990s, we debuted the first (of 26 to date) ALLEN REPORTs (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators From Throughout North America!’), and first (of 23 to date) International Networking Roundtables – with # 24 scheduled for 9-11 September in San Diego, CA. We also facilitated the eventual appearance of several real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’) in 1994 & 1995, by researching, refining, compiling and popularizing the first manufactured home community Industry Standard Chart of (Operating) Accounts, along with corresponding Operating Expense Ratios, or OERs. These were used by Wall Street analysts to get ‘comfortable’ with this heretofore unknown realty asset class. It was also during that time frame, on 31 August 1993 specifically, when 19 MHCommunity owners met in Indianapolis to form the Industry Steering Committee, ensuring national advocacy when IPOs (Initial Public Offerings of stock) were launched. The ISC became MHI’s National Communities Council division on 1 January 1996. .

Since then, we rolled out the aforementioned MHM® program in 2001, having lain dormant since 1988, out of deference to MHEI’s Accredited Community Manager® program, launched in 1991. To date, nearly 1,000 MHMs have been certified. And along the way, GFA/PMN birthed and nurtured more than a dozen directories and resource documents (e.g. Lenders’ Registry, List of Consultants, etc.); today widely known as Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs.

But it was the National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucuses, on 2/27/2008 & 2/27/2009, that brought the realty asset class into the 21st Century. In the first instance, more than 100 land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators convened in Tampa, FL., to ‘take control of their destiny’ – agreeing to a Five Action Areas plan, in effect to this day. And the following year, a 100 mix of home manufacturers and community owners/operators convened at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., to agree on design parameters for what came to be known as Community Series Homes, or CSH Models. This was acknowledgement that independent (street) MHRetailers could no longer be counted on to fill vacant rental homesites; that property owners/operators must now do so themselves, via selling ‘repo’, good quality resale, even new HUD-Code homes on-site, and seller-financing them when need be.

Hence, a NEW ERA for LLLCommunities was identified, along with the launch of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® on or about 1 January 2014. And that pretty much brings us to today – and WHY I prepare this weekly blog posting at community-investor.com, along with the two subscriber-supported monthly newsletters, the Allen Letter professional journal & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! WHY? It’s simple. All but one manufactured housing industry trade print publication, besides the two newsletters just mentioned, have passed from the business scene. And the one that’s left hasn’t changed its’ stable of columnists for a long time. Furthermore, the content quality of regularly published online newsletters, catering to the manufactured housing industry is, with one exception, questionable. That exception being Rishel Consulting’s finance newsletter; as it is should be ‘required reading’ for everyone engaged in any form of housing finance using chattel capital.

Finally; WHERE we are headed as an industry and realty asset class is not an easy question to answer without maybe treading on someone’s toes.

The manufactured housing industry, sad to say, is ‘dead in the water’ as long as there’s no easy access to chattel capital to finance housing transactions on-site in LLLCommunities. That’s why, after six long years, we continue to bump along at an annual average new home shipment nadir volume of only 55,000 per year – though it’s estimated we might come in somewhere between 60 & 70 thousand by year end 2015. However, as we know, ‘Thanks to disunity between national advocacy parties in Washington, DC., annual new home shipment totals will be reported differently.

Land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators fall into two distinct camps. There’s the cadre of 500+/- property portfolio owners/operators (i.e. Portfolio threshold = ‘Own &/or fee manage a minimum of five LLLCommunities &/or 500+ rental homesites – MH & RV’), who appear, for the most part, to be engaging in aforementioned ‘Buy Here – Pay Here’ drill, where new home sales and seller-financing are concerned. This practice has become so widespread, LLLCommunity folk have become known as the New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender. But this cadre accounts for only 15 percent of the national inventory of this unique, income-producing property type.

Then there’s the smaller, mostly Mom & Pop owned/operated properties, usually numbering fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece, that appear to be minimally engaged in the ‘Buy Here – Pay Here’ business model. Why? Probably not deep enough pockets to buy and resell more than one home at a time, let alone carry the financing. Also, lack of operational and marketing knowledge, especially among second and third generation owners, and those who’ve never been anything but passive investors. This sole proprietor segment accounts for the remaining 85 percent of national inventory of 50,000+/-LLLCommunities.

Bottom line? Don’t expect any major changes, albeit except for small ones under way – and just described, in the near future. These matters are not talked about openly at national meetings planned and hosted by national advocacy bodies. Just ‘how bad’ is that situation? One national advocacy bodies does ‘next to nothing’ to promote its’ members and their housing product, i.e. no website, no social media, nada. The other entity? When was the last time you saw or read of any plan(s) to rejuvenate the manufactured housing industry?

Someday, somewhere, ‘Selling More Community Series Homes into LLLCommunities Nationwide!’ should and will become the national topic of conversation – and hopefully action, among manufactured housing aficionados and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators in this business for the long haul. Perhaps this national, across industry segment or component lines, will begin at the 24th International Networking Roundtable, 9-11 September 2015, in San Diego, CA. After all, that’s the very THEME of this year’s mega – event, expected to draw a 250 mix of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity businessmen and women. Will YOU be there?

Furthermore, RUMOR has it a treatise is being prepared, even as you read these lines, picking up where last year’s (2014) nationally distributed WHITE PAPER left off, actually making positive, practical suggestions to this noble end, i.e. rejuvenating the manufactured housing industry!. Let’s hope it’s completed in time for distribution at the Networking Roundtable in San Diego. You’ll have to be present though, to get a copy.

POSTSCRIPT. What makes aforementioned corporate cooperation so difficult, if not impossible, at times? Self-serving competitive interests of corporate CEOs protecting the interests (e.g. regional and national market share) of their firms, and as they see it, their stakeholders, employees, even their jobs. Simply a sad reality of business life (Or is it?) in corporate America. And things aren’t any better where competing national advocacy bodies are concerned; but there, it’s more territorial than anything else; e.g. MHARR = smaller regional home manufacturers and no one else; COBA7® = land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators and their lenders in US & CN; and, MHI = representatives from every segment of the manufactured housing industry.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory-built Housing Industry,
The Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class &
Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®

***

Washington Visit, Mystery Solved, Bloom Gone!

June 20th, 2015

COBA8® present Blog # 353 via community-investor.com Copyright 21 June 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press) , 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

Introduction to blog posting # 353. This past week has been filled with traveling, meetings, networking, and pondering what to include in this four part blog posting. Yes, Spencer Roane, MHM® and I made it to Washington, DC., via OH, PA, NJ, DE, & MD. Once at the expensive Capital Hilton Hotel, (Part I) we met with influencers from government and the MHIndustry. (Part II) Everyone enjoys a mystery, but fewer the better in business environs! One is about to be ‘splained’ and resolved in the Allen Letter professional journal. Part III, in a word, was ‘difficult’ to write. Kinda like criticizing a loved one; but if they’re – in one’s opinion – headed down the wrong path, we have a responsibility to speak out. So…And finally; (Part IV) if you’ve ever wanted to showcase your firm’s product or service, in person, before 200-250 LLLCommunity owners & operators, here’s your unique opportunity to do so! And hey, keep those letters coming!

_________________________________________________________________________

I.

COBA7® Visits Washington, DC.

Allen & Roane Meet with Regulator, National Advocacy Bodies, & Real Estate Investors Before Talking with Legislators.

Following a relaxing and gastronomically-pleasing weekend dining on fresh seafood (raw oysters, boiled crab, shark steaks, & scrumptious scallops) at Mark’s Place in Cape May, New Jersey, George Allen and Spencer Roane brunched, in Lewes, Delaware, with American Housing Advocate’s Bruce Savage, while enroute to Washington, DC. Bruce is alive and well, free-lancing for several state MHAssociations.

COBA7® affiliates, Allen & Roane, met with Pam Danner, esquire, manufactured housing program director at HUD. Covered a lot of territory in the hour spent together, but the most important, if not exciting topic, came near the end – when we learned of shared interest in promoting HUD-Code manufactured housing as affordable housing!

COBA7® ‘MHInsiders’, Allen & Roane then met with Marc Weiss, esquire, and recently retired MHARR executive Danny Ghorbani. Here the range of topics stretched from inaccurate tallying of monthly and annual new HUD-Code home shipment totals, to affiliating with COBA7®, and our shared interest in needed and adequate – if not new, national representation of all post-production components of the manufactured housing industry, as well as the land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) realty asset class!

Allen & Roane also met with MHI chairman Nathan Smith, near the end of the day, to network and discuss matters of mutual interest.

The busy day ended with Allen & Roane dining with real estate investors not affiliated with any of the entities identified in the previous paragraphs.

Bottom line? This was one heckuva day for COBA7® affiliates. As blog floggers (readers) know, the upcoming 24th annual International Networking Roundtable features keynote presentations by executives representing all major HUD-code home manufacturers, addressing the theme:

‘Selling More Community Series Homes into LLLCommunities Nationwide!’

…and the presence of all the GSEs at this year’s stellar event in San Diego. This COBA7® visit to Washington, DC., frankly, planted seeds for the anticipated theme of the 25th Roundtable in 2016 – yet to be announced.

Decades Old MH Mystery Solved!

Have you noticed & wondered: ‘Why do monthly & annual HUD-Code new home shipment numbers never tally the same, when reported by the manufactured housing industry’s two national advocacy entities?”

Well, they’re not the same! Probably never have been, though they should be! But guess what? This perennial mystery has been solved, and the tell-all expose’ will be featured in the July issue of the Allen Letter professional journal! Not only that, given the existence of a legitimate national source for ‘home shipment numbers’, a practical solution is evident, and will be proposed, to end this decades-long confusing state of affairs! Don’t miss it this truly historic story.

If not already affiliated with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, and receiving the Allen Letter professional journal, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to do so. Cost? Only $134.95 to join with the other 250 ‘MHInsiders’ already benefitting from statistical research, helpful resources, print & online media, networking & deal-making, property management training/certification, & national advocacy (e.g. ombudsman – press & historian services) available by affiliating with COBA7®.

‘Ah, The Bloom is Off the Rose!’

As a 20 years, direct, dues-paying member of MHI, my respect for the institute in general, and NCC division in particular, wanes!

And that’s not easy for one to say, who’s been a (founding) National Communities Council board member since 1995 – shortly before this MHI division began its’ work in January 1996.

What’s happened? I disagree with the direction the council has taken during the past few years, as attendance at its’ national meetings has dropped from dozens of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators of all sizes, to rarely more than a dozen today. At last week’s NCC meeting, of the dozen or so board members in the room, half were bona fide ‘owners’; the remainder, salaried executives from property portfolio firms.

Besides the declining participation in meetings,

• Council leadership should not, in my opinion, be dominated –as it appears to be – by executives and owners of large property portfolios. This troublesome issue was underscored twice last week when 1) a council executive expressed his opinion in public, that it’s unnecessary to qualify in writing how certain proprietary rent survey results are representative only of institutional grade LLLCommunities, and not LLLCommunities at large throughout the same local housing market. The problem with not doing so? Large property portfolio LLLCommunity site rents tend to be higher than neighboring properties. And such skewed reporting can provide cover for further rent increases. And 2), a REIT executive bullied attempted opposition to certain pre-decided agenda topics. So, it was no surprise when one meeting attendee opined privately, following the meeting: “Perhaps the time has come for manufacturer floor dues, paid by small LLLCommunity owners/operators, be diverted to an entity that better represents our interests.”

• Ignoring presence of recreational vehicle rental sites in LLLCommunities is, in my opinion, wrong. Ever since the ALLEN REPORT began ranking property portfolios according to total rental homesite count in 1985, all developed and rentable sites have been included in corporate totals, including those for recreational vehicles. And now that LLLCommunities routinely site six different types of shelter (i.e. pre-HUD ‘mobile homes’; post-HUD manufactured homes, modular units, ‘park model RVs’; ‘RVs for a season’; even site-built homes constructed on-site to look like manufactured homes) this TREND of acquiring mixed-use destination (i.e. MH & RV together) properties, is well established! However, the debut of the NCC’s ‘Top 50 List’, signals MHI/NCC’s desire to change this 26 years of precedent. Specifically, the ‘Top 50 List’ does NOT include RV sites. Consequences? Ignoring the obvious business model trend, and reshuffling of some portfolio rankings. In the latter instance, the most significant being real estate investment trust SUN Communities, Inc., supplanting ELS, Inc., as ‘Largest Owner/operator of LLLCommunities in the World!’ So henceforth, while the ALLEN REPORT continues to identify ELS, Inc., as #1, MHI’s NCC division will likely rank the firm as being only #2. This is yet another sorry consequence of the ongoing and unnecessary disunity that so characterizes the manufactured housing industry! Like it or not, let’s be clear: Recreational vehicles, and RV rental sites are part of our present and future business models!

• More encroachment? Announcement last week, of NCC’s intent to imitate more of COBA7®’s SSRD (Signature Series Resource Document) research; specifically, relating to LLLCommunity Operating Expense Ratios, or OERs. COBA7®’s predecessor articulated the Official MHIndustry Standard Chart of Operating Accounts in 1992, and has been reporting/updating appropriate LLLCommunity OERs ever since. But then, perhaps this is yet another self-serving effort to produce one’s own version of another benchmark statistic, as appears to be the case with aforementioned skewed site rent reporting.

• Don’t look for any of this (the preceding) to change anytime soon! In my opinion, two reasons. As long as MHI continues to practice ‘affluence gerrymandering’ (i.e. scheduling its’ meeting venues in high cost locations, e.g. valet parking @ $47.00/night in Washington, DC) – discouraging participation and decision-making by other than the most successful and wealthy of its’ members; and, continued prohibition of proxy voting at annual elections – as was made clear in new NCC operating procedures circulated for comment last week, present day status quo will prevail, and overall meeting attendance will continue to hover at the ‘only 100’ mark..

Conclusion? All this prompts one to wonder about the value and efficacy of one’s institute membership on one hand; and, whether worth the time and resources to attend and strive against established NCC practices, on the other hand. For me? Per the subtitle of this part of today’s blog posting, “As a 20 year direct, dues-paying member of MHI, my respect for the institute in general, and NCC division in particular, wanes!” However, if I and the few other sole proprietor LLLCommunity owners don’t hang around, to make our views known, it’s downright scary to imagine what might be dictated in the future.

Sponsorship @ 24th Networking Roundtable

We announced nine unique sponsorship opportunities in last week’s blog posting. Already, two major opportunities have been spoken for, by mortgage originators and a real estate investment firm.

What are YOU waiting for? When will you have an opportunity again, to present your unique product and or service to 200 – 250 LLLCommunity owners/operators and other registrants at this year’s event in San Diego, CA., 9-11 September 2015. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, to learn details and decide which social networking event to sponsor.

***

Local Chattel $; Unique Sponsorship Opportunity!

June 9th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 352 via community-investor.com Copyright 14 June 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬_______________________________________________________________________

Introduction to blog posting # 352. Are YOU overlooking this source for chattel capital? YOU want to participate in the Biggest & Best LLLCommunity networking, deal-making, educational event in all of 2015? Tapped into the timely and helpful resources available to YOU from Allen & Roane? Have YOU read The Advance Man yet? Four questions and answers for manufactured housing businessmen and women nationwide!

________________________________________________________________________

I.

IT IS POSSIBLE

Local Chattel Capital Financing of Manufactured Homes in
Land-lease-lifestyle Communities!

Here’s an email exchange between veteran LLLCommunity operators, one shared with other area property owners, talking of their recent success obtaining manufactured housing and property loan commitments from a regional bank…

“A little over two years ago, _____sent an email note to several of us in the _____area who stay in touch with each other, and said, “Guess what? I received a letter from the president of a local bank who actually said he wants to do business with community/park owners!” We all met, and eventually developed a program involving that banks’ financing of manufactured homes we buy and resell within our communities – filling vacant lots, increasing cash flow and property value, and upgrading our properties. That bank also expressed an interest in financing our communities. Today I received a loan commitment from the bank which will save my firm almost $350,000 in interest over the next five years! Had _____ and I not made an effort to stay in touch with one another, I might never have been invited to that meeting two years ago. Thanks _____!”

And this from the other party…

“This bank has really benefitted from meeting us too. At a lunch meeting a month or so ago, a representative of the bank indicated to me our introduction to them, and resulting loan programs, have resulted in more than $20 million in new loan business for them, in just the past 1 ½ years!”

So, what have YOU done to reach out to your local lending institutions to ‘test the borrowing waters’ for financing new and resale homes on-site in your LLLCommunity, even refinancing the property itself? Maybe the time is ‘right’ for YOU to do so.

II.

A Unique Opportunity…

Be a Major Sponsor at This Year’s 24th Networking Roundtable!

Heretofore, mostly $$$ lenders and brokers, specializing in originating land-lease-lifestyle community mortgages, have been the primary sponsors of nine social networking events at the annual International Networking Roundtable. This year we’re opening up this unique opportunity to anyone who’d like Maximum Exposure before 250+/- owners/operators of LLLCommunities from throughout the U.S. and Canada!

What’s different this year? For starters, all the major HUD-Code home manufacturers will be present as keynote speakers, holding forth on this event theme:

How to Sell More Community Series Homes into LLLCommunities Throughout the U.S.!

Furthermore, all the GSE’s (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, for starters) will be present, and possibly the FHFA, as well as senior executives from MHI & MHARR. And as usual, there’re nearly two dozen educational sessions. So, if your firm, as a product and or service supplier/vendor has an active and lively interest in this realty asset class, you’ll want to be Front & Center when these folks gather 9-11 September 2015 at the Hilton Resort Hotel on Mission Bay in San Diego, CA.

Specifically, you and or your firm can sponsor one of two breakfasts at $3,500.00 per F&B (food & beverage) event; one of two luncheons at $5,000.00 apiece; either evening reception at $6,500.00; and all three scheduled ‘breaks’ at a one time total of $8,500.00.

What do YOU get for your sponsorship? Prominent display of your corporate logo on all Networking Roundtable literature. For example; the Registration List prepared for this event is widely recognized as being the most comprehensive compilation of LLLCommunity owners/operators available anywhere – and will feature YOUR logo and contact information during 2015 & 2016! Your firm will also be singled out several times during the event proper. AND, if you care to do so, you’re welcome to distribute premium gifts at the event(s) YOU sponsor!

For more information, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

III,

Allen & Roane in Washington, DC., @ 15 & 16 June!

As used to be said about dance marathons ‘decades ago’, our dance card is full! From the time we arrive in our nation’s capitol on Sunday, the 14th of June, until we leave later that week, our time is committed to meetings with colleagues from MHARR, MHI, HUD, & COBA7® – plus businessmen and women who want to ‘talk shop’ with us, about a variety of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity-related topics! Are YOU on that list? If not, but would like to have a frank, albeit probably short, discussion regarding where the manufactured housing industry is today – and probably headed, contact either one of us. If need be, use the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE in the previous part of this blog posting.

On a related subject, watch this blog posting next Sunday for a summary of what occurs at the National Communities Council division’s meeting on 6/15. Two of five topics I requested be placed on the agenda, made it – three did not. Should make for an interesting meeting – and a most revealing follow up report via this blog, and elsewhere.

And as you likely suspect, the ‘Open Letter to the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’, previewed in blog posting #351, continues to materialize, and will soon be ready for industry wide distribution.

IV.

The Advance Man, by Rick Robinson

Hey, just finished reading a genuine thriller of a novel! In this new release, Rick Robinson’s Washington, DC setting, and plot (political intrigue), calls to mind Gary Grossman’s Executive Actions and Executive Treason. Not only that, Rick’s style, i.e. sharing a new body of knowledge – or two, with his reader (e.g. inner workings of DC politics & Godfather Rules), reminds one of the famous mystery novelist, Dick Francis.

OMG. I’d tell you more, but you’ll read the entire review of The Advance Man, in an upcoming issue of the Allen Letter professional journal! Seriously. This is one book you do not want to miss reading. How to get your copy of The Advance Man? Visit www.authorRickRobinson.com. And hey, if the author’s name, Rick Robinson, sounds familiar to you, it should. He’s Vice President of state and regulatory affairs/general counsel at MHI – and this is his ninth book. And be aware, there’s yet another thriller in the works from him. So, like me, become a Rick Robinson fan, and join in this reading adventure!

***

NCC Agenda, Shipment #s, & PM $ Compensation

May 30th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 351 via community-investor.com Copyright 31 May 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

Important Announcement

There will be no blog posting, at community-investor.com, on Sunday 7 June 2015. Next blog posting, at this website, will likely be Sunday morning, 14 June 2015 or thereabouts… GFA

I.

Allen & Roane in Washington @ 15 & 16 June!

Visits Scheduled with MHARR, MHI, HUD, COBA7® & more…

Yes, it’s that time of year, when – it seems – many manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community roads lead to Washington, DC., for MHI’s annual legislative emphasis meeting and visits to Capitol Hill. Will you be there? If so, maybe we’ll see you and have time to ‘talk MH shop’.

Spencer Roane, MHM® and I’ll begin our trip several days earlier, as we meet in Harrisburg, PA., then drive onto Cape May, New Jersey, where we’ll spend much of the weekend dining on fresh seafood prepared by a gourmet chef – my brother Mark. Then we’ll take the ferry across the Delaware Bay to Lewes, DE., to visit with Bruce Savage of American Housing Advocates. George Porter usually joins this merry band, but has a commitment elsewhere this year. In any event, this is where the future of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class is planned. Ha!

Once in DC, we’ll likely hang out with industry friends at the picturesque, eclectic Tabard Inn (Novelists oft describe its’ bar, restaurant, even sleeping rooms – some with – and some without bathrooms, as settings for scenes in their books), attend meetings with executives at various government agencies, MH trade groups, and elsewhere. As an NCC board member, I’ll attend the division’s meeting, from 1:30-3PM, on the 15th of June. Will you be there too? In regards to said meeting, here’re items I’ve requested be put on the agenda that day:

• Pros & cons of NCC’s recently debuted ’50 Largest Owners’- not including RV sites, list. Three questions: 1) Why change rental homesite inventory methodology that’s worked for 26 years in the ALLEN REPORT? 2) Will annual membership dues to MHI/NCC, from REITs ELS, Inc., & Sun Communities, Inc., be reduced, since their RV sites have been stripped from their property portfolio total site count? 3) And how will Wall Street analysts view this abrupt unilateral change, in light of new LLLCommunity IPOs anticipated this year and next?

• Status of performance, recruiting members for the NCC, by new salaried recruiter? Frankly, whether these five bulleted items make it onto the meeting agenda will be a clear indicator of sensitivity and responsiveness by NCC leadership, to the concerns of new and old direct, dues-paying members!

• Request for final report and cost accounting relative to Dr. Becker’s two years research project contracted by the NCC. Wasn’t the purpose of said research, to quantify the value and or dollar impact of land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) on local housing markets?

• Results of NCC’s web-based survey circulated to members during the past month?

• Discuss whether the time is right to recommend to MHEI, the Accredited Community Manager® or ACM® professional property management training and certification program be simplified and made less expensive, as an entry level PM offering; or, elevate it to regional and executive property management focus and status, then embrace COBA7®’s popular one day Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® program as NCC’s entry level program of choice!

In the same correspondence to NCC’s chairman, Steve Adler of MUREX Properties, when I made the above request, I also offered to brief the NCC, and by extension MHI, about the ‘new statistics gathering & reporting initiative’ to soon be implemented by COBA7®. The gist of said initiative is to bring accuracy & consistency to the HUD-Code home shipment numbers reported ‘variously’ by MHARR & MHI. COBA7® has already entered into agreements with appropriate data sources to make this happen. And given this blog, via its’ BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) distribution to 1,000 MHIndustry & LLLCommunity aficionados each week, there’s the ideal opportunity, even responsibility, to finally bring home shipment statistical accuracy & consistency to our business base throughout the U.S.- the sooner the better.

So, there you have it. Our trip to Washington, DC. If you do plan to be ‘in town’ during the stated time frame, and want to engage in private conversation, or networking with Spencer and or me, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and let us know your availability.

II.

On-site LLLCommunity Property Manager Compensation

As owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities, we’ve intermittently discussed this important matter, among ourselves, ‘for years’. We’ve talked of ‘doing surveys’, but when push-came-to-shove, no one (and I mean ‘no one’) was willing to openly and honestly share what or how they’re compensating on-site (property) mangers, under a variety of working arrangements. Appears there’re just too many variables in play, to identify a true Common Denominator applicable to everyone, except maybe one, the OER (operating expense ratio) percentage approach.

But first the variables…

• The nature of the job itself, e.g. simple ground lease income only property – or with includes property-owned homes, and how many? Also; full & stable, or a turnaround challenge? And, all city utilities, or water wells & water treatment facilities in place – in good or poor condition? Other factors: adult vs. family property, snow plowing vs. Sunbelt, etc..

• Small vs. large enough LLLCommunity (i.e. occupied & paying rent homesites) to support a fulltime on-site manager vs. part-time. My opinion? It’s a part-time job until more than 150 occupied sites are paying rent. But more on that later.

• One on-site manager or prefer a married couple – preferably retired and drawing one or more pensions from elsewhere. The thought? Get two talents – one inside doing paperwork, other outside doing maintenance), for price of 1 ½ employees, but incurring the risk of losing two, not just one, employees upon occasion..

• Providing housing and or housing allowance – and concessioned site rent or not?

• Paying for all or none of the manager’s on-site utilities?

• Role, if any, of bonuses for leasing and or home sales performance?

• And there’s more; to include, but not limited to: benefits (healthcare, retirement, etc.), provide vehicle, etc..

With all that said, it’s not difficult at all to understand the difficulty finding consensus among owners/operators, let alone willingness to report and explain their respective compensation programs.

The answer? Again, one that’s (deceptively?) simple. If you have access to the Official MHIndustry Standard Chart of Operating Accounts*, you know, under the ‘Allen Model of OERs (Operating Expense Ratios) for LLLCommunities’, the pro forma total OER is pegged at 40 percent (i.e. 40% or 40 cents of every dollar in collected homesite rent), and that…

4.5 percent of 40 percent OER is set aside for Administrative wages/salary, &
3.0 percent of the same base amount, is set aside for Maintenance wages/salary.

How’s that work? Given 50, 100, 150, & 200 site LLLCommunities charging $200/month homesite rent, the following $$$ amounts can be available for the on-site administrative and maintenance management and work at four sizes of properties:

50 sites X $200 rent = $10,000 X .045 admin.= $450, & $10,000 X .03 maint. = $300.

Together = $750/month gross PM wages/salary, divided by 4.3weeks/month = $174/week pay, administrative & maintenance together. Not a fulltime job.

100 sites X $200 rent = $20,000 X .045 admin. = $900, & $20,000 X .03 maint. = $600.

Together = $1,500/month gross PM wages/salary, divided by 4.3 weeks/month = $348/week pay, administrative & maintenance together. Not a fulltime job.

150 sites X $200 rent = $30,000 X .045 admin. = $1,350, & $30,000 X .03 maint. = $900

Together = $2,250/month gross PM wages/salary, divided by 4.3 weeks/month = $523/week pay, administrative & maintenance together. Barely a fulltime job

200 sites X $200 rent = $40,000 X .045 admin. = $1,800, & $40,000 X .03 maint = $1,200

Together = #3,000/month gross PM wages/salary, divided by 4.3 weeks/month = $698/week pay, administrative & maintenance together, for one or two, maybe three employees, working a mix of fulltime and part-time.

Now comes the difficult part. How to best allocate the budgeted administrative and maintenance wages/salary dollars per property, based on its’ size (i.e. again, number of occupied and rent paying homesites), and nature of the property management responsibilities. Are we talking about one fulltime PM, two part-time PMs, or a mix of of fulltime and part-time positions?

All this does not fully address perennial questions relative to staffing and compensating property managers on-site in LLLCommunities throughout the U.S. but it certainly is a place to start.

End Note.

• If you’d like a FREE copy of the Industry Standard Chart of Operating Accounts for LLLCommunities, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.and ask for it. Special ANNOUNCEMENT for COBA7® affiliates and MHInsiders: The July 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal will include a copy of the newest version of the Income & Expense Analysis Worksheet for LLLCommunities. And on the reverse side of this standard PM form, is a copy of the above referenced Industry Standard Chart of Operating Accounts for LLLCommunities.

III.

COBA7® Preparing an ‘Open Letter to the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Realty Asset Class!’

Content & Distribution Depends on Proceedings at MHI, NCC, HUD, MHARR & COBA7® Meetings in Washington, DC…

WHY an Open Letter to the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Realty Asset Class? Simple. Lack of unified action by MHARR & MHI following last year’s 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable. At that venue, a WHITE PAPER – distributed nationwide by COBA7®, was underscored by keynote presentations and discussions led by Michael Sullivan, CPM® & Ken Rishel; both of whom inspired lively and timely discussion relative to the Past, Present & Future of our beleaguered industry and recovering property type. From there, a formal call went out to leaders of MHARR & MHI, to work together and plan, and eventually host a National Strategic Planning Meeting – ‘for everyone willing to pay their own way’, to convene in the Chicagoland area. As it turned out, the call was ignored; so to date, the manufactured housing industry continues to flounder along at a six year nadir average of but 55,000+/- new HUD-Code homes shipped per year, and with no real end in sight.

An ‘Open Letter to the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Realty Asset Class!’ is the next public manifestation of this Initiative That Will Not Die! What will be included in the forthcoming message to more than a thousand MHIndustry & LLLCommunity aficionados? That’s still coming together, but at present includes:

• Yet another call for a National Strategic Planning Meeting, in late 2015 or early 2016. The ideal setting? Perhaps at the Louisville MHShow during mid-January 2016. Not the best time of year or best location, but certainly an opportunity to
1) support and participate in this national initiative – planned and hosted by MHARR, MHI, & COBA7®; 2) take in a rejuvenated MHShow with dozens of new homes on display, and an array of super seminars; and, 3) maybe even sit for the Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management certification designation. Now that’s what one might well call a ‘threefer’!

• Time has (more than) come for one or more new HUD-Code manufactured homes – especially a Community Series Home (singlesection with WOW! Factors and durability-enhancing features), to be publicly exhibited near Congress in our nation’s capitol! Why not? The RV industry already does this! Target date? MHI’s next legislative gathering. And again, why not to be planned and hosted by MHARR, MHI, and COBA7®?!

• Identify and cultivate working relationships with new partners, from outside the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, to strengthen our presence and reputation as affordable housing, with a desirable lifestyle, and help improve our national image through MH brand advertising. Frankly, this latter part is an ideal project for the American Housing Advocates! What are we waiting for?

And yes, there’s more, much more to come; but you likely get the idea….As they say, ‘Stay tuned here – at community-investor.com, for more and timely news about this ‘Open Letter to the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ And again; what are we waiting for?

There are a number of quiet issues that’ll be addressed at MHI, NCC, MHARR, COBA7®, & HUD meetings on 14, 15 & 16 June 2015. Once Spencer Roane, MHM® and I see how these play out – or don’t, then finishing the ‘Open Letter to the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Realty Asset Class’ will occur..

As a related aside; ‘What would YOU like to see included in such an Open Letter, that hasn’t been mentioned so far? Just let me know via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or via email: gfa7156@aol.com

And remember, No Blog Posting on 7 June 2015! Start again on or about 14 June. Will try and remember to ‘splain’ all that then…GFA

***.

Answers to Five Tough Questions, Community Buying Group & More…

May 23rd, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 350 via community-investor.com, copyright 24 May 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

Introduction to this week’s blog posting. Whew! What an exciting two weeks it’s been, processing your answers to the Five Tough Questions! And, if not already an affiliate of COBA7®, here’s one more (new) good reason to do so ASAP! And finally; a successful LLLCommunity owner/operator ‘goes on record’ as to why he/she actively sells & self-finances new HUD-Code homes on-site in LLLCommunities. Three hot topics to read here!

I.

Blog Readers’ Reply to Five Tough Questions

Few of our weekly blog postings during the past seven years have generated as much thoughtful, helpful, passionate response at this multifaceted topic two weeks ago:

‘Five Tough Manufactured Housing Questions Never Before Addressed in Any Public Forum’

Two weeks later, we continue to receive worthy input from businessmen and women actively engaged in manufactured housing & or land-lease-lifestyle communities.

Following are abbreviated versions of the Five Tough Questions, followed by a summary composite of responses received from at least a dozen conscientious individuals.

1. Remain under HUD’s regulatory oversight (per 1976 – 2015 experience), OR seek eventual deregulation?

One response: “If not too late, exit HUD regulation (and join NAHB); but if too late to exit, then simply find ways to WIN with them hanging on our backs. HUD is not fixable, nor will they ever be. They are ‘gubment’ and like Reagan said so well, ‘Beware the person knocking on your door, saying: ‘Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” NB

Probable Bottom Line? Our ‘Big 3-C’ HUD-Code home manufacturers have far too much invested in the past-to-present day business model to change anytime soon; and frankly, they appreciate, even enjoy the protection federal preemption provides, relative to the HUD’s performance-based building code. And given the recent increase in HUD label fees, and moving to the front burner, long dormant programs with potential fines attached, smacks of assurance dollars will be forthcoming to keep the manufactured housing program afloat. Forget deregulation for the foreseeable future!

2. Continue using chattel (personal property) capital to finance in-LLLCommunity home sales transactions; OR, convert to lower interest rate, realty-secured home mortgages likely featuring written rental homesite leases with longer terms than purchase agreement on the home itself?

The latter possibility raises more questions than answers at present, e.g. “How’s this handled in Hawaii? How’s it handled in New Hampshire, where ‘the change’ is already long in place among all LLLCommunities there?” BB. Hmm. Lessons to be learned, pondered and maybe someday effected!”

Probable Bottom Line? Change is likely a-coming; the real question is when? Year 2016 or 2020, or later? With all that said however, don’t ‘count out’ the independent chattel finance firms – yet. Reportedly, Berkshire-Hathaway firms, 21st Mortgage Corporation & Vanderbilt Mortgage& Finance, Inc., presently originate chattel capital loans for 39 percent of the national market, while Wells Fargo garners 6 percent; and the remaining 55 percent is shared by 7,000+/- lenders nationwide.

3. Future of manufactured housing sales, within and outside land-lease-lifestyle communities?

Manufactured housing marketing and sales = manufactured housing distribution. And at present we have four distinct, though at times overlapping business models afoot:

• Independent (street) MHRetailers (formerly known as ‘dealers’). Traditionally filled vacant rental homesites in manufactured home communities cum land-lease-lifestyle communities. Today? Depends on the local housing market, but there’s still ‘some of the same’, as well as strong interest in selling/contracting land & home packages using manufactured and modular homes. But far fewer in business today than 15 years ago.

• Company stores. Manufacturer-owned (street) MHRetailers primarily marketing their corporate brand(s) of manufactured and modular homes in the manner just described..

• Quasi direct sales to consumer outlets, e.g. Factory Expo Homes and others. Where new manufactured homes are marketed online, and or at sales centers often sited near home manufacturing plants. ‘Quasi’ (‘almost’), because consumers remain unable to buy new manufactured homes directly from manufacturers.

• Land-lease-lifestyle Communities. Today, this is a mixed-bag situation. Many, if not most LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators are engaged in on-site marketing, sales, even seller-financing of new manufactured homes to fill vacant rental homesites. However, this paradigm shift in that business model has yet to impact the majority of LLLCommunities throughout the U.S., i.e. those properties containing fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece, or 85 percent of the estimated 50,000 property inventory nationwide..

Probable Bottom Line? While all are valid means for distributing HUD-code manufactured homes nationwide, a major evolution in home sales could occur among the aforesaid 85 percent of the estimated 50,000+/- national inventory of smaller LLLCommunities; as owners/operators 1) learn how to market, sell and seller-finance new homes on-site; and, 2) HUD-Code home manufacturers recognize this mostly untapped national market, and make it easier for owners/operators to buy, even finance, their product upon sale to homebuyers/site lessees. Both must happen, or this fledgling ‘buy here/pay here’ MH distribution model will not blossom!

4. Future of manufactured housing installation within and outside land-lease-lifestyle communities?

• Federal Installation Standard of 2007 versus Frost Free Foundation®

• Home warranties to cover home installations

Probable Bottom Line. This is a scary question, one awash with unanswered questions. If HUD enforces the Federal Installation Standard in 2016, land-lease-lifestyle communities will likely bear the brunt of the estimated $5,000.00/rental homesite ‘new foundation’ or ‘retrofitting’ cost! The unanswered questions: Will existing concrete foundations, in presently compliant states, be grandfathered – as rumored? Will HUD ‘encourage or discourage’ widespread use and approval of the Frost Free Foundation®, among LLLCommunity owners/operators and state inspection agencies, in lieu of wholesale reconfiguration of rental homesites? To learn more about Frost Free Foundation®, phone the official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG & request the COBA7® FFF Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD. It’s FREE to everyone! A simplest answer to all this, for the time being, is to buy one’s new HUD-Code homes only from manufacturers describing and encouraging use of FFF in their official Installation Manuals; learn all you can about the FFF system; and, implement it properly!

5. Future of rental homesite rent rates in land-lease-lifestyle communities?

“Let the market rule! Avoid formulae and laws.” SG

Probable Bottom Line. The blog flogger (reader) is right. In the words of the French: ‘laissez-faire’ or noninterference! After all, look what happened to the original ARC, more than one LLLCommunity REIT; Capital First Realty and others. Just be aware, the 3:1 Rule of Thumb (i.e. average area site rent = 1/3rd unit rent for a 3BR2B conventional apartment in same local housing market) has worked well for more than 40 years; while the 2:1 Rule of Thumb aberration not nearly so well, except in a few specialty (e.g. Sunbelt, all adult communities) local housing markets!

II.

COBA7® Partners with Community Buying Group
to Save Affiliates $$$!

Did you know? COBA7®, as a valuable new service for its’ hundreds of its’ affiliates, has partnered with Community Buying Group, to save money on materials, products and services from a wide variety of national sources and vendors. And there’s NO cost to COBA7® affiliates for this unique service.

Begin buying and saving at Lowe’s, Sherwin-Williams, Sunbelt Rentals, and at least 20 additional CBG Preferred Partners. And the most exciting part we can’t tell you yet, beyond this hint: ‘Who’d YOU like to buy WHAT from, in this MHBusiness, and save mega-dollars along the way?’ Think about it….

Community Buying Group has a list of all COBA7® affiliates. So, as an affiliate, all you have to do is visit COBA7Benefits.com to sign up NOW! Couldn’t be easier!

To affiliate with COBA7®, simply telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Frankly, It’s, by far, the wisest way to invest $134.95, or $544.95, even $944.95/year to receive, in the first instance, 12 issues of the Allen Letter professional journal; or, same subscription, plus a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents, e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’ Registry, and much much more! And the $944.95 gets you the Allen Letter, 12 SSRDs, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter…containing MHIndustry intelligence before it becomes MHIndustry News!

III.

The Compelling Case for Selling New HUD
Homes on-site in LLLCommunities!

Received the following, as an email, from a fellow LLLCommunity owner and COBA7® affiliate.

“New manufactured homes work best for me right now, because ‘repos’ are older, harder to find, and more expensive. Our experience is, buyers prefer new manufactured homes for the same reasons they prefer new cars: no previous owner, no dents or scratches, no smoke or pet odors, and the one year bumper-to-bumper warranty. The key to successful manufactured housing sales is to qualify the buyer and get a substantial down payment on the new home. Specifically, sell to those who CAN & WILL make the mortgage payments. New manufactured homes generally improve the appearance of the LLLCommunity and attract a higher demographic resident, as well as prospective homebuyers.”

As a related aside, this LLLCommunity owner/operator provides seller-originated financing for virtually all his/her homebuyer/site lessees. This chattel capital comes from local banks, private sources, etc.

Pretty much says it all, dontcha think? Come to the 24th annual International Networking Roundtable, 9-11 September 2015, at the Hilton Resort Hotel on Mission Bay in San Diego, CA., and learn more about this process – particularly those of you reading this blog posting not yet engaged in the on-site sale and seller-financing of new HUD-Code manufactured homes. For a descriptive brochure/registration form, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***

6 MHIndustry Trends, & Time for New Type MHShow?

May 16th, 2015

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 349 Copyright @ 17 May 2015

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

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press) , 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 = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬

Introduction to Parts I & II of this week’s blog posting.

In Part I, a half dozen contemporary MHIndustry & LLLCommunity trends are identified, along with positive & negative consequences; and, ending with ‘Five Tips to ID Trends!’

Part II, asks, ‘Time and Trends Ripe for a New Type Regional Manufactured Housing Show?’ Hint. The answer is ‘yes’, but how will it look when ready to debut will be the subject of a future blog posting here and elsewhere.

I.

Identifying, Using & ‘Dissing’ Business Trends

“You don’t need the Psychic Hotline to find out what the future holds for your business, but you do need to pay attention to trends. Unlike fads, trends are long-term tendencies that shape our culture and companies. They reflect what is happening in the world around us and help predict what is to come. “

So reads wise guidance relied on during 26 years publishing the Allen Letter professional journal, and nearly seven years penning the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, a highly respected, limited circulation business newsletter. I no longer recall who provided the sage advice, but it’s been appreciated time and again. At the end of this posting, I’ll list the ‘Five Tips for Tapping into Trends’ that complement the opening quote

In the meantime, I’ll tell you this, the quote’s been a valuable maxim, reminding me to stay alert to and describe emerging trends. In today’s blog, I’ll identify several, but not all the national trends shaping ‘mobile home parks’ into manufactured home communities during the 1970s thru 1990s; then land-lease-lifestyle communities, circa 2005. Will also describe positive and negative characteristics of each trend; and how recently, an accidental ‘dissing’ (‘disrespecting’) of an established LLLCommunity trend, could foist unintended consequences on the manufactured housing industry.

First the trends.

Land-lease-lifestyle community consolidation has been an ongoing, albeit intermittent, trend since the mid-to late 1970s. Then, ‘syndicators’ roamed the land, searching for failed ‘mobile home parks’ to acquire as tax write-offs and turnaround opportunities for their doctor and lawyer limited partners. That drill ended in 1986 with a tax law change. Consolidation then became a series of ‘waves’, first documented in the Roulac RE Consulting Group of Deloitte Haskins + Sells ‘Largest Mobile Home Park Owners list’ in 1987 – precursor to the annual (26th) ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s
Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’).

Since then, we’ve seen the real estate investment trust (‘REIT’) wave build from four LLLCommunity property portfolios in 1994 & 1995, to crest at six a decade later; then decline in number to three, five years later (2009); remaining at that small number today (2015) – though new IPOs (Initial Public Offerings of stock, as REITs, is reportedly in the offing.

Next came a few equity ‘players’, one of whom, Hometown America, operates to this day.

And the most recent consolidation wave is evidenced by aggregators buying and flipping property portfolios often comprised of marginally-performing LLLCommunities, to capital sources outside the manufactured housing industry.

Positive aspects of all these consolidation waves? Certainly have popularized LLLCommunities as a realty investment vehicle; and to a lesser degree, highlighted and promoted the lifestyle, especially all adult communities in Sunbelt regions.

Negative aspects of all these consolidation waves? Gone, pretty much, are the days of strong and vibrant state manufactured housing associations, as Mom & Pop-developed LLLCommunities have been absorbed into (now) 500+/- property portfolios nationwide. Large portfolio owners, or their representatives, have supplanted heretofore wealthy sole proprietors active in local and national advocacy matters, seriously reducing attendance at statewide meetings and local chapters. And some would say, certain large property portfolio ‘players’ have, at times, played havoc with local housing market rental homesite rent rates, raising them too much and too frequently, negatively affecting occupancy rates and the value of homes titled by homeowner/site lessees.

Majority of earliest ‘mobile home parks’ were designed to site small (then) singlewide mobile homes. In time however, as the housing type became more popular, and manufacturers understood the $$$ potential of the ‘big box = big bucks’ mantra, multisection homes became vogue – requiring manufactured home community design and development to accommodate the evolving trend. Positives? Today’s larger manufactured homes are certainly more ‘homelike’ than ever before. And today’s newer LLLCommunities ‘look & feel’ more like communities than their high density ‘mobile home park’ predecessors; both measures popularizing, once again, the lifestyle. Negatives? Less unit density = (likely) less ROI. And, unfortunately, that’s also one of the factors working against the ‘affordable housing’ reputation of manufactured housing in years past. While today’s large manufactured homes cost less per square foot, than site-built competition; the tendency, on the part of some large property portfolio owners/operators to ‘push the envelope’ where rental homesite rent rates are concerned, increasing the difficulty of making a case for housing affordability.

National advocacy for manufactured housing has been around for more than seven and three decades respectively, where MHI & MHARR are concerned. However, national advocacy for (then) manufactured home communities did not become a necessity – or the beginning of an eventual wave, until the early 1990s, when several large property portfolios launched IPOs, eventually becoming REITs in 1994 & 1995. Two years earlier, in 1993, the Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) was formed by 19 LLLCommunity owners/operators. And in early 1996, the National Communities Council was launched by MHI, absorbing the ISC, eventually making the NCC a full-fledged division.

In early 2014, the national advocacy wave crested with the formation of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Affiliates®, or COBA7® – where national advocacy is the last of seven function areas.

Positives? If nothing else, national representation and advocacy on the national political and regulatory level. But now, with the debut of COBA7®, there’s 1) ongoing statistical research, 2) monthly distribution of key resource material, 3) weekly and monthly print and online communication via blog and newsletters, 4) & 5) superb networking and deal-making opportunities, and 6) professional property management training and certification via the Manufactured Housing Manager® program.

Negatives? At least two. ‘Too much power by too few at the top’, as in manufacturer members (i.e. the Big Three ‘C’ firms: Clayton, Champion, Cavco), and too few housing finance and (now) land-lease-lifestyle Community portfolio owners/operators! Then there’s ‘affluence gerrymandering’, the purposeful scheduling of national meetings at high-priced resort venues where only the wealthiest businessmen and women can afford to attend – hence, enjoying limited opposition when it comes to deciding matters of national policy and procedure. To this abuse is the added ‘insult to injury’, whereby proxy voting is banned, by at least one national advocacy entity, at national meetings,

Hard to say here, which trend came first, widespread interest in submetering utilities to increase profitability and conserve energy and natural resources; or, resident relations as a professional property management focus that along with profitability and curb appeal, distinguished the better run properties, from those left to languish. Positives? Again, increased profitability and conservation of energy and resources in the first instance; better reputation, more resident referrals, and longer resident retention, in the latter instance. Negatives? Beats me.

Marketing, selling, and often seller-financing new Community Series Homes, or CSH Model manufactured homes on-site in (now) land-lease-lifestyle communities is one of the newest, ongoing trends, to characterize contemporary operations. Forced on owners/operators, with the departure of ‘easy to access chattel capital’ at the turn of the century, and resulting disappearance of thousands of independent (street) MHRetailers, the New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender is likely here to stay! Positives? More AITR (Alternative Income to Rent) measures than ever before; likely resulting in greater ROI potential. Negatives? Difficulty complying with cumbersome, complicated, state and federal financial regulations. And, to date, this trend has not swept up the smaller (i.e. less than 100 rental homesites per property) LLLCommunities who comprise an estimated 85 percent of the national inventory (i.e. 50,000+/- such properties). This trend has been primarily a property portfolio driven phenomenon.

And now this imbroglio (‘an intricate, confused or perplexing state of affairs.’): Mixed-use land-lease-lifestyle communities, once a rarity, have become all but commonplace, as a bona fide trend, among some-if-not-many portfolio owners/operators of this unique, income-producing property type. Mixed-use here, describes income-producing properties characterized by homeowner/site lessees on rental sites within LLLCommunities, whether they reside in ‘mobile homes’, manufactured homes, modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, ‘RVs for a season’, even stick-built homes constructed on-site to look like HUD-Code homes. And yes, even rental units, as in apartments.

• Positives? A clear demonstration of property owners/operators ‘doing what it takes’ to keep vacant rental homesites occupied and paying rent’! Some of these shelter types, especially those RV-related, have helped reclaim lost ground when it comes to providing ‘affordable housing’ in LLLCommunities, as well as filling functionally obsolete rental sites.

• Negatives? Manufactured housing industry purists sometimes have difficulty accepting ‘anything but manufactured homes’ being sited within this unique, income-producing property type. This might be one of the reasons the NCC’s recent ’50 Largest MHCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators’ list debuted with all RV site counts stripped from the rental site totals of portfolio ‘players’. Consequences of this unilateral action? Beyond the initial toppling of ELS, Inc., by sister REIT, Sun Communities, Inc., as ‘World’s Largest Owner/operator of LLLCommunities!’, that remains to be seen. Hopefully the NCC will realize the error of ‘dissing’ valuable RV rental sites in LLLCommunity portfolios. If not, the council runs the real risk the number of RV sites will continue to increase among some-if-not-many property portfolios, to the point where they’ll become the majority shelter choice. One MHI direct, dues-paying member, ELS, Inc., is already at that tipping point. Which suggests this question: ‘If RV sites no longer ‘count’ in a property portfolio total, will annual ‘per site dues calculations’ be based on resulting smaller number of manufactured housing rental homesites? If so, ‘Why do this to one’s budget planning?’, as it likely means, for example, a 50% reduction in annual dues revenues received from ELS, Inc., alone.

And these aren’t all the trends, past and present, affecting manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide, but they give you a feel for ‘what’s happening’ and why it’s wise and helpful to be a trend identifier and user.

Here’re Five Tips for Tapping into Trends, cited earlier in this blog posting:

1. Pay attention. Listen to what people are talking about when networking. What choices are being made in stores and elsewhere? Watch for these predictors of consumer demand.

2. Read. Trend watchers read dozens of industry magazines, newspapers and newsletters – on and off the web. Changes in any industry will have a ripple effect in yours.
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3. Network differently. Talk to clients and competition. Learn about changes anticipated and experienced by others.

4. Keep track. Not observations. Watch for common threads of information, for a clearer picture of what’s happening.

5. Slow down. Reserve time to think about what’s been learned, and what it likely means to your business.

So, ready to become a trend watcher? Let me know when you spot new trends worthy of research and sharing among friends, peers, and business associates. (317) 346-7156. GFA

II.

Time for a New Type Regional MHShow?

Depends on whether YOU agree with the description of the newest, ongoing trend cited in Part I of this week’s blog posting; again:

“Marketing, selling, and often seller-financing new Community Series Homes, or CHS model manufactured homes on-site in (now) land-lease-lifestyle communities….’

First a little back ground. For many decades, vacant rental homesites in ‘mobile home parks’ cum ‘manufactured home communities’ cum LLLCommunities, were oft filled by independent (street) MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ throughout the U.S. With the all but disappearance of ‘easily accessible chattel capital’ from independent chattel finance firms, at the turn of this Century, it became necessary for community owners/operators to ‘step up to the plate’, so to speak, and buy, market, sell, and often seller-finance, or rent, new manufactured homes (since 2009, called Community Series Homes, or CHS models) themselves, on-site. Well, this has worked reasonably well among some, if not many, property portfolio firms and some sole proprietor-owned LLLCommunities. Well enough, that today, more than 30 percent of all annual HUD-Code home shipments go directly from factories into LLLCommunities; that’s up from 25 percent in 2009. But that’s not the whole picture.

Today, 500+/- LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators, controlling an average of about 20 such properties apiece, account for the ownership of the 15 percent of 50,000+/- properties that have more than 100 rental homesites apiece. What about the 85 percent of the 50,000+/- national inventory, numbering fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece in their properties? There’s ‘the rub’! How do we, as an industry and realty asset class, reach out and bring these mostly (presumably) passive investors to the point of buying new HUD-Code homes to fill vacant rental homesites in their properties, from coast to coast?

Well, one step will occur this Fall, when the top executives from the Big Three C HUD-Code home manufacturers keynote the 24th annual International Networking Roundtable (9-11 September 2015) in San Diego, CA. Their message: ‘How to Buy New Community Series Homes for Siting in LLLCommunities Nationwide!’ Not only will that message resonate with the estimated 250 LLLCommunity owners/operators expected to be present at the event, but ‘that message’ will be circulated as widely as possible during months to follow.

So, what’s all this have to do with the title of Part II of this week’s blog posting? ‘Time for a New Type Regional MHShow?’

It’s likely everyone reading this blog posting has been to one or more or many regional manufactured housing shows in KY, MS, PA, FL & elsewhere – with ‘shows’ being the operative word, indicating ‘homes on display’. Well, ask yourself this, if a LLLCommunity owner/operator: ‘Have you been satisfied with the number and variety of Community Series Homes*1, or CSH Models, on display at these events?’ Methinks most of you would say ‘No’. As a rule, HUD-Code home manufacturers love to show off their latest designs of ‘Big Box + Big Bucks’ multisection, and humongous singlesection homes at these shows. Rare is the CSH singlesection or small-sized multisection home suitable for siting within a LLLCommunity. And that’s one of the two motivations suggesting the need for a new type regional MHShow. The other reason? The vast majority of LLLCommunity owner/operators who aren’t yet buying new HUD-Code homes, for a variety of reasons. In many cases, they simply don’t know how to go about the buying and selling processes, including seller-finance.

So, watch this website next week, or the week after, for a description of what might be in store as a prototype regional MHShow is planned for the Spring of 2016. A hint: it’ll likely be a healthy combination of several two hour plant tours and at least a half dozen pithy HOW TO seminars, during a two weekday time frame. But that’s all for now…

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End Note.

1. Community Series Homes, or CSH Models. Generally described as being a singlesection or small-sized multisection HUD-Code home with at least one exterior WOW factor (e.g. front loaded porch) and interior WOW factor, plus an array of durability-enhancing features to help lessen the ‘make ready time’ between home owners and or renters. For a free list of these Community Series Homes and where to buy them, simply phone COBA7®’s Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.