Challenge Coins, Land-lease Communities, & Foundations in Freezing Climates

October 21st, 2016

Blog # 418 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 23 October 2016;

Perspective. ‘Land-lease Communities, previously manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the sole national advocacy voice; official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLCommunities!

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 MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION: Don’t you think it’s high time for us, who’re in the manufactured housing industry & land-lease community realty asset class, to pull ourselves out of our doldrums, and take command of our individual and collective futures with enthusiasm and aplomb (‘self-confidence’)? If you agree, read Part I with close interest, and when done, ‘commit to do likewise’ in your sphere of influence! And Part II describes a minor trade terminology adjustment long overdue. It’s done now, so let’s never use the ‘mobile home park’ & manufactured home community monikers again, to describe our unique, income-producing property type! Long live land-lease communities! Part III belongs on every LLCommunity owner/operator’s desk – as a ready and comprehensive reference relative to MHInstallations. As you read through the 38 pages, be asking yourself: ‘Hmm. Is this guide, somehow, a precursor to HUD wanting to expand its’ authority, and oversee MHInstallations within LLCommunities in every state? Some already think so….


COBA7® to Introduce Challenge Coins to Manufactured Housing Industry & Land-lease Communities Nationwide

Are you a home manufacturer, MHRetailer, land-lease community owner/operator, or lender, active in the manufactured housing industry? If so, you know what it’s been like these past 16 years, enduring the ‘loss of easy access to chattel capital’ to finance new HUD-Code homes on-site in communities, experiencing the worst new home shipment slide in the 75year history of the MHBusiness, and suffering oppressive financial regulation.

Well, it appears matters are ‘looking up’ for us of late! Manufacturers are selling an increasing volume of new Community Series Homes directly into land-lease communities (up from 12,000 in 2009 to 28,000 in 2015), property owners/operators have figured out how to seller-finance them (via ‘contract sale’, lease-option, even renting units), and we’re learning to live with provisions of the S.A.F.E. Act, Dodd-Frank legislation, & the CFPB. And there’s more a-coming…

New HUD-Code shipment volume is up for this year! Land-lease communities continue to enjoy a ‘sellers’ market’, as many site a continuing flow of new HUD-Code homes on vacant rental homesites; and since 2014, the two perennial national advocates for manufactured housing have been joined by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. This international provider of key products (statistical reports, directories & newsletters) and services (networking & deal-making opportunities, and professional property management training, i.e. MHM®), is announcing here, an historic innovation intended and designed to increase individual and corporate esprit de corps industry wide!

Esprit de Corps. It’s ‘a feeling of pride, fellowship and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group’, and there are several ways to encourage and build it among peers, especially those in the manufactured housing industry!

A way to begin is, as the title of this blog posting suggests, introduce and distribute Challenge Coins nationwide. What’s a Challenge Coin? Well, they’ve been around since soldiers started using them during WWI – as a personal recognition tool, to identify with the unit in which they served. There are even instances where lives were spared, when a soldier – when challenged, produced his unit’s Challenge Coin as proof of identity and affiliation.

Challenge Coins, vary in size, from a quarter to silver dollar, and are frequently carried, pridefully, by firefighters, law enforcement officers, athletes, members of social clubs and fraternal bodies. And of course all branches of the U.S. military are frequent carriers – and exchangers – of Challenge Coins, as they make for attractive conversation stimulators, and encourage esprit de corps among those carrying them.

Well, COBA7® is designing its’ unique Challenge Coin, with plans to distribute them to affiliates, as they annually renew their relationship with the alliance. They’ll also be distributed selectively to housing manufacturers, lenders, and others, active in the MHIndustry and among LLCommunities, beginning 17 January 2017. And frankly, they’ll also be available for purchase; as it’s hoped other segments of the industry and asset class will rise to the ‘challenge’ and produce their own unique Challenge Coin – for distribution to their MHInsiders, and for trading among colleagues in other sectors.

What will COBA7®’s Challenge Coin look like? Well, the final die has not yet been cast, but the basic obverse design is attached to this blog posting. And the reverse side of the coin will likely include the COBA7® motto: Where ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!, plus it’s Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

So, if already a COBA7® affiliate, expect to receive your Challenge Coin sometime after the first of the year when you renew, maybe even at the Louisville MHShow in mid-January. If not affiliated, use COBA7® brochure attached to this blog posting to do so. And, if a housing manufacturers, lender, or other corporate entity in the MHIndustry, start now to design your unique Challenge Coin, as your contribution to the fostering of esprit de corps far and wide! Need a Challenge Coin source? Suggest you reach out to Spotlight Strategies via (317) 738-3434 &

While I doubt it’ll come to this, there is indeed a ‘challenge’ aspect relative to Challenge Coins, and it goes like this. Imagine a small group sitting around a table, and one individual turns to another and says, “Are you carrying your firm’s Challenge Coin?” If the answer is ‘no’, the ‘challenged’ individual buys the next round of drinks for everyone sitting around the table. However, if he/she produces their Challenge Coin, the ‘challenger’ buys the next round of drinks. Hmm. MHCongress here we come!”

For the time being; think about it! Every business entity is unique, and could produce a Challenge Coin worth carrying, sharing, and collecting. For example: HUD-Code home manufacturers might give their Challenge Coin to a LLCommunity customer when they bought their first home (to encourage product loyalty); same with a realty mortgage originator when an acquisition or refinance loan ‘closes’. And on and on. I know I’m looking forward to finally enjoying using a Challenge Coin to build esprit de corps among COBA7® affiliates, other business associates, even the national organizations to which my firm belongs. How ‘bout you?


COBA7® Tweaks MHIndustry Trade Terminology

Debated whether to even mention this or not, since it’s such a small tweak. However, to avoid any chance for confusion, here goes:

Ever since it became apparent, soon after the turn of the century, that ‘mobile home parks’ of yore, and manufactured home communities of yesterday, no longer just sited ‘mobile homes’ in the first instance; and, manufactured housing & ‘mobile homes’ in the latter, it seemed appropriate to refer to our unique, income-producing property type as being a land-lease-lifestyle community, or LLLCommunity for short. Especially since no fewer than six types of shelter had become commonplace therein, i.e. ‘mobile homes’, manufactured housing, modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, RVs for a season, even stick-built homes constructed on-site to imitate manufactured housing (latter instance only in Florida after major hurricanes). Lifestyle had been inserted in the moniker, as a nod to the unique ‘lifestyle’ enjoyed by homebuyer/site lessees; no more, no less.

Well, the time has come to drop ‘lifestyle’ from the trade term, leaving it simply as land-lease community, or LLCommunity for short. Why? Because the ‘lifestyle’ insertion simply has not caught on among journalists, owners/operators, etc.. BUT, more and more, I read and hear of folk using the land-lease community label, and I like it! So, officially right here; as far as this veteran MHIndustry observer is concerned, the ‘mobile home park’ of yore, the manufactured home community of yesterday, and land-lease-lifestyle community since the turn of the century, is now – in November 2016 – officially and practically…

Land-lease community, or LLCommunity for short!


‘Manufactured Home Foundations in Freezing Climates’

This is the title of the 38 page ‘Assessment of Design & Installation Practices for Manufactured Homes in Climates with Seasonally Frozen Ground’, prepared by SEBA Professional Services, LLC., for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.

Want a copy? Go to

This document is so new we (COBA7®) haven’t even had an opportunity to read and study it thoroughly. But we encourage you to reach out and obtain a copy ASAP, as confusion seems to be rampant among states, land-lease community owners/operators, installers, and state MHAssociations as to what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong’ in this area of manufactured housing practice these days.


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

NEW ERA for MH = Training for Manufacturers & LLLCommunity Managers

October 14th, 2016

Blog # 417 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 16 October 2016;

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINIE: (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 MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION: Want to start year 2017 off RIGHT? Well, whether you’re a HUD-Code home manufacturer or Business Development Manager (‘BDM’); land-lease-lifestyle community owner/operator; or, on-site or regional property manager, there’ll be specialized seminars and training for you on 17 January 2017, at the Kentucky State Fair Grounds, the day before the Louisville MHShow begins! So, ‘come on down’ for a few days of timely and strategic education, opportunities to buy new homes for 2017, and some superb interpersonal networking among your MHIndustry peers!


NEW ERA Blossoms in Atlanta, & Elsewhere…

‘Seven LLLCommunity Owners to Share their Secret Sauce of Successfully Selling & Seller-financing New HUD-Code Homes On-site in Their Respective Properties’

WHERE: Holiday Inn Perimeter, Atlanta, GA.

When: 26 October 2016

What: SECO Summit in the South Panel Presentation & Open Discussion with Audience

Who: Stacy Buss; Robert Gross; George Harris; Jon Harrison; Glen James, CPM®; Chuck Meek; and David Roden. Moderator: George Allen, CPM®, MHM®.

And if that’s not enough in the way of heady resources to tap into this timely topic, these LLLCommunity owners/operators will be in the audience and willing to share: Ben Braband; Maria Horton; Don Hodges; Jefferson Lilly; David Protiva, MHM®; Spencer Roane, MHM®;, and Robert Love, CPM®

Pique your interest to attend? Reach out soon to

Oh, and there’s much much more afoot at this year’s 6th annual SECO Summit in the South! Community Series Homes will be on display, there’s plethora of informative HOW TO seminars, along with superb networking opportunities. Also a ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class’ like you’ve not experienced before!

So, is it any wonder that more than 225 – and soon to be 250, MHIndustry & LLLCommunity businessmen and women have registered to attend this stellar event?


NEW ERA = New Direction, 17 January in KY!

HUD-Code Home Manufacturer, do you know how to identify all land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), large & small, nationwide?

Didn’t think so. Few people, within and outside the manufactured housing industry do.

However, if new HUD-Code home shipments are going to eclipse the 100,000 mark by year end 2020 – that’s little more than four years away (counting shipments that year), manufacturers must learn of the characteristics and contact sourcing of the three major markets of LLLCommunities – identified in last week’s blog (#416) posting at this website (

And not only that (i.e. identification of prospective home buying corporate entities); also, HOW TO effectively market and sell new HUD-Code homes to this diversified housing market. Such education will involve knowing HOW TO best serve local housing market ‘needs & wants’, based on demographics, Area Median Income or AMI, local practice/preference, and more. And then there’s the entire new ‘HOW TO sell and seller-finance new homes on-site’ paradigm. Neither of the national advocate entities for manufactured housing, is presently staffed to train LLLCommunity owners/operators in this new (for most) business model! So, if HUD-Code home manufacturers hope to sell increasing numbers of new Community Series Homes to LLLCommunities, they’re also going to have to train these owners/operators in these skills and methodologies, e.g. lease-option, contract sale, rental units, and more.

A caution here. Freelance consultant-trainers used by HUD-Code home manufacturers, during past decades, to similarly teach independent (street) MHRetailers HOW TO set up sales centers, and market/sell new homes in those environments, will likely not be a ‘good fit’ for training LLLCommunity owners/operators. Why? Because, unlike MHRetailers of past decades, LLLCommunity owners/operators are

• less focused on ‘making the next deal and the next’ – thus ensuring ongoing commissions. From the first interview, even telephone inquiry, LLLCommunity folk in large part, attempt to nurture good Resident Relations, more Resident Referrals, & maximum Resident Retention! They’re selling a lifestyle!

• Less focused on ‘maximizing profit on each deal’ – preferring to get said home onto a vacant rental homesite and paying rent for the next 20 years or more.

And there’s even more, to this emerging trend of ‘selling and seller-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site in LLLCommunities. But to learn those basics and nuances, HUD-Code home manufacturers should mark 17 January 2017 on their planning calendars. On that day, there’ll be a two hour seminar at on ‘hotel row’ just outside the Kentucky State Fair Grounds, covering the preceding ‘identification’ methodologies, as well as the HOW TO training needed by many, if not most, LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide.

To ensure an invitation to attend, since attendance will be limited to two or three dozen individuals, respond to blog column via email:, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Specific location and registration fee will be announced in a future blog posting, and likely in the December issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

Hopefully, the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) and Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHAR’) will inform their respective home manufacturer members of this unique and timely opportunity to learn how to increase their new HUD-Code home sales to LLLCommunities nationwide.


It is tentatively planned to also host the one day Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® professional property manager class and certification program, also on the 17th of January 2017, in the same hotel facility. If you’re reading this, and own/operate one or more LLLCommunities, and have not yet been trained as a professional property manager, and been so-certified, phone (317) 346-7156 for more information and to register. The MHM® program costs only $250.00 per candidate. And the class is taught by Katie Hauck, MHM® and Kathy, also an MHM®, one of her firm’s PM staff.

George Allen, CPM®, MHM®, Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

MHShipment ‘#s & $’ for August; How to Sell Homes to LLLCommunity Owners!

October 7th, 2016

Blog # 416 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 9 October 2016;

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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 MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. This likely the most EXCITING blog posting I pen during 2016!

How so? After 2 ½ years, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, takes on the major role of research & reporting statistician for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class!

And, Thanks to the Success of the first ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’, held this Spring at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. – and the 100 page HOW TO guidebook it inspired, COBA7® is able to assist HUD-Code home manufacturers significantly increase their market penetration among land-lease-lifestyle communities coast-to-coast. That is, IF manufacturers step forward and express a sincere desire meet and learn how to do so together! What can be more exciting than shipping a minimum of 75,000 new HUD-Code homes (out of an annual total of 100,000 units) into LLLCommunities by yearend 2020? Nothing!

But first, the…


COBA7® MHShipment ‘#s & $’ Report for August 2016

(An attachment to the BEBA – ‘Blast Email Blog Alert’, introducing this week’s blog posting at

You don’t want to miss this! COBA7®, in the stead of MHARR, MHI, & HUD, has stepped into the role of Official MHIndustry & LLLCommunity research statistician.

The attached COBA7® MHShipment ‘#s & $’ Report for August 2016, is a prime example of obtaining (by subscription, in this case) accurate data from credible sources (e.g. in this instance the Institute for Building Technology & Safety or IBTS) and reporting same in 1) unadulterated fashion, & 2) useful format, to end users such as you, HUD-Code home manufacturers, and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide!

If you have suggestions for improving the format of said report, please let us know by email or other means, e.g. GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247.


COBA7® Offers to Help HUD-Home Manufacturers
Better Market New Homes to All LLLCommunities!

HUD-home manufacturers recognize LLLCommunities and their need for Community Series Homes, as a key emerging market for their housing product, as independent (street) MHRetailers continue to languish. But they have little idea how to effectively market to all 50,000+/- such properties nationwide!

At a recent meeting of MHI’s Manufacturer Division, it was obvious to this observer, the Big Three-C firms (i.e. Clayton, Cavco & Champion), and others represented there – while alternatively focusing on

1) Creating a new type or brand of factory-built housing. (Anyone recall Edward Hicks’ Interlock Homes design of a decade ago?) And,

2) Exploiting emerging energy markets geographically.

3) Little to no mention of HOW TO reach ALL land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) nationwide.

Following said meeting we sent a letter to JR Daily, chairman of MHI’s manufacturer division, offering to assist to this (market penetration) end.

First, COBA7® ‘made the case’, how between years 2009 & 2015, as annual new HUD-Code home shipment volume increased from 49,789 to 64,331 units respectively, an eye-opening 25% of these homes (estimated at 12,500 in 2009) jumped to 40+% (estimated at 26,000 in 2015) six years later! Why? At first, few were buying new homes, let alone understanding how to seller-finance them. Then Community Series Homes (i.e. modest-sized singlesection homes and small multisection homes, all with durability-enhancing features) came onto the scene, meeting needs of LLLCommunity owners/operators filling an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide.

Harkening back to the INTRODUCTION to this blog posting, there’s no reason the just cited 40% shipment volume into LLLCommunities shouldn’t leap to 75% by year end 2020, if more new HUD-Code homes are marketed aggressively to this emerging market!

Then we described the national LLLCommunity market in three parts, only the first of which HUD-Code home manufacturers have effectively penetrated:

• While there’re 500+/- LLLCommunity property portfolios in North America today (i.e. Most Canadian portfolio ‘players’ own/operate LLLCommunities in the U.S.), only a couple dozen of the largest sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and three REITs (real estate investment trusts) routinely buy new HUD-Code homes in quantity, for specific properties or spread throughout their portfolio(s).*1

• The majority of property portfolio owners/operators continue to buy, if at all, one, two or three new HUD-Code homes per year. Why? Because, like their smaller Mom & Pop-sized owner/operator counterparts, they’ve not had to do so in years past, and their present day staff is unfamiliar with the ‘wholesale/retail’ drill. And, of course, there remains the daunting challenge to seller-finance these transactions.

• 85+/-% of 50,000+/- LLLCommunities located throughout the U.S. contain fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece. Many of these are owned and operated by second, third, fourth – and yes, even fifth generation family members (e.g. in SE Pennsylvania) who frequently do not live on-site, know little to nothing about the day to day operation of their investment properties, let alone now how to sell and seller-finance new homes on-site. They’re often aficionados of rental units, contract sales, even ‘churn & burn’ reality when need be. So, that’s the challenge of 2017: ID them, then teach the needed skills!

Just look at the shipment numbers. Given the accuracy of 26,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped into LLLCommunities during year 2015 – and applying the Pareto Principle – that suggests 20,800 new homes (i.e. 80% of 2015 shipment volume) going into larger ‘institution investment grade’ properties, or fewer than one home per every two large LLLCommunities! And the remaining 5,300 new HUD-Code homes shipped in 2015 (i.e.20% of 2015 shipment volume), to be spread among an estimated 42,500 Mom & Pop-sized properties, or one new home per eight smaller LLLCommunities.*2 That gives you an idea of the scope – and potential market of this major challenge.

So there is much much improvement to be had, marketing new HUD-Code homes to LLLCommunities nationwide, especially given the accuracy of the estimate of 250,000 vacant rental homesites figure!

How to do this?

In our correspondence to Mr. Daily, COBA7® suggested two already somewhat proven avenues:

• Home manufacturers to caucus with affiliates of COBA7® to 1) “agree on the general description and specifications characteristic of Community Series Homes”, eliminating any ‘confusion’ present today.*3 AND, 2) at the same caucus, learn how to effectively access all 500+/- property portfolio owners/operators via a direct mail resource that’s 99% accurate (address wise) and goes directly to the decision-maker at every portfolio.

• “Discuss the initial Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars (effected during May 2016 in Elkhart, IN.), to decide if similar venues might produce like and better results in the Southeast (including Texas) and West (including Pacific Northwest).” The added challenge here, will be to identify charismatic, capable, experienced (in the MHBusiness as a successful entrepreneur), motivated individuals to lead said efforts. I have no desire to do so. And, once again, these Plant Tours/Sales Seminars venues, endorsed and supported by state MHAssociations are likely the best way to ID & train Mom & Pop-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators.

What’s next?

HUD-Code home manufacturers, of all sizes, need to let COBA7® know of their interest in increasing new HUD-Code home penetration among 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide! How to do this? Via response to this blog, for sure, but there’re also two additional and timely, face-to-face opportunities (venues) to do so:

• I will be present during upcoming 6th annual SECO Summit in the South, 26 & 27 October in Atlanta, GA. I am making one presentation: ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’, so will have time to meet one-on-one, or via a group, if preferred, to lay plans for a national or regional caucuses just described; and/or discuss details of the Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminar. HUD-Code home manufacturers who participate, will be given a FREE copy of Guidelines for Selling & Seller-financing New Manufactured Homes On-site in LLLCommunities. For more info about SECO Summit in the South, reach out to Genevieve @ And tell her of your interest in meeting with me….

• I will also be present during Iowa Manufactured Housing Association’s annual meeting on 6 & 7 November in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Similar situation here, but I am a participant, not lecturer. Going to hear Spencer Roane, MHM® ‘hold forth’ on the merits of the lease-option methodology re seller-finance on-site in LLLCommunties. Want to get together? Contact Joe Kelly via (515) 265-1497 to register for the event – and tell him too, of your interest in meeting with me.

• Already I’ve been asked by one HUD-Code home manufacturer to plan and host a mini-seminar (i.e. two to three hours length) on Tuesday, 17 January 2017, the day before the Louisville MHShow begins. This would be along the line just described: ‘HOW TO identify and effectively market new HUD-Code homes (presumably CSH Models) to large and small LLLCommunities nationwide’. If this idea appeals to you, as a manufacturer, let me know via email or via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Frankly, if we do this, there’s no reason why the same or similar material and focus couldn’t be presented at the MHCongress in Las Vegas next Spring – if requested by MHI.

That about does it for near future planning relative to the Marketing of New HUD-Code Homes to ALL LLLCommunities during Year 2017! The ball is now in your court. COBA7® is willing to assist in the manners just described. YOU have to decide whether it’s worth your time to learn the ‘secret sauce’, so to speak, of marketing to this emerging national market for your HUD-Code housing product!

End Notes

1. What’s a LLLCommunity property portfolio? It’s when a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or REIT owns and or fee manages a minimum of five such properties and or at least 500 rental homesites. According to the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators in North America’; among the reporting 120 portfolios (of 500+/- total known) who reported, their property count averaged 33 LLLCommunities apiece, and average sized property contained 215 rental homesites. To obtain a copy of this year’s report (2016), simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request it. The 27th annual ALLEN REPORT is being compiled for distribution during January 2017. To obtain a copy of that Signature Series Resource Document (‘SSRD’), affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® at the Option III level ($544.95/year), by phoning the same number.

2. Pareto’s Law, a.k.a. ‘80/20 Rule’, or ‘law of the vital few’. For many events, roughly 80% of effects (e.g. home sales) come from 20% of the causal factors (LLLCommunities and or property portfolios, in this case).

3. Community Series Home design concept was birthed on 27 February 2009 (Note the year: lowest annual new home shipment volume in more than 70 years!), at a National State of the Asset Class Caucus (‘NSAC’) attended by more than 100 (then) MHCommunity owners/operators and home manufacturers, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Actual design term was suggested by industry consultant Don Westphal.

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

Most Information-packed Blog Posting Ever!

September 23rd, 2016

Blog # 415 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 25 September 2016:

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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 MHBusiness Model Performance!’


ANNOUNCEMENT: There’s every likelihood there won’t be a blog posting on Sunday, 2 October 2016. Sorry, but we’ll attempt to ‘make up for it’ the following week….


COBA7® Launches
Official HUD-Code Housing Shipment Report!

Tired of reading conflicting ‘HUD-Code housing shipment reports’ each month from manufactured housing’s ‘national advocacy’ trade entities? Well, so are several federal agencies, HUD-Code home manufacturers, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, and others.

Specifically, the Official HUD-Code Housing Shipment Report is prepared monthly, using information purchased from the Institute for Building Safety & Technology. It’s presently distributed to 25 MHIndustry & LLLCommunity leaders, as well as GSEs and other interested parties.

Open and read the attached (to this blog posting) Official HUD-Code Housing Shipment Report. If you’d like to receive for this seminal data document, reply by email or the Official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

This is one more way COBA7® serves the research and reporting needs of the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity real estate asset class. Are you affiliated with COBA7®?


Rising Acquisition Value of LLLCommunities to Decline Soon, or Continue as Contrarian?

You decide – after reading this Press Release, quoted from the Sept/Oct issue of the JOURNAL OF PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, page # 3.

“U.S. commercial real estate prices may decline as much as five percent in the next 12 months amid tightened regulations, a surge of debt maturities and property sales by publicly traded landlords, according to a new report from Pacific Investment Management, a.k.a. PIMCO. The study speculates a worldwide increase in demand for U.S. property investment may ebb, as slowing growth in China, lower oil prices and displaced debt markets threaten to curb six years of price expansion. PIMCO says a real estate shakeout may present opportunities, allowing some buyers to grab properties at bargain prices.”

“In an earlier report, Moody’s Investors Service and Real Capital Analytics estimated commercial property values in big U.S. cities have slipped three percent in the past three months.”

“Market turmoil also has harmed real estate investment trusts (REITs), with companies’ shares trading at prices that undervalue their holdings and spurring leading REITs to become net sellers.”

What do you think?


ALLEN REPORT (#28) Questionnaires Due Back to COBA7® on or before 30 September!

Don’t be left off this year’s 28th annual ALLEN REPORT!. Return your completed questionnaire on or before 30 September, via fax to (317) 346-7158 or mail: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247.

If you or your firm owns and or fee-managed five or more LLLCommunities, or at least 500 rental homesites (MH & RV), but have not received a questionnaire to use to describe your unique property portfolio, phone the number in the previous paragraph and request it, or email via

There are some new features planned for this (2017) year’s 28th annual ALLEN REPORT, but to realize them, we need at least 25% of the known 500+/- ‘portfolio players’ to participate. Hands down, this is the most frequently referenced compendium of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity benchmark statistics, anywhere, anytime. So, ensure your firm is included in this valuable Signature Series Resource Document or SSRD – one of 12 updated monthly, for you, by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. Don’t be fooled by amateur imitations.


National Customer Service Week

Are we celebrating National Customer Service Week (3-7 October 2016) in the MHIndustry and throughout the LLLCommunity real estate asset class? Didn’t think so.

We should be! It’d be a step ‘in the right direction’ toward improved public image, and promotion of truly affordable (non-subsidized) housing that only the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry provides. Hmm. Wonder of our ‘national advocates’ are paying attention? If so, perhaps we’ll climb aboard the National Customer Service Week bandwagon this time next year.


All Roads Lead to Atlanta, 26 & 27 October

Already more than 200 registrants committed to attend the 6th annual SECO (‘Southeast Community Owners) ‘Summit in the South’, in Atlanta, GA., 26 & 27 October 2016. Are you one of them? I am. For more information, reach out to Why go? A load of informative seminars and at least a half dozen Community Series Homes to inspect – and purchase, while at the SECO event.


MHI’s NCC Leadership Forum,
in Chicago, 2 & 3 November

This annual event will interest some property portfolio players; but by now, just as many – if not more folk, are meeting fatigued! After all, with the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable in September, the 6th annual SECO Summit in the South during October – and the exciting Lease-option program coming up three days later in Iowa, many will have absorbed as much knowledge as one can handle.

By the way, have you noticed how the meetings identified in the previous paragraph (except for NCC’s Leadership Forum) are rarely, if ever, mentioned in the published schedules coming out of either ‘national advocacy’ entity? COBA7®, as a ‘national resource’ entity, routinely lists as many regional and national trade gatherings as possible – whether sponsored by a ‘national advocacy’ entity or not. Wonder why?

If interested in attending NCC’s Leadership Forum, phone (703)558-0400 or 0666


Lease-option ‘Comes of Age’ in Iowa @ 6 November

This one day session has been ‘in the making’ for some time now. LLLCommunity owner/operator Spencer Roane, MHM®, the MHIndustry’s national expert on ‘lease-option methodology’ has presented this timely topic at past networking roundtables (CA & TN), during SECO Summits in the South (GA), and most recently, at the Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars in Elkhart, IN.

Now he’s been invited to Iowa to ‘splain’ the methodology in detail, to land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators from that and surrounding states. Want to attend? Contact Joe Kelly via (515) 265-1497. I certainly plan to be present for this presentation!


26th annual Networking Roundtable!

Mark your calendar NOW. The next International Networking Roundtable will occur, 6-8 September. Location TBA, but areas being considered: AZ, IN, & VA. Any suggestions? Let us know via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


‘All You Wanted to Know but Didn’t Know Who to Ask!’

September 17th, 2016

Blog # 414 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 18 September 2016;

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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 MHBusiness Model Performance!’



I. 25th Networking Roundtable Summary of content & contact information

II. Tough Perennial Issues Relative to Manufactured Housing & Communities

III. ‘Ah, some more Afterglow’ from the Networking Roundtable…

IV. Responses received to date re blog posting # 412.


What Did You Miss, or What Did You Experience?

25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable exceeds expectations!

Marcus & Millichap’s ‘Manufactured Housing Research’ paper, distributed during their Community Investors’ Symposium at the Roundtable, is chock full of salient statistics and emerging trends relative to the land-lease-lifestyle community realty asset class! To request a copy, telephone Michael Glass via (216) 264-2050.

If you’d like a copy of the Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing New Manufactured Homes On-site in LLLCommunities, distributed to everyone attending this year’s Roundtable, a limited number is available for purchase at $29.95 post paid. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE listed in the introduction to this blog posting.

If you’d like a copy of LLLCommunity owner Alvan L. Schrader’s autobiography, ‘No Respect at All’ – A PATH TO MILLION$, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. This case bound text is a $49.95 value for $24.95 post paid – with $20.00 of the purchase price donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. You truly missed an exciting tale, as Al described the challenges his companies faced and surmounted over the years. Hopefully some state MHAssociations, even the MHCongress in Las Vegas, will invite him to share his highly interesting story with their members.

Speaking of exciting presentations, Ken Corbin filled in at the last minute, to cover on-site sale of new homes in LLLCommunities. You’ll likely hear more about him in months to come, maybe where the Louisville Show is concerned, and various state venues. In the meantime, phone him via (740) 487-1544.

If you’d like a copy of Dave Butt’s timely book, With One Cry, ‘Renewed Challenge to Pray for America’, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. Price? $9.95 post paid. This one was distributed to 17 participants, during the informal prayer meeting for our nation & its’ leaders, early Friday morning.

No question about it anymore! Keith Anderson’s Champion Home Builders consider LLLCommunities to be a significant emerging market for their HUD-Code manufactured homes in general, Community Series Homes (‘CSH Models’) in particular1 If you’re unfamiliar with their homes and unique (durability enhancing) features, phone Byron Stroud via (702) 756-2600.

As you likely know, this year’s Roundtable took on an additional emphasis: the 2016 Chattel Capital Summit! Well, Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage, as a keynote presenter, set just the right tone for several messages to follow re ‘traditional ways of financing home only transactions (e.g. C.A.S.H. Program via Ryan Howerton @ (800) 955-0021); emergence of a hybrid means to financing ‘home only’ mortgages (Paul Bradley of ROC USA via (603) 513-2818; and other unique alternatives described by GSEs present (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac), and others, e.g. Scott MacFarlane of HAS Capital, LLC, via (501) 246-3688. One of the most popular $ presentations had to do with Spencer Roane, MHM® covering the basics and fine points of lease-option methodology. Reach him via (678) 428-0212 – or attend the 5th SECO Summit in the South, in Atlanta, GA., on 26 & 27 October. And the Chattel Capital Summit at the roundtable would no have been complete without a nod to compliance issues via Ken Rishel @ (217) 971-3968.

During the Thursday luncheon, Katie Hauck, MHM®, updated the audience as to MHGives, and the work it’s accomplished in Haiti during the past year. MHGives has pretty much emerged as an official charity of the manufactured housing industry. For more information, reach Ken & Katie Hauck via (815) 201-2000.

Who hasn’t heard Don Westphal ‘hold forth’ on designing and rehabilitating LLLCommunities? Well, this time was different. As Don said earlier, here’s the BEST of what I’ve Learned during the past 40+ years in this business! And boy, did he deliver. Reach Don via (248) 651-5518.

Friday morning is always a special time at Networking Roundtables. Why? Because the Lenders’ Panel, this year comprised of 10 national real estate-secured loan originators, held the attention of LLLCommunity owners/operators for an entire hour – getting into the details of acquisition and refinance matters. If you’d like a copy of the 18th National Registry of ALL Lenders, simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE!

And, for the third year in a row, representatives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (at the last minute the Federal Housing Finance Agency rep could not attend), helped this audience become more comfortable with how the GSEs interact with our realty asset class!

Was this all that was covered? Nope. We also had stimulating presentations on internet marketing (Darren Krolewski @ MHVillage), Using SmartMH on-site to sell more manufactured homes (Chris Nicely @ Next Step Homes); contractor fraud (Pat Ford @ Stanford Insurance); and water sub metering/retrofitting old systems (Fred Rice @ Spectrum Utilities).

One resource everyone present treasures? The comprehensive attendee directory they receive – identifying all the Sponsors of the event, as well as ‘everyone’s’ contact information. Has long enjoyed the reputation as the best ‘event directory’ produced anywhere, anytime, by anyone!

See you next year? GFA


Networking Roundtable Not All Education, Networking & Deal-making!

If there’s a ‘secret sauce’ that ensuring Success at every Networking Roundtable, besides 20+ education sessions, eight networking events, and deal-making opportunities, it has to do with what happens after lunch on the final day of the 2 ½ day program.

By then, attrition has reduced event participation by nearly 50 percent, so there might be 100+/- attendees convening in the major conference room following lunch. And during that time ‘we’ (everyone present) get pretty darn serious about the issues and matters facing the MHIndustry and its’ unique income-producing property type.

This year was no different. Here’re the topics put forward by the audience:

• Conjecture regarding eventual return of ‘easy access to traditional chattel capital’ for in-community financing of new and resale ‘home only’ mortgages; versus, openness – or not, to some form of new and hybrid financing, where homes are reclassified as ‘real estate’ and no longer ‘titled’ as vehicles. There are strong and entrenched opinions on both sides of this matter. Suggestion was made there be a closed-door meeting, where the merits and shortfalls of both alternatives are finally and summarily compared ‘line by line’, then debated and discussed1 Who will make this happen? MHI, MHARR, & COBA7®, are you reading this? Is anyone prepared to lead?

• By year end 2015, 40+ percent of all new HUD-Code home shipments were delivered directly into land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide! It is believed the majority of these homes are being purchased and resold by dozens, if not more, of the 500+/- known portfolio owners/operators of LLLCommunities in the U.S. & Canada. What isn’t happening, on a large scale, is purchasing and reselling of new HUD-Code homes by smaller ‘Mom & Pop’-sized communities, i.e. 85 percent of 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide1 The challenge here is: ‘How to identify these property owners, teach them how to buy, sell, and seller-finance new homes onto vacant rental homesites within their respective properties. Again; MHI, MHARR, & COBA7®, are you reading this? Who will seize the initiative to boost annual MH shipments back to the 100,000 level?

• There is some movement, via GSEs (i.e. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac), and private companies (e.g. HAS Capital), towards realizing a secondary market for HUD-Code manufactured housing mortgages. But there has been little to no movement to realize a secondary market for the sale of existing HUD-Code manufactured homes, particularly those sited within LLLCommunities! Neither secondary market will emerge and grow without active leadership. Once again; MHI, MHARR, & COBA7®, are you paying attention to these issues? What will you do in 2017?

• Definition and application thereof, of ‘affordable housing’ continues to plague manufactured housing and LLLCommunity businessmen and women, just as it does folk in the conventional and subsidized apartment arena. It’s past ‘high time’ for us to define this concept, once and for all, ensuring it appears clearly and frequently in trade literature – so individuals and companies will know whether circumstances described as being ‘affordable housing’ are indeed affordable housing! An example. In Bruce Savage’s book, The First 20 Years! he borrows this definition from another text: ‘Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” Pp. 105 & 106. To ascertain AMI, via postal zip code, go online to If AMI is $50,000/year, then individual/household earning that amount should be able to rent an apartment or buy a home, in that local housing market defined by postal zip code, by investing $25,000/year in 12 monthly rental payments, or 12 house payments comprised of PITI (loan principal, interest, RE taxes, & insurance) alone; or, PITI + household utility payments for one year.

• Here’s a new one! Some believe there should be a clear demarcation between – but cooperation among, national entities claiming to be ‘national advocates’ for manufactured housing, and those providing ‘national resources’. For example; since the majority of revenue at MHI comes from HUD-Code manufacturers, and all such monies at MHARR, it makes sense both organizations, given their physical locations, be ‘national advocates’ for the MHIndustry – focused on improving image; regulatory matters; and in time perhaps, national brand marketing of manufactured housing. Since neither organization engages in sustained statistical research, beyond repeating and or massaging data purchased from the Institute for Building Safety & Technology (‘IBST’), or produces a weekly blog or monthly business newsletters, or compile directories (of consultants, RE brokers, HUD-Code home manufacturers, national trade bodies, and more), it would be natural for COBA7® to be officially recognized and encouraged as ‘national resource’ for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunities nationwide. What do you think?

See what one misses when leaving the Networking Roundtable early? None of the preceding are new issues to the manufactured housing industry, but they’re certainly on the active horizon now. Would like to learn of your perspectives on these matters, via email:, or mail: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247.


More Afterglow…

Remember the ‘gift binder’ I told you I received from attendees at last week’s Networking Roundtable? Well, here’re a few more of the afterglow gems penned therein:

• ‘George was my inspiration to invest in a wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts.” ZH

• “My kids bought me his big red book (i.e. ‘How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community – as an Investment’) for Christmas, and I learned about operating expense ratios.” DH

• Here’s one I’ll particularly treasure for years to come: “George, you have made a significant impact on our industry over the past three decades. You have pulled together the various industry segments, with your seminars and publications; and in some sense, kept our industry going during bleak times as well as the prosperous times. My hat’s off to you. Thanks a million!” CH


Responses to Blog Posting # 412 re:

‘The Long View of MH ‘national advocacy’ & LLLCommunity ‘national resources’, 1980-2017’

We just talked about this in Part II, relative to MHIndustry issues & matters. This is just one of several similar responses to blog posting # 412, from two weeks ago:

“Thanks for the post today George. MHI doesn’t affiliate with COBA7® because MHI (erroneously) thinks it needs to provide similar products and services. Isn’t it time for MHI to focus on simply being the (a) national advocate or lobbyist – our eyes and ears at the national level, since our state associations function at the state level? More and more small and midsize community owners are supporting MHI through floor dues, with little-to-no associated benefits in return. Surely we can find a better use for those funds!”

Could share more with you, but this one ‘cuts to the trace’…gfa



September 11th, 2016

Blog # 413 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 11 September 2016;

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities!

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 MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. Last week’s ‘What No One Else Will Tell You!’ long view topic of MH ‘national advocacy’ & LLLCommunity ‘national resources’, from 1980 to 2017’

generated a spate (‘freshet or storm’) of supportive responses from businessmen and women across the U.S! However, sharing these interesting commentaries will have to wait a week or so, as we ‘recover’ from the exciting week spent at the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable in Nashville, TN.

What follows here, is purposely penned as intimate correspondence between me and those who routinely support, as affiliates, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, and the 180+ businessmen and women, from 25 states and the District of Columbia, in attendance at the subject event.


I am appreciative and feel appreciated, as I sit here alone at 6AM on the balcony outside our hotel room. Carolyn and I will soon leave the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel for home in Indianapolis, IN. But right now I am parsing and expressing feelings of…

APPRECIATION for everyone, from hotel meeting support staff, to 20+ seminar presenters, and 180+ attendees, as well as Carolyn, Susan and Drew – all for helping facilitate and host the 25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable. It’s now done, and has been a complete success!


of being APPRECIATED. Because dozens of ‘friends in the MHBusiness’ took time to pen tributes regarding our 35years of dedication to manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide! It was a complete surprise when Ken & Katie Hauck presented the ‘three ring binder filled with salient memories and encouraging words’ to me, during the final hours of this year’s roundtable event.

Details of the networking roundtable itself? They’ll have to await elaboration in a future blog posting, or issue of the Allen Letter, even the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter.

On the other hand, here’re some of the comments found in the collection of tributes and memoires:

• Several mentioned the opening session, when we stand as a group of 180+ and pledge allegiance to the American flag! We’ve done this since that fateful day, 9/11 in year 2001, when our nation came under terrorist attack. That year we postponed the Networking Roundtable until November; and during that session, implemented the pledge of allegiance feature, as well as an informal Friday morning prayer meeting, ‘for our nation & its’ leaders’

• Several recalled the ‘blizzard of 1999’, when, for several days, Networking Roundtable attendees were stranded en masse, at the Marriott Hotel on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, CO. And how the skeleton hotel staff served meals in the lobby, and Networking Roundtable guys shoveled paths through the five feet deep snow.

• And while I don’t think it’s true, more than one person opined I “…introduced the idea of interpersonal networking to the MHBusiness”. Maybe more to the point, we did, many years ago, initiate the rare-but-highly-popular practice, during the opening session of each Networking Roundtable, where ‘everyone stands, one at a time, and introduces themselves to the entire audience’!

• While many of the penned remarks ‘touched me’ – in varying ways, in this collection, one described how I would like to be remembered during years to come: ‘Thank You for creating and maintaining the foundational baseline of industry data and operational practices, as well as creating tools and resources for MHBusinesses across this nation.” TF

• Some put their finger on the difficult but needed road I’ve chosen to travel professionally, when they commented: “…as a contrarian, George keeps everyone on their toes – EVERYONE! Progress demands some challenge the status quo.” CN. And how I “…consistently take the ‘opposite position and ask the hard question.” JR One could certainly be known for worse peccadillos.

Here I’ve but touched on passages that play to the ‘appreciative & appreciation’ theme of this morning’s blog musings. Perhaps in a week or two, I’ll mine more gems, from the tribute binder, and share them with you – with an eye to helping all grow and mature as MHBusinessmen and women.

And to all of you who patronized this year’s 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable, a heartfelt Thanks to ALL! GFA

What No One Else Will Tell You!

September 2nd, 2016

Blog # 412 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 4 September 2016,

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 sold national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities!

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 MHBusiness Model Performance.’


What No One Else Will Tell You!

The long view of manufactured housing ‘national advocacy’ & land-lease-lifestyle community ‘resources’, from 1980 to 2017….

During 1980, when 221,091 new HUD-Code homes were shipped nationwide (compared to only 70,544 during 2015), and but 25 (then) ‘mobile home park’ property portfolios (compared to 500+/- during 2015), there was but one ‘national advocate’ in behalf of manufactured housing fabrication/distribution, and scarce few ‘national resources’ relative to the unique, income-producing property type.

At the time, the ‘national advocate’ was the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), but joined in 1985 by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), an MHI splinter group. MHI was then, as it continues to be today, (large) manufacturer-dominated; while MHARR serves smaller, regional ‘regulation averse’ HUD-Code home manufacturers; along the way, earning the sobriquet of ‘manufactured housing WATCHDOG in Washington, DC’! Mobile home parks cum manufactured home communities were represented, until 1996, by a committee of MHI member volunteers, with personal and corporate interests in the realty asset class.

All this began to change in 1988, when the first book in 20 years, on any aspect of manufactured housing and its’ real estate component, was published as Mobile Home Park Management (Today’s 6th edition retitled as Landlease Community Management). In short order, ‘mobile home park’ owners started receiving and reading the Allen Letter, and in 1991, were invited to attend the first International Networking Roundtable, in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Two years later, 19 property portfolio owners met in Indianapolis, In., to form an Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) – which turned out to be the forerunner of MHI’s National Communities Council division, launched January 1996, under the leadership of Jim Ayotte. Two years before this landmark event, J. Wiley & Sons publishers, tapped into the need for more (now) MHCommunities in which to site an increasing volume of HUD-Code homes being shipped, e.g., 303,932 in 1994.. Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities enjoyed two print runs before being remaindered. However, after 22 years, it remains the only text on the subject and sells well on the internet and via PMN Publishing. In 1996 & 1998, J. Wiley & Sons marketed two editions of How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community. The text is out of print, though available online…

The point to this point? No real change to MHI, between 1980 and 2000, except for launch of the NCC division – like its organizational parent, simply a ‘national advocate’. And, in the opinion of this veteran industry observer and NCC board member, a division serving the largest of the property portfolio owners/operators! What about MHCommunity owners/operators, and small to mid-sized portfolio ‘players’ in general, nationwide? Some pay dues, as I do, to MHI/NCC. But hundreds of others subscribe to one or both monthly newsletters distributed by PMN Publishing, plus a dozen or more Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs; first and foremost of which, is the (27th) annual ALLEN REPORT.

The dawning of the 21st Century, besides seeing manufactured housing’s $ bubble burst, and the dire consequences thereof (During 1998 & 2009 = 372,843 & 49,789 new HUD-Code home shipments respectively), also foisted a ‘sea change’ on the ‘double dual industry’ (i.e. home manufacturing/distribution & realty investment/management). This, in addition to the start of a major paradigm shift, continuing to this day (2016), as the MHIndustry & (now) land-lease-lifestyle community asset class reconstruct their collective home distribution business model. The little acknowledged ‘sea change’, on the other hand, has everything to do with the debut of a new generation of home manufacturers, and MHCommunity owners on the national business scene! Some of this infusion of new blood, however, was restricted as corporate consolidation compromised the identities of several housing manufacturers and many larger LLLCommunities.

On the realty component side alone, with an eye to documenting the appearance of this new next generation, recall the household names of Shiffman, Partridge, McDaniel, Landy, Bessire, Casenhiser, Galland, Zeman, Newby, Smith, Nodel, Vukovich, Shouhayib, Santeford, Haney, Schrader, Flood, Harshaw, Follett, Horner, Cohron, Hames, Ditto, Ives, Germano, Stevenson, Wolfe, Steferud, Singer, Jensen, Steiner, Steele, Boggs, Holefelder, Durand, McKee – and many more. (Most of these names were culled from the 27th ALLEN REPORT listing of 120 portfolios, with another 380 firms waiting in the wings!) As a related aside, the 28th annual ALLEN REPORT is being researched as you read these lines. The formal report will appear as an SSRD lagniappe, in the January 2017 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. To reserve your copy, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

The 16 year paradigm shift in the new home distribution business model; plus, the ‘sea change’ of new next generation talent and motivation; as well as the increased presence of investors from outside the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, in large part, motivated the January 2014 launch of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® or COBA7®. Yes, while we all need – and hopefully benefit from, ‘national advocacy’ effected in behalf of the realty asset class by MHI’s NCC division, there’s a major, ongoing need for the large array of LLLCommunity-oriented products and services, a.k.a. ‘national resources’ unavailable from any other national entity representing manufactured housing!

And this is where ‘a (serious) rub’ comes into play! MHI and its’ NCC division appear to be content in their myopic world of ‘national advocacy’! And many of us in the LLLCommunity business world are OK with that. But WHY does MHI’s NCC division NOT actively, even passively (Except when attending Networking Roundtables), support the seven parts that comprise COBA7®? To date, though repeatedly invited to do so, the NCC has NOT affiliated with COBA7®, i.e. via annual fees – like many LLLCommunity folk pay to the MHI/NCC! Had they done so, here’re the ways they’d have benefitted:

• Ongoing statistical research. Think the ALLEN REPORT. This statistical compendium is routinely referenced and cited by private and public entities.

• Updating & distribution of a dozen SSRDs, e.g. 16th National Registry of ALL Lenders, directories of HUD-Code home manufacturers, trade entities, etc..

• Weekly & monthly communication, via print (two newsletters) and online (weekly blog @, focused on LLLCommunities

• Superb networking opportunities via annual Networking Roundtable. (25th anniversary event ‘this week’ in Nashville,) and various specialty groups…

• Realty deal-making opportunities. Something not offered by anyone else, anywhere, in the U.S. and Canada

• Professional property management training & certification via Manufactured Housing Manager® program. More than 1,000 MHM®s manage in US & CN!

• National advocacy when need be; specifically (press) ombudsman and official historian to the manufactured housing industry & LLLCommunity asset class.

NCC’s present day posture rarely acknowledges COBA7® as the primary ‘national resource’ of LLLCommunity products & services, prompting this embarrassing question:

Is there a nefarious (‘unspeakably wicked’) tone to, or aspect of, this near total lack of recognition and cooperation between MHI’s NCC division and COBA7®, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing? If so, WHY? If not; why does it appear to be so?

Indicators, if not proof, of NCC division’s standoffish and clique-supporting activities:

NCC executives are (sometimes) complimentary about one’s activities in behalf of the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunities, but they avoid attending COBA7® events (e.g. None expected to attend this week’s 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable in Nashville, TN!); all the while insistent, however, that NCC board members (e.g. ‘me’) be present at all division meetings!

NCC routinely imitates ‘national resources’ created and nurtured by (now) COBA7®,

1. Top 50 List of Owners vs. annual ALLEN REPORT

2. Fall leadership forum for LLLCommunity owners, scheduled shortly after aforementioned annual Networking Roundtable each Fall

3. Since the early 1990s, when MHEI launched the ACM program – after asking GFA Management, Inc., not to launch its’ MHM program (to be based on the 1988 text, Mobile Home Park Management). MHM® was started a decade later.

NCC, in an apparent effort to restrict member participation in national elections of its’ officers, forbids proxy voting – even though it’s a permitted practice during elections of MHI board members. (Hmm. ‘What is good for the goose should also be good for the gander’, don’t you think?). And then there’s the discriminatory practice of ‘affluence gerrymandering’. This occurs as the MHI & NCC meet in expensive, usually resort locations – effectively limiting the number of direct, dues-paying members who can afford to attend and participate in group proceedings.

Now, looking ahead to 2017. COBA7® affiliates have been suggesting stark alternatives, relative to an ongoing, or not, relationship with MHI/NCC:

• Continue the one-sided relationship unchanged, simply to stay abreast and informed of MHI/NCC present and future plans and activities, i.e. COBA7® to maintain paid membership with MHI/NCC, while MHI/NCC continues to ignore COBA7®, and not pay to affiliate at the Option I, II, or III levels.

• Once again, invite MHI/NCC to formally affiliate with COBA7® at the Option I, II, or III level.

• Quit MHI/NCC altogether and take steps to increase presence and effectiveness as a primary ‘national advocate’ for land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide. COBA7® is already on the ‘invite’ list among several federal regulatory agencies and departments. Several property portfolio owners/operators have already volunteered to fund this effort, if need be.

What do you think COBA7® should do? Respond to this blog posting via email, phone, or letter to COBA7® c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

17 years ago, during February 1999, I penned a feature article for The Journal. It was titled, ‘Why I Belong!’, and soon became a popular reprint among state MHAssociations, as a new member recruiting tool. After making 10 specific points in favor of supporting one’s state and national trade entities, I ended with this quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

“Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”

The question LLLCommunity owners/operators should be asking themselves NOW, is this: WHO has my interests, as a businessman or woman, at heart and in hand, promoting this unique, income-producing property type, nationwide; ensuring its’ statistical research, resource distribution, print & online communication, networking & deal-making needs, professional property management training & certification, even national advocacy needs are being met well and consistently?

Frankly, COBA7® believes the previous paragraph goal can be best met by an active, working partnership between the NCC as ‘national advocate’, and COBA7® as ‘national resource’. But it will take you, as LLLCommunity owners/operators, to make this happen, by dint of your support and vocal sharing of your thoughts and opinions!


Be Careful What You ‘Read & Believe’ About LLLCommunity Investing Today

August 27th, 2016

Blog # 411 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 28 August 2016,

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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 MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION. Part I is self-explanatory. Beware sharp-tongued commentators who posit numbers and claims to describe particular investment pictures of their liking. Part II is reminiscent of Randy Rowe’s warning in 2002, to an intimate group of business friends, of the near collapse of housing finance that’d occur five years later. But that’s a story for another day….


Be Careful What You ‘Read & Believe’ About
Land-lease-lifestyle Community InvestingToday

(a.k.a. manufactured home community)

During the late 1970s, until 1986, the sales pitch was, among ‘mobile home park’ syndicators focused on getting doctors, dentists and lawyers, to buy tax loss positions in limited partnerships. When this practice was outlawed, the Resolution Trust Commission (‘RTC’) enjoyed a heyday, 1989-1995, liquidating manufactured home communities for cents on the dollar – as is. Then came the little real estate investment trust wave of 1994 & 1995, when ‘everyone wanted a piece of that action’, but only five REITs actually materialized, three of which remain to this day. Well today, two decades later we’re seeing a somewhat different investment scenario unfold, within the pages of an advertising-supported trade publication, and among certain land-lease-lifestyle communities across the U.S.

So, what does a property portfolio firm do, that’s been acquiring marginally-performing LLLCommunities, at a pretty good clip, to attract buyer attention to their realty holdings? They might make interesting, and at times confusing claims, like these:

• ‘Income capitalization rates (‘cap rates’) for LLLCommunities are not as generous as those awarded conventional apartment communities!’ True. In other words, ‘Pay us more for our investment properties because you’re already doing so with another (multifamily) realty asset class’ – albeit, one that’s more attractive to Millennials and victims of the year 2007 housing finance debacle.

• ‘Our site rent rates are way too low!’ In other words, ‘Buy our properties and jack the rents right away, to recoup your cash investment!’ Everyone does it. Our gift to you!

• ‘Or, your professional property managers can raise site rents substantially!’ In other words, we might want to do so, but prefer to leave that truly golden opportunity to your professional property management team.

• ‘There are still a lot of ‘mom & pop’ operations out there, owned by the Greatest Generation. And they too have vacancies to fill, rent rates to raise, and more.’ In other words, go buy those ‘deals’ and leave the larger properties, with 100+ rental homesites, to us!

• ‘Hey, gotta love those private equity guys!’ They arrive with more capital than common sense and rarely any industry experience. They also tend to ‘bail’ after a couple years. Has anyone noticed how many of these storied transactions have been consummated of late? None worth mentioning; well, maybe one.

• ‘We must be doing something right. International investment monies are now in play, just look at YES! Communities two billion dollar deal!’ With negative ROI rate returns increasingly commonplace elsewhere in the world, all that means is we’re ‘better than nothing or less’.

With all that said, if you’re reading this blog posting with an eye to buying one or more LLLCommunities for personal and or corporate investment, be at the Marcus & Millichap-hosted Community Investors Symposium, from 4-6PM, the afternoon of 7 September 2016, at the Gaylord Opryland Hilton Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Nashville, TN. Dozens of LLLCommunities will be available for review and purchase as the M&M team, along with other real estate brokerages, showcase them during this two hour period kicking off the 25th anniversary of the Networking Roundtable, at the same location, on 8 & 9 September. For more information, us brochure attached to email introducing this blog posting, or simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Storm Clouds Gathering Once Again?

‘You could qualify for a home equity line of credit.’

Quoting from an undated CHASE bank direct mail solicitation letter, one mailed to homeowners – including me, pressing an 8 September 2016 deadline.

“Dear George. You may be eligible for a Chase home equity line of credit at a low rate. You can use the equity in your home to make home improvements, pay off high-rate bills and loans, or even college tuition. There are no application fees and no closing costs (except for cities, counties, and states that require payment of taxes and stamps) – only a $50 origination fee and a $50 annual fee. Plus, the interest may be tax deductible.”

Here’s how it works:

Line of credit balance = $50,000. Estimated variable APR* = 3.88% APR. And, Interest-only payments begin at $162 per month.

Hmm. How’s ‘no application fee’ different from a ‘$50 loan origination fee’?

*APR = annual percentage rate; but don’t overlook that word ‘variable’ in there…

Are homeowner and consumer memories so short, we/they don’t recall similar letters, circa 2006, enticing homeowners in the same manner, or worse? Only a scant decade in time has passed, and already it appears banks, who pay out little to nothing in personal savings account interest anymore, once again roll out the home equity line of credit as another income stream or profit center for their institution.

Sure hope we don’t see ‘the rest of this history repeat itself’ during the months and year ahead! How ‘bout you?


23 Years Later & Only Six Remain! Times Are a – Changing!

August 20th, 2016

Blog # 410 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 21 August 2016,

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research reporter & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG o r633-4764

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION. A simple but complicated mix of two timely topics.

In the first instance (Part I), we remember and honor LLLCommunity owners/operators who defied convention and status quo in 1993, to prepare for the anticipated REIT wave of 1994 & 1995. Today, only a handful of these pioneers remain active in the MHBusiness.

Then there’s Part II. Hopefully you already realize we live and work in turbulent times, where the national economy and our industry’s business model are concerned. But have YOU stopped and considered the lasting effects horizontal (consolidation) and vertical integration have had, and continue to have, on our industry and realty asset class?

If you’re one of those who believe the MHIndustry needs a new, independent national trade association to protect and advance the business interests and concerns of the post production sector of manufactured housing, you’ll want to read this week’s blog posting from beginning to end. Because there is indeed a third such party ‘waiting in the wings’ for the timing and leadership to be right and effective from the word ‘Go’!


23 Years Later, Only Six Remain Active!

On 31 August 1993, 19 (then) MHCommunity owners/operators met in an Indianapolis airport hotel for a strategic planning meeting, to plan effective national advocacy for their unique, income-producing property type, before the anticipated REIT wave of 1994 & 1995. The list of ‘players’ at the time was a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of community owners/operators nationwide, e.g. Randy Rowe; Gary McDaniel; Tom Horner, Jr.; Martin Newby; Kamal Shouhayib; Gill Geary, CPM®; Marty Levin, Esq.; Eugene Landy; Brian Fannon, CPM®; Ed Zeman; and, George Allen, CPM®

During the months following that day long meeting, an Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) was birthed by these men; and 2 ½ years later, MHI formed the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, to absorb the ISC. Today, the rest is history.

But what’s happened to the 19 individuals who stepped forward as pioneers in our industry at the time?

Some have moved onto other business and personal pursuits, not to be generally heard from again, e.g. Jeff Kellogg, Jerry Ellenburg and Scott West, Dick Leiter, Bill Williams, and Bill Geary, CPM®.

Ron Richardson, to date, is the only one who’s deceased. Martin Newby and Tom Horner, Jr. have been succeeded in their respective businesses by sons and other relatives. Lynwood Welhausen and Marty Lavin too have retired.

Randy Rowe, during the past two decades has accumulated and sold two LLLCommunity portfolios, and has now moved onto other realty investment interests. Jim Grange continues to work with Gary McDaniel.

That leaves six men still active in their business careers:

• Gary McDaniel, an RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee and past chairman of MHI, during recent years founded and grew YES! Communities, headquartered in Denver, CO.

• Kamal Shouhayib, working from Troy, MI., continues, with the assistance of his wife and sons, Rob and Omar, to own/operate Choice Properties throughout the Midwest.

• Eugene Landy continues to be patriarch of (now) UMH Properties, Inc., a REIT, headquartered in Freehold, NJ. and is assisted by his son Sam.

• Brian Fannon, CPM®, also an RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, having worked for several large portfolio firms over the years, but is now focused on a effecting a new LLLCommunity development in Michigan.

• Ed Zeman, succeeded his father, Bud Zeman, and owns/operates one of the largest property portfolios in the Midwest.

• George Allen, CPM®, MHM®, another RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, is the smallest owner/operator of the bunch. However, over the decades, founded the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, researched & published 27 annual ALLEN REPORTs, plus the Allen Letter, & dozen books.

Yes, the manufactured housing industry, back in 1993, was fortunate to have 19 leaders step forward to chart their collective business destiny! While there are but six pioneers who remain active in the MHBusiness today, it’s interesting to note that four of them continue to lead the companies they founded, or were head of, 23 years ago.

Want to learn more about this key time in LLLCommunity history? Read Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! Published in 2014, it makes for a fascinating ‘read’ about our industry and realty asset class, prior to, during and since the renascence of 1998. To order a copy, for $24.95 postpaid, simply phone (317) 346-7156.


‘The Times They Are A-Changing!’

As Bob Dylan’s song, and album by the same name, opined back in January 1964

Well, 50 years later that message has been, and continues to be proving, true for the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and its’ real estate component, today’s land-lease-lifestyle community asset class!

• Early 1970s saw an unprecedented high volume of ‘mobile home parks’, cum manufactured home communities in 1976 developed from coast to coast, to site record-level annual volumes of new ‘mobile home’ shipments.

• 1975 – 1976 saw implementation of the nation’s first and only federal (‘HUD’), performance-based building code foisted on the manufactured housing industry. Ten years later, MHCommunity consolidation began in earnest via syndications.

• 1995 – 2005 marked MHIndustry’s brief and unsuccessful competition, with local homebuilders, using larger, tricked-out Developer Model manufactured homes. Factories bought up independent (street) MHRetailers, to better control distribution, turning them into ‘company stores’. Simultaneously, MHCommunity consolidation continued via several IPOs (Initial Public Offerings of stock) forming real estate investment trusts or REITs)

• In short order, the number of independent (street) MHRetailers plummeted from more than 14,000 to fewer than 4,000. Beginning in year 2009, when new HUD-Code home shipments reached its’ nadir, (now) land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators picked up the slack and routinely bought, sold and seller-financed new HUD-Code homes on-site nationwide. Today, more than 40 percent of new HUD-Code homes are shipped directly into LLLCommunities.

• Bottom lines? In terms of consolidation: In 1977, 25 housing manufacturing firms garnered 70 percent of national market share; today, in 2015, the Big 3-C firms (Clayton, Cavco, Champion) garner approximately 71 percent of national market share. In the (then) MHCommunity component of the MHIndustry, only 25 portfolio firms were known and documented in 1987; today that total has risen to 500+/- sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and three REITs.

And ‘change’ (i.e. 16 year paradigm shifts in consolidation and distribution) continues, particularly for one mega-firm, Clayton Homes, a manufacturer of HUD-Code homes. And their growth is surely stimulated in large part, by dint of ownership by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Here we learn anew about horizontal and vertical integration.


In this instance, we’ve already observed horizontal integration, as BEING a synonym for consolidation, i.e. acquiring similar (i.e. home manufacturing) firms, e.g. Clayton Homes has acquired Schult Homes, Crest Homes, Karsten Homes, Golden West Homes, Norris Homes, Giles Homes, Marlette Homes, SE Homes, Buccaneer Homes, Cavalier Homes, and more during recent months….


This is another story altogether. By way of definition, it’s the degree to which a firm owns its’ upstream suppliers and downstream buyers. When we first looked at Clayton Homes, in this context, during December 2015, we noted:

• Clayton Homes, with its’ estimated 41 percent national market share, is owned by Berkshire Hathaway

• 21st Mortgage Corporation., one of the remaining Big 3+1 independent, third party chattel capital lenders, is also owned by Berkshire Hathaway. As is the ‘+1’ firm, Vanderbilt Mortgage, in-house home finance arm for Champion Homes.

• Berkadia Mortgage is an emerging player, where LLLCommunity mortgages, and manufactured housing finance are concerned. The firm is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

• Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. “…real estate brokerage network built for a new era in residential real estate, grounded in the financial strength, efficiency and tradition of its’ HomeServicesof America parent company, will change the face of residential real estate.” Quoted from 2013 issue of RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE magazine.. The firm is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Note. We’ve yet to see BHH ‘changing the face of residential real estate’, but it certainly could include the establishment of a secondary market for the sale of resale manufactured homes, potentially boosting opportunities for Clayton Homes to fabricate and ship many more new HUD-Code homes.

• Various suppliers of products and services upstream, e.g. GEICO & Progressive Insurance companies, as well as various building supply companies.

Now, here’s the proverbial ‘rub’. With quiet but increasing frequency we read of conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over (if not already ‘taken over’) the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry. For example, here’s a quote from the August 2016 issue of THE JOURNAL.

• Relative to Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) rulemaking at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’): “…the obvious self-interest of industry dominant lenders in maintaining what has been called a ‘monopoly’ on manufactured housing consumer lending….: p.12

Assuming truth and legitimacy of these claims of ‘conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry’, what’re the solutions? In the same op/ed piece in THE JOURNAL, the writer makes this case for a new independent national trade association to represent the post production sector of manufactured housing:

• “…to monitor issues in the nation’s capitol, mobilize for effective action, and fight for their interests and issues, rather than the few industry-dominant lenders and the corporate conglomerates that stand behind them.” And until that happens, the writer opines, our shipments of new HUD-Code homes will continue to languish well below 100,000 units per year.

So, where’s this new independent national trade association going to come from? Surely not the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) with its’ 80+ percent national member market share of new HUD-Code manufactured housing distribution; nor, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and its’ regional housing manufacturing firms. The Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® is ideally suited for ‘the job’ for these reasons:

• Ongoing statistical research. COBA7® has become, during 2016, statistician for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, in that GSEs and other government agencies now routinely seek the alliance’s accurate new home shipment data, and other such bodies of information.

• Updating & distribution of more than a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRDs’), monthly, e.g. ALLEN REPORT; National Registry of ALL Lenders; Directory of ALL HUD-Code Home Manufacturers; & nine more

• Weekly (blog) and two monthly print business newsletters for LLLCommunity owners, and senior executives in all segments of the MHIndustry

• Superb interpersonal networking opportunities throughout the year.

• Superb realty deal-making opportunities throughout the year.

• Professional property management training & certification via the popular Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program…1,000+ to date!

• National advocacy when need be. Today that includes official (press) ombudsman and historian for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class.

But as ideally suited as COBA7® is for this heady and timely responsibility, it’s going to take a younger, charismatic, successful entrepreneur type individual, willing to live and work in Washington, DC., to pull this off! All this has been an ongoing topic of conversation among COBA7® affiliates since January 2014. We even figured out how to effectively fund the effort without soliciting funds from those with a more inclusive vision for the manufactured housing industry. Want to talk about this? Contact me anytime….


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

The Most Important Thing You Do This Week!

August 13th, 2016

Blog # 409 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 14 August 2016,

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research reporter, & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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 MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION: Already one of the 150 registered for the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable? Then maybe skip over Part I here following – unless, of course, you want to get excited ‘all over again’ about what you’re going to experience 7-9 September in Nashville, TN. Not registered? Them, by all means, read Part I and be motivated to participate in the most exciting national MHIndustry venue to occur during all of year 2016! Nowhere else will you find a more focused (on LLLCommunities) but eclectic array of timely and strategic topics. And Part II? Certainly a departure from our usual MHIndustry & LLLCommunity fare, but a worthy one nonetheless. How so? More and more MH/RV mixed use income-producing properties are in our portfolios these days; but more important, many of the ills described in Greg Gerber’s 62 page ‘RV Industry Death’ study have parallels in the MHIndustry! Perhaps we can, and should, learn from a sister industry’s missteps. Read and let me know what you think.


Do You Remember?

When You Missed an Important Event or Date…

Well, don’t let that be the case where the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable is concerned! I’ve been planning and hosting this annual event for 2 ½ decades and know this: No previous roundtable has attracted as much manufactured housing industry wide attention as this one! Seriously. Every time I turn around, figuratively speaking, someone is tweaking their scheduled presentation, making it all the more timely and strategic to today’s business environment for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators.

It’s difficult to even know where to start, when describing some of these exciting offerings by hands-on entrepreneur businessmen and women, but here goes:

• Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing of New HUD-Code Homes On-site in LLLCommunities is ‘at the printer’ and will be ready for distribution to everyone in attendance at the roundtable. The guidebook is a ‘resource first’ for the realty asset class and contains home marketing, sales, and financing information featured at the inaugural Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars.

• It’s expected every COBA7® affiliate present at the roundtable will receive a plastic discount card by dint of the alliance’s working relationship with the Consumer Buyers’ Group – good at Lowe’s, Office Max/Staples, Sherwin Williams, and elsewhere.

• You already know about the emerging theme: 2015 Chattel Capital Summit. That’ll be manifested thru the keynote address by Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage; MHI’s HR650 bill; the recently discovered HR5301 Seller Finance Enhancement Act; a look at hybrid chattel capital; GSE loan guarantee on ‘home only loans’ in LLLCommunities; a review of ‘all the $ options’ when selling and seller-financing new and resale homes on-site; and, all you ever wanted to know about lease-option but didn’t know who & what to ask, and there’s even more.

• Always popular Lenders Panel Friday morning

• Always popular GSE Panel Friday morning (Where else can you go in the MHIndustry for such a potent one-two housing & community finance punch?)

• One home manufacturer will be making a public commitment to focus marketing attention on selling more HUD-Code homes, especially Community Series Homes, to LLLCommunity owners/operators, large and small, nationwide! (Some of us have waited ‘decades’ for this to occur!)

• MHIndustry pioneer, LLLCommunity developer/owner, independent (street) MHRetailer, and industry activist Alvan Schrader will be present to share his experiences authoring the autobiography No Respect At All, A PATH TO MILLION$. There’ll be opportunity to buy this pleasurable ‘read’, and have him autograph it as well!

• Don Westphal will be sharing his Best Lessons Learned, as landscape architect, and LLLCommunity rehabilitation expert, gleaned from 50 years of professional experience!

• What’s going on with this sudden interest in mixed use LLLCommunity/RV park properties? MAI® John Whitcomb has the answers and will be sharing them.

• And the list goes on…Haven’t even told you what I’m going to be sharing with you this time around. As you know, I rarely share during this event, but not this year.

OK, if I haven’t convinced you to attend by now, it’s doubtful I will going forward. Just know this. The International Networking Roundtable is the sole annual venue designed specifically and wholly to serve the information needs of LLLCommunity owners/operators like you. Without it, you’d have nothing in the way of HOW TO education (20+ seminars & panel discussions), superb interpersonal networking (eight meal & social events), and investment property deal-making (Community Investors Symposium, Wednesday afternoon). Participate and demonstrate your support going forward!

For an information brochure and or to register, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156.


Thank You Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report

‘How & What Gerber’s Study of Factory-built RVs QSV
(product quality, service, value)

Might relate to & suggest about

Factory-built MHs QSV, past, present & future!’

via a review of

RV Industry Death Spiral

‘A Collection of editorials outlining serious issues facing every segment of the recreation vehicle industry’


Greg Gerber,
Editor, RV Daily Report

Is there such a word as déjà vu teux (two)? If not, there should be, for two good reasons, the respective histories of two sister industries: ‘mobile home’ cum manufactured housing, and recreation vehicles.

What you’re reading here, is the fruit of a lost half Saturday, reading Greg Gerber’s compendium of editorials, from RV Daily Report, titled: RV Industry Death Spiral. Boy, if you’re in or around the RV industry, these 62 pages are a ‘must read’, whether you agree with the author’s assessment of being in a death spiral or not.

I’ll be liberally quoting from Gerber’s material, not so much for RV commentary, but as to how it relates – past, present, even future, to the MH, or manufactured housing, industry from which I hail. There are, I believe, legitimate lessons to be learned here.

How so? Just read most of the Table of Contents chapter headings for clues:

• Manufacturers race to the bottom

• Dealers drop the ball on service

• Campgrounds losing capacity

• Associations can influence change

• Industry media falls asleep

See what I mean? The temptation is to make the comparisons right here, between the RV industry’s (presumed) ills today, and those the MHIndustry suffered pre HUD-Code (mid-1970s); and again, at the turn of the 21st Century (i.e. 1998-2002). Ready to move on?

Where have I heard this thinly veiled challenge before? “After covering the (RV) industry for 15 years as a journalist, one of the best career moves I ever made was to actually purchase a product produced by the RV industry and hit the road using it. I started observing how the industry works from the eyes of a consumer. It hasn’t been pretty.” P.3. I’ve known precious few MHIndustry execs who’ve bought and lived in manufactured homes. Notable exceptions = Bruce Savage, Jim Keller, retired Bob Broph, and others. Perhaps more of us should follow Greg’s example….

The first contemporary parallel that struck a chord was this:

In the RV Industry, “…two firms control about 72 percent of the entire RV market. With Thor’s acquisition of Jayco last Friday (this Summer), that number is now up to 83 percent.” P.4
In the MHIndustry, the Three Big – C Companies: Clayton Homes, Cavco Ind., & Champion Home Builders, control about 71 percent of the entire MH market. With the addition of MHI’s other manufacturer members, that total is now up to 85 percent, according to data supplied during the institute’s June meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

Now, try this one on for size. “…the (RV) industry talks a good talk and markets the heck out of the lifestyle. But it drops the ball big time when it comes to QSV – quality, service and value.” P.5. Examples. “…a 360 Siphon is an effective $10 part that can eliminate RV odors, which people who actually use RVs know is a consistent problem. But many manufacturers won’t install the simple device. Why? It will push them out of the mythical price point.” P.6. Want a lighter weight RV? “Why use plywood when cardboard looks just as good.” P.11 And this: “…wood becomes fiberboard and metal parts become plastic parts.” P.14
The MHIndustry, at present, does not ‘talk a good talk’, let alone market the heck out of the LLLCommunity lifestyle. But it does serve up a mixed bag where QSV is concerned. Think ‘Not enough product quality and service complaints to justify Dispute Resolution enforcement, but HUD does so anyway’. (That’s what’s so disturbing about having one – or more, home manufacturers producing new homes with marginal components). And value? That’s always a tough ‘call’. As long as manufacturers keep raising product price and sales centers ‘sell more house than homebuyer/site lessees can afford’, it’s ‘value be damned!’.

Well, at least in the MH business things haven’t gotten so bad, that I’m aware of, this bromide applies: “…advice regarding the purchase of new RVs is consistent – don’t buy new.” P.7 And this, overheard in an RV repair shop: “RVs ain’t for using, they’re for fixing.” P.12.

Did you know? “Campgrounds…the last bastion of genuine community…in America.” p.28. But, “…campgrounds are contributing to the demise of the RV industry….” P.28. How so?

• “Campground owners are taking out RV sites to install cabins, deluxe cabins and park models. They bring in more money.” P.28

• “…sites not gobbled up by cabins and park models are being rented long-term to seasonal campers.” P.28

• Selling out to REITs. “…once the deal is signed, the corporation needs to recoup its’ investment. The first thing they do is raise camping rates. A $30 per night site quickly becomes a $50 site and affordability of camping is seriously diminished.”p.29

• Regulations stymies new campground development. P.29

And here’s yet another presumed RV/MH parallel to ponder. “When two manufacturers, one supplier, one distributor, and one dealership controls a huge swath of the RV industry, associations are weakened by the lack of diverse thought and lively debate. Worse, they are subject to the control of big players through funding.” P.37 And right there, my friend, is maybe why MHARR was birthed in 1985, certainly why COBA7® debuted in 2014. Brings to mind George Santayana’s famous quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Beware consumer satisfaction studies. “Partnering with JD Power, a well-recognized name in gauging auto industry satisfaction, _____was going to show the world how happy RV owners were with the products they purchased However, the results were never made public. Rumor is, the report was shredded, the shreds burned, and the ashes scattered by a fishing trawler along 10 miles of the North Atlantic on a moonless night in September. To the best of my knowledge, no consumer satisfaction studies have been completed since then.” P.41. Hmm. Distant memory suggests a similar MH exercise awhile back, but none since.

A proposed consumer mandate: “RV owners should insist manufacturers…use building materials and structural reinforcements to ensure the (RV) products don’t fall apart when traveling one or two hours down the road.” P.49

Did you know? “…the (trade) media also (has) a duty to protect the industry from the corruption, warn against monopolies, fight against unnecessary government control, discourage favoritism, and protect Free enterprise, so all companies can compete fairly in the same arena.” P.58 Sad to say, things are not much better today in the MHIndustry.

“There are seven, maybe eight, individuals in the RV industry, who fancy themselves to be kingmakers. Everyone must genuflect in their presence and kiss their rings, if they want to be perceived as a player in the industry.” P.59 Hmm. And who would you say are the kingmakers in the manufactured housing industry? I can think of three or four…

Well, there you have it; my reader walk thru the RV Industry Death Spiral, by Greg Gerber, editor of the RV Daily Report. Here’s trivia for you. Who is Greg related to in the manufactured housing industry? Hint. Like Greg, that person too is an RVer. And if we’re lucky, he’ll show up 7-9 September, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Nashville, TN., for the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable. How ‘bout you? To register, phone (317) 346-7156.


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