Archive for May, 2010

June 2010 National MH Week & Much More!

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

June 2010 National (Manufactured Housing) Month & Much More!
I.
No, there won’t be any fireworks or banners flying, in celebration of National (Manufactured) Housing Month. But, for the first time in a long time, corporate, regulatory and political interests will be collectively focused on factory-built housing at its’ birthplace, in a very public – and hopefully, productive fashion!
On Wednesday, 2 June 2010, Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN) will co – host, with Federal Housing Commissioner David H. Stevens, a national Manufactured Housing Finance Roundtable, in the Chamber of Commerce offices in downtown Elkhart, IN. Attendance is limited to 45 interested parties.
While the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) will be represented at this timely and historic event, only the latter national advocacy body, to the best of my knowledge, will be making a formal Power Point presentation.
Within said Power Point presentation is a list (here paraphrased) of what manufactured housing businessmen and women hope to accomplish at the meeting:
• Identify challenges and engage in productive discussion to solve and resolve them
• Gain understanding of market manufactured housing serves & reasons we’re unique & needed
• Seek expedited deadlines for publication of Title I mortgage letter (This might occur at the roundtable); action by Ginnie Mae to approve existing $ issuers under new Title I program; and, a FHFA directive to implement ’Duty to Serve’ rule and acceptance of Title I loans.
Will these heady, but timely and vital goals be realized at this meeting? Let’s hope so; only time will tell.
Next notable event during National (Manufactured) Housing Month is the proclamation, by Congress, that the week of 14 – 19 June 2010 is National Manufactured Housing Week! While no special events are planned, again – that I’m aware of at this point in time, it’d be appropriate to communicate this notable recognition to employees and customers alike, via advertising, news releases, etc…
II
Now for a commentary on another subject altogether. A question: Is it time for the factory – built housing industry at large, and HUD Code manufactured housing and the landlease (nee manufactured home) community real estate asset class, in particular, to finally launch and fund its’ own formal Think Tank?
What’s a Think Tank? Well, quoting a few lines from an interview with Heritage Foundation’s (a conservative Think Tank) head, Ed Feulner, published in WORLD news magazine (22 May 2010, p. 24) describing his group’s work, “…a think tank that could produce short papers for congressmen, senators, and key staffers that were credible – all the facts upfront, conclusion separated – that were timely.”
For the past five or so years, some of us in the landlease community (‘LLCommunity’) business looked to the then new Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’) product council of the Urban Land Institute (‘ULI’) to maybe fill that, or a similar role, for business entities and advocacy bodies actively involved in manufactured housing’s housing production/distribution, and realty development/investment environments. Well, the MHCC forum has certainly been a lively, productive, even worthwhile opportunity for discussion of industry and asset class issues and concerns, but sans staff, hasn’t scratched the surface of Think Tank production described in the previous paragraph.
Is there a need for independent, capable, credible research and reporting? Yes! At present, the only ‘papers of note’ emanate from two trade bodies with generally different ‘views’ on how manufactured housing should relate to federal regulators, maintain status quo vs. improve national image of our type factory – built housing, even relate to the various segments of the industry. In addition, with the demise of most print publications serving manufactured housing, there’s increasing recognition we, as an industry, ‘must get the word out’ about ‘how’ and ‘why’ we’re this nation’s best ‘affordable housing’ alternative. This will only happen via legitimate research and accurate reporting.
So, what’s the answer? While I’m not entirely sure at this point in time, a plan is indeed coming together. While, as an asset class, we already have a modicum of annually researched and published reports, registries, and the like, we need more – especially within the ‘manufactured housing production/distribution’ segment of the industry.*1 But we’re unlikely to realize this timely and ambitious goal until dedicated resources can be brought to bear ‘when and where needed’, on a continuing basis. Where might such a (Think Tank) resource by ‘housed’? Suggestions, to date, include: underwriting an Academic Fellows position at ULI; sponsor an endowed or perennial chair at a university already demonstrating interest in manufactured housing and the LLCommunity property type; and or, establish a new not – for – profit body whose stated mission would be to engage in Think Tank type research and report preparation, as needed, relative to all segments of manufactured housing and LLCommunities.
How to get started? I’m toying with the idea of launching a state – by – state tour, for lack of a better word, this year and into 2011. I envision the ‘tour’ will be privately and corporately funded, with some expenses offset by registration fees. Initial visit likely scheduled in states with significant MH & LLCommunity presence and interest. What will be covered during these 1 ½ day visits? For starters:
• State of the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class, with time for open discussion and sharing of ideas, criticism, etc…
• Encourage support of national advocacy bodies by dint of personal and corporate membership and participation, e.g. MHARR, MHI, NCC, NRC, IREM, etc…
• Promote professional property management training via CPM& MHM programs
• Introduce and encourage personal and corporate financial support of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library in Elkhart, IN.
• Introduction of the Think Tank concept, and solicitation of ideas and financial support
• Also, as appropriate at the time of the meeting, and what’s going on in the industry and throughout the asset class, tailor one or more hours to cover contemporary topics of interest, e.g. ‘How to Estimate Affordable Price Points for New & Resale Homes’, ‘How to Set Rental Homesite Rents in Sync with One’s Local Housing Market’, ‘How to Estimate the Income Value of One’s LLCommunity’, etc.
And there’s even more than can be added to this list. But it’s the kind of ‘road show’ this industry and asset class has needed for a long long time. What do you think? Interested in being a financial sponsor whose name will appear on every printed program and ad? If so, let me know via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD – HSNG or 633-4764.
III
A brief introduction to Blog Spam. Bet most readers of this posting don’t know such a thing exists. But, sad to say, it does – in large number! For every 25 direct written responses this blogger receives every day, per ’this weekly blog posting’, 24 of them are nothing but blog spam!
What is blog spam? Attempts by individuals and entities who ‘have something to sell’ or a ‘message to share’ – but not a message having anything to do with the subject matter of the blog posting to which they attach. For example, here’re but a few:
• Sender: Cartier Sunglasses. Message: ‘Thanks for Sharing This!’
• Sender: Jingaphones. Message: ‘Unlock iPhone’
• Sender: American T shirt. Message: ‘Thanks for your post.’
• Sender: guccishoes. Message: ‘Thanks for making such a valuable blog.’
• Sender: burberry sunglasses: Message: ‘Very good information. You write it very clean.’
And all those messages must be cleared from one’s site at least once every day. Oh yes, there’re defenses to this nefarious practice, and I’m slowly learning them. But for now? Blog spam is the scourge of online communication.
IV
REMINDERS. Remember to mark your calendar. July 8th in Massachusetts, Mary McBrady will be hosting a day long Open Forum on landlease community matters pertinent to New England. Interested in attending, reach her via (508)460-9523. Newly formed Print & Online Media CONSORTIUM will likely meet, in Washington, DC, the morning of July 13th (during MHI’s Summer meeting…703/558-0678). And on August 2nd, many of us will gather at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, honoring this year’s inductees. For tickets, phone (800) 378-8694. But most important of all, if you’re a LLCommunity owner/operator or MHIndustry home manufacturer, plan to be in Phoenix, AZ. @ 15 – 17 September for the 19th annual International Networking Roundtable event! For CONSORTIUM and Roundtable information listed in paragraph II above.
End Note.
1. Partial list of annual reports and registries presently researched and published with monthly issues of the Allen Letter professional journal:
• ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators
• Official State of the MHIndustry & LLCommunity Asset Class
• National Registries of RE Lenders & Brokers serving LLCommunity owners/operator
• ‘Who Ya Gonna Call During 2010/”…list of freelance consultants serving MHIndustry
• Official Directory of MHIndustry & LLCommunity Print & Online Trade Media Resources
• Official Lexicon or Glossary of MHIndustry & LLCommunity Terminology
• Professional Property Management Training & Certification Programs for LLCommunities
• Product & Service Directory
• Advocacy Body Directory
• Summary of each year’s International Networking Roundtable, contains all speakers’ information
• National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus progress report
• Official Update of the MHIndustry Timeline of Paradigm Shifts since 1972

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM® Emeritus, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

End Notes.
1. ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’ Registry, Consultants’ Directory, Print & Online Press Overview, etc.

June 2010 National MH Week & Much More!

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

June 2010 National (Manufactured Housing) Month & Much More!
I.
No, there won’t be any fireworks or banners flying, in celebration of National (Manufactured) Housing Month. But, for the first time in a long time, corporate, regulatory and political interests will be collectively focused on factory-built housing at its’ birthplace, in a very public – and hopefully, productive fashion!
On Wednesday, 2 June 2010, Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN) will co – host, with Federal Housing Commissioner David H. Stevens, a national Manufactured Housing Finance Roundtable, in the Chamber of Commerce offices in downtown Elkhart, IN. Attendance is limited to 45 interested parties.
While the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) will be represented at this timely and historic event, only the latter national advocacy body, to the best of my knowledge, will be making a formal Power Point presentation.
Within said Power Point presentation is a list (here paraphrased) of what manufactured housing businessmen and women hope to accomplish at the meeting:
• Identify challenges and engage in productive discussion to solve and resolve them
• Gain understanding of market manufactured housing serves & reasons we’re unique & needed
• Seek expedited deadlines for publication of Title I mortgage letter (This might occur at the roundtable); action by Ginnie Mae to approve existing $ issuers under new Title I program; and, a FHFA directive to implement ’Duty to Serve’ rule and acceptance of Title I loans.
Will these heady, but timely and vital goals be realized at this meeting? Let’s hope so; only time will tell.
Next notable event during National (Manufactured) Housing Month is the proclamation, by Congress, that the week of 14 – 19 June 2010 is National Manufactured Housing Week! While no special events are planned, again – that I’m aware of at this point in time, it’d be appropriate to communicate this notable recognition to employees and customers alike, via advertising, news releases, etc…
II
Now for a commentary on another subject altogether. A question: Is it time for the factory – built housing industry at large, and HUD Code manufactured housing and the landlease (nee manufactured home) community real estate asset class, in particular, to finally launch and fund its’ own formal Think Tank?
What’s a Think Tank? Well, quoting a few lines from an interview with Heritage Foundation’s (a conservative Think Tank) head, Ed Feulner, published in WORLD news magazine (22 May 2010, p. 24) describing his group’s work, “…a think tank that could produce short papers for congressmen, senators, and key staffers that were credible – all the facts upfront, conclusion separated – that were timely.”
For the past five or so years, some of us in the landlease community (‘LLCommunity’) business looked to the then new Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’) product council of the Urban Land Institute (‘ULI’) to maybe fill that, or a similar role, for business entities and advocacy bodies actively involved in manufactured housing’s housing production/distribution, and realty development/investment environments. Well, the MHCC forum has certainly been a lively, productive, even worthwhile opportunity for discussion of industry and asset class issues and concerns, but sans staff, hasn’t scratched the surface of Think Tank production described in the previous paragraph.
Is there a need for independent, capable, credible research and reporting? Yes! At present, the only ‘papers of note’ emanate from two trade bodies with generally different ‘views’ on how manufactured housing should relate to federal regulators, maintain status quo vs. improve national image of our type factory – built housing, even relate to the various segments of the industry. In addition, with the demise of most print publications serving manufactured housing, there’s increasing recognition we, as an industry, ‘must get the word out’ about ‘how’ and ‘why’ we’re this nation’s best ‘affordable housing’ alternative. This will only happen via legitimate research and accurate reporting.
So, what’s the answer? While I’m not entirely sure at this point in time, a plan is indeed coming together. While, as an asset class, we already have a modicum of annually researched and published reports, registries, and the like, we need more – especially within the ‘manufactured housing production/distribution’ segment of the industry.*1 But we’re unlikely to realize this timely and ambitious goal until dedicated resources can be brought to bear ‘when and where needed’, on a continuing basis. Where might such a (Think Tank) resource by ‘housed’? Suggestions, to date, include: underwriting an Academic Fellows position at ULI; sponsor an endowed or perennial chair at a university already demonstrating interest in manufactured housing and the LLCommunity property type; and or, establish a new not – for – profit body whose stated mission would be to engage in Think Tank type research and report preparation, as needed, relative to all segments of manufactured housing and LLCommunities.
How to get started? I’m toying with the idea of launching a state – by – state tour, for lack of a better word, this year and into 2011. I envision the ‘tour’ will be privately and corporately funded, with some expenses offset by registration fees. Initial visit likely scheduled in states with significant MH & LLCommunity presence and interest. What will be covered during these 1 ½ day visits? For starters:
• State of the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class, with time for open discussion and sharing of ideas, criticism, etc…
• Encourage support of national advocacy bodies by dint of personal and corporate membership and participation, e.g. MHARR, MHI, NCC, NRC, IREM, etc…
• Promote professional property management training via CPM& MHM programs
• Introduce and encourage personal and corporate financial support of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library in Elkhart, IN.
• Introduction of the Think Tank concept, and solicitation of ideas and financial support
• Also, as appropriate at the time of the meeting, and what’s going on in the industry and throughout the asset class, tailor one or more hours to cover contemporary topics of interest, e.g. ‘How to Estimate Affordable Price Points for New & Resale Homes’, ‘How to Set Rental Homesite Rents in Sync with One’s Local Housing Market’, ‘How to Estimate the Income Value of One’s LLCommunity’, etc.
And there’s even more than can be added to this list. But it’s the kind of ‘road show’ this industry and asset class has needed for a long long time. What do you think? Interested in being a financial sponsor whose name will appear on every printed program and ad? If so, let me know via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD – HSNG or 633-4764.
III
A brief introduction to Blog Spam. Bet most readers of this posting don’t know such a thing exists. But, sad to say, it does – in large number! For every 25 direct written responses this blogger receives every day, per ’this weekly blog posting’, 24 of them are nothing but blog spam!
What is blog spam? Attempts by individuals and entities who ‘have something to sell’ or a ‘message to share’ – but not a message having anything to do with the subject matter of the blog posting to which they attach. For example, here’re but a few:
• Sender: Cartier Sunglasses. Message: ‘Thanks for Sharing This!’
• Sender: Jingaphones. Message: ‘Unlock iPhone’
• Sender: American T shirt. Message: ‘Thanks for your post.’
• Sender: guccishoes. Message: ‘Thanks for making such a valuable blog.’
• Sender: burberry sunglasses: Message: ‘Very good information. You write it very clean.’
And all those messages must be cleared from one’s site at least once every day. Oh yes, there’re defenses to this nefarious practice, and I’m slowly learning them. But for now? Blog spam is the scourge of online communication.
IV
REMINDERS. Remember to mark your calendar. July 8th in Massachusetts, Mary McBrady will be hosting a day long Open Forum on landlease community matters pertinent to New England. Interested in attending, reach her via (508)460-9523. Newly formed Print & Online Media CONSORTIUM will likely meet, in Washington, DC, the morning of July 13th (during MHI’s Summer meeting…703/558-0678). And on August 2nd, many of us will gather at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, honoring this year’s inductees. For tickets, phone (800) 378-8694. But most important of all, if you’re a LLCommunity owner/operator or MHIndustry home manufacturer, plan to be in Phoenix, AZ. @ 15 – 17 September for the 19th annual International Networking Roundtable event! For CONSORTIUM and Roundtable information listed in paragraph II above.
End Note.
1. Partial list of annual reports and registries presently researched and published with monthly issues of the Allen Letter professional journal:
• ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators
• Official State of the MHIndustry & LLCommunity Asset Class
• National Registries of RE Lenders & Brokers serving LLCommunity owners/operator
• ‘Who Ya Gonna Call During 2010/”…list of freelance consultants serving MHIndustry
• Official Directory of MHIndustry & LLCommunity Print & Online Trade Media Resources
• Official Lexicon or Glossary of MHIndustry & LLCommunity Terminology
• Professional Property Management Training & Certification Programs for LLCommunities
• Product & Service Directory
• Advocacy Body Directory
• Summary of each year’s International Networking Roundtable, contains all speakers’ information
• National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus progress report
• Official Update of the MHIndustry Timeline of Paradigm Shifts since 1972

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM® Emeritus, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

End Notes.
1. ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’ Registry, Consultants’ Directory, Print & Online Press Overview, etc.

MHI’s 3 Point Plan; CONSPIRACY vs. Suicide; & Overlooked Opportunities!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

MHI’s Three Point Plan; CONSPIRACY vs. Suicide, & Overlooked Opportunities!

I

No one was more pleased than this blogger, to read Manufactured Housing Institute’s ‘Three Point Plan to Move the Manufactured Housing Industry Forward’! It appears, around the same time I was penning the blog: ‘Recent MHCC Meeting Presents Unique Opportunity to Juxtapose MHARR & MHI Views on Critical & Timely MHIndustry Issues’, MHI execs were experiencing a dose of ‘MHReligion’ as well. Per Thayer Long’s column in the Journal, his epiphany occurred during the Manufactured Housing Congress in Las Vegas during April.

MHI’s Three Point Plan “…agenda includes improving (chattel) financing for our (home buying) customers, advocating for implementation of updates to the manufactured housing building code (per Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000), and protecting preemption of the federal building code.” MHI @ 5/14/10. If you’d like to read about this in detail, contact Thayer Long via (703) 558-0678, or read his column in the Journal.

So, how or why is MHI’s Three Point Plan ‘major MHIndustry news’? On one hand, I don’t know anyone (OK, maybe there’s one industry exec.) who’d argue MHI hasn’t been on the forefront of ‘improving (chattel) financing for our customers’ these past 18 months re: “…FHA Title I improvements and GSE’s ‘duty to serve’…”. However, many would opine MHI has been far less than stalwart in pressing for full implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000; and, not out to ‘Protect (Federal) Preemption At All Costs’ – until now! From this industry observer’s perspective, those last two points have been the perennial, lonely mission of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform or MHARR. To revisit that reality in detail, reread the aforementioned blog, juxtaposing MHARR & MHI published views regarding the recent MHCC meeting, some now say debacle, in Oklahoma.

II

In mid February of this year, I posted a blog column titled, ‘ManuFractured housing, circa 2020 or before, by dint of a Grand CONSPIRACY or Near Perfect Storm?’ Therein I described, in general terms, the organizations, businesses, trends (e.g. consolidation), and circumstances (e.g. paucity of third party chattel financing), ganging up on the already struggling HUD Code manufactured housing industry. Bottom line? With little to no improvement in all four areas, expect the annual HUD Code shipment total to further plunge from its’ abysmal 49,789 ‘new homes shipped’ during 2009, down to a mere 250 homes by year 2020 or before! At that point the MHIndustry will be dead!

Yes, that blog posting prompted lively discussion for awhile; mostly positive, as ‘really concerned senior (manufacturing) executives’ began to talk about coming together for a third NSAC caucus type meeting*1, among themselves, and probably a few other ‘players’ willing to invest time and resources to ‘Save Our Industry’! But even that once hopeful talk has dissipated, as interest in ‘coming together’ has waned…Too bad.

Then along comes this thoughtful but troubling missal from Martin (‘Marty’) V. Lavin, esquire, out of Vermont, and quoted in part:

“…grasp the obvious…HUD Code housing has been committing suicide for over 20 years. It operates on a Failed Business Model. It started with the securitization and sale of terribly flawed bonds for the industry’s chattel loans through 2003, which caused huge investor losses, and has yet to see any industry response to allow rational, profitable lending by third party lenders.”

“And while very heavy buying demand for our product exists, it comes from (home) buyers infrequently qualified for the available, profitable lending. It therefore remains for the industry to either work on getting profitable lending in the ‘subprime’ tier of present demand, or increase demand from higher credit (home) buyers who can be successfully financed by traditional lenders. The other method of continuing the industry is ‘buy here, pay here’, which seems a poor solution as the primary source of industry financing….” (Parenthetically: ‘Why is this such a ‘poor solution’ Marty’?)

He ends thusly: “It is astounding to me, at this late date, there still continues to be confusion about some grand scheme to undo HUD Code housing. There is no need for a scheme, the industry has done a grand job on its own.”

Not everyone agrees with Marty’s suicide view. Following information was emailed to me, in response to a more recent blog posting – describing a chain of events otherwise unknown to most of us in the MHIndustry, It too supports the Grand CONSPIRACY or Near Perfect Storm that’s unfolding these days:

“They (a national association of homebuilders) were caught with their pants down at the International Code Council meeting, when the fire sprinkler industry paid for nearly 1000 fire fighters to attend (i.e. compensated airfare & meals) the national code change hearings, to vote ‘mandatory fire sprinklers’ into (housing’s) Model Code. Now, notwithstanding the best of (the national association of homebuilders) efforts, pleading, begging, and threatening, it is not gaining ground getting the sprinklers back out of the code! The fire sprinkler industry is also putting tremendous pressure on states desperately trying to remove (home) sprinkler requirements from codes being considered for adoption. (This body) is as impotent as MHI, and much less ‘engaging’ than MHARR. (It) is fighting to keep stick – built housing from dying, and this opponent has greater funding than HUD -– the very agency who should be using federal preemption to protect manufactured housing from this expensive, ‘killing’ regulatory incursion.

My response? Like many Big Picture events in life and business, the overarching reason is probably a combination of factors, as Marty describes them, along with considerations written into the aforementioned Grand CONSPIRACY or Near Perfect Storm blog. So, why don’t you go back and reread it yourself, ponder all points, and let me know your opinion on this matter. No matter what, we’ll soon be ‘dead’ as an industry if we don’t mobilize SOON to regain significant market share in the housing market!

III

Jerry Govan is a veteran California land developer in general, landlease (nee manufactured home) communities, in particular. Now living in Mesa, AZ., with his wife Donna, they’ve recently released a motivational book titled, Take the ‘E’ Out of Ego & Go! Just finished it and it’s an entertaining ‘read’. Order via www.EoutofEGO.com

Jerry recently wrote to share his thoughts regarding ‘Overlooked Opportunities in Today’s Housing Marketplace’. Here’s a brief digest of ideas from Jerry’s musings:

“The first overlooked opportunity, in my opinion, is buying finished (scattered or in subdivisions, fee simple) lots at bargain prices, and creating ‘land and home’ packages” thereon.

“The second part of the market being overlooked is defunct townhouse projects. These lots are not attractive to a stick builder. However these attached unit lots can be rezoned into smaller lots and filled with smaller homes” of the manufactured housing type. First time buyers or empty nesters, who desire to downsize, are a consistent market.”

Jerry goes on to explain, step by step, how he – and other developers, specializing in manufactured housing, go about this process in a routine fashion. If you’d like to learn more, contact him via (702) 498-1976 or jerrygovan@aol.com

IV

OK, here they are; the ‘Important Announcements in the Offing’, about which I hinted in last week’s (5/26/2010) blast email message heralding Blog # 86 re ‘Sam Zell’s “trailer park company” (morphing) into an “RV company”’. Both have to do with the upcoming (15 – 17 September 2010) 19th International Networking Roundtable in Phoenix, AZ, and involve the fielding of two rather historic but very timely panel presentations:

In the first instance, we’ve long needed a ‘joint presentation of views regarding the regulatory affairs governing the HUD Code manufactured housing industry’. This will happen as senior representative from MHI and MHARR ‘make their respective cases’ regarding this pithy topic. Then we’ll open the floor for questions and encourage discussion. This is the first time such a public forum has been held on this topic!

Just as important, and equally timely, is the panel ideally featuring representatives from the two home lending processes now common in landlease community environs: ‘buy here – pay here’ and ‘captive finance’. Here too, proponents of both views/procedures will ‘make their case’, followed by questions from the floor and open discussion.

And, of course, we’ll also have the ever popular, annual Real Estate Lenders/Brokers Panel, where we’ll learn what finance programs are presently available and ‘reasons’ why we should patronize various lenders and loan brokers.

To ensure your name, or that of your firm, is on the Invitation List to this ‘by invitation only’ annual, international event for landlease community owners/operators, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Attendance limited to 200!

V

Reading this blog each week is merely scratching the surface of what an informed executive and entrepreneur should be reading and absorbing about the manufactured housing industry and LLCommunity asset class. At the very least, he or she should also be digging into each issue of the Allen Letter professional journal! Nowhere else will you find the in depth news reporting, calendar of events, lagniappes, and challenging MH Ronin column, read by so many of your peers. Subscription is only $134.95/year (12 issues), accompanied by a FREE copy of the ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Portfolio Owners/operators of LLCommunities Throughout North America!’) – otherwise costing $250.00 per copy! And then there’s the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter read by most senior executives throughout the MHIndustry and LLCommunity asset class. News contained therein is generally unavailable anywhere else, and usually 30 – 60 days before it sees light of day elsewhere. $750.00/year to subscribers to Allen Letter professional journal, otherwise $950.00/year.

Bought your copy of the Manufactured Housing Finance Primer yet? Released at the MHCongress in Las Vegas, more than half the initial print run is gone! Don’t miss obtaining this ‘first ever’ 100 page collection on just about every aspect of chattel finance as it pertains to manufactured housing and landlease communities. $29.95 postpaid via MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156.

VI

In closing, here’re two late – breaking news bites for you. Just saw the extensive list of article titles to be featured by Manufactured Home marketing Sales Management (ezine) @ www.MHMSM.com Check it out!

If like me, you didn’t know the RV/MH Heritage Foundation in Elkhart, IN., is struggling financially – like many of us, here’s an immediate opportunity to help! The foundation is in the midst of “…a ‘special fundraising effort’, looking for 100 supporters to give a gift of $1,000 apiece, to raise $100,000 to meet (their) operational needs for 2010.” To date they’ve collected $28,175 of that goal. Are you in a position to help? If so, phone (800) 378-8694 or (574) 293-2344. And while you’re on the line, ask them to send you information about the upcoming Hall of Fame Induction Banquet scheduled for 2 August, at their beautiful facility in Elkhart, IN. Hundreds of MHIndustry and RV Industry execs and their families will be present.

*****
End Note.

1. NSAC caucus type meeting. First occurring @ 2/27/08 in Tampa, FL., as 100+ LLCommunity owners/operators convened to discuss the future of the MHIndustry in general, and their real estate asset class in particular. Result? Identification of Five Action Areas that continue, to this day, to guide mid and long range planning among these businesses. Second NSAC caucus occurred @ 2/27/09 in Elkhart, IN., as 100+ HUD Code home manufacturers and LLCommunity portfolio owners/operators convened, for the first time in 50 years, to figure out how to work together to market and sell more new HUD Code homes into this unique income – producing property type. Result? In some local housing markets, as much as 50% of new home production is sited in LLCommunities!

*****

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM® Emeritus, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Mid-Year ALLEN REPORT Names New # 1 Owner/operator

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Mid – Year ALLEN REPORT Announces New # 1 Owner/operator! *1

ELS, Inc. president, Joe McAdams proclaims: “…we have shifted our business from being a trailer park company to being an RV company – a lifestyle company.”

(Before sharing this interesting story, here’re three IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS! Subsequent to last week’s ‘Recent MHCC Meeting’ (& contrasted views of manufactured housing’s national advocacy bodies) blog; a significant triple position paper was aired by MHI; startling revelations made, on the subject, by a recent MH executive; and an intriguing MHIndustry recovery plan suggested by a veteran land developer! These ‘blog responses’ will likely form the substance of next blog posting, so ‘stay tuned’ here! GFA)

Now for this week’s story! For veteran landlease (nee manufactured home) community portfolio owners/operators, and Sam Zell fans alike, the April 2010 issue of WOODALLSCM.com trade newspaper contained an article titled: ‘ELS President Joe McAdams Plans to Ratchet Up the Brand Recognition of the Park – Owning Powerhouse’ (pp. 5 & 21). The front page story is replete with surprises (e.g. Reread subtitle to this blog posting!); rare insight into the firm’s difficulty with their manufactured home communities; a brief description of ELS’ recent foray into renting homes on – site; and, what it’s like to be a public company.

First the switch “…from being a trailer park company to being an RV company…” Parenthetically; one wonders, whether fascination with the word ‘park’, in this context and throughout the cited article, is either a sign of disdain for the asset class, or portends a Luddite – like view of the unique income – producing property type? In any event, here’s what ELS, Inc. president Joe McAdams tells WOODALLSCM.com about the switch:

“In 2003, ELS had 128 manufactured home properties and 14 RV campgrounds and resorts. By the end of last year (2009), ELS had increased its RV resort inventory to (sic) 88 Encore and 80 Thousand Trail properties, with 64,000 sites, while still owning 136 manufactured home communities.”

Well, the 21st annual ALLEN REPORT (January 2010) listed Sam Zell’s ELS, Inc. as the largest landlease community (‘LLCommunity’) portfolio owner/operator in the world, with 309 properties (including RV parks), comprised of 111,000 reported (mixed) rental homesites, located in 27 states and one Canadian province. ‘Doing the math’, the majority of ELS, Inc. present property portfolio, according to McAdams, is now comprised of 168 Encore & Thousand Trail RV resort properties and only 136 LLCommunities, for a grand total of 304 properties. When the RV properties are backed out of this total, the remaining LLCommunity property count drops ELS, Inc., to maybe number four among its’ asset class peers, moving recently rejuvenated American Residential Communities (nee Affordable Residential Communities) or ARC, to being ‘number one in the world’! When the 64,000 RV sites, cited in the previous paragraph, are deducted from the firm’s total of 111,000 sites reported in the 21st annual ALLEN REPORT, the remaining 47,000 sites confirms said drop in placement among peer portfolio owner/operators. And how’s this for a coincidence? ELS, Inc. and ARC have corporate offices in the same building in downtown Chicago, IL.

Then there’s the trouble with ‘manufactured home communities’. “Where ELS had been getting in trouble, is that the average age of people in manufactured home communities is something like 72 years old. They were throwing the keys at us because they get too sick to be in Florida and they have to go back to Elkhart to be with their grandkids because somebody’s got to take care of them.” Those of us ‘in the MHBusiness have heard that story before, but the comment also begs this question: ‘Is that the sole reason homeowners/rental homesite lessees (i.e. residents) are throwing keys at some LLCommunity owners/operators these days? No. For an answer to that question, scroll back through the blog archives at this website to one titled: ‘Numbers, Attitudes, Books & Errors, all ‘UP’ at MHCongress! Then read Part III; specifically, ‘The BIGGEST ERRORS of all….’, for an eye and an earful.

Who’d a thunk; ELS, Inc., ‘renting’ manufactured homes on – site in LLCommunities! “The housing side of our business has really been hurt by the inability of people to finance (manufactured) homes, and the inability of people migrating to our markets to sell their (primary) houses. We have addressed that by renting our inventory. That gives us occupancy and helps the growth on that side.” SO, “We are trying to keep the demographic to that guy that we know will rent and convert to an owner. And we will let him take some of the credit from his rent.” AND “The key to homes is bringing the prices down. They are really nice, but if you get to $50 a square foot, you become a viable opportunity.” Since site rent rate isn’t mentioned, it begs yet another question: ‘Is this firm’s homesite rent rate in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing (e.g. 2BR2B conventional apartments) in the same local housing market?*2

And finally, “Because this is a public company, it needs steady, predictable revenue. Investors want to know how much dividend they are going to get. We average 2% to 3% dividend each year. But we are showing them sizable growth. Since 2004, this stock has doubled, with all the rest of the market going down. The average yield is 15% to 20% a year. But they want to make sure that it’s steady and predictable. It’s got to be there every year.” And in case you didn’t know it, the Allen Letter professional journal is the sole MHIndustry & LLCommmunity asset class print and online trade publication reporting the stock performance of all manufactured housing – related firms, including REITs, every month of the year! To subscribe, do so via website hosting this blog or see End Note # 1 following. And, for that matter, have YOU bought your copy of Manufactured Housing Finance Primer? It’s only $29.95/copy (postpaid) and contains timely and helpful input from no fewer than 24 manufactured housing and landlease community consultants and specialists. To order, use any contacts listed in end note # 1.

End Notes

1. 21st annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Portfolio Owners/operators of Landlease Communities Throughout North America!’ available for $250.00 from PMN Publishing, at this website, or by phoning the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. ALLEN REPORT is also available for FREE, when subscribing to the Allen Letter professional journal @ $134.95/year (12 monthly issues) by phoning same number or (317) 346-7156.

2. ‘Setting Right Site Rent & Housing Price Points…before buying a LLCommunity, while managing it, & when selling’ is the title of a seminal reprint enclosed with the May issue of the aforementioned Allen Letter professional journal. If you’d like a FREE copy of this helpful, practical, timely document, simply phone the number listed last in End Note # 1.

*****

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM Emeritus®, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class

Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Comparing MHARR & MHI Views of MHCC mtg.

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

MHCC Meeting Summaries Present Opportunity to Juxtapose MHARR & MHI Views on Critical & Timely MHIndustry Issues!
&
Predict Future of the HUD Code Manufactured Housing Idustry!

If, like me, you were unable to attend the April 2010 meeting of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (‘MHCC’), in Tulsa, OK, know the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) & Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) published summaries of said event. And there the (perverse form of) ‘fun’ begins….

I

MHI’s introductory paragraph describing the MHCC meeting. ‘The MHCC met…to discuss a full agenda of proposed changes to the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards. Susan Brenton…chaired the meeting. Elizabeth Cocke…served as the Designated Federal Official (‘DFO’). Teresa Payne…was introduced….Nineteen of the 22 voting members, including all but one of the producer members of the committee, were in attendance.’

MHARR’s introduction follows this title: ‘MHCC at brink of destruction as HUD attempts to Render it Irrelevant’. So, ‘The cumulative impact of years of mismanagement of the HUD manufactured housing program, under its prior leadership, was on full display as the MHCC met….Building on a series of actions initiated and advanced by HUD during the past several years, the role, authority, functionality and independence of the MHCC has…been replaced by de facto HUD domination, in procedure and substance.’ (Lightly edited. GFA) How so? Read on….

II

MHI’s commentary regarding MHCC By Laws Changes. ‘Ms. Cocke reported HUD’s changes to the bylaws of the MHCC, based on the advice of the General Services Administration (‘GSA’). Key changes…provide for exclusion of industry trade association representatives to serve on the MHCC, and clarification on HUD’s authority to issue interpretative bulletins and changes to the MHCCs. DFO also announced HUD will be making changes to the MHCC subcommittees and task forces, to ensure balanced representation, and reduce the number of participants, as the current committee structure has become unworkable.’

‘New bylaws give HUD discretion to set the agenda for MHCC meetings, but the Department will certainly consult with the MHCC chair and other committee members. Nothing in the new bylaws prohibits the MHCC from continuing to bring forth recommendations and proposals it feels are important.’ Following two sentences confirm status quo of MHCC statutory role regarding responsibilities, and recommendations.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE. After reading paragraph number nine (9) following, reread previous two paragraphs (above); then, critically reflect on how such liberty cum subjugation, by federal regulators, now affects – and eventually cripples, the manufactured housing industry as we know it today! GFA

MHARR’s commentary regarding MHCC By Laws Changes consists of nine paragraphs addressing specific aspects of HUD’s forced changes to the bylaws. Following material necessarily abbreviated, but important and timely to read nonetheless! Again, pay close attention to content of paragraph number nine (9).

1. Severe restrictions on the role and authority of the MHCC. ‘HUD, through an Interpretive Rule issued by former program management, without opportunity for public comment, has stripped MHCC of much of its’ statutory role and authority, by placing off – limits, from MHCC review and comment, a myriad of Agency interpretations and decisions affecting the standards and their enforcement that directly impact the industry and consumers.’ And there’s more following….

2. Exclusion and censorship of collective industry representatives.’ With no collective industry voting representative on the MHCC, industry organization personnel (i.e. MHI & MHARR executives) were barred from posing questions or raising points during Committee debate, by a ruling of the…DFO at the meeting. This censorship allows HUD to place its’ views and opinions before the MHCC, while effectively silencing other collective viewpoints and perspectives.’ And there’s more following….

3. HUD control of MHCC agenda. ‘HUD has taken complete control of the agenda for all MHCC meetings. HUD itself can determine which matters and proposals will be brought before the MHCC and what subjects can even be discussed by the committee.’

4. HUD control of MHCC schedule and update cycle. HUD has taken control of prioritization of proposals before the Committee. Previously, the MHCC decided how to prioritize proposals received from HUD, or the public….And there’s more following….

5. HUD control of MHCC subcommittees. ‘…HUD has taken control of the membership of MHCC subcommittees. Since it was established, the MHCC has allowed interested non – MHCC members to participate in – and vote as – members of its various subcommittees, where much of the Committee’s actual work is accomplished. HUD…has given itself veto power over appointment of individual subcommittee members (allowing it) to skew membership to particular members, and viewpoints it favors.’ (Lightly edited. GFA)

6. HUD control of subcommittee referrals. ‘HUD has taken over assignment of proposed revisions of standards and enforcement regulations to specific MHCC subcommittees.’ And there’s more following….

7. Manipulation of MHCC appointments. Politically – motivated appointments to the MHCC, during the past several years, have skewed the balance of the Committee with special interest advocates, who don’t appear to share the broader interest of mainstream manufactured housing consumers in affordably – priced, non – subsidized home ownership.’ (In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve applied for appointment to the MHCC continually since year 2000, but for naught. GFA)

8. Mischaracterization of the role and authority of the MHCC. ‘HUD declared, at the Tulsa meeting, the only role of the MHCC is as an ‘advisory committee’ to respond to specific HUD proposals. This contradicts and skews the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 reform law, authorizing MHCC to develop its’ own proposed standards, regulations and interpretations….’

9. Mischaracterization of GSA ‘Requirements’ vs. ‘Guidelines’. ‘After attempting to justify HUD domination of the MHCC to ‘requirements’ of the General Services Administration (‘GSA’), which is generally responsible for federal advisory committees, under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the HUD DFO later acknowledged certain points had been ‘overstated’, and GSA ‘requirements’ are, in fact, only ‘guidelines.’ However, none of the negative rulings (i.e. described in previous paragraphs) of the HUD DFO were retracted. (It’s at this point you should go back and reread the first two paragraphs of Part II of this blog posting, and critically reflect….)

MHARR concludes their remarks about this startling manipulation of the MHCC, concluding with this dire prediction: ‘Now that HUD has degraded the role, authority, functionality and independence of the MHCC, and has stacked the Committee against the industry and mainstream consumers, it will attempt to force as many costly and damaging proposals through the MHCC as possible. HUD indicated proposed rules will be published in rapid sequence this Summer, on a number of major pending matters, some of which do not have the consensus approval of the MHCC.’

III

MHI’s commentary on specific MHIndustry issues, beginning with fire sprinklers.
‘HUD, in an effort to protect the preemptive nature of the HUD code, proposed a ‘where required’ standard for fire sprinklers, based on the NFPA 13d fire sprinkler code. The MHCC voted to refer the proposal to its’ Technical Systems subcommittee. MHI’s Technical Activities Committee is working on its’ own proposal to present to the MHCC and HUD.’

MHARR’s commentary on fire sprinklers. ‘MHARR opposes the HUD – proposed federal fire sprinkler standard on multiple grounds and urges the MHCC to reject the proposal.’

NOTE. Since one of the distinguishing hallmarks of the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act is federal preemption from local building codes, e.g. requiring water sprinklers in private residences, Why is this a matter of discussion at all? Reads like ‘opening the door’ to other local building code mandates. GFA

MHI and MHARR, as far as this industry observer could see, hold similar views relative to other proposals at the MHCC meeting, including:

• Vent exhaust outlets
• Entertainment outlet receptacles
• Fireplace venting/crawlspace ventilation
• Ground anchor assembly testing protocol
• Tamper resistant receptacle outlets
• Tankless water heaters
• Tie down systems
• Vented space heaters

Want copies of the two documents from which these proceedings have been quoted? Call MHARR @ (202 783-4087 & request ‘Report & Analysis’ dated 3 May 2010. Phone MHI @ (703) 558-0678 to request ‘Summary of the MHCC Meeting’, dated 5 May 2010.

IV

Is there a bottom line to the confusing, heavy – handed, internecine code interpretations and actions described in this blog posting, occurring between manufactured housing’s two national advocacy organizations, with the consort of a federal regulatory body – masterful at manipulating expectations of, and consequences to, both trade organizations, as well as our industry as a whole?

YES, and ‘internecine’ is the very word best describing said consequence, considering it means: ‘accompanied by mutual slaughter; extremely destructive’. Friend in the MHBusiness: WE ARE THERE! First, we must get our own house in order. Then…

The very agency, apparently maneuvering and manipulating the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (Agree or disagree?) – and by extension, the entire manufactured housing industry, has done little during it’s 35 plus years of regulatory oversight, to ever actively promote this most honestly affordable, non – subsidized, high quality, energy efficient, eminently transportable, and ‘very green’ type factory – built housing to the American home – buying public! That’s gotta change if we’re to survive as an industry! HUD, are you paying attention?

Remember the message of the Manufactured Housing Manifesto, published a few months ago on this website: ‘If we, as an industry, don’t get beyond what some call a Grand Conspiracy (To put us all out of business!), or what others refer to as our industry’s Near Perfect Storm; given the percentage rate of shipment decline between years 2008 & 2009 alone, we will ship only 250 new HUD Code homes come year 2020…that’s only 10 years away, the same time period between beginning the new Millennium and now, when in 1998 we shipped 372,843 homes – but during all of 2009, only 49,789 new homes!

Anyone at MHARR, MHI & HUD listening? Everyone reading this blog posting should surely hope so! And YOU can prompt them to listen, by copying and forwarding this sobering message to everyone you with whom you connect in these three bodies!

As always, your reaction to, critique of, and recommendations for, this weekly blog, are sincerely appreciated. Respond directly hereto, via MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD – HSNG or 633-4764 or gfa7156@aol.com.

Frankly, many of you do read and comment directly to me every week. In the previous paragraphs, you’ve been given a pretty good feel for perspectives expressed by MHARR and MHI, indirectly by HUD, and this industry observer. How ‘bout a fifth, alternative view’, added to this mix? Following commentary is quoted from an email received from a recent former factory – built housing manufacturing executive, on April 27th, the day before the above – referenced MHCC meeting was held in Tulsa, OK:

“MHI and MHARR are completely and totally lost in the mire of government bureaucracy. To help – which they do not now – they must get off HUD and get after marketing and financing our products! Until we have economic power, we are just a bunch of whiners. (We need to become) a viable option to NAHB’s huge leadership.”

Rejoinder? I’m certain MHI and MHARR would reply, that HUD’s adding of regulations (Think’ fire sprinklers’, for starters) add cost to our affordable housing product. And HUD would relish increased freedom to regulate even more. But how ‘bout if all three parties, for the first time, would begin working together to actively and effectively market our unique housing product, to grow that economic power through larger market share!

What are YOU, beginning today, going to do about this manufactured housing situation?

Here’s just one possibility. HUD Code home manufacturers continue to contact me regarding scheduling and hosting a third NSAC caucus – like national event, to address some of the very same issues, big and small, described throughout this blog posting. If YOU are a HUD Code manufacturer, and haven’t contacted me yet with your support for a focused, limited participation, strategic national event, please do so ASAP. Need a dozen bona fide ‘players’ to pull this off, and we’re not there yet. It’s your future; what are you going to do ‘outside the (trade association) box’ to seek, and hopefully identify, creative yet practical solutions – even ‘cutting edge solutions’ to the heady – if – not – survival – challenges we all face today?

*****

FYI: Sale of Manufactured Housing $$$ Primer continues to be brisk! If you don’t have your copy yet, phone (317) 346-7156 or order via this website @ only $29.95 (postpaid).

*****

Mark your calendar! If a landlease community owner/operator, plan now to attend the 19th annual International Networking Roundtable on 15 – 17 September 2010, likely in Phoenix, AZ. As this is a ‘By Invitation Only’ affair for LLCommunity ‘players’ from throughout the U.S. and Canada, call (317) 346-7156 to ensure your name (Real estate and chattel lenders Welcome as well!) is on the invitee list – and request a FREE reprint describing what occurred at last year’s Roundtable in Chicago, IL. The Roundtable is manufactured housing’s stellar annual event, combining three major activities: stellar interpersonal Networking among peers; 24 stimulating, timely Topics covered by as many presenters and panels; and the only LLCommunity Deal – making Event all year long! Attendance limited to 200, so don’t be left out this year!

*****

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM Emeritus®, MHM’ Box # 47024
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry & Indianapolis, IN. 46247
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class (317) 346-7156

*****

Postscript: Response to last week’s blog, describing formation of an informal national CONSORTIUM of Print and Online Manufactured Housing – related Trade Publications and Media, was strong and motivating, especially considering The Grissim Report announced the day following, it was ceasing publication. Those subscribers were afforded an opportunity to ‘receive out’ their subscriptions, with monthly issues of the Allen Letter professional journal. To date, most have taken advantage of said offer. Point in telling you all this? Manufactured housing’s print and online publications continue to dwindle in number, so actively support those of us who remain! Next meeting of the CONSORTIUM will be in Washington, DC, mid July, during MHI’s Summer meeting.

Consortium of Print & Online MH Publications

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

CONSORTIUM of PRINT & ONLINE TRADE MEDIA PUBLICATIONS

Serving Factory – built Housing Manufacturers, Retailers, Financiers

& the Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class!

All segments of the U.S. housing industry have experienced major economic hits since the dawn of the New Millennium. First it was the HUD Code manufactured housing industry, at the turn of the century, losing the majority of its’ third party chattel (personal property) finance resources; eight years later, the site – built housing industry and its’ realty – secured mortgage market went ‘near bust’ for reasons also related to greed. Today, the former struggles to survive what some fear is a Grand Conspiracy, and others opine, a Near Perfect Storm of its’ own making. In the meantime, the latter languishes, as millions of repossessed homes await reselling before new construction can resume.

One of the hardest hit segments of housing industry has been its’ trade press, particularly print publications that served various business subsets for decades. Some have become online ezines, e.g. Automated Builder and Upwardly Mobile. Others have disappeared altogether, e.g. Community Management, then MHI’s Modern Home, the venerable Manufactured Home Merchandiser, even Systems Building magazines. Paucity of paid advertising has been the common denominator causing this wholesale retrenchment. Today, only the Allen Letter professional journal, the Journal magazine, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter survive!

At the same time, less capital intense – and less reliant on paid advertising – online publications have proliferated! Here we find Ken Rishel’s Chattel Finance Newsletter (free), Community Connections newsletter (for MHI’s NCC members), Dick Moore’s occasional INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES free newsletter, Tony Kovach’s multifaceted Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management (free), John Grissim’s The Grissim Report (subscriber – supported), and this weekly blog posting at community-investor.com This is not a new phenomenon, recalling Vermont financier and industry commentator Marty Lavin’s occasional online newsletter of a year or two ago.

In addition to the remaining print publications and new online ezines, there’re more than a half dozen websites offering a modicum of ‘industry news’, and specialty information, relative to sales and marketing training, benchmark statistics, resource directories, lead generation services, even listings of homes and landlease communities for sale. For a copy of the recently researched and just published ‘Official Manufactured Housing Resource for Print & Online Media, plus MHIndustry & Social Networking Web Sites’, subscribe to the Allen Letter professional journal. The seminal document is enclosed as a lagniappe (freebie) with the May 2010 issue! Call the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD – HSNG or 633-4764 to subscribe ($134.95/year for 12 monthly issues).

Consortium of Print & Online Trade Media Publications? That’s right. At an April 2010 recent meeting in Springfield, ILL, representatives from two of the above – referenced print publications, and three of the online ezines, newsletters, and blogs, met to explore ways to work together, moving forward, in behalf of the national factory – built housing industry in general, HUD Code manufactured and modular housing industries in particular, as well as the landlease community real estate asset class. It was agreed, in the face of what’s occurred since year 2000 – summarized in the opening paragraphs of this blog posting, a print and online trade media consortium is an important opportunity and cooperative necessity whose time is now!

What might be expected from this informal consortium and its’ advocates, as it matures and time passes? What you won’t see is a blurring of editorial and content focus. For example; the Allen Letter professional journal has focused on LLCommunity owners/operators information needs for 20 years, only recently broadening its’ scope to include HUD Code home manufacturers who’ve named Business Development Managers (‘BDM’) to build new home market share throughout the asset class. the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! continues to be the sole subscriber – supported source of strategic and sensitive ‘insider information’ required by entrepreneurs and senior executives in every segment of the MHIndustry. The Journal’s strength lies with ferrying oft disparate views of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) and Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), sans commentary. Expect to see the Chattel Finance Newsletter continue to communicate the basics of capital sourcing, mortgage underwriting, and loan compliance. Community Connections keeps LLCommunity folk informed of MHI’s advocacy efforts, in their behalf, ‘inside the Washington beltway’. INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES has earned a credible rep as the MHIndustry’s ‘truth teller’, and likely won’t stray from that focus. Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management, during its’ first year of online publication, has earned the apt reputation for being an unapologetic cheerleader for the MHIndustry at large! And let’s hope The Grissim Report remains loyal to its’ mission of reporting on everything newsworthy about manufacturers throughout the factory – built housing milieu.

What you might see is this; tacit agreement that all news reporting be accurate, truthful, and timely! And where How To and Op/Ed (i.e. opinion/editorial) columns are offered, they be penned by qualified and experienced individuals who communicate well, and who’re actively engaged in – not retired from, or working outside – the very business models they describe! And it’ll be a decided plus, when said writers personally demonstrate support, by dint of state and or national trade association membership and event participation, of the housing industry and realty asset class. An added plus, in time, will be to see most of these freelance writers, even the print and online publications themselves, become participants in the National Association of Real Estate Editors (‘NAREE’), the fount of professional and trade journalistic integrity..

If you’re a print or online trade press/media publisher, covering factory – built housing, manufactured housing, and or landlease communities, unable to attend the initial consortium meeting in Springfield, IL., but interested in participating, going forward, respond directly to this blog posting or phone (317) 346-7156. Next consortium meeting? Possibly during MHI’s Summer meeting in Washington, DC., 13 – 15 June 2010. For MHI meeting information, phone (703) 558-0678.

*****
FYI! Recent publication of our industry and asset class’ first Official Lexicon
(Glossary) of manufactured housing and landlease community trade terms, brings consistency in spelling and definition, to the entire spectrum of trade journalism and publishing. For your copy of the Manufactured Housing $$$ Primer @ $29.95/copy (postpaid), order via this website, or phone (317) 346-7156. Credit card orders welcome.

*****
On another subject. The goal of launching a ‘captive insurance’ program, among landlease community owners/operators during 2010, continues to progress. Formal ‘start up’ proposals have been solicited from captive insurance – qualified & experienced firms. After mention, in last week’s blog, several more LLCommunity owners requested their names be added to the list of now more than two dozen seriously interested parties. How ‘bout you? Interested in maybe lowering your annual property damage and casualty insurance premiums, and possibly participating in the profitability of a new ‘captive insurance’ firm comprised entirely of LLCommunity owners/operators? If so, call (317) 346-7156. You probably don’t want to miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity….

*****

Here’s something novel to consider. Recently experienced this insight: “Given all the attention these days, to on – site sales & self – financing of new & resale manufactured homes, perhaps the relatively new handle ‘landlease community’, would be more accurately stated and penned as ‘lendlease community’! Why? Today, we almost universally ‘lend’ money to folk buying a new or resale home in our LLCommunity, then ‘lease’ them the homesite on which their home is sited.” Hmm. What do you think?

*****
And don’t forget; your input, response, and critique of this weekly blog posting is vital and important to its’ continuing and future ability to provide timely, accurate, cutting edge industry and asset class information back to you and all our MHBusiness peers!

George Allen, Realtor®, CPM®, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 (317) 346-7156