Archive for December, 2011

‘God Forgive Me When I Whine’ & MHIndustry News

Monday, December 26th, 2011

‘God Forgive Me When I Whine’

A Inspiring Message from the Telephone Doctor, Nancy Friedman

Quoted from her ‘Monthly Communications Article’ for December 2012. This is the poem with which Nancy closes every keynote address:

Today, upon a bus, I saw a lovely girl with golden hair,
I envied her, she seemed so gay and wished I were as fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle;
She had one leg, and used a crutch, and as she passed – a smile.
O God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs. The world is mine.

And then I stopped to buy some sweets,
The lad who sold them had such charm, I talked with him – he seemed so glad –
If I were late, ‘twould do no harm.
And as I left he said to me: “I thank you. You have been so kind. It’s nice to talk with folks like you. You See,” he said, “I’m blind.”
O God forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes. The world is mine.

Later, walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue,
He stood and watched the others play;
I seemed he knew not what to do.
I stopped a moment, then I said: “Why don’t you join the others, dear?”
He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew – he could not hear.
O God forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears. The world is mine.

With legs to take me where I’d go
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow – With ears to hear what I would know.
O God, forgive me when I whine.
I’m blessed indeed. The world is mine.

Author Unknown.

Who’s the Telephone Doctor? A longtime specialist in customer service, with emphasis on telephone etiquette and effective performance. She’s been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, and retained as a featured speaker and instructor by many Fortune 500 firms. I first met her a couple decades ago, when she addressed MHRetailers gathered at what was then known as the Midwest Manufactured Housing Show, now the Louisville MHShow (11 – 13 January 2012). Contact her via (314) 291-1012 or nancyf@telephonedoctor.com

***

Other ( $ Business – related) Topics of Interest

I.

Government National Mortgage Association (‘GNMA’) ‘Opens Window of Opportunity Regarding FHA Title I Securitization’

As YOU likely know, until more capital finds its’ way, from independent third party chattel financing lenders, to the HUD Code manufactured housing industry, we’ll continue limping along, as we have for the past three years, at only 50,000+/- new home shipments per year, compared to the 372,843 new homes shipped during 1998!

One hang-up has been GNMA’s requirement of a minimum net worth of $10,000,000 for issuers (of FHA Title I loans) and a reserve of 10% of all outstanding Title I MH loans, a.k.a. the ’10 – 10 rule’. GNMA now encourages lenders, or what some refer to as the ‘post – production sector’ of the MHIndustry, “…to directly provide GNMA with information that would support and justify a lower net worth level, including, possibly, information supporting a sliding scale net worth requirement tied to business volume….” This quoted from an MHARR memo dated 12/19/2011. For more information, phone (202) 783-4087.

If you’re one of those individuals, or head a finance firm interested in participating in this market, but are presently excluded by dint of the above – referenced 10 – 10 rule, directly contact:

Theodore W. Tozer, president, GNMA @ 550 12th St., SW, Washington, DC. 20024

Gregory A. Keith, Sr. VP, GNMA @ 550 12th St., SW, Washington, DC. 20024

II.

And on yet another, closely related and equally timely topic

Here’s your only opportunity to submit comments to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’), on or before 17 February 2012, concerning interim regulations published in the Federal Register, on 19 December, regarding transfer of regulatory responsibility of the S.A.F.E. Act from HUD to the CFPB, under the Dodd – Frank law, effective 30 December 2011.

A copy of the interim rule can be obtained via www.regulations.gov (enter keyword “CFPB-2011-0023”).

Why do so? The CFPB is interested in learning, from YOU, of elements of the interim rule that are ‘outdated, unduly burdensome, or unnecessary’. Like I wrote; this is your only opportunity to identify and bring those onerous $ regulatory provisions to their attention. If you have serious concerns, and don’t respond; well, learn to live with those outdated, unduly burdensome, unnecessary and onerous $ regulations during 2012!

***

January Opportunities for LLCommunity Owners/operators

11 January 2012. Visit Fleetwood Homes’ Community Series Homes (‘CSH’) exhibited during the Louisville MHShow (nee Midwest Manufactured Housing Show), at the Kentucky State Fair Grounds, 11 – 13 January. I’ll be present at Fleetwood Homes CSH exhibit mid – afternoon, 11 January, to ‘talk CSH design’ with YOU. Might even be a surprise in store for those who stop by to visit. To register, phone (770) 587-3350. And while you’re touring other homes exhibited at this year’s MHShow, ask, “Why no Community Series Home here for me to buy and put into my landlease community?” Seriously!

12 January 2012. Get Certified! As a Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM®, at the Comfort Inn on Philips Lane (road at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds entrance) between 8AM & 4PM. Pre – registration @ $250.00 required! This is the only national professional property management training and certification program designed for the landlease community owners, operators, and resident managers! Nearly 1,000 MHMs have been certified to date. Again, pre – registration is a must, so phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 ASAP. Why? Class limited to 20 individuals and we’re halfway there already. Participants receive a copy of the Landlease Community Management $75.00 textbook as part of their registration fee.

26 & 27 January. FOCUS Group, for LLCommunity owners only. Convenes in Tampa, FL., at Lamplighter on the River. If you’d like to be considered for an invitation to participate, phone (317) 346-7156 ASAP. Why? FOCUS Group is limited to 20 LLCommunity owners and senior executives, and we already have 16 committed to participate. Plan to arrive mid – afternoon on the 26th, stay at same quality hotel, enjoy a special networking dinner that evening, and spend from 8AM until 2PM, on the 27th, ‘working through’ a five topic agenda – based on suggestions submitted beforehand by registrants. Cost? Meeting expenses are totaled and invoiced, on a pro rata basis, after the FOCUS Group meeting. There is no other venue like this in the realty asset class! It’s been convening for 20 years, and at one time or another, most of the major and most successful landlease community owners/operators have participated.

And that’s not all! There’s also a January meeting scheduled pursuant to maybe introducing a new chattel finance program for owners of individual and small portfolio landlease communities engaged in one or another form of self – finance to consummate on – site home sales transactions; in effect, creating a new, four – legged $ business model involving:

1) HUD Code home manufacturers routinely designing and shipping Community Series Homes (a.k.a. ‘CSH’) into landlease communities, or desiring to do so; and willing to offer a discounted wholesale price to pre – qualified landlease communities and or their principal owners.

2) Independent third party lender(s) intent on ‘doing more business’ with pre – qualified landlease communities and or their principal owners.

3) Sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporate owners of pre – qualified landlease communities and small portfolios

4) Prospective homebuyers/site lessees in search of and deserving a ‘value proposition’ where the amount of home they buy and mortgage, is in accords with what they can truly afford, and the participating LLCommunity’s homesite rent rate is truly in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market.

This new four – legged business model also presupposes serious conversation, and eventual evolution – the sooner the better – of a functioning, supportive secondary market for the marketing, sale, even financing of resale manufactured homes within and outside landlease communities. For more details on these evolving manufactured housing chattel finance and secondary market programs, read the January 2012 edition of the Allen Letter professional journal. You know, the one that contains the 23rd annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Landlease Community Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’ Not yet a subscriber? Phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or this website: www.community-investor.com TODAY.

***

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

My Gift to Every Combat Veteran, & Their Families & Friends

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

My Gift to Every Combat Veteran & Their Family & Friends

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”*1

Recently came across some searing quotes in a true story, describing the combat experiences of Sergeant Dakota Meyer, the first living Marine recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.*2 Not only did these passages stir personal memories of a lonely Christmas 43 years ago in Vietnam, but they set the stage to review a new book – or two, that in my opinion, should be required reading for every young man and woman, as well as their family members and close friends, before departing for a combat theatre.

“When you leave the (defensive) perimeter, you don’t know what’s going to happen, regardless of what war you’re fighting in,” Sergeant Major Kellogg said, “Once you get to a point where you make the decision – ‘I’m probably going to die, so let the party begin’ – once you say in your mind you aren’t getting out of there, you fight harder and harder.” P.16 This so true view begs this question, ‘How does one return home and leave such a mindset behind?’

“I lost a lot of Afghans that day,” Meyer said. “And I’ll tell you right now – they were just as close to me as those Marines were. At the end of the day, I don’t care if they’re Afghans, Iraqis, Marines or Army; it didn’t matter. They’re in the same shit you are, and they want to go home and see their family just as bad as you do.” P.18 Then these questions, ‘When they return home, how do they leave such experiences behind – or do they, or even, should they?’

“Being a Marine is a way of life,” Meyer said. “It isn’t just a word, and it’s not just about the uniform; it’s about brotherhood. Brotherhood means that when you turn around, they’re there, through thick and thin. If you can’t take care of your brothers, what can you do in life?” p.20 That’s why I’m grateful for my military heritage. To this day, Marines JD Richards, Spanos, Dietz, my brother Mark, and others, all ‘Have my back!’

With that said, Karl Marlantes’ new book, What It Is Like to Go to War, while probably not for everyone – particularly those who abhor war and the killing that goes with it; is indeed, a ‘necessary read’ for we who appreciate our freedom and lifestyle as American citizens, as well as our men and women of combat, who protect and preserve those highly valued qualities in our behalf.

Some may remember the Marlantes’ first book, Matterhorn. While couched as historical fiction, it is in truth, a wholly accurate and graphic account of small unit infantry combat in the Republic of Vietnam during the late 1960s. Having been there, at the same time in the I Corps theatre of operations, as then Marine lieutenant Marlantes, I’m familiar with incidents he describes, to tell his story. And it was through reading that book I became convinced ‘he well knows about what he writes’ in What It Is Like to Go To War. Here’re a couple passages, from the beginning and near the end of this book, that touched me, as they will you – or a friend or relative, in personal and special ways:

“The Marine Corps taught me how to kill, but it didn’t teach me (how) to deal with killing.” P.3. And, “The returning warrior needs to heal more than his mind and body. He needs to heal his soul.” P.196. For those who’ve read my short story, ‘Making Amends’, know the culmination of my healing didn’t occur until Christmas Eve 2005, 43 years following my return from the Republic of Vietnam as a Marine lieutenant. That’s when I met Catherine, the manager of a pharmacy in Indianapolis. At a critical point in our first conversation, and as it turned out – our very lives, we shared what happened to us – from widely different perspectives, during 1968 and 1969, relative to that conflict. And as I wrote in that vignette, “We talked. I cried. She atoned.”

Well, author Marlantes makes this matter of dealing with the personal aftermath of armed conflict crystal clear, in this introduction to chapter # 9, titled ‘Home’.

“Returning from the initiatory space of the battlefield to the normal world is every bit as mysterious a journey as entering the Temple of Mars (war). The world you left behind has changed and you have changed. You know parts of yourself that you, and those you’ve lived with all your life, never knew before. You’ve been evil, and you’ve been good, and you’ve been beyond evil and good. You’ve split your mind from your heart, and you’ve split your heart with grief and your mind with fear. Ultimately, you’ve been in touch with the infinite, and now you are trying to reconcile yourself to the mundane. The warrior of the future will need to know how to enter and exit both worlds, if not with ease, then at lest without permanently disintegrating his or her personality.” P.176.

This is why every combat veteran, past and present; as well as their family and close friends, should read Marlantes’ new bok. And there’s much more within its’ 256 pages; everything from the act of killing, feelings of guilt, numbness and violence, ‘the enemy within’, lying, loyalty, heroism, ‘the club’, and much more. One simply cannot read this book and walk away unaffected, whether for personal reasons – or just as important, how one henceforth relates to friends and relatives, who’ve gone off to war and likely returned less and more than whole.

If you’d like a copy of ‘Making Amends’, request it via (317) 346-7156 or gfa7156@aol.com George Allen c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247

End Notes:
1. John 15:13, and 2)‘Marine Braves the Jaws of Death Five Times’, by Cpl. Reece Lodder, USMC, Soldier of Fortune magazine, December 2011, pp. 14 – 20.

Valuing Income Streams, & Balancing Home Price, Availability & Site Rent

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Valuing the Income Stream of Your Landlease Community

&

The Higher the Site Rent, the Less Home Buyers Can Buy

&

No More on Radical Change for Now; Maybe Next Week!

I.

Two Ways to Estimate the Value of Your LLCommunity’s Income Stream

There’s a longhand way to estimate the capitalized annual net rental income value of any traditional landlease (nee manufactured home) community; and, there’s a shorthand approach for average quality properties alone. Both are income capitalization income valuation methodologies. And for the record, remember; there are two additional traditional income – producing property valuation methodologies: replacement value and market value; neither of which will be dealt with in the following few paragraphs.

Given an ‘average’ LLCommunity with 200 fully developed, rentable, occupied home sites; charging $200/month site rent; experiencing 80% physical occupancy; 40% overall Operating Expense Ratio or OER; and worthy of a 10 cap (i.e. 10% income capitalization rate, ideally based on like property sales in the same local housing market, recently sold); what is the approximate value of that property’s net rental income stream – not considering the sale and or rental of homes, if any, on – site?

The classic longhand method would be to estimate the property’s maximum net rental income stream value first, if viewing as a potential buyer or investor; then ‘run the numbers’ reflecting present physical occupancy level; then, to be even more precise, considering economic occupancy. Here’re three representative sets of numbers:

• 200 sites X $200/mth rent X 12 months X .60 (reciprocal of 40% OER), divided by .10 cap rate, = $2,880,000.00 estimated net rental income stream value of LLCommunity with every site occupied and paying rent.

• 200 sites X .80 (physical occupancy) X $200 X 12 months X .60, divided by .10 cap rate = $2,304,000.00 estimated net rental income stream under present conditions, or $576,000.00 less value than if/when fully occupied.

• 200 sites X .75 (economic occupancy, i.e. # renters actually paying rent) X $200 X 12 months X .60, divided by .10 cap rate = $2,160,000 estimated net rental income stream under present ‘collection conditions’, or $720,000 less value.

Keep in mind; with exceptions of first, the 200 rental homesite count (though that could change), and then 12 months/year (Always best to annualize these calculations), all other factors are ‘variables’ requiring research and documentation before using in the afore – described longhand valuation formula. Two examples: the 40% OER, while widely accepted as the Industry Standard for landlease communities*1, must be ascertained for the subject property; and the ‘cap rate’, while calculated different ways, is often a function of a property’s net operating income (‘NOI’) divided by its’ value (e.g. NOI & sale price at ‘closing’, in the case of a ‘comp’ or nearby comparable property recently sold)*2.

Then there’s a shorthand approach to the afore – described three applications of the net rental income stream valuation formula. Widely known as the New Rule of 72, this methodology is simple, direct, and applies ONLY to average quality landlease communities. Same ‘givens’ as used in previous examples: 200 rental home sites & 200/month site rent, 80% physical occupancy = 160 sites (& 75% economic occupancy = 150 sites), 40% Industry Standard OER, and 10% ‘cap rate’ for an average quality LLCommunity.

• 200 sites X $200 X 72 = $2,880,000.00 estimated net rental income stream value

• 180 sites X $200 X 72 = $2,304,000.00 estimated net rental income stream value

• 175 sites X $200 X 72 = $2,160,000.00 estimated net rental income stream value

It doesn’t get much simpler than that. What is the value of your landlease community’s net rental income stream today? What should it be? What are YOU doing to get it there? For a FREE wallet card containing the long and shorthand valuation methodologies just demonstrated, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE provided in end note # 1.

Has this question crossed your mind: ‘If this is the New Rule of 72, what’s the Old Rule of 72?’ Fair enough. It’s a simple, longstanding formula used to calculate ‘How long it takes to double the value of an investment at a set ROI (i.e. return on investment).’ For example, the whole number ‘72’ divided by an ROI percentage, e.g. of ‘20%’, equals 3.6 years. Now you know, both the Old & New Rules of 72!

II.

The Higher the Site Rent, the Less Home Buyers Can Buy!

The following paragraphs are quoted from the January 2012 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. This information is so important and timely, we don’t want to wait even two weeks to get the updated information and figures into your hands and head.

Longtime blog floggers (readers) and Allen Letter subscribers are already familiar with the game changer ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ created four years ago. What’s it do? “Estimate(s) maximum recommended ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ purchase prices for new & resale, privately – owned homes of any type, sited on realty owned fee simple with home, or leased – as in a landlease community!” Quoted from form’s heading. In other words, given a prospective homebuyer or household’s Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’); or, the Area Median Income (‘AMI’) for any zip coded local housing market in the U.S., this single piece of paper, with its’ step – by – step center description column and four columnar ‘$ examples’, i.e. home – & – realty ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ purchase; and, home – in – LLCommunity ‘affordable’ & ‘ risky’ purchase, clearly demonstrates the ‘most home a consumer should buy’, given their annual gross (or market’s median) income, from both ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ perspectives! No other tool in today’s housing market and realty profession comes close to what this form does for homebuyers and rental homesite lessees, as well as those marketing, selling and financing new and resale homes!

The original ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ used as a formula starting point, $36,000 AGI and AMI. While this was characteristic of many Midwest local housing markets four years ago, it really was too low for widespread application, even though users are encouraged to use appropriate AGI, when a prospective homebuyer ‘walks in the home sales center door’, or AMI, when considering a new local housing market for opening a new home sales center. In any event, a new, slightly revised edition of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet ‘begins’ with an AGI/AMI of $51,229, the approximate national AMI for years 2010 & 2011. How does this new and higher figure ‘pencil out’ when running the numbers through this multipurpose form? For the purposes of this week’s blog posting, we’ll deal only with the ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ perspectives of home buying and rental homesite leasing in typical landlease (nee manufactured home) communities.

“ ‘As Rental Homesite Rates Rise, the Price/Value of Homeowner/site lessees’ Home Goes Down!’ No real surprise there. That’s a well recognized logical truism around the MHBusiness. Here are the numbers! Given the above – referenced starting point of $51,229 AMI or AGI, and three rental homesite rates at $133/month, #333/month, and $533/month; and using said ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’, here’re the corresponding maximum ‘affordable home prices/values for those three site rent rates consecutively: $98,649 max, slipping down to $75,000., then down further to only $50,968. In other words, for every $200 in rent increase (between $133 & $333 & 533), the maximum ‘affordable’ home price/value plummets by about $24,000! Bottom line? Given that $51,229 is the approximate national AMI, and average national rental homesite rate is near $333/month, then a $75,000 price/value new or resale manufactured home is affordable and ‘doable’ in the average landlease community! However, if site rent is increased to $533/month in a market where AMI is anywhere near $51,229, that homeowner/site lessee who could have bought a $75,000 home, I now only able to purchase one for $50,968 – assuming he/she does to in an ‘affordable’ fashion, and NOT as a ‘risky’ deal characteristic of the late 1990s. FYI. The ‘risky’ home price/value figures here, for $333/month & $533/month site rents are $101,666 and $80,210 respectively. Impressive yes, but remember: The ‘risky’ route is no picnic, as the utility bills included in the ‘affordable’ PITI (i.e. principal, interest, taxes, insurance) monthly house payment, still have to be paid each month, but now ‘in addition to’ the home loan payment of just PITI alone.” Quoted from the Allen Letter professional journal (1/2012)

Want a FREE copy of the aforementioned and slightly revised ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’? Simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE listed in end note # 1.

III.

No More on Radical Change for Now; Maybe Next Week!

Will tell you this much though. Email and telephone responses to last week’s blog posting: ‘More Than One Way to Implement Radical Change…’ was near immediate, pouring into my laptop and our offices within one half hour after I completed the posting process. And so far, with one exception (A reader/writer misunderstood, thinking I was ‘looking for a job’ – Which I Am Not!), many of YOU out there, are fed up with the perennial inter association politicking, bickering and marginalized industry advocacy in our nation’s capitol (Think S.A.F.E. Act & Dodd – Frank regulatory ‘surprises’ in 2010 & 2011); and on the landlease community side of the house, apparent inactivity, lack of direction, and paucity of communication with direct dues – paying members. Hence, widespread but tacit support for Radical Change of some sort….

Again, I am not looking for a job! Rather, I’m seeking a practical and lasting means to continue producing, preserving, and carrying forward the sort of practical knowledge contained in parts I & II of this week’s blog posting.

***

End Notes.

1. For a FREE copy of the Industry Standard Chart of (Operating Expense) Accounts, along with appropriate line item OERs, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, and request it.

2. Capitalization rate. Also referred to as cap rate or income yield. The lower the cap rate (e.g. 8% cap rate is lower than 12% cap rate), the higher the risk to the investor (i.e. To realize his/her ROI, or return on & of, a higher priced investment), hence a higher asking price. From Dictionary of Real Estate.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156 & gfa7156@aol.com

2012, a Watershed Year for MHAdvocacy? More than one way to implement radical change…

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

More Than One Way to Implement Radical Change…

I.

As a Major Paradigm Shift, Belatedly Effecting National Advocacy Change,

&

Now’s time for this 60 year ‘double dual industry’, broadly comprised of

1) manufactured housing fabrication & distribution segments, and

2) landlease community developers, investors & managers,

to maybe ‘leave the MHI home’ and go their separate ways. Can YOU think of any other U.S. industry, where the product manufacturing and sales business model shares the same national political and regulatory advocacy presence with their commercial, wholesale, and retail customers? No? And that forced intimacy, as we know from history, makes for a fertile breeding ground for collusion on one hand (Think questionable chattel lending practices circa 1978 & 98) and conflicts of interest (Relative to land zoning perspectives), on the other!

Or simply,

The pronouncement of a ‘third choice’ national advocacy alternative for manufactured housing purists, landlease community owners, and everyone else in today’s MHIndustry and LLCommunity asset class.

***

Nature of paradigm shift, radical change, third choice advocacy alternative?

First; one more time, review the present day status quo and previously recommended Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute, proposed and described here, during the past several weeks:

• “A Congressional hearing takes place in late November 2011 in Virginia, and there’s no salaried spokesperson or advocate testifying in behalf of the Manufactured Housing Institute. MHI’s annual meeting takes place in Phoenix, AZ., earlier this Fall. Since then, there’s been little communication to direct, dues – paying members by its’ National Communities Council division, including follow – up of matters (e.g. CAS Task Force & more…) discussed at said meeting. And during a recent conference call with state manufactured housing executives, MHI’s chairman indicated there’s no rush to find a replacement for Thayer Long. That’s a brief summary of this industry observer’s ‘grassroots constituency view’ of manufactured housing (MHI) and landlease community (NCC) national advocacy to date. In other words, National Advocacy Choice # 1 = Maintain the status quo.” (Edited. GFA) Also probably why, for the first time since this weekly blog appeared 170 editions ago, some of its’ more than 500 readers have started calling and writing, asking, ‘Will MHI will be in business by year end 2012; and, whether they should pay dues this next year?’

• “…on 13 November 2011, this weekly blog posting proposed a Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute. To wit, “Finally merge a renamed Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (a.k.a. MHARR) with MHI, yes indeed, and make Danny Ghorbani executive – in – charge of all home manufacturing/distribution matters, and yours truly, George Allen, executive – in – charge of all landlease community owner/operator affairs!” In other words, this National Advocacy Radical Change = Choice # 2. (Edited. GFA). As a related aside, one has to wonder what the answer(s), and advocacy results, might have been, IF indeed, MHI’s elected leaders had made a serious overture to Mssrs. Ghorbani & Allen.

Since there’s been no recent encouragement from MHI’s elected and salaried leaders, that status quo choice # 1 will markedly improve during the weeks and months ahead; and, there’s been no interest expressed in pursuing National Advocacy Change, Choice # 2, by the same parties (With one marked exception), the stage is effectively set, and door opened wide, to introduce National Advocacy Radical Change, Choice # 3.

National Advocacy Radical Change, Choice # 3?

HUD Code home manufacturers who design and market a line of modular homes, might join the Building Systems Council (‘BSC’) of the National Association of Homebuilders (‘NAHB’). This is not without precedent. Champion Homes’ Genesis (modular homes) division already belongs; and, Clayton Homes, as well as Palm Harbor Homes (now part of the Cavco Industries family of companies) are past members of NAHB’s BSC. However, this alternative would leave ‘HUD Code only’ firms adrift and alone. A better alternative, in my opinion, would be for all HUD Code manufactured housing producers, large and small, to affiliate en masse, with a renamed Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), to henceforth effect a stronger and united national advocacy presence relative to all manufactured housing PRODUCTION matters politic, and regulatory affairs.

Who knows? Maybe after 11 long years, we might see the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (a.k.a. ‘MHIA@2000’) finally fully implemented over HUD’s perennial resistance to our industry’s heretofore conflicted status quo national advocacy efforts.

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At the same time, either reorganize the Manufactured Housing Institute as a national POST PRODUCTION advocacy body, sans all HUD Code home manufacturers, henceforth focused on the needs and wants of ALL other segments of the manufactured housing industry, possibly including the landlease community real estate asset class.

OR, if indeed, the timing and motivating circumstances are now right and compelling,

Birth a new realty – based national advocacy ( & more) body, similar to the NAR, IREM, BOMA, NAA, NMHC, CA, CIREI, C of RE, REEA, NAREA, etc., to represent and advocate in behalf of 50,000+/- landlease communities, and their owners/operators, nationwide. And while at it, broaden that new body’s scope of products and services to include statistical research and reporting; weekly online and monthly print communication with members; viable and economical professional property management training and certification; an annual International Networking Roundtable event; periodic, confidential FOCUS Group meetings for top executives; as well as, preparation and distribution of key resource documents and directories long utilized, though heretofore prepared commercially, by individual and portfolio landlease community owners/operators nationwide. This would indeed be the welcome, needed, and long awaited dawning of a new and exciting day, decade, and future for landlease (nee manufactured home) community developers, investors, professional property managers, even the asset class’ homeowner/rental home site lessees!

The remaining segments, including state manufactured housing associations? That’d be a matter, as suggested earlier, best addressed by the reorganized MHI; or if need be, the new landlease community national advocacy and research/resource body.

The matter frankly, is almost as simple and straightforward as just described. Probably the biggest considerations, next to deciding on a national headquarters location, will be, ‘What to do with the annual Manufactured Housing Congress in Las Vegas, Nevada, each Spring?’ And, ‘How to best handle Washington, DC., lobbying in behalf of landlease communities and non – manufacturing segments of the manufactured housing industry?’ Yes, there’ll be a myriad of additional details to address, while implementing this paradigm shift, radical change, third choice national advocacy alternative. But what other ‘real choice’ do we have today? The status quo? Really?

With that said, what’s the next step in this radical change process?

*****

SUGGESTION. Print off & SAVE this ‘Radical Change Implementation’ blog posting for reference, during the weeks, maybe months ahead.

And remember, your input on this timely matter, and others, is requested, respected, and greatly appreciated! Correspond in confidence via: gfa7156@aol.com or phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or write to GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247.

*****

II.

Maybe More Chattel $ for in – Community Home Deals

Remember awhile back, when the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) message introducing that week’s blog posting, hinted at a new source of chattel capital for in – landlease community new home sales transactions? Well, progress is being made in that direction and to that end. Hopefully, in a few weeks or longer, we’ll announce the nature and launch of this new radical change (improvement) partnership, addressing the need to self – finance new home transactions and stimulate factory production and shipments.

*****

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

Two New Trends; &, Watershed Year for MHAdvocacy?

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Two New Trends; & a Watershed Year for MHAdvocacy?

I.

Two New Trends to Watch….

The manufactured housing industry and its’ counterpart, the landlease community real estate asset class, have been awash in new tends and retread trends, for much of the past decade. Why? HUD Code annual shipment levels of new homes have slipped precipitously from 372,843 in 1998 to only 50,000+/- in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011; taking landlease (nee manufactured home) community occupancy, in part, along on the slide. These new and retread trends include, but are not limited to…

• Percentage of new multisection manufactured homes has decreased as volume of new singlesection manufactured homes has increased

• Percentage of land – and – home packages (i.e. manufactured homes installed on building sites conveyed fee simple) has decreased, and volume of landlease community infill homes has increased

• (Larger) Developer Series Homes characteristic of manufactured housing’s 1990s heyday, have been supplanted by smaller Community Series Homes or ‘CSH’, to support landlease community infill.

• Landlease community occupancy declines as ‘(home) deals of convenience’ are repossessed, and other residents’ lives suffer during the national economic slump

• Landlease community (property owner) self – finance methodologies of ‘buy here – pay here’ (circa 1970s) and ‘captive finance’ (circa 2000s), now supplemented with the lease – option alternative, and increasing presence of ‘rental units’ (both circa 1970s practices), as the S.A.F.E. Act and Dodd – Frank Bill underscore importance of chattel lender (LLCommunity owner) compliance with strict financial regulations.

• Manufactured home communities now called landlease communities, as two traditional housing types (e.g. pre – HUD Code ‘mobile homes’ & HUD Code manufactured homes) are joined on – site by increasing numbers of modular homes, park model RVs, ‘RVs for a season’, even stick – built homes designed and constructed to look like neighboring HUD Code homes.

Again, this is a partial list of contemporary trends that could be listed here, but you get the idea. So, what’s happening anew now? Two new trends to watch….

TREND # 1. Quiet tenant and social activism within, and on the perimeter of, the manufactured housing industry and landlease community real estate asset class.

Four trend indicators were described by Ms. Carla Burr on 29 November 2011 in Danville, VA., at a Hearing on the State of Manufactured Housing, before the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity, of the Financial Services Committee, House of Representatives (Congress), cited by her as being

“…promising signs to support affordable housing through manufactured housing.”:

• “The establishment of the Manufactured Home Owners Association of America (‘MHOAA’), of which I am a member. Nearly 20 state organizations exist representing community residents. The goal is to have all 50 states organized to become member states.”

• “The Corporation for Enterprise Development (‘CFED’) developed the Innovations in Manufactured Homes Initiative (‘I’M HOME’) to ensure families who purchase manufactured homes reap benefits from the homeownership experience that enable them to live safely, securely and affordably and to build wealth.”

• “Resident Owned Communities USA (‘ROC-USA®’) has put together the financing and the technical assistance to enable residents of communities to buy the land, and run the community cooperatively. If I could, I would buy my plot of land in a heartbeat! This would convert my home to real estate and my taxes would change from personal property to real property; the high lot rental would be eliminated, thereby putting more money in my pocket.”

• “Next Step ™ is building a national network of nonprofit affordable housing developers to replace pre – HUD Code manufactured homes with new ENERGY STAR manufactured homes through a partnership with my fellow panelist, Clayton Homes.”

STOP HERE, and reread that four part description of this ‘quiet tenant and social activism trend’ already affecting the manufactured housing industry and landlease community real estate asset class.

NOW ASK YOURSELF these questions:

• Has MOAA come to my local housing market yet? Are there aspects of my present landlease community operation that would attract this sort of activism cum landlord – tenant legislation? Are my rental homesite rates in sync with other multifamily rental properties in my local housing market? Do I know for sure? To find out, phone me via MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

• Should I be learning more about the CFED & ‘I’M HOME’ programs. What are my national and state advocacy bodies (i.e. Manufactured Housing Institute & its’ National Communities Council division, for starters) telling me about these; and are they opportunities or threats? Phone MHI @ (703) 558-0400 & NCC @ (703) 558-0666 to request information.. Not a direct, dues – paying member? Become one!

• Is tenant or resident ownership of my/our landlease community(ies) a viable and or desirable consideration at this time, or in the foreseeable future? To learn more about the ROC-USA program, contact MHI member Paul Bradley via (603) 856-0709.

• And, what is Next Step ™ all about? For the manufactured housing perspective on this subject, ask Kevin Clayton @ (865) 380-3000

Lest you think, for even one minute, that any of the preceding is wishy washy consumer posturing, read the following from Ms. Burr’s testimony at the Congressional hearing:

“I love my home. I just made a mistake when I moved into a manufactured housing community, or park. (While) about 2/3 of manufactured homes are placed on land owned or controlled by the home buyer, but (sic) 1/3 of the homes are placed on land leased. Nationwide, there are 50,000 (landlease) communities. Some are wonderful with respectful land owners who maintain high quality and keep prices affordable.”

HOWEVER

“Then there are communities like mine. Established in 1972, there are 499 homes in my (Virginia) community. Unfortunately, many of us feel trapped. We each spent tens of thousands of dollars to buy our homes, yet the lot rent has increased exorbitantly. Next year, my lot rent is going to be $919.00 a month. Seven years ago, the lot rent was about $400.00. We have no control over the lot rent. If we don’t want to pay it, one would expect we could pick up our homes and move, but that is out of the question. Moving my home would cost about $20,000. There is also simply nowhere to move. There are no (landlease) communities near me and I cannot afford to buy land.”

Pretty sobering picture of the near rapacious state some large income – producing properties have gotten themselves into of late.

But the bigger question is, ‘How does’ and or ‘how will’ this quiet tenant and social activism trend potentially affect your manufactured housing business and or landlease community operation? You owe it to yourself and your business interests to ponder….

TREND # 2. This is a two part complementary trend, where 1) ‘Park model’ production might spell manufactured housing survival in the short term, and factory – built housing industry success in the long term. And, 2) Is ‘RV park development and investment’ the landlease community business model of the future? Appears to be so, for now, in local housing markets where new oil/gas resources are being accessed and readied for market.

In the first instance, the following quotes are from a story titled ‘Cavco Industries Expands Reach to Industry Shows Across the U.S.’, in the December 2011 issue of Woodall’s Campground Management newspaper.

“…with its’ recent acquisition of Fleetwood Homes and Palm Harbor Homes, Cavco now has more production facilities than any other company in the park model business.”

“Combine multiple factory locations with Cavco’s increasing innovations in park model designs, which now include off – grid solar – power park models…and its’ easy to see how Cavco has managed to achieve at least modest sales growth at a time in which most companies continue to struggle with the recession.” For that matter, who isn’t building park models these days?

“…Cavco has derived much of its’ park model business from campgrounds…the company is also seeing renewed signs of interest from consumers who want to purchase a park model and have it set up in a campground for use as a weekend retreat or vacation cottage.”

What’s not pointed out in the article, for an obvious reason*1, among knowledgeable housing professionals, is that an increasing number of park models (a.k.a. ‘park model RVs’ mentioned earlier in this blog) are being sited in landlease communities as seasonal, and in many instances, year round housing. For that matter, in Sunbelt regions, entire landlease communities (a.k.a. RV parks) are comprised of park models and other types of recreational vehicles.

But now, for the first time outside Sunbelt regions, RV parks are being approved for land development in areas where oil/gas resources are being tapped in Canada and the U.S., to address our nation’s energy challenge, on the one hand; and, severe worker housing shortages on the other. It’s generally easier and cheaper to build high density (Given 400 square foot smaller size of ‘park model RVs,’ than much larger manufactured homes, CSH models notwithstanding) RV parks, than landlease communities characterized by five homes per acre.

Will this landlease (RV parks) community trend continue to grow, and more importantly, expand into other, non oil/gas resource areas? Too early to tell just yet. But some veterans in the MHBusiness already point out how ‘mobile homes’ of the 1960s were similar in size to today’s park model RVs – earning then, the ‘most affordable housing alternative’ sobriquet for the manufactured housing industry. Are today’s home buying consumers, however, ready to buy such small housing en masse. It’s highly doubtful. But the estimate remains; there’re 250,000+/- vacant rental homesites throughout the U.S. at this time, among the estimated 50,000+/- landlease communities. And frankly, the likely majority of this quarter million sites is functionally obsolete (i.e. too small a footprint, in size, to site today’s behemoth multisection manufactured homes, even many of the smaller, specially – designed singlesection Community Series Homes. SO, ‘park models’, ‘park model RVs’, ‘granny flats’, even ‘accessory dwelling units’ or ADUs (per HUD), irregardless of how one refers to them, represent a viable, contemporary factory – built housing alternative, despite the one aforementioned caveat.*1

End Note 1. Factory – built structures of 400 square feet in size, or smaller, not subject to the infamous HUD (building) Code.

***

II.

Year 2012; a Watershed Year for Manufactured Housing?

(Go ahead, look up ‘watershed’. What follows will make more sense to you)

No big pronouncement in the paragraphs to follow, simply a restatement of where we’ve been in terms of national industry advocacy, and what our two choices are to date, with a hint of one more choice to come.

A Congressional hearing takes place in late November, and there’s no salaried spokesperson or advocate present from the Manufactured Housing Institute. MHI’s annual meeting takes place in Phoenix, AZ., early this Fall. Since then, there’s been little communication to direct, dues – paying members by its’ National Communities Council division, including follow – up on matters discussed at said meeting. And during a recent conference call with state manufactured housing association executives, MHI’s chairman indicated there’s no rush to find a replacement for Thayer Long. That’s a brief summary of this industry observer’s ‘grassroots constituency view’ of national manufactured housing and landlease community advocacy to date. In other words, national advocacy choice # 1 = Maintain the status quo.

As YOU know, on 13 November 2011, this weekly blog posting proposed a Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute. To wit, “Finally merge the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (a.k.a. MHARR) with MHI; yes indeed, and make Danny Ghorbani executive – in – charge of all home manufacturing/distribution matters, and yours truly, George Allen, executive – in – charge of all landlease community owner/operator affairs.!” That, in other words, is national advocacy choice # 2. Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute.

Response to date? Same as we told you last week, dozens of telephone and emails (i.e. copies of original emails, sent to one or more of five leaders listed at the end of the 11/13/11 blog posting) expressing agreement and encouragement, from all segments of the manufactured housing industry and landlease community asset class – and one direct response from one of the those five ‘leaders’.

But that’s OK. Why? Two reasons. If and when MHIndustry business owners decide en masse they want to improve the manner by which their commercial interests are advocated in Washington, DC., it’ll happen! And, proposing a Radical Change at the Manufactured Housing Institute, for national consideration and discussion, sets the stage and opens the door to an Even More Radical Change not yet described. And when the time is right, that too will be pronounced!

***

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