Archive for March, 2012

Some Opportunities for Your Input….

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

SOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUR INPUT….

Ideas for 21ST Networking Roundtable Agenda & Presenters?

You Using Private Investors or P2P to finance home sales on site?

Last Chance! Volunteer to be a ‘New 18’ LLCommunity Pioneer?

Want a copy of the LLCTT 3 Step Plan for Takeover/Turnaround?

*****

Ideas for 21st Networking Roundtable Agenda & Presenters?

No other manufactured housing, and or landlease (f.k.a. manufactured home) community national venue, offers more education options (i.e. 24 topics and panels during two days), better interpersonal networking (i.e. ten social events for 200+/- registrants), and deal – making opportunities, than the annual International Networking Roundtable.

This year’s 2012 event is scheduled for 12 – 14 September at the Hilton Resort Hotel on Mission Bay in San Diego, CA. The 2 ½ day agenda of timely, cutting edge topics is being crafted NOW. If YOU have practical suggestions for topics and or presenters, communicate same to me, ASAP, via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or via email: gfa7156@aol.com

What’s already tentatively scheduled? Read this blog during the next few weeks to stay abreast of what’s going on, and to become truly excited about attending this year’s 21st annual Networking Roundtable. Even considering having a well known author and humorist on hand for the Thursday luncheon….

*****

You Using Private Investors, P2P, or P2B, to finance home sales on site?

Here’s the situation. For the most part, our ‘Big Four + 1’ independent, chattel (personal property) finance lenders and mortgage originators, are ‘dead in the water’ when it comes to financing in – landlease community home sales transactions! Sure, ‘financing’ is available, but only to credit – worthy borrowers with high credit scores – well above 600; certainly not the ones, oft with bruised credit, many of us are seeing these days. And, in my opinion, we’re not going to see this static situation change anytime soon. So, what might be practical alternatives during this impasse?

For starters, one ‘light at the end of the (finance) tunnel’, might be 21st Mortgage Corporation’s C.A.S.H. (‘Communities Affordable Spec Homes’) program, introduced here, in last week’s blog posting at this website. Did you read about it? If not, here’s the exciting new concept: ‘21st Mortgage Corporation will participate, with approved LLCommunity owners/operators, by purchasing new homes and siting them within their properties, at no cost to the operator.’ And there’s much more you need to know about the program. To do so, contact Lance Hull via (800) 955-0021 X 1218 or (865) 405-9121. You’ll likely be glad you did. And he’ll be at the NYHA Super Symposium III in Albany, NY., this week, 28 & 29 March (Phone 518/867-3242 to register!), as well as the Manufactured Housing Congress in Las Vegas @ 11 & 12 April. (Phone 703/558-0400 to register!)

Next. Here’re pithy questions and answers to consider, and maybe respond to this week. Are YOU presently using private investor funds, or P2P (peer – to – peer) & P2B (peer – to – business) – a.k.a., ‘crowd’ or ‘social funding’ to acquire homes, and or underwrite home mortgages on new and or resale homes, sold and sited within your landlease community(ies)? Why am I asking? Because a movement is already afoot, and has been established for awhile now, among sole proprietor and smaller property portfolio LLCommunity owners, to grow this ‘private finance’ concept, through education and communication – like what you’re reading here. For that matter, there’re some large property portfolio players who’ve already created their own in – house home finance programs, using equity funds they’ve raised.

In any event, once private investor funds are raised, two common approaches to applying them are 1) via lease – option transactions, in states where this methodology is acceptable, and LLCommunity owner is comfortable and compliant within the procedure; and, 2) via one or another ‘captive finance’ methodology, where home loans are effected under the auspices of a stand alone finance firm indirectly affiliated with the property owner, and mortgage servicing is handled by an independent, outside, financial services firm like Ken Rishel Consulting (217) 971-3968 (This is not a blanket endorsement, simply recognition that this sort of specialized service is very difficult to find in the manufactured housing industry).

In the meantime, what’s ‘peer – to – peer’ and ‘peer – to – business’ funding, P2P & P2B or ‘crowd’ or ‘social funding’ all about? Well, it’s when many investors contribute funds to finance one transaction (e.g. a manufactured home) at a time, often via common interest websites (e.g. prosper.com & lendingclub.com). The investment practice(s) are regulated by securities law, where prospectuses are filed, etc.. So, how’s this different from aforementioned ‘private investor funds’ – long in use by landlease community owners? Here, a private investor places savings, and or funds from a self – directed IRA account, into a transaction that stands on its own, e.g. one loan from one investor for one home purchased and or financed by the property owner, with investment ‘returns’ paid directly, over time, to the private investor.

Now, back to those two key questions: 1) Are YOU presently using private investor funds to acquire home(s) that’ll be seller – financed? And, 2) How ‘bout the similar, but newer alternative, referred to above as P2P and or P2B ‘crowd’ or ‘social’ funding?

With this blog posting, we’re launching an online, and in time, print effort to gather experiential information, successful and otherwise, to produce and distribute a Standard Operating Procedures (‘SOP’) of sorts, for landlease community owners seriously interested in ‘How to raise private investor funds, and via P2P & B2P’, for the purpose of filling vacant rental homesites! Also plan to identify additional resources providing independent mortgage servicing to firms engaged in any and all variations of self – finance (a.k.a. property owner finance) methodology, relative to manufactured homes in landlease communities. Anyone else out there into this (servicing) line of work, and or using private investor funds?

So, if YOU are into one or another aspect of using private investor funds, and P2P & B2P; and, routinely ‘service’ chattel mortgages on manufactured homes in landlease communities, contact Spencer Roane via (678) 428-0212 or via spencer@roane.com and or the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. When you contact Spencer, also know he’s knowledgeable and experienced in the use of the lease – option (Not ‘lease – purchase’), relative to manufactured homes sited in landlease communities, especially in the states of Georgia and Texas.

Spencer Roane, along with Ken Rishel, and ‘yours truly’, are participating in the NYHA’s Super Symposium III in Albany, NY., this week (Complete with Community Series Homes on display!). And all three of us will be panelists during either the National Communities Council Forum on 10 April, and or Manufactured Housing Congress on 11 & 12 April, in Las Vegas, NV. To register for any one, two or three of these seminal and timely national events, use contact phone numbers listed in an earlier paragraph of this blog posting.

*****

Last Chance to Volunteer as one of the ‘New 18’ LLCommunity Pioneers?

OK, we’re just about there! Each week, for the past three weeks, landlease community owners have been stepping forward to be one of the ‘New 18’ pioneers*1, committed to plan the future nature and direction of research and resource products and services utilized by LLCommunity owners/operators throughout the U.S. and Canada! We’re now at a dozen ‘New 18 pioneer’ businessmen and women. Should we count you, a landlease community owner, as being among this august body of our peers? If so, let me know soon, via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or via gfa7156@aol.com You’ll likely have to ‘leave a message’ as I’ll be in Albany, NY, the week of 26 March, attending and participating in the NYHA’s Super Symposium III. How ‘bout You? To get information and register, phone Nancy Geer via (518) 867-3242.

*****

Want a copy of the ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’ for Takeover & Turnaround?

Wow! We haven’t even made it to Albany yet (see previous paragraph), and folk are calling – in, wanting a copy of this stunning, one page summary of Lessons Learned during 30+ years of ‘taking over’ and ‘turning around’ troubled landlease communities!

As you learned here, in last week’s blog posting, I’ll be distributing a DRAFT copy of this unique, first time ever ‘handout’, at the Super Symposium III in Albany, NY. Once ‘back home in Indiana’, I’ll effect edits, reflecting critiques received from some of the 125+ LLCommunity owners/operators in attendance at the symposium, to make the ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’ even more applicable and valuable than it is today. And, unlike the DRAFT copy distributed to Super Symposium III folk in Albany, the ‘revised’ version to be distributed in Las Vegas, will feature an updated version of the highly popular ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ on the reverse side, likely using $64,000. as the ‘common denominator starting point’ for this unique, truly ‘affordable housing’ computation methodology.

Coincidentally, that $64,000. figure, is not only the ‘national average Area Median Income or AMI for year 2011’, it also ‘just happens to be’, according to the Wall Street Journal, the average price of a HUD code manufactured home during that very same year (2011)! How ‘bout that?

Next distribution will occur in support of a showcase panel presentation at the MHCongress in Las Vegas. Specifically, I’ll be moderating a panel comprised of three capable and experienced landlease community ‘turnaround experts’, between 2:45 & 4PM on 11 April. But you’ll need to be present at the panel presentation to pick up a copy of this finished work: the ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’, before, during, and after the ‘takeover’ and or ‘turnaround’ of any landlease community!

The third general distribution of this new PM (‘property management’) tool will occur for subscribers to the Allen Letter professional journal; as the new training handout, will likely be a lagniappe (freebie) enclosed in the May 2012 issue. How can YOU not want this handy form in your briefcase, ready for the next time you ‘takeover’ and or plan the ‘turnaround’ of a LLCommunity; and, need to clearly know what ‘housing price points’ will sell in particular local housing markets identified by postal zip code? Then, perhaps sometime in June or later, this terrific Lessons Learned one pager will be made available for general distribution to LLCommunity owners/operators nationwide.

*****

End Note.

1. The moniker ‘New 18’ is a nod to the ‘original 18’ landlease community owners who gathered, in Indianapolis, IN., on 8/31/1993, to take the first steps to ensuring appropriate and effective national advocacy, in behalf of their unique, income – producing property type. Result? Initially, formation of the Industry Steering Committee or ISC; then as of 1/1/1996, launch of what is now the National Communities Council division of the Manufactured Housing Institute. If you’re not already a direct, dues – paying member of this body, and own/operate one or more LLCommunities, phone (703) 558-0666 for information and to join.

***’

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

‘The LLCTT 3 Step’, 18 New Pioneers, & C.A.S.H. for Landlease Community Owners!

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

‘The LLCTT 3 Step’; ’18 New Pioneers’; & C.A.S.H. for Landlease (f.k.a. manufactured home) Community Owners!

I.

‘The LLCTT 3 Step’: Before, During & After, Takeover & Turnaround of any Landlease (f.k.a. manufactured home) Community, anywhere in the US

Will you be attending the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) FORUM and Manufactured Housing Congress in Las Vegas on 10 – 12 April 2012? If so, look me up, so we can ‘talk shop’ awhile! Seriously. To register, phone (703) 558-0400.

One of the sessions you shouldn’t miss, if you own or ever hope to own and operate a landlease (f.k.a. manufactured home) community is ‘Acquiring & Rehabilitating Distressed Properties’ panel presentation scheduled for 2:45 – 4:00PM on 11 April. Why? Two good reasons: First, the three panelists, Jamie Dougherty, MHM®, of Community Management Group, Greg Harmon, MHM®, of GHP Marketing, and ‘Mac’ MacClanahan, MHM®Master, of Indy Mac, are experienced landlease community turnaround owners/operators. So, if you’ve ever wondered ‘how to do it’ or ‘do it better’, sit in and learn from these capable, experienced, and motivated professionals.

Yet another reason? Finally, after having engaged in ‘property takeovers & turnarounds’, involving more than 1,000 rental homesites during the past 30 years, I’ve culled my Lessons Learned into a tri – part, 16 point, one page summary, that’ll be distributed only to those in attendance at this particular MHCongress session! Titled
‘The LLCTT 3 Step’ – short, for the ‘The Landlease Community (before, during & after) Takeover & Turnaround Three Step Procedure!’, it’s the most accurate, brief, clear, concise & complete (A nod to the ‘ABC-3 Rule of Effective Communication!’) description of this tactical process ever published! So, be present to pick up ‘your copy’!

II.

18 New Pioneers

Well, we’re getting close! Already a third of the way to identifying ‘18 New Pioneers’, all landlease community owners, who’ll make the aforementioned 27 February 2012 epiphany a reality!

Remember my sharing the personal and corporate epiphany experienced on 27 February 2012, while attending MHI’s annual Legislative Conference in Arlington, VA? The one where I recollected how

“18 years ago, it took 18 (then) MHCommunity owners, to convene, on
8/31/1993 in Indianapolis, IN., to get our asset class national advocacy (i.e.
today’s NCC division of MHI) movement started!”

And how today,

“On 27 February 2012, the quiet search began, for a ‘New group of 18
LLCommunity owners’…to ensure statistical research, property management
education, communication resources, networking and deal – making opportunities
continue for landlease community owners/operators throughout the U.S.”

Who are we seeking? Landlease community owner volunteers, from throughout the U.S., who believe the success of their business interests, in this unique realty asset class, depends on a healthy mix of personal and corporate management skills, national political advocacy (via the NCC); and, ready access to key data & helpful information – like ‘The LLCTT 3 Step’ described earlier in this blog posting, property management education & MHM® certification, regular print & online communication, as well as opportunities to engage in interpersonal networking & deal – making among peers!

More than a half dozen landlease community owners have already stepped forward, volunteering to be among the ’18 new pioneers’ (Compared to the 18 who did so 18 ½ years ago). So far the geographic spread includes property owners from the Midwest, Middle Atlantic States, and New England; with inquiries in from the Southeast, West coast, and Pacific Northwest regions. And it appears we have at least one woman owner in the mix as well. SO, if YOU own one or more LLCommunities, have a passion for this business model, and want to be part of manufactured housing’s recorded history, this is that ‘one chance in a career’ to be a change maker! Simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156, or email me today! GFA

III.

C.A.S.H. Program

Have you heard? There’s a new chattel (personal property) finance program afoot, the Communities Affordable Spec Home (‘CASH’) program, designed to ‘fill vacant rental homesites, in standalone landlease communities and or small portfolios, of this unique, income – producing property type’!

Yep; and here’s the exciting new concept: 21st Mortgage Corporation will participate, with approved landlease community owners/operators, by purchasing new homes and siting them within their properties, at no cost to the operator. Furthermore, 21st will cover all costs, including cost of the home, foundation, skirting, air conditioning, decks, steps, and other requirements necessary to prepare the home ‘for sale’. How so?

Once the new home is installed on – site, 21st will offer the home ‘for sale’, featuring an aggressive lending structure characterized by a reasonable down payment amount and rates, even for lower credit quality home buyers. The 21st program is made possible, by working with the owner/operator to allocate a portion of the monthly site rent, from this newly occupied homesite, directly to the principal balance of the new homebuyer’s home loan. This enables the new homeowner to realize an equity position they likely would not have been able to attain otherwise; in turn, likely ensuring loan performance and long term residency within the landlease community.

Yes, there are additional exciting details about this new and exciting program from 21st Mortgage Corporation. Suggest you contact Lance Hull via (800) 955-0021 X 1218 or (865) 405-9121 (mobile). Tell him ‘George told me to call!’
IV.

A Plan, based on accountability, to fix the manufactured housing industry!

Blogger’s Note. The following thoughts, lightly edited, were penned and submitted by Jim Carmichael, relative to ‘How we (might) fix the industry!’ Accordingly, therefore, “The biggest challenge is how do we get the message out, and motivate the right people (leaders) to implement it.” JC

“My plan is based around accountability at every level, in every sector, of the (manufactured housing) industry; from home manufacturing; to home finance; to the sale, set – up and move – in of the home buying customer.”

One caveat, at this point. ‘Does anyone think the S.A.F.E. Act and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’) regulations and enforcement actions will restore enough confidence in the secondary market to make a significant difference, or is this just part of the overall ‘challenge(s)’ facing the manufactured housing industry?’

With that said, “(Home) manufacturing standards must be set and loopholes removed, e.g. 2X4 exterior walls should be fabricated using actual 2X4 studs, not a 2X3 with three furring strip bands and Styrofoam.” And are we ready to ban particleboard floors from manufactured homes?

“Independent ‘street’ MHRetailers…must be licensed, from the general manager down to every sales person, as well as individuals responsible for home finance and ‘closings’.” This state – issued license should be in line with federal guidelines; maybe not as extensive as real estate salespersons and brokers licenses, but heady enough that licensees will think twice before risking relinquishing it for cause.

‘Finance – more complete auditing, no more padding deals with down payments, circa 1990s. But that appears to be covered via recent round of state and federal finance regulatory measures.”

“Set up permits to be required in every jurisdiction; use of only certified installers.” Regulatory groundwork is certainly in place for this, but state financing of enforcement mechanisms is not.

“Service, (Home) manufacturers and MHRetailers must be trained properly to do the work.” Plant visits should become routine and educational, rather than periodic fun junkets.

“Appraisers (of homes). Set forth standards requiring home valuations be based on more than just age and size of home, but also its’ condition inside and out”, as well as where it is sited, e.g. in a landlease community.

In conclusion, Jim asks: “How do we get the plan out, people on board, and implement it? I am reaching out for suggestions.” Got any? Let him know via this web site: www.community – investor.com

Do you pick up on the plaintiveness (as in mournfulness) off his plea? I surely do; and it’s far from being the first time I’ve read and heard similar frustrations ‘voiced over the years’; no, make that ‘over the decades’. I mentioned this once, recently, and guess it’s time to do so again

V.

Creative Finance Workshop scheduled in Chicago @ 15 & 16 May 2012.

If you market, sell, and self – finance new and or resale manufactured homes on – site, in one or more landlease communities, and haven’t attended this Captive Finance Workshop in the past, you should consider doing so! For that matter, if you’re considering implementing the practices described in the first sentence, it’s doubly recommended you attend. Why?

For starters, it’s the only such captive finance workshop presently being conducted in the U.S. MHI isn’t sponsoring any. Neither is MHARR. And certainly no one else! Furthermore, I’ve attended – and as happened when I took my real estate salesperson and broker licensure classes ‘years ago’, and George Porter’s MHInstallation class more recently, I walked away from Ken Rishel’s two day presentation a far wiser businessperson in the manufactured housing industry. Is that an endorsement? You bet it is!

Suggest you phone Rishel Consulting, via (217) 971-3968 and request additional information, maybe even register. And know what? You might see me there, as it’s high time to attend the workshop again, for refresher training, and to learn what’s changed (a lot!) on the financial regulatory front since the last session I attended.

***
End Note

MHI chairman Joe Stegmayer recently questioned why I regularly make the distinction of being a direct, dues – paying corporate member of the institute, presumably versus what that body refers to as its’ Certified Representatives – in their annual Membership Directory. Well, it’s really pretty straightforward. As the 20+ year owner of a manufactured housing – related business, I dig deep into my figurative pocket each year to pay dues (real money) directly to the Manufactured Housing Institute, in addition to what I pay to belong to more than one state MHAssociation. I’ve simply found it troublesome, to sit in meetings with some CRs, who treat their ‘seat at the table’ in a disingenuous fashion (i.e. ‘lacking in frankness, candor or sincerity’), take the importance of their role for granted, and even the event proper, little more than as an employment ‘benie’. Of course this is not true of all Certified Representatives.

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

27 February 2012 Fallout Continues; an Emerging Trend; and, much more….

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

27 February 2012 Fallout Continues; an Emerging Trend;
& Much More….

I.

Sampling of Peer Response to Last Week’s Blog: ’27 February 2012 akin to 27 February 2008 & 2009?’

Here’re a few of the near immediate responses to our blog posting of 4 March:

“As always, your weekly blog postings are tremendously helpful and informative. This past Sunday’s (3/4/12) was particularly good, as those of us who were unable to attend the MHI Legislative Conference appreciate the updates and information sharing. As to your epiphany, and search for the ‘new 18’, you are absolutely right! It is critical we support your ongoing efforts to ensure we have data, communication, and numerous other services and resources you unselfishly provide our industry in the long – term. I’m available to assist you in identifying how we seamlessly transition to the next provider(s) of these critical services, once you decide to phase into retirement. Thanks again for everything you do for us.” A Pacific Northwest businessman. (No edits. GFA)

“Good post George. Obviously you can count me among the ‘new 18’ – if you feel I can contribute. And ‘formerly known as’ or ‘f.k.a.’ better describes the trade term transition from ‘manufactured home community’ to ‘landlease community’.” A Middle Atlantic states LLCommunity owner/operator.

And this. “I’ve copied (your blog posting to) a couple friends, since I’m not sure my instinct is correct. But here it is: ‘It appears all manner of things continue to get in the way of ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’, and we/the industry just continue to accept the state of affairs. And Okay George, you say we need the DC (advocacy) experience in lobbying, to deal with legislation and regulatory matters. Perhaps the reality is that DC cannot save us! We will, as an industry, be saved by producing and selling products that fit our customer’s needs and their ability to buy, period. Financing will, in time, fix itself; especially when we assure (product) quality, and service to our customers. Sounds too simple, I suppose, but this continual delay just plain ‘ain’t right’!” A Midwest businessman.

Bottom line? As I penned earlier, the MHInitiative® is ‘on hold’ for now, as we give Dick Jennison, MHI’s new president and CEO, “…space and opportunity to ‘learn our various business model(s)’; then address this (if still) timely and potentially fatal issue.” – that of ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ GFA

II.

A Word about that ‘Wholly Unexpected Personal & Corporate Epiphany!’

The epiphany? “18 years ago, it took 18 (then) manufactured home community owners, to convene, on 8/31/1993 in Indianapolis, IN., to get their realty asset class’ national advocacy movement started!’ AND “As of today, 27 February 2012, I begin the quiet search for a ‘new 18’ veteran and successful landlease community owners, motivated and capable of ensuring their property owner/operator peers, large and small, throughout the realty asset class, have sufficient statistical data, educational opportunities, communication resources, networking and deal – making opportunities, now and into the future!” GFA

Within 24 hours of the Sunday blog posting, several landlease community owners stepped forward, via phone and email messages, volunteering to be among the ‘new 18’!

So, if YOU own one or more landlease communities, and are willing to commit, as these businessmen and women have, to meet later this Spring, and begin the planning process, to ensure the future of products and services needed in the everyday operation of our unique income – producing properties, as well as enhancing our industry’s reputation as a primary source of Affordable Housing, and our communities’ Lifestyle, let me know via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or email.

Frankly, I’m already humbled by the quality and character of landlease community owners who share this similar – but – different vision, from the one embraced by 18 forebearers, nearly 18 years ago! Will YOU be one of the ‘new 18’? I hope so.

In the meantime, know that the ‘original 18’ are already part of the recorded history of our industry and asset class, having been identified for posterity in the books: How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community, in 1998; and recently in Landlease Communities, Manufactured Home Communities, Mobile Home Parks, Trailer Courts & Camps, and Affordable Housing, in 2011. For a list of their names, read End Note # 1. The question now is, will your name, in time, also become part of our industry and asset class’ recorded history, as preservationist of landlease community data, resources, communication, education, networking, and deal – making?

III.

An Emerging Trend?

It went public on 2 February 2012, when Ms. E. Dickens of the Manufactured Home Owners’ Association (‘MHOA’), at a Congressional Hearing – convened to examine WHY the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000’ hasn’t been fully implemented by HUD, unexpectedly slammed landlease (f.k.a. manufactured home) community owners/operators, for a variety of perceived affronts relating to rent increases and other matters. Ms. Dickens blatantly abused her member status, on HUD’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (’MHCC’), to mount this bully pulpit in behalf of tenant rights, or as she seemed to view them – a lack thereof; a topic completely afield from the stated purpose of the Congressional Hearing.

Anyway, ‘the word’ out and about in Washington, DC., during MHI’s recent Legislative Conference was, with the retirement of Congressman Barney Frank, long a supporter of ‘manufactured housing – as – affordable housing’, tenant activists would likely no longer be held at bay, and could be expected to launch new initiatives against perceived abuses by the industry and realty asset class. Is this true? Only time will tell.

But in the meantime, a word of advice. Now is as good a time as any, to take a good hard look at all one’s landlease community operations! While doing so, pay special attention to the professional property management tenet: Ensure Good Resident Relations! Remembering though, that is just a third of the whole; where the ‘Six Rs of Good Resident Relations’ include Good Resident Relations = More Resident Referrals = Maximum Resident Retention! Is this being practiced at all your properties?

We have this opportunity to stop the threat of an emerging trend in its’ tracks. Is your business worth preserving, by taking the appropriate professional property management steps, at all levels, and among all on – site functions, to set matters aright? If your on – site and regional property managers have not yet been trained and certified as Manufactured Housing Managers® or MHM®s, now might be the time to ‘get the job done’! For more information, use the aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE. For that matter, are your rental homesite rents truly in sync with rental rates charged by other multifamily rental properties in each of the local housing markets your properties serve? If you don’t know how to do this, let me know….

IV.

f.k.a. does a better job than a.k.a. and completely eliminates ‘nee’….

Huh? Maybe you should reread last week’s blog posting tidbit on this subject. But then, it’s easy enough to ‘splain’ once again.

For a long time I introduced newsletter, book, and blog readers to the timely segue from ‘manufactured home community’ to ‘landlease community’, in trade terminology, by penning: landlease (nee manufactured home) community, the first time used in a narrative; then, from that point onward, simply ‘landlease community’, even ‘LLCommunity’.

Well, at MHI’s Legislative Conference in late February, chairman Joe Stegmayer (also CEO & chairman of Cavco Industries, Inc.) pointed out to me, ‘nee’ is an incorrect word choice (Go ahead, look it up; it’ll be worth the effort), and recommended I switch to a.k.a., as in ‘also known as’. Initially that sounded and read ‘OK’, but the more I thought about it, I knew a word was needed that suggested ‘manufactured home community’ was passé, and not just ‘also known as’.

Soon after last week’s blog was posted, as you already saw in one of the samplings quoted earlier in this blog, alternatives started arriving, namely f.k.a. (formerly known as) and p.k.a. (previously known as). Well, I’ve opted, as stated earlier, for f.k.a. to replace both a.k.a. and nee. End of story.

V.

The Young Turks, as in ‘the young and the restless’

Was prepared to conclude this blog posting, by introducing a new asset class trade term: the Young Turks. This won’t come as a surprise to long time readers, who’ve been introduced to Young Lions (i.e. Aggressive property consolidators & or portfolio builders) in past editions of the annual ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Landlease Community Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’*1); even the Daring Dozen, a ‘bakers dozen’ of new investors, from nearly a decade ago, who started their LLCommunity firms during the most difficult of economic times – and today, only a few of whom continue in this business model

But I’ve decided the time isn’t quite right for this introduction. For that matter, if I wait awhile longer, I’m confident there’ll be additional names to add to this list of ‘the young and the restless’. Will give you a hint though: they differ from their present employers – often pioneers in our asset class, and who’ve often been their mentors, in several significant ways. The clue? With one notable exception, a lack of formal real estate and professional property management training and credentials.

*****
End Note.

1. The ‘original 18’: Jeff Kellogg; Randy Rowe; Gary McDaniel & Jim Grange; Jerry Ellenburg & Scott West; Thomas Horner, Jr.; Martin Newby (retired) & Dick Leiter; Ron Richardson: Bill Williams; Kamal Shouhayib; Lynwood Wellhausen (retired); Bill Geary, CPM; Martin Lavin; Eugene Landy; Brian Fannon, CPM; Ed Zeman; and, George Allen, CPM – the 19th & organizer.

2. To order the 23rd annual ALLEN REPORT (distributed 1/1/2012), subscribe to the Allen Letter professional journal for only $134.95/year (12 monthly issues) and receive it for FREE; or, buy said report for $134.95. Call the MHIndustry HOTLINE cited earlier.

The Magic of 27 February 2008, 2000, & now 2012

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

27 February 2012; akin 27 February 2008 & 2009?*1

MHI’s Legislative Conference, NCC Division Meeting & the MHInitiative®

‘a.k.a.’ replaces ‘nee’; a wholly unexpected personal & corporate epiphany;

&, How to know whether a landlease community owner/operator is, by dint of rental homesite count, a small, medium – sized, or large scale participant!

I.

MHI’s Legislative Conference, NCC division meeting, & the MHInitiative®

First the numbers, then substance; followed by items covered & to be covered.

According to MHI’s Legislative Conference & Winter Meeting official list of attendees, there were 79 registrants, not counting MHI staff. Of this number, 17 were state MHAssociation executives; and 62+/- businessmen and women, of whom 16 were landlease community owners/operators, a dozen or so lenders and financial service representatives, eight HUD Code home manufacturers, and several MHRetailers.

Following Monday (2/27/2012) morning’s breakfast buffet, a general session featured presentations by the Honorable Carol Galante, acting commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration & Assistant Secretary for HUD; Tom Davis, Director of Federal Government Affairs for Deloitte & Touches, LLP; and the Honorable Judy Biggers, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing & Community Opportunity (One of two members of Congress who hosted the 1 February 2012 Hearing on the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000). Luncheon speaker was Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, CATO Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC.

The National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division met from 2:30 – 4:15PM that day. There was a dozen NCC board members, all landlease community owners/operators present, plus a couple more in the audience. It was announced SUN Communities, Inc., rejoined MHI/NCC, so their CEO, John McLaren was proffered an invitation to serve as this year’s vice chairman of the council. Following the passing of the chairman’s gavel from Steven Schaub of YES! Communities to David Lentz of American Land Lease, the latter shared his thoughts on

• Importance of providing value, and a good customer experience, to homeowner/site lessee residents of our landlease communities

• Commonality of business interests among large and small owners of landlease communities

• Need for unity among NCC members, decrying what he views as self – serving decisions of the few, hurting the majority.

The remainder of the meeting agenda included a description of the 2012 NCC Forum prior to this year’s MHCongress in Las Vegas, NV., and briefings as to various federal legislative issues, particularly the MHCC Fire Sprinkler Position relative to landlease communities.

What else was covered? While not on the meeting agenda per se, it was noted that ‘lease option’, one of a landlease community owner’s self – finance methodology options, briefly discussed at MHI’s annual meeting in Phoenix during October 2011, will be one of the topics featured at the aforementioned NCC Forum this Spring. And the CAS Task Force, named at the aforesaid annual meeting, has not been forgotten, but will be supplemented with representatives from finance firms. Marc Lifset, esquire, briefed the board on the ‘manufactured housing de – titling efforts’ of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law – apparently at a ‘stand still’ for the time being. MHI staff was encouraged to see if a landlease community owner/operator member of the NCC could be named to the ‘working group’ being formed by Congresswoman Judy Biggert, pursuant to further attention paid to implementing the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. Finally, Steve Adler, an MHEI board member, presented that body’s request for guidance, as to what should be included in a new PHC® variant designed to teach ‘How to Sell Manufactured Homes within a Landlease Community!’

What wasn’t covered, but will likely be so, in the future? In the National Electric Code, 2011 edition, page # 70-489 (para. 550.32 Service Equipment) there’s a paragraph that reads in part:

“The mobile home service equipment (electrical pedestal) shall be located adjacent to the mobile home and not mounted in or on the mobile home. The service equipment shall be located in sight from and not more than 9.0m (30 ft) from the exterior wall of the mobile home it serves.”

Know what? This provision dates back to the early days of our industry (1970s), when manufactured homes were indeed ‘mobile’, and electric pedestals provided for relative ease and safety, when connecting and disconnecting electric power to ‘mobile homes’. There’s little to no reason to continue this archaic practice, as 95% of today’s homes are characterized by one site installation. Steps can be taken to have our contemporary manufactured homes treated as site – built homes, and said electric power brought into the home via service equipment affixed to the side of the home; or, as is more often the case these days, underground, removing eyesore electric pedestals from landlease communities once and for all! How to effect this change? Have a knowledgeable manufactured housing industry representative (including the possibility of a landlease community owner/operator) become a board member of the administering body, OR recruit an existing board member to ‘carry our coals to Newcastle’ – and there is such an individual in place. Bottom line? It appears this matter will finally be given explored.

MHInitiative®. As regular readers of this weekly blog posting know; I attended this year’s Legislative Conference, primarily to see whether MHI elected and salaried leaders would tackle the timely question, ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ This remains a sensitive issue for many of us. But given the recent hiring of Dick Jennison, as president and CEO of MHI, it’s reasonable to give him space and opportunity to ‘learn our various business model(s)’; then address this (if still) timely and potentially fatal issue. GFA

And, if you aren’t presently a direct, dues – paying member of the Manufactured Housing Institute, and or it’s National Communities Council division, contact Lisa Brechtel via (703) 558-0666 to request membership information, and for the upcoming NCC Forum at the annual MHCongress in Las Vegas, NV., in early April 2012.

II.

‘a.k.a.’ replaces ‘nee’!

Yep, it’s as simple as that! Somewhere along the journalistic line, I came to believe using ‘nee’ in the following fashion, to be correct. It isn’t. For example: landlease (nee manufactured home) community. The correct rendering? Landlease (a.k.a. manufactured home) community. Frankly, a.k.a. doesn’t quite get the job done though, as I was seeking a word that communicates the modified word (i.e. manufactured home) is, or is about to become, passe’, or used less frequently than in years past. Suggestions anyone? In the meantime, I’ll go with landlease (a.k.a. manufactured home) community. Thanks to Joe Stegmayer, former college English teacher, present MHI chairman, as well as chairman & CEO of Cavco Industries, Inc., for that apt observation and correction! GFA

III.

A Wholly Unexpected Personal & Corporate Epiphany!

And that’s what it was; “a sudden, intuitive perception of, or insight into reality…often initiated by some simple, commonplace occurrence”, truly an epiphany. Webster’s Dictionary.

It was Sunday afternoon, 26 February, hours before leaving my hotel in Arlington, VA., to participate in MHI’s Manufactured Housing Educational Institute board of directors meeting. I was sitting there, quietly planning for the upcoming Legislative Conference and aforementioned NCC meeting, when all of a sudden, the following recollection and inspiration occurred to me:

“18 years ago, it took 18 (then) manufactured home community owners, to convene, on 8/31/1993, and get their realty asset class’ national advocacy movement started! And here we are 18 years later, and that ‘mid – 1990s, REIT formation – driven initiative’, appears to maybe be at an impasse, given that only 16 (now) landlease community owners/operators are in attendance at this year’s MHI Legislative Conference – and only one of those can be numbered among the original 18 Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) members! The good reality however, is that we do indeed have trade and advocacy representation in Washington, DC, via MHI’s NCC division.” GFA

Here’s the epiphany.

“As of today, 27 February 2012, I begin the quiet search for a ‘new 18’ veteran and successful landlease community owners, motivated and capable of ensuring their property owner/operator peers, large and small, throughout the realty asset class, have sufficient statistical data, educational opportunities, communication resources, networking and deal – making opportunities, now and into the future!” GFA

At this juncture, let me be clear; we’re NOT talking about national or regional political and regulatory agency ADVOCACY here! The epiphany is simply a logical means by which to ensure, along with the planned academic research emphasis of the Center for Manufactured Housing Research – and Affordable Housing, that perennial ALLEN REPORTs, Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management training & certification, subscriber – supported monthly newsletters & Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRD’), weekly Official MHIndustry & LLCommunity blog postings, and annual International Networking Roundtables and periodic FOCUS Groups continue, rather than cease, when I bring my working career to an end during the next couple years. Previous attempts to merge with other bodies have failed, so this is a new and quiet beginning to ensure adequate resources for our asset class on into the future.

If you’d like to talk about this matter further; better yet, express sincere personal interest in being one of the aforementioned ‘new 18’ veteran and successful landlease community owners, motivated and capable of ensuring the future of our asset class in the manner just described, contact me via: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 or the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

IV.

How to Know Whether a Landlease Community Owner/operator is, by dint of rental homesite count, a small, medium – sized, or large scale participant!

As you likely know; more than 23 years ago, the decision was made, that to be identified as a landlease community portfolio owner/operator, a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation, would have to own and or fee – manage five such properties or 500 rental homesites. This remains the ‘portfolio qualification standard’ to this day, relative to the aforementioned ALLEN REPORT and other research documents.

Then, 15 years ago, this question was posed, ‘What are the individual and corporate – owned landlease community investment categories, within this unique income – producing property type?’ Well, that wasn’t as easy to delineate, but past and present practice goes like this:

• An Institutional &/or Investment Grade Landlease Community usually contains 175 – 200+ rentable rental homesites

• A Young Wealth – Builder Landlease Community is characterized as being 75 or 100 to 175 or 200 rentable rental homesites in size.

• A Mom & Pop – sized Landlease Community generally features 100 and fewer rentable rental homesites. This category constitutes about 85+/-% of our national inventory of this unique, income – producing property type.

Now, we turn our attention to the question about how to best differentiate among small, medium – sized, and large scale property portfolio owners/operators of landlease communities. Here’s what we’ve come up with to date.

Collectively, 10 to a maximum of 499 rentable rental homesites, in one or more landlease communities in one property portfolio, describes a small owner/operator.

Collectively, 500 – 2,000 rentable rental homesites, in one or more landlease communities in one property portfolio, describes a mid – sized owner/operator.

Collectively, 2001+ rentable rental homesites, in one or more landlease communities in one property portfolio, describes a large scale owner.

Now you know. Furthermore; if you have an opinion, or refining thoughts, on this subject, and are willing to share it; please let us know.

*** End Note: 1. 27 February 2008 & 2009 refer to the first two National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucuses, held respectively in Tampa, FL., and Elkhart, IN., on those identical day/month dates in those consecutive years. See earlier blog postings for detailed descriptions of historic measures that came from both events.

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