Archive for March, 2013

U Aware of Impending Title/Tax Imbroglio?

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Blog # 239 Copyright 2013 31 March 2013

Perspective. “Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home park’s, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.”

I.

If We Can’t Get the Job Done (i.e. ‘Restore Financing!’);
Someone, It Appears, Is Ready Now, to do it for (to) us!

II.

‘The New Normal! 50,000+/- New HUD – Code Homes Shipped Per Year! Really? Not Everyone Agrees….

III.

More about Bofus in Las Vegas

I.

If We Can’t Get the Job Done (i.e. Restore Financing!’);
Someone, It Appears, Is Ready Now, to do it for (to) us!

‘Those 21 Words are Likely a Bellwether of What’s in Store for the Manufactured Housing Industry & Land Lease Lifestyle Community Asset Class, if We Continue to Sit On Our Hands and Do Nothing Substantial….’

So, did you take my advice and get yourself a copy of CFED’s 2013 report titled: TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE AND RESPONSIBLE EXPANSION OF AFFORDABLE MORTGAGES FOR MANUFACTURED HOMES? I hope so, because the following paragraphs contain my ‘take’ on this 50 page document. And I’d like to hear yours….

First off; there were nearly no manufactured housing industry or land lease lifestyle community asset class ‘players’ (i.e. businessmen and women, lenders, trade association executives) involved in researching, compiling results, and agreeing on points put forth in this 50 page document. How can the Corporation for Enterprise Development, in good conscience, publish a report of this nature without input from the very folk who stand to be affected by its’ findings and recommendations? Only passing mention is made of ROC USA™ and its’ involvement, via the I’M HOME network, in this Ford Foundation – sponsored project.

Here are the questions this report endeavors to answer. Wherever the words ‘real estate – secured’ are inserted, know they were NOT in the report proper, but added by this blogger for clarification:

• To what extend and from what sources can low and moderate – income (LMI) household obtain MH single – family (real estate – secured) loans?

• How well do manufactured housing (real estate – secured) loans perform, and how does their performance compare with that of mortgage loans for site – built home? (Some readers, like me, opine the report preparers’ statistics gathering, compilation and reporting is questionable, i.e. not identifying and including defaulted loans in performance results)

• As there products or underwriting features that are correlated with more successful (real estate – secured) loan performance?

“The Project’s long – term goal is to expand access to and availability of, affordable (real estate – secured) financing to low – and moderate – income (‘LMI’) owners and buyers of manufactured homes…”

While eight ‘main findings’ are listed early in this report, a couple bear mentioning:

• “Manufactured home (real estate – secured) mortgage performance is comparable to general mortgage performance, and certain manufactured housing (real estate- secured) mortgage portfolios outperform comparable general mortgage portfolios.” That would be encouraging and helpful news, once we’re convinced the number and value of defaulted loans, occurring prior to compilation of statistics for this report, have indeed been included, and lead to this rosy conclusion.

• “Data shortcomings are widespread and a serious barrier to understanding the factors that contribute to loan performance….” Interestingly, none (OK, maybe one) of the independent, third party chattel capital lenders, approached to contribute loan performance data to this report did so. “The resulting dataset totals $1.7 billion in (real estate – secured) loan volume at origination.” What wasn’t researched was the more than $5 billion in chattel mortgages estimated, in the 24th ALLEN REPORT, to be held among 500+/- land lease lifestyle community portfolio owners/operators nationwide AND chattel mortgages, held by the aforementioned independent, third party lenders. Why not researched? In the case of LLLCommunity owners/operators, we simply weren’t asked; in the latter instance? Well, one wag has suggested, “Work in it (chattel lending) to make a high interest buck, until it changes to a new titling of the home.” OUCH! Do you suppose this could be true? I think not, but one now has to consider the matter when….

Like in CFED’s earlier report, REAL VALUE, REAL HOME, tucked away within the report, are these telling lines:

“A major recent development is expected to transform this picture (i.e. “:…allow home owners to convert the title on their manufactured home from personal property to real property….”). In July 2012, the Uniform Law Commission unanimously adopted a Uniform Manufactured Housing Act that would give all manufactured housing owners and buyers the option of titling their homes as real property.” Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This initiative has been in the works for the past several years; now is time to take the matter seriously. Of course, none of this is state law yet – except in New Hampshire.

The stated and desired consequence of title conversion? “The market for (real estate – secured) mortgages for manufactured homes can be expected to grow significantly with more homes titled as real property, and because of consistency across states, that is sought by lenders and investors, including secondary markets.”

Unintended consequences of this conversion? Significant increases in the taxes owners of manufactured housing will have to pay on their homes, particularly those sited on leased land, as in land lease lifestyle communities. While this might be a boon for local, county tax assessors, it could signal the end of LLLCommunties as we know them today, particularly those catering to folk in dire need of affordable housing! They’re no longer going to be able to afford to live in their LLLCommunity, and who will the property’s owners/operators attract to live there, if/when new real estate – secured property taxes take supplant the last affordable housing feature available to this citizenry?

And, it’s widely recognized there’s a dire shortage of affordable housing throughout the U.S. today; so the last thing we need now, is a new mechanism that only exacerbates that sorry situation.

*****

II.

‘the New Normal! 50,000+/- New HUD – Code Homes Shipped Per Year! Really? Not Everyone Agrees….

“The manufactured housing industry cannot survive very long if annual shipments (of new HUD – Code homes) remains below 100,000 per year for very long.” So says one of the most veteran (40 years) and respected (member, the RV/MH Hall of Fame) in the MHIndustry today.

Let’s begin with what I saw and didn’t see at last week’s MHShow in Tunica, Mississippi. And let me say right up front, this was the first time I’d attended that particular, as one attendee referred to it, ‘regional dealer show’ (i.e. a tad bit shy on the number of land lease lifestyle community owners/operators present). Here goes….

Ever been to The Tunica Show? I was pleasantly surprised to see no fewer than 70 new HUD – Code homes on display; clearly, more ‘affordable models’ than what was observed at the Louisville MHShow in January. And yes, there were some Community Series Homes or CSH Models present, but guess what, NOT a SINGLE ONE of them was labeled as such. Go figure….Tells me, these home manufacturers still haven’t learned, or maybe it’s simply ‘accepted the fact’, that land lease lifestyle community sales and sitings will be commonplace for the foreseeable future. And until they do, in this region and otherwise, it’ll be darn difficult to get off that 50,000+/- new HUD – Code homes shipped per year.

And then there were the more than 70 exhibitors displaying their wares and promoting their services. Saw quite a few vendors I hadn’t seen before at other MHShows, and that’s a good thing. The seminars? Ask someone other than me. Having such educational sessions, is certainly an improvement over ‘having none’, as was the case not many years ago; but maybe having nonstop daylong seminars two days in a row has swung the pendulum too far the other direction.

I was pleased to learn that CSL Lending (that’s short for ‘common sense lending’) is broadening its’ chattel finance market to include new homes sited within land lease lifestyle communities. There’re outa Marietta, GA. (205) 331-5700. Ask for Aaron Waters. And Randy Pyle, of Blevins, is already putting together a ‘Security Package for Land Lease Lifestyle Communities’ presentation for the 22nd annual Networking Roundtable in Chicago, IL., 18 – 20 September 2013. Then there was Joshua Dobbs. A young Marine, recently home from Afghanistan, who’s been hired by the rejuvenated Robert Sage Careers, to recruit candidates, and find placements for mid – level jobs within HUD – Code manufacturing plants and land lease lifestyle community property portfolios. Reach him via joshualeedobbs@gmail.com And finally, next time you’re in the Tunica area, make it a point to ‘eat where the locals eat’, at The Hollywood Café, ‘Home of the Fried Dill Pickle’. Technically, it’s located in Robinsonville, Mississippi, and is in a building constructed in the mid to late 1800s, and used mainly for a country store.

III.

More about Bofus in Las Vegas

‘So, how’s Bofus to find ways to improve business acumen? Meet privately with individuals who’re good listeners and have right and helpful ideas and solutions, based on individual effort, long experience, and passionate motivation. And barring that, know who to send Bofus to, to get such business knowledge’

For example, what’s it going to take nationally and regionally, to improve land lease lifestyle community Advocacy, statistical Research, and ongoing Resource distribution? Bofus surely would like to know the answer to that question.

For starters, meet privately with individuals who are already personally and corporately committed to serving the Advocacy, Research and Resource needs of LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide. Only the first part of that will be found among the inner workings of one or another national trade entity, their recent ‘plans for great things’ notwithstanding. If Bofus isn’t already a direct, dues – paying member of one or another of those bodies, do so.

Where Research and Resources are concerned, a.k.a. Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs, monthly installments of same are already in place! If Bofus isn’t familiar with what follows, make it a point to meet with and learn from those who do such ‘resource research’, to wit:

• Annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land Lease Lifestyle Community Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’ Without this seminal report (24 to date), we’d have no idea who the portfolio ‘players’ are throughout the U.S. and Canada. And while only 20%, on the average, of the 500+/- known portfolio owners/operators are actually named each year, most of the 500 participate in the survey that makes up the ALLEN REPORT.

• Then, in February, there’s the annual Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class, comprised of Census Bureau data and information gleaned from the aforementioned ALLEN REPORT research.

• National Registry of Real Estate Lenders and Brokers, including the only published list of independent, third party chattel lenders, is distributed every March. The 15th annual edition identified 18 of the largest realty – secured lenders. Next to the ALLEN REPORT, this is the most requested of all SSRDs.

• ‘Who Ya Gonna Call During 2013?!’ is the only published list of freelance management consultants serving the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class. The 14th edition of this valuable resource contains 40 names and will be distributed with the April issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

• Next we have the Official Directory of Manufactured Print and Online Resources, plus social networking guidelines. The fourth edition of this is being researched at this time.

• Official Lexicon or Glossary of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Terminology is updated and published each year as a lagniappe to the aforementioned newsletter and as an appendix in every text penned about the industry and asset class.

• Property Management Training & Certification Programs, once each year, are identified, described, and recommended in a special SSRD.
1.
• The highly popular Industry Briefing Sheet is not an annual update, but rather is updated whenever deemed necessary throughout the year. It contains all the benchmark statistics pertinent to the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity asset class.

• The annual Trade Advocacy Body Directory is the one time each year, MHIndustry and LLLCommunity aficionados see clearly who is representing them, as businessmen and women, and how well
.
• Annual Summary of Networking Roundtable proceedings is penned and published during the month following the seminal event. What makes is particularly unique is that all two dozen presenters are identified by name, topic, and their contact information is included.

• The quietest update, if you will, is the annual update of the Official MHIndustry Paradigm Shifts Timeline. Here it’s easy to see and track the business trends of the past 50 or more years.

• Finally, there’s the annual MHInitiative® (formerly the National State of the Asset Class or NSAC caucus. In the past, these have been one day gatherings of MHIndustry and or LLLCommunity execs coming together to a particular end. This annual MHInitiative® Summary is as important a SSRD as any other.

Point? Bofus has no excuse, when patronizing this year’s MHCongress, not to come away wiser and better informed than when he/she arrived. Don’t hesitate to get my attention when we meet or pass one another at the show. I’ve been hired to make at least two formal presentations, i.e. ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’, but that still gives me plenty of time on the show floor to talk with you, Bofus, and whoever else happens along….It’s also possible to obtain all the above SSRDs for FREE, as a paid subscriber to the Allen Letter professional journal via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

******

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry,
The Land Lease Lifestyle Community Asset Class &
Affordable Housing Purists & Enthusiasts Nationwide
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Responses to the New Normal; & Where’s NPS These Days?

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Blog # 238 Copyright 2013 24 March 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

Is There a Pattern Here? First; Responses to Blog # 237, & then….
I.
Responses to ‘The New Normal = 50,000 new homes per year?’!
“Great blog! I think you are right on target; especially your comments on some of the big asset class entities. The public ones (REITs) are only in the game for the short term results. This mirrors most corporate strategy these last few years. I think you pointed out in prior blogs, that 85% of land lease lifestyle communities are owned by small owners. Were they long term investors, or the quick buck and disappear types, all too prevalent today? The real question, in my opinion, is how do we get back to the long term investor model and get rid of the fast buck guys? P.S. Thanks for letting me vent.” GS (Lightly edited. GFA)

Response from GFA: Here’s an example of why it’s important to be careful with generalities. Truth of the matter is, during the past two decades, there’ve been six land lease lifestyle community – focused real estate investment trusts or REITs. UMH Properties (formerly United Mobile Homes) has been around since the mid – 1980s and is ‘going strong’, acquiring more LLLCommunities during the past two years than at any other time in its’ 30+/- year history. ELS, Inc. (formerly MHC, Inc.), Sam Zell’s REIT, has been around since 1994, or nearly 20 years; same with Sun Communities, Inc. The only short – lived REITs were Chateau Communities, Inc. (from 1994 – 2002), American Landlease. Inc. (Now part of the Green Courte property portfolio) from 1998 – 2008; and, ARC, Inc., just 2004 & 2005. This information from the 24th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Owners/operators Throughout North America!’. This seminal report is available FREE, with a paid subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal, via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764
&

“Ah, those ‘(four) elephants in the room’ are controlling (our industry and destiny), not the consumer and home provider. We have lost what we had in 1969 – 72, George. The market, back then, determined the viability (of our housing product). Not gubment and not associations.” NB
Ah, but as an industry, we squandered that Golden Opportunity, when cheap imitations of mobile homes fell apart while being transported down highways, forcing the U.S. government to step in, when we couldn’t or wouldn’t police ourselves, ‘giving us’ the infamous HUD Code in 1974, implemented in 1976. But to our industry’s credit, during the next 20 years, we made that ‘lemon (of regulatory oversight) into lemonade (with increasingly homelike structures)’, and turned this pre – emptive, performance – based, Federal building code to our favor, until the turn of this century; when everyone in the MHBusiness today knows, ‘the rest of that sorry $ story.’

II.
‘Net Promoter Scores’ No More & ‘Dealers Be Damned!’
Remember the hype from a couple years ago, at the annual MHCongress and elsewhere, when something called NPS or Net Promoter Score was all the rage? I sure do. My first brush with the concept came as I visited a HUD – Code manufactured housing plant, and was given a copy of Fred Reichheld’s book, titled ULTIMAE QUESTION, ‘Driving Good Profits and True Growth’ – Introducing NPS (&) How leading firms transform ordinary customers into promoters. At the time, that book was required reading by all employees, from the top down. And I well remember being impressed, by the book content, as well as the corporate commitment to NPS on the part of this major home producer.
Next brush with NPS came with the knowledge at least one of the largest portfolio owners/operators of land lease lifestyle communities, had also bought into the Net Provider Score concept; hook, line and sinker. And for awhile I guess they did. But do you ever hear about NPS anymore? Only when a freelance management consultant wants to pitch it.
Just what is/was NPS all about? Well, here’s my take on the subject, after having read the book and observed, from afar, at least two large companies’ attempts to implement and sustain the NPS program.
• “Companies need to ask just one question – the Ultimate Question – in a regular systematic, and timely fashion.” P.x. Then, track and publicize the answers to that question, put the information to work right away. Therein lies the pat to true growth.

• What is the Ultimate Question? “How likely is it you would recommend the company t a friend or colleague?”

• Then, “Grouping customers into three clusters: promoters, passives, and detractors, provides a simple, intuitive scheme that accurately predicts (future) customer behavior.” P.30

• An apt goal: “We are in the business of selling an experience that delights our customers.” P.155
And I guess my Ultimate Question to the HUD – Code home manufacturer and land lease lifestyle community portfolio owner/operator aficionados of the Net Promoter Score, is: ‘Are YOU succeeding in providing an experience that is delighting your homebuying and site renting customers?’
So, where is NPS today? From all indications, ‘Dead in the water’. Why do I write that? Because the emails I receive from clients and associates dealing with these two, and other NPS aficionado firms; and, recently, asking key employees where ‘they’ thought the concept is/was on their firm’s corporate radar screen, so to speak.
For example, this direct quote from a recent email between a land lease lifestyle community portfolio owner/operator and an NPS – oriented(?) corporate executive: “I too regret my experience with your plant was unsatisfactory enough to cause me to look elsewhere for my next home (purchases).”Later in the same message, “I again commend you for building a very nice Community Series Home (Where I personally think our industry is headed). Just suggest you start considering LLLCommunity owners like (independent ‘street’) MHRetailers rather than wholesale buyers, recognizing ’we expect the home we buy to be the one we saw on display’; and furthermore, encourage greater quality control at your plants.” SR (Lightly edited. GFA)
Is this a universal let down, throughout the HUD – Code manufactured housing industry, or a one – off, maybe two – off happenstance? Frankly, I have no way of knowing for sure.
I had hoped to explore this matter at the upcoming MHCongress in Las Vegas, during an early morning session that was 1) ‘on’ in early October; 2) ‘off’ in January; 3) ‘on’ again, in February; and 4) ‘off’ again, earlier this month. Why? Well, that’s another story to tell sometime in the future, and it will be told.
In the meantime, however, this non – MHCongress seminar: ‘How to Market & Sell More Homes INTO and WITHIN Land Lease Lifestyle Communities?!’ will be one of the key themes at the 22nd annual Networking Roundtable scheduled 11 – 13 September at the Indian Lakes Hilton Resort in the suburbs of Chicago. If YOU have thoughts, suggestions, ideas on ‘marketing & selling homes INTO and WITHIN LLLCommunities, that’d enrich the learning experience this Fall, make it a point to talk to me about it during the MHShow in Tunica, Mississippi this week – a group of us will be lunching together at the Hollywood Café at 11:30AM on Wednesday, 27 March. OR, talk to me before the MHCongress! Want an ‘invite’ to the Networking Roundtable? Simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.
And hey, if you’re still a committed NPS fan, I’d like to know it! How are you using it throughout your firm; what have been the measurable results; how long have you been on the program? And what are your Lessons Learned? Write to me GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 or email: gfa7156@aol.com

III.
Bofus does Vegas!
a unique opportunity awaits Bofus at the MHCongress next month

You going to MHI’s MHCongress in Las Vegas in mid – April? If not yet registered, but would like to participate, phone (703) 558-0678, and tell’em ‘George sent me!’. As a related aside; watch to see whether MHI , in turn, actively promotes the 22nd Networking Roundtable in Chicago, scheduled for early September. In any event, read more about what awaits Bofus in Las Vegas.
Bofus have a lot to gain if ‘ones cards are played right’ in the MH exhibit area. You see, Bofus comes to this annual event with different agendas. For example:
• Business sucks and Bofus’s in search of ways to make it better, the sooner the better, or get out of it altogether!

• What’s it going to take nationally, regionally to improve Advocacy, Research & Resources – wise, where manufactured housing and land lease lifestyle community owners/operators are concerned? Bofus wants to know!
These are but two of Bofus concerns, and there are indeed additional ones….
So, how does Bofus address these legitimate concerns? If you’ve read this closely, you already know the answer; if not, well, read next week’s blog posting for more hints and details….
IV.
TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE AND RESPONSIBLE EXPANSION OF AFFORDABLE MORTGAGES FOR MANUFACTURED HOMES
If you’re a LinkedIn fan, or regular commentator, you likely came across a lively discussion on the 2013, 50 page study just released by CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development) with the above 12 words as its’ title.
I’ll review this interesting piece of work in next week’s blog posting (#239). A hint. The conclusion suggested by the study’s title is not nearly as rosy as it reads. How so? Another hint. The study, per se, is all about realty – secured home mortgages, very little is said/written about chattel (personal property) capital sources and loan performance. But a ‘way’ is suggested that, if enacted, will change the HUD – Code manufactured housing industry forever, and likely destroy the land lease lifestyle community income – producing property type as we know it today.
Can’t wait? Then google CFED and ask for access to the 2013 study with the above title.
***
George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry,
The Land Lease Lifestyle Community Asset Class &
Affordable Housing Purists & Enthusiasts Nationwide
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 (317) 346-7156

The NEW NORMAL = 50,000 New MHomes per Year?

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Blog # 237 Copyright 2013 17 March 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

I.

The NEW NORMAL! 50,000 New HUD Homes Shipped per Year

II.

‘REAL HOMES, REAL VALUE’, How Outsiders Look at Us!

***

I.

The NEW NORMAL! 50,000 New HUD Homes Shipped per Year

(54,881 new HUD – Code Manufactured Homes Shipped During Year 2012)

Yes, you read that right! As an industry, we’ve been bouncing along this ‘new home shipment nadir’ for so long, folk now entering factory – built housing and its’ related realty component, increasingly view ’50,000+/- new HUD – Code homes shipped per year’, as the New Normal for manufactured housing production and sales. *1

Harkening way back to year 1972, when a record number 575,940 new ‘mobile homes’ were shipped; then year 1998 – our latest, too brief renascence – when 372,943 new manufactured homes were delivered, it’s obvious that while 50,000+/- new home shipments per year was NOT ‘the norm’ in the distant past, after five years of limping along, the figure is likely our par going forward. *2

Frankly, this growing contemporary nadir, or New Normal, view of manufactured housing production and shipments has become, and will continue to be, increasingly entrenched in our collective mindset – the longer the following perennial mal conditions remain unaddressed and unchanged:

• While chattel (personal property) capital, for mortgages on manufactured homes sited within land lease lifestyle communities, is available from independent, third party lenders and some local banks, it must be more accessible by prospective homebuyers/site lessees; OR, the quality (i.e. credit worthiness) of would – be homebuyers/site lessees must markedly improve! Do you see either or both these changes occurring anytime soon? Neither do I.

• Counting new home ‘shipments’ rather than new home ‘sales’. As long as HUD – Code home manufacturers continue to operate from this wholly ‘production priority’ (versus ‘marketing sensitivity’) perspective, we’ll continue to see new homes delivered into local housing markets that, based on Area Median Income or AMI, cannot afford them; that don’t want them, e.g. into markets saturated with site – built homes in foreclosure; and, their continuing insensitivity to the genuine housing needs and wants of local prospective homebuyers.

• Decide once and for all, whether HUD – Code manufactured housing is ‘affordable housing’ OR an apt competitor in enough local site – built housing markets to ensure sufficient ‘home sales cum shipments’ – or is it the other way around: ‘home shipments cum sales’? See the difference? I surely hope so. In the meantime, continue to expect to see far more ‘big box = big bucks’ manufactured homes at regional housing trade shows in Louisville and Tunica, rather than Community Series Homes or CSH models, with durability – enhancing features, designed for in – LLLCommunity infill, on functionally obsolete and full size rental homesites. At the very least, understand and agree – industry wide – what it means for housing to be ‘affordable’ in the first place; then, if and when possible, get our federal regulator, HUD, to finally begin promoting manufactured housing as the affordable housing option it is!*3

• Then there’re the ever present ‘elephant in the room’ concerns. *4 Whether a) ‘not talking’ about rental homesite rates being way out of sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market; b) chattel lenders’ practice of including PITI only, within the commonly accepted 30% Housing Expense Factor – omitting routine household expenses; c) how after 60 years in business, there’s still no ‘secondary market’ for the valuation, listing, and sale of manufactured housing, particularly those sited within LLLCommunities; and of late, d) an emerging, unfortunate repeat of manufactured housing history, circa 1985, where larger firms – first, the mega home manufacturers, and today apparently, a few of the largest property portfolio owners/operators, who’re members of a national advocacy body, publicly and privately bullying smaller firm businessmen and women. *5

With that said, understand there’re two major matters to address here and going forward:

1. How to reverse the growing ‘nadir view’ of HUD – Code manufactured housing; where 50,000+/- new homes shipped per year is now viewed as the New Normal? It won’t be an easy process.

As preview, it’ll take a) leadership capable, industry experienced, highly motivated individuals, willing to listen to and understand their peers, via one or more national strategic brainstorming sessions – open to everyone willing to ‘pay the price to attend’; b) charting a realistic return to greater productivity and profitability via better and creative financing, with a marketing and sales perspective, under – girded by new respect for housing affordability, and,

2. How to effectively address most or all ‘elephant in the room ‘ concerns? Here too, this will not be an easy process.

In fact, with the exception of the final ‘elephant’ of the four – being a relatively recent arrival on the national manufactured housing scene, the other three matters are perennial bugaboos to everyone in the factory – built housing business. Three examples: 1) Are specific land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, charging rental homesite rents out of sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing, in their local housing markets, prepared to roll back their rates? I seriously doubt it. 2) Are independent, third party and on – site, self – finance chattel lenders prepared to make homeowner loans more affordable (i.e. ‘less risky’), by adding routine housing expenses to the PITI $ already within the 30% Housing Expense Factor? I think not. And, 3) after 60+/- years are we, as a housing alternative industry, prepared to create, grow and support a secondary market for the valuation, marketing, and sale of used manufactured homes – so that we can sell more new homes? Nope. And as far as that ‘fourth elephant’ is concerned, let’s hope saner minds prevail in the near future, so we don’t wind up with an even more diverse and divisive national representation relative to political and regulatory Advocacy, statistical Research, and comprehensive Resource servicing – especially where land lease lifestyle community owners/operators are concerned!

But given the circumstances and challenges just described, is there willingness and commitment to ‘change and improve’, to and for the greater good of all involved in manufactured housing and the land lease lifestyle community realty asset class? Again, I think not.

Not mentioning any names here, but today there are no fewer than five national, not for profit entities vying for the dues money and loyalty of individuals and firms associated with HUD – Code manufactured housing and or its’ real estate component, the land lease lifestyle community asset class. Print off this blog posting and send it to the elected and salaried leaders of the trade group or groups with whom you affiliate, and ASK: 1) Do they agree or disagree with the concerns set forth in the previous paragraphs, then ask, ‘WHY?’ Then, 2) What are, or will they be doing about these and related matters, from their perspective, during the remaining months of year 2013? Anything you’re told, short of a specific and timed Action Plan, is their clear vote to continue this status quo; being,

’50,000 new HUD – Code homes per year as the New Normal for the entire manufactured housing industry’!

Is that what YOU want to hear, and where you want to lend your support? I hope not!

In either event, I’d like to know your thoughts on some or all these identified concerns playing important parts in keeping HUD – Code manufactured housing at its’ five year new home shipment nadir! Either our elected and salaried leaders should be taking steps to get us out of this malaise, or we need to reorganize and do it ourselves, with the help of new business associates!

Write to me: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 or phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

II.

‘REAL HOMES, REAL VAUE’. How Outsiders Look at Us!

(How the Corporation for Enterprise Development, or CFED, views the value appraisal of manufactured housing sited on parcels of real estate owned fee simple; and, why land lease lifestyle community – sited homes should be appraised similarly….)

If you’re on LinkedIn, and have been following the lively discussion leading up to the CFED – hosted Webinar on 28 March, you know there’s a ‘recent report’ cited as seminal to the upcoming presentation. It’s titled, ‘REAL HOMES, REAL VALUE’. I’ve read it cover to cover, but there’s no way I can do the 50 page report justice in a few paragraphs. But I will point out some of the highlights that caught my attention.

• Among 31 individuals acknowledged as resources for this report, eight are affiliated with manufactured housing; but NONE are owners/operators of land lease lifestyle communities: Joan Brown, Steve Hullibarger, Don Miner, Dan Rinzema, Betty Whittaker, Paul Bradley, Emanuel levy, and George Porter.

• Early on, author Robin LeBaron acknowledges report’s focus being “…the practices of appraising manufactured homes as real estate….” P.5. But by default, he hints at interest in valuation issues pertaining to manufactured homes sited in land lease lifestyle communities. “In 2008, approximately two – thirds of manufactured homes placed in the US were titled as personal property, and one – third as real property.” P.13. Leading to a recommendation, later in the report: “Encourage states to adopt the Uniform Manufactured Housing Act as a means of standardizing the process of recording the conversion of title from personal to real property (Within land lease lifestyle communities and elsewhere. GFA), and vice versa.” P.39. *6

• In the Executive Summary, the author calls for ‘terminological clarity’ relative to differentiation among factory – built housing types. That work has already been done. All he had to do was cite Don Carlson’s decades long demarcations, based on national housing market share, per production (site) builders @ 45% (Who routinely use pre – hung window and door components, as well as roof trusses and floor/ceiling joists); panelizers @ 45%; modular housing @ 5%; and HUD – Code manufactured housing @ 5%. Courtesy, ‘Automated Builder’ magazine.

• “Only one state, New Hampshire, automatically titles all manufactured homes as real property.”

• “Six differences between manufactured and site – built homes…relative mobility or immobility, design and structural quality, external appearance, finishes, perception and tenure.” P.22 Actually, the final ‘difference’ would have been better cited as ‘tenancy’ (‘holding property by lease or rent’) rather than tenure (‘the holding of something, as property or office….’), since the author points out, on page 27, “…one – third of manufactured homes are located on land that is not owned by the homeowner (“fee simple” ownership of the land and home), but leased from a third – party, typically in a manufactured home community.”

• “A perimeter foundation, for example, must be perfectly sized to accommodate a manufactured home without generating future problems.” P.24. No question, but what dimension and integrity of the perimeter wall are important; but it is not weight bearing, as the mass and weight of a manufactured home is borne by the steel carriage or frame under the home, onto piers located under said home and not the perimeter wall!

• Another recommendation in the report, calls for “…standardization of the definitions and terminology related to manufactured housing….” An example of outsiders being unaware of resources already widely available to them. The Official Glossary or Lexicon of the manufactured housing industry and land lease lifestyle community asset class has been around now for more than three years, with latest edition published as Appendix III in the 2012 ‘Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb & Helpful Measures’. See end note # 3.

Interested in obtaining a copy of this report to read for yourself, and maybe prepare to participate in the free Webinar, on this subject, at 2:30PM on 28 March 2013? Do what I did. Google CFED and make a direct inquiry for ‘REAL HOMES, REAL VALUE’; and while you’re at it, ask for Webinar ‘sign up’ instructions.

***
End Notes.

1. nadir: ‘the lowest point’ Webster

2. Year 2011 = 51,055 homes; 2010 = 50,046 homes; & 2009 = 49,789 homes

3. Read chapter # 5 in Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb, & Helpful Measures, available for $19.95 from PMN Publishing. MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

4. ‘elephant in the room’ = English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed.’ Wikipedia

5. PITI = loan principal & interest; pro rata personal property or real estate taxes & homeowners’ insurance premium

6. The Uniform Manufactured Housing Act adopted in July 2013 by the Uniform Law Commission

***

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry,
The Land Lease Lifestyle Community Asset Class &
Affordable Housing Purists & Enthusiasts Nationwide
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Four Hot Topics for MHIndustry Professionals

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Blog # 236 Copyright 2013 10 March 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

I.

22nd annual Networking Roundtable to Emphasize Close Cooperation Between Land Lease Lifestyle Community Owners/operators & HUD – Code Home Manufacturers!

II.

HUD Acknowledges Affordable Housing Shortage in the U.S., but Fails to ‘Look Within’ and See Manufactured Housing as Answer!

III.

Readying for Competition & Tweaking Revenue Sources

IV.

Planning for Disaster

***

I.

22nd annual Networking Roundtable to Emphasize Close Cooperation Between Land Lease Lifestyle Community Owners/operators & HUD – Code Home Manufacturers!

(Originally scheduled to debut @ 7:30 – 8:45AM on 18 April, at MHI’s congress in Las Vegas, but now canceled, this much – needed, new home shipment catalyst, will now be center stage during the 22nd annual Networking Roundtable in September 2013!)

On 4 March 2013, a letter went out to all Business Development Managers, or BDMs, working for HUD – Code home manufacturers throughout the U.S. The correspondence described a new, three – pronged MHInitiative® designed to pick up where the last National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus, on 27 February 2009, left off. MHIndustry veterans will recall how the day long meeting at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library facility, spawned the popular Community Series Home, or CSH Model, now relatively commonplace among HUD – Code home manufacturers and land lease lifestyle communities.

Since then, the NSAC caucus movement has been relabeled as MHInitiative®; whereby many HUD – Code manufacturers now routinely design, build and ship CSH Model homes; and virtually all LLLCommunities, with more than 100 rental homesites, now sell, self – finance, and or lease homes on – site, to fill their share of an estimated 250,000 vacant sites located throughout the U.S. But there’s still room for improvement, in both the manufacturer/LLLCommunity relationship, and the methodology of marketing and selling new, even resale manufactured homes. Hence this expanded, three – pronged MHInitiative®, targeting:

• All HUD – Code home manufacturers desiring to sell more new homes into LLLCommunities!

• All land lease lifestyle community owners/operators buying/selling/renting, and oft times self – financing new homes on – site!

• All land lease lifestyle community owners/operators buying/selling/renting resale homes on – site, and or leasing rental homesites!

Not one of these three parts of the expanded MHInitiative® is self – exclusive! They interrelate to the extent that HUD – Code home manufacturers AND land lease lifestyle community owners/operators decide to overtly work together, cooperating to market, sell, lease, and when need be, self – finance new, even resale homes on – site, within these unique, income – producing properties! And in most cases, throughout the U.S., this novel Business Plan is effected, unfortunately, sans participation by independent ‘street’ MHRetailers, and with no secondary market for selling – off ‘used’ manufactured homes.

Achieving this ‘new level of intra – segment cooperation, or team building’, is what had been hoped for during the congress next month. But that opportunity has been ‘kicked down the road’ to September – and that’s probably a ‘good thing’ for these reasons: 1) There are still several training aids to prepare; and now with the added time, 2) recruit additional presenters to focus their expertise on the tripartite task at hand. The training aids? At least four exciting ones to date:

• Virtually everyone in the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class is already aware of, if not routinely using, the strangely – named, but highly useful ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’. *1 But what most folk don’t realize is this four perspective Housing Price Point Estimation Tool is functional as a Spread Sheet. And that application will be introduced and made accessible to all, at the 22nd annual Networking Roundtable this Fall.

• The first of two 3”X5” plastic cards, printed both sides, will feature using the ‘5 – RPs of Marketing’ to market and sell new, HUD – Code homes INTO land lease lifestyle communities. To the best of this writer’s knowledge, never before have HUD – Code home manufacturers cooperated, via their Business Development Managers, to produce a Training Aid of this nature, to this practical end! Once and for all, ‘Here’s How to do it!’ What could be more exciting than cooperating together on such a worthy, and certainly timely, project?!

• The second of two 3”X5” plastic cards, printed both sides, will feature two distinctly different, but related uses of the ‘5 – RPs of Marketing’: to 1) market and sell new homes WITHIN land lease lifestyle communities; and 2) market and sell resale, and or rental homes, WITHIN this property type, as well as lease vacant rental homesites! And like the ‘manufacturers’ card described in the previous paragraph, these two will contain the best thinking, based on successful on – site experience, of owners/operators already engaged in these procedures!

And capable, experienced, motivated presenters willing to focus and share their expertise in these three areas? Well, if you believe you’re One of Them, please get in touch with me via this website, mail: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247. or otherwise.*1 For that matter, if you own/operate a LLLCommunity, and or supply products and services (e.g. mortgage origination) to this property type, and would like to be invited to this year’s ‘by invitation only’ 22nd annual Networking Roundtable, NOW is not too early to say so!

And know I’ll be present at the aforementioned congress, in April, if you’d like to discuss this new, enhanced shipment volume MHInitiative®, between HUD – Code home manufacturers AND land lease lifestyle community owners/operators! It’s likely most Networking Roundtable ‘presenter’ positions will be filled by then, but Your Ideas are indeed Welcome!

II.

HUD Acknowledges Affordable Housing Shortage in the U.S., but Fails to ‘Look Within’ & See Manufactured Housing as Answer!

Remember blog posting # 232, of a few weeks ago, featuring this ‘in your face challenge’: Hey HUD! Help Out! ? Well, according to a recently released document titled: ‘Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: A Summary Report to Congress’, HUD’s 2011 American Housing Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, between May & September 2011, “…the number of ‘Worst Case Housing Needs’ continued to grow from the previous record high, in 2009 (7.1 million households) by a striking 43.5 percent since 2007.” This means “8.5 million households paid more than half their income for rent or lived in substandard housing.”

What will it take to get HUD to realize and promote manufactured housing as the most reasonable answer to our nation’s affordable housing crisis – as just described in the previous paragraph? At least the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR, is trying to do so! The following is quoted from their Press Release dated 26 February 2013:

“…MHARR has pointed out, in congressional oversight hearing and other
interactions with government decision – makers, notwithstanding such growing
‘critical needs’ and mandate of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of
2000 (a.k.a. MHIA@2000), the HUD program (should) ‘facilitate the acceptance
of the quality, durability, safety and affordability of manufactured housing within
the Department’.”

If you’re not already on MHARR’s mailing list to receive strategic information such as this, phone (202) 783-4087.

III.

Readying for Competition & Tweaking Revenue Sources

Let’s leave it this way: If you’re a direct, dues – paying member of the Manufactured Housing Institute, and were not in attendance at the institute’s recent (February 25 & 26) annual Legislative Conference and Winter Meeting, it’s likely you haven’t seen and or read a copy of the proposed changes to MHI’s present bylaws. No commentary here, yet; just a friendly suggestion you phone Richard Jennison via (703) 558-0678, and, as a direct, dues – paying member of the institute, request a copy of the marked – up set of bylaws; to review, and about which, to form your own opinion(s) pro and con, before their annual meeting, October 2013.

IV.

Planning for Disaster!

In a recent blog posting, it was described how some land lease lifestyle community owners/operators are searching for guidelines and more, to help them better prepare, ahead of time, for disasters that might strike their properties! Besides the resources suggested in that blog posting, Jay Zandman of the Manning & Nozick Insurance Agency informed this web site his firm has such resources ‘available for the asking’. So, phone Jay via (770) 393-8311 X 117, and tell him ‘Hey Jay, George Sent me!’

***
End Notes.

1. ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ available FREE by phoning the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.
***

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

Circling the Drain or Poised for Resurgence?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Blog # 235 Copyright 2013 3 March 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

I.

A Land Lease Lifestyle Community Contretemps?

II.

Removable Chassis Prompts Excitement & Questions

III.

‘Circling the Drain’ or Readying for Resurgence?

***

I.

A Land Lease Lifestyle Community Contretemps?

‘Yet Another Day (2/25/2013) likely to go down in MHIndustry History!’

On the very same day, 25 February 2013, two separate meetings, among land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, occurred in the neighboring cities of Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.

In the first instance, the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division’s executive committee, along with invited guests, met in a closed door planning session, in lieu of the council’s usual biannual meeting, to – in the words of one participant sharing afterwards – ‘Rethink the whole NCC thing and what we should be doing.’ That’s OK for the time being. However, proceedings from this meeting were not even mentioned at the full MHI board meeting the following day, so NCC members must wait and see, or listen for, further enlightenment, if and when it comes….

In the second instance, a small group of land lease lifestyle community owners/operators convened, elsewhere, to review the ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class today’; ‘How to Maximize ROI via AITR at their properties’ (See end note *1); and, as it turned out, parse the major asset class issue of the day: Need to identify contemporary and new sources of chattel finance pursuant to the self – financing of new and resale homes on – site!

What was accomplished in this latter instance? Following a brief discussion of present day programs (See end note *2), the morning turned creative, as B2P and P2P ‘crowd funding’; creative home finance and ownership partnerships between investors and REITs and other property portfolio owners/operators; and, the need to create a new nationwide ‘manufactured housing’ bank, were discussed at length. End result? The formation of a Task Force, to focus on popularizing the aforementioned sources, and identifying new $ for funding the on – site sale of new and resale manufactured homes within land lease lifestyle communities. If you’d like to participate in this process, contact Spencer Roane, MHM® via spencer@roane.com Serious inquiries only, please.

II.

Removable Chassis Prompts Excitement & Questions

Here’s what one blog flogger (reader) had to say after reading about the possible re – emergence of the removable chassis as an added option to the line of home designs available from HUD – Code home manufacturers:

“I liked your Sunday blog. I liked how you drew on history (i.e. the failed 1990 effort to approve the removable chassis measure to boost HUD – Code housing production) to present day issues (i.e. Again, ‘boost HUD – Code housing production’) for others to move to meaningful solutions!” SL

The latter part of that quote has to do with Advocacy efforts, on the part of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), to advance the removable chassis measure forward successfully, this time around!

So, what’s happening? The removable chassis possibility continues to move forward. As there are worthwhile advances to report, you’ll read about them here; so, as they say in radio, ‘Stay tuned!’

III.

‘Circling the Drain’ or Readying for Resurgence?

Editorial Posture. Everyone likes it when this blog presents – as it has during the past two weeks – clear, succinct recitations of industry issues and trends; as well as HOW TO information useful to land lease lifestyle community owners/operators. On the other hand, when circumstances appear ripe for critique, constructive and otherwise, your responses – while just as frequent, wax supportive and nay saying in near equal measure. Well, circumstances this past week, prompt the following op/ed reporting…

Before I left Indianapolis, to travel East on a week long business trip, lunching and dining with nearly a dozen business associates and clients along the way, one MHIndustry veteran, and former MHI member, opined relative to MHI’s annual Legislative Conference & Winter Meeting, it’d be akin to our industry continuing to ‘Circle the Drain!’

Ouch! But was he right or wrong? While I hope(d) ‘the latter’, it’s difficult – for the following reasons – not to fear the former. (That he’s right).

First the numbers. According to the distributed Registration List, there were 94 individuals in attendance (That’s fewer than number present at MHI’s annual meeting in San Antonio, TX., last Fall), but 13+/- of these were former legislators, governors, and lobbyists. So, of the 81+/- remaining, the best represented group present, at 16+/- , were state MHAssociation executives; then (somewhat surprisingly) 15+/- mostly chattel finance – related attendees (But tellingly, not a single LLLCommunity – focused real estate mortgage originator!); then 14+/- LLLCommunity owners/operators from 13 different firms; and (also surprisingly), 13+/- HUD – Code home manufacturers representing about eight firms. Altogether, those four segments accounted for 58 of the aforementioned 81 industry registrants. And when you subtract the 16+/- MHAssociation executives, from among the 58 subtotal, one is left with 42+/- actual business entities (i.e. Folk with bona fide ‘skin in the game’ of manufactured housing), or half the number present in toto. Not an impressive turnout for an industry struggling to survive.

Recalling the 20+ NCC members present, during the annual meeting ‘ambush’ last Fall; had all of them been present this time around (They weren’t, as their biannual scheduled membership meeting was pre empted by the aforementioned ‘closed planning session’), MHI would/could have had 100+ present for this meeting, something that hasn’t happened in quite some time.

Then the shocker. At Noon on Monday, 25 February 2013, MHI Chairman Don Glisson, Jr., of Triad Financial Services, Inc., resigned his elected position, allegedly for personal reasons. This is an unexpected, unneeded, and unwanted loss for the manufactured housing industry as a whole! Frankly, I suspect there’s more to the story than we’re being told, but I won’t go into that matter here at this time. In any event, Nathan Smith, of SSK Communities, succeeds Don Glisson as chairman of MHI.

Yes, there’s more that could be said, but you get the idea. Bottom line? It’s downright difficult to spark resurgence in an industry routinely attracting ‘less than 100 members and guests’ to biannual membership meetings; loses a good leader midstream; refuses to look beyond a limited Advocacy role and serve all its’ members’ (Not just home manufacturers) need for statistical Research and ongoing Resource services; and finally, not repeat the ‘lesson of 1985’, by catering to the few at the expense of the many (Lest you think I exaggerate by including this final point, take a close look at the proposed changes to MHI’s bylaws, before you decide….).

***

End Notes.

1. ROI: Return On &/or Of Ones’ Investment; &, AITR: ‘Alternative Income to Rent’ theory proposed by multifamily rental property consultant Allen Cymrot.

2. All present day national, super regional, and regional independent sources of chattel financing for manufactured housing, will be featured in the soon – to – be – released 15th annual National Registry of Real Estate & Chattel Lenders. To obtain your FREE copy of this ‘only such $ resource available today’, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and subscribe to the Allen Letter professional journal. The Registry will be distributed as a lagniappe in the March issue of the monthly newsletter.

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