Archive for February, 2014

Responses to ‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Park! & more….

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Blog Column # 285 Copyright 2014 16 February 2014

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

Purpose of this blog. ‘It’s the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Input this blog, & Affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

I.

‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Park’

Stimulates Record Response from Blog Floggers (Readers)!

If YOU missed last week’s posting, at this website, scroll back to blog # 284.
Suggest you peruse it (again?) before reading further here…

Space here for only two responses; first from a land-lease-lifestyle community turnaround specialist in California; the second, from a Midwest independent (street) MHRetailer.

“Outstanding commentary! (Summarizing) “…manufactured housing industry devotes an extraordinary amount of its’ resources to sell homes to people who really aren’t qualified home buyers. Why? Because they allow us to sell the old mobile home way…it’s easier than selling to qualified buyers who require a lot more effort. Manufactured housing may be the only industry in America who ignores the customer’s desires in their marketing practices. Unfortunately for us, potential buyers are much more savvy these days and appear to be abandoning us n droves.” Gub Mix, circa 2000

That was penned 14 years ago! And not only did homebuyers abandon us, so did chattel capital. Recall these ‘telling numbers’? 1999 = 348,843 new HUD-Code homes shipped; 2000 = 250,550; 2009 = only 49,789; & by 2013 = 60,228.*1 Year 2014?

In my opinion, the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’s return to 1990s era performance and profitability depends on three factors, aptly expressed using the acronym ACE. That’s short for AFFORDABILITY (Many, if not most, new homes continue to be overpriced! When will our home manufacturers learn?), CAPITAL. We’re going ‘nowhere’ without ready and accessible sources of chattel and real estate-secured capital. So, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators Must Learn HOW to engage in effective, regulatory compliant self-finance of on-site home sale transactions via one or another form of ‘captive finance’, the lease-option, even the ‘renting of homes as apartments’ when need be; and, EQUILIBRIUM – meaning, HUD-Code home manufacturers must believe and perform in a manner acknowledging LLLCommunities are ‘Where the Action is!’, relative to filling an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites throughout the U.S. Do they believe? Not yet! But it is ‘telling’, in some local housing markets, as many singlesection manufactured homes are being built and shipped these days, as multisection homes. So, remember and practice ACE!

And here’s another reaction to the midweek posting of ‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Park’. This from a commissioned salesperson, and lightly edited:

‘Would it be anyone’s (including lender, salesperson, or park’s fault) that she (the wife/mother in the story) lost her job?

They were ‘big spenders’ and bought the large SUV. In my book, that’s just flat-out irresponsible, not creating a ‘buffer’ for unforeseen expenses. That’s part of being an adult, homeowner, and having a family.

The unexpected child? Blessing for sure, but kids are expensive and there are methods to prevent this if so desired.

They didn’t PLAN for the lot rent to kick in? WHY? They KNEW it would! Refer to previous ‘buffer’ statement…and their VARIABLE (Yes, it means just that…variable) rate to go up as it sure could have gone down (as the trend was in roughly 1996 – 2005).

And, how would this (tale) reflect poorly on our industry when nothing illegal or even ‘shady’ had been done? All promises seem to have been fulfilled by all parties involved, and terms seem to have been presented in an honest, forthright manner at point of sale.’ HM

How would you answer this latter commentary regarding ‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Community’?

End Note: *1. Remember the ‘2013 annual new HUD-Code home shipment total’ controversy raised in Part IV. of blog # 283 a few weeks ago? Whether, as an industry, we’d shipped 60,228 or 60,210 new HUD-Code homes during year 2013? Well, after studying official shipment tallies provided by HUD; as unofficial MHIndustry historian, we’re opting to go with the former, or 60,228 number in COBA7 Signature Series Resource Documents we research, print, and distribute throughout the year. These SSRDs include:1) the Industry Briefing Sheet (most popular four page reference requested in the U.S. & Canada); 2) Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Realty Asset Class briefing outline; and, 3) whatever book(s) we publish during the year. To affiliate with COBA7, to receive the monthly Allen Letter professional journal, 25th anniversary ALLEN REPORT, and a dozen other SSRDs, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

II.

Signature Series Resource Documents, or SSRDs, Published to Date by COBA7

Reading & Using This Seminal Information in Your Business?

Did YOU Know? According to 25th Anniversary ALLEN REPORT (A.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America’), the total number of rental homesites (in land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities) owned by real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’) has increased from just 88,450 in 1994, to 217,769 in 2013; a 246 percent increase in sites!

Did YOU Know? According to the Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Realty Asset Class presentation outline, distributed February 2014, by year 2012, the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry was shipping almost same number of singlesection homes as multisection homes to customers throughout the U.S.?

Did YOU Know? According to the 16th National Registry of Lenders, listing 21 real estate-secured mortgage originators and all chattel capital sources, the real estate – secured lenders & brokers originated a grand total of $4,195,000,000.00 in finance and refinance loans during year 2013! This ‘second most popular SSRD, behind the aforementioned ALLEN REPORT, will be distributed to COBA7 affiliates with the March edition of the Allen Letter professional journal. So, if not already having done so, phone and affiliate with COBA7 today, via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Did YOU Know? In April, COBA7 will be distributing the 15th edition of the annual ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 2014?’ list of freelance consultants working manufactured housing and LLLCommunities coast to coast and in Canada. If you’re a freelance consultant and want to be considered for inclusion in this widely referenced directory, simply phone (317) 346-7156 and present your bona fides. GFA

III.

A Special Offer

to State & Province Manufactured Housing Associations in U.S. & Canada!

As you likely know by now, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance has been ‘up & running’ since mid-December 2013. To date, COBA7 has signed-up more businessmen and women affiliates, than the total number of members claimed by national advocacy entities representing land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities, in North America!

Here’s how one New England-based LLLCommunity owner/operator views this debut: “I continue to enjoy reading your perspective, on industry happenings, in your blog – and look forward to see how COBA7 develops. Personally, I think an alliance is a much better approach, as opposed to (creating) another lobbying effort. Thank you for your continued dedication to the (manufactured housing) industry.” JC

These businessmen and women include mostly LLLCommunity operators, large and small; product/service vendors serving the realty asset class (e.g. real estate-secured lenders and brokers); as well as HUD-Code home manufacturers desiring to market their new homes to these property owners.

COBA7 is NOT a new, national, not for profit trade body; but rather, an alliance of independent businessmen and women who’ve decided to affiliate with the sole international resource actively engaged in effecting the following seven functions:

• Ongoing statistical research and data distribution, e.g. 25th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. the ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’ There is no other source of LLLCommunity related benchmark and performance statistics.

• Continual updating and distribution of more than a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents. These SSRDs include the 16th annual National Registry of Lenders – both real estate-secured and chattel capital sources & servicer; Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class presentation outline, and at least ten more such reports & directories

• Online & print communication via 1) this weekly blog posting,2) the Allen Letter professional journal, and 3) the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter – patronized by corporate officers needing timely intelligence.

• Superb peer networking opportunities via periodic FOCUS Groups, and 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable. Latter is tentatively scheduled for 10-12 September 2014.

• Deal-making opportunities via newsletters, peer networking, and more….
• Professional property management training and certification via popular Manufactured Housing Manager® – with nearly 1,000 MHMs® already trained, certified, and now working throughout the U.S. & Canada!

• And, when necessary, engage in national advocacy, relative to matters ignored or overlooked by other LLLCommunity bodies. Two initiatives are being pursued at present.

So, effective with the posting of this weekly blog, state and province MHAssociations, with LLLCommunity owners/operators members, are too welcome to affiliate with COBA7. Cost? Same as with business affiliates, only $544.95/year. For that amount, receive a 12 month subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal, all the SSRDs, and invitation to participate in the annual Networking Roundtable. Also consider the opportunity to host the one day MHM® training session, with tuition at $250.00/MHM candidate – and your association receives a $50.00 rebate for each person attending. Two states already considering scheduling MHM® classes this year.

This $544.95 annual COBA7 affiliation fee is less than what state & province MHAssociations presently pay to belong to most national advocacy bodies. And look what you receive – relative to LLLCommunities, in return?

Again, if interested in additional information, or want to affiliate with COBA7, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 today!

*****

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

Lest We Forget: ‘Upside Down in a Mobilehome Park’

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Lest We Forget!

14 years ago, I penned ‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Park’ for the now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine. The feature bluntly described sorry homeownership situations the manufactured housing industry, and its’ home buying/site lessee customers, frequently got themselves into, circa year 2000.

Few at the time appreciated my ‘airing our industry’s dirty laundry in public’; but as annual new home shipment volume continued the precipitous slide begun in 1999, ending in 2009, the expose’ proved warranted and instructional! It returns here today, as a timely and authoritative ‘WARNING to the MHIndustry’, to eschew any revival of interest in, or efforts to obtain, ‘too easy to access chattel capital’ for manufactured homes.

The ‘numbers’?: 1999 = 348,843; 2000 = 250,550; 2009 = 49,789; & 2013 = 60,228

‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Park’
(lightly edited)

By George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master

The title ‘Upside Down…’ caught my eye as I browsed among art film titles in a local video store. Rented the film, took it home, and here’s what was viewed..

The movie’s setting is unclear. Could easily have been in New England, the Southeast, or the Pacific Northwest, though I’ve seen similar manufactured home communities in the rural Midwest. No question however, this was an upscale land lease MHCommunity installing new multisection manufactured homes on-site.

Central characters were a young couple, George & Carolyn, buying their first home. Both employed, no children or pets, and two older cars. And there was H. ‘Itch’ Balle, the retail sales center salesman/manager. Film begins with George reading this classified ad: ‘L(.)(.)K, New Homes for sale at Sherwood Forest Estates’. What catches his eye, besides the nearby location, is the $4,000.00 move-in incentive offer! George phones, he and Carolyn visit, really like what they see, and buy. Their new home, already sited, but not yet landscaped, is an $80,000.00 multisection HUD-Code manufactured home.

Everything seemed to be going their way! Originally expecting to have to come up with $4,500.00 down payment, they only paid $500.00! How so? The $4,000.00 ‘move-in incentive’ was graciously applied, by the retailer/developer, to improve their homesite with shrubs, porch and carport. Then that amount was added to the balance they’d be financing.

Even financing arrangements were a steal! Mr. Balle arranged for them to avoid paying ‘10% over 30 years’ terms (that’d have meant $733.13/month payments *1), and got them a variable rate loan of only ‘9% over 30 years’ with maximum possible increase of 2% (or two points) after one year. Their first year rate was only $672.18/month *2 on their new home mortgage!

And the Good News didn’t stop there! At the point in the movie when George & Carolyn suggest they might ‘shop around’ before committing to buy at Sherwood Forest, ‘Itch’ announced the entire first year’s rent of $285.00/month would be waived if they signed the sales contract that very day!

Now, that was a ‘no brainer’ decision if ever there was one. They’d already ‘saved’ $4,000.00 on the housing down payment (Somehow they thought they’d be paying off less than $83,500 though….); were saving $60.95/month on the loan payment, or $731.40 per year; and now, a ‘signing bonus’ (Just like a pro athlete!), they were saving yet another $3,420.00 in rent during the first year of being a resident at Sherwood Forest Estates. This was all too good to be true! No question; they signed.

Then the video fast-forwarded a year and a month into the future. The euphoric sales center scene of 13 months ago is now a distant bittersweet memory. During the past year, Carolyn had become pregnant and was no longer working. And with the extra money from the ‘house deal’ – more than $4,000.00 in down payment and mortgage savings, waived rent, and no security deposit (Forgot to mention that little gem earlier), they’d bought an expensive new SUV on payments.

It was bill-paying day and George & Carolyn were out of money. Their variable rate mortgage payment had just jumped from $672.18/month to almost $800.00/month *3 – not including property tax and homeowner insurance commitments. And a previously unknown notice had just arrived, a monthly site rent bill of not $285.00/month, but $300.00/month, incorporating an annual rent increase. Where in the world were they going to come up with at least an extra $400.00 every month, on just one salary, to pay rent, mortgage, payments on the new car, and with a baby on the way?

As the movie ended, this couple was, in effect, completely upside down in their financial commitments and responsibilities – with no easy way out, but to walk away from their new dream home. The epilogue, through a voice-over by a moderator, listed the winners and losers in this housing transaction….

Winners. Commissioned salespersons selling new homes. Lenders providing high interest chattel mortgages. Developers intent on filling new MHCommunities within a year, and then flipping/selling to the highest bidder. Homeowner/site lessees during only the first year of their tenancy.

Losers. The HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’s image and reputation! Lenders risking repossession and losing money, but able to resell and originate new loans. Salespersons setting homebuyers up for a ‘fall’ will likely suffer consequences somewhere, somehow, along the line. And developers earn a reputation for profiteering.

As I contemplated an appropriate moral, lesson learned, or summary for ‘Upside Down in a Mobilehome Park’, several came to mind: a little Latin, a slang expression, a Biblical admonition, and a quote from Gub Mix’s popular column, ‘From My Soapbox’:

• Caveat emptor…’Let the buyer beware!’

• ‘A sucker is born every minute.’

• The Golden Rule…’Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You!’ Matthew 7:12, and NOT the God Rule: ‘He who Has the Gold Rules!’

• “…manufactured housing industry devotes an extraordinary amount of its’ resources to sell homes to people who really aren’t qualified home buyers. Why? Because they allow us to sell the old mobile home way…it’s easier than attempting to sell to qualified buyers who require a lot more effort. Manufactured housing may be the only industry in America who ignores the customer’s desires in their marketing practices. Unfortunately for us, potential buyers are much more savvy these days and appear to be abandoning us in droves.” June 2000. Gub Mix has since retired.

End Notes.

1. $80,000 (-) $500 DP (+) $4,000 add back = $83,500.00 (or 83.5) X 8.78 loan factor = $733.13/month

2. $83,500 ( or 83.5) X 8.05 loan factor = $672.18/month

3. $83,500 ( or 83.5) X 9.52 loan factor = $794.92/month.

If interested in learning more about the Community Owners Business Alliance, or COBA7, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Affiliates include land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, HUD-Code home manufacturers, product/service providers, and state MHAssociations in the U.S. & CN.

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

MHConspiracies & Change Coming on….

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Blog Column # 283 Copyright 2014 9 February 2014

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

Purpose of this blog. “It’s the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Input this blog, & Affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

I.

MHConspiracies # 101 & 102

II.

I Feel Change Coming On….

III.

JP Morgan Chase Funds ROC Conversions!

IV.

FLASH NEWS!
60,228 &/or 60,210?
(You don’t want to miss this)

I.

MHConspiracies # 101 & 102

It wasn’t long after blog # 281 was posted two weeks ago, on the community-investor.com website, before two distinct types of telephone calls and email messages began arriving at our office in central Indiana.

One type caller expressed enthusiastic appreciation for our publicly identifying the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’, where ‘affluence gerrymandering’ has long been and continues to be, a serious but ignored concern regarding most national meetings of certain industry advocacy bodies. For those reading this, who didn’t peruse the earlier blog posting, ‘affluence gerrymandering’ was defined as being ‘The artful limiting of meeting attendance by keeping the cost of member participation higher than necessary.’ Hmm. Might we describe this then, as MHConspiracy # 101? No. Conspiracy is too strong a word choice here, being defined as ‘a plan or agreement formulated, especially in secret, by two or more persons, to commit an unlawful, harmful, or treacherous act.’ However, IF ‘the plan or agreement’ is indeed to ‘limit the number of potential decision maker members involved in national advocacy meeting proceedings’; well, that could prove ‘Harmful’ to the work, even the greater purpose of the trade or advocacy group as a whole! SO, is there a more appropriate word choice than conspiracy?

‘Cabal’ fits better, given its definition as ‘a secret scheme or intrigue’. For example, when was the last time national advocacy body leaders or staff asked us, who’re direct, dues-paying members and certified representatives, if we enjoyed, let alone were/are able to afford, spending ‘big bucks’ for two days of committee meetings in Sunbelt Mecca’s and high-priced downtown locales, instead of patronizing more affordable venues? They haven’t, don’t, and likely won’t! So, with that said, meet MHCabal # 101! But this telling question begs answering: Is indeed, ‘affluence gerrymandering’ Harmful to the Work and Purpose of National Advocacy Body(ies)?
I say YES! How ‘bout YOU? And if you agree ‘affluence gerrymandering’ is Harmful, guess who can do something about it? YOU, if a direct, dues-paying member of such a national advocacy body.

The other type caller had a markedly different focus, describing yet another alleged conspiracy (Again, their word choice, not mine – yet), I’d long heard whispered, but hoped to be untrue. And here I think, if indeed true, ‘conspiracy of silence’ is the most appropriate word choice, given this definition: ‘…a usually secret or unstated agreement to remain silent about something that might be damaging or harmful to those participating in the agreement if disclosed.’ How so? Well these latter callers described a sorry duplicitous matter, using words to this effect:

The manufactured housing industry has long suffered home builder competitors, and real estate-related detractors, inside and around the Washington, DC beltway.

And while it’s difficult enough, to offset negative image stereotypes foisted on the manufactured housing industry by itself, dealing effectively with arcane and esoteric interpersonal relationships and intrigues among outside detractors and industry insiders – with oft harmful results to manufactured housing – is a daunting, under-addressed task! Like, ‘Who does one trust?’ Heretofore, ‘You didn’t!’; and going forward, ‘You can’t!’, at least for the time being, or until corrective ‘change’ is deemed necessary, effected, and a new start begun….

Frankly, the ‘conspiracy of silence’ label aptly describes how disparaging, scheming parties and others, seem frequently to be ‘reading our strategic planning minds’, before and during lobbying with legislators and federal regulators – with either ‘no’, bad, or marginal consequences to the manufactured housing industry! Examples? Look no further than the pitiful lack of progress implementing the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 during the past 13 years! During year 2013, the botched – accidental or otherwise – appointment process to seat an agreed upon Non-career Administrator for the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee. And then there was the necessary rush to disabuse the Government Accounting Office (‘GAO’) of the erroneous survey notion that doing away with the HUD-Code for manufactured housing, would have little to no effect on the annual shipment volume of new homes! Well, nothing much has changed, that I see, so the ‘conspiracy of silence’ continues in and around the DC beltway….

What do YOU think? Depending on personal and corporate perspectives, relative to national advocacy matters regarding HUD-Code manufactured housing, and whether you’re dealing with these matters from afar or up close, you’ve surely experienced, maybe even dealt with, one or another aspect of home builder, real estate, and insider detractions, relative to our industry and its realty asset class, the land-lease-lifestyle community. IF so affected, have YOU then ever wondered – better yet, known firsthand, why neutralizing such contretemps (e.g. ‘unexpected & embarrassing events or mishaps’), like the ones just described, have been nigh impossible to prevent to date? Your answer to that question clarifies whether all this is simple connivance, a serious collusion, or double dealing conspiracy of silence, a.k.a. ‘MHConspiracy # 102’!

II.

I Feel Change Coming On….

Coming off a failed national Dodd-Frank amendment lobbying campaign, as year 2013 ended, the manufactured housing industry Needs Change on several fronts, not simply, expensively, and expansively ‘More of the Same’ – as is being video ballyhooed today! For example; how many reading this blog were present at the industry meeting in San Antonio, TX., 1 ½ years ago, and recall a Midwest state MHAssociation executive famously asking aloud:

“What’s Plan B, if the Dodd-Frank amendment lobbying campaign, in Congress, fails?”

There was no Plan B then, nor is there one now – that we’ve heard, other than the above-referenced cry for ‘More of the Same!” NO; what the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry Needs NOW is CHANGE, a new Plan B, replete with Lessons (just) Learned on Capitol Hill during the past six months! And Please, NO more ‘throwing good money after bad’ WHY? Well, in the minds of some, there might just be a MHConspiracy of sorts afoot within the housing finance segment of our industry, and draining our resources at this time, will only weaken us as we move into the future. But that story is not yet ready to be told, by me anyway….

But if the cryptic message describing ‘MHConspiracy # 102’ is accurate – and it is – we need a manufactured housing advocacy body(ies) housecleaning of sorts, the sooner the better! ‘Business as Usual’ will only take us as far as ‘More of the Same’ – not far, not effective at all! And that, blog flogger (‘reader’) is where we are today, and that’s Unsatisfactory to many grassroots businessmen and women across the U.S.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. If YOU want to ‘speak your mind’ about a MHIndustry-related issue, take time to organize and pen your thoughts. Then send your 200-300 word op/ed (opinion/editorial) piece to gfa7156@aol.com, for consideration, and possible inclusion, in a future blog posting at this website: community-investor.com

Now, back to the timely and thought-provoking topics at hand….

Who, What, When, Where, How, & How Much Change? Hey, I’m not an elected leader of this not so merry band. But I am a direct, dues-paying member of one of three national manufactured housing-related trade and advocacy bodies (NOT including the Community Owners Business Alliance, or COBA7, as it isn’t a national, not for profit or non profit advocacy entity), and One who isn’t planning on attending any more of their meetings anytime soon.! Why? Should be obvious to all by now: MHCabal # 101, MHConspiracy # 102, maybe even a MHConspiracy #…..

Now, if someone wants to pay my registration fee and travel expense (Just kidding!) – or at least promise the fees and expenses will be reasonable from this time forward; and, that we’ll ALL sit down in a day or two long problem-solving session or MHInitiative®, OPEN to bona fide, direct, dues-paying members of the host national advocacy body(ies), to deal with MHConspiracy # 102, ‘Count me in!’ – but it sure won’t be as soon as this week or next will it? And how ‘bout ever?

III.

JP Morgan Chase Funds ROC Conversions!

ROC USA® was recently awarded $MM by JPMorgan Chase Foundation to help more co-ops buy their land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities). Most of the funds will be used as equity in the firm’s community purchase financing subsidiary, ROC USA Capital, and shared with two other nonprofit community development lenders: Leviticus 25:23 Alternatives Funs & Mercy Loan Fund.

ROC USA® is unique among resident-ownership service providers, in that it provides expert assistance and proven systems (before and after residents purchase) swell as financing (for due diligence, acquisition, & rehab) to deliver resident-ownership effectively and efficiently Since it launch in 2008, ROC USA® has helped co-ops (i.e. ‘cooperatives’) purchase a LLLCommunity every 36 days, with transactions ranging from a half-million dollars to $23 million in value.

For more information, contact Paul Bradley via (603) 856-0709 or visit rocusa.org

IV.

FLASH NEWS!
60,228 & or 60,210?

READ CAREFULLY & YOU DECIDE
(Hint: There’re three discrepancies here, not just one)

An MHARR Press Release dated 3 February 2013 announced, “Cumulative 2013 industry production thus totaled 60,228 homes, an increase of 9.7% over the 54,881 homes produced in 2012.”; & continued, “2013…becomes the first year since 2008, that annual industry production has broken through the +/- 50,000-home level (sic).” *1 On request, MHARR clarified ‘their 60,228 number’ on 7 February, as follows: “MHARR’s numbers are based on official HUD monthly production and shipment reports: The total for 2013 is 60,228, as reported by MHARR.”

MHI’s Monthly Economic Report distributed 7 February 2014 announced, “Year to date shipments totaled 60,210 homes compared with 54,891 homes in 2012, a net increase of 9.7 percent.” On request, MHI clarified ‘their 60,210 number’ on 7 February, as follows: “The distinction between MHARR’s number and MHI’s number is nuanced. The 60,228 figure is the total production of HUD Code homes whereas the 60,210 is the number of homes shipped. The slight difference is a result of ‘destination pending’ and other inventory and timing issues. In this instance, both numbers are correct but are counting two different items – production versus shipments.”

In fairness to MHARR, I’ve not had an opportunity to ask if they agree with the explanation put forth in the previous paragraph. And frankly – to me anyway – that’s not the issue anyway. Rather; it’s about ‘Correcting a minor but perennial reporting procedure error (#1)’, and HOW the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry will ‘Keep Score’ going forward. Will it be production or shipments numbers; and or, ‘HUD monthly production and shipment reports’ vs. what?

By careful reading, did you catch the other discrepancy (#2) in reported production/shipment numbers from these two national advocacy bodies? Look again, and check-out the reported annual total of new HUD-Code homes produced or shipped during year 2012? Was it 54,881 as reported by MHARR, or 54,891 as reported by MHI?

POINT? Last year, in 2012, for unspecific reasons, the two annual manufactured housing production/shipment totals were 10 homes apart; this year in 2013, they’re 18 homes apart! *2 And by the end of year 2014, if the unspecific trend continues unaddressed, and no reporting consensus is achieved, another 80 percent increase, takes us to what, maybe 32 homes? I realize two years don’t make for a trend, but there is no good reason why two national advocacy bodies can’t agree, once and for all, on how to tally and report our industry’s annual production/shipments. And while they’re at it, agree to include an appropriate end or footnote, to said Press Releases and Monthly Economic Reports, clarifying if, whether, and how ‘floors’ were counted and represented in the reported numbers. Do YOU know right now, the effect of that distinction on the 60,228 and 60,210 figures? Not many do….

Why is all this important? Simple. Individuals, journalists, researchers, all Street analysts, legislators, regulators, and others, use our industry stats, so we owe them accurate and clear reporting! For example; the Community Owners Business Alliance, or COBA7, this month, published and distributed its’ annual ‘Official State of the Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class Briefing Outline’ to its’ affiliates. One of the supporting documents, ‘Mobile & Manufactured Housing –related statistics, from 1959 to the Present Day’, cites 54,881 new HUD-Code homes shipped during 2012. So, is the correct reporting, for 2012: 54,881 homes produced and 54,891 homes shipped, or the other way around, 54,881 homes shipped and 54,981 homes produced? Confused yet? You should be. If not, take a gander at end note # 2. If ‘we’ as an industry, don’t understand our production and shipment numbers ‘across the board’, how can we expect anyone else to do so? These present circumstances do not help our industry’s credibility and business image at all.

End Notes:

1. Should have read ‘60,000 home level’, as all the years, except 2009, since 2008, have ‘broken through the 50,000-home level, i.e. 2008 = 81,457; 2009 = 49,683; 2010 = 50,056; 2011 = 51,618; 2012 = 54,881; and, 2013 = 60,228. From MHARR’s aforementioned Press Release dated 7 February 2014. NOTE. This was the (#3) discrepancy hinted at in the title of this part of the blog posting today. GFA

2. Dropping deeper into confusion, contemplate these number relationships:
MHARR = 60,228 homes in 2013; 54,881 homes in 2012
MHI = 60,210 homes in 2013; 54,891 homes in 2012
MHARR’s total annual ‘whatever’ number is ‘18’ MORE than MHI’s in 2013, BUT ‘10’ LESS than MHI’s number in 2012; hence the disparity moves in different directions, two years in a row. What will we find, going back in years?

***

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

CFPB, MHCC, COBA7, ‘Schwep’ & More….

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Blog Column # 282 Copyright 2014 2 February 2014

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

Purpose of this blog. ‘It’s the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Input this blog, & Affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

I.

How to Complain About the CFPB!

II.

Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee

III.

COBA7 Update. What to Expect in February…

IV.

Grayson Schwepfinger died on 21 December 2013

V.

Next Week? Maybe, MHConspiracy Theories 101 & 102!

___________________________________________

I.

How to Complain about the CFPB!

(That’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

The House (U.S. Congress) Financial Services Committee wants to hold the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (‘CFPB’) accountable for the manner in which they’re enforcing financial regulations initiated by the Dodd-Frank legislation, and how they’re impacting consumers and business owners alike! From the committee’s Press Release:

“The committee’s web form gives individuals the choice of having their story shared publicly or kept confidential. The committee website also allows for individuals who’d rather phone and record their story, about the CFPB’s work, to dial (240) 490-2372 and leave a message.”

It’s worthwhile to simply phone the number and listen to the message. Sounds like businesses just might have ‘a friend in court’, so to speak, where this oversight committee is concerned.

I phoned the above number, however, to learn the committee’s web address, since it wasn’t included in the Press Release. Heard back, and the appropriate website address:

www.financialservices.house.gov/tellyourstory/ (I’ve visited it and it does work!)

SO, if these onerous CFPB regs already affect your ability to engage in Free Enterprise, where your manufactured housing customers are concerned, Tell Your Story Now!

II.

Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee

‘Department of HUD Invites Individuals to Serve on the MHCC’
(from the Federal Registry / Vol. 79, No. 12, page # 3220, dtd. 1/17/2014)

The MHCC is a Federal Advisory Committee that exists under auspices of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. If you’d like to be considered for selection as a member of the MHCC, you’ll have to decide whether you qualify as a

1. Producers/Retailers of manufactured housing.

2. Users/Consumers, e.g. consumer organizations, leaders, homeowners, site lessees

3. General Interest & Public Officials

A sample application form containing information for consideration is available on the HUD Website: hud.gov, or contact the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs via (202) 708-6423. Your application may be accompanied by a cover letter, expressing your desire to serve on the MHCC, as well as your resume’. Your package will be retained, for consideration, for three years.

Nominations (including self-nominations) must be in writing and submitted to: Henry S. Czauski, Acting Deputy Administrator, Office of Manufactured Housing Programs, Department of HUD, 451 7th Street SW, Room # 9168, Washington,. DC 20410-8000

Thoughtfully read what follows in the next paragraph.

In my experience, there’s a stark and discouraging aspect of the MHCC member selection procedure. You’d best have significant political pull, and or strong manufactured housing industry influence in your favor and corner, if you’re ‘throwing your hat in this ring’, the Opportunity to Serve the Manufactured Housing Industry and Fellow Citizens. How do I know? Twice, during the past 20 years, I’ve been so-nominated, once with a U.S. Senator’s support – yet failed to be appointed to the Manufactured Housing Advisory Council to HUD during the 1990s, and the MHCC since year 2000. Each time, I was told in retrospect, my nomination application had been derailed due to, let’s nicely say, ‘industry prejudice’. So, as is oft said, ‘Forewarned is Forearmed’, if you decide to take this heady step.

III.

COBA7 Update. What to Expect in February…

The launch of Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, during December and January, exceeded all expectations; as land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators & portfolio ‘players’, as well as product & service vendors, even a few HUD-Code home manufacturers (Yes, that’s plural ‘several times over’), affiliated via their choice of Options I, II or III. And close to 100 copies of the 25th anniversary ALLEN REPORT (A.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’) are now in the hands of COBA7 affiliates throughout the U.S. and Canada! Guess one could appropriately and proudly proclaim: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Gotta tell you this too. Most COBA7 affiliates to date, have chosen Option II (That’s the Allen Letter subscription, copy of the 25th annual ALLEN REPORT, & 12 Signature Series Resource Documents, or SSRDs, all for $544.95). And on more than one occasion, registering affiliates have told or written us:

“This is the best $500.00 we’ll spend on LLLCommunity(ies) resources during 2014!”

So, if YOU haven’t yet affiliated, but desire to do so, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Credit card orders Welcome!

And we’re just getting started! Here’s what to expect during the month of February and beyond…. At the Louisville MHShow (Think 48 homes on display, 25% of which were Community Series Homes, 86+/- exhibitors, & 1,500+ registrants by mid-show), COBA7…

• Signed up nearly a dozen LLLCommunity owners/operators willing to share their personal and corporate Lessons Learned as property managers. These experiences will be collected and published in a new book due out later this year. As a COBA7 affiliate, your contributions are especially sought and appreciated. Simply phone the HOTLINE for details.

• Heard from a couple dozen LLLCommunity owners/operators who insist on participating in the national FOCUS Group planned to convene during early April. Again, COBA7 affiliates should use the HOTLINE to ensure they’re on the ‘invite’ list.

• Talked with HUD-Code home manufacturers, especially those displaying Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, regarding the planned – but now likely postponed – MHInitiative® at the RV/MH Hall of Fame on 2/27/2014. Why? Everyone wants to know how to market and sell more new homes into LLLCommunities nationwide, but not while in the presence of their competitors. SO, if you’re reading this and are a HUD-Code home manufacturer, or Business Development Manager, and seriously interested in meeting with me on 27 February in Elkhart, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, phone (317) 346-7156 ASAP.

• Solicited ideas for topics and speakers to be featured at COBA7’s 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014. this popular annual event is open to LLLCommunity owners/operators, product/service vendors, and HUD-Code home manufacturers selling into our properties. Again, use the HOTLINE to ensure your firm’s name is on the invitation list.

During February, the second of 12 Signature Series Resource Documents, or SSRDs, will be enclosed with Allen Letter professional journals going to COBA7 affiliates. The first SSRD was 25th anniversary edition of the annual ALLEN REPORT. This time, however, it’s the Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Presentation Outline – in a format YOU can easily use to brief your peers, your employees, your bankers, your zoning review board, your community service organizations! No one else, anywhere in the manufactured housing industry, is going to provide you with a more comprehensive collection of timely MHIndustry & LLLCommunity statistics and trends! And in the February Allen Letter itself, there’ll be ‘the list of issues’ identified by LLLCommunity owners/operators responding to the ALLEN REPORT questionnaires last Fall. No real surprises, but certainly some insights into ‘What keeps owners/operators awake at night.’

And know this; we’ve already begun the Direct Mail Questionnaire research pursuant to preparing the 16th annual National Registry of Lenders, for distribution in March of 2014. Just this past week, 50 letters, with questionnaires, were mailed to lenders and brokers specializing in originating acquisition and refinance real estate – secured mortgages for land-lease-lifestyle communities throughout North America. If the need for LLLCommunity mortgage capital is in the near future for you, be sure to affiliate with COBA7, to receive the very first copies of this seminal SSRD. And, if you’re a LLLCommunity $ lender, to ensure you’re included in this year’s edition, phone GFA c/o (317) 346-7158.

The National Registry of Lenders also features a comprehensive list of independent chattel capital providers (i.e. The Big Five + 1 firms), as well as mortgage servicers. This latter information is researched and prepared by Rishel Consulting. To ensure your chattel source info in included in this year’s 16th annual edition, contact Ken Rishel, manufactured housing industry’s person of the year (2014), via (312) 878-2802.

IV.

Grayson Schwepfinger died on 21 December 2013

To his many friends and business colleagues in the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry he was known simply as ‘Schwep’. When inducted into the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame in 1979, he’d already been engaged as a freelance sales trainer, by many of our industry’s pioneers, for more than a decade. And he continued sharing his expertise and experience with ‘newbies to the business’, like this industry observer, right up until a couple years ago, when he was a presenter at the annual International Networking Roundtable for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators.

Not only will Grayson’s manufactured housing sales training legacy live on in the minds and practices of his many clients and son, but also through his copyrighted sales training literature in the stacks at the RV/MH Heritage Foundations’ Library in Elkhart, IN. For that matter, one of Schweps many guidelines, and in this case, a Rule of Thumb, is identified as such and published in the Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb & Helpful Measures – for LLLCommunities & HUD-Code Manufactured Housing, Indianapolis, IN., 2012. On pages 11 & 12, the Schwep Rule of Thumb reads thusly:

‘A manufactured home loan monthly PITI (principal, interest, taxes & insurance) and site rent total together, must be 15 – 20% less in dollar amount, than the monthly rental rate amount for a (3BR2B) conventional apartment unit in the same local housing market’ – for the ‘home & homesite’ package to be competitive.

The 78 pages ‘book of numbers’ is available from PMN Publishing @ (317) 346-7156.

If you’d like to send personal or corporate condolences to Grayson’s longtime companion Marilyn Vogel, I’d be pleased to collect and forward them to her. Just mail same to GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247. Grayson requested no obituary or memorial services in his memory.

V.

Next Week? Maybe, MHConspiracy Theories 101 & 102!

A hint. Affluence gerrymandering is simply the tip of this manufactured housing iceberg.

***

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