Archive for June, 2014

Lemons into Lemonade – Again?!

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 304 @ 29 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

* ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com website

We are living in exciting, if not challenging, times! This week, we look at how the manufactured housing industry, beginning in 1976, turned a proverbial regulatory ‘lemon’, during the next 20 years, into business success ‘lemonade’ – and what it’s going to take today to launch a resurgence of prosperity now absent for the past five years!

COBA7 continues to identify and meet the practical business needs of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators coast-to-coast! Last month it was the mantle of Official Ombudsman (press) to the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class. This month it’s the announcement of two new Signature Series Resource Documents long needed, and now formally requested by owners/operators.

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I.

LEMON INTO LEMONADE–AGAIN?

How the manufactured housing industry turned the sour-tasting, performance-based, HUD-Code building regulation of 1976, into sweet-tasting new home shipment success, when there’s chattel capital to be had for financing home sale transactions on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities & elsewhere. But can the industry do it again?

The tripartite formula for preserving this unique and valuable source of quality, non-subsidized, truly affordable housing (i.e. ‘half the cost’ of site-built housing, not including underlying developed land), is simple and straightforward:

1. Maintain federal preemption of the HUD-Code relative to manufactured housing. Proof of value? Modular homes are another type, perhaps even more sophisticated form, of factory-built housing, but look how poor-to- marginal their annual production ‘numbers’ are, thanks to the plethora (i.e. ‘superabundance’) of state and local building codes affecting design, construction, and installation of ‘mods’

2. Uniform building standards – that apply nationwide, with variation for snow loads and a very few other performance-related factors.

3. Uniform building standard enforcement – that remains pretty much the same coast to coast.

Today, the only ingredient missing, from making this tripartite work well, is MONEY. Without rehearsing the sordid details, recently outlined in Mark Fogarty’s article titled ‘Manufactured Housing Suffers Worst Decline of Any Mortgage Niche’ in National Mortgage News, the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry continues to suffer dire consequences from the bursting of its’ chattel finance bubble shortly after the turn of the century.

Nearly 15 years following that debacle, when we have creditworthy prospective homebuyers, we rely on the (now) ‘Big Five + One’ independent, third party chattel lenders: 21st Mortgage Corporation; Triad Financial Services, Inc.; CU Factory Built Lending; U.S. Bank- Manufactured Housing; Green Hill Financial; and, Vanderbilt Mortgage (in-house @ Clayton Homes), to underwrite too few transactions.

With that said, the two parallel fallout trends that have emerged, since shortly after year 2000 – as annual new home shipments plummeted from 372,843 in 1998 to 49,789 by 2009, are:

1) Transition from reliance on home sales and placements by independent (street) MHRetailers, TO on-site marketing and sale of same, new and resale, by land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators; and,

2) Transition from reliance on aforementioned independent, third party chattel lenders, TO all manner and degree of self-finance, ‘captive finance’ and otherwise on-site, including rental of property-owned manufactured homes.

Interestingly, writer Fogarty, an ‘editor at large’ at National Mortgage News, believes he knows, and therefore ‘understands’ the “…outlook for a resurgence of this kind of (chattel capital) lending.” He recites six obstacles standing in the way of resurgence; others opine ‘eight’:

1. Competition from distressed sales of site-built single-family loans (homes?)

2. historically low interest rates

3. record affordability for site-built homes (in some local housing markets)

4. limited conventional financing options due to titling of most manufactured homes as personal property

5. underdeveloped secondary market for (new) manufactured home loans

6. pending financial regulations that could further curtail manufactured home lending

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7. almost nonexistent secondary market for resale home valuation, sales, and lending

8. continued limited access to chattel capital via independent, third party chattel lenders

So, is all this ‘too much’ to overcome during the weeks and months ahead? What do YOU think?

Well, there’s a soon-to-occur event where you’ll be Welcome to make your observations, considered opinions, even helpful suggestions, known to people who ‘make things happen’.

You’re invited to participate in two sequential National Public Forums, on 11 September 2014, during the 23rd International Networking Roundtable, at the DOLCE Conference Center, in Peachtree City, GA. For a descriptive registration brochure, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Attendance at this historic event (First time in manufactured housing industry history that businessmen and women from throughout North America are coming together to collectively plan their Free Enterprise futures!) How can you not want to participate? But remember, attendance is limited to 250, so don’t delay and miss this stellar opportunity!

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II.

COBA7 Announces Two New SSRDs!

Last month, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, formally took on the mantle of Official Ombudsman (press) to the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class. Already, businessmen and women, academics, even federal agencies, from across the U.S. are sending inquiries our way relative to needed statistics, hard to find information, requests for business contacts, and more.

Well, this month, in response to requests from COBA7® affiliates, we’ve started work on compiling two new Signature Series Resource Documents® or SSRDs®.

In the first instance, we’re culling our list of real estate brokers who specialize in the marketing of LLLCommunities, to produce an SSRD that’ll list, this time around, those who generally work nationally. Future editions might expand to include regional representation.

In the second instance, we’re culling our list of HUD-Code home manufacturers, including those affiliated with the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) and the Manufactured Housing Association of Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) – the latter being more difficult to obtain as their member list isn’t often made public, as well as ‘non members’ of either body, to create an SSRD that’ll be helpful to everyone in the MHBusiness.

Plan is to have both new SSRDs ready for distribution at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014, in Peachtree City, GA. Just One More Good Reason for YOU to participate, wouldn’t you say? Hope YOU do so.

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YOU = ‘Making & Writing MH History!’

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 303 @ 22 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

* ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com website

Nine blogging ‘shorts’! Culled from previous blog postings & anticipating future events

I.

A Final Response, for now, to the ‘MH vs. RV Issue’

This from a longtime blog flogger (reader): “I have to say, I’m enjoying the ‘RV vs. MH argument’, including the irony of ‘MHI & MHARR’ foisting more (building) regulations (on others). Geesch! Having personally opposed the entry of the HUD-Code in 1973, and effected in 1976, I CONTINUE TO FIND THE BEST BUSINESS REGULATOR IS THE MARKET PLACE! Is it not time (for us), to look at the ‘NAHB & RV’ industries’ combined success & market dominance, to see & learn that regulations do not win, and how good quality (shelter) products that meet needs, do?” NB

II.

Nice to be Appreciated from Time to Time…

“Thanks George. You and Carolyn will always be friends I am truly thankful to have. (And) You know how I feel about what you have done in our (MH) industry. You are the glue that keeps us all together as friends. You have made a difference! We have learned a lot and made lifetime friends.” LL

III.

A ‘Freebie’ Worth Requesting & ‘SSRD’ Worth Buying!

Creighton Weber, real estate mortgage originator with Wells Fargo Multi-family Capital Group, offers blog floggers the 32 page booklet, Manufactured Home Community Financing Handbook, ‘for the asking’. Simply phone Creighton via (248) 723-3119. This generous offer serves as an apt reminder of the availability of COBA7® Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD # 3, the ‘16th National Registry of LLLCommunity (real estate mortgage) and chattel capital lenders and servicers’. This seminal, annually updated resource contains $ statistics, names & contact information for no fewer than ‘20 realty lenders & 20 chattel capital sources & loan servicers’! It’s the second most requested SSRD, after the (25th annual) ALLEN REPORT. And it’s available FREE to affiliates of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Select Option II @ $544.95 for a one year subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal and 12 timely SSRDs – available nowhere else ‘at any price’!

IV.

You Tell Me: An Anomaly or Re-emerging Trend?

(Anomaly = a deviation from the common rule, or something abnormal or irregular)

Following paragraph is quoted from a ‘new manufactured home Service Request’, sent to the factory, by a land-lease-lifestyle community owner selling homes on-site:

“In the multisection home, the floor at the marriage wall was even, but the ceiling of one room was ¾”-1” higher than the other. Our setup crew said the repair was to open the ceiling or room, jack up the lower ceiling, install lag bolts in the beams where the ceilings fit together, then close the openings in the ceiling or roof. He wasn’t comfortable doing work that extensive. Since factory service personnel were needed to address the issue, we also had them install, tape, mud, and paint two sheetrock panels in the living room, patch cracks in other sheetrock, and install a wider aluminum strip over the marriage wall flooring to cover erratic staples. They also addressed other similar service issues in the singlesection home. Except for the marriage wall ceiling issue, all the service items, in both homes, could/should have been flagged and fixed before the home left the plant.”

“Furthermore, the plant rep phoned to say ‘some items on your list of 71 service issues were excessive’. I didn’t know anything about such a list, so asked to see it. Well, it wasn’t ours. Evidently another buyer of their housing product brand sent in their list – so guess we’re not the only ones who need a significant amount of service after delivery.”

Bottom Line? LLLCommunity owners, who buy from this HUD-Code manufacturer, need to plan on spending at least $1,500.00 more, for inside trim and finish work, than spent with other plants and manufacturers.”

For now, let’s hope this type ‘customer service’ matter – where the LLLCommunity owner/operator is the initial homebuyer, is indeed an anomaly, and NOT a re-emerging trend from years gone by….GFA

V.

Irony of 9/11as ‘National Tragedy’, now a Public Forum!

Longtime supporters of our realty asset class’ annual International Networking Roundtable will recall 9/11/2001. That’s the day of our nation’s tragedy, the terrorist attack on New York City and U.S. Capitol. It was to have been the first day of that year’s Networking Roundtable. But as it turned out, we postponed the event until November 2001, when we enjoyed record high participation – a clear sign of Free Enterprise support for our nation and its’ president at the time!

Well this year, 9/11/2014, not only commemorates the 13th anniversary of that national tragedy, but marks an historic event for the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide! That’s the day when back-to-back National Public Forums will be held during the 23rd annual Networking Roundtable at the DOLCE Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA. By now you likely know the two emphasis topics will be:

• Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ vs. trailer heritage

• Future of land-lease-lifestyle communities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investments’

A lineup of nationally known and respected industry leaders and asset class presenters, has been selected to guide these two forums the morning of 9/11/2014. Hopefully YOU will be in the audience, as ‘We make MHistory together!’ To ensure you are, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request a Networking Roundtable brochure, or see it online at this website: community-investor.com.

Here’s a related, late-breaking, and exciting extension to what’s expected from these two National Public Forums on 9/11/2014. The strategic thinking and planning, emerging from these sequential events, will be ‘guiding principles cum methodology’, in the new book, How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in Leased Land Communities. SO; wouldn’t YOU like to be an integral part of this anticipated historic paradigm shift re manufactured housing and LLLCommunities nationwide? Thought so. See YOU there!

VI.

COBA7® Affiliates Welcomed MHI to Indianapolis

One of every eight registrants at the Manufactured Housing Institute’s Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN., during June, were affiliates of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®!

Why is this important to know? The presence of so many COBA7® affiliates underscores two separate and distinct realities:

• In the first instance, it’s COBA7®’s tacit recognition and support of the institute’s continuing role, via Manufactured Housing & National Communities Council divisions, as a national advocacy influence, for manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities.

• And second, since COBA7® is NOT a new, national advocacy entity, but an affiliation of businessmen and women with an affinity for land-lease-lifestyle communities, their presence their needs, relative to ongoing statistical research; distribution of valuable resources; weekly & monthly print & online communication means; superb networking & deal-making opportunities; professional property management training & certification, via the Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program; and, national advocacy when need be (e.g. recent announcement of COBA7® as official ombudsman (press) for the industry and asset class), are being fulfilled by the new business alliance.

So, it’s accurate to say, a NEW ERA has indeed dawned for LLLCommunity owners/operators, of all sizes, nationwide and throughout Canada! Where today, ‘national advocacy’ = MHI. And, ‘everything else’, where LLLCommunities are concerned = COBA7®. To affiliate with COBA7®, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. More than 200 have affiliated since 1 January 2014!

VII.

On-site Property Manager Compensation Study

Gotta be careful here. But it appears the long-awaited, often back-burnered ‘On-site Property Manager Compensation Study’ has experienced a breakthrough.

And the reason for mentioning that here, is because we’ll likely be soliciting volunteer input from blog floggers and or COBA7® affiliates, to test the practicality, accuracy, and applicability of emerging formulae to this end. Interested? Let me know via email: gfa7156@aol.com

Here’re a few hints as to the direction the Compensation Study is going. Emerging methodology, at this point, uses Area Media Income or AMI, per local housing market(s) postal zip code as a base salary starting point; property size (i.e. per rental homesite count); and, efficacy (economic occupancy = # rental homesites occupied & paid!)); and relationship re alternative forms of potential personal income enhancement (e.g. site leasing & or home sales commissions; concessioned rent; housing allowance – if any; utilities; and specialized services (via contract or extra-compensation) such as mowing & snow plowing, potable water testing, wastewater treatment & reporting). Continue to follow this unfolding story here….

VIII.

(&) ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’

This rare opportunity to learn ‘How to Record & Share Your Memoir, autobiography and or Corporate RV or MH Story/History, even LLLCommunity, Campground/RV Park Owner/operator Legacy’, will be here sooner than think!

The morning of 4 August, RV historian Al Hesselbart and I will spend 2 ½ hours sharing the basics, and insights involved in penning and publishing one’s memoirs & autobiography (There is a distinct difference between the two), as well as research and write a firm’s corporate history and or story (for legacy &/or marketing purposes). Hopefully you’ll be there with us!

To register for ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ seminar, phone (317) 346-7156. To register for Class of 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Banquet later the same day, call (574) 293-2344. Basic fee is $44.95; and if you register for the banquet, the seminar fee drops to only $29.95 . What a deal! – especially considering the handouts you’ll receive….

And as we’ve told you before, Bob Vahsholtz, author of the recently released manufactured housing book, DUELING CURVES has committed to make a guest appearance that morning, staying over for lunch to answer queries, sign copies of his book, and add to the value of the 2 ½ hour writing seminar.

Think about it! When and where will the following alignment occur again? Attend this year’s 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable in Peachtree, GA. (10-12 September) and MAKE (industry) HISTORY1 Participate in the ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ in Elkhart, IN. (4 August), and RECORD (your) HISTORY! Who else in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class offers YOU two such heady personal and corporate opportunities during August and September of this year?
IX.

Camel’s Nose, or ‘Help is on the Way!’?

Once again, good ol MHARR (Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform) let’s us know, before anyone else, what’s afoot ‘inside the capitol beltway’ of Washington, DC.

“…HUD Program administrator, Pamela Danner…announcing the Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. (formerly known as NAHB Research Center) as the new Administrating Organization (AO) for the HUD program’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC).” Online correspondence dated 18 June 2014.

A couple quick thoughts while we await MHI’s ‘take’ on this breaking news, as well as further opining from MHARR:

Given Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. (‘HIRL’) past and present (?) affiliation with the National Association of Home Builders (Rarely a MHIndustry friend in Washington, DC), does their selection as AO signal allowing the Camel’s Nose* inside the already weakened HUD-Code manufactured housing industry tent?

OR, is it…

‘Help is on the way!’ Hmm. Let’s see; how that pencils out? Since industry representation on the MHCC has been decimated (‘literally, one tenth’) during the past few years, and annual national new home shipment volume has languished at nadir level for the past five years (i.e. between 49,789 in 2009 & 60,228 – per MHARR, in 2013). Maybe it’s time indeed, to ask the NAHB, & RV industries (GASP!), for HELP! (Re-read Part I of this blog posting

As usual, focus your news-sleuthing nose here, Sunday after Sunday, for new information and updates; then read the Allen Letter professional journal for longer treatment of key topics (e.g. June issue’s Case Study expose’ re consequences of ‘too high’ rental homesite rents in LLLCommunities) This is a Must Read for every owner/operator of LLLCommunities! And when you really want to know what’s going on inside this ‘double dual industry’, subscribe to the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, like dozens of our COBA7® affiliate peers.

End Note:

* ‘The camel’s nose is a metaphor for a situation when the permitting of a small, seemingly innocuous act will open the door for larger, clearly undesirable action.’

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‘How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in LLLCommunities’

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 302 A 15 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog& affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

* ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

‘How to Market & Sell Homes On-Site in Leased Land Communities’ = new book!

‘MH vs. RV Issue’ = Protect housing market share or fill more vacant rental homesites?

‘23rd Networking Roundtable brochures’ = Ready for distribution & registration!

Remember, U & COBA7® = ‘U support US & We serve U!’

I.

How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in
Leased Land Communities!

Gary Pomeroy, of Golden West Homes, was the first and last author to pen a cae bound text on ‘mobile home sales’, and that was way back in 1977. Titled, How to Successfully Sell New & Resale Manufactured Homes, it’s been the MHSales Bible for more than 35 years! The time has come for a total rewrite of this home sales tome, ideally as a HOW TO ‘HOME SALES’ GUIDE, encompassing past and contemporary trends and cycles, even what hasn’t changed, during the past four decades. For example:

• Cyclic homebuyer preferences: In the 1970s, ‘single wides’, then ‘double wides’ cum multisection homes during late 1990s; and since year 2010, a balance of singlesection & modest-sized multisection homes shipped throughout the U.S.
.
• Major shift in reliance on independent (street) ‘dealers’ cum MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ to fill vacant rental homesites, now a prevalence of home sales & self-financing on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities, pursuant in part to disappearance of most independent third party chattel finance firms since 2000.
• Home placement preference swings from ‘in-park’ placement (1970s), to land & home contracting (1990s); & back again, to installation within LLLCommunities.

• Emergence of Developer Series Homes (i.e. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’) circa 1990s, to Community Series Homes (i.e. CSH Models designed with a WOW! Factor & durability-enhancing features) since 2009. Often marketed by factory-appointed Business Development Mangers. Call for FREE list of BDMs throughout the U.S.

• Contemporary renewal of the ‘park-owned rental home conversion to contract sale dance’ of the late 1970s, to the ‘no rentals & few contract sales’ on-site reality of the 1990s; to today, where almost everyone does ‘whatever it takes’, post 2010, to fill approximately 250,000 vacant rental homesites in leased land communities nationwide – staying in compliance with state and federal $ regs.

• Affordable housing as a housing trade term, though preempted by ‘low cost housing’ aficionados, now has a clear, working definition among serious practitioners: Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income of AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment or buy a home in their local housing market” & not exceed the 30% Housing Expense Factor or HEF. Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb & Helpful Measures, PMN Publishing, 2012, page # 37.

AND, what hasn’t changed!

• Still no secondary market for efficient and effective marketing and resale of manufactured homes, particularly those sited in LLLCommunities. Self-defeating

• Still a stark dichotomy between the upscale home & lifestyle choice, at one end of the manufactured housing and LLLCommunity spectrum; and, trailer/park squalor ever present and far too visible at the other extreme. Again, self-defeating

• Federal manufactured home installation regulations, as over engineered as they are for some locales (e.g. Demand to replace perfectly good, decades-old concrete ribbon foundations with expensive ‘below the frost line’ new ones), are ‘on the books’, but not universally and evenly enforced; in effect, relieving HUD-Code home manufacturers of responsibility for the safe and secure siting of their housing product. Reminiscent of D&R or ‘Drop & Run shipments’ of 1970s

So, what’s this new book describing HOW TO MARKET & SELL HOMES ON-SITE IN LEASED LAND COMMUNITIES going to contain? Here’s the preliminary chapter titles and Appendices for this new work:

Part I.

1. Introduction to Manufactured Housing as a a Type of Factory-built Housing

2. Introduction to Communities

Part II

3. Preparing to Market, Sell & Finance Homes On-site….

4. Using the ‘5 Right Ps of Marketing to Plan, Implement, Evaluate, & adjust Marketing & Sale of Homes On-site.

Part III
5. Selling New Homes On-site

6. Importance of customer Service & Resident Relations

Part IV

7. Financing of Homes Sold On-site

8. Important Role of Compliance in Home Finance Today

Part V.

9 Summary & Conclusions

10. Future of Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities in U.S.

Appendices

List of HUD-Code Home Manufacturers, complete with contact information.

12 Signature Series Resource Documents produced by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, e.g. ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’s Registry, Lexicon, etc.

Who’s going to author the new text? Likely, a team of writers. Already have several capable (published), industry and asset class-experienced, motivated individuals in mind; and some have been asked to participate, and they’ve accepted the challenge. Are YOU seriously interested in being considered for this special team? If so, contact me directly via email: gfa7156@aol.com or via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4765.

The chapter I’m most concerned about, at this time, will deal with the critical decision-making involved in ascertaining whether a LLLCommunity, given its’ 1) unique local housing market characteristics, 2) anticipated sales volume (i.e. given number of vacant rental homesites to be filled), and 3) proximity to housing factories fabricating and shipping appropriate sizes and quality of homes, can or should launch an on-site home sales operation! To that end, I’ve asked Business Development Managers, working for HUD-Code home manufacturer around the U.S., to recommend present day, successful on-site home sales managers, who might, with their employer’s permission, want to and be able to participate in this major project for the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class.

There’s more to share with you, but not at this time. Continue to follow this weekly blog posting for further information, as well as other topics of note.

Also know, How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in Leased Land Communities is a project of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®., presently a subsidiary of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, officed in Franklin, Indiana. For more information, use the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. There likely will be a meeting of co-authors, for this book, during the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014.

II.

MH vs. RV Issue

Protect Housing Market Share or Fill More Vacant Rental Homesites?

What’s the RV Industry want? Apparently, total exclusion of recreational vehicles, by definition, from the HUD (housing) Code!

WHY? The answer depends on WHO one asks. But know this, a ‘full blown national trend’ finds more and more recreational vehicles, of various types and sizes, already sited on heretofore vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities), paying rent right along with manufactured and modular homes similarly sited. But that observation doesn’t really answer the WHY question does it? So, let’s try again. The RV Industry evidently desires easier access to LLLCommunities, without the regulatory burden of being subject to the HUD (building) Code.

What’s the MH Industry want? Apparently, for the RV folk to just go away!

WHY? To protect their present miniscule share of the national housing market – even though HUD-Code home manufacturers often fabricate and ship ‘park model RVs’, a.k.a. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, per HUD; and ‘granny flats’ elsewhere. In any event, many ADUs wind up on rental homesites in LLLCommunities.

So, ‘Where’s the rub’? Again, more RVs sited in LLLCommunities likely means fewer shipments and sales of new HUD-Code homes nationwide! So what! Independent (street) MHRetailers are few and far in between these days, as are ‘company stores’, and the lonely dozen Factory Expo home sales centers adjacent to factories. Consequently, RVs have become, in many local housing markets, a default form of affordable, even desirable shelter.

What are stated or formal positions of two of the three MH-related national advocacy bodies on the ‘MH vs. RV Issue’?

1. Here’s an interesting quote, dated 4 June 2014 PR from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR: “The intensive ‘scorched-earth’ campaign in Congress by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) for an expanded RV exemption in the federal manufactured housing law with the appropriations process…is rapidly becoming a double-edged sword for that industry, as more and more stakeholder constituencies begin to fully recognize the extremely negative long-term consequences of any such change. This includes 1) consumers – who have always been opposed to an expanded RV/park model exemption, 2) state authorities who would see a proliferation in the misuse of larger RVs and park models as unregulated de facto housing, 3) manufactured housing industry members who would be subjected to unfair competition by such a proliferation of unregulated RVs and park models, and 4) ‘pure’ (i.e. single industry) HUD Code state associations which correctly perceive an expend (sic) RV/park model exemption would lead to major problems affecting zoning, placement, taxation, and a host of other related state and local-level issues.” (Blogger’s note: ‘Numbers’ added for clarity; observe how LLLCommunities are not listed as a fifth stakeholder constituency; and, the four ‘extremely negative long-term consequences’ are simply undocumented assumptions)

2. And this input from the Manufactured Housing Institute minutes, approving a resolution offered by the Manufactured Housing Division, at MHI’s annual meeting on 4 October 2011, more than 2 ½ years ago:

“Whereas the RVIA has asked MHI to support legislative and regulatory changes to amend the (HUD-Code) to allow for the construction of RVs and Park Trailers that are larger than 400 square feet when erected on site;
Whereas the MHCC has considered this issue and opposes such a change;
Whereas such a change would encourage permanent living in recreational vehicles; Whereas the construction standards for RVs are not designed for permanent living; and Whereas such a change would further confuse the market perception of manufactured homes, and is inconsistent with industry efforts to advocate policies designed to treat manufactured homes on a parity basis with other types of single family housing; Therefore be it resolved the MHI opposes changing current size restrictions for RVs and Park Trailers. And further, the MHI supports changing the HUD regulations to clarify the differences between RVs and Park Trailers, and to specify that Park Trailers be constructed to the ANSI A119.5 Standards for Park Trailers.”

And here’s your 10 June 2014 update. At its’ Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN., the Manufactured Housing Institute, as well as its’ National Communities Council division and Manufactured Housing division, declined to take a formal position on this contentious matter. Following said meeting(s) however, two observations were overheard; and in this industry observer’s opinion, clearly illustrate the inherent dichotomy of the ‘MH vs.RV’ issue:

• “Temporary housing does not sell lifestyle!” a housing executive
&
• “Expensive homes don’t fill vacant sites.” LLLCommunity owner

Hmm. Do you see what’s been happening here, ‘over the years’? These two separate but different, yet related initiatives:

The recreational vehicle industry, being unsuccessful in times past ’to be included within’ the HUD-Code, has now asked ‘to be entirely exempted from it’. Yet parts of the manufactured housing industry continue to oppose RVIA’s initiatives ‘for pretty much the same reasons’, i.e. Protect Housing Market Share. OK, so what’s different today?

RVs are now commonplace within many LLLCommunities, and will likely become even more so, especially if/when RVs are NOT subject to the HUD-Code, i.e. they’re less expensive to fabricate when not encumbered by federal building regulations.

And where MHI’s Manufactured Housing division ‘carried the day’ back in October 2011, effectively protecting its’ housing market share; today, the National Communities Council division has ‘a dog in this fight’, given members’ efforts to fill more of the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide – many of which are functionally obsolete and can easily site a variety of recreational vehicles 1) seasonally, 2) for construction workers, 3) even opening a new vein of affordable shelter!

Bottom lines? So far, everyone, among the aforesaid national advocacy bodies, is doing what one would expect, but with a twist – in the first instance::

The MHARR, founded to keep ‘regulatory reform’ under reasonable $ control, now foists HUD’s ‘performance-based building code’ onto a sister industry, the RV folk, to protect members from further shipment volume reduction due to housing market share incursion .

And MHI, to date, continues to be quiet on the subject. Why? Methinks, a preference to let someone else (MHARR) carry this fight, so as not to put its’ Manufactured Housing division and National Communities Council divisions at odds with one another. This too again, in fear of fewer, new HUD-Code homes being shipped versus. LLLCommunities’ continued need to fill more vacant rental homesites coast to coast – if need be, with recreational vehicles, of all types and sizes, as affordable shelter alternatives!

So, what do you think? An average of a dozen blog floggers (readers) respond, in writing, each week, to the topics aired here at the community-investor.com web site. So don’t be shy! We’d like to hear from you, via gfa7156@aol.com or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

III.

23rd annual International Networking Roundtable
Information & Registration Brochures
Now Available Upon Request

Three things YOU may or may not know about the International Networking Roundtable:

1. This is the longest running (23 years) annual trade event planned and hosted to meet the educational (20 sessions), networking (9 social events), & realty deal-making penchant of land-lease-lifestyle community (A.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators, large and small, worldwide.

2. This year’s program features, for the first time in manufactured housing history, two National Public Forums to refocus our ‘double dual industry’ re: ‘Face the Future of Manufactured Housing & the LLLCommunity realty asset class!’ And, ‘Anyone who’s anyone’ in the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity business environs, will be present for this stellar event, 10-12 September in Peachtree City, GA!

3. Attendance is limited to 250 participants. We’ll soon distribute descriptive event brochures to 500+/- LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators in the U.S. & Canada; to 200+ COBA7® affiliates; and, individuals who attended last year’s Networking Roundtable in Chicago, IL. So, if interested in attending, but not on one of those three lists, use the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to request your brochure. You don’t want to miss this one!

Reps from AHA, MHARR, MHI, Freddie Mac, & Fannie Mae have been invited to attend and or participate in this year’s Networking Roundtable. So far, only one of the five has not responded affirmatively. Also hearing from academics & would be investors

Follow the $ & Keep $core!

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 301 @ 8 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

‘Follow the Money’ is title to Part I. There’s no clearer picture of what’s going on…

‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’ = one of those ‘once in a lifetime learning opportunities’.

‘Keep Score!’ Surely hope you do! We need more action and less benign neglect at NCC

‘COBA7® Affiliates Receive National Public Forum Worksheets’ You can too!

Together, U & COBA7® = ‘U support US & We serve U!’

I.

Follow the Money

Why RV Industry Want$ Exemption From the HUD-Code

1. Various types and sizes of RVs fit nicely onto vacant rental homesites, functionally obsolete and otherwise, in land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), VERSUS some (manufactured) home owners/site lessees view an RV moving next door as a threat to home value – unless of course, it’s a tricked-out $100,000.00 RV ‘parked’ next to their $30,000.00 home.

2. RVs excluded from the HUD-Code likely qualify for chattel financing as vehicles, so might not be subject to the S.A.F.E. Act & Consumer Protection Finance Bureau’s regulatory oversight, VERSUS anticipated reduction in chattel financing of manufactured home (transactions) encumbered by state and federal finance regulations

3. Exempted RVs possibly become a new class of unregulated ‘shelters cum residences’ sited in LLLCommunities*, VERSUS reduction in number of new HUD-Code manufactured homes shipped, that are otherwise encumbered by state and local building codes

So, how do you feel about this contentious matter? More interested in filling some of the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide, with various sizes and types of recreational vehicles (‘RVs’); OR, protecting HUD-Code manufactured housing market share, ensuring most or all structures sited in LLLCommunities are indeed bona fide ‘homes cum residences’?

There’re contrasting views on this complicated matter. Some believe the RV legislative initiative, for the third or fourth time, is ‘going nowhere’; while others opine, this is the only way to return ‘truly affordable shelter’ to modest rent rate LLLCommunities – at further reduction in size of HUD-Code market share – already at an historic nadir for the past five years..

To express your opinion(s), use input instructions at the beginning of this blog posting…

Important End Note.

* Watch for a ‘primary residence rule’ to possibly play a deciding role here, e.g. ‘RV not exempted if owner lives in it for more than two months at a time.’ That gimcrack smacks of Big Brother closing the farmyard gate long after the cows have left the barn. Good Luck finding and rounding ‘em up.

II.

‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’

Newest Manufactured Housing Author to Make Guest Appearance

You likely already know the basics. The morning of 4 August 2014, YES, the same day as the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, will find would be and experienced writers alike, gathered at the RV/MH museum and library in Elkhart, IN., for a 2 ½ hour writing seminar.

Subtitled, ‘How to Write & Publish Your Memoir(s), Autobiography, &/or Corporate History or Story!’, the program will be co-hosted and led by Al Hesselbart, RV/MH Hall of Fame RV historian, and George Allen, publisher of the Allen Letter professional journal, and author, co-author of all books in print today – but one, relative to the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity realty asset class.

The program begins promptly at 9:30AM, with check-in, handout of class materials, and introductions of co-hosts and participants, until10:00AM. From 10 – 11AM we’ll concentrate on memoir & autobiography research, writing and style. And from 11 – Noon, we’ll cover corporate history and stories, along with an introduction to self-publishing alternatives.

We expect Bob Vahsholtz, author of DUELING CURVES – the newest book about ‘manufactured housing in the 21st Century’, to join us during the seminar, even have copies of the book to sell and autograph. At the end of the program, we’ll likely enjoy a networking lunch together, where we’ll ask Bob questions about his latest tome. If you’d like to order a copy beforehand, phone (805) 481-2574. The price is right! And if you’d like to read a lengthy review of same, phone MHIndustry HOTLINE and request a FREE copy of the June issue of the aforementioned Allen Letter.

For a brochure containing details about the ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’, and to register for the seminar, phone the MHIndustry HOTINE or (317) 346-7156. Space is limited, so don’t delay deciding to participate. AND, the $49.95 per person cost is reduced to $29.95 if/when you register to attend the Class of 2014 RV/MH Hall of Fame Banquet that same evening! If you’ve ever thought YOU – or your company, have a story to tell, now is the time to learn how to go about the process. Hope to see you there!

III.

‘ Keep Score!’

How Many of Ten Topics Requested, Will be on NCC’s Agenda?

As faithful blog floggers (readers) know, we shared nine topics with you several weeks ago, and #10 has been added since then. The initial nine recommended topics were sent to MHI’s NCC staff in Arlington, VA., with a request they be placed on the meeting agenda for the National Communities Council division, to be held the morning of 9 June 2014. Well, that’s tomorrow morning, if you’re reading this posting on Sunday, 8 June 2014.

It will be interesting to see how many, if any of them – besides maybe ‘Intimidation by Litigation’ gets aired among this small but august group of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators. The list, again:

• The ‘value proposition’ of NCC division’s $500.00/year membership fee. What specific products & services are direct, dues-paying MHI/NCC members presently receiving, in addition to lobbying efforts on our behalf?

• Revisit MHI’s October 4, 2012 board resolution opposing “…changing current restrictions for RVs & Park Trailers”, in effect discouraging permanent living in RVs. Review said opposition in light of need to fill an estimated 250,000 want rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide.

• Recommend change to MHI bylaws (NCC has none) to permit properly executed absentee ballot use during annual election of division officers.

• Discuss the ‘intimidation by litigation’ environment apparently spawned by Right of First Refusal clauses within or outside some LLLCommunity leases.

• Status of MHI web page re NCC content and newsletter?

• Why discontinuation of the MHI Membership Directory in 2014? Who effected its’ demise? Why not make print subscription copies available at profit for MHI?

• NCC is formally invited to participate in the first ever National Public Forum examining the ‘Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ vs. its’ trailer heritage’, & ‘Future of LLLCommunities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’.

• NCC is formally invited to affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®

• Status of Duke University (Dr. Charles Becker) research project?

• (+) Recommend MHI broaden its’ policy to allow announcement of regional and national manufactured housing and or LLLCommunity-related events!. Today, only MHI-hosted and member state association-sponsored events, including ACM classes, are posted on the website. Why not include the RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet @ 4 August 2014, same day as the multi-state (AL, LA, MS, TN) meeting begins; the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable @ 10-12 September 2014 – hosted by longtime MHI member GFA Management, Inc.; annual SECO Symposium @ 1 & 2 October in Atlanta, GA., hosted by area LLLCommunity owners; even the ‘How Housing Matters Conference’, @ 16 October 2014, hosted by the National Building Institute in Washington, DC.

Well, there you have it. Probably too late for you to encourage your state MHAssociation exec to intervene and request these timely and pithy topics be added to the NCC agenda.

IV.

COBA7 Affiliates Receive National Public Forum Worksheets

The 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable is only three months away! Descriptive registration brochures will be mailed during June to all 500+/- LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators in North America. And during July and August, same brochures will be enclosed as lagniappes in that month’s issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. And during August the brochure will be sent to everyone who patronized last year’s 22nd annual Roundtable, along with the favored real estate and chattel capital lenders who serve the real estate asset class.

In the meantime, preparations have already begun for this superb networking, educational and deal-making event! 20 seminar presenters and panelists are readying their ‘talk outlines’, and just this week, COBA7 affiliates were mailed National Public Forum worksheets for the two topics to be presented and parsed on 9/11/2014:

• Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ versus ‘trailer’ heritage

• Future of land-lease-lifestyle communities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investments’

Who’s interested in these two mega-topics? Evidently ‘everyone’! Already, even before aforesaid roundtable brochures are ready for distribution, we’re receiving inquiries from academics, federal agencies, housing lobbyists, HUD-Code home manufacturers, as well as businessmen and women, praising us for finally doing something ‘many’ feel should have been done ‘years ago’. Will YOU be present for these historic National Public Forums?

As it stands, the worksheets cover both topics separately, with basic concepts and present day MH-related realities displayed in outline fashion, with room for COBA7 affiliates (Who hail from every segment of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, by the way!) to append additions, recommend deletions, and more. By the time we arrive at the DOLCE Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA., in early September, the nationally known presenters, ‘working’ these two topics, will have rich material with which to work.

SO, if you really want to ensure an ‘invite’ to this exciting annual event known for its’ superb networking, invaluable education, and unique deal-making opportunities, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request a descriptive Networking Roundtable brochure ASAP! Also beginning to seek out sponsors for this year’s event. Interested?

***

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

More Protection/Pricing & Market Share re RVs

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 300 @ 5/25/2014 Copyright 2014

Perspective. Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufacture housing.’

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

Do you have any idea what a six year tall pile of hard copy blogs looks like? How ‘bout a stack of paper 12+ inches tall! But that’s what National Building Institute library wants.

‘Protection/pricing’ & ‘Protecting MH Market Share vs. More RVs On-site’ continue to confound. Evidently no paladin in the first instance, & ‘Let’s not talk about second one.’

How does one fit 2 ½ pounds of valued business sustenance into a 1 ¼ pound bag? Well, on 9 June 2014, in Indianapolis, IN., at the NCC meeting, we’ll see if it can be done!

How’d you like to see your income cut by 300%, and at the same time, your expenses increased by 250%? That’s what HUD-Code manufacturers faced & face again soon.

I.

Celebrating Six Years of Blogging For the
Manufactured Housing Industry &
Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class

II.

Third Week in a Row for Protection/Pricing!

III.

‘Protect MH Market Share or Fill More Sites with RVs?’

IV.

National Communities Council division meeting, 9 June 2014

V.

Pending HUD Rulemaking Increase of Manufactured Housing Certification Label Fee, from $39.00 to Between $95.00 & $105.00 Trounces Prospective Homebuyers

*******************************************

I.

Celebrating Six Years of Blogging For the
Manufactured Housing Industry &
Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class

This week you’re reading the 300th consecutive blog posting; begun at the Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, & continued, to this day, at the community-investor.com website.

A recent congratulatory email message from a land-lease-lifestyle community owner just outside Chicago – at this time – makes me feel all the effort has been worthwhile; but unfortunately, is far from being over….

“George, just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for your leadership and the passion you display for our industry. You have been a leader for a long time, and from what I see, retirement is going to be a long time away.” JZ

And then this questioning letter from an Ohio LLLCommunity owner, affiliated with COBA7, that provides opportunity to describe, from my perspective, the nature and scope of activities of three national ‘players’ on the HUD-Code manufactured housing and LLLCommunity asset class scene.

“George; I have been following your blog and the Allen Letter. If I have understood properly, the asset class is represented on the national level by MHI, MHARR, and COBA7. MHI, the very big boys (REITs, and a few non-REIT biggies, (home) manufacturers, retailers, and communities). MHARR, the manufacturers. COBA7, the communities. Thus, if I understand the picture, each one, except COBA7, has serious conflicts (This of course will be denied) in their agendas, from time to time. My question: Will the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance remain pure; that is to say, represent only the smaller community owners? If so, what will be the cut off in size. Will all others be permitted to affiliate as associate members only? Just curious.” GS

MY REPLY. “You pretty much have things right as you’ve penned them. And what you bring up at the end is worthy of thought and discussion, but won’t get much for awhile – and in a few minutes, I’ll explain why.

MHI represents all segments of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry. In terms of $ dues collected and internal political influence; in my opinion, the institute is dominated by the Big 3-C home manufacturers (i.e. Clayton, Champion, Cavco). All told, according to their web site, they have slightly more than 300 dues-paying members, including Certified Representatives from member state MHAssociations. And of the total membership, 88+/- are aligned with the National Communities Council division.

MHARR represents only HUD-Code home manufacturers. Most are smaller, regional players, though a few, if not most, of the largest MHI manufacturer members are also members of MHARR. Member count? Fewer than 100 firms.

COBA7 is ‘the new kid on the block’, and NOT a not for profit national advocacy body like MHI & MHARR. It is simply an alliance of businessmen and women, like thee and me, with an affinity for LLLCommunities. The unexpected surprise has been, however, since the first of the year (2014), when this NEW ERA dawned for LLLCommunities, individuals and companies from every segment of the MHIndustry have paid to affiliate with COBA7! And to date, nary a one has expressed any interest in ‘taking over anything’. They simply expect COBA7 to live up to its’ symbiotic slogan:

‘U support US & WE serve U!’

via Seven Function Areas, being: ongoing statistical research; resource updating & distribution; print & online communication; superb peer networking; deal-making opportunities; professional property management training & certification; and, national advocacy when need be, e.g. official ombudsman (press) to the MHIndustry.

Since COBA7 is not an organization, no one has any voting rights at this time. And beyond that comment, I will not go, until the time comes when we talk face to face. All the more reason for you, and our peers, to be present at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable at the DOLCE Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA., 10-12 September 2014!

Anyone reading this blog posting, wanting to ensure an ‘invite’ to this popular annual event, and/or desiring to affiliate with COBA7, should phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

II.

Third Week in a Row for Protection/Pricing!

If you don’t know about what this headline refers to, it’s strongly suggested you scroll back into the blog archives at this website and read blogs # 298 and 299, for what follows to make sense to you.

I haven’t been surprised, just dismayed, that neither national advocacy body has much (of anything) to say about this rarely publicized, but often endured issue. My ‘take’ on it is, neither august body has ever been able to do anything much about HUD’s unilateral calls for product changes resulting in increased housing cost to home manufacturers and prospective homebuyers.

With that said, I’ll share some thought-provoking commentary from Bob Vahsholtz, of Arroyo Grande, CA., author of DUELING CURVES, ‘The Battle for Housing’, that debuted last month. A full length review of this new addition to manufactured housing literature takes up most of the June 2014 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. If you haven’t yet purchased a copy of Bob’s book, you should do so. The price is right, at $35.00 per copy and, I believe, $7.00 for shipping. Simply visit Vahsholtz’s website: www.kingmidgetswest.com

Here’s what Bob had to say in recent correspondence, responding to Protection/Pricing:

“George, I (would) not want to be a manufacturer today – or really any other business. Regulation is out of control. HUD probably thinks its’ benevolent oversight has been the prime factor in the improvement of manufactured housing. It has not. The trend has been obvious and continuous, from the earliest days, with notable interruptions. One such was the introduction of the HUD-Code in the midst of market chaos (i.e. Circa early to mid 1970s).”

“Progress is made despite the drag of regulation, and will continue as long as the market thrives – a somewhat tenuous assumption at the moment. But really, the industry has bent over backward to comply with conflicting and sometimes counterproductive regulations. The price increases you mention may happen, but they should not. If we don’t need bigger exit windows, and I suspect we really don’t, the industry – all of us – should work together to illustrate today’s larger citizens (can) make their way out of the already standard exits. If panels in closets threaten life and limb, proof should be demanded. If HUD can make good arguments, they should be acknowledged, and changes phased in over time, giving learning curve a chance to cover the cost. Do our water heaters not have control settings?”

“C’mon now, the government and the rest of us want low cost housing for the citizens. Let’s join together to get it produced!” Bob Vahsholtz

Know what my first – and continuing reaction was/is to Bob’s commentary? That’s why we all worked so hard to effect passage of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, a.k.a. MHIA@2000. And said passage, in part to implement a timely, practical working relationship among disparate government, regulatory, business, and consumer parties, in the form of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee or MHCC, which has not met in a long long time.

Bottom line? There is none; just more confusion! Only MHARR has ‘gone public’, since the first of the year, proclaiming its’ primary goal for 2014 is full and complete implementation of MHIA@2000; in effect, repositioning HUD-Code manufactured housing as ‘housing’, and further distancing us from our trailer heritage! But know what?

There’re serious rumblings ‘out there’ in opposite directions! One way is to ‘take us all the way over to housing’, by doing away with vehicle titling, personal property taxation, and moving us away from chattel capital mortgage financing. The other way is to ‘keep us right where we are’, precariously straddling the demarcation between housing and vehicles, relying on the federal preemptive performance-based national building code to protect manufactured housing from incursions by site-built housing, recreational vehicle manufacturers, and others. Which business model path do you prefer?

And there you have the rationale behind one of two National Public Forum topics to be presented and parsed at the 23rd International Networking Roundtable on 11 September 2014 in Peachtree City, GA, to wit: The ‘Future of Manufactured Housing as ‘housing’ or ‘trailers’! The other topic? The ‘Future of Land-lease-lifestyle Communities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’. How can you not want to be present for this historic (i.e. ‘first time ever’) and precedent-setting National Public Forum discussion of two key industry issues?. Again, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to ensure you receive an ‘invite’ to participate. Already, two of three national ‘players’ have committed to be on hand, along with representatives from government agencies.

III.

‘Protect MH Market Share or Fill More Sites with RVs?’

This perennial topic too has spouted legs, from last week to this, motivating the following reminiscing from a veteran Midwest independent (street) MHRetailer:

“Several years ago, the RV issue was discussed at a _____meeting. I wasn’t totally clear on the issue then, or even now. I do remember several ‘Nanny State’ types who felt they could use the RV request to insert HUD oversight into the RV industry, saying: ‘You now, some people are living in them. We should be regulating them.’ I remember thinking, ‘What did I care if someone owning an RV stayed in a few days longer than what our ‘Nanny State’ mentalities deemed ‘temporary’? I had no interest in extending HUD’s regulatory reach into the RV arena. Just saying that the RV folks need to carefully consider whatever requests they are making.” AB

Well, reality has changed, and is now counterintuitive. How so? First off, this time around the RV industry is not looking for a ‘change’ that would have them brought into the HUD-Code that regulates manufactured housing. NO; this time around, they wish to insert language in the HUD-Code that broadens the definition of RVs to be excluded from said HUD-Code. This is the counterintuitive part. If not only ‘park model RVs’, but now much larger type RVs, are formally excluded from HUD-Code oversight, by definition, it likely makes it easier for these units to be sited on vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities, where they’re not otherwise outlawed by local housing market zoning ordinances. Anyway, that’s my ‘take’ on the matter. Anything you care to add or change?

And here’s what author Bob Vahsholtz adds to the discussion:

“Ah George, the use of RVs as homes is not so much a matter of preferences as it is of needs. Millions of Americans need low cost homes, (and) thousands of LLLCommunities have vacancies they can’t fill with affordable and appropriately-sized HUD homes. The laws of economics urge those spaces to be filled with used RVs that are inexpensive, because those who ‘travel in RVs’ want new stuff”

“Housing regulations in this country strive for a well-ordered nirvana that exists only in academic and government minds. When regulators define the size of Johnny’s bedroom, they’ve gone too far. When MH manufacturers, retailers, and community operators flock to the monstrous high-buck home choice, they join regulators in creating a wondrous void in the market.”

“The RV industry made a reasonable, if arbitrary choice, in limiting ‘park models’ to 400 square feet, and those little rascals are pricey. Still ‘park models’ prove, just as early mobile homes proved, that a home need not be big to be quite livable.”

In any event, it will be interesting to observe whether this ‘Protect MH market Share OR Increase RV Occupancy in LLLCommunities?’ issue makes it onto anyone’s agenda at the upcoming MHI Summer meeting in Indianapolis on 8-10 June. If so, ‘Good!’ If not, ‘Why not?’ An inquiring business public wants to know….

IV

National Communities Council division meeting, 9 June 2014.

And this note from a direct, dues-paying MHI/NCC member and COBA7 affiliate: “What is the purpose of the (6/9) meeting? Is it (to be) a REIT-driven, rubber stamped 1.5 hours?” TT

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. And as loyal blog floggers (readers) know, we publicly suggested here, last week, a Nine Topic Agenda, one of which has to do with ‘Intimidation by Litigation’. Now there’s a new and troubling subject most LLLCommunity owners/operators should want to discuss. But will it be? If so, ‘Good!’ If not, ‘Why not?’ An inquiring business public wants to know….

V.

Pending HUD Rulemaking Increase of Manufactured Housing Certification Label fee, from $39.00 to Between $95.00 & $105.00 Trounces Prospective Homebuyers!

If effected, this would be the first increase in certification label fee since 2002, that’s 12 years ago. BUT, seeing as how HUD-Code manufactured home numbers have plummeted from 168,491 shipped during year 2002, to an average of 53,310 units per year through 2013 – that’s a production DECREASE of 115,181 units or 300%, it certainly does NOT justify an INCREASE in label fee of 250%! What are these people thinking? The information in this paragraph supplied by MHARR.

In other words, how’d you feel if your take home pay was cut from $600.00 per week to just $200.00; and, your household water/sewer bill shot up from only $39.00 to $100.00 per month?

This is why most major business types have a national advocacy trade group headquartered in the Washington, DC., area; to lobby in their behalf and protect members from regulatory incursions and excesses like this. As it stands, however, manufactured housing has not one, but two national advocacy bodies, one domiciled in Washington, DC., and one in Arlington, VA. (Reread Part I of this blog posting). But not everyone is pleased with the arrangement. This from a longtime reader of this blog: “The MHI/MHARR duel is really quite interesting and really a waste of valuable time. They need to get to work on how we get more business – access to relevant financing tools for sure – and work together to win!” NB

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