Archive for November, 2014

OLIGARCHY Revisited & Lease-Option…

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 325 Copyright @ 30 November 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 the primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media 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

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

I.

‘OLIGARCHY Revisited…’ Are manufactured housing leaders ‘spoiling’ (i.e. ‘seriously impairing’) our industry by acquiescing to energy saving innovations cum sales price increases, on new HUD-Code homes, when home buyers can least afford to buy? Or as pundits suggest, is this ruse a precursor to amalgamation of many firms into a very few?

II.

‘Are YOU into Lease-Option, or Want to Be?’ This has to be the best and worst kept Secret to Success among land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators large and small. Read how this dearth (‘scarcity’, ‘lack’) of education and sharing may soon end!

III.

Stories from the Heartland, an anthology. After authoring and editing a dozen books during the past 26 years, this is the first time a few of my short stories have been published in an anthology, one published by the Christian writers’ group I attend….

I.

OLIGARCHY Revisited…

Did last week’s blog posting here, opining ‘national manufactured housing advocacy = OLIGARCHY?’ spook you? Did some. One faithful blog flogger (reader) reminded me of a quote he’d shared weeks ago, characterizing naïve, would be ‘land-lease-lifestyle community investors’ who flock to our realty asset class these days – oft times failing, because of mistaken notions and unrealistic expectations. His quote:

“To the uninformed, go the spoiled!”– i.e. income-producing properties that are ‘dead on arrival’, but expected to go ‘Poof!’, and magically transform into ‘cash cows’. Not!

Anyway, his suggestion was, this same quote applies to leadership issues described in last week’s blog posting. That is, if WE continue blindly along the road of little to no helpful, salient information and unanswered questions, from our national advocacy bodies, we should not be surprised if manufactured housing production performance, measured by new home shipment volume, continues along its’ now six year historic nadir: 2009 = 49,789; 2010 = 50,046; 2011 = 51,606; 2012 = 54,881; & 2013 = 60,228. 2014? Too early to tell for sure, but certainly not anywhere near the oft cited ‘comfort zone’ of 250,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped per year! If not yet spoiled, we’re on our way.

What helpful, salient information and unanswered questions? Here are some that come quickly to mind:

• Relative to aforementioned (Blog # 323) ‘Three Strikes & We’re Out!’ of the national affordable housing market. Why are WE still waiting to learn, from national advocacy bodies, the Reasons behind increasing the cost, and by extension – the sales price, of new singlesection manufactured homes by at least $2,000 apiece, even more for multisection HUD-Code homes?! See*1. And while they’re at it, offer a reasonable explanation for the 165% increase in HUD label fees? How much of that finagling had to do with coddling HUD, out of home manufacturers’ fear of facing the future sans HUD oversight? Let me suggest a ‘telling’ starting point; this sobering factoid from a West coast MHIndustry consultant: “In California all new residential housing must be ‘net zero (energy usage)’ by year 2020!” If true, at least ‘that’ sets the stage – something that’s yet to be done by anyone else in our business. By the way, ‘overpricing our housing product’ is the fateful Third Strike against us! Read *1 again.

• U.S. Bank’s recent departure from the independent, third party chattel capital resource market is certainly a Vote Against manufactured housing industry resurgence, and maybe something more. Here’s how another blog flogger views our current business climate: “A king (Warren Buffett) should not be the only source of funding for chattel (capital)*2, and the highest (market) percentage of manufactured housing production*3. I see that reality. So now we have a monopoly, don’t we?” And in their departure, U.S. Bank gave us ‘two guns’ with which to argue relaxed oversight at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, or CFPB: ‘Manufactured housing is too much a niche (constricted) market at this time’ to support their business model; and, ‘overregulated’ to boot! So, what have our national advocacy bodies done, since U.S. Bank’s announcement, to get that word, those arguments, in front of Congress? Nothing that this industry observer has seen or heard. However, it’s become common knowledge, a dozen or so state MHAssociations have stepped out on their own to do so!

And while we’re at it, let’s review the ‘Ten heady topics – in the form of questions – of nationwide concern to many of us passionate about the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and its’ realty component, the LLLCommunity real estate asset class:

• Why ongoing disunity & political ineffectiveness at the national advocacy level?

• Is our future better as purveyor of consumer products OR ‘affordable housing’?

• When will we finally define & describe what we mean by ‘affordable housing’?*4

• Does ‘affordable housing’ apply similarly to mfd. Housing & LLLCommunities?

• Revamp chattel capital model with longer terms and more stringent guarantees?

• Begin or end conversation about replacing vehicle titles with long term leases?

• Is business model better as federally-regulated housing/product or non-regulate?

• When will be right time, way & $, to effect national brand advertising & image?

• How to affect representation parity among all LLLCommunities, large & small?

• Time to measure manufactured housing performance via sales & not shipments?

• ‘Elephant in the room’; consistently safe & secure home installation nationwide?

Quoted from blog posting # 323 at community-investor.com. What would you ADD or DELETE from this list of heady questions on the minds of conscientious entrepreneur businessmen and women across the U.S. these days? Let me know via GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247. Or phone me via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Remember, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® is YOUR Official Ombudsman (press) to the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class. Make YOUR VIEWS known!

II.

Are YOU into Lease-Option, or Want to Be?

Here’s a ground floor opportunity for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators desiring to learn more about the lease-option way of business, as it pertains to new and resale manufactured housing placement on vacant rental homesites in-community!

As I pen these lines, a lease-option curriculum is being prepared for beta testing this Winter, maybe as early as February 2015. If YOU are serious about wanting to participate in this educational process – either from the perspective of an experienced and successful practitioner willing to share, or as a novice, let me know firsthand ASAP, via: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247. Or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. A FOCUS Group type venue is already being planned. Don’t be left out; this could mean the success or failure of your future as a LLLCommunity owner/operator.

While this is not a COBA7® project per se, know that affiliates, a.k.a. ‘MHInsiders’ are involved from start to finish. The impetus? Knowledge that some mega property portfolio ‘players’ already, and have for some time, use this method to fill vacant rental homesites in their LLLCommunities! The ‘rub’ has been, their unwillingness to share said knowledge and expertise with smaller owners/operators and Mom/Pop investors. So, the goal here, is to make lease-option knowledge and procedures broadly available to LLLCommunity owners/operators otherwise locked out of the chattel capital markets due to ‘cherry picking’ by third party firms, and lack of sources within their local housing market.

Relative to ‘raising $ funds’ to support a lease-option program on-site in your LLLCommunity or communities, you’ll want to get your hands on the new Signature Series Resource Document PLUS, or SSRD-PLUS, to be enclosed with the December 2014 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. It’s a refinement (lengthened and more detailed) of the nine point list, compiled by Spencer Roane, MHM®, for inclusion in the Official WHITE PAPER (End note # 9 on page # 18), distributed at the 23rd annual Networking Roundtable in Peachtree City, GA., earlier this Fall. If you thought ‘that list’ was helpful, this SSRE-PLUS is much better! To subscribe, use the aforementioned (end note # 1) Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. Cost? Only $134.95 for the Allen Letter alone; $544.95 for the newsletter and a dozen SSRDs, an updated one distributed monthly.

III.

Stories From the Heartland, an anthology

This 215 page perfect bound book is available for purchase directly from amazon.com. The collection of short stories and poems is an appropriate Christmas gift for the casual reader on your gift list this year.

Among the 40+/- stories and poems are three I penned during the past two decades. There’s ‘Big George!’, a tribute to my late father. This serious, but sometimes humorous tale has been published in several books over the years – along with the recommendation ‘A tribute like this is something every son or daughter should prepare for either or both parents while they’re still alive’. My father was a colorful guy (semi-pro boxer, foundry man, paladin, and deacon – so easy to characterize. My mother, not so much. So, I dedicated the book, Figurative Language & Figures of Speech as a tribute to her. A second, enlarged edition is due out yet this year; a handy reference tool for writers..

Then there’s ‘Making Amends’ and ‘PUC Beer’. Longtime subscribers to the Allen Letter professional journal have likely read these, since 2006, as lagniappes in said newsletter. However, most readers don’t know the Christmas Eve 2005 experience, described in ‘Making Amends’ was an emotional catharsis to me, unleashing repressed memories of combat in the Republic of Vietnam, dating back to 1968 and 1969. And ‘PUC Beer’, as I often tell folk, when giving them a reprint of the story, describes a chance encounter that, frankly, is as difficult to believe, as it is true!

If you decide to buy the book, I wish there was a way I could autograph it for you. But tell you what. If you contact me, via email or mail (see previous Part I) or phone (317/346-7156), I’ll be pleased to mail you a ‘free’ plastic management wisdom wallet card titled: ‘The Writer’s WRITE card!’, to use as a bookmark.

***

End Notes

1. Might the explanation be as simple as this? Here’s a quote from someone who should know: “The DOE issue is a mixed bag. Congress took energy regulations away from HUD, leaving a clear signal to act! So, doing nothing is not an option for DOE.” The commentator goes on to say, “I have some problems with DOE’s life cycle costing model”; specifically, the “first owner (of the new home) will not recapture the upfront costs of the (required) upgrades.” If true, this is a cost and price increase with little to no hope of being returned to the homeowner paying for requisite upgrades cum program. Bottom line? Yet another forced tax, akin to the American Healthcare Act.

2. 21st Mortgage Corporation & Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. (latter, Clayton Homes in-house lender)

3. Clayton Homes, Inc. @ 48+/-% national MH market share, and 80%+/-% when combined with Champion Home Builders, Inc. & Cavco Industries, Inc.

4. “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” Quoted from pages # 105 & 106 in Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, Indianapolis, 2013.

OLIGARCHY = national MH advocacy?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 324 Copyright @ 23 November 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 the 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.’

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

I.

This is a first, among 324+ blogs posted during the past six plus years! = Only one topic this time around. That’s how timely and important this matter is to many of us in the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry & land-lease-lifestyle community asset class!

I

‘National manufactured housing advocacy’ today?

Some say OLIGARCHY. But what is that?

‘Governing power in the hands of the few’

Two and three weeks ago this blog column opined, the manufactured housing industry might soon reach the critical ‘tipping point’, in baseball and criminal justice, of being ‘Three Strikes & Out!’- in our case – of the national affordable housing market!*1

STOP HERE! Strongly suggest YOU reread blog postings # 320 & 321 in this website’s blog archives (Just scroll backwards from this blog #324), before you proceed beyond this paragraph. If you don’t have the inclination to do so, that’s OK too. Just read End Note * 2 following, for a summary description of the ‘three historic strikes’ with the potential of knocking our industry out of the national affordable housing market!

BACK NOW? Last week the BEBA (‘Blast Email Blog Alert’) memo with blog posting # 323, again at this website, posed this bold Question and hopeful Answer:

‘Why doesn’t MHIndustry talk about its’ challenges and plan its’ future? Answer here next week!’

So, here we are, and I suppose one might say, ‘Away we go!’ This veteran industry observer’s ANSWER, in the form of a considered opinion, is simple and straightforward:

Lack of Leadership, in Breadth and Depth, among those enjoying elected national office! First in breadth, as MHI is the commonplace presence among the ‘Big Three C’ home manufacturers (Clayton, Champion, Cavco), controlling an estimated 80+/- percent of national manufactured housing market share, but not including many of the regional producers. And then MHARR, comprised primarily of smaller, regional HUD-Code home manufacturers – with all meetings conducted behind closed doors. To make matters worse, the two national advocacy entities, except upon rare occasion, do NOT routinely speak and work together in a united, let alone public fashion, i.e. ‘To talk about manufactured housing’s challenges and plan its’ future!’ So much for depth of effort!

Here’s yet another leading indicator of lack of breadth and depth within this major segment of the manufactured housing industry. Ever wonder WHY there hasn’t been a national brand and or advertising (include here, ‘image improvement’) campaign to date? Simply a selfish fear, among home manufacturers, that non-participants in the funding of such a program(s), might benefit (Gasp!) from the largesse of those financing same, and actually sell new HUD-Code homes to our nation’s home buying public! Believe it!

And the independent, third party chattel capital segment of the manufactured housing industry isn’t much better, maybe worse! With the recent departure of U.S. Bank from the (manufactured) home (indirect) lending scene; of the remaining (now) ‘Big Three plus One’ Lenders, two of them: 21st Mortgage Corporation and Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance, Inc. (i.e. Clayton Homes’ inside lender) are owned by the same parent company, Berkshire Hathaway. And the remaining two firms, CU Factory Built Lending, and Triad Financial Services, to the best of my knowledge, remain independent, but are regional ‘players’ at best. So, very limited breadth and no depth there anymore…

As a related aside, regarding less access to chattel capital, let’s not forget the two Key Reasons cited by U.S. Bank for departing our industry: we’re too small a niche market, encumbered with too much financial regulation! The question that begs answering here is, ‘What are the two national advocacy bodies doing with this damning info from U.S. Bank, to bring pressure on Congress to mitigate the sorry effects (i.e. less access to chattel capital by folk least able to acquire housing elsewhere) of the S.A.F.E. Act, Dodd-Frank legislation, and the CFPB?’ Know that a half dozen states, at this writing – maybe more, by the time you read these lines, have taken the initiative to reach out, via formal correspondence, to their federal legislators, to this very end! All we can hope for is a ‘prairie fire’ of passion and action ‘By US On Our Own Behalf NOW!’

The content of the foregoing paragraphs should not surprise readers, as the state of OLIGARCHY will continue to exist, during year 2015, among elected officers of MHI, where senior salaried executives from the two cited Berkshire Hathaway companies, and a senior salaried executive from the world’s largest owner/operator of land-lease-lifestyle communities, fill three of four elected offices on the institute’s executive committee. There’s nary a small HUD-Code home manufacturer, chattel capital lender, or land-lease-lifestyle community owner/operator amongst the merry mix.

Know what? All the foregoing could be bearable, maybe even desirable, if there was effectual outreach from national advocacy bodies’ leadership, demonstrating sincere desire for input from grassroots businessmen and women, like YOU & ME, who are, in many cases, their very dues-paying members; and a willingness to convene and facilitate the manufactured housing industry’s ‘first ever’ National Strategic Planning Meeting for the Good of Us All, rather than continue ‘business as usual’ among the OLIGARCHY!

A few more OLIGARCHY indicators? How ‘bout the LLLCommunity income-producing property type itself. What’s going on there? Not much from some quarters, much from others (See second following paragraph for positive strokes). When was the last time you heard or read anything about the Urban Land Institute’s Manufactured Housing Communities (product) Council? Me neither. And how ‘bout MHI’s National Communities Council division, or the NCC? Annual MHI meetings attract maybe a dozen participants, and present elected officers number one bona fide property portfolio owner, and a couple senior salaried executives from other mega portfolios, but nary an owner or property manager of a single or couple LLLCommunities.

And then there’s this imbroglio. Wouldn’t YOU like to know about Rishel Consulting’s periodic HOW TO training sessions re: ‘Effectively raise chattel capital for in-community lending’, e.g. 13 & 14 January 2015 in Chicago? And how ‘bout the popular Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® professional property management training/certification session on 20 January in Luavul, KY? And the Louisville MHShow, 21-23 January? Well, you won’t find them on any national advocacy body’s website or industry calendar – only the events they plan and host, along with those of their state MHAssociation members… So much for MHIndustry leadership Breadth and Depth!

Now for some Good News. The Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance® or COBA7® has been active for nearly a year. Its’ primary focus is NOT national advocacy (except when ‘need be’, e.g. as the MHIndustry’s official ombudsman (press). It’s other six functions are fully engaged, including

1) ongoing statistical research, e.g. 26th annual ALLEN REPORT due out 1/1/2015
2) updating & distribution of a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents *3
3) weekly & monthly communication online and in print via blog & newsletters
4) superb networking opportunities via networking roundtable & FOCUS groups
5) deal-making opportunities for real estate brokerages and owners/operators
6) professional property management training & certification via the Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program

And the sooner we move COBA7® away from being ‘the one man show it has to be today’, the better I – and all its’ affiliates, a.k.a. ‘MHInsiders’ will like it! To affiliate with the Breadth & Depth of COBA7®, exercise method described in End Note # 1.

The Much Bigger Questions Remain: How do we effectively avoid the imminent tipping point of ‘Three Strikes & We’re Out!’ of the national affordable housing market – due to exorbitant product price increases described in End Note # 2. And how do we move national advocacy bodies away from being oligarchic in nature, effecting more Breadth and Depth of membership, participation, and leadership, than is evident today?

For that matter, ‘Where do we ALL go from here?’ Suggest you ask your national advocacy entity of choice!

***

End Notes.

1. affordable housing = “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” Quoted from Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! This seminal book, describing the launch and early growth of MHI’s National Communities Council is available for purchase from COBA7® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

2. The ‘Three Strikes’ against the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, and by association, it’s real estate component, the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class, are: 1) Loss of easily accessible chattel capital for ‘MH loans within LLLCommunities’ at turn of this century, nary to return; 2) surprise advent, and now onerous presence, of over (finance) regulation, as an unintended broader consequence of the national recession between roughly 2008 & to date; and, 3) recent near cavalier acquiescence to ‘add to the sale price of new manufactured homes’ via 165% increase in HUD license/label fee, and now, proposed addition of $2-3,000.00+/- per home, to comply with new DOE energy efficiency innovation recommendations.

3. Signature Series Resource Documents, or SSRDs, have become so popular with COBA7® ‘MHInsiders’, we’ve begun researching producing and distributing what is being referred to as SSRD-PLUS. These are reprints, not tied to a month of the year (e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT is distributed every January), covering specific topics of lively interest to LLLCommunity owners/operators. For example, Jay Zandman’s recent Allen Letter feature titled: ‘Loss Control Measures’ for the LLLCommunity. And soon there’ll be Spencer Roane’s elaboration on the ten means of raising capital in support of the on-site financing of new home transactions – which first appeared among End Notes to the Official WHITE PAPER distributed to registrants at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable earlier this Fall. If you haven’t seen said list, ‘You don’t know what you’re missing!’ Two more good reasons to affiliate with COBA7®!

Exciting & Worrisome News @ MHIndustry!

Friday, November 14th, 2014

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 323 Copyright @ 16 November 2015

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 the 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

I.

‘Slow Week for News? No! ‘Carefree Communities, Inc., 26th ALLEN REPORT, NCC’s Leadership Forum, & U.S. Bank announcement, make for exciting & worrisome reading!

II.

‘There’re serious issues brewing across this land’ Here’re ten matters we see week after week after week. The ‘Mr. Obvious question’ being: ‘When will they be addressed?’

***

I.

Slow Week for News? No!

Well, it started off a slow news week for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class – except for exciting announcement how Carefree Communities, Inc., officed in Scottsdale, AZ., acquired 18 land-lease-lifestyle communities (containing 4,530 rental homesites) from Vedder Communities in California. The entire property portfolio will be professionally managed by Bessire & Casenhiser, also of California. And that mega-acquisition increases Carefree Communities, Inc. property portfolio to 101 such properties & RV parks, with 27,000 sites! Depending on how the rest of the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT ‘pencils out’ during the next 30 days or so, this could boost Carefree Communities (Think David Nap & Coleen Edwards) to #5 (in size) among their 500+/- portfolio peers in North America.

Then came this stunner. U.S. Bank – Manufactured Home Finance has exited ‘…the Indirect Lending Manufactured Housing business… but will continue to offer manufactured housing loans directly to consumers through U.S. Bank Home Mortgage….’ WOW! Guess that makes the1 ½ decades long collective chattel capital lender sobriquet of the ‘Big Four + One!’, now just the ‘Big Three + One!’(*1). Hmm. This ‘one more firm biting the dust’, so to speak, leaves 50 percent of the independent third party chattel lenders in business today, owned by one firm, Berkshire Hathaway.

And all the while, some folk – leaders of one of three manufactured housing &/or land-lease-lifestyle community national advocacy entities, now talk of, even encourage, the adding of a minimum $2,000.00 to the price of new HUD-Code singlesection manufactured homes, and even higher markup for multisection models! Another WOW! Why? Well, think about it! Higher (home) product prices, plus ‘even less access’ to chattel capital, will likely NOT make for increased shipment volume during year 2015!

Back to the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT. We’ve hinted at this before, but now that we’re ‘crunching the numbers’ we’re more than cautiously optimistic this will be the most statistics-laden ALLEN REPORT published in 26 years! How so? Well, this year, for the first time, we’ve offered a FREE copy of said report to every LLLCommunity portfolio owner/operator who completes the entire questionnaire, not just the ‘portfolio size’ portion, as has been the custom of many submissions over the decades. As a result, when the 30 September deadline arrived, we had more than 50 (closer to 70) fully-completed questionnaires on hand (A record and a ‘first’!) from which to cull benchmark statistics (e.g. occupancy, OERs, etc.) sought by owners/operators from coast to coast.

So, if you’re reading this blog, and own or fee manage more than five LLLCommunities OR 500+ rental homesites, and haven’t submitted a questionnaire, to ensure your firm’s inclusion in the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request a blank form. Complete it ASAP & fax it to (317) 346-7158. You just might still get in under the wire and have your portfolio included in this seminal annual digest of LLLCommunity stats!

The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT will be distributed as a lagniappe (‘freebie’) in the January 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal going out to Option II & III affiliates (a.ka. ‘MHInsiders’) of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® or COBA7®. If you’re not yet an affiliate, sign-up when you phone; you’ll be Glad You Did, as you join with more than 200 ‘MHInsiders’ from throughout the U.S. & Canada.

Speaking of COBA7®, here’re some interesting factoids for you. Remember the NCC’s Leadership Forum, last month, in downtown Chicago? Turns out, more than 45 affiliates of COBA7® participated in the event; that’s more than 20 percent of the 201 names on the distributed registration list. Furthermore, 80+/- were LLLCommunity owners/operators, evenly divided between bona fide owners and their property managers or acquisitions staffers. 30+ attendees were from the immediate Chicago area. There were 18+/- HUD-Code home manufacturer reps present from seven or eight different firms, mostly Champion Homes; 13+/- real estate brokers who specializing in ‘for sale’ LLLCommunities – though from only four realty firms. Among the audience were 13+/- chattel capital sources and servicers and 11+/- real estate mortgage originators, from seven+/- lender/brokerage firms. And there were nine+/- freelance consultants, and ‘eight’ unknowns, plus some attorneys, insurance salesmen, and various product/service vendors. Most notable among the absentees was incoming NCC chairman Steve Adler.

II,

Serious issues brewing across this land

Take your pick of the following heady topics of nationwide concern to many of us, passionate about the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and its’ realty component, the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class:

• Why ongoing disunity & political ineffectiveness at the national advocacy level?

• Is our future better as purveyor of consumer products OR ‘affordable housing’?

• When will we finally define & describe what we mean by ‘affordable housing’?

• Does ‘affordable housing’ apply similarly to mfd. housing & LLLCommunities?

• Revamp chattel capital model with longer terms and more stringent guarantees?

• Begin or end conversation about replacing vehicle titles with long term leases & ?

• Is business model better as federally-regulated housing/product or non-regulated?

• When will be right time, way & $ to effect national brand advertising & image+?

• How to effect representation parity among all LLLCommunities, large & small?

• Time to measure manufactured housing performance via sales & not shipments?

• ‘Elephant in the room’; consistently safe & secure home installation nationwide?

OK, there are just ten of many serious national issues, begging attention and discussion among businessmen and women who make their corporate or entrepreneurial living within the MHIndustry and or LLLCommunity asst class. If YOU are one of them and believe there’re even more such serious concerns, this inquiring mind would like to know – and the sooner the better. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

A SUGGESTION. Copy down these ten topics, maybe add a few of your own, and post the list next to your wall calendar or on your PC or SmartPhone. Then, ‘wait & see’ if one or another of our national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR, COBA7®*2), take any definitive steps toward addressing these matters as we segue from 2014 into 2015. If NOT, that malaise alone should tell you something significant, and it might just be this:

They’re unwilling to bring members, affiliates, etc., together for serious and sincere conversation, in attempts to better our industry/asset class – even the business environs in which we operate – by strategically planning our collective future!

End Notes:

1. the ‘Big Three Plus One’ = 21st Mortgage Corporation, CU Factory Built Lending, Triad Financial Services, and Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance, Inc. (latter being Clayton Homes’ inside lender)

2. MHARR = Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (202) 783-4087; MHI = Manufactured Housing Institute ((703) 558-0400; & COBA7® = Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***

‘Here We Go Again!’ & ‘Did YOU Know?’

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

COBA7® community-investor.com Blog # 322 Copyright @ 9 November 2015

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

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

I.

‘Here We Go Again?!’ It’s almost scary how, ‘What goes around, comes around (again)’ in manufactured housing. Here we are, facing ‘Three Strikes & We’ll be Out!’- as an industry, of the national affordable housing market – and now we’re told, by MHI leaders, the DOE’s proposed energy efficiency standards are a ‘win-win’, for homebuyers & the environment. Yet, in my opinion and that of others, it must be a ‘win-win-win’ proposition for everyone involved – for our industry to survive! But to date, there’s been no ‘cost benefit analysis studies’ published for proposed energy efficiency innovations!

II.

‘Did YOU Know?’ By default, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, recently assumed the mantle of Official Historian to the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class. This is evidenced by the Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class SSRD (Signature Series Resource Document) published and distributed every February, and the Paradigm Shifts of Mobile & Manufactured Housing, since 1970, circulated every November.

I.

Here We Go Again?

MHI & DOE’s much ballyhooed ‘win-win’ energy efficiency standards MUST BE ‘win-win-win’;
OR,
Risk the Manufactured Housing Being ‘Three Strikes & Out!’ of the Affordable Housing Market Mix!

What follows here, is a sequel to last week’s blog posting: ‘Three Strikes & Manufactured Housing is Likely Outa the Affordable Housing Game!’

There you read

STRIKE # 1) = “Easy access to chattel capital went away (circa 1998-2001), nary to return!”

STRIKE # 2) = “We’re now (post 2010) so overregulated financially, homebuyers who need our brand of affordable housing, can no longer qualify for it!” And now maybe,

STRIKE # 3) = Would be do-gooders, under the PC (politically correct) auspices of ‘energy conservation standards’, favor jacking the purchase price of manufactured housing out of the reach of individuals and families needing – but are least capable of buying – new, heretofore affordable (*), homes!”

With that said, let’s begin this week’s blog posting with a direct quote from the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (recent) HOUSING ALERT, titled:

‘MHI Leadership Yields Positive Results for Industry in Energy Efficiency Standards’, where the following statement, with parenthetical editorial remarks inserted therein, reads thusly:

“…the new proposed energy efficiency standards will increase first costs (i.e. New home prices!), consumers will realize significant cost savings. The impact will be lower monthly net costs and improve affordability (*), a win-win for our homebuyers and the environment.” (But NOT the manufactured housing industry, struggling to ship more than 60,000 new HUD-Code homes per year for the past six dismal years, 2009 thru 2014!)

Did you catch that? These measures are being promoted as a ‘win-win’ for ‘homebuyers & environment’! As nicely PC as ‘energy efficiency standards’ implementation might be, without that third ‘win’ in the sequence, we have no national advocate championing HUD-Code manufactured housing – the very industry fabricating, marketing, and selling affordable(*) homes to the American home buying public! Again and again, there must be a third ‘win’, inclusive of the ‘MHIndustry’, OR, ‘We’ve swung and missed, for the third time since year 2000’ – and are likely priced out of the affordable housing market!

Why the ‘Here We Go Again?!’ title at the beginning of this blog posting? Because we’ve ‘been here’ time and again, as this ‘win-win’ scenario reminds one of the first two Strikes against the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry; which were:

Strike # 1 = circa 1998-2001. I easily recall the gala days at national advocacy group annual meetings, and the like, in Palm Springs, CA. and elsewhere – when horsdeoeuvres and wine flowed copiously. Where every attendee received really nice gifts from numerous independent chattel capital lenders courting manufacturers and (then) manufactured home community owners/operators. Yes, those were the ‘go-go’ days for the MHIndustry – even though some waxed uncomfortable with the knowledge that many, if not most, of our home buying customers were being ‘turned upside down’ (financially), in their newly purchased HUD-Code homes nationwide. We deserved that strike called against our industry.

Strike # 2 = pre and post 2010, as conventional housing’s financial bubble burst – like manufactured housing’s had ‘years earlier’. At the time, we suffered a spate of naïve national leaders – who, in retrospect, should have seen the regulatory storm brewing; initially via the S.A.F.E. Act; later, in the form of Dodd-Frank legislation. And all the while, one Midwest freelance consultant (not me) sounded warning after warning, to both national advocacy bodies, but all fell on deaf ears. Why? Perhaps because one lobbyist believed it ‘knew all the answers’ – but in retrospect didn’t; and the other, had little to no firsthand knowledge at the time, of the financial needs and workings of post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry – and is still learning. Bottom line? As an industry, we’re now way overregulated, and don’t really deserve this strike against us.

Strike # 3 = is on the horizon, as we end year 2014, and enter 2015. Today we’re being asked to support a ‘win-win’ proposition for ‘homebuyers & environment’ that should be a ‘win-win-win’ proposition for homebuyers, the environment, and the manufactured housing industry! Without that third, important ‘win’, methinks we’ll see Strike # 3 come our way – in the form of 1)‘higher new home prices’ (In excess of $2,000 per new singlesection manufactured home) & 2) ‘fewer sales & shipments’ (i.e. likely back down to 50,000 or fewer homes per year)! I hope not – but until the DOE and both national advocacy bodies ante up publicly, with comprehensive cost-benefit analysis studies for every energy efficiency standards to be implemented, we won’t know the whole story, and will not be able to accurately predict the probable $ consequences. There’s more…

Consider this sobering business truism, so characteristic of the MHIndustry:

The Big Three ‘C’ HUD-Code home manufacturers, due to their large size and estimated collective national factory-built housing market share of 80+/-%, are far more capable – due to economy of scale – of absorbing federally-mandated & self-imposed unit price increases, like those related to implementing these energy efficiency standards and innovations, than smaller, regional factory-built housing manufacturers! Can you see the likely inevitable (predatory) handwriting on that wall? You’d have to be blind not to…

And next week here, maybe read how this example of ‘cram down environmentalism’ is now likened by some, to Obama Care, as a forced tax on homebuyers – since shelter is one of those basic human needs.

POSTSCRIPT

Now, what follows here, will be a curious ‘read’ for some, but not for others. Depends on one’s perspective, i.e. whether an entrepreneur businessperson, salaried corporate executive, managerial employee, association bureaucrat, or otherwise. In any event, I circulated a DRAFT copy of this blog posting to seven carefully selected, thoughtful individuals, some being COBA7® ‘MHInsiders’, others not. Besides the expected and received content and edit recommendations, there was this telling gem from one of the brightest minds active in manufactured housing finance today:

“I truly dislike government intervention into business.” All HUD-Code homes can be energy efficient, when manufacturers (perform) on a level playing field. But that is only part of the challenge. Another “…part of the problem arises from (our industry’s) failing to correct a specific problem regarding structuring retail finance, to safely utilize longer (loan) terms.” In the meantime, we continue to push for cheaper construction, instead of coming together to address this perennial, systemic but solvable, maybe even industry saving, issue!

I’ve already gone on record, calling for MHI & MHARR to co-host the MHIndustry’s first National Strategic Planning Meeting, this Winter, in an easily accessible, affordable location, with the venue open to anyone ‘in the MHBusiness’ willing to pay their own way! MHARR has already dismissed the idea; MHI has been mute on the matter. So, either COBA7® will proceed alone to this end, OR you, the aforementioned entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and bureaucrats, must ‘catch the vision of restructuring and righting our industry’, OR together face it’s likely demise, as we suffer ‘Three Strides & We’re Out!’ of the national, affordable (*) housing marketplace.To express your interest and or support of this (meeting) goal, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or email: gfa7156@aol.com And it certainly wouldn’t hurt for you to contact the national advocacy entity of your choice, and let them know your ‘take’ on this timely and strategic topic and meeting.

The writer quoted in the earlier paragraph has committed himself to support a National Strategic Planning Meeting for YOU and our peers – and I’ll be there as well! GFA

***

End Note. (*) Working definition of affordable or affordability: “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ’…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” – defined by postal zip code and or county. This quoted from Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2014, pp. 105 & 106

II.

Did YOU Know?

Historians are few and far in between throughout the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industries. Just this month Al Hesselbart, longtime recreational vehicle industry writer/author, and Foundation Historian at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Library & Museum in Elkhart, IN., retired.

This leaves the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, by default, as the sole historian in behalf of manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide, and in Canada.

How does Official Historian responsibilities manifest itself where COBA7® is concerned? For starters, the alliance researches, publishes and distributes the industry/asset class’ annual Official State of the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity Asset Class outline (one of a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs updated monthly) every February, as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal. This comprehensive outline is made available to every state and province manufactured housing association throughout North America, & COBA7® often addresses the topic..

And in November of each year,’ The Paradigm Shifts of Mobile & Manufactured Housing…since 1970’ is published and distributed as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal. This SSRD makes for an educational, and at times humorous ‘read’, for MHIndustry executives & LLLCommunity owners/operators, e.g. Did YOU know…

• When & where the phrase ‘D&R Deliveries’, of mobile homes originated? What do the letters D&R mean? Hint. They mark the sorry beginning of our perennial ‘image challenge’ among would be home buyers and consumers nationwide..

• In what year was the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR, founded? Hint. Some say it was a philosophical spinoff from MHI.

• When was this MHIndustry mantra popular? ‘We have no $ down, no job, no problem deals for you!’ Let’s hope we never return to those enronesque days….

• And when was this rallying cry popular in MHCircles? ‘Be a stud, sell a HUD!’

• When was the ‘Year of the hudular’? (A combination of HUD-Code & modular home design and construction popular for a time)

• And when did we hear this self-serving cry? ‘When does hurricane season begin?’

• During what year was this LLLCommunity neo-reality labeled: ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender!’ For that matter, who coined this latter day term for ‘dealer’: independent (street) MHRetailer(s). No, it wasn’t me. Think ‘rainmaker’

And there’s much more to this ongoing historical record of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class. If you’d like to be privy to all this, and much much more, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and affiliate with COBA7® at the Option II level for $544.95. You’ll receive an annual subscription to the Allen Letter professional journal and a dozen SSRDs, beginning with the popular ALLEN REPORT, in January 2015. Become a true ‘MHInsider’ and affiliate with COBA7® today! More than 200 of your peers have done so since January 2014!