Archive for September, 2016

Most Information-packed Blog Posting Ever!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Blog # 415 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 25 September 2016: community-investor.com

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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.

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

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ANNOUNCEMENT: There’s every likelihood there won’t be a blog posting on Sunday, 2 October 2016. Sorry, but we’ll attempt to ‘make up for it’ the following week….

I.

COBA7® Launches
Official HUD-Code Housing Shipment Report!

Tired of reading conflicting ‘HUD-Code housing shipment reports’ each month from manufactured housing’s ‘national advocacy’ trade entities? Well, so are several federal agencies, HUD-Code home manufacturers, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, and others.

Specifically, the Official HUD-Code Housing Shipment Report is prepared monthly, using information purchased from the Institute for Building Safety & Technology. It’s presently distributed to 25 MHIndustry & LLLCommunity leaders, as well as GSEs and other interested parties.

Open and read the attached (to this blog posting) Official HUD-Code Housing Shipment Report. If you’d like to receive for this seminal data document, reply by email or the Official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

This is one more way COBA7® serves the research and reporting needs of the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity real estate asset class. Are you affiliated with COBA7®?

II.

Rising Acquisition Value of LLLCommunities to Decline Soon, or Continue as Contrarian?

You decide – after reading this Press Release, quoted from the Sept/Oct issue of the JOURNAL OF PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, page # 3.

“U.S. commercial real estate prices may decline as much as five percent in the next 12 months amid tightened regulations, a surge of debt maturities and property sales by publicly traded landlords, according to a new report from Pacific Investment Management, a.k.a. PIMCO. The study speculates a worldwide increase in demand for U.S. property investment may ebb, as slowing growth in China, lower oil prices and displaced debt markets threaten to curb six years of price expansion. PIMCO says a real estate shakeout may present opportunities, allowing some buyers to grab properties at bargain prices.”

“In an earlier report, Moody’s Investors Service and Real Capital Analytics estimated commercial property values in big U.S. cities have slipped three percent in the past three months.”

“Market turmoil also has harmed real estate investment trusts (REITs), with companies’ shares trading at prices that undervalue their holdings and spurring leading REITs to become net sellers.”

What do you think?

III.

ALLEN REPORT (#28) Questionnaires Due Back to COBA7® on or before 30 September!

Don’t be left off this year’s 28th annual ALLEN REPORT!. Return your completed questionnaire on or before 30 September, via fax to (317) 346-7158 or mail: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247.

If you or your firm owns and or fee-managed five or more LLLCommunities, or at least 500 rental homesites (MH & RV), but have not received a questionnaire to use to describe your unique property portfolio, phone the number in the previous paragraph and request it, or email via gfa7156@aol.com

There are some new features planned for this (2017) year’s 28th annual ALLEN REPORT, but to realize them, we need at least 25% of the known 500+/- ‘portfolio players’ to participate. Hands down, this is the most frequently referenced compendium of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity benchmark statistics, anywhere, anytime. So, ensure your firm is included in this valuable Signature Series Resource Document or SSRD – one of 12 updated monthly, for you, by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. Don’t be fooled by amateur imitations.

IV.

National Customer Service Week

Are we celebrating National Customer Service Week (3-7 October 2016) in the MHIndustry and throughout the LLLCommunity real estate asset class? Didn’t think so.

We should be! It’d be a step ‘in the right direction’ toward improved public image, and promotion of truly affordable (non-subsidized) housing that only the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry provides. Hmm. Wonder of our ‘national advocates’ are paying attention? If so, perhaps we’ll climb aboard the National Customer Service Week bandwagon this time next year.

V.

All Roads Lead to Atlanta, 26 & 27 October

Already more than 200 registrants committed to attend the 6th annual SECO (‘Southeast Community Owners) ‘Summit in the South’, in Atlanta, GA., 26 & 27 October 2016. Are you one of them? I am. For more information, reach out to Genevieve@roane.com Why go? A load of informative seminars and at least a half dozen Community Series Homes to inspect – and purchase, while at the SECO event.

VI.

MHI’s NCC Leadership Forum,
in Chicago, 2 & 3 November

This annual event will interest some property portfolio players; but by now, just as many – if not more folk, are meeting fatigued! After all, with the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable in September, the 6th annual SECO Summit in the South during October – and the exciting Lease-option program coming up three days later in Iowa, many will have absorbed as much knowledge as one can handle.

By the way, have you noticed how the meetings identified in the previous paragraph (except for NCC’s Leadership Forum) are rarely, if ever, mentioned in the published schedules coming out of either ‘national advocacy’ entity? COBA7®, as a ‘national resource’ entity, routinely lists as many regional and national trade gatherings as possible – whether sponsored by a ‘national advocacy’ entity or not. Wonder why?

If interested in attending NCC’s Leadership Forum, phone (703)558-0400 or 0666

VII.

Lease-option ‘Comes of Age’ in Iowa @ 6 November

This one day session has been ‘in the making’ for some time now. LLLCommunity owner/operator Spencer Roane, MHM®, the MHIndustry’s national expert on ‘lease-option methodology’ has presented this timely topic at past networking roundtables (CA & TN), during SECO Summits in the South (GA), and most recently, at the Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars in Elkhart, IN.

Now he’s been invited to Iowa to ‘splain’ the methodology in detail, to land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators from that and surrounding states. Want to attend? Contact Joe Kelly via (515) 265-1497. I certainly plan to be present for this presentation!

VIII.

26th annual Networking Roundtable!

Mark your calendar NOW. The next International Networking Roundtable will occur, 6-8 September. Location TBA, but areas being considered: AZ, IN, & VA. Any suggestions? Let us know via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

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‘All You Wanted to Know but Didn’t Know Who to Ask!’

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

Blog # 414 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 18 September 2016; community-investor.com

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media – to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

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INTRODUCTION:

I. 25th Networking Roundtable Summary of content & contact information

II. Tough Perennial Issues Relative to Manufactured Housing & Communities

III. ‘Ah, some more Afterglow’ from the Networking Roundtable…

IV. Responses received to date re blog posting # 412.

I.

What Did You Miss, or What Did You Experience?

25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable exceeds expectations!

Marcus & Millichap’s ‘Manufactured Housing Research’ paper, distributed during their Community Investors’ Symposium at the Roundtable, is chock full of salient statistics and emerging trends relative to the land-lease-lifestyle community realty asset class! To request a copy, telephone Michael Glass via (216) 264-2050.

If you’d like a copy of the Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing New Manufactured Homes On-site in LLLCommunities, distributed to everyone attending this year’s Roundtable, a limited number is available for purchase at $29.95 post paid. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE listed in the introduction to this blog posting.

If you’d like a copy of LLLCommunity owner Alvan L. Schrader’s autobiography, ‘No Respect at All’ – A PATH TO MILLION$, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. This case bound text is a $49.95 value for $24.95 post paid – with $20.00 of the purchase price donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. You truly missed an exciting tale, as Al described the challenges his companies faced and surmounted over the years. Hopefully some state MHAssociations, even the MHCongress in Las Vegas, will invite him to share his highly interesting story with their members.

Speaking of exciting presentations, Ken Corbin filled in at the last minute, to cover on-site sale of new homes in LLLCommunities. You’ll likely hear more about him in months to come, maybe where the Louisville Show is concerned, and various state venues. In the meantime, phone him via (740) 487-1544.

If you’d like a copy of Dave Butt’s timely book, With One Cry, ‘Renewed Challenge to Pray for America’, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. Price? $9.95 post paid. This one was distributed to 17 participants, during the informal prayer meeting for our nation & its’ leaders, early Friday morning.

No question about it anymore! Keith Anderson’s Champion Home Builders consider LLLCommunities to be a significant emerging market for their HUD-Code manufactured homes in general, Community Series Homes (‘CSH Models’) in particular1 If you’re unfamiliar with their homes and unique (durability enhancing) features, phone Byron Stroud via (702) 756-2600.

As you likely know, this year’s Roundtable took on an additional emphasis: the 2016 Chattel Capital Summit! Well, Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage, as a keynote presenter, set just the right tone for several messages to follow re ‘traditional ways of financing home only transactions (e.g. C.A.S.H. Program via Ryan Howerton @ (800) 955-0021); emergence of a hybrid means to financing ‘home only’ mortgages (Paul Bradley of ROC USA via (603) 513-2818; and other unique alternatives described by GSEs present (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac), and others, e.g. Scott MacFarlane of HAS Capital, LLC, via (501) 246-3688. One of the most popular $ presentations had to do with Spencer Roane, MHM® covering the basics and fine points of lease-option methodology. Reach him via (678) 428-0212 – or attend the 5th SECO Summit in the South, in Atlanta, GA., on 26 & 27 October. And the Chattel Capital Summit at the roundtable would no have been complete without a nod to compliance issues via Ken Rishel @ (217) 971-3968.

During the Thursday luncheon, Katie Hauck, MHM®, updated the audience as to MHGives, and the work it’s accomplished in Haiti during the past year. MHGives has pretty much emerged as an official charity of the manufactured housing industry. For more information, reach Ken & Katie Hauck via (815) 201-2000.

Who hasn’t heard Don Westphal ‘hold forth’ on designing and rehabilitating LLLCommunities? Well, this time was different. As Don said earlier, here’s the BEST of what I’ve Learned during the past 40+ years in this business! And boy, did he deliver. Reach Don via (248) 651-5518.

Friday morning is always a special time at Networking Roundtables. Why? Because the Lenders’ Panel, this year comprised of 10 national real estate-secured loan originators, held the attention of LLLCommunity owners/operators for an entire hour – getting into the details of acquisition and refinance matters. If you’d like a copy of the 18th National Registry of ALL Lenders, simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE!

And, for the third year in a row, representatives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (at the last minute the Federal Housing Finance Agency rep could not attend), helped this audience become more comfortable with how the GSEs interact with our realty asset class!

Was this all that was covered? Nope. We also had stimulating presentations on internet marketing (Darren Krolewski @ MHVillage), Using SmartMH on-site to sell more manufactured homes (Chris Nicely @ Next Step Homes); contractor fraud (Pat Ford @ Stanford Insurance); and water sub metering/retrofitting old systems (Fred Rice @ Spectrum Utilities).

One resource everyone present treasures? The comprehensive attendee directory they receive – identifying all the Sponsors of the event, as well as ‘everyone’s’ contact information. Has long enjoyed the reputation as the best ‘event directory’ produced anywhere, anytime, by anyone!

See you next year? GFA

II.

Networking Roundtable Not All Education, Networking & Deal-making!

If there’s a ‘secret sauce’ that ensuring Success at every Networking Roundtable, besides 20+ education sessions, eight networking events, and deal-making opportunities, it has to do with what happens after lunch on the final day of the 2 ½ day program.

By then, attrition has reduced event participation by nearly 50 percent, so there might be 100+/- attendees convening in the major conference room following lunch. And during that time ‘we’ (everyone present) get pretty darn serious about the issues and matters facing the MHIndustry and its’ unique income-producing property type.

This year was no different. Here’re the topics put forward by the audience:

• Conjecture regarding eventual return of ‘easy access to traditional chattel capital’ for in-community financing of new and resale ‘home only’ mortgages; versus, openness – or not, to some form of new and hybrid financing, where homes are reclassified as ‘real estate’ and no longer ‘titled’ as vehicles. There are strong and entrenched opinions on both sides of this matter. Suggestion was made there be a closed-door meeting, where the merits and shortfalls of both alternatives are finally and summarily compared ‘line by line’, then debated and discussed1 Who will make this happen? MHI, MHARR, & COBA7®, are you reading this? Is anyone prepared to lead?

• By year end 2015, 40+ percent of all new HUD-Code home shipments were delivered directly into land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide! It is believed the majority of these homes are being purchased and resold by dozens, if not more, of the 500+/- known portfolio owners/operators of LLLCommunities in the U.S. & Canada. What isn’t happening, on a large scale, is purchasing and reselling of new HUD-Code homes by smaller ‘Mom & Pop’-sized communities, i.e. 85 percent of 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide1 The challenge here is: ‘How to identify these property owners, teach them how to buy, sell, and seller-finance new homes onto vacant rental homesites within their respective properties. Again; MHI, MHARR, & COBA7®, are you reading this? Who will seize the initiative to boost annual MH shipments back to the 100,000 level?

• There is some movement, via GSEs (i.e. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac), and private companies (e.g. HAS Capital), towards realizing a secondary market for HUD-Code manufactured housing mortgages. But there has been little to no movement to realize a secondary market for the sale of existing HUD-Code manufactured homes, particularly those sited within LLLCommunities! Neither secondary market will emerge and grow without active leadership. Once again; MHI, MHARR, & COBA7®, are you paying attention to these issues? What will you do in 2017?

• Definition and application thereof, of ‘affordable housing’ continues to plague manufactured housing and LLLCommunity businessmen and women, just as it does folk in the conventional and subsidized apartment arena. It’s past ‘high time’ for us to define this concept, once and for all, ensuring it appears clearly and frequently in trade literature – so individuals and companies will know whether circumstances described as being ‘affordable housing’ are indeed affordable housing! An example. In Bruce Savage’s book, The First 20 Years! he borrows this definition from another text: ‘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.” Pp. 105 & 106. To ascertain AMI, via postal zip code, go online to zipwho.com. If AMI is $50,000/year, then individual/household earning that amount should be able to rent an apartment or buy a home, in that local housing market defined by postal zip code, by investing $25,000/year in 12 monthly rental payments, or 12 house payments comprised of PITI (loan principal, interest, RE taxes, & insurance) alone; or, PITI + household utility payments for one year.

• Here’s a new one! Some believe there should be a clear demarcation between – but cooperation among, national entities claiming to be ‘national advocates’ for manufactured housing, and those providing ‘national resources’. For example; since the majority of revenue at MHI comes from HUD-Code manufacturers, and all such monies at MHARR, it makes sense both organizations, given their physical locations, be ‘national advocates’ for the MHIndustry – focused on improving image; regulatory matters; and in time perhaps, national brand marketing of manufactured housing. Since neither organization engages in sustained statistical research, beyond repeating and or massaging data purchased from the Institute for Building Safety & Technology (‘IBST’), or produces a weekly blog or monthly business newsletters, or compile directories (of consultants, RE brokers, HUD-Code home manufacturers, national trade bodies, and more), it would be natural for COBA7® to be officially recognized and encouraged as ‘national resource’ for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunities nationwide. What do you think?

See what one misses when leaving the Networking Roundtable early? None of the preceding are new issues to the manufactured housing industry, but they’re certainly on the active horizon now. Would like to learn of your perspectives on these matters, via email: gfa7156@aol.com, or mail: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247.

III.

More Afterglow…

Remember the ‘gift binder’ I told you I received from attendees at last week’s Networking Roundtable? Well, here’re a few more of the afterglow gems penned therein:

• ‘George was my inspiration to invest in a wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts.” ZH

• “My kids bought me his big red book (i.e. ‘How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community – as an Investment’) for Christmas, and I learned about operating expense ratios.” DH

• Here’s one I’ll particularly treasure for years to come: “George, you have made a significant impact on our industry over the past three decades. You have pulled together the various industry segments, with your seminars and publications; and in some sense, kept our industry going during bleak times as well as the prosperous times. My hat’s off to you. Thanks a million!” CH

IV.

Responses to Blog Posting # 412 re:

‘The Long View of MH ‘national advocacy’ & LLLCommunity ‘national resources’, 1980-2017’

We just talked about this in Part II, relative to MHIndustry issues & matters. This is just one of several similar responses to blog posting # 412, from two weeks ago:

“Thanks for the post today George. MHI doesn’t affiliate with COBA7® because MHI (erroneously) thinks it needs to provide similar products and services. Isn’t it time for MHI to focus on simply being the (a) national advocate or lobbyist – our eyes and ears at the national level, since our state associations function at the state level? More and more small and midsize community owners are supporting MHI through floor dues, with little-to-no associated benefits in return. Surely we can find a better use for those funds!”

Could share more with you, but this one ‘cuts to the trace’…gfa

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APPRECIATION & APPRECIATED!

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Blog # 413 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 11 September 2016; community-investor.com

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 sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities!

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

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media – to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. Last week’s ‘What No One Else Will Tell You!’ long view topic of MH ‘national advocacy’ & LLLCommunity ‘national resources’, from 1980 to 2017’

generated a spate (‘freshet or storm’) of supportive responses from businessmen and women across the U.S! However, sharing these interesting commentaries will have to wait a week or so, as we ‘recover’ from the exciting week spent at the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable in Nashville, TN.

What follows here, is purposely penned as intimate correspondence between me and those who routinely support, as affiliates, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, and the 180+ businessmen and women, from 25 states and the District of Columbia, in attendance at the subject event.

Friends

I am appreciative and feel appreciated, as I sit here alone at 6AM on the balcony outside our hotel room. Carolyn and I will soon leave the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel for home in Indianapolis, IN. But right now I am parsing and expressing feelings of…

APPRECIATION for everyone, from hotel meeting support staff, to 20+ seminar presenters, and 180+ attendees, as well as Carolyn, Susan and Drew – all for helping facilitate and host the 25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable. It’s now done, and has been a complete success!

&

of being APPRECIATED. Because dozens of ‘friends in the MHBusiness’ took time to pen tributes regarding our 35years of dedication to manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide! It was a complete surprise when Ken & Katie Hauck presented the ‘three ring binder filled with salient memories and encouraging words’ to me, during the final hours of this year’s roundtable event.

Details of the networking roundtable itself? They’ll have to await elaboration in a future blog posting, or issue of the Allen Letter, even the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter.

On the other hand, here’re some of the comments found in the collection of tributes and memoires:

• Several mentioned the opening session, when we stand as a group of 180+ and pledge allegiance to the American flag! We’ve done this since that fateful day, 9/11 in year 2001, when our nation came under terrorist attack. That year we postponed the Networking Roundtable until November; and during that session, implemented the pledge of allegiance feature, as well as an informal Friday morning prayer meeting, ‘for our nation & its’ leaders’

• Several recalled the ‘blizzard of 1999’, when, for several days, Networking Roundtable attendees were stranded en masse, at the Marriott Hotel on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, CO. And how the skeleton hotel staff served meals in the lobby, and Networking Roundtable guys shoveled paths through the five feet deep snow.

• And while I don’t think it’s true, more than one person opined I “…introduced the idea of interpersonal networking to the MHBusiness”. Maybe more to the point, we did, many years ago, initiate the rare-but-highly-popular practice, during the opening session of each Networking Roundtable, where ‘everyone stands, one at a time, and introduces themselves to the entire audience’!

• While many of the penned remarks ‘touched me’ – in varying ways, in this collection, one described how I would like to be remembered during years to come: ‘Thank You for creating and maintaining the foundational baseline of industry data and operational practices, as well as creating tools and resources for MHBusinesses across this nation.” TF

• Some put their finger on the difficult but needed road I’ve chosen to travel professionally, when they commented: “…as a contrarian, George keeps everyone on their toes – EVERYONE! Progress demands some challenge the status quo.” CN. And how I “…consistently take the ‘opposite position and ask the hard question.” JR One could certainly be known for worse peccadillos.

Here I’ve but touched on passages that play to the ‘appreciative & appreciation’ theme of this morning’s blog musings. Perhaps in a week or two, I’ll mine more gems, from the tribute binder, and share them with you – with an eye to helping all grow and mature as MHBusinessmen and women.

And to all of you who patronized this year’s 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable, a heartfelt Thanks to ALL! GFA

What No One Else Will Tell You!

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Blog # 412 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 4 September 2016, community-investor.com

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 sold national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities!

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.

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.’

I.

What No One Else Will Tell You!

The long view of manufactured housing ‘national advocacy’ & land-lease-lifestyle community ‘resources’, from 1980 to 2017….

During 1980, when 221,091 new HUD-Code homes were shipped nationwide (compared to only 70,544 during 2015), and but 25 (then) ‘mobile home park’ property portfolios (compared to 500+/- during 2015), there was but one ‘national advocate’ in behalf of manufactured housing fabrication/distribution, and scarce few ‘national resources’ relative to the unique, income-producing property type.

At the time, the ‘national advocate’ was the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), but joined in 1985 by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), an MHI splinter group. MHI was then, as it continues to be today, (large) manufacturer-dominated; while MHARR serves smaller, regional ‘regulation averse’ HUD-Code home manufacturers; along the way, earning the sobriquet of ‘manufactured housing WATCHDOG in Washington, DC’! Mobile home parks cum manufactured home communities were represented, until 1996, by a committee of MHI member volunteers, with personal and corporate interests in the realty asset class.

All this began to change in 1988, when the first book in 20 years, on any aspect of manufactured housing and its’ real estate component, was published as Mobile Home Park Management (Today’s 6th edition retitled as Landlease Community Management). In short order, ‘mobile home park’ owners started receiving and reading the Allen Letter, and in 1991, were invited to attend the first International Networking Roundtable, in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Two years later, 19 property portfolio owners met in Indianapolis, In., to form an Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) – which turned out to be the forerunner of MHI’s National Communities Council division, launched January 1996, under the leadership of Jim Ayotte. Two years before this landmark event, J. Wiley & Sons publishers, tapped into the need for more (now) MHCommunities in which to site an increasing volume of HUD-Code homes being shipped, e.g., 303,932 in 1994.. Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities enjoyed two print runs before being remaindered. However, after 22 years, it remains the only text on the subject and sells well on the internet and via PMN Publishing. In 1996 & 1998, J. Wiley & Sons marketed two editions of How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community. The text is out of print, though available online…

The point to this point? No real change to MHI, between 1980 and 2000, except for launch of the NCC division – like its organizational parent, simply a ‘national advocate’. And, in the opinion of this veteran industry observer and NCC board member, a division serving the largest of the property portfolio owners/operators! What about MHCommunity owners/operators, and small to mid-sized portfolio ‘players’ in general, nationwide? Some pay dues, as I do, to MHI/NCC. But hundreds of others subscribe to one or both monthly newsletters distributed by PMN Publishing, plus a dozen or more Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs; first and foremost of which, is the (27th) annual ALLEN REPORT.

The dawning of the 21st Century, besides seeing manufactured housing’s $ bubble burst, and the dire consequences thereof (During 1998 & 2009 = 372,843 & 49,789 new HUD-Code home shipments respectively), also foisted a ‘sea change’ on the ‘double dual industry’ (i.e. home manufacturing/distribution & realty investment/management). This, in addition to the start of a major paradigm shift, continuing to this day (2016), as the MHIndustry & (now) land-lease-lifestyle community asset class reconstruct their collective home distribution business model. The little acknowledged ‘sea change’, on the other hand, has everything to do with the debut of a new generation of home manufacturers, and MHCommunity owners on the national business scene! Some of this infusion of new blood, however, was restricted as corporate consolidation compromised the identities of several housing manufacturers and many larger LLLCommunities.

On the realty component side alone, with an eye to documenting the appearance of this new next generation, recall the household names of Shiffman, Partridge, McDaniel, Landy, Bessire, Casenhiser, Galland, Zeman, Newby, Smith, Nodel, Vukovich, Shouhayib, Santeford, Haney, Schrader, Flood, Harshaw, Follett, Horner, Cohron, Hames, Ditto, Ives, Germano, Stevenson, Wolfe, Steferud, Singer, Jensen, Steiner, Steele, Boggs, Holefelder, Durand, McKee – and many more. (Most of these names were culled from the 27th ALLEN REPORT listing of 120 portfolios, with another 380 firms waiting in the wings!) As a related aside, the 28th annual ALLEN REPORT is being researched as you read these lines. The formal report will appear as an SSRD lagniappe, in the January 2017 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. To reserve your copy, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

The 16 year paradigm shift in the new home distribution business model; plus, the ‘sea change’ of new next generation talent and motivation; as well as the increased presence of investors from outside the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, in large part, motivated the January 2014 launch of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® or COBA7®. Yes, while we all need – and hopefully benefit from, ‘national advocacy’ effected in behalf of the realty asset class by MHI’s NCC division, there’s a major, ongoing need for the large array of LLLCommunity-oriented products and services, a.k.a. ‘national resources’ unavailable from any other national entity representing manufactured housing!

And this is where ‘a (serious) rub’ comes into play! MHI and its’ NCC division appear to be content in their myopic world of ‘national advocacy’! And many of us in the LLLCommunity business world are OK with that. But WHY does MHI’s NCC division NOT actively, even passively (Except when attending Networking Roundtables), support the seven parts that comprise COBA7®? To date, though repeatedly invited to do so, the NCC has NOT affiliated with COBA7®, i.e. via annual fees – like many LLLCommunity folk pay to the MHI/NCC! Had they done so, here’re the ways they’d have benefitted:

• Ongoing statistical research. Think the ALLEN REPORT. This statistical compendium is routinely referenced and cited by private and public entities.

• Updating & distribution of a dozen SSRDs, e.g. 16th National Registry of ALL Lenders, directories of HUD-Code home manufacturers, trade entities, etc..

• Weekly & monthly communication, via print (two newsletters) and online (weekly blog @ community-investor.com), focused on LLLCommunities

• Superb networking opportunities via annual Networking Roundtable. (25th anniversary event ‘this week’ in Nashville,) and various specialty groups…

• Realty deal-making opportunities. Something not offered by anyone else, anywhere, in the U.S. and Canada

• Professional property management training & certification via Manufactured Housing Manager® program. More than 1,000 MHM®s manage in US & CN!

• National advocacy when need be; specifically (press) ombudsman and official historian to the manufactured housing industry & LLLCommunity asset class.

NCC’s present day posture rarely acknowledges COBA7® as the primary ‘national resource’ of LLLCommunity products & services, prompting this embarrassing question:

Is there a nefarious (‘unspeakably wicked’) tone to, or aspect of, this near total lack of recognition and cooperation between MHI’s NCC division and COBA7®, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing? If so, WHY? If not; why does it appear to be so?

Indicators, if not proof, of NCC division’s standoffish and clique-supporting activities:

NCC executives are (sometimes) complimentary about one’s activities in behalf of the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunities, but they avoid attending COBA7® events (e.g. None expected to attend this week’s 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable in Nashville, TN!); all the while insistent, however, that NCC board members (e.g. ‘me’) be present at all division meetings!

NCC routinely imitates ‘national resources’ created and nurtured by (now) COBA7®,

1. Top 50 List of Owners vs. annual ALLEN REPORT

2. Fall leadership forum for LLLCommunity owners, scheduled shortly after aforementioned annual Networking Roundtable each Fall

3. Since the early 1990s, when MHEI launched the ACM program – after asking GFA Management, Inc., not to launch its’ MHM program (to be based on the 1988 text, Mobile Home Park Management). MHM® was started a decade later.

NCC, in an apparent effort to restrict member participation in national elections of its’ officers, forbids proxy voting – even though it’s a permitted practice during elections of MHI board members. (Hmm. ‘What is good for the goose should also be good for the gander’, don’t you think?). And then there’s the discriminatory practice of ‘affluence gerrymandering’. This occurs as the MHI & NCC meet in expensive, usually resort locations – effectively limiting the number of direct, dues-paying members who can afford to attend and participate in group proceedings.

Now, looking ahead to 2017. COBA7® affiliates have been suggesting stark alternatives, relative to an ongoing, or not, relationship with MHI/NCC:

• Continue the one-sided relationship unchanged, simply to stay abreast and informed of MHI/NCC present and future plans and activities, i.e. COBA7® to maintain paid membership with MHI/NCC, while MHI/NCC continues to ignore COBA7®, and not pay to affiliate at the Option I, II, or III levels.

• Once again, invite MHI/NCC to formally affiliate with COBA7® at the Option I, II, or III level.

• Quit MHI/NCC altogether and take steps to increase presence and effectiveness as a primary ‘national advocate’ for land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide. COBA7® is already on the ‘invite’ list among several federal regulatory agencies and departments. Several property portfolio owners/operators have already volunteered to fund this effort, if need be.

What do you think COBA7® should do? Respond to this blog posting via email, phone, or letter to COBA7® c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

17 years ago, during February 1999, I penned a feature article for The Journal. It was titled, ‘Why I Belong!’, and soon became a popular reprint among state MHAssociations, as a new member recruiting tool. After making 10 specific points in favor of supporting one’s state and national trade entities, I ended with this quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

“Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”

The question LLLCommunity owners/operators should be asking themselves NOW, is this: WHO has my interests, as a businessman or woman, at heart and in hand, promoting this unique, income-producing property type, nationwide; ensuring its’ statistical research, resource distribution, print & online communication, networking & deal-making needs, professional property management training & certification, even national advocacy needs are being met well and consistently?

Frankly, COBA7® believes the previous paragraph goal can be best met by an active, working partnership between the NCC as ‘national advocate’, and COBA7® as ‘national resource’. But it will take you, as LLLCommunity owners/operators, to make this happen, by dint of your support and vocal sharing of your thoughts and opinions!

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