Archive for July, 2017

Manufactured Housing exceeds MAGAnomics 3%/year Goal!

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Blog # 456; Copyright @ 23 July 2017; at Community-investor.com/blog

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities’, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.

This blog posting is the sole national advocate voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report, & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities

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 performance!
________________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION: The content of this week’s blog posting is important, and potentially explosive – on the national scene, where economic performance matters, there is but one (’I') primary focus! And the hope is it, somehow, this Good News winds up in the hands of legislators and regulators presently oppressing manufactured housing and land lease communities, as encouragement to promote, rather than stifle, further economic growth nationwide!

I.

Manufactured Housing & MAGAnomics

‘Make America Great Again economics goal = sustained three percent annual economic growth’. Manufactured housing is averaging 10.4 percent annual growth for years 2013 thru 2016!

Don’t know ’bout you, but given this triple high level of business economic performance, compared to MAGAnomics goal of three percent annual sustained economic growth, we – as an industry, should be touting and lauding our brand of affordable housing to every legislator in Washington, DC., and across this great land! What do you think? If you agree, print off this blog (#456) posting and pass it onto your federal legislators, state manufactured housing trade association, and anyone else who needs to hear and act on this message! If you don’t tell them, no one else will! And you have my outright permission to reprint this important information to this end!

So, what’s this all about?

During the past four years, for which we have ‘verified’ (’v') manufactured housing shipment totals, using Institute for Building Technology & Science (’IBTS’) monthly data, including DESTINATION PENDING units (i.e. not shipped to specific state destinations, at the time of the monthly report)*1; and Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s ‘production value’ of $43,126/new HUD-Code manufactured homes shipped*2, we can boast the following positive economic performances, in real numbers and percentages, for years 2014 thru 2016:

2013 = 60,228 (v) new homes shipped X $43,126/unit = $2.6 billion; total ‘production value’, rounded up from $2,597,392,000.00.

2014 = 64,331 (v) new homes shipped X $43,126/unit = $2.7 billion; total ‘production value’, rounded up from $2,774,338,000.00. Year 2014 annual ‘production value’ up 6.73 percent from year 2013.

2015 = 70,554 (v) new homes shipped X $43,126/unit = $3.0 billion; total ‘production value’ rounded down from $3,042,290,000.00. Year 2015 annual ‘production value’ up 9.6 percent from year 2014.

2016 = 81,136 (v) new homes shipped X $43,126/unit = $3.5 billion; total ‘production value’ rounded up from $3,499,071,000.00. Year 2016 annual ‘production value’ up 15 percent from year 2015.

Well, there you have it. Statistical information, based on IBTS monthly shipment data, that demonstrates HUD-Code manufactured housing is recovering from it’s doldrums of a nadir year in 2009, and is leading MEGAnomics as well!

What will you do to ’spread the word’ that HUD-Code manufactured housing continues to be the most affordable brand of factory-built housing – or any type housing, for that matter, available anywhere in the United States? Write and tell us, via gfa7156@aol.com how you’re using this data to get customer, legislator, regulator attention, and sell more manufactured homes!

End Notes.

1. As will soon be pointed out in the forthcoming book SWAN SONG, a semi-autobiographical history of land lease communities from 1970-2017, most if not all annual MH shipment totals, e.g. 48,789 new manufactured homes shipped during 2009, are not verifiable using IBTS monthly data (IBTS does not publish annual totals for good reason), and different totals have routinely been published by one or more national advocacy entities between 1959, or 1985, thru year 2012.

2. Dr. Cooke’s ‘production value’ of $43,126 per new HUD-Code home is based on data researched during year 2013, at the behest of the Manufactured Housing Institute (’MHI’). No data updates evidently available at this time.

George Allen, CPM & MHM; COBA7 c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

SWAN SONG, Contretemps, & Honest Disagreement. All for You!

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Blog # 455; Copyright @ 16 July 2017; at community-investor.com/blog

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities’, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.

This blog posting is the sole national advocate voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report, & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities.

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 performance!
________________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION: What a heady mix of topics this week! SWAN SONG, Contretemps, & Honest Disagreement. SWAN SONG focuses on past & present; Contretemps & Honest Disagreement on present & future, of manufactured housing and land lease communities. Just wish it could have all been penned in succinct fashion, but given the nature of both foci, this is the best I could do for you. GFA

I.

What’s So Special About Swan Song?

‘George Allen’s History of the Land Lease Communities (1970-2017)
&
First Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments (1955-2017)’

This is a tell-all book about manufactured housing and land lease communities during my 45 year career in factory-built housing and investment properties, and as a professional property manager – accolades, warts, and all!

No fewer than 80 friends and associates, from my decades in this ‘double dual business model’ are identified (Some have died), and credited for specific contributions to the manufactured housing industry, and ‘mobile home parks’ cum manufactured home communities cum land lease communities.*1 A personal goal is to put a gratis copy of Swan Lake in everyone’s hands at the 26th Networking Roundtable, 6-8 September, in Indianapolis, IN. Or mail copies to them afterwards. There are no plans to sell this historic, tantalizing, tell-all tome (’large book’) on the open market.

Tell-all? Here’s one example. There’s never been, before Swan Song, an ‘Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments’ ,circa 1955-2017. Seriously. Oh, there’re lists all right, but have you compared claimed annual shipment volumes side by side, year by year? The totals often differ, depending on ‘whose & which’ national advocate’s list one references. Well, this ‘Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments’ debuting in Swan Song, lists annual shipment data with a (+/-) when there’s no verifying monthly data available from HUD’s contracted scorekeeper, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (IBTS’). And where there is archived monthly shipment data (available only for recent years), the annual total is clearly marked as ‘Verified’. For the record, IBTS does not publish annual HUD-Code housing shipment totals, due to uncertain disposition of DESTINATION PENDING housing units – oft not resolved until years later!

There are additional timely and helpful reprints and unpublished works, about manufactured housing & land lease community topics. Here’s some of what you’ll read and in this landmark text:

• Brian Gallagher’s (COO/CFO @ Santefort Neighborhoods, Chicago, IL.), ‘A Land lease Community, Seller-Finance Success Story’, prepared for the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (’FHFA’) Chicago ‘listening session’ in early 2017. Reprinted from the Allen Letter professional journal.

• Spencer Roane’s (Founder & President of Pentagon Properties, Atlanta, GA.), ‘Manufactured Home in a Land Lease Community versus Site-built Home on Deeded Realty’ – a $ comparison featured in Manufactured Housing Review.

• Mary Ann Andersen, ‘One Man’s Vision Realized, the Saddlebrook Farms Story’. This is, without a doubt, one of the most anticipated business model success stories in manufactured housing and land lease community history!

• George Allen’s contributions: ‘An Error to Die For’ (circa 1990); ‘Upside Down in a Mobile Home Park’ (circa 2000); ‘Historical (chattel capital) Perspective, to FHFA’s DTS Rulemaking Challenge to GSEs’ (January 2017); as well as ‘The Florida Communities Story’, shared as a Case Study, in the Guidebook to On-site New Home Sales & Seller-financing (2016); and, ‘The Manufactured Housing Industry Tipping Point’ – a timely, serious warning to the industry and asset class!

If all that doesn’t titillate you to the point of wanting to be present at the upcoming Networking Roundtable, there isn’t much more I can say, to convince you to attend.

Furthermore, we’re ‘pulling out all the stops,’ to host and facilitate the Best educational, interpersonal networking, and realty deal-making opportunity ever planned and facilitated for owners/operators of land lease communities nationwide.

End Notes.

1. Double dual business model’ = HUD-Code manufactured housing production & distribution; land lease community development & management.
II.

CONTRETEMPS
&
HONEST DISAGREEMENT

MHARR finds FHFA’s Duty to Serve Underserved Markets – Implementation Plan, to be “…wholly deficient and unacceptable with respect to the manufactured housing component of DTS…particularly the chattel financing segment of the manufactured housing consumer lending market….” *1 And, “MHI reinforced its position the Enterprises’ plans must lead to chattel manufactured home loan purchases. MHI argued the plans should include measurable benchmarks, and DTS credit must only come from achieving these benchmarks.” (Lightly edited. GFA)

versus

Others (i.e. non-national advocacy entity academics, as well as businessmen & women, with ’skin in the MH game’) wax optimistic. Believing GSE’s are ready to work with manufactured housing, on several fronts, to restore reasonable access to chattel capital to land lease community owners/operators routinely selling and seller-financing new and resale manufactured homes on-site. *2

So, how is this a contretemps (’an embarrassing occurrence’)? As badly as the manufactured housing industry needs reasonable access to chattel capital for home loans, we don’t need continuing disunity and distrust hamstringing the industry in front of federal legislators and regulators! Answer this: ‘Do we continue to ‘go to the mat’ with said regulators and legislators; or, once again, placidly attempt to negotiate our way out of unpleasant situations?’ Here’s a clear example of this counterproductive attitude.

From ‘MHI News & Updates’ dated 12 July 2017:

“Several other organizations noted similar sentiments in their own comment letters. The National Association of REALTORS expressed their support of the Enterprises’ inclusion of a pilot program for chattel loans. The Mortgage Bankers Association stated, given that ‘chattel loans comprise the vast majority of manufactured housing loans, it would be difficult for he Enterprises to fulfill their obligation to serve the manufactured housing market without addressing chattel loans.”

Really? Well then, the defining question is this: ‘Where’s mention of MHARR’s like-focused comment letter to the FHFA? If NAR & MBA support of ‘inclusion of a pilot program for chattel loans’ is worthy of mention; why not the lengthy comments, on the very same subject during the same timeframe, from MHARR – as a sign of industry unity? As long as we, as an industry and realty asset class, suffer counterproductive attitudes like this, among manufactured housing advocacy entities in Washington, DC., we’ll likely continue to suffer unhelpful actions by regulators and legislators!

As to’ honest disagreement’; someone needs to stand up to ‘Support or Debunk’ (lightly edited) statements following; quoted from MHARR’s comment correspondence to the Honorable Mel Watt, Director of the FHFA, dated 10 July 2017:

• MHARR challenges FHFA “…to produce and approve amended plans that…provide for the market-significant securitization and secondary market support of manufactured home chattel loans by the Enterprises on an expedited basis.” (p.2)

• The FHFA 2016 DTS Final Rule and proposed DTS implementation plans flowing from that rule, represent not only a failure to comply with the will and word of Congress, but a failure of leadership as well.” (p.3)

• “The implementation of DTS…established by the FHFA final rule and related Evaluation Guidance fails to mandate any securitization or secondary market support for any type of manufactured housing loan, either real estate or chattel.” p.5)

• “…current ‘portfolio’ manufactured housing lenders have developed a profitable business model (with higher-cost interest rates that would produce even greater returns with the lower rates and significant greater volume that would result from Enterprise support)” p.8

• “…for the Enterprises, that spent years putting people into homes they could not afford – leading to their own collapse – to now balk at helping people buy manufactured homes they can afford (to buy), based on alleged ‘risk’, is absurd, unacceptable and inexcusable.” p.10

• “…manufactured housing consumers will remain, effectively, as captive customers, within a financing market dominated by just one or two lenders, that is less than fully competitive, and that charges them high-cost interest rates, specifically because of the absence of such support by the Enterprises.” p.13

Now, there was one statistic in MHARR’s ‘FHFA DTS’ review, and confirmed in MHI’s like letter, that illustrates growing influence and presence of land lease communities as buyers, sellers, and financiers of HUD-Code manufactured homes:

• “Chattel placements (presumably new homes going into land lease communities), represent an expanding segment of the overall manufactured housing market, having increased from 64% of all placements in 2007 to 80% of all placements in 2014, a 25% increase.” (p.6). For context; recall 2009 = the nadir point of MH shipments @ only 48,789 new HUD-Code homes shipped nationwide; and 2014, where shipment volume increased to 64,331 (verified) new homes.

MHI, in its’ own right, takes the Enterprises to task, in its’ comment letter dated 10 July 2017:

• “…both Plans include a number of ’soft’ Activities (such as research, conferences, roundtables, and provision of educational materials), and both Plans include Objectives to promote loans to manufactured home communities, which do not increase the availability of manufactured home loans to very low, low, and moderate -income borrowers.”‘ p.1

• “…the Plans do not appear to include efforts to purchase manufactured home loans on a flow basis (i.e. through establishment of underwriting guidelines that allow seller-services to sell all loans that meet such guidelines).” p.2

• “…MHI believes purchasing commercial loans for manufactured housing (sic) communities does not address an ‘underserved market’ need, and therefore the Enterprises should not receive Duty to Serve credit for such loans.” p.3

• “MHI is confident chattel loans can be purchased safely and profitably, with proper underwriting standards and appropriate compensating fees and risk sharing.” From previous paragraph: “…it is now nine years since Congress passed Duty to Serve, and neither of the Enterprises are purchasing such loans.” p.3

• And finally, “…the buildout (sic) of a chattel purchase program on a flow basis necessitates the development of a functioning, cost-effective secondary market for such loans.” p.4

So, where do YOU stand amidst this ‘contretemps &. honest disagreement’ discussion?

It’s simply one more significant and timely reason why you should be in Indianapolis, 6-8 September, when our keynote presenter touts the positive perspective of this complicated matter. To register for the event, use attached brochure of via gfa7156@aol.com.

End Notes:

1. MHARR = Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform; FHFA = Federal Housing Finance Agency (oversees GSEs); &, DTS = Duty to Serve

2. GSEs = in this instance, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

‘MHFinancing Strategies, & Anticipated Impact of GSE’s DTS Programs; & more reminiscing!

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Blog # 454; Copyright @ 9 July 2017; at community-investor.com/blog

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities’, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing..

This blog posting is the sole national advocate voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report, & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities

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 performance!
________________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION: Oops! My attempt to dress-up last week’s blog posting (#453) with a yellow rising sun background, for some reason, negated your ability to access the blog proper via left clicking on the imbedded website address. Sorry ’bout that! Suggest you now, or after reading this posting (# 454), scroll back at the end of the posting, to read blog #453, titled: REMINISCING. Some good property management tales there – ones that prompted this sharing of more such tales, from others and me, again.

Know what? This blog is a classic example of ‘Saving the Best for Last!’ How so?

Part II embodies truly exciting new news, describing the keynote presentation to occur at the Networking Roundtable, the morning of 7 September 2017, in Indianapolis, IN. Could not alert you to this before, but now know, ‘This presentation alone, is worth the registration fee to attend this popular annual event!’

But first, to further reminisce…

I.

REMINISCING, Part II.

Here’s a lightly edited submission from now retired, long time independent (street) MHRetailer and land lease community owner/operator, Bob Bross, of St. Louis

Try being a retail dealer selling homes on a full recourse finance
basis, then having the banker get mad as hell at you, about something
or other, and being determined to bankrupt you – by handing you 105
repossessions in one year! I have the tax returns to prove it!

Yikes! Must be the reason my mentors, in this business, over the years, have counseled me to avoid full recourse at every opportunity. But ‘today’, isn’t that what many land lease community owners/operators are doing when they seller-finance their on-site new home sales transactions? Bottom line? Be very thorough with one’s lending screening and qualification process. For a great tool to this end, use Spencer Roane’s ‘free’ worksheet. We stock it at COBA7: Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or request it via gfa7156@aol.com

And then there was this experience from Steve in California. “Awhile back I bought a 1970 ‘doublewide’ home from a heavy smoker. Collapsed floor board around toilet, paneling and draperies coated with cigarette tar (She never opened her windows, ever), original shag carpet, & Avocado colored appliances. Also a Singer sewing machine of 1897 vintage, and a 1936 Hoover vacuum cleaner. Remodeled the home and sold for a profit!”

Now, back to unique peculiarities and intricacies of land lease community property ownership and property management.

What have I seen done to ameliorate (’lessen the consequences of’) an overworked extended aeration waste treatment plant, with weir overflowing ‘flock blanket’ in the clarifier tank – when word came down the health department inspector was making his circuit among (then) mobile home parks in a Kentucky county? Well, from behind one of the blowers, the maintenance man removed a box of Calgon dishwasher detergent powder, then generously sprinkled some atop the flock blanket. Wow! You should have seen that flock coagulate and drop down to about four inches below the water surface, just far enough to stop flowing over the weir at the end of the tank. Who’d a thought? Certainly not condoning this remedy, just describing it.

“Please fill out this Guest Card, so I can turn it in to show my boss I’m doing my job!” So said the home sales and leasing consultant, as I sat down for our Mystery Shopping interview. And know what? That’s the last she looked at the card and the ‘housing need’ information I’d printed on it. And here I thought a Guest Card was a tool to help sell more homes and lease more rental homesites! Guess I was wrong, in that case, anyway. By the way, this tale and one told last week, simply underline the necessity and value of having one’s residential, multifamily properties Mystery Shopped on a regular basis. Are you doing this?

“Your honor, I don’t have money to pay this rent and court costs.” To which the judge replied, “OK, empty your pockets onto the table there in front of you.” The defendant strenuously objected, but did so. Out came more than $300.00 in large bills; more than enough to pay the $200+ rent and court costs. Now that is going to happen only in a rural county court in southern Indiana….

Giving my maintenance man a tranquilizer pistol to ‘take down’ stray dogs running in packs through our manufactured home community started as a good idea, but ended with a classic ‘unintended consequence’.. Oh, it worked fine with the larger dogs. They’d be tranquilized, then taken to the local pound. However, when they overdosed (’killed’) a smaller, mangy, mutt – it turned out to be a resident’s prize show dog! Seriously. They filed suit, and in the end, our insurance company paid them several hundred dollars to make the problem go away.

How do you turnaround a 135 rental homesite (bank foreclosed) community, plagued with 200+ potholes in the streets, and only ten rent-paying residents in place? Two years earlier the property was full, but when the town’s sole major employer, a factory, closed its’ doors, most homeowner/site lessees departed. The remedy? Fill the potholes yourself (It’s called ’sweat equity’), and enlist residents to recruit friends, family members, and co-workers to fill vacant rental homesites, in lieu of rent increases!. Did it work? Sure did. 75% occupancy in a few years and no rent increase for five.

Best or worst delinquent rent collector of all time? Jules was a retired wrecker driver. He worked part time for me, going door to door, collecting back site rent. He was 100% effective! Decided to covertly shadow him one day to learn his secret. His drill? Knock on the front door and step back as door opened. Told the renter what he/she owed. If there was any argument, he’d turn slightly, displaying a holstered pistol barely hidden under his jacket or shirttail. End of argument. Renter paid and Jules departed. That was the last day Jules collected delinquent rental homesite rent for me.

So, like last week, if you have similar , beyond the pale, land lease community and management tales to share, let me know via email: gfa7156@aol.com

Now, onto – by far – the most exciting blog topic in this, and previous postings of late:

II.

Current MH Financing Strategies, & Potential Impact of GSE’s Duty to Serve Programs!

= the title of keynote address, at the 26th Networking Roundtable, Indianapolis, IN.

Here’s how the keynote presenter describes the important message he plans to share during the morning of 7 September 2017:

“A decade has passed since the Government Sponsored Enterprises (’GSE’) last purchased chattel loans, and in that time, diverse and creative approaches have arisen in an attempt to fill the void. As Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac now signal they are ready to test the market for chattel loans, this first public presentation 1) reviews current financing options and strategies, 2) explores opportunities and impact of potential GSE chattel programs, and 3) paints a picture of manufactured housing’s future in the context of chattel finances evolution.”

Yes, this is the researched & compiled overview, of present & future manufactured housing chattel capital finance, we’ve awaited, for more than a decade! It will be formally presented by the individual, well known in land lease community owner/operator circles, who performed the actual research, interviewed lending sources, and worked with GSEs, to shape this historic comprehensive presentation. No one else in the manufactured housing industry is better qualified, or has the credentials, to ‘make this happen’!

Frankly, every major HUD-Code housing manufacturer, independent chattel lending source, both national manufactured housing advocates, and land lease community owners/operators presently engaged in the on-site sale and seller-financing of new and resale manufactured homes should be present for this first public presentation of this strategic, industry-saving & restorative topic!

And the ‘icing on the cake’ of this historic keynote address, will be a panel presentation the next morning – following the popular real estate mortgage originator’s panel – of one featuring HUD-Code housing manufacturers with company finance programs, and independent third party chattel capital lenders, who’re sponsors of this year’s stellar roundtable. The aforementioned keynote presenter will moderate that panel!

To register for the 26th annual Networking Roundtable, 6-8 September 2017, use attached brochure. To sign-on as a sponsor, contact me directly via (317) 346-7156. Don’t wait on either matter! Attendance this year is strictly limited to 200, due to meeting space availability at The Alexander host hotel in downtown Indianapolis, IN.

Postscript. No promises, but there’s a good chance this presentation will be published in the near future, enabling reprint circulation to land lease communities nationwide, only just now realizing they must buy new HUD-Code homes to sell and seller-finance on-site, if they plan to continue in business during the years ahead. But don’t wait for this to ‘maybe happen’. Be present for this first public presentation of the present and future evolution of chattel capital.

***

George Allen, CPM & MHM
COBA7, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156.

Reminiscing: ‘What Can Happen to One During Nearly 50 Years in this Business

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Blog # 453; Copyright @ 2 July 2017; at community-investor.com/blog

Perspective: ‘Land lease communities’, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.

This blog posting is the sole national advocate voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report, & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities!

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 performance!
_______________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION: The next three months promise to be the most exciting ones of all 2017! On 7 August, at RV/MH Hall of Fame, in Elkhart, IN., these two events will occur:

• MHAlive! Think Tank, 9-11AM. Letters, including two pages of preliminary MH & LLCommunity issues and matters, have been sent to the dozen individuals committed to attend. If you’d like to be included in the max of 25 expected that morning, phone (317) 346-7156 or via gfa7156@aol.com Yes, both national advocates have been invited; now awaiting their answer. Copies of the finished product will be sent to them after the MHAlive! Think Tank session.

• RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, 5:30-9:00PM. Hope you plan to be present to fete 10 RV & MH industry pioneers and leaders; including Michael Sullivan, CPM from CA; Spencer Roane, MHM from GA; Christine Lindsey, MHM from TN; and David Gorin from VA. For more information and to register, phone (574) 293-2344. Record attendance expected at this year’s event! Don’t miss it!

And then comes the…

• 26th annual Networking Roundtable, 6-8 September, in Indianapolis, IN., at The Alexander Hotel. See attached brochure for agenda. Some very special features this year, but you’ll have to be present to experience them! For info, phone (317) 346-7156. And there are still some sponsorship opportunities available. Did you know? Top notch sponsors have their names and contact information highlighted in the annual ALLEN REPORT? That’s ‘free advertising’ all year long!

Now that’s probably the longest INTRODUCTION to any blog posting I’ve penned to date (nearly 500 of them!). Here the ‘fun begins’, as I share a few of my most memorable experiences as a property manager, land lease community owner, author, and management consultant, during the past nearly 50 years! And if you like them enough, and tell me so, I’ll pen a few more for you next week. Tell me via gfa7156@aol.com
Reminiscing

What Can Happen to One During Nearly 50 Years in this Business

A couple weeks ago, in a weekly blog posting (#451) here at community-investor.com, I announced a new book I’m authoring, for planned ‘free’ distribution to attendees at the 26th annual Networking Roundtable in Indianapolis, IN., 6-8 September 2017. Titled SWAN SONG, and subtitled: ‘George Allen’s History of the Land Lease Community Real Estate Asset Class, 1970-2017 & Manufactured Housing Shipments, 1955-2017′, this project tapped ‘big time’ into memories and instances of ‘unintended consequences’.

How so? Well, as I researched personal and corporate historical material, decade by decade, I kept bumping into, and reminiscing about, really unusual property management encounters and ‘one of a kind’ consulting assignments, relative to our shared experience with land lease communities . Now, some of these tales will likely wind up in the aforementioned book, but most will not. So, thought I’d take a few minutes to titillate you with a few of the stories, in abbreviated fashion:

• An early experience, circa 1978, had to do with an on-site manager who, when evicting (a.k.a. ‘bagging out’) a tenant from a rental (then) mobile home, found his bathtub filled with water and a school of large catfish swimming around inside. Next to the tub was a baseball bat. Conclusion? Hungry tenant sprinkled bread crumbs atop the water, stunned a surfacing catfish, then filleted and fried it for dinner. I have the photograph to prove it!

• Two years later I worked briefly, for a novice-but-claimed-to-be experienced realty investor, who put $1,000,000.00 cash in escrow, to buy four (then) mobile home parks. The deal failed shortly thereafter; he left town, and a decade later, murdered several attorneys in downtown San Francisco before committing suicide. Why? Believed ‘everyone’ had betrayed him during the past ten years, and this was his revenge. I was on his ‘hit list’, along with several other manufactured housing notables, including a future REIT CEO.

• Within days after Hurricane Andrew, during early 1990s, I was hired, by a property portfolio owner, to visit his destroyed Florida manufactured home communities in Homestead. Enroute, all interstate road signs and light poles were gone, and exit names had been spray-painted on off-ramp road surfaces by national guard soldiers. Singlesection manufactured homes had been storm-rolled against a perimeter fences and were often stacked three high. Even concrete block motels had their roofs blown off completely. And 18 inch diameter, tall pine trees were denuded of all their limbs, large and small. Have the photos!

• Mystery Shopping assignments always spelled adventure! One time, in Denver, I encountered a late model Mercedes Benz ‘up on blocks’ and without tires, in a manufactured home community. When I told the property owner, he replied: “Oh, that shows how we cater to a higher class of homeowners!” Or the time I walked into an Information Center, only to see the manager I’d been hired, a year earlier, to remove from another land lease community! He recognized me swell, but didn’t harbor any hard feelings. Whew!

• How’d that firing occur? A Chicago-based owner hired me to remove this manager, who’d threatened him, out of his Indianapolis manufactured home community. Now, this was an effective but gruff manager, so I found him a like property management position in Illinois; sent him for an interview, and he was hired. And I collected my ‘removal’ consulting fee. A ‘triple win’ for all!

• One New England owner believed it more effective to leave street potholes in place throughout his land lease community, than to install speed bumps. When I challenged him about the matter, his response was: “You don’t see anyone speeding in here do you?” No.

• And then there was our (business partners & me) first (then) manufactured home community purchase, back in the early 1980s. We paid $400,000.00 cash for a foreclosed 500 rental homesite Midwest property, with only 100 rent-paying homeowners in place. Two years later, now with 200 homeowner/site lessees in place (i.e. 40% occupancy), we sold it begrudgingly (Because we had no desire to sell yet), to a California investor who had become ‘emotionally attached’ to our property. The Dr. agreed to pay us what it’d be worth at 100% occupancy, at current rent, and 40% operating expense ratio! So, sale price was $2 1/2 million dollars! When we acquired that property two years earlier, at ‘closing’ the seller (bank) threw in (gave us) 35 acres of nearby farmland, on which the property’s wellhead sat, because their staff had neglected to include it the property description – and we didn’t have any additional funds. Soon afterwards, we hooked up to nearby city water, and sold the farmland for $200,000.00+/-.

• Our second acquisition was almost as unusual, if not lucrative. Bought a 135 rental homesite Illinois community, with only ten homes paying rent, for $135,000. (With $10,000 down payment, and an interest only mortgage for 12 months). Three years earlier, the land lease community had been 100% occupied – until the sole major employer closed their local factory, ‘emptying the property’ of tenants. I filled 100+ potholes with asphalt patch that first summer, and enlisted homeowner/site lessees to recruit new move-ins (family, friends, & co-workers). Together, we took the property to 75% occupancy, before raising rent for the first time, several years later.

• Then there was the first book I wrote and self-published back in 1988: Mobile Home Park Management. No traditional publisher would touch it for the subject matter. But thanks to guidance in Dan Poynter’s Self-publishing Manual, and John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, we presold the entire first print run before I drove to Ohio to pick up the books from the printer/binder! And the rest is history. Eight editions later, it’s now Land Lease Community Management, and the basic text for the Manufactured Housing Manager (’MHM’) certification program. Publishing Rule of thumb worth remembering? Traditional publishers pay 25%+/- royalties to a writer or co-authors, while self-publishers pockets 100% of their royalties (i.e. net profit), but are responsible for 100% of book marketing and sales! Not a casual task. Now you know….

Oh there’s so much more I’d like to share with you, but this will have to do for now.

Like the time Carolyn and I were accosted by a motorcycle gang as we Mystery Shopped the community in which they lived. Or the time we were identified as ’shoppers’ simply because the manager saw me walk around and open the passenger door for my wife. And on and on…Maybe in another blog posting – if you ask.

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George Allen, CPM & MHM
COBA7, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156