Friends of George Allen & much more….

Friends of George Allen

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This Belongs in Every Landlease Community in the U.S.!

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‘Whattaya Expect?’

I.

Friends of George Allen. What do the Wellfield Botanical Gardens, RV/MH Museum & Library, Chubby Trout bar and grill, and Golden Egg restaurant have in common, besides being located in Elkhart, IN? They are places where ‘friends of George Allen’ gathered on 1 & 2 August to celebrate with this year’s Class of Inductees into the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame.

August 1st also marked Carolyn Allen’s return to manufactured housing’s business and social networking circles, following an absence of 6 ½ years, during which he cared for her Mother Flossie, who lived to be 98 ½ years old.

Accompanied by my younger brother Mark, who flew in from Cape May, New Jersey for the festivities, and following a three hour drive from Indianapolis, our first stop was in Elkhart, to visit the corporate offices of Heritage Financial. There we reunited with friends and landlease community portfolio owners Craig and Connie Fulmer, who took us for a walking tour of the city’s new Wellfield Botanical Gardens. This was a special treat; seeing how Elkhart’s business and philanthropic community are rejuvenating the city’s waterworks (Hence the name Wellfield) featuring a host of sponsored gardens; a large quilt centerpiece comprised entirely of flowers, fronted by a pond; even the functioning pump houses have been redecorated as period structures – one as an estate gatehouse surrounded by an English garden.

Arriving at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s museum, library and Hall of Fame facility, Carolyn and Mark were given a tour of the exhibit halls by Wisconsin Housing Alliance executive, and Hall of Fame member, Ross Kinzler, while I circulated, looking for ‘friends in the business’ I hadn’t seen in awhile.

Almost 400 ‘friends of ten Hall of Fame inductees’ gathered for this year’s banquet and celebration. At our two tables, with Carolyn, Mark and me, were our adult children Susan McCarty, co – owner of Spotlight Strategies in Franklin, IN., and her brother Adam, Certified Financial Planner with Capstone Investment Partners in Greenwood, IN. Ed Clayton, MHM, 25 year manager of our landlease community, along with his brother Jack, drove in from central Illinois. And Tim Newby, principal of Newby Management, and author of the Foreword to my new book, flew in from Ellenton, Florida. Dr. David Funk, head of the graduate real estate program at Cornell University traveled from Ithaca, New York; and John and Sonja Rogosich, CPM, drove in from Chicago.

Other key members of this intimate group were Ken and Donna Rishel, of Rishel Consulting, Springfield, IL; and Dennis Ohnstad, landlease community owner, and former MHRetailer, hailing from Champaign-Urbana, Il. Rick Roethke, principal of Barrington Investments, and his CEO Glen James drove up from Indianapolis. Landscape architect Don Westphal, like realty loan specialist Luis Vela, drove to Elkhart from Michigan. And Paul Bradley, head of ROC-USA, flew in from Concord, New Hampshire. Additional landlease community owners/operators present for the evening’s celebration were Jodi Kirincich, chairperson of Illinois MHA; Greg Pardiek recent past chairman of Indiana MHA; Hall of Fame member Mel Fath and his wife Thelma; and several others. Most of these individuals received free copies of my new book, debuting that evening, Landlease Communities, Manufactured Home Communities, Mobile Home Parks, Trailer Courts & Camps, and Affordable Housing, PMN Publishing, 2011. (See Part II. following)

Not important enough to specifically identify, but ‘telling’ nonetheless, were individuals usually present at the annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, but not in attendance this year. However, Danny Ghorbani, of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) was on hand to celebrate member Jim Shea Jr’s (of Fairmont Homes) induction into the Hall of Fame. But there was no national support, of this nature, for two former MHRetailers and one Industry Person of the Year.

Following the banquet, and induction of the Class of 2011* into the RV/MH Hall of Fame, more than a dozen of us reconvened at the nearby Chubby Trout bar and grill, to celebrate and engage in enthusiastic interpersonal networking, highlighted with Mark’s ‘fish stories’, some ‘captive finance’ banter, trade association woes, and photos from our recent trip to San Diego, California, to see our grandson Travis graduate from USMC boot camp. Next morning, a dozen or so ‘friends’ gathered at the Golden Egg restaurant to further enjoy one another’s company – and some good country cooking.

Yes, for many reasons, that was a 24 hour celebration among friends, to long remember and appreciate. Visiting the Wellfield Botanical Gardens with the Fulmers, celebrating my three decade career with friends, and simply enjoying one another’s presence and camaraderie throughout. So, to those of you who made the effort to participate, my Sincerest Appreciation! And those of you who couldn’t make it? The 20th annual International Networking Roundtable (‘INR’) is on the horizon (14 – 16 September, in San Antonio, TX.). We’re already at 100+ and ‘counting’. Are you registered yet? Use the INR brochure, if you have one; or phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156 to do so by phone!

II.

This belongs in every landlease community in the U.S.! WHAT? The new book for landlease community owners/operators you just read about in Part I of this blog posting!

Landlease Communities, Manufactured Home Communities, Mobile Home Parks, Trailer Courts & Camps, and Affordable Housing was researched and penned for WHO? You, if you own and or operate even just one landlease (nee manufactured home) community! Some portfolio owners/operators have already placed orders to put a copy of this paperback in every one of their landlease communities! Why not do the same?

WHY buy? This is the first time in industry (i.e. manufactured housing) and realty asset class (i.e. landlease communities) history, a significant number of important events – from 1988 through 2011, relative to this unique type income – producing property have been collected, organized, and published as an historical retrospective. In addition, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to the ‘facts & figures’ every owner/operator needs to know! Furthermore, nearly all the dozen or so Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRD’) are included in the tome as well! Plus, a nod to the ‘affordable housing’ concept presently dormant – but hopefully stirring, throughout the HUD Code manufactured housing industry! And know what else? No fewer than 50 notable individuals, all from throughout the landlease community asset class, and its’ history, are identified and lauded in this book

HOW MUCH? Only $24.95 postpaid, for this 88 page paperback. WHEN & WHERE to order? Today, simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156. Credit card orders welcome!

Frankly, as this Part II blog subtitle suggests, ‘This (book) belongs in every landlease community in the U.S.!’ So again, consider ordering enough copies for your property or properties today! And while you’re at it, register to attend this year’s Triple Anniversary Networking Roundtable, 14 – 16 September 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort Hotel on the west side of San Antonio, TX. When you phone, ask for a brochure, if you don’t presently have one.

III.

‘Whattaya Expect?’ A short and true story by Spencer Roane, owner of Pentagon Properties headquartered in Atlanta, GA., and present day industry expert regarding use of the self – finance ‘lease option’ in landlease communities. *2

“Last month, a lady at one of our landlease communities walked into the office, handed the keys to her ‘doublewide’ to our manager, and asked him to call her finance company and tell them to come get the house. This morning, I received an email note from another property owner describing a similar incident in one of his landlease communities. In both cases, the residents had excellent site rent payment histories. In both cases, finances had gotten a little tight, work needed to be done on the homes, but the homeowners realized they still had 70 percent of their original loan yet to pay, despite making payments throughout the past 15 years.

As similar scenes continue to play out in one landlease community after another, across the country, property owners shake their heads and wonder how anyone (lenders) could be dumb enough to structure such high – interest, 25 year term loans on depreciating assets; and slick enough, to sell millions of dollars of such loans to Wall Street investors; or someone dumb enough, to buy those ‘asset based securities’?

Unfortunately, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, regarding financing mistakes that have taken the manufactured housing industry from producing lots of homes, and having many independent, third party chattel lenders to choose from; to today, shipping very few new homes, with few – if any, lenders to choose from. ‘Back in the day’, most manufactured homes were sited and financed within landlease communities. If the lender needed to get a message to the borrower, he called the property office and asked someone to pass the word. If the borrower defaulted, the home was easily secured, efficiently rehabbed, and quickly resold.

Then someone decided, if financing manufactured homes on rental homesites was good business, financing such homes affixed to real estate conveyed fee simple, must really be good business! Unfortunately, it didn’t matter (to them) the real estate was on a gravel road across from the county dump. As soon as the homeowner changed phone numbers, the centrally – located, highly efficient call center became as useful as ‘a toter without granny gear’ (i.e. transporter sans slowest crawling gear). By the time the lender repossessed the manufactured home, everything but the shell of the house had ‘walked away’ – including appliances, A/C, light fixtures, sinks, lavatories, and toilets. The first move of the home then, was to a retailer’s rehab facility, where technicians attempted to work miracles on the ‘pigs ear’. Then came the mega challenge of selling the used home, as it sat among many sparkling new ones. Finally, along comes move number two, another 25 year loan, and yet another train wreck leaving the station.

No industry can survive without financing – but financing depreciating assets in the middle of nowhere, over 25 years, at excessively high interest rates, isn’t going to work with those (homebuyers or lenders) whose idea of long range planning extends only to next week. Most landlease community owners, however, are willing to work with lenders to create on – site financing programs that’re Win – Win – Win transactions for the lender, community owner, and home buyer – not to mention factories, transporters, installers, and service suppliers. Many community owners are even willing to guarantee the loans on homes in their properties; and, some will even fully collateralize default costs with liquid assets. Why not? These same community owners are often already financing their own manufactured homes on – site!

The S.A.F.E. Act, provisions of the Dodd-Frank bill, absence of independent third party chattel financing, presence of Community Series Homes (‘CSH’), marketing efforts of Business Development Mangers (‘BDM’), inability of prospective homebuyers to qualify for site – built home mortgages, reasonable rental homesite rates in landlease communities, and the increasing demand for truly affordable housing have, all together, created an unprecedented financing opportunity for chattel lenders willing to think ‘outside the (present day, malfunctioning) box’. For example: ‘Do business the old fashioned way!’ How? Reread last half of paragraph three above. What’s next? Get community owners and chattel lenders together, to come up with a financing program that’ll really move some manufactured homes!” SR (Anyone listening at MHI???)

Blogger’s note. If ‘chattel finance’ – or lack thereof, is indeed a hot button topic for YOU, be present at the aforementioned 20th annual Networking Roundtable in San Antonio @ 14-16 September, to discuss the matter with landlease community owners/operators and chattel lenders! Already, more than 100 executives are registered to attend, and while the majority is indeed landlease community owners/operators, chattel lenders and finance service firms too are signed – up, and (hopefully) prepared to listen and discuss. Then, two weeks later in early October, the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) will host its’ annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ. So there we have the potential for a One – Two Punch, to effect needed traction on this strategic matter! And whether those two sessions wind up being for naught – or are indeed successful, know there’re preliminary plans afoot to convene in January or February 2012, for a third National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus, likely in Florida, to – for lack of a more apt description – ‘force the issue(s)’, one way or another! Let me know if YOU want to be part of the NSAC caucus planning process, as I’ll need the help (Already have some volunteers). In the meantime, get registered to attend the Networking Roundtable in September! MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156. To register for MHI’s annual meeting, phone (703) 558-0678 & ask for Thayer Long.

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End Notes.

1. George Allen; Robert Azevedo; Leonard O. Brown; Harold (Hal’ Gerring (deceased); Bill Gorman (deceased);Larry Huttle; James Knott; John Martin; Mike Schneider; and, James F. Shea, Jr.

2. If you’d like a free reprint on this subject (‘lease options in landlease communities’), phone (317) 346-7156 and request it.

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George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

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