The Most Important Thing You Do This Week!

Blog # 409 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 14 August 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 reporter, & 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: Already one of the 150 registered for the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable? Then maybe skip over Part I here following – unless, of course, you want to get excited ‘all over again’ about what you’re going to experience 7-9 September in Nashville, TN. Not registered? Them, by all means, read Part I and be motivated to participate in the most exciting national MHIndustry venue to occur during all of year 2016! Nowhere else will you find a more focused (on LLLCommunities) but eclectic array of timely and strategic topics. And Part II? Certainly a departure from our usual MHIndustry & LLLCommunity fare, but a worthy one nonetheless. How so? More and more MH/RV mixed use income-producing properties are in our portfolios these days; but more important, many of the ills described in Greg Gerber’s 62 page ‘RV Industry Death’ study have parallels in the MHIndustry! Perhaps we can, and should, learn from a sister industry’s missteps. Read and let me know what you think.

I.

Do You Remember?

When You Missed an Important Event or Date…

Well, don’t let that be the case where the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable is concerned! I’ve been planning and hosting this annual event for 2 ½ decades and know this: No previous roundtable has attracted as much manufactured housing industry wide attention as this one! Seriously. Every time I turn around, figuratively speaking, someone is tweaking their scheduled presentation, making it all the more timely and strategic to today’s business environment for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators.

It’s difficult to even know where to start, when describing some of these exciting offerings by hands-on entrepreneur businessmen and women, but here goes:

• Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing of New HUD-Code Homes On-site in LLLCommunities is ‘at the printer’ and will be ready for distribution to everyone in attendance at the roundtable. The guidebook is a ‘resource first’ for the realty asset class and contains home marketing, sales, and financing information featured at the inaugural Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars.

• It’s expected every COBA7® affiliate present at the roundtable will receive a plastic discount card by dint of the alliance’s working relationship with the Consumer Buyers’ Group – good at Lowe’s, Office Max/Staples, Sherwin Williams, and elsewhere.

• You already know about the emerging theme: 2015 Chattel Capital Summit. That’ll be manifested thru the keynote address by Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage; MHI’s HR650 bill; the recently discovered HR5301 Seller Finance Enhancement Act; a look at hybrid chattel capital; GSE loan guarantee on ‘home only loans’ in LLLCommunities; a review of ‘all the $ options’ when selling and seller-financing new and resale homes on-site; and, all you ever wanted to know about lease-option but didn’t know who & what to ask, and there’s even more.

• Always popular Lenders Panel Friday morning

• Always popular GSE Panel Friday morning (Where else can you go in the MHIndustry for such a potent one-two housing & community finance punch?)

• One home manufacturer will be making a public commitment to focus marketing attention on selling more HUD-Code homes, especially Community Series Homes, to LLLCommunity owners/operators, large and small, nationwide! (Some of us have waited ‘decades’ for this to occur!)

• MHIndustry pioneer, LLLCommunity developer/owner, independent (street) MHRetailer, and industry activist Alvan Schrader will be present to share his experiences authoring the autobiography No Respect At All, A PATH TO MILLION$. There’ll be opportunity to buy this pleasurable ‘read’, and have him autograph it as well!

• Don Westphal will be sharing his Best Lessons Learned, as landscape architect, and LLLCommunity rehabilitation expert, gleaned from 50 years of professional experience!

• What’s going on with this sudden interest in mixed use LLLCommunity/RV park properties? MAI® John Whitcomb has the answers and will be sharing them.

• And the list goes on…Haven’t even told you what I’m going to be sharing with you this time around. As you know, I rarely share during this event, but not this year.

OK, if I haven’t convinced you to attend by now, it’s doubtful I will going forward. Just know this. The International Networking Roundtable is the sole annual venue designed specifically and wholly to serve the information needs of LLLCommunity owners/operators like you. Without it, you’d have nothing in the way of HOW TO education (20+ seminars & panel discussions), superb interpersonal networking (eight meal & social events), and investment property deal-making (Community Investors Symposium, Wednesday afternoon). Participate and demonstrate your support going forward!

For an information brochure and or to register, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156.

II.

Thank You Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report

‘How & What Gerber’s Study of Factory-built RVs QSV
(product quality, service, value)

Might relate to & suggest about

Factory-built MHs QSV, past, present & future!’

via a review of

RV Industry Death Spiral

‘A Collection of editorials outlining serious issues facing every segment of the recreation vehicle industry’

By

Greg Gerber,
Editor, RV Daily Report
2016

Is there such a word as déjà vu teux (two)? If not, there should be, for two good reasons, the respective histories of two sister industries: ‘mobile home’ cum manufactured housing, and recreation vehicles.

What you’re reading here, is the fruit of a lost half Saturday, reading Greg Gerber’s compendium of editorials, from RV Daily Report, titled: RV Industry Death Spiral. Boy, if you’re in or around the RV industry, these 62 pages are a ‘must read’, whether you agree with the author’s assessment of being in a death spiral or not.

I’ll be liberally quoting from Gerber’s material, not so much for RV commentary, but as to how it relates – past, present, even future, to the MH, or manufactured housing, industry from which I hail. There are, I believe, legitimate lessons to be learned here.

How so? Just read most of the Table of Contents chapter headings for clues:

• Manufacturers race to the bottom

• Dealers drop the ball on service

• Campgrounds losing capacity

• Associations can influence change

• Industry media falls asleep

See what I mean? The temptation is to make the comparisons right here, between the RV industry’s (presumed) ills today, and those the MHIndustry suffered pre HUD-Code (mid-1970s); and again, at the turn of the 21st Century (i.e. 1998-2002). Ready to move on?

Where have I heard this thinly veiled challenge before? “After covering the (RV) industry for 15 years as a journalist, one of the best career moves I ever made was to actually purchase a product produced by the RV industry and hit the road using it. I started observing how the industry works from the eyes of a consumer. It hasn’t been pretty.” P.3. I’ve known precious few MHIndustry execs who’ve bought and lived in manufactured homes. Notable exceptions = Bruce Savage, Jim Keller, retired Bob Broph, and others. Perhaps more of us should follow Greg’s example….

The first contemporary parallel that struck a chord was this:

In the RV Industry, “…two firms control about 72 percent of the entire RV market. With Thor’s acquisition of Jayco last Friday (this Summer), that number is now up to 83 percent.” P.4
&
In the MHIndustry, the Three Big – C Companies: Clayton Homes, Cavco Ind., & Champion Home Builders, control about 71 percent of the entire MH market. With the addition of MHI’s other manufacturer members, that total is now up to 85 percent, according to data supplied during the institute’s June meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

Now, try this one on for size. “…the (RV) industry talks a good talk and markets the heck out of the lifestyle. But it drops the ball big time when it comes to QSV – quality, service and value.” P.5. Examples. “…a 360 Siphon is an effective $10 part that can eliminate RV odors, which people who actually use RVs know is a consistent problem. But many manufacturers won’t install the simple device. Why? It will push them out of the mythical price point.” P.6. Want a lighter weight RV? “Why use plywood when cardboard looks just as good.” P.11 And this: “…wood becomes fiberboard and metal parts become plastic parts.” P.14
&
The MHIndustry, at present, does not ‘talk a good talk’, let alone market the heck out of the LLLCommunity lifestyle. But it does serve up a mixed bag where QSV is concerned. Think ‘Not enough product quality and service complaints to justify Dispute Resolution enforcement, but HUD does so anyway’. (That’s what’s so disturbing about having one – or more, home manufacturers producing new homes with marginal components). And value? That’s always a tough ‘call’. As long as manufacturers keep raising product price and sales centers ‘sell more house than homebuyer/site lessees can afford’, it’s ‘value be damned!’.

Well, at least in the MH business things haven’t gotten so bad, that I’m aware of, this bromide applies: “…advice regarding the purchase of new RVs is consistent – don’t buy new.” P.7 And this, overheard in an RV repair shop: “RVs ain’t for using, they’re for fixing.” P.12.

Did you know? “Campgrounds…the last bastion of genuine community…in America.” p.28. But, “…campgrounds are contributing to the demise of the RV industry….” P.28. How so?

• “Campground owners are taking out RV sites to install cabins, deluxe cabins and park models. They bring in more money.” P.28

• “…sites not gobbled up by cabins and park models are being rented long-term to seasonal campers.” P.28

• Selling out to REITs. “…once the deal is signed, the corporation needs to recoup its’ investment. The first thing they do is raise camping rates. A $30 per night site quickly becomes a $50 site and affordability of camping is seriously diminished.”p.29

• Regulations stymies new campground development. P.29

And here’s yet another presumed RV/MH parallel to ponder. “When two manufacturers, one supplier, one distributor, and one dealership controls a huge swath of the RV industry, associations are weakened by the lack of diverse thought and lively debate. Worse, they are subject to the control of big players through funding.” P.37 And right there, my friend, is maybe why MHARR was birthed in 1985, certainly why COBA7® debuted in 2014. Brings to mind George Santayana’s famous quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Beware consumer satisfaction studies. “Partnering with JD Power, a well-recognized name in gauging auto industry satisfaction, _____was going to show the world how happy RV owners were with the products they purchased However, the results were never made public. Rumor is, the report was shredded, the shreds burned, and the ashes scattered by a fishing trawler along 10 miles of the North Atlantic on a moonless night in September. To the best of my knowledge, no consumer satisfaction studies have been completed since then.” P.41. Hmm. Distant memory suggests a similar MH exercise awhile back, but none since.

A proposed consumer mandate: “RV owners should insist manufacturers…use building materials and structural reinforcements to ensure the (RV) products don’t fall apart when traveling one or two hours down the road.” P.49

Did you know? “…the (trade) media also (has) a duty to protect the industry from the corruption, warn against monopolies, fight against unnecessary government control, discourage favoritism, and protect Free enterprise, so all companies can compete fairly in the same arena.” P.58 Sad to say, things are not much better today in the MHIndustry.

“There are seven, maybe eight, individuals in the RV industry, who fancy themselves to be kingmakers. Everyone must genuflect in their presence and kiss their rings, if they want to be perceived as a player in the industry.” P.59 Hmm. And who would you say are the kingmakers in the manufactured housing industry? I can think of three or four…

Well, there you have it; my reader walk thru the RV Industry Death Spiral, by Greg Gerber, editor of the RV Daily Report. Here’s trivia for you. Who is Greg related to in the manufactured housing industry? Hint. Like Greg, that person too is an RVer. And if we’re lucky, he’ll show up 7-9 September, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Nashville, TN., for the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable. How ‘bout you? To register, phone (317) 346-7156.

***

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

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