7 1/2 Years of Blog Posts & Continuing….

June 11th, 2016

Blog # 400 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 12 June 2016; community-investor.com website

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 = ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.!’


7 ½ Years of Blog Posts & Continuing!

Has it really been 7 ½ years since Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine ceased publication in 2009? How many of you remember the late Herb Tieder? Or his 1990s publishing partner, the late James Mack? This blog debuted in the Merchandiser during that final year of publication.

Today, this weekly blog is distributed via the internet, to 1,000 readers, as one of ‘seven parts’ comprising the Community Owners Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing – the sole international consultancy & advocate, ombudsman & historian, for manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) throughout the U.S. & Canada!

Year 2009 was also the year HUD-Code manufactured housing suffered it’s new home shipment nadir (‘lowest point’), going nearly 70 years to 1947, when 60,000 new ‘mobile homes’ were shipped. Just how bad is that? Here’s a telling footnote to an historic MH Shipment Chart: “Before 1947, production varied from 1,300 in 1930 upward to 60,000 in 1947. Source: Manufactured Housing Institute, Merrill Lynch” Page # 5..That, apparently, is the ‘end of the story’, since there are no further statistics to cite. And FYI, the manufactured housing industry did finally eclipse that 1947 era 60,000 figure during 2013, with 60,228 new HUD-Code homes shipped!

Back to the blog! What’s kept me writing over the years, now decades? Besides sharing MHIndustry & LLLCommunity NEWS ‘as it happens’, or as soon as I can get it into print, there’re perennial Opportunities, Frustrations, & Threats – relative to these two business models, I get to explore (research), ponder (organize), express (write), and distribute (publish) here, and in one or both print newsletters, the Allen Letter professional journal, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!

For that matter, the ‘working title’ of this 400th blog posting was originally cast as ‘Opportunities & Irksome Matters’. Here’s a Summary of some of them…


• To promote professional property management throughout the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class, via IREM’s Certified Property Manager® & AMO® programs; PMN Publishing’s Manufactured Housing Manager® one day class; and MHEI’s Accredited Community Manager®. To be candid, professional property management has yet to be widely embraced by LLLCommunities.

• To promote affordable housing. It seems everyone knows – and writes, of today’s ‘affordable housing crisis’ in the U.S., but few take time to 1) define affordable housing when they talk and write about it (i.e. There are six means of measuring affordable housing. Do you know what they are? Didn’t think so!); and or, 2) articulate one or more ways to specifically address the affordable housing crisis! (I do so, later in this blog, under one of the four Threat categories)

• To improve the less than flattering image of manufactured housing, a.k.a. ‘mobile home living’, by replacing archaic trade terminology with image-enhancing descriptions (e.g. housing vs. ‘mobile home’; LLLCommunity vs. ‘mobile home park’, etc.); 2) encouraging peers to ‘take the high road’, ‘rather than a low road’ when engaged in manufactured housing and or ‘community’ business endeavors; even, 3) move away from long obsolete concepts such as the 1970s era Woodall Star rating system for ‘mobile home parks’.

• To unite LLLCommunity owners/operators throughout the U.S. & Canada, into state, province, and national political advocacy trade groups, some featuring education, interpersonal networking, deal-making, and lobbying activities as mini-independent post-production associations..


• With national trade politics, where self-proclaimed national advocacy and regulatory ‘watchdog’ organizations are concerned. They’ve rarely worked well together; and as a result, legislators and regulators use their rivalry to compromise political and anti-regulatory efforts.

• With the near constant power plays and maneuverings, between and among large business entities, as well as between large and smaller firms. This matter is aggravated when large firms send salaried employees to fill leadership roles, oft positioning them at odds with entrepreneur businessmen and women shepherding small to mid-sized firms with differing needs in their respective marketplace.

• With misleading claims of manufacturers, ballyhooing their production of quality, low cost manufactured housing; when in reality, unit prices continue to rise while quality remains constant, or slips when controls lapse.

• With lack of public, regional and national industry & realty asset class forums and caucuses, where issues and significant matters can be addressed, and dealt with openly, among business and trade organization stakeholders. When was the last time you were asked to participate in an industry Think Tank, of sorts? Recall the caucuses of 2/27/2008 (FL) & 2/27/2009 (IN), as well as some meetings of the now defunct Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’) of the Urban Land Institute (‘ULI’). Nothing since then! Hmm. Maybe we need the morning and afternoon Think Tank on 1 August, after all….


• Is it competition from ‘other type builders’ outside the factory-built housing industry we should fear, politically and otherwise; or simply, our own lack of vision and ability to perform ‘together’, at fault where MHIndustry malaise is concerned?

• Perennial mishandling of chattel capital, during at least two historic time frames, since the mid-1970s, has resulted in the present prolonged absence of easy access to it! Might simple commitment to two significant changes ‘to the way we do things’ restore access? 1) 100% commitment to strict pre-qualification of prospective homebuyers, by those marketing and selling new HUD-Code homes; and; 2) Henceforward, use 30% Housing Expense Factor as affordability guide, requiring mortgagees to insist said 30% includes not only principal, interest, taxes & insurance (‘PITI’) – as it stands today, but include anticipated housing utility costs as well (e.g. electric, gas, water, sewer) – no longer requiring homeowner to pay such expenses ‘outside’, or in addition to, the 30% Housing Expense Factor! Note. When 30% HEF = PITI alone; utilities = at an additional 10+% on top of the 30% HEF, making it 40%. And then, when homeowner’s additional financial commitments (e.g. vehicles, alimony, etc.) are established, the back end debt percentage will grow, from 40% to 50, even 60%! No wonder homeowners oft ‘walk away’ from such overwhelming financial commitment.

• Overregulation of chattel lending, and uneven enforcement of the installation of manufactured homes, state by state, is arbitrary and unfair to everyone involved. Also, when certain LLLCommunity portfolio firms ‘thumb their noses’ at traditional methods of comparing site rents with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market, skewing homeowner/site lessee’s housing propositions (i.e. fair and balanced relationships between home & site rent payments), one learns to expect dire consequences over time.

• Loss of a primary forum and audience, for manufactured housing, via the Urban Land Institute (‘ULI’), and related land planning bodies, has in part, stymied land development of new land-lease-lifestyle communities! Today there is no formal, or informal, Think Tank presence anywhere in the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class. We are ‘dead in the water’ until there’s easier access to chattel capital, and we – once again, routinely dialogue with land planners and local zoning boards. There hasn’t been a LLLCommunity land development text published since 1994, that’s how out of touch we are with this aspect of real estate development and investment.

Of course there’s more, much more, that deserves to be researched and publicized here.

For example; have long believed, if one is going to put forth statistical data to the trade public, one has responsibility to explain said statistics and facts, ensuring from the beginning, the numbers are indeed accurate. So why isn’t this happening across the board? More about this in a later blog posting.

In the meantime, if not affiliated with COBA7®, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, and ask for brochures describing:

• COBA7® affiliation at one of three Option levels
• 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable (7-9 September in Nashville, TN.)
• Al Schrader’s just released autobiography (a ‘should read’ by every LLLCommunity owner/operators in North America!)
• The popular Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management training & certification program.

In the meantime, let us know what you think regarding Opportunities, Frustrations, & Threats described and parsed in this week’s blog posting via gfa7156@aol.com

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

To GO or NOT to GO?’, Guidebook + Rumor has it…

June 4th, 2016

Blog # 399 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 5 June 2016; community-investor.com website

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 MHIndsutry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

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

INTRODUCTION. ‘On a Personal Note’ is sincere, timely, and pertinent!

‘To Go or Not to Go?’ also sincere, timely, and personally pertinent – describing my frustrations about paying dues to, and being unduly imitated by the national advocacy body (division) I helped found between years 1993 & 1996. For details of that beginning, read Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, Indianapolis, IN., 2013.

‘Guidebook for Selling & Seller-Financing New HUD-Code Homes in Land-lease-lifestyle Communities’ is the likely product of the recent Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, in Elkhart, IN. Attempts at such a guidebook have failed in the past. Hopefully there’ll be a positive result this time around, as ‘home sales & seller-financing’ Lessons Learned, and penned by Adriane DeRose, MHM®, Pamela Ziemer, MHM®, Jamie Dougherty, MHM®, Kenneth Lipschutz & Danya Mallad, and Spencer Roane, MHM® are collected and published in an easy-to-use HOW TO guide for LLLCommunity owners/operators. To be distributed at 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable, 7-9 September 2016, at the Gaylord Opryland hotel in Nashville, TN.

And finally, ‘Rumor Has It’. Given the veracity of this recent rumor, will exorbitant price increases for new HUD-Code manufactured homes, be a Wake-up Call (to action), OR, Death Knell for the MHIndustry – where its’ affordable housing heritage and reputation are concerned? Think about it….Better yet, be Ready to React if/when it’s official!


On a Personal Note…

MANY THANKS to the 75+ of you who, via Facebook, sent Birthday Greetings on 1 June, as Carolyn & I celebrated my 71st birthday. We spent the day sightseeing & lunching at an old stagecoach station turned B&B, in the remote rural quaint town of Story, IN – a place that describes itself as ‘an inconvenient location since 1851.’ Then shopped in Nashville, IN, before heading home for wine and cheese on the back porch.

For those intrigued by my reference to Operation Dewey Canyon, when commemorating Memorial Day. If you took my advice and googled ‘Dewey Canyon 1969’, you likely found a four minute film clip titled: ‘1969 Marine Corps Operation Dewey (Canyon)’. Know that, as you watch it, Marines shown using hand and arm signals to guide CH46 helicopters into landing zones, are HSTs (Helicopter Support Teams) from the Shore Party Company I commanded as a 24 year old first lieutenant. And several of the action sequences (e.g. firing of 155mm howitzers & Marines in the assault) continue to stimulate memories from 47 years past…


To Go or Not to Go?

Sometimes Disappointed When I DO (go), & Expect to be Imitated When I DON’T (go), to NCC Division Meetings…

Next meeting of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division is from 11AM to 12:15PM on Monday, 27 June, in Indianapolis, IN.

I’m sometimes disappointed when I DO (go), because…

• Rarely is input solicited beforehand, as it was in the past by Michael O’Brien, for topics members desired to be listed on the NCC meeting agenda

• And then, a set agenda, decided by someone, is distributed upon arrival at the meeting, rarely before.

• Nor is enough time allotted (e.g. only 1 ¼ hr. this time around), or proceedings controlled well enough, to cover the entire agenda, let alone added topics

• Hardly ever more than a dozen LLLCommunity owners are present at meeting; and those in leadership positions are almost always from the largest of the property portfolio firms. Consequence? Little sensitivity to the needs of small to mid-sized owners/operators.

• And worst of all, from time to time, one can expect to be publicly and verbally ambushed within an NCC meeting – recalling the 8 October 2012 NCC meeting incident, in San Antonio, TX.

And I’m oft undercut and or imitated, as a community owner, freelance consultant, and direct dues-paying NCC board member, when I DON’T (go), e.g.

• The MHM® certification program predates ACM® by three years, has trained and designated far more professional property managers, but continues to be ignored by the NCC & MHEI, as an education vehicle for LLLCommunity folk!

• The annual international networking roundtable has been so successful during its’ 24 year run, it just had to be imitated by the NCC, with a downtown Chicago event for major LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators.

• And the 27 year ALLEN REPORT, also predating the NCC, is now imitated by that division’s ‘Largest 50 Owners & Operators’ list. Is nothing respected in the manufactured housing business & LLLCommunity real estate asset class?

What would I like to see on the 27 June NCC division meeting agenda, for discussion?

• Chattel capital. Discuss restoration of easy access – if possible; other potential sources; even hybrid forms of financing on-site new home sales transactions, e.g. lease-option, post titling, etc…

• Small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators. How to attract them to join NCC and voice their needs, as more and more of them know they must now buy new HUD-Code homes, sell & oft seller-finance them on-site, if they’re to remain profitable in this difficult business climate – given the disappearance of 10,000 independent (street) MHRetailers during the past 15 years!

• Discontinue ‘Largest 50 Community Owners & Operators’ list. Why? Errors and oversights, in latest edition, discouraged potential new members from joining.

• Propose bylaws change – or, if need be, create NCC division bylaws; among other things, permitting proxy voting by direct, dues-paying MHI members.

• Announce and encourage purchase of LLLCommunity portfolio owner/operator Al Schrader’s autobiography, ‘No Respect At All’…A PATH TO MILLION$, as it’s a ‘good read’ and he’s donating all $ proceeds to the RV/MH Hall of Fame!

So, with all that ‘said & done’, would you spend $429.00 to attend the MHI meeting, including NCC division meeting, in Indianapolis, IN., on 26-28 June?

Well, I’ve decided to do so! Why?

FIRST; the meetings are in my backyard. SECOND, there’s a guest speaker scheduled, whose research is, in the words of MHI, to help lay “…a foundation of professional and authoritative industry data.” – ”As MHI seeks to improve industry data and statistics….” In my opinion, MHI can start that quest (‘pursuit’) NOW, before the June meeting, by simply reporting monthly shipment volume of new HUD-Code homes in the same manner as the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) – the MHIndustry’s official scorekeeper. HUD, MHARR & COBA7® already do so! And THIRD? Well, I just don’t need any more surprise usurping of products and services long supplied to land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators by the Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. Call it ‘protecting one’s turf’, if you will. And FOURTH; if I don’t go, as a single LLLCommunity owner, there’ll likely be no one else speaking up in behalf of the ‘85% of 50,000+/- LLLCommunity owners/operators’ whose properties number fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece!

See you in Indianapolis later this month! MHI and I, Welcome your Support! GFA


Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing New HUD-Code
Homes On-site in Land-lease-lifestyle Communities!

Guidebook, if it materializes as planned, will be the legacy of the first Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, held last in late May at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. The six presenters have already been asked to submit outlines and or narratives of their respective seminars:





Some of the unique features also being planned for inclusion in this ‘first ever’ new home HOW TO sales guide, for use in LLLCommunities, are as follows:

• Excerpts from Al Schrader’s autobiography, ‘No Respect At All’…A PATH TO MILLION$. He comments expertly on the ‘state of the MHIndustry’ and describes his firm’s evolution from ‘contract sales’ thru to ‘captive finance’ and beyond. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should. Only $25.00 postpaid. Just phone (317) 346-7156. All $ proceeds go to the RV/MH Hall of Fame!

• The ‘Six Ps of Planning’ & the ‘Six Right Ps for Marketing New Homes in LLLCommunities’

• Characteristics of Community Series Homes and where to order them…

• National Registry of All Lenders; chattel capital & real estate-secured

• Directory of Major Factory-built Housing Manufacturers

• Official MHIndustry Lexicon, Glossary.

The goal is to have the guidebook printed and bound in time for distribution at the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable, 7-9 September, at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. If you’d like to ensure an ‘invite’ to this highly popular 2 ½ day event, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and ask to have your name placed on the reservation list.


Rumor Has it…

The new Department of Energy (‘DOE’) rule relative to energy use will, reportedly, jack the price of a new singlesection manufactured home by at least $2,226 maybe $4,000.And jack the price of a new multisection manufactured home by at least $3,109 maybe $6,000. Whew! And know what? These estimates, last I checked, do NOT include or reflect testing, enforcement, and regulatory compliance costs! True or False? Methinks we’ll soon learn more as said rule is released. It will be interesting, even ‘telling’, to observe just how our two Washington, DC., trade advocacy groups address, and SELL or OPPOSE, these anticipated exorbitant price increases to HUD-Code manufactured homes


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

Memorial Day 2016 & Tours/Seminars a Success!

May 28th, 2016

Blog # 398 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 29 May 2016; community-investor.com website

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 =
‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION: None needed this time around. Two very special stories for you.



‘The day everyone honors KIA* war heroes; some of whom,
I honor every day of my life!’ GFA (KIA = ‘Killed in Action’)

As George Orwell aptly states, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Well, here’s the true tale of one rough man, the late Marine Sergeant Don Myers, describing an assault he led, along the Ho Chi Minh trail in South Vietnam, during February 1969, resulting in the capture of the largest enemy weapons (a dozen 122 mm. Russian field guns) during that conflict.

“I yelled at my men to drop their (field) packs and go forward on the run. Our rear element pushed the front of the platoon, and they too got caught up in our charge…as they joined the rush up the large hill. The mid-afternoon sun was blistering, and bullets were whizzing and zinging through the underbrush and beating into trees. The noise of gunfire and small explosions was all but deafening, as I looked up the slope of the mountain-like hill. Not forty meters away stood the largest damn enemy artillery piece I’d ever seen. The long barrel of the cannon looked like it was pointing straight down the trail at not only me, but the rest of the men that were scrambling up the slope as well. I yelled out loud, ‘Sweet Jesus, don’t shoot that mother!’ In seconds, I moved past the unmanned gun and noticed several bodies of dead NVA lying near the weapon. I was glad someone had gotten them before they had unlimbered that gun for firing. The barrel extended out 30 feet and the tires came up to my waist. A caisson affair was in back of the artillery piece with an open, ready box of big shells sitting upright in slots.”

As it turned out, a dozen large Russian artillery pieces were captured that day, but the enemy spiked ten of them; so only two were retrograded to the rear area. My job, as battalion rigging officer, was to dissemble them, and rig for helo-lifting back to the Dong Ha Combat Base. Today, one is on display in the USMC Museum in Quantico, VA., and the other one? Well, that’s a stirring tale for another Memorial Day. And in the attack just described, two Russian advisors were killed.

Memorial Day is always difficult for me, as I recall Marines KIA in that firefight during Operation Dewey Canyon (Google it), as well as in previous offenses near LZ Stud, Gio Linh, and during the days we reopened route # 1 to the Khe Sanh Combat Base.

So, many Thanks to friends who phoned Friday, to reminisce and express heartfelt feelings about what happened, now almost 50 years ago, in that far away land.

FYI. Sgt. Myers died a few years ago, but not until after he authored YOUR WAR – MY WAR, from which this story is quoted – also used in a documentary I prepared for the USMC Museum, titled ‘Pluck, Politics, & Shore Party’.


‘NEW ERA of Manufactured Housing’, circa 2015, Now Year 2016, Continues the 16 Year Paradigm Shift in New Home Sales Methodology!

Recent ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ underscored the need for LLLCommunity owners/operators to have housing product knowledge (plant tours) & practice home selling techniques (seminars).

To set the stage for plant tours and four sales seminars that’d follow, a brief retrospective of HUD-Code manufactured housing travails & triumphs, since the turn of the century, was provided. Here’re the paradigm shifts that have moved the MHIndustry from being dependent upon independent (street) MHRetailers, to the filling of vacant rental homesites, with Community Series Homes (a.k.a. CSH Models) within LLLCommunities, by owners/operators of said properties – in increasing numbers.

NOTE to the READER. Print off or copy these eight bullet points, for future reference, as they’re quoted directly from the ‘Official Manufactured Housing Industry Timeline’ maintained by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® as official historian to the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity realty asset class.

• 1998 = 372,843 new HUD-Code homes shipped. Last MHIndustry renascence!

• 1999-2002 = 300,000 ‘repos’ = $1.3 billion loss in value per CFPB White Paper. Consequences? 1) Loss of easy access to chattel capital for in-community home loans; 2) far fewer new homes manufactured & shipped; & 3) 10,000 fewer independent (street) MHRetailers in U.S., until…

• 2009 = Forced change to traditional MH business model, with debut of Community Series Homes, when new HUD-Code home shipments hit nadir of only 49, 789 units – of which only 25% (12,446) went into LLLCommunities.

• Since 2010, large LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators have been buying, selling, seller-financing, even leasing new HUD-Code homes on-site, to take-up the slack left by 10,000 fewer independent (street) MHRetailers in the U.S. – to fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites.

• By 2014, due to on-site selling & seller-financing of new HUD-Code homes on-site, LLLCommunities = New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender, selling ‘homes & lifestyle’ vs. ‘deal to deal’ mindset of independent street) MHRetailers. Also year of the birth of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®.

• In 2015, an estimated 40+/-% of 70,535 new HUD-Code homes, or 28,000+/- went directly into LLLCommunities nationwide; more than double 2009 volume

• Now, most LLLCommunity ownrs/operators, with vacant rental homesites, buy & sell new HUD-Code homes on-site, or risk business failure. So, we must get 85% of LLLCommunities ‘not selling’, into the New Breed & NEW ERA mindset!

• Seller-finance is the ‘new game in town’ and is played several ways: leasing of units, seller-finance (contract sale) via ‘captive finance’, & lease-option. All the while, required to be compliant with state (S.A.F.E. Act) and federal finance regulations per CFPB,.

How was the program itself? Successful! As 100 LLLCommunity owners/operators and HUD-Code manufacturer representatives spent two days visiting six plants, in the Elkhart, IN., area, and learning from four ‘different topic’ seminars taught by their LLLCommunity owner/operator peers. For more details, read the July issue of the Allen Letter professional journal! To subscribe, phone (317) 346-7156.


Does the MHIndustry Need an IPPA?

May 20th, 2016

Blog # 397 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 22 May 2016; community-investor.com website

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 =
‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION: Part I is me being candid about prospects for a new, national, independent post-production association for manufactured housing businessmen and women from all segments of the industry. Remember, this is simply my opinion about a pithy matter that’s been bandied about, by the industry’s national advocacy groups, ‘for years’, if not decades. What do you think? Inquiring minds would like to know! And Part II. As the title says, this is your last opportunity to participate, and make MHIndustry history, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame this week in Elkhart, IN! Think about this too. When was the last time YOU were invited to tour as many as si’ How to Sell & Seller-finance New Homes On-site in LLLCommunities’? Answer? Never before! So, don’t miss this exceedingly rare opportunity to do so, on 5/25 & 26, 2016.


Does the MHIndustry Need an IPPA?

(That’s short for ‘Independent Post-Production Association’)

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master

OK. For the first time, I’ll write openly about the rumored launching of a new, independent post-production association or IPPA. It’s certainly not a new topic of conversation among manufactured housing aficionados. Rather, the idea – the perceived need, now possibility, appears on our business scene with relative frequency, almost always at the impetus of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. MHARR, you know, is a 30+ year national trade advocate associated with HUD-Code manufactured housing, whose membership is comprised of smaller regional home manufacturers.

It’s likely MHARR’s sensitivity to said need, relates to their mission of protecting manufactured housing from over regulation by federal agencies. And during that process, encounter post-production matters, identified by members and others, ultimately impacting home manufacturers (e.g. housing finance), not being addressed well by any one or more national advocates for manufactured housing..

The most recent plea for the soon launch of an IPPA lobby in Washington, DC. appeared in the May 2016 issue of The Journal, with this title:

‘Consumer Financing & Other Failures Re-Ignite Need for Independent Post-Production Association’

The gist of this op/ed is, the ‘…post-production segment of the industry continues to suffer successive setbacks…on a range of issues…affecting the financing, placement, installation and utilization of HUD-Code manufactured homes….”It goes on to cite specific instances re: “Dodd-Frank and SAFE ACT”, even “…Duty to Serve Underserved Markets…” (‘DTS’), that “…disproportionately harms smaller industry businesses”… (but) “do not negatively impact, the largest industry businesses….” How much of this is correct? That’s certainly open to debate. There’s another national advocate in town (Washington, DC) that’s HUD-Code housing (larger) manufacturer dominated, claims to represent all segments of the MHIndustry. Do they? In this veteran industry observer’s opinion, YES and NO.

Depending on ‘from where’ & ‘towards whom’, pending federal legislation and or proposed regulatory control measures ‘come & go’, the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), can be counted on to at least make an appearance, even mount serious opposition, or support, at times. What tends to gripe the average, direct, dues-paying MHI member, however, is the manner in which platforms are designed and implemented. All too often it appears initiatives and actions, if there’s to be any, are launched sans discussion among all parties affected, and in a manner beneficial to the largest of member firms, ignoring the smallest. Now, some may want to debate that description; but if they do, let the conversation cite 1) the institute’s ‘lack of proxy voting in certain key elections’, and 2) their ‘political control practice of affluence gerrymandering’, i.e. the meeting planning gimmick of using expensive meeting venues only the largest and wealthiest members can justify attending.

But beyond that, there are other reasons why an all-inclusive IPPA will likely not materialize anytime soon; certainly not until annual new HUD-Code home shipments are back to pre-2009 levels. Why?

• First. The lion’s share (majority) of national manufactured housing advocacy support dollars comes from the ‘Three Big C’ home manufacturers, controlling 71 percent of the 70,544 home shipments national market share in 2015. How’s that translate into dollars? 70,000+ new HUD-Code homes X $100/floor = $7,000,000 compared to 250,000 new homes shipped during year 2000 = $25,000,000.00. Do you see much, if any of either of those treasures, supporting a new, all-inclusive IPPA? I don’t. Didn’t happen in year 2000 when dollars were flush; why in 2016 or 2017, when we’re ‘hopefully’ coming out of our seven plus year funk? (However, know there is a practical way to make this happen, at the right time; it’s just not open for public discussion now)

• Next. A lack of charismatic, visionary, sacrificial leadership among small businessmen and women with ‘skin in their respective games’ – to lead a new, all-inclusive IPPA effort. Some might call it lethargy. I prefer to think of it as continuing to be a game of survival, not yet maximizing profitability. After all, the manufactured housing industry and its’ sister real estate asset class, the land-lease-lifestyle community, has been working itself through a major paradigm shift since the turn of the century, when easy access to chattel capital disappeared, and along with it, more than 10,000 independent (street) MHRetailers. And at only 70,544 new HUD-Code homes shipped during 2015, we’re not out of the woods yet, not by any measure or stretch of the imagination.

So, no new, all-inclusive IPPA for the time being. Even though some, maybe most, industry segments continue to feel underrepresented. But wait.

How ‘bout the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®? I suppose one might refer to the 2 ½ year old, growing alliance of businessmen and women, as being a mini-IPPA. It materialized not as a result of ‘issues’ cited in the opening paragraph of this article, but out of frustration towards national advocacy bodies focused on home manufacturers, not real estate development, investment, and management of LLLCommunities, especially small to mid-sized properties that make up 85% of the national inventory. Today, COBA7® boasts several hundred affiliates, from all segments of the manufactured housing industry.

The original seven ‘parts’ or foci of COBA7® remain constant and effective:

• Ongoing statistical research, e.g. 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, now poorly imitated by a division of one national advocate. As a result, COBA7® now champions – and encourages, all national reporters (HUD, MHARR, MHI, & COBA7®) of ‘new HUD-Code homes shipped’ data, to publish the same Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) totals each month of the year!

• Monthly updating & distribution of more than a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRD’s), including such salient titles as the annual National Registry of ALL Lenders to the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class! Also, the sole source of the MHIndustry’s Official Lexicon & Glossary, and several widely-regarded directories of real estate brokers, consultants and more..

• Weekly & monthly communication in print (the Allen Letter professional journal & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter)and online (blog) at community-investor.com

• Superb networking opportunities via annual Networking Roundtable and other similar events.

• Deal-making opportunities unavailable anywhere else in the industry or asset class

• Professional property management training & certification via popular Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® program, taught only by LLLCommunity owners/operators. More than 1,000 MHM®s designated to date!

• National advocacy as need be, e.g. 1) national official ombudsman (press) to the MHIndustry, and 2) official historian (Two books published to date, and home of the official MHIndustry timeline).

So, there’s a mini-IPPA in effect today! What does the future hold for it? Ah, there’s the question. The quick answer is, depends on who steps forward to ease into a leadership role of charismatic, visionary, sacrificial service to one’s peers throughout 50,000+ LLLCommunities nationwide and in Canada. In the meantime, know COBA7® enjoys positive national recognition by, and respect from, HUD, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and GSEs. For more information, or to affiliate, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: 9877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

In conclusion, this writer does not see an all-inclusive IPPA forming anytime soon. However, with a mini-IPPA in place and growing, there’s hope that presence will pressure present day national advocacy entities to better relate to, and represent, their respective memberships – muting the clarion call for a fourth national advocate for manufactured housing.


Last Chance to Participate & Make MHIndustry History!

At the close of business on Friday, 20 May, more than 80 MHIndustry & LLLCommunity owners/operators had registered to participate in the ‘first ever’ Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., on 5/25 & 26, 2016. It’s likely that total will exceed 100 by the time the event begins Wednesday morning at 8AM. Will YOU be there to learn how to sell and seller-finance new HUD-Code homes on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities; visit two or more of six Cavco, Champion, Clayton, Commodore & Adventure Homes plants; and, when it’s all said and done – Make Manufactured Housing Industry History in Grand Fashion?!

Still possible to register on Monday, by phoning (317) 346-7156 or via email: gfa7156@aol.com

Remember, all four sequential education sessions are being taught by LLLCommunity owners/operators who’re already actively selling and seller-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site in their respective properties. Their topics and names are:

GETTING READY! Adriane DeRose, MHM®, & Pamela Zieman, MHM® of Carefree Homes, Inc., Indianapolis, IN.

BUYING HOMES! Jamie Dougherty, MHM®, of Community Management Group of Farmington Hills, MI.

SELLING HOMES! Kenneth Lipschutz & Danya Mallad of HomeFirst Certified Communities in Birmingham, MI.

FINANCING HOMES! Spencer Roane, MHM, of Pentagon Properties, Atlanta, GA.

In addition, association executives or board representatives will be present from four of six Midwestern states. It’s hoped ‘everything about this inaugural program’ suggests it needs to be repeated every late Spring or early Summer as a means to stimulate more HUD-Code home sales, to fill vacant rental homesites in communities throughout the region.

Sincerely hope to see YOU there! GFA


How to Find MHSales Staff, & Lease-Option Methodology

May 13th, 2016

Blog # 396 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 15 May 2016; community-investor.com website

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 = ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform& improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. We are indeed living in exciting times! Part I describes a new initiative, among land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, to popularize what is already de rigueur (‘current fashion’) among many property portfolio firms: lease-option ‘financing’. And Part II. What more can I say? TODAY, everyone who wants to maintain and improve the value of their LLLCommunity must sell new HUD-Code homes on-site! Well, here’s the only opportunity any of us will have, during the rest of 2016, to learn How To Do that. Will YOU be in Elkhart, IN., at the RV/MH Hall of Fame on 5/25 & 26? Hope so! Part III. Wish I didn’t have to address ‘this issue’ month after month. Don’t you think it time the national advocates for the manufactured housing industry ‘got their act together’, in the truest sense of that phrase, to report monthly new HUD-Code home shipments in the same fashion? So far, HUD, MHARR, & COBA7 have moved in that direction.


Task Group Forms to Popularize Lease-Option Nationwide

An informal task group has formed to popularize lease-option (‘L-O’) as a means for some land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators to transfer ownership of manufactured homes.

In an L-O transaction, also referred to as a lease with option to purchase (‘LTP’), a community owner/operator enters into lease agreements 1) for the rental homesite, 2) a separate lease for the manufactured home, and 3) a purchase option agreement. The lessee pays rent for the homesite and rent for the home; then, during or near the end of the lease term(s) will become – or has the option of becoming, the owner of the home, by paying a predetermined amount based on estimated fair market value of the home; or, purchasing the home for its’ fair market value as determined at the end of said lease term.

The informal task group is comprised of attorneys; George Allen, CPM®, community owner & consultant to the MHIndustry; Larry Matthews, president of American Commerce Bank; a credit bureau offering reporting services for smaller community operators; and, Spencer Roane, MHM®, president of Pentagon Properties, Inc., community owner and longtime L-O practitioner.

Benefits of the L-O program are many:

• Helps community owners sell homes, which increases internal cash flow, as well as the value of said communities, and upgrades their visual quality

• Encourages the sale of new manufactured home to and among community owners/operators

• Offers tremendous flexibility for structuring financial terms to suit tenants

• In permissible states, and when properly structured, no lending licenses are required.

• Sales staff can negotiate lease terms with prospective customers/tenants.

• Prospect of home ownership incentivizes tenants to care for their home.

• Gives tenants an opportunity to establish a credit history sufficient to qualify for a home loan when exercising the purchase option.

• Rental payment incentives discourage delinquent rent payments, and help build equity

The group has identified a dozen or more states where L-O programs are viable, and expects to add more to the list through to the end of year 2016. Within the next few months, they’ll announce several venues where it will conduct L-O workshops. These workshops, aimed at smaller and mid-size community operators, will include forms and documents, structure of L-O transactions, sources of available financing, credit reporting services, and practical experience covering hundreds of transactions.

While L-O is not the only topic covered in the FINANCING HOMES! seminar Spencer Roane, MHM®, will be teaching on 5/25 & 26, at the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., his presence during those two days, provides ample opportunities for attendees at this inaugural event, to seek his advice relative to L-O. For more information on above-described L-O emphasis, and or register for the Elkhart event, phone (317) 346-7156 or via gfa7156@aol.com

POSTSCRIPT. If your memory is sharp, you’re likely thinking, “Hmm. Wasn’t there another informal group formation announced in last week’s blog posting on this website?” Answer? Yes. That informal group, comprised of LLLCommunity owners and others, however, is focused on finding an answer to the manufactured housing industry’s lack of easy access to chattel capital for in-community new home loans! At present they’re focused on articulating and recommending a Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) pilot program for the GSEs (i.e. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac), during the present rulemaking window of opportunity. After the announcement in last week’s blog, several interested parties asked to be included in the informal group. So, what’s happening here? With the launch of the Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, in early 2014, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators finally have a national advocate dedicated first, to their needs, then everyone else’s – not the ‘other way around’! Watch for updates here, and in the Allen Letter professional journal.


Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars =

‘Home Sales Training, Motivating In-plant Tours, Superb Interpersonal Networking, & Making MHIndustry History – All Wrapped into One Grand Experience!’

The RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., has been ‘making MHIndustry history’ since shortly after its’ opening. An early event occurred 27 February 2009, when 100 MHIndustry home manufacturers and (then) MHCommunity owners/operators caucused there to ‘agree on what it’d take for manufacturers to build more new homes and communities to buy them’. That year (2009), only 49,789 new HUD-Code homes were shipped, with only 25% of them going directly into communities. Well, that was a pivotal event, the year when the Community Series Home (design) was birthed. Result? By year end 2015, 70,544 new HUD-Code homes would be shipped (that year), and of that total, an estimated 40% went into (now) land-lease-lifestyle communities!

Now we’re on the very threshold of an equally historic event at the RV/MH Hall of Fame – the debut of ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars!’ As you’ve likely heard or read, no fewer than six HUD-Code home factories (Cavco, Champion, Clayton, Commodore, & Adventure Homes) are opening their doors to visitors on 25 & 26 May. And while the plant tours are occurring, just as many LLLCommunity owners/operators will be listening to other LLLCommunity owners, teaching them how to engage in new home sales on-site. Specifically, here’s what’ll be covered and by whom:

GETTING READY! Adriane DeRose, MHM® & Pamela Ziemer, MHM® of Carefree Homes, Inc., Indianapolis, IN., will be describing what it means to get one’s property ready (i.e. curb appeal, licensing, etc.), one’s staff ready (selected & trained) – even one’s sales staff, if property size and or number of vacant rental homesites warrants separate personnel. Also, is everyone really LISTENING to what prospective homebuyer/site lessees are saying on the telephone and during interviews on-site? And once READY, what happens next? And did you know, there’s a practical way to measure on-site sales staff performance? Come and learn all these important preparatory measures….

BUYING HOMES! James (‘Jamie’) Dougherty, MHM® of Community Management Group, out of Farmington Hills, MI., Here, some very important decision-making has to occur. For example, selling or leasing homes on-site, or a combination of both? Quality of new homes to be purchased? Marginal or solid – as in short term solution or long term presence and value? Must know one’s market and mix, e.g. Area Median Income (‘AMI’) & new home price point calculations; also, focus on newly weds or empty nesters? Then there’s the home manufacturer – a whole raft of key questions must be answered, re: product and features, advertising support, financial assistance, rebates, warranty, and more. Be present in this session to learn how to be successful when buying new homes!

SELLING HOMES! Kenny Lipschutz & Danya Mallad of HomeFirst, Birmingham, MI., emphasize ‘great customer experiences don’t happen by chance, but are results of much bigger principles and practices happening behind the scenes every day’! Such experiences stem from strong cultural foundations, deliberate planning, best practices, and integrity in execution. Extraordinary customer experiences lead to significant growth and greater market share. Frankly, this will likely be the only and best session ever, on ‘selling new HUD-Code homes on-site in LLLCommunities’, that you’ll experience all year!

FINANCING HOMES! This session will review all financing alternatives available for in-community sales, particularly L-O seller ‘financing’, to fill vacant rental homesites and upgrade the curb appeal of the property. Spencer Roane, MHM®, of Pentagon Properties in Atlanta, GA., is a ‘boots on the ground’ operator, who openly and thoroughly talks about what works and what does not, in the several communities he owns. His 20+ years of in-community seller-financing of new and resale homes underscores his belief that the final story of any finance program can’t be fully told until the last payment is received! And his approach is the polar opposite of our industry’s sorry reputation for ‘churn & burn’ deals. Spencer expects EVERY sales transaction to succeed, and will discuss every aspect of the sales transaction he considers important, from selection of the house, to acquisition financing, structure of a lease-option transaction, careful qualification of buyers, and his ‘build and they will come’ successful experience!

And that’s not all. A brief introductory session will begin each morning and afternoon pairing of home sales seminars. Two foci. First, set the stage for what follows – a summary of key statistics and emerging trends characteristic of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunities today. This followed by a brief but succinct description of the ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing New Homes in LLLCommunities’. A special plastic 3X5 wallet card, containing this seminal ‘6Ps’ information, has been prepared as a handout for everyone attending the Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars!

NOTE. All four sessions will be repeated twice during the Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, on 5/25 & 26, in Elkhart, IN. This is pretty much your last chance to sign-up, especially at the reduced rate of only $195/person. After 5/18, the registration increases to $295.00/person. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com This is the only time this year, new home sales training, and seller-financing of on-site transactions, will be offered to manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators.


Why Does This Confusion Continue?

Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) tallied 7,110 new HUD-Code homes shipped in March 2016; boosting year to date total to 19,101 homes! HUD, MHARR, & COBA7® agree, & in turn, publish the same shipment totals!

Another national MHAdvocate foists (‘palms off as genuine’) monthly new HUD-Code home shipment totals that likely confuse many folk! For example; their respective totals @ March 2016 = 7,056 new homes, & only 18,976 shipped YTD

Go figure…

And the confusion continues…

Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®’s Signature Series Resource Document, the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’ identifies 120 of the known 500 property portfolio ‘players’ in the realty asset class, ranking them according to the total number of reported rental homesites. Two examples: Largest REIT, Chicago’s ELS, Inc., is reported to have 139,000 rental homesites as of January 2016; Bessire & Casenhiser, CA = 16,502 sites.

However, another national LLLCommunity advocate, in its’ May 2016 ‘Largest 50 Community Owners & Operators’ (list), describes giant ELS, Inc., as having only 71,700 rental homesites in its’ property portfolio; and, the Bessire & Casenhiser firm as having but 2,899 sites. Such drastic differences in corporate site totals persist, among most firms listed. Why? No hint in the introductory paragraph, the list itself, or even the End Notes. But rumor has it, totals do not include RV sites! Yet the introductory paragraph goes boasts, it “…is the industry’s most reliable source of data used to create more opportunities for the successful development, operation, and marketing of land-lease communities.” Really? In this industry observer’s opinion, a ‘reliable source of confusion’, yes! Especially as one community member firm, with 10,186 sites, was not even listed this time around. Nor was one of the largest fee management firm in the country – a target of the advocacy body’s recruiter!.

Again, as the title to this blog topic asked: Why Does This Confusion Continue?

Maybe because the manufactured housing industry has long had an unfortunate, counter-productive reputation for being fragmented, even self-destructive at times (e.g. lack of cohesive action relative to pending legislation and regulatory affairs). And these two examples of unnecessarily ‘playing with numbers’ raise questions as to the industry – and realty asset class’ ability to ‘keep (accurate) score’ of new home shipment volume, as well as comparable sizes of income-producing properties.


George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master

Behind the Scenes Intrigues at MHCongress!

May 7th, 2016

Blog # 395 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 8 May 2016; community-investor.com website

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 63304764.

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

INTRODUCTION = ‘Behind the Scenes Intrigues at the MHCongress in Las Vegas’. There were many, and this week’s blog posting describes three of them for you:

• Major real estate statistical reference to soon include LLLCommunities?
• Finally, businessmen & women step forward to address our chattel $ issue.
• Manufactured Housing Executive Women poised to double number in size

‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ venue promises to establish a hands-on, educational HOW TO precedent worthy of emulation in the Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and elsewhere. If you’re not yet registered, do so this week! Read on…


Integra Realty Resources , Inc. to Maybe Include Land-lease-lifestyle Communities in 2017 Report!

Integra Realty Resources, Inc., an exhibitor at this year’s MHCongress in Las Vegas, appears ‘but one step away’ from (finally) including land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) in their widely read and referenced annual VIEWPOINT commercial real estate report – for year 2017!

After all, they presently review and examine office, multifamily, retail, industrial, hospitality, senior housing, medical offices, self-storage – and get this, auto dealerships, as bona fide investment property types! So, why not include 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities as a tenth realty asset class worthy of reporting and evaluation?

Let’s see what happens as year 2017 dawns….This would be the manufactured housing industry’s debut, where investment real estate is concerned, in the national trade media!


Informal Group Meets to Address Need for Chattel Capital

Unencumbered by manufactured housing’s internal, intra-segment political maneuvering and pressures, an informal group of land-lease-lifestyle community owners and consumer advocates met during the MHCongress, to soon identify a Duty to Serve rulemaking pilot proposal, to ease the industry’s access to chattel capital, or explore some variant thereof, ultimately supporting the on-site financing of new HUD-Code home sales transactions.

Next step? Articulate and agree on core principle(s) by which the informal group moves forward, in light of recent meetings in Washington, DC, hosted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

If you have a passion for seeing access to chattel capital, or some variant thereof, ultimately rejuvenate manufactured housing shipments to pre-2009 levels; have submitted a comment letter to the FHFA, relative to Duty to Serve and the GSEs; and, desire to maybe become part of this informal group, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


MHEW Lives!

Manufactured Housing Executive Women

Founded more than a decade ago, at a MHCongress, only to flounder a few years later, MHEW has been making a gradual comeback since the 23rd International Networking Roundtable in Peachtree City, CGA., during the Fall of 2014.

Today there are 50 manufactured housing executive women, nationwide, on this list of business owners/operators – whether as sole proprietors, partners, and or senior corporate executives. Presently, state and national advocacy entity salaried executives are not included on said list – but could well be in the near future, doubling the size of MHEW.

What’s next? Most of the manufactured housing executive women interviewed at the MHCongress, indicated they’d be present at the 25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable, 7-9 September 2016, at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN. If you’re reading this and would like to know if your name is on the present MHEW list, contact Suzanne Felber of American Housing Advocates, or AHA, via answers@lifestylist.com And to put your name on the ‘invite’ list for this year’s 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable event, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Not Part of any Intrigue, but Sure Right For You!

Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, 5/25 & 26, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., is fast approaching! While this blog, next Sunday, will likely feature a detailed advance look at the six HUD-Code factories and four integral ‘home sales seminars’ taking place those two days, don’t wait to register – for two reasons:

First, the registration fee increases, on 18 May, from $195 per person, to $295 per person

And second, we’re prepared to handle only 200 attendees this time around!

So, don’t be left out, and don’t pay a higher fee – to attend this First Ever, hands-on educational event designed to teach you, and or your on-site staff; HOW TO: Get Ready! Buy Homes! Sell Homes!,& Finance Homes!

Use attached brochure to register today!


George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7®
Box $ 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156.

What No One Else Will Tell You!

April 30th, 2016

Blog # 394 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 1 May 2016; community-investor.com web site

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 633-47654

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

INTRODUCTION. I suppose if you were to talk to everyone at the recent FHFA Manufactured Housing Roundtable, you’d get a different tale and perspective. Well, what follows in Part I, is that of the only LLLCommunity owner/operator present at the meeting. Part II corrects a telephone number error in last week’s blog posting. And Part III? Well frankly; anyone contemplating selling new – even resale, manufactured homes on-site, should be present 5/25 & 26, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., to participate in ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ – the latter taught by LLLCommunity owners already successfully selling and seller-financing homes in their own properties! No state or national MHAdvocacy body is offering this sort of heady Tour/Seminar combination during the balance of 2016. So, don’t miss this opportunity!


What No One Else Will Tell You!

Manufactured Housing Roundtable & ‘Duty to Serve’ Proposed Rule(s)

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) meeting, regarding Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) rulemaking, has come & gone. What was discussed? What was accomplished?

This blog posting lists meeting agenda items articulated by FHFA staff. When their summary is posted online, we’ll share it here with you. It won’t be soon though, as FHFA staff has no fewer than 1,561 comment letters on Duty to Serve, to read and absorb.

There were at least 20 manufactured housing, land-lease-lifestyle community, and finance-related businessmen & women, national & state trade advocates, and freelance consultants in the 26 April 2016 meeting. A list of their names has been circulated to COBA7® affiliates. This was the first national roundtable, organized and hosted by a federal agency, that requested Community Owners Business Alliance® involvement setting the agenda, as well as having a ‘seat at the table’ with two national advocacy entities representing HUD-Code manufactured housing.

Following Michael Price’s Welcome, & Introduction of all attendees, we discussed:

1. ‘Manufactured Housing Units Titled as Real Estate’. Surprisingly, to this observer, little was said in support of this still-emerging, albeit controversial concept, beyond identifying supposed challenges where housing valuation (i.e. appraisal) is concerned, and disposition of abandoned homes. Furthermore, the case was made for renting (housing and underlying improved realty) being more affordable than a change to ‘real estate-like’ ownership (e.g. Where likely transfer of payment of ad valorem taxes from ‘community’ to ‘homeowner’ is concerned). FHFA should research how well or poorly this type shift has fared among manufactured homes and communities in New Hampshire. Following here, is ‘how’ the actual agenda item was described: ‘Participants’ views on whether Enterprise support for manufactured housing units titled as real estate could be modified to expand support for very low, low, and moderate-income families, consistent with Enterprise safety and soundness.’

2. ‘Manufactured Housing Community Tenant Protections’. This time we begin with the actual agenda item description: ‘Participants’ views on the feasibility and impact of the proposed pad lease protections for tenants in manufactured housing communities, how the protections might be overseen, and whether any additional pad lease protections should be required for the Enterprises to receive Duty to Serve credit.’ As a longtime LLLCommunity owner, this was the only time I felt outgunned on principle and practicality (i.e. I’m against most forms of landlord-tenant legislation); however, later acquiesced to: ‘If this (i.e. tenant protections) is what it takes to get chattel capital flowing again, let’s do it!’ So, what happened? FMHA & MHC of AZ executive directors made respective cases for Chapter 723 in Florida (“This is rent regulation, not rent control” JA) and similar codifications in Arizona. For me, it was ‘telling’ how the agenda item was framed using archaic (‘pad lease’ vs. rental homesite lease), even inaccurate trade lingo (‘manufactured ‘housing’ communities vs. manufactured ‘home’ communities, or land-lease-lifestyle communities), thus demonstrating lack of familiarity with the intimate intricacies of LLLCommunity investment and operations. But be all that as it was, if ‘tenant protections’, as already evident in a few (Sunbelt) states, is what it’s going to take to restore overall manufactured housing shipments and sales to prosperity, we should at least take a long, hard look at this aspect of rulemaking.

3. Chattel Loans. ‘Participants’ views on 1) the performance of recent-vintage chattel loans and their acceptability for purchase by the Enterprises; 2) investor demand for chattel loans; and, 3) mitigates for risks in chattel lending identified in the proposed rule.’ And yes, this agenda item took the lion’s share of time during this two hour meeting. The good and the bad, re part # 1: At least FHFA is willing to look at ‘recent-vintage chattel loans’, especially those performing in stellar fashion; however, such data tied to mortgagors (by name) does not exist! And, more bad news, in this observer’s opinion, is the complete lack of knowledge of what is presently happening among 500+/- property portfolio owners/operators throughout the U.S. These businesses widely and routinely buy and seller-finance new HUD-Code homes on-site! Part # 2? Alleged ‘high demand for seasoned chattel mortgages’, under certain conditions. And part # 3. A list of mitigating measures was presented and discussed at some length. Bottom line? Well, that’s one reason we await FHFA’s summary of this meeting….

4. Underserved Markets Plans and Evaluations. To be honest with you, other than acknowledging the agenda item, I really don’t recall any substantive discussion near the end of the meeting.

Well, there you have it; what one LLLCommunity owner/operator got out of this historic meeting, where a federal agency has reached out to the very folk involved, and requested and respected their input. Now we have to wait to see what might happen out of this situation.

One of the handouts distributed during the FHFA meeting contained salient passages quoted from Al Schrader’s recently-published autobiography, ‘No Respect At All…’ A PATH TO MILLION$. Why? Because this veteran owner of multiple communities and independent (street) MHRetail salescenters, has much to offer relative to the present day state of the MHIndustry, especially where chattel capital is concerned. And he describes in detail, his firm’s evolution from seller-financing ‘contract sales’, to a look at ‘captive finance’, to reliance now, on a national independent source of chattel finance for mortgaging new homes sold on-site. If you’d like a copy of this 260 page case bound text, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Only $25.00 postpaid – and $20.00 of that, Al donates to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. It is an engaging ‘read’!



Recall your introduction to REvive! ($) last week? Cavco Industries’ Community Rental Program? Well we inadvertently published the wrong phone number. Here’s the correct one: (800) 228-1828. So, if interested in this bold new $ program, give CountryPlace a call – and ask for REvive Specialist, Thomas Servage. Tell him ‘George sent me!’ Seriously.


Don’t Let This Unique Tour/Seminar Opportunity Pass By

Wasn’t expecting property portfolio folk to sign-up, figuring they already know how to effectively buy, sell & seller-finance new HUD-Code homes; but they’re registering!

Really wasn’t expecting anyone outside the Midwest to trek to this venue in Elkhart, IN, but so far they’re coming from Colorado, California, and several East coast states.

Most difficult marketing target, so far, has been ‘as expected’, the small to mid-sized single or two property owners/operators who, for decades, relied on independent (street) MHRetailers, to fill vacant rental home sites – and who aren’t around much anymore. So far, more than 1,000 pieces of direct mail, resulting in a few dozen sign-ups.

Bottom line? Good progress so far; but if you’re considering participating in the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’, don’t wait any longer to register. Why? Because on 18 May, the purposely low registration of only $195.00 goes up to $295.00!

If you need a brochure, for information and or to register, simply phone (317) 346-7156 and request it.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the only time this year, where five different HUD-Code home manufacturers (Clayton, Cavco, Champion, Commodore, & Adventure) are offering FREE plant tours in conjunction with four 1 ½ hour seminars, teaching how to:

How can you not want to avail yourself of this unique, first time ever offered, opportunity?


Breaking MHNews; Making History Thrice – all here!

April 23rd, 2016

Blog # 393 Copyright 2016 COBA7® 24 April 2016; community-investor.com web site

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 (press), 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 = ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. I can’t think of a more action-filled (i.e. ‘Breaking MHnews!’), and truly historic blog posting than this one! Cavco Industries, on Friday 22 April, introduced REvive; on 4/26, we get our ‘best shot ever’ at restoring reasonable access to chattel capital to the MHIndustry; and, on 5/25 & 26, ‘for the first time ever’, LLLCommunity owners/operators are invited to Elkhart, IN., to learn how to effectively sell new HUD-Code homes on-site & seller-finance them as well! And then, there’s that coincidence….


Breaking MHIndustry News

Cavco Industries’ Introduces REvive!

New Rental Finance Program for putting New Homes into LLLCommunities

REvive is Cavco Industries’ means of helping land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators upgrade vacant, even occupied rental homesites with new Cavco, Fleetwood, Palm Harbor, Fairmont, or Chariot Eagle homes, AND facilitate community’ participation in renewed interest in rental housing within local housing markets throughout the U.S.!

The REvive three steps Business Model is simple, direct, and effective:

1. Remove ‘mobile homes’ from rental homesites, and ‘ready’ existing vacant homesites for placement of new HUD-Code manufactured homes.

2. Implement REvive, and buy new, appropriately-featured Community Series Homes (‘CSH models’) from Cavco, Fleetwood, Palm Harbor, Fairmont, or Chariot Eagle, to install on those rental homesites

3. Carefully select new ‘home renter/site renter’ tenants, keeping 100% of site rent, while using home rental income to repay Cavco for the new home!

Terms and conditions relative to REvive? Contact CountryPlace Mortgage, Inc., via (800) 288-1828 & ask for REvive Specialist, or inquire via revive@countryplacemortgage.com

Also, for new HUD-Code manufactured housing availability, contact Steve Quick, BDM, of Fleetwood Homes via (615) 202-0245 & steve.quick@fleetwoodhomes.com


Three Years in the Making…

How Quiet Interpersonal Diplomacy has brought MHIndustry Aficionados, LLLCommunity Owners/operators, the Federal Housing Finance Agency & GSEs Together, in a Present Day Serious Attempt to Solve the Former’s Ongoing, since circa year 2000, Home-only Chattel Mortgage Finance Supply Hiatus. *1

The GSEs & LLLCommunities relationship began at the 23rd International Networking Roundtable in Peachtree, GA., during early Fall 2014. Representatives from Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac met with 200 LLLCommunity owners/operators from throughout the U.S., to share their programs and better understand the workings and needs of this unique, income-producing property type.

A link was forged between the two groups, GSEs & LLLCommunity folk, during a stunning panel discussion the last morning of the roundtable event. Then and there, the GSEs made it clear to these property owners, there is no set limit on the number of park-owned homes allowed in any one LLLCommunity, or even property portfolio, when considered by Fannie Mae. But rather, and here’s the ‘stunner’, each real estate – secured finance and refinance package is now evaluated, in terms of park-owned homes, ‘on its’ own merits’!

The next year, during ‘GSE Hour’ at the 24th International Networking Roundtable in San Diego, representatives from the two GSEs, along with Michael Price from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’), again stunned the 200 LLLCommunity owners/operators audience. This time around, the stunning revelation had to do with the GSEs willingness to consider real estate-secured finance and refinance mortgages on ‘any size’ LLLCommunity – especially smaller ones, i.e. fewer than 100 rental homesites in size! Turns out, this has been their policy all along. It simply has not been communicated to property owners ‘in search of financing’, by their loan brokers and lenders, because mortgage processing and servicing costs associated with small LLLCommunity commercial mortgages are akin to those experienced with larger properties, even entire portfolios; hence, the former are not as cost efficient as the latter – but they’re still attractive to Fannie Mae.

Well, the budding working relationship among MHIndustry aficionados, LLLCommunity owners/operators, FHFA, and two GSEs continues to bring the parties together in attempts to solve manufactured housing’s ongoing home-only chattel mortgage finance supply and access hiatus.

During the past few months, hundreds of individuals took time to pen and send comment letters to the FHFA, regarding the agency’s Duty to Serve rulemaking proposal(s). Specifically, ‘What DTS credit-worthy measures should FHFA and the GSEs consider and implement, during the months and year ahead, in behalf of manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural markets – via increased liquidity of mortgage investments and improved distribution of investment capital?’ And drilling deeper, focus on chattel lending, manufactured home community regulatory activities, and DTS Underserved Markets Plans & Evaluations.

Where are matters today? During the week ahead, on 26 April, nearly two dozen trade association executives, HUD-Code home manufacturing executives, financial consultants, bankers, and credit union representatives will caucus in Washington, DC., in search of answers and practical ways to address aforesaid matters. Why is this so important? Because this heterogeneous gathering of private enterprise, trade association and government agency folk is a ‘first time ever event’ – especially for the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class. And it likely would not have happened but for nearly three years of patient conversation, education, and networking.

Results? You’re read about them soon. Just stay blog-focused here, as well as in the pages of The Journal, and COBA7®s Allen Letter professional journal.

End Notes:

1. LLLCommunity = land-lease-lifestyle community: GSEs = Government Sponsored Enterprises = Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, for the purposes of this blog posting.


Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars

‘Who’s Being Visited & Who’s Presenting?’

This exciting inaugural event is only a month away! Are you registered yet? If not, don’t wait any longer. The RV/MH Hall of Fame cannot handle more than 200 participants in the amphitheater we’ve reserved for this unique educational and plant tour event. Registrations received on or after 18 May will be charged $295/person, up from the $195/person listed on the event brochure.

So, what plants are being visited during the two days? Adventure Homes in Garrett, IN.; Cavco Industries, Inc.= Fairmont & Harmony Homes in Nappanee; Champion Homes in Topeka, IN; Clayton Homes factories in Middlebury & Wakarusa, IN; and, The Commodore Corporation in Goshen, IN. And get this! Most, if not all of these firms, will be offering new HUD-Code homes at deep discount prices, if a ‘commitment to buy’ is made during one’s tour of their factory!

Meanwhile, what’s going on ‘back at the ranch (i.e. RV/MH Hall of Fame)’? As you know from the special tripartite brochure used to facilitate registration, there’re four major simultaneous seminar presentations – each session given twice, once on the 25th and once on the 26th. And here, for the first time, we’re identifying the LLLCommunity owners/operators leading each educational session:

GETTING READY! (property, sales center, staff, homebuyer profiles) Adriane DeRose, MHM® & Pamela Ziemer, MHM® from Carefree Homes, Inc. in Indianapolis, IN.

BUYING HOMES! (from the factory) James (‘Jamie’) Dougherty, MHM®, of Community Management Group in Farmington Hills, MI.

SELLING HOMES! (on-site) Kenneth Lipschutz & Danya Mallada of HomeFirst Certified Communities in Birmingham, MI.

FINANCING HOMES! (seller-financing options) Spencer Roane, MHM®, owner of Pentagon Properties in Atlanta, GA.

Can you imagine a more capable, experienced, motivated team of instructors? I can’t.

Oh, and there is one additional 45 minute session that leads off each morning and afternoon session: Welcome & Introductions! Besides being an icebreaker opportunity, we plan to ‘set the stage’ for what follows by sharing an abbreviated ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ overview. That way, each of the four specialty session instructors can ‘get right into’ their subject material for an hour, ending with discussion, questions & answers. Also expect special handouts: ‘The Six Right Ps of (New Home) Marketing’, & the popular ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ for calculating new and resale housing price points using the Annual Median Income (‘AMI’) of a local housing market(s) and/or Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’) – an individual or household’s gross annual income

This exciting two day program is for novice and experienced home sales operations alike. Already selling but struggling? Attend all sessions to learn where you might have to make changes to improve performance! Not yet selling? Attend all sessions to learn HOW TO set up an on-site home sales operation.

There’s also a gala networking reception being planned the evening of 5/25 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, from 6 – 8 PM.

To register, use the attachments to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) introducing this week’s blog posting, email me via gfa7156@aol.com, or simply phone (317) 346-7156.

An IMPORTANT REMINDER. When you register, don’t just send in the names, address, and payment information, but also the ‘schedule’ on the other side of the brochure. We need to know what plants you plan to visit and when you plan to sit for various classes – to let the factories and instructors know ‘how many’ to plan for each day. Also plan to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame and museum while in Elkhart, IN.



26 April 2016 = Open House exhibit of six new HUD-Code Community Series Homes ‘for sale & financing’ at Evergreen Village LLLCommunity in Emerson, GA (724 GA-293). RSVP Mario@roane.com Public Welcome!


26 April 2016 = FHFA’s Duty to Serve rulemaking meeting in Washington, DC.

The first instance is evidence of the ongoing ‘15 year paradigm shift’ throughout the manufactured housing industry, i.e. marketing and sale of new HUD-Code homes, not by independent (street) MHRetailers, but by on-site owners/operators of LLLCommunities.

In the second instance, the first national public discussion of measures sorely needed to routinely replenish the MHIndustry’s supply of chattel capital for home-only mortgages on new and resale homes sited in LLLCommunities.


Pioneer Dies; New Autobiography; Five Meetings; Correct Shipment #s!

April 16th, 2016

Blog # 392 Copyright 2016 COBA7® 17 April 2016; community-investor.com web site

Perspective: ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7® is the sole national trade entity focused exclusively on land-lease-lifestyle communities! Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal for its’ print/online media = ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. Two weeks of MHIndustry NEWS in this week’s blog posting!


Manufactured Housing Industry Loses a Pioneer!

Judith (‘Judy’) McIntosh Carr, was founder of Judy Carr & Associates, in 1980; and until her untimely recent death, was active with her husband Bill, and son Chad, in day to day operations at Rainmaker Software – serving the manufactured housing & RV industries.

Memorial Services, a reception, and open house were held for friends and relatives, on 15 & 16 April in Davenport, Iowa. Send cards and remembrances to Bill Carr, 1803 Westminster Cr., Davenport, Iowa 52807.

Judy taught me an early and invaluable lesson about business evaluation during the late 1970s and early 1080s. When I asked her, ‘Why were you too busy to help me with advice, when I was first starting out – but warmed to my queries a few years later?’ Her reply? By then, I’d proven I was in the MHBusiness for the long haul, and not another of the numerous ‘flash in the pan’ folk we see pass into and out of the MHIndustry. And Judy was right, as it’s now been nigh unto 38 years Carolyn and I’ve fee-managed and owned LLLCommunities, a.k.a. MHCommunities, and before that, ‘mobile home parks’. .


‘No Respect At All…’ A PATH TO MILLION$
Did you know? Throughout the 70 year long history of manufactured housing, there have been only four autobiographies authored and self-published by notable industry pioneers?

A Danish American, by the late Kris Jensen, Sr, an early Connecticut LLLCommunity developer/owner; father of the late Kris Jensen, Jr., and great grandfather of Kris Jensen, III. I keep hoping the family will update and republish this inspirational paperback book.

The Wheel & I is a case bound, boxed book by the late John Crean, founder of Fleetwood Homes. One candid ‘read’ for sure, where he writes in language as foul as it gets; talks of nondenominational whorehouses (whatever they are); describes a ‘mobile home’ as ‘a 65’ maggot’; and, explains how “We always used tiny women to model, to make the homes look bigger.” Bet you didn’t know all that.

First a Dream, in two editions, by Jim Clayton. Probably the most compelling of all four books to date. Jim included my book review, published in The Journal, in the appendix of his second edition; however, without the paragraph in which I criticized him for publicly venting, toward former employees who’d ‘done him wrong’.

The Trailer Twins, by Darrell, and the late Harrell Cohron, of Indianapolis, IN. Two very private guys who developed thousands of rental homesites, but are unknown outside of Indiana. And that might be a good thing, given at least one of the ‘business secrets’ revealed in the pages of this easy read.

Now, there might well be others, but most of the semi-autobiographical books I have in mind are more HOW TO tomes, regarding various subjects germane to LLLCommunity development, investment, and management; as well as manufactured housing sales tips.

Now, along comes Alvan L. Schrader’s ‘No Respect At All…’, A PATH TO MILLION$ – a straight-forward autobiography, chock full of amusing and engaging personal tales, plus Lessons Learned in business and otherwise. Some topics have been covered in another review I penned, describing this 261 page book. Here following are additional poignant, sometimes humorous anecdotes.

Did you know ‘selling is like shaving’? “You must do it every day or else, in time, you turn into a bum!” p.135

“…my 5/250 rule of thumb being, any business we operate has to be close enough to drive to in five hours, and no further than 250 miles! Anything beyond that distance cannot support our vertical integration concept of six opportunities for profit from each customer.” P.165 I found this rule to be confirming, as our LLLCommunity is 240 miles and four hours drive from home in Indianapolis.

Ever have someone say to you, “Let’s have lunch; I have a great deal for you.” Well, when someone tells Al that, he avoids having lunch with them, “…because it costs me money or time or both, and includes doing a few favors for them.” Though there was at least one occasion where the ‘deal’ “…turned out to be a very interesting opportunity to buy his business, and take over a going concern that fit in nicely with our other businesses.” – all on page # 177

“A friend of mine made a good comparison a long time ago when he said, ‘Running a family business is like flying a 747; 90% boring and 10% sheer fright.’.” p.180

And then there’s Al’s lifetime investment real estate motto, with which we also ended the other book review: “I want to wake up on the first of every month with a whole lot of people owing me money.” P.253.

To order a copy of Al’s book, at a reduced cost – only $25.00 postpaid, simply phone (317) 346-7156. And know this, Al’s donating $20.00 of the price to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.


Spring MH Meeting Season Heats Up!

Where Will YOU Be @ 4, 17, 25 & 26 May; 1 August; & 7-9 September 2016?

4 May = ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing’ re: ‘Sale of MH on-site in LLLCommunities’ Special handouts promised! This 1 ½ hour class occurs @ 3-4:15PM (That’s a change from earlier announcements) as part of the MHCongress (3-5 May) in Las Vegas. If you don’t already know what the ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing’ are, you need to be in this session! Phone (703) 558-0400 for information and registration details.

17 May = Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management certification class occurs at The Drake Hotel in Oak Brook, IL. Only $250.00/MHM candidate. Phone (217) 528-3423 to register. MHM® class size limited to 25, so don’t be left out of this dynamic class taught by owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities! 1,000 MHM®s nationwide! This MHM® class is a prelude to the IMHA’s annual meeting, to be held during the next two days.

25 & 26 May = ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ hosted by the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN & presented by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® or COBA7®!. Agenda features as many as four plant tours (six factories altogether: 2 @ Clayton, Cavco, Champion, Commodore, & Adventure Homes), plus four sequential home sales seminars! Registration? $195/person & $500/vendor. Phone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 for information and to register. Participation limited to 200. ALSO OPEN TRIPARTE ATTACHMENT to this BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) introducing this blog posting!

1 August = ‘MHAlive!’ The first brainstorming, Think Tank type experience to occur since the National State of the Asset Class caucuses of 2/27/2008 & 2009, and final meetings of the now defunct Manufactured Housing Communities Council of the ULI. Host facility = RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Schedule? 10-Noon = MHIndustry issues; a no host luncheon; 1-3PM = LLLCommunity issues; 6PM RV/MH Hall of Fame annual Induction Banquet – a separate event, but at same location. To sign-up, phone (317) 346-7156 (no or minimal registration fee at this time). Anyone businessman or woman active in the manufactured housing industry and or LLLCommunity realty asset class is Welcome to participate!

7-9 September = 25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable, at the Gaylord Resort Hotel (a.k.a. Grand ol Opry!) in Nashville, TN. Superb program this year, from three keynote presenters, to a guest appearance by Al Schrader (author), and three august panels on Friday: annual RE $ Lenders Panel; the ‘GSE Hour’ – featuring FHFA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac; and likely, a Special Panel discussing the future of MH $, chattel and otherwise….For a brochure, email gfa7156@aol.com and request it.


You’re Invited to OPEN HOUSE hosted by Pentagon Properties in Georgia!

Join dozens of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity aficionados at Noon (lunch provided)
on 26 April for an OPEN HOUSE celebration at Pentagon Properties’ Evergreen Village LLLCommunity in Emerson, GA. There’ll be six new HUD-Code (Community Series Homes) on display:

14X74 Riverbirch
16X80 Fleetwood
16X80 Riverbirch
16X80 Schult/Clayton,
Two 16X82 Fleetwoods
All homes are 3BR2B models. And every attendee will be given a handout document comparing manufacturer’s invoice, total cost (home, freight, setup, & utility connections, skirting, decks, A/C & landscaping), sale price, and lease-option terms!

Address of Evergreen Village is 724 GA-293, Emerson, GA. 30137. Only request of guests, is to RSVP the on-site manager via Mario@roane.com


And, in case YOU haven’t yet heard…

Manufactured Housing Shipments Were ‘UP’ in February – over the previous month and year to date!

Well, here’s the official HUD-Code housing shipment numbers for February, straight from the source, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’):

6,129 new HUD-Code homes shipped during February, up 267 homes from January; NOT the 6,161 reported elsewhere. Proof? Contact IBTS

11,991 new HUD-Code homes shipped year to date (January + February), up from 9,772 this time last year; NOT the 9,722 reported elsewhere. Proof? Contact IBTS.

And the above shipment totals are the same as those reported by HUD, MHARR, & COBA7®. So, no need to look or read any further. Any other numbers purporting to be ‘manufactured housing shipments’ would be aberrations!


An Industry in Search of an Answer to Its’ $ Problem

April 2nd, 2016

Blog # 391 Copyright 2016 COBA7® 3 April 2016; community-investor.com web site

Perspective: ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

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

An Industry in Search of an Answer to Its’ $ Problem

No, you’re not going to read ‘the answer – or answers’ in the paragraphs to follow.

But we do hope, observations, remarks, & questions penned here, stimulate discussion.

Let’s begin by briefly describing ‘what went wrong’ post 1998, when ‘land & home packages’ were all the rage throughout the manufactured housing industry.*1

Remember; we shipped 372,843 new HUD-Code homes that year to more than 13,000 independent (street) MHRetailers & ‘company stores’, but with only 25+/-% of new home shipments going into (then) manufactured home communities. Business was so good, that when local housing markets became saturated with our housing product, we started ‘playing games’, so to speak, with the chattel capital that kept our production engine a-running.*2 Result? By year 2000, as an industry and realty asset class, we turned our homebuyers/site lessees, financially, ‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Park’! *3 Consequence? An estimated 250,000 repossessed manufactured homes – to now directly compete with new homes coming off the production line! So, by year 2009, our annual shipment rate – given the difficulty in securing chattel capital for new ‘home only’ sales transactions on-site, and heady competition from the quarter million ‘repos’ on the market, plummeted to just 49,789 new HUD-Code homes shipped! And we’ve remained today, at a seven year annual average nadir of only 57,202 new homes.

By the end of years 2014 & 2015, there were less than 4,000 MHRetailers left, of any sort, to be found nationwide. However, an estimated 40+ percent of all new manufactured housing shipments were shipping directly into mostly larger land-lease-lifestyle communities, especially those consolidated into 500+/- property portfolios! And during year 2016, for the first time in MHIndustry history, an effort is afoot in the Midwest, to encourage small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators to begin – if they haven’t already – buying new homes directly from HUD-Code home factories, then selling them – and when need be, seller-financing them, to homebuyer/site lessees on-site!

NOTE to blog reader! To learn more about, even register for, the 5/25 & 26 ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’, at the RV//MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., print off all three attachments listed on the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) email message introducing this week’s blog posting!

But all that does not solve what’s become the perennial (i.e. year 2000 thru 2015, a.k.a. MHIndustry’s ‘still shifting paradigm’) new ‘home only’ finance ‘problem’, for sales transactions occurring within 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide.

The alternatives? Well, here’re the ways some, if not many, of us view the matter today:

• Independent third party chattel capital lenders. For the only complete list of firms, serving the manufactured housing market, refer to the ‘18th National Registry of ALL Lenders’. It contains names and contact information of four national, four super regional, and eight regional lenders and servicers. Available by phoning (317) 346-7156. Usually retailed as Option II affiliation with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® for $544.95, but FREE to anyone reading this particular blog posting. Mention blog # 391 when you call. And yes, they have chattel capital to lend, but tend to ‘cherry pick’ the home loans they underwrite, i.e. making loan funds available, just not easily so….Does anyone see this lending climate improving in the near future?

• From time to time, during the past three decades, there’s been talk throughout the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class, about ‘coming together & pooling funds’ to create our own chattel capital lending source. To date that has not happened. Is it a viable opportunity today, in the current heavily regulated lending climate?

• Floorplan Plus, a.k.a. (in some circles) as equity partnerships. Financing for LLLCommunity owners/operators, to acquire new homes to seller-finance or rent on-site, has been available for decades. These funds come from private investor relationships, even local lending institutions, all carefully cultivated over time. A third party variant of this occurs when independent third party lenders (e.g. 21st Mortgage & its’ C.A.S.H. Program, Triad, etc.), and now some larger home manufacturers (Cavco, Legacy, & Champion – latter via a national lender) craft and offer chattel capital programs secured by one form or another of guarantee by the community owner selling new homes on-site. Clayton Homes uses its’ in-house lender Vanderbilt Mortgage, in addition to 21st Mortgage.

• Lease-Option. While not easily pigeon-holed as a lending source of chattel capital – because it’s not; the methodology is far more prevalent across the U.S., than many realize. The ‘key to success’ is getting the definition, transaction structure, and process right! To that end, know today there’s an informal task force comprised of attorneys and land-lease-lifestyle community owners, working to codify and popularize L-O in most, if not all states. Should you be using lease-option in your rental homesite filling program? For more information, visit www.leaseoptionmhsales.com

• ‘Captive finance’ occurs when large and mid-size LLLCommunity owners/operators of property portfolios and not, create arms length home finance companies. The startup and ongoing cost, complexity, and requisite overhead, generally put this otherwise attractive alternative out of reach of small (single property) owners/operators. Is there a ‘captive finance’ in your firm’s future?

• Renting of new and resale manufactured homes on-site in LLLCommunities. This alternative has been around since the mid-1970s. The ‘drill’ then was to lease the home, as apartment, until it could be sold on contract to the tenant, or the property was put up ‘for sale’ – then’sold’ for sure! Today the drill isn’t as stringent, since some lenders, and some would be investors, are OK with rental units and contract sales (a.k.a. ‘park-owned homes’) on-site. Is this an option for you?

• Freddie Mac’s secured lender agreement and long term lease program, fizzled in 2005 & 2006, as the national economy faltered. All the background work, policies even forms remain intact. Perhaps it’s time for a resurrection? Wonder if anyone will recommend this avenue to FHFA, during the present rulemaking period, as a credit worthy pilot relative to chattel capital and financing of manufactured housing?

• Titling Reform. Sensing an opportunity, via Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) mandate, encouraging FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Authority) and GSEs Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, to invest in manufactured home financing, has led to a renewed call for adoption of the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Manufactured Housing Act (‘UMHA’). This is indeed a controversial topic that begs public discourse, but has received none! So, said shortfall might lead to a panel discussion, on this topic, at the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable later this year. Interested in titling reform, pro & con?
For an ‘invite ‘ to said event, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-1464. (7-9 September at Grand Ol Opry in Nashville, TN.)

• Federal programs. FHA Title I & FHA221(d)4. Former program is burdened with stipulations and requirements; the latter supports the purchase of new HUD-Code homes to be used as apartments. For more information, consult the appropriate federal agency. Also read chapter # 5 in the Manufactured Housing $ Primer, PMN Publishing, 2010.

Bottom line? Manufactured housing and LLLCommunities continue to function, marginally at best, using the hodge podge plethora of ‘home only ‘ chattel capital resources just described – or hinted at. With that said, what does the $ future of the industry/asset class hold? Probably one or more or combination of present day and indeterminate approaches, e.g.

• Return of reasonably accessible, plentiful, chattel capital from several sources

• Sea change to manufactured housing business and finance models, i.e. titling and realty-related matters, attracting conventional mortgage monies to the industry and asset class.*4

• Debut of a nybrid ‘home only’, practical lending model yet to be articulated by industry stakeholders and interested parties..

All this simply scratches the surface of what makes manufactured housing finance such a complicated, and at times, difficult subject to fully embrace, understand, and apply to one’s business interests, especially when selling new and resale manufactured homes on-site within land-lease-lifestyle communities.

See YOU at the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ on 5/25 & 26, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN!

End Notes

1. During decades prior to the short-lived ‘L&H package’ popularity, fully half or more of new HUD-Code home shipments, by dint of sales thru independent (street) MHRetailers, went into (then) manufactured home communities – where MHRetailers oft pre-leased vacant rental homesites, to ensure placement opportunities.

2. Housing finance abuses were addressed by the S.A.F.E. Act in 2008, and Dodd-Frank legislation (creating the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau) two years later. The unfortunate downside of state and federal finance regulation, has been ‘severe limiting of seller-financing on-site within LLLCommunities’ – heretofore, one of the last, perennial forms of ‘affordable housing finance’ functioning in the U.S.

3. Apt title of a muckraking article featured in the now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, Chicago, circa 2000.

4. Some would say, “Improve on the New Hampshire $ model, resolving issues of ‘title’ (?) transfer upon abandonment; reduction of ‘repo’ costs (e.g. court time & related legal expenses), and more, before proceeding.’