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

April 16th, 2016

Blog # 392 Copyright 2016 COBA7® 17 April 2016; 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 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


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; 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

• ‘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.’


National Market Shares & MOnthly Economic Reports by MHI & COBA7

March 25th, 2016

Blog # 390 Copyright 2016 COBA7® 27 March 2016;

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 of its’ print/online media – to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. Part I. ‘Geesh! I hate it when we make a mistake; but here’s the correction to the Year 2015 total HUD-Code home shipment total.’

With that said, let’s move onto WHO dominates the National Market Share of new manufactured housing units delivered. Prepare to be surprised, maybe dismayed.

And Part II answers the question some blog floggers (readers) have asked: ‘Why continue to point out the ‘generally small difference’ between HUD-Code new home shipment numbers distributed monthly, for a fee, by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) & reported similarly by HUD, MHARR, & COBA7®; unlike that published by MHI?’ The reason may astound you…



In an earlier blog posting we announced the total number of new HUD-Code manufactured homes ‘shipped’ during year 2016 – and told you not to pay attention to any other figure offered by any other national advocacy group representing our industry. Well, it turns out we picked the wrong number off the monthly tally sheets COBA7® maintains, containing # data we pay to receive from the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) – the same folk HUD, MHARR, & MHI patronize for identical data! By the way; would YOU like to be privy to new HUD-Code home shipment ‘stats’ each month? Simply contact Pam Brillhart at IBTS via (703) 481-2000, extension # 260. Yes, it’s that simple; and Now You Know…

The corrected figure? 70,544 new HUD-Code home were shipped during year 2015! This is the total we’ll soon be writing into the ‘Information Briefing Sheet’, and ‘State of the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’ SSRDs (Signature Series Resource Documents) published and distributed by COBA7® throughout the year.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story. While COBA7®, MHARR, & HUD generally arrive at the same annual shipment total – by simply adding IBTS 12 monthly figures together, one national advocacy body performs an added calculation each month, involving ‘destination pending’ homes, that distorts their published number relative to the MHIndustry’s official tally. So, just be aware – and beware, using anything other than 70,544 new HUD-Code housing shipments during year 2015, is INCORRECT.

And that’s not all! While in search of ‘national MH market share’ information for 2015, COBA7® came across 1) interesting (National Market Share) statistics, & 2) yet another questionable ‘total MH shipments’ number.

The first three firms listed on IBTS’ ‘Top 10 Production & Market Share by Corporation’ chart are, as one would expect, the ‘Big Three C’ companies: Clayton Homes with 32,069 new home shipments; Cavco, Inc. with 9,726; & Champion Homes with 8,674 new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 2015.

Clayton Homes’ shipment total represents 45 percent of national market share; Cavco, Inc., @ 13.7 percent; and, Champion Homes @ 12.2 percent. Taken together, the three firms garner 71 percent of the national MH market share during 2015. The remaining 29 percent of national MH market share is divided among seven other HUD-Code home manufacturers.

Now, here’s the questionable ‘total shipments’ number COBA7® uncovered: 70,664 new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 2015. What? That’s 120 more new HUD-Code homes than the 70,544 IBTS reported during the same 12 month period! And no one seems to have a ‘definitive answer’ as to the genesis of that number on the Market Share report, other than to opine it has to do with Destination Pending – labeled homes present on all monthly shipment reports. So, sorry to say, yet another mystery clouding HUD-Code manufactured housing scorekeeping. And when you get right down to it, no fewer than three different HUD-Code home shipment totals for year 2015. The only one that counts: 70,544!

Comparing national market shares, here’s an interesting, albeit inexact, juxtaposition with another business type:

Given the ‘Big Three C’ firms, during 2015, cornered 71 percent of the national manufactured housing market share; how’s that compare with national market share among mega banks in the U.S. during 2015?

According to Consumer Reports magazine, January 2017, “…four mega banks hold about 40 percent of all U.S. commercial banking assets.” The four mega banks? Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, & Wells Fargo.

So, in the manufactured housing industry, three firms control 71 percent of national market share. Among mega banking institutions, four banks control 40 percent of their national market share.



MHI @ 17 March 2016 Headline: “5,769 New HUD-Code Homes Shipped in January 2016 – Up 16.7 Percent from (4942) January 2015.”

COBA7® @ 17 March 2016 Headline: “5,862 New HUD-Code Homes Shipped in January 2016 – Up 17.9 Percent from (4969) January 2015.” (Using IBTS # data)


MHI @ 17 March 2016, opening sentence: “In January 2016, 5,769 new manufactured homes were shipped, an increase of 16.7 percent from January 2015, and (sic) an increase of 72 homes or 1.7 percent compared to December 2015.”

COBA7® @ 17 March 2016, opening sentence: “In January 2016, 5,862 new manufactured homes were shipped, an increase of 17.9 percent from January 2015, an increase of 205 homes or 3.6 percent compared to December 2015.” (Using IBTS # data)


So, there you have it, headline and line by line comparisons of quasi (‘almost’) official (‘properly authorized’ – by whom?) new HUD-Code housing shipment numbers tallied and reported, in the first instance by MHI; in the second instance by IBTS, HUD, MHARR, & COBA7®.


Bottom line? When will HUD, MHI, MHARR, & COBA7® stop confusing career & appointed Washington bureaucrats, dues-paying members of national MH advocacy entities, corporate stakeholders, legislators & regulators, as well as historians, with their inability to calculate and report the same statistical benchmarks for reference and posterity?

26 Lenders & Loan Brokers; MHAlive!, & TRUMP

March 11th, 2016

Blog # 389 Copyright 2016 COBA7® 13 March 2016;

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 of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’


No blog posting next weekend!

I. Second Most Popular SSRD described, along with others. All of which YOU, if owning one or more LLLCommunities, should be reading & using each month.

II,. No fewer than six timely and strategic venues YOU should consider attending as we move further into year 2016. Have I missed any events? If so, let me know!

III. What makes Donald Trump tick on the presidential campaign trail? Here it is!

No blog posting next weekend!


18th National Registry of ALL Lenders…
Serving the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Realty Asset Class

In January, it was the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land-lease-lifestyle Community Owners/operators Located Throughout North America!’ the first of a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRD’) researched & distributed by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® each month of the year.

In February, it was the ‘Official State of the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’ outline SSRD, routinely used by corporate executives, the trade press, and state MHAssociation executives to keep stakeholders, employees, readers, and members informed about ‘what’s really happening’ – and ‘not happening’, throughout the industry and among the unique, income-producing properties throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In March, it’s the ‘18th National Registry of ALL Lenders’ SSRD. Because the new edition is released every March, it’s not a surprise how many requests are made for it before being released as a lagniappe in that month’s issue of the Allen Letter professional journal – the circulation vehicle of choice for ALL 12 SSRDs created by COBA7®. In any event, this year’s 18th edition boasts no fewer than 26 lenders and loan brokers specializing in acquisition funding and refinancing of land-lease-lifestyle communities, form coast-to-coast throughout the U.S. And not only that, there’re dozens of sources for chattel capital, when financing new and resale home transactions on-site in LLLCommunities. This latter feature is prepared annually, for inclusion in the National Registry, by Rishel Consulting, headquartered in Springfield, IL. And capping off the report is the latest technical information available relative to lease-option methodology in the LLLCommunity environment. Tying all this salient information together is a fairly in depth summary of where commercial lending ‘has been’ during the previous 12 months, and where to expect it to head during the months ahead.

How does one obtain a copy of the ‘18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders’? Simply affiliate, at the Option II ($544.95/year) with COBA7®! To do so, gives one access to 12 monthly issues of the aforementioned Allen Letter professional journal, and at least a dozen SSRDs, certainly the three just described – as well as the ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 2016?’ directory of at least 40 freelance consultants who serve the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class nationwide. And the SSRD after that is the sole directory of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity trade print and online media, as well as an overview of all networking websites! To get on board, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

And in May, it’ll be the 17th annual ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 2016?’ SSRD – COBA7®s much-requested directory of 50+/- freelance consultants serving the MHIndustry & LLLCommunities nationwide. Should YOU be listed therein? If so, leave a voice mail message via (317) 346-7156. And if you affiliate with COBA7® by then, you’ll automatically receive this valuable SSRD as well.

By now it should be apparent: if you own one or more LLLCommunities, and are active in any segment of the manufactured housing industry, affiliation with COBA7® is all but a ‘must’ for YOU – to be informed via the Allen Letter each month, along with the dozen or more SSRDs that accompany Option II & III affiliation. Option III? That’s $944.95/year. For what? The aforementioned newsletter, dozen SSRDs, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter…the ‘MH news before it happens & that you won’t read elsewhere’!


Six Special Places to Be During 2016!

This is the time of year when responsible, forward looking corporate executives and budding – experienced entrepreneurs plan which educational, networking, and deal-making events to patronize during the months ahead – till year’s end. This is not an easy task, given the sheer number of regional and national events now filling manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community calendars. Following are the five major events I plan to patronize and or host during the year ahead:

• Manufactured Housing Congress. 3-5 May 2016 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Tuesday features an annual golf tournament and LLLCommunity forum – with a separate registration fee. Trade Show Exhibits & Seminars – with separate registration fee, occur on Wednesday & Thursday. Read the March 2016 issue of The Journal for details. If you’re selling new HUD-Code homes within one or more LLLCommunities, don’t miss the ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing!’ Wednesday afternoon, 2 – 3:30PM. This is a timely prelude to the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., on 25 & 26 May 2016. In any event, attendees at this Wednesday afternoon will receive a very special, never before distributed, durable training aid containing the ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing’! To register, phone (703) 558-0400.

• Manufactured Housing Manager® class, on 17 May in Oak Brook, Illinois. What’s so special about this particular one day class? Unlike another property management training & certification program, that’s apparently ‘going online’, this one continues to be taught in a classroom setting by individuals actively owning/operating one or more LLLCommunities, and who’re already MHM®s! Cost is only $250.00/person. There’s no test involved. And when you leave the class with a copy of the classic text, Landlease Community Management, in hand, you join more than 1,000 other MHM®s presently owing/managing this unique, income-producing property type. To register, phone (312) 528-3423.

• Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars. 25 & 26 May 2016, at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library facility in Elkhart, IN. This is an inaugural event for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity realty asset class! Designed and intended to motivate small to mid-sized LLLCommunities to begin and increase, if they haven’t already, the number of new HUD-Code homes they sell, and if need be seller-finance, on-site to fill vacant rental homesites. Registrants indicate beforehand, which of six plant(s) they want to visit during the two day event. And during that same period of time, successful, experienced LLLCommunity owners, will teach four sequential seminars on these four major topics: Getting Ready!, Buying Homes! Selling Homes! Financing Homes! If planned properly, every attendee should be able to visit at least one plant and avail themselves of each of the four seminars, plus consult with other chattel capital professionals and sources who will be present. To secure in ‘invite’, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or respond by email to this blog posting.

• Have you ever participated in a Think Tank Experience? Probably not, but this is an opportunity to do so! On 1 August 2016, the day of the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet; again, hosted at the Hall of Fame, Museum & Library facility in Elkhart, IN., the first ever ‘MHAlive!’ event will take place between 10AM & 2PM. Co-moderators: George Allen, CPM®Emeitus, MHM®Master; and someone yet to be named. At this point there’s no admission charge anticipated – unless a meeting room other than the library has to be rented. In any event, the agenda for the day is simple: Two hours in the morning will focus on the manufactured housing industry – where it is today – why we’ve endured a 15 year (2000-2015) paradigm shift; and, what might be done to rejuvenate new home shipments to pre-2000 levels. Following a networking lunch, likely off-site, the afternoon session will focus on the LLLCommunity asset class and issues (e.g. effects of property consolidation, defining a ‘fair housing $ proposition’ for homeowners/site lessees, and more). Trade journalists will be present, to popularize the event proceedings, enhancing probability of implementation… Attendance at that evening’s Hall of Fame banquet is not part of the Think Tank Experience, cut attendees are encouraged to be part of the anticipated 500 guest audience. For more information, use aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE or email. Seriously. This is your opportunity to be heard and to help!

• Celebrate ’25 ,35, & 50’ years! Three anniversaries in one event! The 25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable is scheduled for 7-9September 2016. And, it just so happens, this year also marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing – platform for COBA7®. And there’s a 50th anniversary included in the mix. In any event, this year’s networking roundtable is special for a plethora of good reasons, not the least being a bona fide ‘State of the Manufactured Housing Industry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ Plus, some well-received presenters, from years past, have been invited back to challenge roundtable registrants as we move on into the future of our industry. Also, the ever popular Lenders’ Panel, and now – for the third year in a row, the GSE Hour! And much much more. For a Networking Roundtable brochure, phone (317) 346-7156 or write

• 6th annual SECO Summit in the South, in Atlanta, GA. (Date pending). Haven’t been before? Make it a point to do so this year! Why? Here’re some very good reasons. There’ll be nearly 200 LLLCommunity owners present from at least 20 states; between three and five new HUD-Code Community Series Homes on display outdoors; two dozen product/service vendors displaying their wares & systems; as well as several specialty skill workshops and educational seminars from which to choose. The SECO event will occur during late October or early November. For more information, contact Genevieve Ketelle via to have your name placed on the preferred ‘invite’ list!



March 7th issue of ADVERTISING AGE magazine, on page # 13, posited Donald Trumps success, to date, during the presidential race, as being attributed to these five actions:

1. Keep messages simple

2. Leverage live events

3. React in real time on social media (but spell-check)

4. Be bold & less apologetic

5. Don’t underestimate the power of earned media

Pretty nifty huh? Don’t think the American electorate has ever experienced election campaigns so flush with plots, plans, strategies, and more.


Official New HUD Home Shipment # for Jan & much more…

March 4th, 2016

Blog # 388 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 6 March 2016;

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 of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION: Year 2016 = An opportunity for a fresh start within the MHIndustry. Let’s ALL report the same new HUD-Code home shipment # each month of this year!!!


Tired of being ignored by the greater housing market? Read Part II, & YOU will be for sure! The challenge today is, WE have no practical way to ‘Get Our Word Out’ to where it needs to go; to be seen, heard, believed, and acted upon by homebuyer/site lessees!



The Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’); Department of Housing & Urban Development (‘HUD’); Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’); and Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® (‘COBA7®’), agree & announce the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry shipped 5,862 new manufactured homes during the month of January 2016! That’s 893 more homes than were shipped during January 2015. So, we’re off to a Great Start!

WARNING! 5,862 new manufactured homes shipped during the month of January 2016 is the MHIndustry’s ‘sole official count’! There might be another ‘figure’ thrown out for consideration, but it’s not this authoritative one, carefully researched and published by aforementioned IBTS! So, don’t be fooled!

CHALLENGE! Let’s chart new HUD-Code home shipments during 2016, with everyone on the same statistical reporting page – by getting your data here, and from nowhere else. Proof? Just google ‘IBTS-manufactured housing’, to learn this is indeed ‘the source’ for this data we subscribe to, receive, and pass unadulterated onto you!


Housing Industry All-Stars Keep Affordable Factory-built Housing on the Bench & Out of the View of Homebuyers!

The QUESTION: ‘How can HUD-Code manufactured housing be a meaningful part of, let alone the practical solution to, ‘scarce homeownership supply’ & the’ housing affordability crisis’ when it’s not even (ever) part of the public marketing conversation?

The ANSWER: It can’t, and won’t be, as long as quasi-academic papers like ‘Meet Me in the Middle: Supply Trends, Factors, & Product Considerations Impacting Homeownership Affordability Today.’ do not include us in the housing marketing mix! This paper by Todd LaRue, writing for the RCLCO Real Estate Advisory Services firm.

Here’s Summary of Findings; condensing data & information in this ten page report:

“Instead of targeting the meat of the market with a volume-driven strategy, high land costs, flat income growth, and a shrinking middle class are leading builders to target fewer but more affluent buyers. New for-sale homes are therefore getting bigger and more expensive, prices are rising faster than income, and household formation is outpacing single-family starts. In addition to limiting the affordability of new supply, conventional new detached homes may also be overlooking lifestyle preferences for more walkable, compact communities. As a result, key buyer segments are currently underserved. In pursuing more midscale, mid-priced product, builders may be able to offer more attainably priced housing – while leveraging the additional density to also improve their bottom line.”

As you can see (read), the researcher/author tiptoes all around HUD-Code manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community characteristics of proven affordability, modest density, professional management, and more. Wonder if he’s even aware of our unique product & lifestyle advantages?

Here however, are some of the statistical tidbits found in this document:

• “In 2015, there were over one million new households (formed), and only 630,000 single-family housing starts (U.S. Commerce Dept says 728,000, but NAHB 549,000. Who to believe?), well below the long-term average (of what number?) – NAHB says 1,300,000 new homes per year.” This is what I dislike about business writer’s not footnoting statistics. Can pen anything they want!

• Measuring housing affordability as a multiple of Area Median Income (‘AMI’). “In San Francisco, expect to pay nine times the (area) median income for the median price resale home today.” (e.g. AMI = $77,485 in 2013 X 9 = $697,365). Indianapolis = 2.8 times X AMI, or $52,268 in 2014 X 2.8 = $146,182. To bring this ‘closer to (manufactured) home’, there’s a local housing market nearby where the AMI is $36,000. Using the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’*1, with variables of site rent @ $300/month, and ‘home only’ chattel loan terms @ 9.5% & 20 years, a prospective homebuyer/site lessee can get into a new HUD-Code home for $68,000 (including site rent), or 1.89X the AMI of $36,000. Yet, even with this much ‘affordability’ potential, manufactured housing continues to be ignored!

• Deterrents to Purchasing a Home, include: 63% @ COST (Hard to find homes in my price range); 39% @ SAVING for a down payment; 35% @ LOW SUPPLY of attractive homes sold fast and got multiple offers; 26% @ KNOWLEDGE – Did not know where to start; 21% ! FINANCING (low credit score or other debt); and, 20% @ PRODUCT (lack of home types wanted, regardless of price).*2 Whew! And here’s manufactured housing – more than able to compete in the deterrent areas of COST, KNOWLEDGE, & PRODUCT. ‘Hey, we’re over here!’

• Unmet (housing) demand. “The way current supply and demand forces are currently coming together, new housing supply tends toward small units in urban, midrise, or high-rise multifamily buildings, or large, exurban single-family detached homes. This leaves key buyer segments underserved, because this supply does not offer the value and or lifestyle sought by 1) young families & first-time buyers, 2) empty nesters, and 3) low & middle-income renters.” The last sentence so-describes manufactured housing’s traditional market of ‘Newly Weds & Nearly Deads!’, plus many low & middle-income renters.

• “’Missing middle’ housing (i.e. ‘midscale & mid-priced product types’) can be thought of as a value play and as a lifestyle choice.” Now read this carefully. “…these middle products …being between seven and 20 units per acre, which makes them somewhat smaller than the conventional detached home…are also relatively inexpensive to construct…The moderate density, unit sizes, and construction costs allow builders to sell these middle products at prices…more attainable to young families, first-time buyers, and middle-income buyers than new detached products.” With all that said (written), however, nary a word about ‘middle housing’ being ‘manufactured housing’. These folk are actually seeking ‘our answer’ as if we’re hiding in plain sight. ‘Hey, we’re over here!’

• And finally, “Why aren’t we building midscale, mid-priced product today?” Three reasons: Zoning & Regulation (NIMBYism via limited density & minimum lot & home sizes *3); Market & Land Value (High costs require greater density & projects too small to warrant financing); and, Consumer Preferences (Unaware of product alternatives)

So, where does all this leave us? In a word, ‘nowhere’ – until this sort of real estate advisory service, and others, ‘discover’ factory-built housing in general, HUD-Code manufactured housing in particular, even land-lease-lifestyle communities – and then write about us!

But how to accomplish ‘getting the word out’ to housing developers, land planners, real estate advisors, and prospective homebuyers/site lessees? Right now, that’s a difficult thing to do, as neither the mainstream secular or building trades business press demonstrates any interest in the quality, affordability, and energy efficiency our housing products bring to the shelter table! And add to that dismal reality, our industry has but one advertising-supported print trade publication left, and two limited circulation print business newsletters. And not much of an online presence either, despite promises and claims to the contrary. Neither national advocacy organization, at this point in time, uses the services of a public relations firm to position and publicize our unique housing product and community lifestyle. Until all those shortfalls are addressed, consider us ‘dead in the water’ marketing wise.

End Notes:

1. ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ is available ‘for the asking’ from COBA7®, via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764; & email via An amazing do-it-yourself tool for calculating new home price points in any local housing market defined by postal zip code (to ascertain AMI), and ‘How much new or resale home ($) a prospective homebuyer and or homebuyer/site lessee can truly afford to buy’, under ‘risky’ & ‘affordable’ housing payment conditions. This form belongs in every housing professional’s collection of resources and practical tools.

2. ‘According to Sample of 2014-2015 First-Time Buyers, February 2016’.

3. NIMBY = ‘Not in my back yard!’; oft shadowed by LULU as in ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use!’; and, tongue in cheek, BANANA = ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody!’


‘Who’s Working in Your Behalf – manufactured housing’?

February 27th, 2016

Blog # 387 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 28 February 2016;

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 of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION. Did you know? As we go about our daily business in the MHIndustry, and as LLLCommunity owners/operators – and lenders, there’re businessmen and women taking steps intended, in time, to rejuvenate HUD-Code manufactured housing, and fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in properties throughout the U.S.? Well there are, and this blog posting might be your first exposure to three independent initiatives occurring outside the confines of either, or both, national advocacy bodies in and near our nation’s capitol. What are YOU doing to advance these initiatives?



We’re Reshaping the MHIndustry Business Model!

Who’re we talking about here?

Smart HUD-Code home manufacturers, savvy land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, even lenders!

How so?

Well, it’s been a three-step process spread over the past seven years, and the cycle likely won’t be complete for, well, another few years.

But we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves, so let’s stop, and describe the background, in effect lay the groundwork on which historic business model changes have occurred during the past few years, present day situation(s), and likely what’s to happen in the not too distant future.

1998 – 2000. For the second time (some say third*1) in its’ (then) 50 years history, the manufactured housing industry abused its’ easy access to chattel capital, to fund ‘home only’ loans in (then) manufactured home communities. Result?

By 2005, chattel capital from independent third party lenders had pretty much dried up. Annual shipments of new manufactured homes slid from 372,843 & 250,550 in years 1998 & 2000 respectively, to 129,902 by year 2005. Then it was observed, no fewer than six types of housing were now relatively commonplace in our unique, income-producing property type, so MHCommunity became land-lease-lifestyle community, or LLLCommunity for short. *2

2009 = nadir (bottom) year for HUD-Code manufactured housing, when only 49,789 new homes shipped! It was also at this point the number of independent (street) MHRetailers began to decline precipitously, from more than 14,000, to fewer than 4,000 (including ‘company stores’) a few years later! Who picked up the slack? Read on…

Enough background. This is where the three-step process leading to historic (manufactured housing) business model change began! On 28 February of that year, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., 100 HUD-Code home manufacturers and LLLCommunity owners/operators caucused to agree on a new home design that’d entice community owners to ‘buy more homes’, boosting shipment volume. Results? Community Series Home, or CSH Model design*3 was agreed upon, though not named as such until eight months later at the International Networking Roundtable.*4 Also that year, only 25% of new homes were going directly into LLLCommunities.

Fast forward to year 2015. By the end of this year, many plants routinely turned out CSH Models, often purchased by the 500+/- property portfolio firms who’d been consolidating the property type during the past 35 years.*5 By year end, it was estimated that 40% of all new HUD-Code homes were being shipped into (the larger) LLLCommunities. In summary, that meant the 12,500 homes shipped in 2009 more than doubled in number to 28,000+ homes during 2015! But it was also recognized, the vast majority of (smaller) LLLCommunities, awash with an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide, were NOT buying new homes, for several reasons: lack of ‘know how’; mostly passive, often absentee investors; and, lack of working capital and home finance, unless the mortgage was paid off.*6 Which brings us to the second step in the aforementioned three-step process leading to historic business model change.

HOW TO train and motivate small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators to buy more new HUD-Code homes and sell them on-site, even seller-financing them if need be? That’s where we are today, and in part, why THIS BLOG POSTING is a major step in this recovery scenario!

On 25 & 26 May 2016, at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library, in Elkhart, IN., the manufactured housing industry will host the ‘first ever’ Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars! No fewer than six plants are committed to offer a total of 24 tours during the two days (Champion Homes, 2 @ Clayton Homes, The Commodore Corporation, Cavco (Fairmont & Harmony), and Adventure Homes). The four seminars (Getting Ready!, Buying Homes! Selling Homes! Financing Homes!) will each be presented twice during the two day period. And all seminars will be taught by capable, experienced, successful, motivated LLLCommunity owners presently selling new HUD-Code homes on-site! Goal? To motivate small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators to attend, visit factories, and learn HOW TO prepare their properties, HOW TO buy new homes, HOW TO sell new homes on-site, and HOW TO finance them, when need be! We haven’t even printed brochures, but have more than 50 individuals registered to attend! How can you not want to be part of this exciting event? To put your name on the preferred invite list, simply email, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. There will also be opportunities to interface with firms offering chattel capital financing, as well as consultants providing training and resources on HOW TO be compliant with state and federal finance regulations.

The third-step in this historic business model changing sequence? Well, it’s ‘in process’, and has to do with the way we might finance new HUD-Code ‘home only’ loans within LLLCommunities ‘in the future’. Up front bottom line? We can continue to struggle along with limited access to chattel capital, increasing our annual shipment rate by only 4,000+/- new homes per year, e.g. 70,535 + 4,000 in 2016 = 74,535; then 78,535 in 2017. You get the picture; is this what you/we want? NO! So, to exceed that sluggish pace, we must do something major differently! And that might well have to be, again, in the area of ‘home only’ finance! Not going into detail here, other than to say, there are major U.S. banks who will jump at the opportunity to finance new HUD-Code homes if we, as an industry, would adjust our traditional business model to give them, the lenders, protections like they enjoy with real estate-secured mortgages. Is that possible? Some say YES, others say NO. And that’s where we are today, with this added whisper: Rumor has it, several major $ ‘players’ – sources and consultants, will likely meet during the next six months to work thru this situation, in search of a solution designed to help rejuvenate the MHIndustry. Who knows? Might even dust off the Freddie Mac program of 2006 that disappeared when the national economy went into national recession in year 2007….

In summary; the Community Series Home, in 2009, got the slow recovery ball rolling in the right direction. Now that portfolio firms are 40% buyers of new HUD-Code homes, it’s time to get the 85% of national (smaller) LLLCommunity owners/operators trained and motivated to do the same! Hence the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ @ 24 7 26 May 2016 in Elkhart, IN. No reason why such a unique and timely program can’t be emulated in Southeast, South Central, West coast, and Pacific Northwest regions of the U.S. Will YOU be the next event planner and promoter?

OR, to state it differently, more succinctly…

Years 2000 thru 2015 = 15 year paradigm shift for the manufactured housing industry of yore and today; culminating during 2014, with the co-debut of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, and NEW ERA for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, with latter dubbed ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’!

Are YOU on board? It’s not too late, you know…

End Notes.

1. For detailed treatment of this subject, read Otto Wontuck’s classic feature, ‘Looking Back at 50 Years of Manufactured Housing Financing’, in the now defunct Manufactured Factory Home Merchandiser magazine, June 2000, p.45.

2. LLLCommunities = pre-HUD ‘mobile homes’; post-HUD manufactured homes’ ‘park model RVs’, a.k.a. ‘PMRVs’; ‘RVs for a season’; and, stick-built homes constructed on-site in LLLCommunities, usually after hurricanes (only in FL).

3. Community Series Homes = WOW factors inside & out, plus a plethora of durability-enhancing features, to speed ‘make ready’ of units between renters or homebuyers/site lessees.

4. At the International Networking Roundtable in 2009, freelance landscape design consultant Don Westphal suggested labeling the new home design as Community Series Home.

5. In 1989 only 25 property portfolio firms; 500+/- known in 2016. See the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, .a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’, available from COBA7® with Option II affiliation @ $544.95. Phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

6. This was 85% of the 55,000+/- known LLLCommunities nationwide, i.e. those with fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece.


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

Annual HUD-Code ‘Shipments’ Compared to Site-built Housing ‘Starts’ in 2009 & 2015!

February 19th, 2016

Blog # 386 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 21 February 2016;

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 of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance!’


Part I. As an industry, particularly as a type of factory-built housing, we oft talk and sometimes grouse, about our ‘competitor sister’, the site-built, stick, or traditional home builder. Well, here’s a rare statistical comparison of both housing types, side by side, ‘production wise’ during the Great Recession years 2009 – 2015! An interesting tale it is.

Part II. Haven’t yet read the ‘National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’, yet wonder what it is like? Well, here’s the prelude to this annual seminal document, second in popularity only to the ALLEN REPORT. If you’re involved in MH and or LLLCommunity finance, this is a Must Have Resource!


Annual HUD-Code Home ‘Shipments’ & Site-built Housing ‘Starts’ Compared; 2009 & 2015!

Twice during the past 40 years, HUD-Code home ‘shipments’ competed handsomely with site-built housing ‘starts’: during 1973 when 579,960 new ‘mobile homes’ were distributed throughout the U.S., and in 1998, when 372,843 new ‘manufactured homes’ were shipped. Since then, HUD-Code manufactured housing, denied reasonable access to chattel capital (Initially, for good reasons) to originate ‘home only loans’ within land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), has been ‘on the ropes’, experiencing an historic nadir year in 2009, with only 49,789 new homes shipped. Today, we’re only up to 70,535 during year 2015. *1

So, how does this up – & – down factory-built housing scenario compare with the similar recent ‘boom – & – bust experience’ suffered by site-built housing throughout the U.S.?

Here are some interesting numbers to parse and compare:

• According to the National Association of Home Builders (‘NAHB’), the ideal number of annual new site-built housing ‘starts’ is 1,300,000. In 2009, their homebuilders ‘start’ volume plummeted to only 351,000 new homes, or just 27 percent of the stated ideal production level! Fast forward to year 2015. Last year, homebuilders’ new ‘starts’ numbered 549,000, or 42 percent of NAHB’s stated ideal production level, a tepid 15% recovery over a seven year period of time.

• Similarly, sources within the manufactured housing industry informally cite the ideal number of annual new HUD-Code housing ‘shipments’ to be 200,000+/-. In 2009, manufactured housing ‘shipment’ volume plummeted to only 49,789 new HUD-Code Homes, or 25 percent of the estimated ideal production level! Fast forward to year 2015. This past year, new home ‘shipments’ numbered 70,535 units, 35 percent of the estimated ideal production level, and a slow 10% recovery pace over a seven year period of time. *2

Assuming the accuracy of the ‘start’ & ‘shipment’ numbers just stated, it’s interesting to observe the nearly parallel performance of these two types of housing during the past seven years. Nadir (‘lowest point) production levels at only 27 & 25 percent of ‘ideal’ production levels respectively, now improved to 42 & 35 percent of said ‘ideals’.
In summary, site-built housing production is recovering only slightly faster than factory-built housing – likely because reasonable access to chattel capital continues to elude the manufactured housing industry sector.

So, what’s the Big Picture, or Macro View, of housing during the past seven years? The following is quoted from Integra Realty Resources’ VIEWPOINT, dated January 2016:

“The home building industry suffered a significant blow from the Great Recession, shutting off the housing creation supply pipeline for roughly three years. In 2015, the housing sector did not recover to pre-recession levels, and the long-term view for housing growth remains unclear. This major pillar of the U.S. economy continues adjusting to demographic, geographic, and generational shifts.” P.5

Frankly, this veteran MHIndustry observer does not see significant improvement to the new HUD-Code housing ‘shipment’ scene until several things occur:

• More LLLCommunity owners/operators buy more new HUD-Code ‘Community Series Homes’ for placement – and resale/seller-financing or lease-option, on the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in properties throughout the U.S! At present, an estimated 40 percent of new HUD-Code home shipments go directly into LLLCommunities. How high might this percentage climb? 50, 60, 70%?

• MHIndustry leaders to do something they’ve resisted to date: caucus openly and nationally, to brainstorm practical, even new ways to foster increasingly attractive lending environments on-site within LLLCommunities! Yes, this might in time, mean moving away from traditional vehicular titling of manufactured homes, and adoption of long term written leases, to attract and protect lenders who favor originating and underwriting real estate – secured ‘home only’ loans.

• And as the previous two changes are effected, the MHIndustry to plan, fund, and launch its’ ‘first ever’ national factory-built housing brand advertising campaign! No point in doing this step until the first two are firmly in place; then, ‘pull out all the stops’ and introduce U.S. citizenry to ‘Affordable Housing that Appreciates in Value & Fulfills the American Dream of Home Ownership!’

There’s a lot said in the previous paragraphs; even more to be said once you’ve read them and reflected upon their content. If YOU agree, then copy and send this blog posting to your state and national MH advocacy organizations, encouraging them to ‘get on board’ this plan to rejuvenate our long suffering industry and realty asset class!

Disagree? Then write and let me know ‘why’; and, ‘what’ might work better1 Seriously. GFA

End Notes.

1. Statistics in this paragraph quoted from COBA7®s Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, titled: INDUSTRY BRIEFING SHEET; ‘The Decade (2005 – 2015) of Factory-built Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Community’.

2. 70,535 new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 2015, is based on research conducted and reported, for a fee, by the Institute of Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), and embraced unchanged by HUD, the MHARR, COBA7®, and VAMMHA.


Prelude to 18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving the Manufactured Housing Industry & Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class!

Last year’s ‘17th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders…’ began with this heady prediction, “2015 is the perfect time to be a borrower in the commercial/multifamily space because capital is plentiful, interest rates remain near historic lows, and real estate fundamentals are improving.” Well, as you’ll read in the paragraphs to follow, this has certainly been the case during the past 12 months; and guess what? Expect ‘even more of the same’ during year 2016!

Proof? This from NREI, January 2016: “Lenders on track to originate $224 billion in permanent loans on multifamily properties (alone) in 2015, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That’s a 15 percent increase from 2014, which in turn marked a 13 percent increase from 2013. And that year marked an 18 percent increase in originations from 2012.” P. 28

OK, so how ‘bout the land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) ‘acquisition & refinance’ segment of the multifamily market? Total 2015 dollar volume, among 26 reporting lenders and brokers, was $4,175,000,000.00. Yes, that’s four billion dollars plus! And this compares well with the $3,487,000,000.00 originated during all of 2014; in summary, a 20 percent increase in loan production!

All this is just part of an overall, bigger story. Beyond the multifamily property lending segment, lies the rest of the commercial realty market. Again, according to the MBA, expect originations of commercial and multifamily mortgages together to rise six percent in 2016, to $485 billion total!

So, why all this interest, on the part of investors and lenders, in multifamily and commercial in general, LLLCommunities in particular? According to Chris Finlay, chairman & CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, “…smart people…have chosen real estate as their investment class, (knowing) real estate provides a stable diversification to the volatility of the equity markets, outperforming those markets for many, many years.” (1/13/2016 email). Want a peak at the future? Finlay goes on to say, “…consider the Millennials: 25 million classic apartment renters are still living at home. And it will be a while before they can afford – or want – to purchase a home (due to) student debt, flexibility to move for job opportunities, later marriages and children, etc.. (And get this!) Recently, the FHA has ruled potential home buyers who carry student debt will have to include said debt (even if deferred) in their debt-to- income calculations. So it will be even harder (for them) to qualify for a (home) mortgage. The 25 million will need rental housing.” That’s a lot of apartments; that’s also a lot of manufactured homes leased as rental units!

Well, is all rosy? Not at all. Label what follows here as ‘Certain Uncertainty!’ This paragraph quoted from Integra Realty Resources (‘IRR’) VIEWPOINT, ‘2016 Commercial Real Estate Trends Report’ publication:

“Though the U.S. is in its’ seventh year of the current economic cycle, uncertainty as to the recovery’s strength continues to persist. One view opines the U.S. is nearing an end of the current upward cycle, with a high probability of real estate price correction owing to asset appreciation that is ahead of real growth. An alternate view notes the U.S. economy may be on a long runway that will continue to accelerate. The various global and domestic economic forces are mixed, and as a result, the state of the economy feels edgy, volatile, chaotic, and oftentimes fragile.” P.4. Conflicted yet? You should be. Reread Part I of this week’s blog posting.

Now let’s turn to the specialty (real estate secured) finance markets, Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities, a.k.a. CMBS, and land-lease-lifestyle community lending.

Once again NREI provides insightful summary. “The CMBS market staged an impressive comeback in the aftermath of the recession. Having posted a paltry $2.7 billion in U.S. issuance in 2009, the market has realized a steady upward trajectory during the past six or so years. Lenders issued $94 billion in new loans in 2014, and expectations are 2015’s volume will top $10 billion.” With that said, CMBS lending is still nowhere near the 2006 & 2007 levels of issuance @ $198.4 billion & $228.6 billion respectively! What to expect in 2016? Again, Certain Uncertainty – in part driven by $111 billion in CMBS loan maturities in 2016, and $116.4 billion in 2017, but only $21.2 billion in 2018. The challenge? There’s simply not enough business to go around, e.g. 30+ lenders vying for about $100 billion in loans.

As we segue into the land-lease-lifestyle community realty lending environment, know the GSEs (government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) have become, and will likely continue to be major players in this market. For example, in the February 2016 issue of MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE magazine, LLLCommunities receive ‘rare mention’:

“…experts anticipate more activity financing sizable workforce-housing properties in higher-cost markets, and also in niches such as small properties, assisted-living, and land-lease-lifestyle communities, and energy-and water-efficiency retrofits.” P.27

And at this point, in the ‘18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders…’ we take a close look at the nearly two dozen lenders and loan brokers who routinely originate acquisition loans, and refinance mortgages, for LLLCommunities nationwide. If you’re not yet affiliated with COBA7®, but would like to be – to receive the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLcommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’), the 18th National Registry of ALL Lenders….’ And ten additional Signature Series Resource Documents, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or email:


70,535 New HUD-Code Homes Shipped in 2015!

February 12th, 2016

Blog # 385 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 14 January 2016;

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 9press), 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(R) Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’& Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance’!

INTRODUCTION. Thank You for your patience! I needed ‘a week off’ from preparing this specialty blog; so, spent time driving from Indianapolis thru PA to Cape May, NJ, then onto Washington, DC, for MHI’s Winter meeting. More about that in a minute. First, here’s today’s blog preview:

• MHI’s estimation of annual new HUD-Code home shipments ‘unfortunately’ at odds with its’ data source IBTS, plus HUD, MHARR, COBA7®, & VAMMHA!

• Just how representative of the manufactured housing industry, are attendees at MHI’s Winter meeting? You might be surprised at who’s least represented.

• Timely and helpful information describing ‘What Millennials Value’, relative to housing now and in the near future.


IBTS, HUD, MHARR, COBA7® & VAMMHA Cite 70,535 New HUD-Code Homes Shipped During 2015!

The Institute of Building Technology & Safety (the actual source of MH shipment data), U.S. Department of HUD, the MHARR, COBA7®, & state association VAMMHA all agree: 70,535 new HUD-Code homes were shipped during year 2015.

However, the Manufactured Housing Institute, in its’ Monthly Economic Report, dated 10 February 2016, goes on record as stating ‘their total’ is only 70,519 homes, or 16 fewer homes than cited by the very source they subscribe to for this information! Why the unfortunate and misleading difference? Ask MHI; or, read the expose’ (‘MHIndustry Mystery Solved!’), in the July 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

Have been waiting six months to pen this challenge to MHI leaders: “Why not turn over a new leaf, figuratively-speaking, during 2016, and start reporting monthly new HUD-Code home shipments in the same manner as your data source, IBTS, as well as HUD, MHARR, COBA7®, and VAMMHA?” GFA

To NOT do so, forces those who ‘keep score’ within the MHIndustry, to continue reporting how our two national advocacy bodies continue to be unable to play by the same rules; specifically, report the same number of new HUD-Code homes shipped each month! Does this ongoing difference reflect well on our business model? NO!


MHI’s Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.

Have you ever been to a national meeting planned and hosted by the Manufactured Housing Institute? They generally occur three times annually, not counting their annual soirée, the Manufactured Housing Congress, always in Las Vegas, NV. This year it’ll be 3 – 5 May, 2016.

Well, the first thing you learn is, said meetings rarely attract more than 100 registrants. One meeting during year 2015 actually pulled in 120+/-. But this one, just concluded, in downtown Washington, DC. according to distributed registration list, attracted 100 businessmen and women. That’s roughly one third of MHI’s 302+/- Company Members, plus 48 state-appointed certified representatives, as of 12/18/2015

It’s also an interesting exercise, to figure out from which segment of the industry, and otherwise, these individuals hail. As far as we could tell, this is how MHI’s Winter meeting attendance ‘penciled out’:

State MHAssociations were the most heavily represented segment of the industry, with 19 execs present. Oh, and at the MHI meeting, while still adjusting to Ross Kinzler no longer being present (He retired at the first of this year, handing over responsibility of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance to Amy Bliss), we learned from Michigan sources, their executive director Tim DeWitt, will be retiring in July of this year.

Second highest representation comes from the land-lease-lifestyle community side of the house, or National Communities Council division. In this instance, 11 different firms were represented; comprised of eight property portfolio firms and three single property owner/operators. There were three representatives from UMH Properties alone.

Appeared there were a dozen representatives from various finance firms, e.g. independent third party chattel capital resources, commercial real estate mortgage originators, even a secondary market representative.

And finally, something that always strikes one as being strange, where this home manufacturing – dominated institute is concerned, is how there were only eight firms represented, with a few instances of multiple reps from the same company.

Of course, there was also the usual smattering of attorneys, government officials and regulators, as well as a few independent (street) MHRetailers.


Millennials & Housing

“The CONSUMER REPORTS National Research Center surveyed 1,573 millennials nationwide, to better understand their attitudes toward housing. Overall, they believe firmly in ownership. Though just 26 percent currently own a home, 71 percent aspire to do so. Their top reasons include a desire for more privacy, the ability to make a space their own, and the wealth-building benefits of homeownership.”

“More than one-third of millennials who responded to our survey say the top reason for not owning a home is that they haven’t saved enough for a down payment. And it’s easy to see why. A 2015 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University shows the financial pressure on those in the 25 – to – 34 age group who rent. Forty-one percent still owe, on average, $30,700 in college debt, and almost a quarter pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.”

“So, what are millennials looking for in their next place to live? According to our survey, proximity to family and friends topped the list of features, though short commutes and walkability also popped up.”

The previous paragraphs quoted from the March 2016 issue of CONSUMER REPORTS.

Plant Tours, Homes Sales Seminars, & MHConundrum

January 29th, 2016

Blog # 384 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 31 January 2016;

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 of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION. This week began with ‘no idea’ what we’d cover in this week’s blog posting. It ends, however, with timely and helpful information about the upcoming ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’; the 25th anniversary International Networking Roundtable; what will likely become one of the very best LLLCommunity educational sessions during all of 2016; and a ‘heads up’ about next weeks blog posting – or not. And don’t miss the Postscript…in light of salacious reporting elsewhere earlier this week. GFA


Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars

(an update)

Carolyn and I’ve just returned from a two day trip to northern Indiana, visiting facilities where this inaugural event might be held later this Spring. Now we’re working with a half dozen HUD-Code home manufacturing firms to agree on a two day block of time during which to facilitate this unique ‘hands on’ & ‘how to’ opportunity to familiarize LLLCommunity owners/operators, with PRODUCT (new HUD-Code homes) & PROCESS (selling & seller-financing of same), with the ultimate goal of filling vacant rental homesites with homeowner/site lessees.

This much is certain so far. During the two day program, registrants – likely to be LLLCommunity owners/operators from throughout the Midwest, will be encouraged to pre-register four blocks of time (morning, & afternoon sessions, on two consecutive days = four sessions) for their preferred combination of plant tour(s) and home sales-related seminars. For example: one tour & three hours of seminars or one seminar and three tours; two hours of each; or; even four tours & no seminars or four seminars & no tours.

Plant tours? The following companies are scheduled, at this point, to host two hour tours, mornings and afternoons, during the two day program. They are, in alphabetical order, Adventure Homes (in Garrett), Cavco Industries’ Fairmont & Harmony Homes ( in Nappanee), Champion Home Builders (in Topeka), Clayton Homes (in Middlebury), Clayton Homes (in Wakarusa), Commodore Corporation (in Goshen), and possibly, Hi-Tech Housing (in Bristol). A special handout is being prepared to help registrants decide which plant(s) to tour. It’ll be a one page list of all these firms, along with characteristics of the new HUD-Code homes they manufacture and ship from the plants. This valuable handout will be available only to event registrants!

Home sales-related seminars? There will be four primary blocks of instruction, each repeated once again, during the two day program. The four key topics are:

• Getting Ready! Tips on readying one’s LLLCommunity to sell homes on-site.

• Buying Homes! How to select the right home & price point of new homes ordered

• Marketing & Selling! How to sell that new home once it’s on-site and installed

• Seller-financing! Overview of the $ alternatives, including leasing & lease-option

Specifically, ‘Getting Ready!’ will be presented during the morning of the first day, then repeated during the afternoon of the second day. That way, someone desiring to visit a plant the morning of the first day, can return to the host meeting facility and begin taking the next classes in sequence, e.g. ‘Buying Homes!’ the afternoon of the first day; ‘Marketing & Selling!’ the morning of the second day; and, ‘Seller-financing!’ – or – ‘Getting Ready!’ the afternoon of the second day. NOTE. To get max value from this two day session, it’s advisable to have two individuals attend from the same firm, if desiring to visit one or more plants, AND benefitting from the specialized knowledge shared during all four primary blocks of instruction.

By the way, and this is important: It’s anticipated all instructors teaching the four primary blocks of instruction, will be capable, experienced, successful, motivated owners of land-lease-lifestyle communities who’re actively selling and seller-financing new and resale homes on one or more of their properties!

Furthermore; one of the details not resolved yet, is how to provide opportunities to learn about ‘compliance with state & federal finance regulations’, while at this two day event; as well as ‘become familiar with chattel capital home loan programs’ available from independent, third party chattel capital finance firms. Since the daily programs extend from 8 AM to Noon; and 1 – 5PM (For plant tours, that schedule allows an hour’s drive each way, with two hours at selected plant, morning & or afternoon); with primary seminars (following a 45 minute Welcome & Introduction session), at 9-10:15 & 10:30-Noon; and, 2-3:15 & 3:30-5 each day. It’s anticipated, consultants and vendors with valuable services and products will be available by appointment, or on a catch-as-catch can basis, throughout the two day program. If you’re a consultant or vendor interested in this venue, let me know via (317) 346-7156.

So, what do you think so far? Interested in participating? We sure hope so. While specific dates and location will soon be determined, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know of our interest and preferences. We already have 50+/- interested parties on a preliminary sign-up list. Add your name via or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. No commitment; just knowledge you’ll be among the first to receive details.


25th Anniversary, International Networking Roundtable

(an update)

Now this is a little further out; 7-9 September 2016. But given the special nature of this year’s annual event (It’s the 25th anniversary of the International Networking Roundtable!) and the way exciting themes are emerging, YOU – if an owner/operator of one or more land-lease-lifestyle communities, do NOT want to miss it! Here’re the plans so far….

Themes? Usually it’s a challenge to come up with one good one. This year we’re deciding among at least four:

• Manufactured Housing’s Conundrum! Whether to continue the new home shipment malaise of the past seven years, or make dramatic business model changes in at least four core aspects of manufactured housing. (See blog # 383)

• Preserve your legacy as a LLLCommunity Owner! Emulate the late Kris Jensen, Sr. as in his ‘A Danish American’, or the late John Crean (Fleetwood) in ‘The Wheel & I’. Then there’s the iconic Jim Clayton in ‘First a Dream’, along with Harrell & Darrell Cohron in ‘The Trailer Twins’, plus the pictorial autobiography of the late B.M. Vukovich (CREICO cum Acentia Real Estate), and now, Al Schrader of A.L.S. Properties, have all authored autobiographies. If we’re fortunate, at least one, two, even three of those pioneers might be with us this year! And I’ll share a brief ‘HOW TO write your life story’ basics with attendees.

• Four ‘Home Sales Seminars’ as presented at aforementioned (in this particular blog posting) ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ in the Midwest

• ‘Bring Your Banker’! This movement to ID & court local bankers originating ‘home only’ chattel loans in LLLCommunities, began at last year’s Roundtable. A clear indication how LLLCommunities, the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’ has taken the lead during this NEW ERA of Manufactured Housing!

And the 20 topics we’ll cover this year? I’ve already got a dozen or so of them covered. What do YOU want to hear and see? Just like with Part I of this blog posting, let me know via email: or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE.


The Best of Spencer Roane, MHM® & Team!

OK, I fumbled access to Spencer Roane’s Power Point Presentation re ‘Marketing New Homes to Hispanics!’ last week. You really do need to avail yourself of some, if not much, of what he shared with a 175 person audience in Louisville, KY., a few weeks ago.

Go to: Once there, scroll down to ‘Power Point Presentations-Lease-Option Transactions’, then click to open that menu, and scroll down to the Louisville presentation.


There Might Not Be a Blog Posting @ 7 February. Why?

Because I’ll likely be on what family refers to as my annual pilgrimage, to PA, NJ, DE, & MD. Since I’ll be driving all that way – to finally attend MHI’s Winter meeting in Washington, DC., there isn’t much time for blogging and sending BEBAs (Blast Email Blog Alerts) – but I might just surprise you.


A postscript of sorts…

Sure, I criticize MHI and MHARR from time to time, because I believe the manufactured housing industry, and by extension, the land-lease-lifestyle community asset class, deserves the very best job performance possible from salaried and elected leaders of our two national advocacy entities!

In more than three decades of op/ed writing, for one or another of past and present MH trade publications, and or within the pages of the Allen Letter professional journal, the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! and this blog at, I’ve yet to call out any one person or persons, by name, for dereliction of duty or any other reason – and I don’t plan to start now. Nor should others…

At this critical stage in our industry’s cycle prone history, we need to be working more together than apart. That’s why COBA7® reaches out to MHI & MHARR, in the hope we can work better together to manufacture, ship, sell, and seller-finance more new HUD-Code homes in 2017 than during 2016, and fewer than we’ll experience during 2018. Does anyone else out there agree, or are we going to continue to witness more self-defeating infighting?


Manufactured Housings (Industry) Conundrum

January 23rd, 2016

Blog # 383 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 24 January 2016;

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 o r633-4764

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

INTRODUCTION. This is the promised Part II, referenced in last week’s blog posting. Specifically; the Summary of ‘significant business model changes likely needed to spark the resurgence of manufactured housing production, shipments, sales, and installations thereof!’ The complete report, spawning the following 16 ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ will be published at least twice during the coming months. Details to follow.


Manufactured Housing’s Conundrum (riddle, hard question):

Whether to continue the ‘new HUD-Code home shipment malaise’ of the past seven years; OR, implement dramatic business model changes in four core aspects of manufactured housing?

What follows here is a Summary of ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ put forth in a study and commentary examining four major core aspects of manufactured housing:

• HUD-Code Manufactured Housing Production, Shipments & Sales

• Land-lease-lifestyle Community Operations

• Affordable Housing Crisis

• Hybrid Approach to Manufactured Housing Finance in LLLCommunities

This Summary is intended to whet your appetite to read and learn, from the body of the complete study, ‘how & why’ these ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ are a means to reinvigorate, if not SAVE, the manufactured housing industry from self-destruction via benign neglect, by year 2020!

The complete report, titled ‘Manufactured Housing’s Conundrum (‘riddle, hard question’)’ will debut as an enclosure to the February 2016 issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter; then, either as a feature article or reprint in a later issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. In any event, the report is a Must Read Document, for senior management and entrepreneur businessmen and women.

What’s interesting about the timing of the release of this Summary, and totality of said report, is it occurs during the same months as 1) distribution of the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’; and in February, the month when 2) the Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, titled: ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ debuts as a lagniappe in the aforementioned Allen Letter; and March, 3) = 18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class. Are YOU on the receiving end of all this ‘strategic & timely reading’? If not, become an Option II affiliate of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® by phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

NOTE. None of the material mentioned so far in this blog, SSRDs and otherwise, is available from any other national advocacy entity claiming to represent manufactured housing or LLLCommunities nationwide! So, don’t miss this unique opportunity to be ‘in the know’ as our industry/asset class ponders and decides its’ future for the next four years!

OK, now back to the Summary of ‘Manufactured Housings Conundrum (‘riddle, hard question’). Remember, this is only ‘a summary’, the bulk of supporting statistics and commentary is contained in the report body to be published in TAC! and the Allen Letter.

HUD-Code Manufactured Housing Production, Shipments & Sales

• Embrace Community Series Homes, as ‘home of today & the future’; and land-lease lifestyle communities as the 21st Century ‘emerging market’ for HUD-Code manufactured housing! (Already from 12,000+/- in 2009 to 28,000+/- in 2015!

• Exercise housing sale price compression without sacrificing quality, energy efficiency & product reputation! Now is not time to be maximize profitability, lest it hasten the demise of the manufactured housing industry by year 2020.

• If possible, adopt and offer a housing finance package to help sell new HUD-Code homes into LLLCommunities; but don’t go overboard, making one’s homes ‘loss leaders’ to corral favorable mortgage returns during the year(s) ahead!

• Direct one’s ‘floor fees’ to state & national trade bodies most supportive of HUD-Code home sales via effective lobbying, regulatory relief, & image promotion!

Land-lease-lifestyle Community Operations

• Ensure rental homesite rates are in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market; in effect, protecting the home value proposition of one’s homebuyers/site lessees!

• Encourage ‘85% of LLLCommunities’ to start selling & seller-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site! This may prove to be the most difficult task of all.

• Embrace professional property management at all levels of LLLCommunity operations, per ACM®s, MHM®s, & CPM®s. Firms to become AMO®s!*1

• Portfolio owners/operators to actively support state MHAssociations with dues memberships for all LLLCommunities, encouraging participation by managers!

Affordable Housing Crisis

• Agree on & start using a practical, workable definition of ‘affordable housing’; begin measuring effectiveness of programs, e.g. via Housing Expense Factor *2

• Encourage broader use of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ to calculate housing price points for new markets; how much house a prospective buyer should buy; and most important, change the lending landscape from ‘risky’ to ‘affordable’!

• Implement pre-sale qualification policies and procedures, as well as financial counseling!

Hybrid Approach to Manufactured Housing Finance in LLLCommunities

• Learn more, and consider effecting, conventional residential ‘home only’ mortgage loans in high quality, professionally managed LLLCommunities!

• Learn more about workings and opportunities via FHFA, GSEs, & DTS! *3

• Via your national advocate entity of choice (MHI, MHARR, COBA7®), support implementation of conventional residential ‘home only’ mortgage loans in high quality, professionally managed LLLCommunities featuring long term leases!

Well, there you have it. No fewer than 16 ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ to read, study, and decide whether the potential for increased HUD-Code home production, shipments & sales, is worth the risk of changing some, if not many, of the business models prevalent throughout the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class today.

What say YOU? Inquiring COBA7® blog floggers (readers) would like to know! Please respond via or via the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE.

End Notes:

1. ACM® via MHEI of MHI; MHM® via COBA7®, CPM® via IREM; and AMO® via IREM. All four certification designations should be commonplace throughout the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class but are not!

2. Housing Expense Factor, or HEF, is one of six commonly known measures of ‘housing affordability’; the other ones being Housing Opportunity Index or HOI Measure; Housing Wage or HW Measure, Workforce Housing or WFH Measure; Income to Home Value Ratio or IHVR, a.k.a. ‘Realtor’s Rule of Thumb’; and ‘One Who Believes’…ownership housing is affordable if the price is right! Quoted from Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb, & Helpful Measures, George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master, PMN Publishing, IN, 2012. Available for purchase from COBA7® via (317) 346-7156.

3. FHFA = Federal Housing Finance Agency; GSEs = Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac; DTS = Duty to Serve legislation.


A postscript of sorts. When I distributed an early DRAFT version of this blog posting for peer review, I was pleased with the universal approval for every one of the 16 ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ identified. But I was surprised by ‘more than one suggestion’ I should include a fifth core aspect of manufactured housing.

Care to guess whish one?

In four words: National Manufactured Housing Advocacy.

As you know by now, I did not ‘go down that slippery slope’ in this blog posting. Why?

If you’re a longtime reader of publications, in which I’ve penned op/ed pieces over the decades, you’re aware of knee jerk reactions (i.e. ‘kicks’) inevitably following every critique or ‘suggestion for improvement’ made, regarding either or both present day national advocacy bodies. They simply don’t like it when I point out how 1) they’re ‘housing manufacturer dominated’; and in one case, 2) by executives from a couple of the ‘largest property portfolios’. Nor is it appreciated, I’m told, 3) the term ‘affluence gerrymandering’ was coined to describe their penchant for holding national meetings at expensive resort venues, discouraging participation by direct, dues-paying members, making it easier to effect internal decision making. Oh, and 4) not to forget mention of selective prohibition of proxy voting in at least one institute division. And the list goes on; i.e.. imitation of other national entity programs (e.g. MHM® training & certification in 1988) and resource documents (e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT in 2015).

No, at least for the time being, I’ll – as Dan Rolfes, PHC®, and former MHI chairman, was known to say at times, ‘Keep my powder dry for another day’!