Three Questions; Panel Colloquy, & MH#s Finagling

January 9th, 2016

Blog # 381 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 10 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.’


All COBA7® asks, is for you to keep three pithy questions in mind as events occur and issues unfold during year 2016! Methinks this is going to be a tumultuous time for the manufactured housing industry & land-lease-lifestyle community asset class. And you?

Best Way to Prepare! Participate in Louisville MHShow @ 20-22 January. Seek me out at the LLLCommunity owners panel presentation, 10-11AM on the 20th. Request a postcard describing ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ in Elkhart, IN.

Finally; the (MH) industry will not recover, or revive the attention & support of would be homebuyers/site lessees, politicians, and media, until our national advocates ‘get their act together’! An appropriate place to begin would be to end misreporting of monthly ‘new HUD-Code home shipments’ to members and affiliates. If they can’t get their numbers right, why should anyone (e.g. federal legislators, regulators) expect anything else right?

Remember; this blog is the sole national MH trade publication, online and in print, that welcomes ‘your reaction & responses’ to matters presented in here, in the Allen Letter professional journal, & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter. Simply respond: or Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

FYI. 27th annual ALLEN REPORT was distributed this past week! Did you receive yours? If not, order it from COBA7® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE listed above.


Those Three Pithy Questions…

Here’re the Three Queries Read & Parsed by Our MH Peers last Week…

• Is Duty to Serve simply another federal $$$ entitlement program, this time in the housing arena; and, is it as GOOD – or BAD, for the American taxpayer, as for prospective manufactured housing buyers & the manufactured housing industry?

• With HUD-Code manufactured housing all but ‘dead in the water’, WHY is HUD rejuvenating ‘Dispute Resolution’ & ‘Federal Installation Standards’, dormant since promulgation in 2007 – when new home shipments were already 90% fewer than in 1998, & double the low number (55,000/yr. average) they are today? $$$!

• Is manufactured housing better served, federally-regulated & protected; or better off shedding 40 year regulatory fetters, to operate freely among local housing markets throughout the U.S.? Stockholm Syndrome or Freedom? Follow the $$$!

Here’s a sampling of paraphrased responses, to these heady questions, received from blog floggers (readers) throughout the U.S.

• “Your blog was a good analogy (‘comparison’) for your readers to comprehend and open their eyes to business politics reality.”

• “Local land planning wins the housing battle as they have immediate local power, not the federal HUD department. A good point you made, on the HUD fee structure supporting the department’s existence, even with manufactured housing (nearly) Dead on Arrival. HUD doesn’t really want us (i.e. manufactured housing), GSE’s (& FHFA) do not support our specialty financing needs, and HUD effects no publicity whatsoever, relative to including HUD-Code homes in any of its’ new creations or raw land developments.”

• Relative to just the third question: “I choose freedom – but you already knew that.” NB

So, why does any of this matter, since ‘two of the cows, figuratively speaking, have already left the barn’? Here thinking, year 2007 ‘regulatory rejuvenation’ by HUD, & MHIndustry preference for ‘continued federal regulation of manufactured housing’

Perhaps making them ‘matters of record’, for the time being, to be recollected in the near or interim future – 1) when LLLCommunities have been ‘nickel & dimed’ nearly out of business, and 2) federal regulation has done nothing to improve new manufactured housing shipment volume! And, Duty to Serve? Well, the FHFA proposed regulatory rule, on this matter, is available for comment until March 2016.Have you formally commented? Ross Kinzler and I have. Now we wait to see what happens, if anything….


A Panel Colloquy You Don’t Want to Miss!

LLLCommunity Owners to Address Topics & Field Questions at Louisville MHShow on 20 January 2016 at 10:00AM. Be there!

It’s not often successful, experienced owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities make a public appearance together, for the express purpose of sharing unique and helpful Lessons Learned within this realty asset class.

Partial list of who’s presenting and what they plan to cover?

Brian Fannon, CPM®, from MI, will describe the ‘Repositioning of a Distressed (closed) community, considering current local housing market conditions and other factors.’

Nathan Smith, PHC®, from KY, will share trade secrets re acquisition of communities, then matching & ordering new HUD-Code homes per features, pricing & market needs.’

Mark Wisely, from IN., is excited about his firm’s use of ‘Insulated steel panels’ in his communities, and how ‘1BR HUD-Code homes, in his view, are an untapped market’!

When I posted this week’s blog, I didn’t have word as to what other panelists would be covering during their allotted time. Perhaps I will next time around…

As facilitator of the panel, I’ll not make a formal presentation. But rather, will distribute plastic 3X5” wallet cards describing the ‘Five Right ‘Ps’ of Marketing’! The beauty of this is, a ‘Sixth Right ‘P’ has recently been added to the heady sequence, and will be introduced publicly for the first time, at the Louisville MHShow! Come and get your card – as long as supply lasts.

See what I mean? This hour-plus opportunity, For You, is chock full of good and helpful information relative to land-lease-lifestyle community ownership and operation. Be there!

For registration information, phone Dennis Hill via (770) 587-3350 or via

And that’s not all! Spencer Roane, MHM®, of Pentagon Properties in Atlanta, GA., will be on hand, with his staff, to share his firm’s Lessons Learned relative to ‘Marketing of New HUD-Code Homes to the Hispanic Market!’ That session alone will see a full room!


This should be Headline News but isn’t! ‘How many COMMUNITY SERIES HOMES will be exhibited at this year’s Louisville MHShow?’ Anyone care to guess? Should be Dozens, and we hope that’s the case. I’ve already committed to a couple LLLCommunity owners, coming to buy CSH Models at the show, to photograph them, with their purchases, and run their stories in an upcoming issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. And hey, if YOU buy a new CSH Model at the home, let me know too! (317) 346-7156. One LLLCommunity owner/operator has committed to write and describe his/her experience ‘inspecting & buying’ a new Community Series Homes at this year’s show.


More Finagling of Monthly MH Shipment Numbers!

If a loyal reader of this weekly blog posting at, you’re already familiar with the contradictory reporting of monthly HUD-Code housing shipment numbers, compiled by the Institute of Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), then reported to members and affiliates by MHARR, COBA7®, HUD, & the VAMMHA, versus a usually different total reported by MHI.

Well, we might just be at an impasse cum correction! On 4 January 2016, IBTS reported 5,980 new HUD-Code homes shipped during the month of November 2015. This same number was then reported to members and affiliates by MHARR, COBA7®, HUD, & the VAMMHA. However, as of 9 January, MHI had not reported November’s new HUD-Code home shipment total to members. If they adjust said IBTS figure, as in months past, their total will likely be 5,957. Or, they might start year 2016, by the same IBTS total as does MHARR, COBA7®, HUD, & the VAMMHA. Hmm. Guess we’ll just wait & see.

Now, here’s the newest #s rub! The latest HUD-Code homes shipment report from MHARR, also dated 4 January 2015, contains this basic, plus supplemental statement:

“…HUD Code manufacturers produced 5,980 homes in November 2015, a robust 20.6% increase over the 4,955 HUD Code homes produced during November 2014.” However…

Here’s what MHARR did NOT tell their members: ’This 5,980 new HUD-Code homes total is 866 fewer homes than were produced in October 2015. And frankly, November’s 5,980 new HUD-Code homes are the fewest shipped since May 2015, six months ago!’

Nothing like ‘building one up’, when better served with a ‘dose of sobering reality’! And if this significant reduction in production, between October & end of November 2015, continues between November & end of December, there’s little reason to expect an annual cumulative total of 70,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped for year 2015!

Which, by the way, predicts yet a ‘third finagling’ of MHIndustry shipment totals. How so? Watch to see what MHARR, COBA7®, HUD, & VAMMHA report as the cumulative 2015 total, compared to a similar-but-likely-different total (maybe) reported by MHI. Notice IBTS is not mentioned in the previous sentence. Why? Because IBTS does not report annual cumulative totals of new HUD-Code homes shipped, as there’re ‘always’ Destination Pending units remaining at the end of every year, that make for an uncertain total. Now you know the rest of the story.


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

Finally, Out into Open Discussion = 3 Serious Questions

January 1st, 2016

Blog # 380 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 3 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…Hang onto your seats for this one! What started as a review of last week’s ‘Question not addressed by national advocacy entities representing HUD-Code manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle communities’, blossomed into a recitation of not just the One, nor even Two, but Three ‘Serious Questions’! When you’re done reading and pondering, and have opinions, on one or more of these issues, tell us!

Finally, Out into Open Discussion!

Part III of last week’s posting of blog # 379, titled: ‘The Question’, Stirred Responses.

Realized, when I penned ‘The Question’ last week, I risked ire from certain industry leaders accustomed to charting manufactured housing’s political course without discussion among its’ businessmen and women. And while the expected ‘ire’ did not materialize, something else did: Yet another ‘Serious question NO national (MHIndustry) advocacy group has publicly addressed’ to date!

But first, a rewording, for clarity; and brief revisiting, of ‘The Question’ posed in last week’s blog:

Duty to Serve. Is the regulatory manipulation of, and political/lobbyist pressures on GSEs (i.e. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac fiscal policies, via conservator, Federal Housing Finance Agency, et. al.), to accommodate ‘underserved’, low income, would-be homebuyers and mortgagors, GOOD for consumers – and the manufactured housing industry (i.e. increasing monthly volume of new HUD-Code home shipments), but BAD for U.S. taxpayers, by dint of adding yet another ‘$$$ entitlement program’, given the dire $$$ consequences within the same politico-socio GSE arena between 2008 & now? (*1) Think about it. Talk about it. Decide how you feel and let your national advocate know!

’The (same) Question’, again – but from a different perspective: ‘Do we really want to risk going down the same or similar $$$ entitlement road again so soon?’ Here’s one recent, very public private enterprise perspective, on the same Duty to Serve matter!

Recently published (26 December 2015) point & counterpoint exchanges of critical and at times vitriolic views, in an article in the Seattle Times, and Press Release response by Clayton Homes, Inc. (& by extension, Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance, Inc.), describes what befell this private enterprise, attempting to unilaterally accommodate ‘underserved’, low income, would-be homebuyers and mortgagors; to wit: the firm ran afoul of social activists unwilling to examine, let alone understand, negative consequences of uncomfortable personal and familial details (e.g. being underqualified & exhibiting intermittent irresponsibility) oft characterizing this market.(*2) Like borrowing President Obama’s recent use of this metaphor: “If you’re doing big hard things (‘Think Clayton Homes here’), there’s going to be some hair on it – there’s going to be some aspects of it that aren’t clean and neat…” Bottom line? Given this private enterprise Duty to Serve perspective (i.e. corporate desire to supply ‘affordable’, not ‘subsidized’ housing), expect to be misunderstood – and worse, especially when doing so over the long haul…


And now, here’s the new ‘Serious Question no national (MHIndustry) advocacy group has addressed to date’ – arriving at this website in the form of correspondence from a longtime blog flogger (reader), and supplemented with industry statistics provided by the MHIndustry historian:

‘The (new) Question’. “Why rejuvenate federal regulations effected in 2007, affecting manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle communities, left dormant until now?”

In 1998, the manufactured housing industry’s most recent and likely last renascence, 372,843+/- new HUD-Code homes were shipped throughout the U.S. At the time, responsibility for the safe and secure new home installation was a heady and very public topic of conversation. Disputes among manufacturers, MHRetailers and homebuyers were aplenty.

Consequences, and planned but interrupted changes, in the MH business environment. In year 2000, the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act was passed – but arguably, never fully implemented. This was followed, seven years later, by Dispute Resolution & Federal Installation Standards. By then however (2007), given the loss of ‘easy access to chattel capital’, new HUD-Code home shipments plummeted to only 95,769+/- units! That downward spiral continued thru 2009, when only 49,789+/- new homes were shipped! A 7 ½ fold DROP in new HUD-Code home shipments over a decade!

POINT? The manufactured housing industry, by 2007, and certainly by 2009, 1) Wasn’t doing enough business to fund its’ regulator (i.e. HUD) via label fees, and 2) There weren’t enough homes being sold and installed to raise concerns, nor were there many disputes to resolve! And frankly, these matters are unchanged to this day, with an average of only 55,146+/- new HUD-Code homes shipped per year between 2009 & 2014. Year 2015? Maybe 70,000+/-, but compare that to the fivefold higher volume of 372,843 units in 1998. So, too few new HUD-Code homes to install, even fewer disputes to resolve!

So, why not leave the sleeping (some say, ‘dying’) dog lie? Or to put it another way, ‘What’s caused HUD to unilaterally rejuvenate federal regs effected in 2007, that are now, arguably unneeded?’ As they say, ‘Follow the money!’ If HUD continues to oversee the manufactured housing program, it will need income to pay its bills (e.g. inspectors, staff). (Read End Note #3) Where’re $$$ to come from? Primarily HUD label fees – already jacked more than 100 percent a scant two years ago. But with monthly and annual new home shipments at historic lows for nearly a decade, and unlikely to change (without reasonable access to chattel capital), additional oxen will have to be gored! Whose? Think land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators nationwide! How so? To begin with, Dispute Resolution is ‘dead on arrival’ – given so few cases filed during the past decade. But HUD administering the Federal Installation Standards in default states, is where the monies will likely be found, at least for the time being. Just ‘how’ will be worked out during the months ahead, as LLLCommunity owners/operators pay their way, via installation inspection fees and the federal regulatory process. Even the ingenious Frost Free Foundation®, at one time viewed as our industry-saving ‘silver bullet’, regarding new home installation, has been stymied! How so? HUD-Code home manufacturers appear to be avoiding overt approval of FFF in installation manuals delivered with new homes. Why? Ask them. Might be their lack of confidence in licensed installers and LLLCommunity developers and owners/operators, to properly implement said FFF system. Sad, but likely true.

So, what’re the two national advocacy bodies, one of which claims representation of the entire manufactured housing industry, doing to mitigate the arguable negative effects of HUD’s unilateral rejuvenating of 2007 era regs, where new home installations in LLLCommunities are concerned? Little to nothing! Why? Ask them! After all, their MH program director of choice is in the driver’s seat at HUD. Likely however, this benign neglect has to do with the primary controlling nature (i.e. home manufacturers) of their direct, dues-paying membership. NOTE. A possible unintended consequence of ‘not publicly addressing this serious question’? The ‘beginning of the end’ where LLLCommunities are concerned. We’re not building many new such income-producing properties (Read details in the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT), and the small, older properties (i.e. 85+/-% of estimated 50,000+/- LLLCommunities in the U.S. today) lack financial resources to replace adequate existing installation infrastructure @ $5,000+/-/rental homesite, when a new HUD-Code home arrives on-site! Could well be rocky years, 2016 & 2017, ahead for the realty asset class.

In closing, also know year 2016 commemorates the 40th anniversary of HUD’s (performance-based, federally preemptive, national building code) regulatory relationship with the manufactured housing industry. Watch for a soon to be released feature article, in either a HUD or manufactured housing-related publication, describing this ‘From Lemon to Lemonade’ partnership between years 1976 & 2016.


Postscript. Believe it or not, there’s a third ‘not so new but never publicly discussed question’, related to the second one (above), imbedded within End Note # 3 here following. You’ll want to read and ponder it as you did the first two hush-hush questions.


End Notes.

1. Though some say 1992, when Congress imposed affordable housing goals on the two GSEs, requiring them “…to guarantee certain numbers of mortgages made to lower income borrowers.” From P. 46 of Bethany McLean’s SHAKY GROUND, ‘The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants’, Columbia Global Reports, NY, 2015, 159 pages. A succinct history of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac since the turn of the century.

2. SEATTLE TIMES, ‘Minorities Exploited by Warren Buffett’s mobile-home empire’, by Mike Baker & Daniel Wagner. Dated 26 December 2015


Press Release: ‘Reporting Mischaracterizes Clayton Homes’ Treatment of Customers and Employees’…’Company Serves Underserved Markets, Making Homeownership Affordable.’ Dated 26 December 2015

3. Here goes. ‘More than rumor has it’, HUD sought to sunset (i.e. ‘terminate’) the manufactured housing program a few years ago, when it became obvious label fees from 50,000+/- new HUD-Code homes shipped per year, would not adequately fund department activities in this area. GAO interviews with manufactured housing businessmen and women, at the time, alerted the industry to this serious, but also potentially ‘freeing’ impasse. What’s happened since then is now history, in large part kept quiet, and only hinted at within exposes’ such as this. Hmm. Wonder who reading this though, is astute enough to see the ‘third (unanswered) question’ concealed within the shadow of this recitation, i.e. ‘Is manufactured housing, as an industry, better served as a federally-regulated & protected shelter type; or better off, shedding 40 year old regulatory fetters and operating freely among local housing markets (Yes, and having to please, and negotiate with, NIMBY-tainted land planners, and LULU zoning boards) throughout the U.S.?’ (See # 4) What do you think? Inquiring readers of this weekly blog posting would like to know. Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

4. NIMBY = ‘Not in my back yard!’; LULU = ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use’; &, BANANA = ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody!’ = ‘the Big Three Acronym Barriers to Affordable Housing in Many Local Housing Markets Coast to Coast’. GFA

NOTE. If you’re not already affiliated with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, you should be! Why? Because no one but no one provides more land-lease-lifestyle community-related products & services (e.g. ongoing statistical research, 12+ Signature Series Resource Documents & Directories, weekly & monthly print & online media (Like what you’re reading here, plus two hard copy monthly newsletters), superb networking & deal-making opportunities, professional property management training & certification via the Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® program, even national advocacy when need be…official ombudsman (press) & historian for the manufactured housing industry!) To affiliate, simply use the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE given in End Note # 3 above, or use COBA7® brochure attached to BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) introducing this week’s blog posting # 380…


Next MHM® class is on 19 January 2016 in Louisville, KY. Only $250.00/person. Team taught by Katie Hauck, MHM® & GFA. Phone (317) 346-7156 for a brochure and or to register. Class limited to 20. Note: 1,000 MHM®s now own/operate LLLCommunities throughout the U.S. & Canada! Are YOU certified? This is your opportunity to do so!

Five LLLCommunity owner panel @ 10-11AM, the morning of 20 January at the Louisville MHShow in Kentucky! If you own/operate one or more LLLCommunities you don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to learn from five successful owners who’ve ‘experienced it all’. To register, phone Dennis Hill via (770) 587-3350 or via I’m facilitating this panel discussion, so expect The Very Best!

And on the 21st, Spencer Roane, MHM®, along with his Atlanta-based staff will teach the basics of ‘Marketing New HUD-Code Homes to Hispanics’. Nowhere else will you find this training in 2016. Again, it’s at the Louisville MHShow. Call Dennis Hill. I certainly plan to be in the audience. Will you?

Finally; Pam Danner, manufactured housing program chairman for HUD will address the Louisville MHShow on the 21st of January. Wonder if anyone there will be bold enough to ask her the second question posed in this week’s blog posting? I plan to be in that audience as well. You owe it to yourself to learn as much as possible about HUD’s plans for the year ahead.

And, if you’re interested in participating in the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ planned for late Spring (2016) in the Elkhart, IN., area, ask me for a postcard when we network at the Louisville MHShow in mid-January. Filling in and returning said postcard gets you onto the ‘inside track’ where this first time ever educational and ‘first hand experience’ event is concerned. Especially designed for small to mid-sized LLLCommunities throughout the Midwest.


COBA7, MHARR & MHI in 2015, 2016 & beyond…

December 25th, 2015

Blog # 379 Copyright 2015 COBA7® @ 27 December 2015:

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 = ‘Outmaneuvered’; ‘FHFA & GSEs listen & respond’; ‘Get your ALLEN REPORT!’; &, ‘COBA7 affiliates encouraged to join MHI’s NCC division in 2016’!

Part II = ‘The Cobra, Mharrio, & Mhikki Scorecard for 2015, 2016 & Beyond…’

Part III = ‘The Question’ No One, I’ve heard or read, addresses in public or print!


As 2015 Draws to a Close…

• “Although some riders in the areas of environmental policy, oil exports, changes to the Visa Waiver Program, and tax credits were attached to the must – pass (a.k.a. omnibus appropriation) spending bill, policy riders to reform the Dodd-Frank Act (i.e. ‘Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing legislation’) were not included.” – in the “$1.15 trillion spending deal to fund the federal government through Fiscal Year 2016 and avoid a government shutdown.” This quoted, (With addition of two parenthetical remarks. GFA) from MHI’s WEEK IN REVIEW dated 18 December 2015. For more information, phone (703) 558-0400. Editorial comment. Given that affordable manufactured housing was the victim, once again, of covert political gamesmanship (Or, ‘call it what you will’), perhaps the time has arrived for MHIndustry leaders negotiate with our opponents. Anyone listening? Let’s hope so!

• “The Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) is inviting comments on whether the final rule should authorize Duty to Serve Credit for purchase of qualified chattel loans…(&)… proposed rule lays out a clear requirement for GSE’s to purchase real property manufactured homes. It also requires GSEs to undertake regulatory activities related to purchasing blanket loans on the following types of manufactured housing communities: (1) small communities with 150 rental sites or fewer (This sensitivity a direct result of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, & FHFA actively participating in the 24th annual International Networking Roundtable, in San Diego, September 2015), (2) communities owned by their residents (‘Think ROC USA’), (3) non-profits or governmental agencies, and (4) communities where tenants’ site leases include certain tenant protections.” This quoted, again with addition of two parenthetical remarks, from MHI’s WEEK IN REVIEW dated 18 December 2015. For more information, phone Michael Price via (202) 649-3134. Editorial comment. Given FHFA & GSEs, for the first time since 2009, are clearly listening and responding to the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide, take this opportunity to read and respond to proposed Duty to Serve rule, before the March 2016 deadline. More on this subject to come, in future blog postings here…

• This is your last opportunity to ensure receipt of the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’), when distributed during January 2016. Only those LLLCommunity owners/operators who submitted completely filled-in ALLEN REPORT questionnaires this past Fall, and those affiliated with COBA7® at the Option II or III level, will automatically receive this valuable benchmarking document! As announced earlier, this is the Biggest & Best edition researched and published during the past 27 years! How so? The number of portfolio owners/operators has grown from 25 in 1988, to 500+/- today, via four distinct waves of consolidation. And if you’re a bona fide ‘player’ (i.e. real estate investor) in this unique, income-producing property type, you’ll want to be among the first to read and study this statistics-filled, trend-identifying, portfolio inventorying Signature Series Resource Document (‘SSRD’) available only from the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also, the exclusive and confidential 500+/- name LLLCommunity portfolio data base can be accessed, for a fee, for direct mail campaign purposes. Lenders, would be investors, and vendors do so frequently.

• And finally. Are YOU affiliated with COBA7? If not, you should be! Use aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE to do so, for $134.95/year (Allen Letter professional journal alone; $544.95/year for newsletter & a dozen SSRDs, including aforementioned ALLEN REPORT. Remember. There’re seven distinct products & services available to YOU as an ‘MHInsider’ (e.g. ongoing statistical research, updated resources & directories, print & online media, superb networking & deal-making opportunities, professional property management training & certification, even national advocacy when need be – i.e. ombudsman (press) & industry historian. Furthermore, are YOU a direct, dues-paying member of MHI’s National Communities Council division? If not, you should be! Why? Because they’re the only one, of three national advocates, representing LLLCommunity political and regulatory interests IN our nation’s capitol. For more information, phone (703) 558-0400 and talk to Mark Bowersox. SUMMARY: Get your LLLCommunity ‘products & services’ from COBA7®, and ‘politicking’ from the NCC! Now, watch to see if MHI”s NCC division reciprocates and encourages YOU to affiliate with COBA7® for all the products & services it does not supply….


Will ‘Cobra, Mharrio & Mhikki’ mix-it-up and or fix-it-up
(MH-wise) during 2016?

Did you even know? There’s a Scorecard, first published on this website in early 2015, that serves as a collective benchmark for MHIndustry & LLLCommunity progress, or lack thereof, by COBA7®, MHARR & MHI, going into year 2016 and beyond? Well, there is, and here’re 11 leading indicators:

• MHI. Will high-priced meeting venue ‘affluence gerrymandering’ continue or change to economical meeting locations; plus, implementation of proxy voting privileges for direct, dues-paying members at all institute & division meetings? And will MHI start reporting same new home shipment #s as IBTS data source?

• MHI’s NCC division. Will ‘Top 50 Owners/operators’ list continue to ignore obvious trend towards mixed-use land-lease-lifestyle community property portfolios, featuring RV sites, or cease imitation of 27 year ALLEN REPORT?

• MHARR. When will it become clear who’s leading this association, famous for regulatory reform? And is their avowed interest in the ‘post production sector’ just that, or something else altogether?

• ULI’s MHCC. Gone! But questions remain: ‘Would manufactured housing benefit from a Think Tank – to explore larger issues?, & ‘If so, who best to fill that role?’ My opinion? A joint effort among COBA7®, MHARR, & MHI.

• COBA7®. Still in transformation. Yes, additional SSRDs published during 2015, plus alliance with Community Buyers Group. But no transition as planned in early 2016. That could occur at anytime, if right person(s) step forward to lead.

• MHEI. ACM® still in limbo. Possibly to go online, while overlooking the obvious: ACM® as midlevel professional PM training/certification; and MHM® – with its’ 1,000 certified owners/operators, as entry level PM training/certification.

• PMN Publishing. Focus during 2016 = preserving legacies of LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide. First, Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years, in 2014; now two autobiographies in editing and pre-press stages. Your story ready to tell?.

• MHCongress. 25+ years in Las Vegas is enough! But some fear change.

• NCC’s Leadership Forum. Spring = heavy on education; Fall = heavy on networking. Still no NCC public forum for addressing realty asset class issues…

• Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, & FHFA = All interested in manufactured housing (finance) & LLLCommunities. What’s changed? Bypassing political & loan origination middlemen who passed on only what they felt best. Now we’re talking!

• Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars = ‘a new Community Series Homes-based regional pilot educational program designed to help small to mid-sized LLLCommunity property owners/operators sell, and seller-finance more new homes on-site to fill vacant rental homesites. Spring of 2016.


The Question

The sober and serious question no national (MHIndustry) advocacy group addresses:

Is Duty to Serve (See Part I, paragraph # 2 of this blog posting) only GOOD for the manufactured housing industry (i.e. Stimulating additional new HUD-Code home shipments & sales!), but BAD for the taxpayer (i.e. Adding yet another entitlement program to the plethora of social welfare $ doles already in place!), or WHAT?

When will we see that multifaceted question asked and parsed in the MHTrade press, let alone by one or more of the MHIndustry’s national advocacy entities?


Year 2016 = Most Exciting Year in MHIndustry history!

December 18th, 2015

Blog # 378 Copyright 2015 COBA7® @ 20 December 2015:

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.ka. 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’


You may not realize it, but the manufactured housing industry & land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators are on the threshold of what promises to be the most challenging and exciting, if not profitable, year since the turn of the 21st Century.

How so?

The ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’ (a.k.a. LLLCommunity folk!) and MHIndustry ‘players’ are already a full year into the NEW ERA of manufactured housing! And as we kick off January, year 2016, with the Louisville MHShow (It’s SOLD OUT!), as well as the ‘biggest & best’ ALLEN REPORT penned in 27 years (Read Part II following), it should be No Surprise to you, ‘big things’ are planned for ‘us in the MHBusiness’, by FHFA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others who’ve ‘kinda’ recently rediscovered our unique type of affordable (not subsidized) housing and professionally-managed community lifestyle! OK, so the Access to Manufactured Housing Act didn’t make it through Congress this time around, due to political finagling – we can make a run at it again!

But know what’s different ‘this time around? It’s become clear, demarcations are now clearly in place relative to national advocacy and the supplying of intellectual products and services to the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry & LLLCommunity realty asset class:

• Manufactured Housing Institute. Controlled by the major HUD-Code home manufacturers, continues to represent all segments of the industry.

• Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. Represents smaller, mostly regional HUD-Code home manufacturers and no one else – that I know of.

• Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® serves more LLLCommunity owners/operators than any one or two other national advocates related to manufactured housing.

And if you’re ‘one of the many’ who believe this industry and realty asset class need some ‘new blood’ pumped into it, then support plans for the first ever ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ (Read Part III following) being readied for sometime during late Spring 2016 in the Midwest. Hopefully it’ll serve as a template for other regions of the U.S. that have HUD-Code housing factories.

Enjoy the ‘read’, learn, and support! GFA

And hey, if YOU’re into Marketing &/or Sales, of any sort, do not miss reading Part IV of this blog posting! Some new ground being plowed here. Be among the first to embrace the ‘Six Right P’s of Marketing’!


‘Merry Christmas’ & ‘Happy Holidays’ to All My Friends

in Manufactured Housing, & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities Nationwide!

This time of year, many reflect on Christmases past as they plan for the present holiday season. I’m no different. Few memories give me more pleasure than recalling the first Christmas Carolyn and I spent together in 1963, when freshmen in college. We were already in love, and enjoying our first holiday together, setting the tone for 51 more to follow – and one we’d spend apart, in 1968, when I opened my presents while sitting atop our command post bunker at LZ Stud (later renamed LZ Vandegrift), a few miles East of the infamous Khe Sanh combat base. Then there were the many Christmases we enjoyed with Susan and Adam, as they grew through childhood and teenage years to adulthood; today sharing the holidays with them and their children, and now grandchildren – our great grandchildren. ‘Ah, the memories….’

This year won’t be much different for us. Carolyn has already decorated our home. The tree is up and awaiting decorating Christmas Eve by ‘everyone’ in the family – before or after enjoying our traditional dinner of standing prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, and fixing’s. And before the meal, or later in the evening at church, we’ll take time to recall the true meaning of the holiday, and what we’re really celebrating together….

Christmas morning we’ll arise, enjoy the spirit of the moment alone together, then visit the families with children, to watch them open presents, and enjoy breakfast together. Later in the day, when we return home, we’ll again – just like 52 years ago, ‘enjoy the holiday together’. Life does not get much better than that! George Allen


Tantalizing Tidbits from the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT


‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio
Owners/operators Throughout North America!’

You have no idea yet, of the enlightening experience you’re going to have when reading the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT or (‘AR’), for the first time, during January 2016!

Here’re a few of the special statistics & tantalizing tidbits contained in the most widely-read and frequently- referenced compendium of land-lease-lifestyle community data, emerging business trends, and 120+ name directory of property portfolio ‘players’:

• 24 percent of all LLLCommunity property portfolios are profiled this year!

• For the first time, affiliation with COBA7®, & membership in MHI’s National Communities Council division, is recommended for all LLLCommunity owners!

• Ten largest portfolio firms (including three REITs), control 56 percent of all rental homesites and 42 percent of LLLCommunities inventoried in this report!

• Rental (manufactured) homes, ‘contract sale’ units, & especially RV rental sites, figure greatly in the AR as LLLCommunities ‘Do whatever it takes to survive!’

• For the first time in several years, raw land is being developed into new LLLCommunities, & existing properties expanded; throughout the U.S. & CN!

• Pride of Young Lions! Ten firms added a total of 33,334 rental homesites to their portfolios, averaging 3,333/LLLCommunity, or arithmetic mean of 3,034 sites.

• Once again, the professionals at DATACOMP & MHVillage supplied JLT-based rent $ averages for various U.S. MSAs, & LLLCommunity inventories per state!

Three easiest ways to receive the ALLEN REPORT. 1)If you’re an Option II or III affiliate of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, you’ll receive a copy of the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT as a lagniappe, in the January 2016 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. 2) If a LLLCommunity owner/operator, and you completely filled-in and returned the ALLEN REPORT questionnaire distributed in August of this year, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of said report. 3) Manufactured Housing Manager® candidates, when attending the one day professional property management class, receive a copy as well. Next MHM® class: 19 January 2016, in Louisville, KY

If not eligible to receive the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT in the manners just described, but still need or want a copy, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and affiliate, at the Option II ($544.95) or III ($944.95) level. Option II gets you 12 months of the popular Allen Letter professional journal, and a Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, each month of the year, e.g. ALLEN REPORT = January; ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ = February; annual National Registry of ALL $ Lenders (RE & chattel capital) = March, etc..

Frankly, if you’re a LLLCommunity owner/operator, how could you not want to be ‘in the know’, via knowledge gleaned from the 27th ALLEN REPORT; and each month of the year, reading unique and information-packed Signature Series Resource Documents?


Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars

New Way to Learn How to ‘Spec’ & Buy New HUD-Code Homes from the factory, then Sell, & if need be, Seller Finance them on-site in Land-lease-lifestyle Communities Throughout the Midwest!

The ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ concept has been in the preliminary planning stage throughout the year 2015. To date, six northern Indiana HUD-Code home manufacturing plants, owned by five different firms, have committed to host two hour morning and afternoon tours at their respective locations, during a two day period of time in late Spring 2016.

The number & specific topics of Home Sales Seminars, to be featured at a central (to be determined) location, likely in Elkhart, IN., are being decided and staffed at the present time. If YOU have expertise & experience in a particular aspect of in-LLLCommunity home sales operations, and would like to be considered as a presenter at this inaugural event, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. .

A primary focus of this event is the small to mid-sized LLLCommunity (& portfolio) owner/operator not yet involved in ‘buying new homes & selling/financing them on-site’. These folk have, to a large extent, suffered the consequences of more than 10,000 independent (street) MHRetailers going out of business since the turn of the century – their very means of filling vacant rental homesites with new and resale homes. Hopefully this ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ will be a pattern for other regions in the U.S. to plan and facilitate similar venues for even more small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators – and of course, along the way, stimulate more new home shipments out of our HUD-Code factories!

If you’re interested in attending this inaugural event, don’t wait to be invited! Phone (317) 346-7156 and ask to have your name and contact information put on the initial list used to invite LLLCommunity owners/operators to participate. Pre-registration will be required before this event, to even out plant tours and home sales seminars.


Five Right P’s of Marketing Become Six Right P’s of Marketing!


Right Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, now add Process!

Remember ‘way back when’ university marketing textbooks taught the ‘Four P’s of Marketing’ as being Product, Place, Price & Promotion? Know what? Some academics continue to teach such a limited foci.

Well, a few years ago, while fine-tuning the popular Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management training & certification class, I realized how a LLLCommunity owner/operator could have the best Product, ideal location (Place), right Price, and effective mix of Promotion avenues – but still be unsuccessful, without capable, experienced and motivated People! Hence, the ‘Five Right P’s of Marketing’ was born!

And this has worked just fine now for a few years. In fact, LLLCommunity owners/operators throughout the U.S. & Canada (Including the more than 1,000 MHM®s now owning/managing the unique, income-producing property type) routinely refer to 3X5 inch plastic wallet cards describing how to use the ‘Five Right P’s of Marketing’ to lease rental homesites and or sell new/resale homes on-site; even, from a HUD-Code factory sales representative perspective, how to market new HUD-Code homes to LLLCommunity owners/operators. If you’d like a FREE card, simply phone the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE.

While reviewing MULTIFAMILY HOUSING, ‘a Comprehensive Guide for Investors, developers, Apartment Professionals, Suppliers & Students’, I came across some sound reasoning on page # 250, for adding a sixth ‘P’, that being Process. And just what is Process? According to the 730 page text, published jointly by NAA, NMHC, & IREM, it’s: ‘The planning, procedures, and marketing to identify the target audience.” Amen to that! Not much point in having the Right Product, Place, Price, Promotion, & People, if you err in who you should be, or are, marketing new homes and leasing homesites. So Process becomes a critical part of the strategic mix of Six Right P’s of Marketing!

By the way, to order your copy of this text, visit

And that my blogging friends, is our ‘lesson of the day’ – one I’m happy to learn and share; hope YOU feel the same way!


George Allen, CPM & MHM
Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Who Speaks for YOU on National MH Matters?

December 12th, 2015

Blog # 377 Copyright 2015 COBA7® @ 15 December 2015;

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’


MHIndustry Spokesperson Revisited

More than a few of you agree with last week’s blog posture: the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry does NOT have a national, credible spokesperson to

Plead manufactured housing’s case as being this nation’s most affordable housing type!

Present consistent & united policies & presence to our industry’s regulators at all levels!

Be its’ manufactured housing brand marketing face before the home buying public!

And, here’s how one blog flogger (reader) responded to last week’s blog message:

“Hey George, Thanks for the blog! Parts I & II were ‘right on’. And Part III poses a great question (‘Who’s the MHIndustry Spokesperson?’) and is perfectly pertinent to the time.”

“We cannot expect to affect HUD, or state regulators, without a (national, credible) speaking entity. While state associations struggle to survive, sometimes combining resources to be regional presences, they too are not strong enough to ‘speak to our cause’. Our cause? The production, delivery and sale of low cost housing for the general public! Proof? Ask the following two questions of almost any group of citizens anywhere, and see which conversation lasts longer: ‘Who here knows about manufactured housing?’ & ‘Who here knows about recreational vehicles?’ Yep; the ‘proof’ of our lack of a (national, credible) spokesperson is that clear and convicting!”

And yet another flogger suggests the nonexistent national, credible spokesperson be prepared, once identified, to ask difficult questions in the halls of national power:

• “Who’s preventing HUD from promoting the manufactured housing product it presently regulates? Why doesn’t HUD follow USDA/DOE lead in energy efficiency? Why isn’t manufactured housing even on HUD’s affordable housing radar?”

• “What’s the feasibility of HUD becoming involved with guaranteeing chattel capital used to finance only new HUD-Code manufactured homes? And work with the GSEs (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) to coordinate a secondary market via Wall Street?”

• “Why isn’t HUD offering incentives, to local land planning boards and developers, to build more new LLLCommunities in areas (cities) where affordable housing is scarce?”

• ”Same said about land-and-home HUD-Code homes. Why no assistance from HUD?”

Sure, some – maybe all, of the above questions are impractical. Do you know if they are?

I sure don’t. But they’re being asked by businessmen and women active in this industry. That’s something there’s too little of these days, as we continue to struggle at shipping 70,000+/- new HUD-Code homes per year, down from 372,843 as recently as 1998! Not enough hard questions being ‘asked & answered’ via a national, credible manufactured housing industry spokesperson we know and respect!

So, back to the original question: ‘Who’s the MHIndustry Spokesperson?’


Official MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Timeline

As one of the earliest financial supporters of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation (i.e. 1970s), I long ago realized, that while we proudly have a Hall of Fame, museum, & library in Elkhart, IN., we did NOT have a manufactured housing historian, archivist, or curator on staff there – still don’t. So, during the past three and a half decades, I’ve voluntarily shouldered that responsibility part-time, from our offices in Indianapolis, IN.

One of the tangible results of this ‘labor of love’, in behalf of manufactured housing and the land-lease-lifestyle community asset class, has been the maintenance of an historic timeline, stretching from 1970 to present day. So, at the end of every year, for at least the
past two and a half decades, we’ve added annual summary paragraphs to said timeline. What follows here is the manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle community retrospective to be added to the ‘Official MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Timeline’ later this month, December 2015:

(the) 15 year duration, still evolving paradigm shift affecting manufactured housing, has been & continues to be, characterized by significant enduring changes to all its’ traditional business models; to the extent now, many refer to this period of time as being a NEW ERA for manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle communities, e.g.

• New HUD Code housing production & distribution (i.e. Community Series Homes encroach on Developer Series Homes, a.k.a. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks!’)
• Increasing percentage of new HUD-Code homes shipped into LLLCommunities – up from 25% in 2009 to estimated 40% this year
• Within many land-lease-lifestyle communities, new home sales & seller financing, supplanted the 10,000 independent (street) MHRetailers who went out of business when easy access to chattel capital disappeared a decade-plus ago.
• Debut of ‘Decade of Affordable Factory-built Housing & Lifestyle Communities’
• 26th annual ALLEN REPORT imitated by a ‘Top 50 Largest Community Owners & Operators’ list omitting inclusion of RV rental sites among property portfolios.
• Continuing disunity between two national advocacy bodies, highlighted by their differing reporting of monthly ‘new HUD-Code home shipments totals’ per IBTS
• Disbanding of ULI’s Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’)
• GSEs Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, for second year, express renewed interest in and support of LLLCommunities and manufactured housing.

While year 2015 may not have been a stellar year, in terms of increased new home shipment volume, it certainly demonstrated the maturity of forced and voluntary changes among several segments of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and the LLLCommunity real estate asset class.

Brand Ad Campaign? Part of Solution or Problem? Official MHIndustry Spokesperson?

December 5th, 2015

Blog # 376 Copyright 2015 COBA7® @ 6 December 2015;

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. On 1 December, I attended the National RV Show in Louisville, KY. 1,200 RV businessmen & women were present at 7AM for breakfast and motivation heading into a new year! There I learned, 375,000 new RV units will likely be delivered during year 2016. Know what’s ‘telling’ about that? The last time HUD-Code manufactured housing came close to such a production number was in 1998, when we shipped 372,843 new manufactured homes – and it’s been downhill ever since! Our projection for year 2016? 70,000+/- new manufactured homes. Point? How much more glaring must our industry’s ‘shipment shortfall’ be, before industry leaders call for a national caucus – as has been suggested many times since nadir year 2009 – to plan, then fight our way outa this eight year slump? I’m ready; how ‘bout YOU? Tell somebody!

By the way, October’s ‘new MH shipment #’ has been posted by the Institute for Building Safety & Technology. The number? 6,846 new HUD-Code homes! Watch to see the ‘new MH shipment #’ reported by MHARR & MHI. Bet they’ll be different from each other, and only one will match the IBTS total, and that reported here by COBA7®!

Part I. Yes, we get ‘letters’, email messages, etc., in response to our blog posts. Read…

Part II. Planning begins for first ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars!’

Part III. Who’s the MHIndustry Spokesperson? (I’m confident you don’t know…)


‘Time & Circumstances OK for MHIndustry National (Brand) Ad Campaign?’

So read the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) subject line, introducing last week’s blog posting on this website. As you’ll likely recall, this industry observer opined the MHIndustry, for a variety of perennial reasons, is NOT ready for, or OK with, a national (brand) ad campaign. Turns out many of you ‘blog floggers’ (readers) believe similarly.

Excerpts from correspondents. “Outstanding blog comments! Here’s my two cents worth: ‘It starts at the local level. HUD homes, and most communities, are not desired (in the local housing market), due to image issues and public (mis) perceptions. And the only federal agency willing to listen and care, about our plight, is the USDA, not HUD!”
“Manufactured housing is NOT considered to be a house in many states, only a ‘non-motorized vehicle’, likely to be moved. How many planning departments and rezoning boards had no idea manufactured homes would have a shelf life of 30+ years? And now the Tiny House movement appears to be gaining momentum because they’re not viewed as ‘mobile homes’. “

And this….

“OK, OK, OK. Now I am depressed – not really, but _____ George, you are right. Until ‘they’ (HUD-Code home manufacturers) get together, we are doomed to mediocrity.”


‘If You’re Not Part of the Solution,
You’re Part of the Problem!’


Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars Coming to the
Midwest in Late Spring 2016

In recent correspondence to the half dozen HUD-Code home manufacturing plants committed to hosting plant tours this Spring, this questions is posed:

How to best market new HUD-Code Community Series Homes to land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), especially the small to mid-sized ones not already consolidated into one or another of the 500+/- known property portfolios in North America today? (*1)

Four alternatives were identified and described:

• Traditionally, via plant sales representatives visiting existing and prospective LLLCommunity home-buying customer/clients, to create and nurture working relationships, and to assist where possible or needed. This also includes marketing and sales affected by remaining independent (street) MHRetailers.

• Buying Groups, when effective, arrange bulk purchases of product, HUD-Code homes and otherwise, at discount prices. While a buyers’ group is now affiliated with COBA®, it’s not yet in a position to capitalize on this unique opportunity. Anyone know of any ‘up and going’ regional buying groups to tap into today?

• Factory Expo model. Involves establishing independent (street) MHRetail salescenters in close proximity to HUD-Code home manufacturing plants. For example, in the vicinity of Champion Homes plants.

• Catalog (& online) home sales. Involves creating and using a simple approach to ordering Community Series Homes for in-LLLCommunity placement. No known viable approach to this at this time, though Factory Expo markets new HUD-code homes online. Am I missing someone here?

And now, again, ‘How ‘bout you?’ Any creative, practical ways to sell more CSH Models into LLLCommunities nationwide? Sure would like to hear from you!


Who’s the MHIndustry Spokesperson?

Call it water cooler conversation if you will, but several of us have been discussing this subject, via email, phone, and otherwise, during the past couple weeks. Conclusion? The manufactured housing industry has no national spokesperson at this time!

Why has the question come up now? Well, it actually resurfaces regularly, as our industry moves from one faux or real crisis to another. Sometimes the question is posed in the trade press, like now; at other times during industry gatherings; and still other times, when personal and corporate frustration reaches a critical mass – because there is NO Spokesperson to plead our case in the halls of power, be they political, regulatory, and otherwise.

But if you’re saying, ‘Whoa!’ what about this or that national advocacy entity we pay dues to for this purpose?’ My response to you would simply be this: ‘When more than one person or organization deigns represent you, in the same political, regulatory, or otherwise environment and locale, both immediate effect and lasting consequences are needways diminished, especially when said parties come at the same issue and concern with differing viewpoints and goals. Consequences? No standalone MHIndustry spokesperson and rare resolution in favor of the manufactured housing industry!

So, what’s the answer? That’s why I’m posing the heady question as Part III of this week’s blog posting at As ‘we’ talked about this subject, we could not identify even one individual, be he/she a successful businessman or woman, even an association executive who’s capable, experienced, and motivated to shoulder such personal responsibility and industry opportunity!

Perhaps you have someone in mind? If so, these inquiring minds would like to know. Make it your holiday gift to the industry!.


NEXT WEEK. Watch for blog posting # 377 to provide first public look at the 2015 summary retrospective that’ll soon be added to the Official MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Timeline that dates back to year 1970. This COBA7® maintained timeline is the sole resource journalists refer to when writing about our unique type or factory-built housing and income-producing property type.

AND, some titillating insights and statistics relative to 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, e.g. For the first time ‘in years’, there’s substantial growth in the number of new LLLCommunities being built and existing LLLCommunities being expanded! Remember, to obtain your copy of this seminal annual report, you must be an Option II affiliate of COBA7®, or have submitted a completely filled-out questionnaire earlier this Fall. To affiliate, use brochure attached to BEBA introducing this week’s blog posting or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Time & Circumstances OK for National Ads & Branding?

November 27th, 2015

Blog # 375 Copyright 2015 COBA7® 29 November 2015;

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. Few manufactured housing-related topics receive ‘more lip service & less action’ than the widely perceived need for improved public image and some sort of brand marketing for our factory-built housing type, nationwide. Once again, some suggest time and circumstances are ‘right’ to revisit and address this dual need. Frankly; I’m not at all sure that’s the case. Hence this exposing of an ongoing selfish streak within one key segment of the MHIndustry, and the inability of another key segment, to support a return to prosperity! And if those two reasons aren’t enough to derail the current notion to advertise and brand nationally, there’s at least a half dozen secondary speed bumps along that rocky way. GFA

Part II is a last minute ‘add on’ to this week’s blog posting. Please read it; and if you can truly help, with suggestions and ideas, please do so by responding via email or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Thank You Much!


Timing & Circumstances Finally Right for MHIndustry’s 1st National Brand Ad Campaign. (! or ?) Depends on One’s Focus, Perspective & Resources…

It’s difficult to find even one agreed upon focus or perspective among many or most major stakeholders involved in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class. For example, here’s a perspective where one expects to find universal agreement, but doesn’t, and likely won’t, anytime soon:

• Observe who’s making the most noise, of late, in support of crafting, funding and launching a national (brand) advertising campaign. Who? Just about everyone that’s left (a.k.a. ‘survivors’) in the industry’s print and online trade press (Read November 2015 issue of The Journal); and, Oh yes, along with a few vocal state MHAssociation executives. Then look who’s NOT making any noise to this end – the very folk who’d likely benefit most: HUD-Code home manufacturers in general, the Big 3-C firms in particular: Clayton, Champion & Cavco. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Historically, the latter group, controlling 70+/- percent of national market share, have long feared smaller, regional home manufacturers would benefit, ‘Hop on the bandwagon-wise’, from their largesse in supplying beaucoup advertising dollars. And to the best of my knowledge, that short-sighted perspective has not changed since Kevin Clayton made a futile attempt to ‘carry those coals to New Castle’ (i.e. MHI’s annual meeting in Texas), back in maybe 2008, following the Networking Roundtable in Mystic, CT., where nearly 200 (then) MHCommunity owners/operators pledged their $$$ support to him!.

There’s another perspective, which likely has tacit (‘understood but not spoken’) agreement among all segments of the manufactured housing industry; that being…

• Not much point in mounting a national (brand) advertising campaign in behalf of manufactured housing until ‘easy access to chattel capital’ returns to the industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class! That is, unless there’s widespread agreement to compete solely with traditional stick builders for realty market share, where ‘scattered building sites conveyed fee simple’, are concerned. Gasp! I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Why? The last time ‘manufactured housing’ tried that strategy with Developer Series Homes, circa 1998, via Land & Home packaging, we – figuratively speaking – got our nose well bloodied! The sad and lasting results? Today there’re at least 10,000 fewer independent (street) MHRetailers in business, and the number of new home shipments plunged to a 60 year nadir between 1998 & 2009. However, Community Series Homes, since 2009, have picked up some of the slack (i.e. Annual plunge in home shipment volume from 372,843 in 1998, to only 49,789 in 2009; has rebounded slightly to 64,331 by year end 2014), increasing the percentage of new HUD-Code homes shipped directly into LLLCommunities for ‘sale’: from 25% in 2009 to more than 33% by year end 2014, with 40+% expected by year end 2015. *1 And we continue to await the return of chattel capital to the manufactured housing industry.

Other foci and perspectives? Beyond the internecine (‘mutual slaughter’) squabbling among home manufacturers (…& two national advocacy entities…), and ongoing lack of chattel capital for in-community lending perspectives just cited, there’s a plethora of fad, trendy, and otherwise (often) short-lived foci and perspectives that garner attention one moment, sometimes disappearing from view the next, some maybe to return, others maybe not; for example:

• The Tiny House Movement is manifested ‘within & outside’ LLLCommunities as ‘park model RVs’, RVs for a season, even ‘single module’ modular homes.*2 Frankly, they’re needed NOW, to fill ‘functionally obsolete rental homesites’ among the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in LLLCommunities throughout the U.S. today! What’s aggravating, in this instance, is the value and utility of ‘granny flats’ has long been recognized – but not encouraged – by our industry’s federal regulator, HUD; to the point that agency long ago dubbed them Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs in short. Another example of government unnecessary overreach?

• Heavy (financial) regulation of new and resale transactions ‘within & outside’ LLLCommunities via S.A.F.E. Act, Dodd-Frank legislation, CFPB, & more. Many, if not most deep-pocketed property portfolio firms have learned to live with these onerous $ regulations in one manner or another; the smaller property owners/operators? Rarely sell and or seller-finance new and resale homes, if at all; or ignore the consequences of being non-compliant; creating a classic ‘Damned if you do & damned if you don’t’ business conundrum.

• Intermittent volume of ‘park closures’, on one hand; ‘raw land development’ & ‘existing LLLCommunity expansion’ on the other. The last blip in development of new LLLCommunities occurred circa 1998 when average national physical occupancy, according to that year’s ALLEN REPORT, was 95%. Peak year for ‘park closures’ was circa 2007, just as the commercial property development overheated, and the realty finance bubble burst, ushering in the Great Regression.

• Too high wholesale price of new HUD-Code homes; that when combined with escalating freight charges (‘Notice how they rise with the price of fuel, but rarely trend downward?’), home setup expenses (Beware enforcement of 2007 Federal Installation Standards during 2016), mandated landscaping package costs within LLLCommunities, and type/amount/terms of seller-financing (if) available on-site, effectively price many prospective homebuyers/site lessees ‘out of the market’. Bottom line? Whose ox is to be gored? The home manufacturer or LLLCommunity owner/operator? In the latter case; an increasing number of LLLCommunity owners/operators, local housing market permitting, reduce or ignore home sale profit margins, ‘to make the deal work’, counting on annuity type income from ground rent over the years and decades to come. Manufacturers now negotiate bulk purchase agreements, for new homes, with larger property portfolio folk; but this does little to nothing, cost-wise, to help the smaller LLLCommunity owner/operator, who’ paying full price for his/her new home(s).

• Persistent resistance to needed change, by independent, ‘company stores’ & in-community home sales operations, away from effecting homebuyer- ‘risky’ transactions to homebuyer – ‘affordable’ ones; e.g. Reduction from 50 to 30% of AGI to pay PITI, site rent, & household utilities! *3 This is a difficult change to effect, as it’s often counter to decades of (oft predatory) corporate practice. Best resource for understanding the difference between ‘risky’ & ‘affordable’ home buying transactions – calculating the appropriate housing ‘price point’ along the way, is the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet! – available FREE from COBA7®. *4 If you don’t have this tool, or aren’t using it, you need it!

• Rumored conversion from ‘vehicle titling’ for homes in LLLCommunities – as proof of home ownership, to a realty-financing-friendly form of ownership yet to be articulated and codified. Some believe the day will come when all housing within a LLLCommunity will benefit from realty-type vs. chattel capital type financing. Downside? Likely higher ad valorem realty type taxes, for starters.

And there’re even more foci and perspectives to identify and parse. But the point being, right now in manufactured housing history, we don’t yet have ‘our collective act together’ enough to plow new marketing (image) (brand) ground via print and online media coverage and paid advertising!

This industry direly needs 1) unity (among all segments of the industry – not just the ‘largest of players’, as well as between national advocates); 2) leadership that talks with and among the national platforms already in place (e.g. MHI, MHARR, COBA7®, & AHA, for starters); and, 3) an independent Think Tank worthy of the support of, and participation by, capable, experienced, motivated business stakeholders with the Best Interests of the industry & realty asset class in heart and mind! Similar to what the Urban Land Institute’s now defunct Manufactured Housing Communities Council started to do five years ago, but never really accomplished. So there you have it, in this final paragraph, the 1, 2, 3 punch needed to eventually position manufactured housing for its’ first National (Brand) Advertising Campaign: Unity + Leadership + Think Tank participation!

End Notes

1. These statistics, accumulated from a variety of sources (e.g. IBTS, MHI, U.S. Census Bureau, etc.) are compiled by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® to benefit manufactured housing aficionados & LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide. To affiliate with COBA7®, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

2. The presence of no fewer than six different types of shelter, within LLLCommunities, vs. just pre-HUD ‘mobile homes’ & post-HUD manufactured homes, to include: ‘park model RVs’, RVs for a season, modular homes, and site-built homes constructed to look like HUD-Code homes, has given rise to the moniker land-lease-lifestyle communities, or LLLCommunities, in short.

3. AGI = Annual Gross Income; PITI = loan principal, interest, taxes, insurance.

4. ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet!’ Available FREE, by phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE listed in End Note # 1 above. This is the sort of hands-on, time-proven professional property management tool available to LLLCommunity owners/operators only from the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®.

COBA7®, in 2016, to FOCUS on Helping HUD-Code Home Manufacturers Sell More ‘Community Series Homes’ into LLLCommunities Nationwide!

During December, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® is sending correspondence, an Action Plan & Time Line, to a half dozen Midwest-based HUD-Code home manufacturers, as many state MHAssociation execs & board chairmen, and select owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities, describing…

‘Two Days of Manufactured Housing Plant Tours & New Home Sales & Financing Seminars Targeting Owners/operators of LLLCommunities, large & small, throughout the Midwest’

This ‘first time ever’ program, designed to facilitate the ‘selling of more Community Series Homes into LLLCommunities’, has been materializing during 2015. Now, as COBA7® begins its’ third year of operations, it kicks into high gear – as correspondence recipients complete enclosed survey forms and return them before month end, December.

Why is this blog posting talking of this emerging marketing plan here and now? Because it’s hoped the innovative program ‘goes national’ by this time next year. So we’re inviting ‘interested parties’, from all segments of the MHIndustry, to ‘get on board’ NOW, to help plan and facilitate the Midwest debut, then carry successful aspects of ‘Sell more new homes into LLLCommunities’, large & small, to other regions of the U.S.

So, if these four paragraphs have caught your attention and passion for manufactured housing, and you want to stay abreast of what’s going on – and help, during the months ahead, please let me know ASAP, via email, correspondence, or phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

You don’t have to be an affiliate of COBA7® to participate; but, if you manufacture HUD-Code homes, and or own/operate one or more land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) in the U.S. and or Canada, you should want to support the only international advocate for our industry and realty asset class! Request a COBA7® brochure and decide. NOTE: Option II affiliation, gets you a copy of the 27th ALLEN REPORT in January. And the way the ‘Who’s Who’ is shaping up already, you’ll want a copy for sure!

Finally. I’ll be team-teaching the popular Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management (‘PM’) certification class with Katie Hauck, MHM®, on 19 January, in Louisville, KY. ‘Come on down & get PM trained & certified!’ Then, stay over for the Louisville MHShow on 20 & 21 January. And, while you’re in Louisville, we can talk about the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & New Home Sales & Financing Seminars’ in person and at length! See you in Louisville!

George Allen, CPM & MHM

Two New Books: One GSE Informative; other, tragically timely

November 20th, 2015

Blog # 374 Copyright 2015 COBA7® 22 November 2015;

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. Read two books last week while traveling in New Jersey & Pennsylvania. One ‘filled in the blanks’ relative to my partial knowledge of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (Part I). The other one? A novella, whose dire prediction of the probable next 9/11 type terrorist attack – on elementary schools within the U.S.- profoundly disturbed me, especially with the Paris, France catastrophe occurring the same day I finished reading. A coincidental confirmation about what we must now plan to prevent?!


BOOK REVIEW of Shaky Ground, ‘The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants’ Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac; by Bethany McLean, Columbia Global Reports, NY, 2015. 159pp. Available from Barnes & Noble booksellers.

“Book exposes zombie side of Freddie and Fannie”. So began the newspaper review of Shaky Ground.

My take on the same book. ‘Ah Ha! Would this be the introduction to, and overview of, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, I’ve been seeking since the two GSEs (government sponsored enterprises) were guests – and valuable knowledge contributors, at the 23rd & 24th International Networking Roundtables in Atlanta & San Diego in 2014 & 2015?’

As it turns out, ‘it was & is’ that intro & overview, albeit a slow and difficult ‘read’ in places, given $ twists & turns, political intrigue & otherwise, that both GSEs have endured since the financial crisis of 2008. Learned a lot along the way, some general, some specific…

“One rule about financial crises that seems to hold true is the spark that lights the fire is never what everyone or even anyone was expecting.” P.8. For example; how many contemporary economists & historians know today, the ‘bursting of the manufactured housing chattel capital bubble circa 2000’, precipitated by subprime (abuses) & predatory lending practices, was a clear precursor to the ‘bursting of the conventional housing finance bubble eight years later – one also precipitated by subprime (abuses) & predatory lending?! Think I exaggerate? No. There was then, a small group of real estate investors (i.e. LLLCommunity owners/operators) who recognized, shortly after the turn of the century, ‘What was happening in both housing camps!’, but no one deigned listen to the naysayers then or later, as the national economy was overheating in earnest.

Later in this review, read more about secondary markets.

The author then describes another financial crisis rule. “When the crisis hit, private capital did what private capital does: It completely deserted an asset class it no longer liked. There was absolutely no capital available to finance mortgages – and if the mortgage market shut down, the economy would shut down with it.” P.42. Of course this describes ‘Why the government couldn’t afford to let Fannie and Freddie go – and it still can’t.’ (as) ‘Fannie and Freddie were all that was left.’! P.42. And for manufactured housing aficionados reading this book review, that’s the same rule consequence we experienced after ‘turning our home buying customers upside down’ financially, at the turn of the century. Again; do I exaggerate? No. Year end 1998 = 372,843 new HUD-Code home shipments; less than a decade later, 2009 = only 49,789 new HUD-Code home shipments, and not much better today (i.e. average of but 55,146 new homes shipped per year during past six years!) as we await the return of ‘easy access to chattel capital’ more than a decade later..

Back to Fannie & Freddie. During “…the Fall of 2008, the worst of the financial crisis…was all Fannie and Freddie’s fault (&) the genesis of the problem – the original sin – was Congress’s 1992 imposition on Fannie and Freddie of affordable-housing goals, which required the GSEs to guarantee certain numbers of mortgages made to lower-income borrowers.” P.46 Which is what occurred. However, “There is a big difference between a 30-year fixed-rate fully documented mortgage Fannie and Freddie mostly did in the 1990s – and the reckless loans that proliferated in the bubble, like adjustable-rate zero-down-payment mortgages where the borrower simply states his or her income” P.50

Where are matters today? Early in the book, the author notes, “Because the government is taking practically every penny of profit…Fannie and Freddie have not been allowed to rebuild any capital…” p.23. Then, on the final page of the book, she makes this sobering prediction: “…they are being used as cash cows to make the federal deficit appear smaller than it really is. But if market conditions, including the Federal Reserve’s sale of the agency securities it owns, destabilize them, they don’t have a cushion, and the effects on the American homeowner – and even on U.S. foreign relations, because of the large financial interests of other major world powers in Fannie and Freddie’s debt –could be devastating.”p.148.

And there’s this parting dose of reality, familiar to my contemporaries (i.e. those around for the turn of the century chattel capital bust) in the manufactured housing industry. “The reality is, private capital has a long sordid disastrous history in the secondary mortgage market, they have never been successful at it. Their involvement always leads to predatory style lending, high risk business practices, and always has ended in complete collapse.” P.143.

All the foregoing notwithstanding, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, during the past two years, at both International Networking Roundtables, have sought the manufactured housing industry’s cooperation in general; and input, specifically, from land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, as to how the two GSE’s might better serve our unique housing markets and income-producing property types.

• In 2014 they publicly expressed willingness to guarantee real estate-secured investment property mortgages containing what are generally referred to as ‘park-owned homes’, on a transaction by transaction basis, This is huge and continues to be..

• In 2015 they publicly expressed willingness to ‘doing deals’ at $1,000,000.00 and smaller in size. This too is huge – as it opens the doors to more than 80 percent of LLLCommunities across the U.S. with 100 and fewer rental homsites.

The future for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac? Shaky Ground concludes with this inconclusive thought: “…neither of the solutions that look the likeliest right now – handing the market to the banks, or bringing back a version of Fannie and Freddie – does anything to rethink the cult of homeownership.” P.145. So status quo for now.

In either event, the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class with the two GSEs ‘very well’ as we continue to explore more ways to work together providing truly ‘affordable housing’ to this nation’s citizenry.*1

End Note.

*1. As a matter of principle, I try not to ever use the words ‘affordable housing’ without clearly defining what is (should be) meant by the oft overworked term, often hijacked by the ‘low cost housing’ folk. According to Bruce Savage’s popular history of MHI’s National Communities Council, The First 20 Years!, ‘Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market.” Pp. 105 & 106. For example: National AMI is around $51,000. In that case $25,500. should be able to rent one an apartment or buy a house in many markets. Most LLLCommunity homeowner/site lessees have an AMI of around $36,000. In their case, they have $18,000 to use to rent an apartment, buy a house, OR, buy a manufactured home in a LLLCommunity and pay a modest site rent. GFA



BOOK REVIEW of Dies Irae: DAY OF WRATH, a novella authored by William R. Forstchen. Available from

If you have school age children or grandchildren, this may or may not be a book you’ll want or have to read. But if you survived America’s 9/11 attack, and understand dark forces are at work in this world, planning a repeat performance, you must read this book!

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen sets the stage for this work of fiction in the following manner: “Osama bin Laden made clear his intentions to us long before 9/11. Hitler made clear his intentions to all whom he declared were ‘racial inferiors.’ The list of warnings from such hideous murderers goes back to the first pages of recorded history. Those who did not listen to such warnings eventually learned of their folly. Are we doing the same today?” Quoted from the FOREWORD.

And on the second page of this novella, he hints just how far from (past) social and cultural norms we’ve drifted, as a nation, (Making us vulnerable to….)

“Our leaders tell us to believe in them, that they do all for our good. They tell us they fight for our rights, while they travel about in entourages costing millions, for their monthly vacations. They tell us to conserve – for all is running short, while their private jets take them to their next gathering. What are proclaimed to be our entertainers are experts on all things simply because they act a role in a movie. Their role model to our youth is one of dissipation, mocking any of us who try to teach our children any type of values.” P.2.

So, what does this presage? Something so horrific, it ‘Stopped me in my tracks’!

Understand this. In early 1969, while a company commander of ‘helicopter support teams’ with U.S. Marine infantry units throughout Northern I Corps, South Vietnam, I experienced firsthand, carnage, trauma and pathos not voluntarily recollected – until I read this book! *2 And just as the tragic events of 9/11 gravely affected the lives of many Americans, the message expressed in DAY OF WRATH, has potential for doing similarly today! It’s that ‘Wake Up Call’ no one wants; predicting a happening that, if and when it occurs, will match, maybe overshadow, that dark and awful day in September 2001!

While a quick & convicting ‘read’ for anyone with school age children or grandchildren, it’s also seminal reality reasoning for discussions of ‘gun free zones’ & arming teachers.

End Note

*2. For an accurate, firsthand description – presented as historical fiction – of extreme combat experienced by U.S. Marines, early 1969, in and around the Ashau Valley in South Vietnam, read Karl Marlantes’ Matterhorn.

MHIndustry Continues to Compromise Its’ ‘Cred’…

November 13th, 2015

Blog # 373 Copyright 2015 COBA7® Worldwide Proprietary:

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 Business Model Performance!’


This Silliness Has to Stop!

Here’re Postings, of ‘New HUD-Code Home Shipments’
for the Month of September 2015, by the Official Reporting Agency, two National Manufactured Housing Advocacy Organizations, & Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®

According to the official reporting agency, the Institute of Building Technology & Safety, reporting 3 November 2015: 6,325 new HUD-Code homes were shipped throughout the U.S. during September 2015. IBTS ‘sells’ this timely benchmark information to MHI, MHARR, COBA7®, & other manufactured housing-related entities.

On 3 November, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, reported to its affiliates & MHInsiders, that 6,325 new HUD-Code homes were shipped during the month of September 2015, per IBTS reporting.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR, parroted IBTS’ HUD-Code housing shipments for September 2015, as being 6,325 new manufactured homes.

But, on 5 November, the Manufactured Housing Institute, or MHI, announced, via its’ online newsletter: “In September 2015, 6,336 new manufactured homes were shipped, an increase of 7.9 percent from September 2014.” No explanation offered, as to ‘why’ their new home shipment number is ‘11’ HUD-Code units greater than what IBTS reported to them (‘MHI’); nor, Why MHI’s POSITIVE performance comparison is to ‘same time last year’- instead of pointing out September’s shipment number total is LESS than what was reported the previous month, August 2015!

Simply put, that’s perhaps the most inaccurate and confusing two part statement made by a manufactured housing national advocacy entity during 2015, year to date!


IBTS = 6,325 new HUD-Code homes shipped during September 2015

COBA7® = 6,325 new HUD-Code homes shipped during September 2015

MHARR = 6,325 new HUD-Code homes shipped during September 2015

MHI = 6,336 new HUD-Code homes shipped during September 2015

Why does the Manufactured Housing Institute continue to ‘play this #s game’? If you, like me, are a direct, dues-paying member of MHI, ask! I have; all the way back in July, when the Allen Letter professional journal first ‘outed’ this nonsense. And guess what? I’m still awaiting an answer! Phone (703) 558-0400 and ask, ‘WHY?’

The sorry matter continues to worsen as months pass. How so? By the end of September 2015, the cumulative totals of new HUD-Code home shipments reported by IBTS, COBA7®, MHARR, & MHI, compare as follow:

IBTS = 52,055 new HUD-Code homes shipped. (More later, as to why IBTS does NOT formally report annual new HUD-Code home shipments, ever. That’s ‘our total’, using their monthly tallies)

COBA7® = 52,055 new HUD-Code homes shipped. (Actual month to month tally)

MHARR = 52,055 new HUD-Code homes shipped. (Not reported, but presumed)

MHI = 52,041 new HUD-Code homes shipped. (Tally of their reported monthly totals)

What will the final numerical difference be, between the threefold ‘official shipment totals’ reporters, versus the ‘single different reporting national manufactured housing advocacy body’ by year end – when there’s, at this point, no good reason for there to be any difference whatsoever? It will be interesting to see – and ponder, again, ‘Why?’

All MHI has to do to end this silliness – that frankly, sullies (‘defiles’) the credibility and unity of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, is either 1) start reporting the same monthly HUD-Code shipment number as IBTS, MHARR, & COBA7® report; or, 2) publicly ‘explain’ why their finagling of IBTS official numbers (Which, again, MHI subscribes to for a price) is preferred, presumably increasing accuracy in reporting.

As a directly related sidebar. What is it the Allen Letter professional journal (July 2015) reported MHI ‘does to IBTS official monthly shipment numbers’, without explanation? Their ‘adjustment ’is based on the assumption new homes, without ‘designated delivery destinations’ (i.e. states, Canada & Puerto Rico) one month, will have destinations the following month. According to IBTS, this is an erroneous assumption. Why? Because some new HUD-Code homes aren’t assigned ‘designated delivery destinations’ until ‘years later’ – which, by the way, is ‘why’ IBTS does NOT report annual new HUD-Code home shipment numbers ever – because they’re always changing, albeit slightly.

In the meantime, until MHI either changes its’ shipment calculation methodology, or convinces the manufactured housing industry it’s finagling trumps IBTS reporting protocols, this ‘silliness’ continues to be easy and just fodder for news story such as this; and an easy excuse for legislators and regulators alike, to look askance at HUD-Code manufactured housing ‘cred’, with its’ ‘This is the way we’ve always done it!’ leaders.

Silliness indeed.


Champion Homes & Confound (‘astound’) the MHIndustry!

‘Champion Homes & Announce Plans to Promote New Manufactured Home Models to Millions of Potential Homebuyers Annually!’

Talk about ‘hiding in plain sight’! Why hasn’t a HUD-Code home manufacturer thought of this unique and potentially powerful ‘marketing partnership’ long before this? In this instance, “visitors to will be able to search Champion models and floorplans available in any location throughout the U.S. – and immediately connect with authorized Champion MHRetailers and land-lease-lifestyle communities where those homes are available for purchase, even rentals.” And through its’ ‘vacant homesite search’ capability, MHVillage will put prospective homebuyers n direct contact with LLLCommunities having vacant rental homesites capable of siting Champion Homes.

To learn more about this exciting manufactured housing industry marketing coup, contact Darren Krolewski of MHVillage, Inc., via (800) 397-2158 & Paul Perugi of champion Homes via (248) 614-8275.


HUD to Promote MH? ‘The Dragon Slayer!’& much more….

October 31st, 2015

Blog # 372 Copyright 2015 COBA7® Worldwide Proprietary:

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 Business Model Performance!’

INTRODUCTION to Blog # 372. I) ‘HUD to go from OVERSIGHT to PROMOTION of manufactured housing?’ Don’t hold your breath. This topic touched nerves among blog floggers (readers) last week. Here’s a sampling of responses. II) Meet ‘The Dragon Slayer’! A tool for the small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owner/operator to make sense out of high rental homsite rates in nearby competing properties. III) Book review & offer of Chapbook of Prayer. IV) And finally, ‘Have YOU, as a LLLCommunity owner/operator wondered how and why you’re about to be $ victimized by federal installation legislation passed eight plus years ago, but only being implemented in 2016?’


Recommended ‘HUD Segue from OVERSIGHT to
OVERT PROMOTION of Manufactured Housing’ Prompts Responses from MHIndustry Aficionados!

The following unsolicited responses to blog # 371 arrived within hours of its’ posting:

“Your blog is on point. However, it accepts the narrative, existing 35+ year (land-lease) communities have no issues with local governments or the NIMBY attitude.* Rent control and increasing (rental homesite) rent are the two biggest complaints for the ground owner business model. What is placed on that ground has not been a concern, though you’ve pounded on the table for communities ‘to sell more new homes’. Why would LLLCommunity owners change their easy collection of site rent, increase their costs starting a new house replacement business, change existing perceptions, even work on their image? It seems they like repos and putting lipstick on pigs, even though those are temporary fixes and not attractive to prospective homebuyers.” SL (edited. GFA)

REJOINDER. This particular blog focused solely on ‘regulation & promotion of manufactured housing’; not to plead the case for land-lease-lifestyle communities – as long as there’s an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites to be filled with new HUD-Code homes! It’s easy to imagine however, the boost in new home sales and sitings, if and when HUD overtly promotes factory-built housing (i.e. HUD-code manufactured housing) as the quality, transportable, energy efficient, non-subsidized, affordable housing choice it truly is!

“Very pointed and remarkably exciting review of low income housing and manufactured housing’s potential, George. The ‘factory – 1st time homebuyers & homes’, built from late 30s thru 70s, are being forgotten and ignored, but represent huge potential for HUD and state MHAssociations.” How? Two ways. Replacing 50 year old homes with new HUD-code homes; and, ‘rehabbing’ where practical, providing housing for “…workers whose jobs are now in Mexico and the Far East – as these fold do not have good-conditioned low cost housing.” NB (edited. GFA)

REJOINDER. Again, everywhere one looks, there’re opportunities to ‘provide & sell’, ‘buy & live in’ affordable factory-built housing of the HUD-Code manufactured housing variety! So, once again,

‘Why is it the 40 year federal building overseer of HUD-Code manufactured housing, usually so quick and forthcoming about various types of subsidized and ‘affordable housing’, has yet to step forward and overtly promote the very shelter product it regulates?

And that’s not all the responses received. One veteran LLLCommunity owner/operator, intrigued by housing purchase insights afforded by the popular ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’, took the $36,000 & $51,000 AMI & AGI (Area Median Income per local housing market, & Annual Gross Income per prospective homebuyer/site lessee) examples cited within the blog, and created spread sheets demonstrating additional factors and perspectives (e.g. front & back end debt ratios) demonstrate ‘just how much house a buyer/site lessee can afford to purchase’! But more about that in a future blog posting at this website.

End Note.

* NIMBY = acronym ‘Not in my back yard!’ Used to describe anti-zoning and land planning changes in local housing markets. Also BANANA: ‘Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anybody’


Meet ‘The Dragon Slayer’

While 2008 & 2009 were watershed years for HUD-Code manufactured housing producers & land-lease-lifestyle community owners, events from 1994 & ‘contemporary practice’ combined to destabilize many of our industry/asset class homeowners/site lessees. Here’s something to do to rectify the travesty….

But first, what’s a ‘watershed’ year? It’s a dividing or transitional point in time and circumstance. And here’re timely events and occurrences that changed our ‘double dual industry’ *1 for the next seven to eight years – and likely beyond:

• First National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus (of 100+ LLLCommunity owners/operators) convened in Tampa, FL. on 2/27/2008, ‘to shape their individual & collective future via vibrant association advocacy, skillful home & rental homesite marketing, improved value proposition & customer service for homebuyers & site lessees, and much more.” Quoted from ‘Much More Than Afterglow!’ More on this later…

• By year end 2008, new home shipment total dropped to 81,889 from 95,769

• Second NSAC caucus (of 100+ LLLCommunity folk & HUD-Code home manufacturers) convened in Elkhart, IN. on 2/27/2009, to figure out how to sell more new homes into LLLCommunities nationwide. Result? The Community Series Home, a.k.a. CSH Model, characterized by one or more WOW! Factors and a plethora of durability-enhancing features.

• By year end 2009, new home shipment total plummeted to 49,789, with only 25% of said homes going directly into land-lease-lifestyle communities; however, the infill percentage started rising, albeit slowly.

• All the while, from roughly 1998 thru 2010, LLLCommunity self-immolation (‘kill as a sacrificial victim) – some called it suicide, followed the real estate investment trust (‘REIT’) wave of the mid to late 1990s. To meet Wall Street analyst expectations of increasing dividends every quarter, some large property portfolio owners raised rental homesite rates frequently and greatly. Hence the aforementioned concern hinted at in the first bullet point: “Value Proposition. Ensure a fair interplay of housing product pricing, financing & value, with site rental and more….” – didn’t happen in widespread fashion! Initial consequence? Traditional 3:1 ratio Rule of Thumb (for estimating stabilized site rent rate in most local housing markets) morphed, among some large portfolio ‘players’, to a 2:1 ratio Rule of Thumb, e.g. 3BR2B conventional apartment rent = $900. THEN $300/month = target site rent. NOW = $450/month site rent. Continuing consequence? Transfer of value from homeowner’s home to the underlying realty for which rent was being paid each month by said homeowner. And, unfortunately, the pattern continues among some…

Now, meet the dragon slayer! First the perspective: From that of the competition, the (usually) smaller LLLCommunity owner/operator. While self-immolation by one’s competitor, in the same local housing market, might well provide a benefit (i.e. move-ins exiting REIT-owned communities), it becomes a bit of a ‘hat trick’ to know just where one should peg one’s rental homesite rate. Here’s a suggestion:

Multiply prevailing (too) high rental homesite rate X two & divide by three. For example:
$450/month X 2, divided by 3 = $300.00/month = rent in closer accords with application of the traditional 3:1 ratio Rule of Thumb. Is that all? No.

If/when possible, apply the 3:1 ratio Rule of Thumb as a cross check of one’s dragon slayer computation. For example; given conventional 3BR2B townhouse or conventional apartment rent at $900/month, the suggested rental homesite rate is $300/month. But suppose the targeted ‘high rent rate’ is $500/month? Dragon slayer methodology suggests stabilized rental homesite rent, in that local housing market, should be $333/month. Hmm. What to do? Simple. Peg one’s rental homesite rate somewhere between $300 & $333/month.

One important caution. This exercise can be challenging in Sunbelt regions.

So, what do you think? Is there a variant to this methodology that works for you? We’d certainly like to know.



Chapbook of Prayer, George Allen, PMN Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.2015.

The first 200 copies of this slim 58 pages book arrived early September – in time for distribution at the Friday morning Prayer Meeting for Our Nation & Its’ Leaders, at the 24thInternational Networking Roundtable in San Diego, CA. The entire first printing inventory was gone four weeks later. A second printing arrived during October. Would you like a copy?

Here’s what Joyce Long had to say about the chapbook. “I just finished reading your Chapbook of Prayer. I think this book will change my life and help me to be more dependent upon God. Too often I try to do it all on my own, wearing myself out. The wisdom in this book will put me back on the right path. So, from the bottom of my heart and soul, I thank you for this timely gift in my life.” JL

So, what’s this all about? Well, a chapbook by definition, is a small book or ‘…compendium of fact, wit & advice’, according to George Plimpton, writing in The Writer’s Chapbook. In this instance, the focus is obviously on prayer; and I approach the subject from two perspectives. Part I is a “…collection of prayer truths…harvested since 1969, the year I returned home following a 13 month tour of combat…in the Republic of South Vietnam.” And, “Part II is the initial manifestation of a long held desire to provide a public platform, from which prayer warriors and intercessors share personal means of ‘getting quiet before their Lord’…” All three quotations are from the cover and Preface of Chapbook of Prayer.

So again, ‘Would you like a copy?’ If so , phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764; email me, or request via GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247. We’ll send you a FREE copy! Just be sure to provide a postal mailing address, as this is a bona fide book, not something you print off, online.


Have YOU, as a LLLCommunity Owner/operator,

Why is it you’ll likely be paying the lion share of on-site redevelopment costs (i.e. replacing perfectly good concrete runners & piers, not extending below the frost line, on rental homesites) pursuant to enforcement of Federal Installation Standards legislated in 2007, left dormant until this year, and to be implemented during year 2016?

Or aren’t you aware of this impending reality for LLLCommunity owners/operators?

It’s really quite the MH tale, going back to the aforementioned 2007 federal legislation; then the ‘maybe a silver bullet’ Frost Free Foundation® of 2010; those cloudy GAO interviews of HUD-Code home manufacturers – some say resulting in the 250% increase in HUD label fees (from $39 to $100) during late 2014; appointment of a new HUD manufactured housing program administrator – with an agenda; and soon, regulatory intrusions and fees, by and for HUD. And all that’s just part of the intriguing tale…

First hard question: ‘What financial support role will HUD-Code home manufacturers play in paying for beefed-up foundations now required on-site within LLLCommunities?’

Second question: ‘Where are we today, as land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, waiting for this other shoe to drop?’ Rumors and half-truths abound, e.g. What regulations apply to new homes only and not resale homes – or is it the other way around; or both or neither? Seriously. There’s that much confusion afoot already!

Sure would be considerate to have accurate and concise advance guidance make its’ way soon from HUD, via MHARR, MHI, & COBA7®, to the LLLCommunity folk and licensed installers all this is going to affect greatly in 2016. Is anyone out there listening?

And did you notice? The previous paragraphs have not answered the initial question:

‘Why is it land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) will be paying the lion share of redevelopment costs (Estimated @ $5,000/site), to replace perfectly good rental homesite concrete runners and piers that don’t extend below the frost line? Answer – in my opinion? Because LLLCommunities have no effective national advocacy body looking after their financial interests in this particular matter.

Furthermore, what have the dominating HUD-Code home manufacturer members of MHARR & MHI done to ensure this costly mandate doesn’t stifle the emerging – since 2009 – market (i.e. Sell new Community Series Homes onto 250,000+/- vacant rental homesites in 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide!) that’s supplanted home sales to independent (street) MHRetailers – who lost their easy access to chattel capital at the turn of the century? Answer – in my opinion? NOTHING.

Near and interim consequences of this inaction (&, some say, behind the scenes ‘insider’ finagling)? Besides $-punishing LLLCommunities, we’ll likely experience continued record low shipment volume of new HUD-Code homes (i.e. Annual average of 55,146 new HUD-Code homes/year shipped during past six years!) by month and year; and frankly, ‘drive one more, if not final, nail into manufactured housing’s coffin!’ And we’re doing this to ourselves for what reason? Or another way of looking at the matter….

In the Marine Corps, we have a T-shirt that speaks to the potentially self-destructive consequences of the inaction and finagling hinted at in previous paragraphs. Pictured on the shirt front is a hand grenade with a Happy Face on it and this caption: ‘Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is no longer our friend!’ Anticipate an explosive year during 2016 and beyond?