‘How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in LLLCommunities’

COBA7® via community-investor.com Blog # 302 A 15 June 2014 Copyright 2014

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 a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

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

* ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin; fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this weeks’ COBA7® blog posting at community-investor.com

‘How to Market & Sell Homes On-Site in Leased Land Communities’ = new book!

‘MH vs. RV Issue’ = Protect housing market share or fill more vacant rental homesites?

‘23rd Networking Roundtable brochures’ = Ready for distribution & registration!

Remember, U & COBA7® = ‘U support US & We serve U!’

I.

How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in
Leased Land Communities!

Gary Pomeroy, of Golden West Homes, was the first and last author to pen a cae bound text on ‘mobile home sales’, and that was way back in 1977. Titled, How to Successfully Sell New & Resale Manufactured Homes, it’s been the MHSales Bible for more than 35 years! The time has come for a total rewrite of this home sales tome, ideally as a HOW TO ‘HOME SALES’ GUIDE, encompassing past and contemporary trends and cycles, even what hasn’t changed, during the past four decades. For example:

• Cyclic homebuyer preferences: In the 1970s, ‘single wides’, then ‘double wides’ cum multisection homes during late 1990s; and since year 2010, a balance of singlesection & modest-sized multisection homes shipped throughout the U.S.
.
• Major shift in reliance on independent (street) ‘dealers’ cum MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ to fill vacant rental homesites, now a prevalence of home sales & self-financing on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities, pursuant in part to disappearance of most independent third party chattel finance firms since 2000.
• Home placement preference swings from ‘in-park’ placement (1970s), to land & home contracting (1990s); & back again, to installation within LLLCommunities.

• Emergence of Developer Series Homes (i.e. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’) circa 1990s, to Community Series Homes (i.e. CSH Models designed with a WOW! Factor & durability-enhancing features) since 2009. Often marketed by factory-appointed Business Development Mangers. Call for FREE list of BDMs throughout the U.S.

• Contemporary renewal of the ‘park-owned rental home conversion to contract sale dance’ of the late 1970s, to the ‘no rentals & few contract sales’ on-site reality of the 1990s; to today, where almost everyone does ‘whatever it takes’, post 2010, to fill approximately 250,000 vacant rental homesites in leased land communities nationwide – staying in compliance with state and federal $ regs.

• Affordable housing as a housing trade term, though preempted by ‘low cost housing’ aficionados, now has a clear, working definition among serious practitioners: Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income of AMI’, can afford to rent a conventional apartment or buy a home in their local housing market” & not exceed the 30% Housing Expense Factor or HEF. Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb & Helpful Measures, PMN Publishing, 2012, page # 37.

AND, what hasn’t changed!

• Still no secondary market for efficient and effective marketing and resale of manufactured homes, particularly those sited in LLLCommunities. Self-defeating

• Still a stark dichotomy between the upscale home & lifestyle choice, at one end of the manufactured housing and LLLCommunity spectrum; and, trailer/park squalor ever present and far too visible at the other extreme. Again, self-defeating

• Federal manufactured home installation regulations, as over engineered as they are for some locales (e.g. Demand to replace perfectly good, decades-old concrete ribbon foundations with expensive ‘below the frost line’ new ones), are ‘on the books’, but not universally and evenly enforced; in effect, relieving HUD-Code home manufacturers of responsibility for the safe and secure siting of their housing product. Reminiscent of D&R or ‘Drop & Run shipments’ of 1970s

So, what’s this new book describing HOW TO MARKET & SELL HOMES ON-SITE IN LEASED LAND COMMUNITIES going to contain? Here’s the preliminary chapter titles and Appendices for this new work:

Part I.

1. Introduction to Manufactured Housing as a a Type of Factory-built Housing

2. Introduction to Communities

Part II

3. Preparing to Market, Sell & Finance Homes On-site….

4. Using the ‘5 Right Ps of Marketing to Plan, Implement, Evaluate, & adjust Marketing & Sale of Homes On-site.

Part III
5. Selling New Homes On-site

6. Importance of customer Service & Resident Relations

Part IV

7. Financing of Homes Sold On-site

8. Important Role of Compliance in Home Finance Today

Part V.

9 Summary & Conclusions

10. Future of Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities in U.S.

Appendices

List of HUD-Code Home Manufacturers, complete with contact information.

12 Signature Series Resource Documents produced by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, e.g. ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’s Registry, Lexicon, etc.

Who’s going to author the new text? Likely, a team of writers. Already have several capable (published), industry and asset class-experienced, motivated individuals in mind; and some have been asked to participate, and they’ve accepted the challenge. Are YOU seriously interested in being considered for this special team? If so, contact me directly via email: gfa7156@aol.com or via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4765.

The chapter I’m most concerned about, at this time, will deal with the critical decision-making involved in ascertaining whether a LLLCommunity, given its’ 1) unique local housing market characteristics, 2) anticipated sales volume (i.e. given number of vacant rental homesites to be filled), and 3) proximity to housing factories fabricating and shipping appropriate sizes and quality of homes, can or should launch an on-site home sales operation! To that end, I’ve asked Business Development Managers, working for HUD-Code home manufacturer around the U.S., to recommend present day, successful on-site home sales managers, who might, with their employer’s permission, want to and be able to participate in this major project for the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class.

There’s more to share with you, but not at this time. Continue to follow this weekly blog posting for further information, as well as other topics of note.

Also know, How to Market & Sell Homes On-site in Leased Land Communities is a project of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®., presently a subsidiary of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, officed in Franklin, Indiana. For more information, use the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. There likely will be a meeting of co-authors, for this book, during the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014.

II.

MH vs. RV Issue

Protect Housing Market Share or Fill More Vacant Rental Homesites?

What’s the RV Industry want? Apparently, total exclusion of recreational vehicles, by definition, from the HUD (housing) Code!

WHY? The answer depends on WHO one asks. But know this, a ‘full blown national trend’ finds more and more recreational vehicles, of various types and sizes, already sited on heretofore vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities), paying rent right along with manufactured and modular homes similarly sited. But that observation doesn’t really answer the WHY question does it? So, let’s try again. The RV Industry evidently desires easier access to LLLCommunities, without the regulatory burden of being subject to the HUD (building) Code.

What’s the MH Industry want? Apparently, for the RV folk to just go away!

WHY? To protect their present miniscule share of the national housing market – even though HUD-Code home manufacturers often fabricate and ship ‘park model RVs’, a.k.a. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, per HUD; and ‘granny flats’ elsewhere. In any event, many ADUs wind up on rental homesites in LLLCommunities.

So, ‘Where’s the rub’? Again, more RVs sited in LLLCommunities likely means fewer shipments and sales of new HUD-Code homes nationwide! So what! Independent (street) MHRetailers are few and far in between these days, as are ‘company stores’, and the lonely dozen Factory Expo home sales centers adjacent to factories. Consequently, RVs have become, in many local housing markets, a default form of affordable, even desirable shelter.

What are stated or formal positions of two of the three MH-related national advocacy bodies on the ‘MH vs. RV Issue’?

1. Here’s an interesting quote, dated 4 June 2014 PR from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR: “The intensive ‘scorched-earth’ campaign in Congress by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) for an expanded RV exemption in the federal manufactured housing law with the appropriations process…is rapidly becoming a double-edged sword for that industry, as more and more stakeholder constituencies begin to fully recognize the extremely negative long-term consequences of any such change. This includes 1) consumers – who have always been opposed to an expanded RV/park model exemption, 2) state authorities who would see a proliferation in the misuse of larger RVs and park models as unregulated de facto housing, 3) manufactured housing industry members who would be subjected to unfair competition by such a proliferation of unregulated RVs and park models, and 4) ‘pure’ (i.e. single industry) HUD Code state associations which correctly perceive an expend (sic) RV/park model exemption would lead to major problems affecting zoning, placement, taxation, and a host of other related state and local-level issues.” (Blogger’s note: ‘Numbers’ added for clarity; observe how LLLCommunities are not listed as a fifth stakeholder constituency; and, the four ‘extremely negative long-term consequences’ are simply undocumented assumptions)

2. And this input from the Manufactured Housing Institute minutes, approving a resolution offered by the Manufactured Housing Division, at MHI’s annual meeting on 4 October 2011, more than 2 ½ years ago:

“Whereas the RVIA has asked MHI to support legislative and regulatory changes to amend the (HUD-Code) to allow for the construction of RVs and Park Trailers that are larger than 400 square feet when erected on site;
Whereas the MHCC has considered this issue and opposes such a change;
Whereas such a change would encourage permanent living in recreational vehicles; Whereas the construction standards for RVs are not designed for permanent living; and Whereas such a change would further confuse the market perception of manufactured homes, and is inconsistent with industry efforts to advocate policies designed to treat manufactured homes on a parity basis with other types of single family housing; Therefore be it resolved the MHI opposes changing current size restrictions for RVs and Park Trailers. And further, the MHI supports changing the HUD regulations to clarify the differences between RVs and Park Trailers, and to specify that Park Trailers be constructed to the ANSI A119.5 Standards for Park Trailers.”

And here’s your 10 June 2014 update. At its’ Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN., the Manufactured Housing Institute, as well as its’ National Communities Council division and Manufactured Housing division, declined to take a formal position on this contentious matter. Following said meeting(s) however, two observations were overheard; and in this industry observer’s opinion, clearly illustrate the inherent dichotomy of the ‘MH vs.RV’ issue:

• “Temporary housing does not sell lifestyle!” a housing executive
&
• “Expensive homes don’t fill vacant sites.” LLLCommunity owner

Hmm. Do you see what’s been happening here, ‘over the years’? These two separate but different, yet related initiatives:

The recreational vehicle industry, being unsuccessful in times past ’to be included within’ the HUD-Code, has now asked ‘to be entirely exempted from it’. Yet parts of the manufactured housing industry continue to oppose RVIA’s initiatives ‘for pretty much the same reasons’, i.e. Protect Housing Market Share. OK, so what’s different today?

RVs are now commonplace within many LLLCommunities, and will likely become even more so, especially if/when RVs are NOT subject to the HUD-Code, i.e. they’re less expensive to fabricate when not encumbered by federal building regulations.

And where MHI’s Manufactured Housing division ‘carried the day’ back in October 2011, effectively protecting its’ housing market share; today, the National Communities Council division has ‘a dog in this fight’, given members’ efforts to fill more of the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide – many of which are functionally obsolete and can easily site a variety of recreational vehicles 1) seasonally, 2) for construction workers, 3) even opening a new vein of affordable shelter!

Bottom lines? So far, everyone, among the aforesaid national advocacy bodies, is doing what one would expect, but with a twist – in the first instance::

The MHARR, founded to keep ‘regulatory reform’ under reasonable $ control, now foists HUD’s ‘performance-based building code’ onto a sister industry, the RV folk, to protect members from further shipment volume reduction due to housing market share incursion .

And MHI, to date, continues to be quiet on the subject. Why? Methinks, a preference to let someone else (MHARR) carry this fight, so as not to put its’ Manufactured Housing division and National Communities Council divisions at odds with one another. This too again, in fear of fewer, new HUD-Code homes being shipped versus. LLLCommunities’ continued need to fill more vacant rental homesites coast to coast – if need be, with recreational vehicles, of all types and sizes, as affordable shelter alternatives!

So, what do you think? An average of a dozen blog floggers (readers) respond, in writing, each week, to the topics aired here at the community-investor.com web site. So don’t be shy! We’d like to hear from you, via gfa7156@aol.com or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

III.

23rd annual International Networking Roundtable
Information & Registration Brochures
Now Available Upon Request

Three things YOU may or may not know about the International Networking Roundtable:

1. This is the longest running (23 years) annual trade event planned and hosted to meet the educational (20 sessions), networking (9 social events), & realty deal-making penchant of land-lease-lifestyle community (A.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators, large and small, worldwide.

2. This year’s program features, for the first time in manufactured housing history, two National Public Forums to refocus our ‘double dual industry’ re: ‘Face the Future of Manufactured Housing & the LLLCommunity realty asset class!’ And, ‘Anyone who’s anyone’ in the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity business environs, will be present for this stellar event, 10-12 September in Peachtree City, GA!

3. Attendance is limited to 250 participants. We’ll soon distribute descriptive event brochures to 500+/- LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators in the U.S. & Canada; to 200+ COBA7® affiliates; and, individuals who attended last year’s Networking Roundtable in Chicago, IL. So, if interested in attending, but not on one of those three lists, use the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to request your brochure. You don’t want to miss this one!

Reps from AHA, MHARR, MHI, Freddie Mac, & Fannie Mae have been invited to attend and or participate in this year’s Networking Roundtable. So far, only one of the five has not responded affirmatively. Also hearing from academics & would be investors

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