Land-lease-lifestyle Communities = Future of Manufactured Housing!

Blog # 272 Copyright 2013 24 November 2013

George Allen Writes About Key MHBusiness Interests & Concerns – & More….

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

Purpose of this blog. To be the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Ways to respond: Critical responses & helpful ideas Welcome for future blog coverage; gfa7156@aol.com; Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

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News for Today, Tomorrow & 2014, You’ll not get from anyone or anywhere else!

Some reading this blog posting, have not been making my transition to semi or full retirement easy – or even possible. Several weeks ago, I’d pretty much decided to sell – out (Yes, there was a verbal offer on the table, ‘to pick up where I leave off…’, but that’s all it turned out to be); even discussed the sensitive matter with a ‘mutual friend in the MHBusiness’, while on Marco Island, FL. during Rent Manager® annual user’s conference. OR, whether to launch the much ballyhooed NEW ERA business alliance for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide.

Well, now comes word of a national meeting maybe being planned (Not by me) for ‘seriously interested parties’, early in 2014, to gauge the level of interest in, and garner commitments to, found a new national entity that’d ensure even – handed national advocacy, apropos statistical research, resource updating & distribution, regular print & online communication, affordable peer networking & deal – making opportunities, along with professional property management training & certification. Since those are the same seven function areas identified with the new Community Owners Business Alliance, the announcement caught my attention. Main Difference? This latest initiative is apparently inclusive of ALL post – production components or segments of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, not just the land-lease-lifestyle community folk.

As I’ve said before, I have no desire to head any new organization! After all, I’m trying to slow down, not assume more responsibility. But I’m certainly interested in any credible national presence, new and otherwise, focused on providing the seven aforementioned functions to MHBusinesses Large and Small! And frankly, we won’t really know until (1) the sale of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing assets is consummated with a qualified, industry experienced, motivated entity or party; or (2) an alternative new national presence is established; or, (3) the much heralded NEW ERA dawns for land-lease-lifestyle communities at the start of the New Year 2014! So watch your postal mail closely, and read the December issue of the Allen Letter professional journal, for details as to how YOU can participate in the Community Owners 7 Part Business Alliance, or ‘COBA7’, for short. GFA

I. I.

Land-lease-lifestyle Communities=The Very Future of Manufactured Housing Industry!

II.

HAVE YOU GONE ‘LIFESTYLE’ YET?

III.

Where Will YOU Be on 21 January 2014?

IV.

Visit New Manufactured Home @ RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

V.

We Continue to Receive Responses to this Blog & Pithy Matters Contained Therein…

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OK, This is a Long Blog Posting, so Hang On & Let’s Go!

I.

Land-lease-lifestyle Communities=The Very Future of Manufactured Housing Industry!

The following bold statement by a veteran land-lease-lifestyle community owner was posted online recently, ‘setting the new home shipment stage’ for the present & near future of HUD-Code manufactured housing nationwide…

“We, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators ARE the future of the manufactured housing industry! Independent (street) MHRetailers can not compete with us because

1) We can, and should, sell new manufactured homes at or near COST (i.e. ‘Making new manufactured homes sited in land-lease-lifestyle communities, the most Affordable Housing alternative available in the U.S. today!’); and,

2) We have superior ability and experience cultivating chattel finance lending models (e.g. Securing $ support from private investors, lending sources in local housing markets, etc.) to support the on – site marketing and sale of new and resale homes!

Therefore; HUD-Code home manufacturers, continuing to suffer historic low new home shipment levels, have little to no choice – if they’re paying attention and indeed want to prosper, than to cater to the housing design, size restrictions, and feature needs/wants of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide – as we buy their new homes, to resell to prospective homebuyers/site lessees!” (Edited. GFA)

‘WOW!’ And to that pithy and challenging statement, I’d simply add: It’s estimated there’re approximately 250,000 vacant rental homesites among 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide! HUD-Code ‘new manufactured housing shipments’ continue, after five years, to languish in the 50,000 – 60,000 range, down from the short – lived renaissance of 372,843 new homes shipped during 1998. Yes, some HUD-Code home manufacturers have learned how to market Community Series Homes, or CSH models*1, by the dozen, to some, but not all, 500+/- known property portfolio owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities in the U.S. and Canada (A half dozen Canadian firms own many LLLCommunities throughout the U.S.) – by accessing the exclusive, confidential ALLEN REPORT contact data base via PMN Publishing.*2 However, most of them do NOT have A CLUE how to reach the 85 percent of 50,000 properties, numbering fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece! THAT will (should) be their corporate challenge during 2014, IF they want to push new home shipment volume above 60,000 during the next 12 months. Is that possible? Sure. Not as easily as the ALLEN REPORT -based Direct Mail campaigns (@ $1,000 per access) to 500+/- portfolio ‘players’; but doable, nonetheless.

HOW? Let me first suggest how NOT to strategize marketing CSH Model homes to the estimated 42,500 smaller land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide.

1) Do not announce and host a national meeting, to this end, with a generic ‘feel good’ agenda, in some high – priced downtown venue! That’d be a patent waste of time and valuable resources, with little to no useful results. Rather;

2) Announce the nature and goal of this major problem – solving challenge, via every manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community – related print and online media available! Invite anyone and everyone – businessmen and women owners of factories and land-lease-lifestyle communities alike, large and small, but willing to Invest in a FOCUS Group Strategic Brainstorming Session, to do these three things:

• Prepare and send advance correspondence to the meeting planner, listing ideas, as well as creative, even routine ways to identify & reach out to this difficult to reach market (i.e. 42,500 Mom & Pop – sized, often passive investors, who don’t belong to MHTrade bodies or read MH print & online newsletters, & ezines.)

• Register for, and arrange to arrive the night before said meeting, at an economical host hotel located an easy distance from a major Midwest international airport. Come prepared to spend a full day engaged in the most important Strategic Brainstorming Session of their business career! Use a professional facilitator.

• Walk into that FOCUS Group Strategic Brainstorming Session committed to fully participate, and not be satisfied until this national MHInitiative® has generated ideas, creative and routine ways, to identify and reach out to market and sell new manufactured homes into 42,500 land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide!*3

Hey Out There! Are the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’s ‘elected & salaried national & regional leaders’ listening, reading, paying attention to what’s going on around them, and how – at present – we’re ‘Going Nowhere Slowly’?! Here’s how to tell. Watch to see & read what ‘They say & do’ during the days & weeks – not months, ahead

In the meantime, as usual, let me know where YOU stand on this timely, key issue: ‘How to market and sell more HUD-Code manufactured homes into land-lease-lifestyle communities – of all sizes, filling as many as 250,000 vacant rental homesites ASAP, from coast to coast!’ Use contact information listed at the beginning of this blog posting.

End Notes.

1. Community Series Homes description and list of features, available FREE, by phoning Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also contains names of manufacturers’ Business Development Managers.

2. What’s a portfolio owner/operator? Sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or REIT, owning/fee managing minimum of five LLLCommunities and or minimum of 500 rental homesites. To access the 500+/- name list of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, phone the same number listed in end note # 1.

3. What’s an MHInitiative®? It’s the catch-all term that’s replaced the National State of the Asset Class caucus moniker used successfully during 2008 & 2009, to rally MHIndustry & LLLCommunity businessmen and women to 1) take control of their collective business future, and 2) agree on a new line of manufactured homes for placement in LLLCommunities, i.e. Community Series Homes or CSH Models. Frankly, it’ll take a new and fresh MHInitiative® to get the MHIndustry ‘moving again’. But this time it’ll be up to our elected and salaried national leaders to seize the initiative and exercise leadership in solving this five year long stalemate, now malaise.

II.

HAVE YOU GONE ‘LIFESTYLE’ YET?

BUILDING EXCELLENCE is the (annual) Official Magazine of the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute. Well, the 2013 edition arrived this past week, filled with interesting and enlightening articles relative to manufactured and modular homes (design) in Canada. And there were articles headlined as follows:

FACTS ABOUT LANDLEASE COMMUNITIES

‘Ask and Compare – FINDING THE RIGHT (LANDLEASE) COMMUNITY

And, this one: Parkbridge, ‘Your bridge to smarter living’. But know what really caught my attention about this? The full and proper name of the firm:

Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities, Inc.

If the firm’s name sounds familiar, it should. In the 24th annual ALLEN REPORT, Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities, Inc., was listed as the eighth largest owner/operator of land-lease-lifestyle communities in the world!

But that’s only half the story. Everyone reading this blog posting is also likely familiar with the real estate investment trust (‘REIT’),

Equity Lifestyle Communities, Inc., or ELS, Inc.

According to the 24th annual ALLEN REPORT, ELS, Inc., is the Largest Owner/operator of Land-lease-lifestyle Communities in the world!

Boy, talk about confirmation of ‘being on the right track’, where the evolution of business terminology is concerned, relative to our unique, income – producing property type! If the largest U.S. owner/operator, and Canada’s largest owner/operator of property portfolios comprised of land-lease-lifestyle communities, find it appropriate to incorporate the word ‘lifestyle’ into their full and proper name, why not YOU? Think about it!

Furthermore, reading of ‘landlease communities’ throughout BUILDING EXCELLENCE, also confirmed my conviction that we’ve finally, after decades of experimentation, hit upon the right choice and combination of descriptive words to describe our (again) unique, income – producing property type! And perhaps during the next year or two, our Canadian neighbors will follow our lead, and insert hyphens into the descriptive term:

Land-lease-lifestyle Community!

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III.

Where Will YOU be on 21 January 2014?

Me? I’ll be attending Rishel Consulting’s One Day $95.00 Seminar in Louisville, KY (That’s the day BEFORE the Louisville MHShow begins), Learning What Can & Not Be Said & Done, by Sales Professionals, While Selling Manufactured Homes – so as not to run afoul of regulators! Ignorance of regs is not an excuse.

For more information, and or to register, simply phone (217) 899-9268. A friendly piece of advice. This special, one day specialty sales seminar will sell – out quickly, so don’t delay signing – up. I’ve already done so! See YOU there? Hope so!

When we do see each other, ask me for a FREE plastic wallet card featuring the ‘5-RPs of Marketing!’ (‘RPs’ being Right Product, Right Place, Right Price, Right Promotion, Right People!) No one else has this practical marketing tool, so be sure to get yours at the Rishel seminar, and use it to fill more vacant rental homesites throughout your land-lease-lifestyle community!

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master

IV.

Visit New Manufactured Home @ RV/MH
Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

Visitors to the RV/MH Hall of Fame now have a new manufactured home exhibit to tour, outdoors and adjacent to the museum and library facility, thanks to the generosity of Nappanee, Indiana – based Fairmont Homes, according to Barry Cole, chairman of the board of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation.

What’s the RV/MH Hall of Fame? Well, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation was formed on 22 March 1972 by a group of trade and consumer magazine publishers attending an MHMA (‘Manufactured Housing Manufacturers Association’ predecessor to the Manufactured Housing Institute) meeting in Washington, DC. In early 2007, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation moved into its’ new facility at 21565 Executive Parkway, in Elkhart, IN. The 56,000 square foot building houses the RV/MH Hall of Fame, honoring hundreds of industry leaders past and present, a museum of vintage RVs & MHs from 1913 into the 1970s. For hours of operation, phone (800) 378-8694. And when phoning, inquire about becoming a Lifetime RV/MH Wall of Fame member of the heritage foundation!

V.

We Continue to Receive Responses to this Blog & Pithy Matters Contained Therein…

“George, I love your piece on Meeting Fatigue, and critique of the (lack of) balance of power in national MH (advocacy) trade groups. I think you are ‘spot on’ in your analysis, and as always, I admire your courage to ‘Speak the truth to those in power!’” CC

EDITORIAL RESPONSE: If you missed ‘Meeting Fatigue’, at this website, simply scroll back to blog # 271 to read it. AND know this: ‘Speaking the truth to those in power’ can have uncomfortable consequences. FOR EXAMPLE. Thirteen months ago, I walked into a meeting of one of the groups referenced here, and was verbally ambushed in public by its’ leader – and given NO opportunity to respond to charges he made, and that have been left unsubstantiated to this day! Nor has there been any apology for this cowardly breach of public propriety by the individual or host national advocacy body. POINT? Be careful and steadfast about what you say and or write about business matters. And be prepared to stand your ground when challenged or assaulted by those who should be’ listening & learning’, rather than ‘reacting & fighting’! GFA

&

“I agree with your comments about our national (advocacy) organization. I’m afraid it, and one of its’ divisions, have run their course, as far as representation of smaller and mid – size land-lease-lifestyle community owners is concerned! Let’s face the fact, it is only interested in larger LLLCommunity operators. With that said, let’s form a new organization that better supports the interests of thousands of smaller owners/operators in the U.S. Considering the buying power of such a group, I don’t think we’d have any trouble getting home manufacturers to send (floor) dues, for the new homes we buy, to such an organization.”

EDITORIAL COMMENT. This is the opinion and suggestion of the person who penned this response to the Meeting Fatigue blog posting. And frankly, it contains more than a kernel of truth, when one observes how few direct, dues – paying members there are after 17 years of existence, how very few (less than a dozen) attend periodic meetings, and how present leadership continues to be in the hands of a very few large property portfolio operators (Not owners). Personally; I’m not interested in forming a new organization for the 85% of 50,000+/- LLLCommunities in the U.S. But what I ‘am for’, is the launching of a NEW ERA, during January 2014, in how product and service needs of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide, are researched, prepared, paid for, and distributed! As was pointed out in the introductory paragraphs to this week’s blog posting, during December, be watching your USPS mail for information on this new business alliance, and read about it in the Allen Letter professional journal! In the meantime, ‘if you want to talk about it’, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. GFA

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

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