MHInitiative, new MHMantra, Confrontaton or?

Blog # 209 Copyright 2012 26 August 2012

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

Do YOU, Like Me, Feel an ‘MHInitiative®’ Coming On, During the Next Few or Several Months Ahead?

We haven’t even been to SECO yet, the 21st Networking Roundtable, or MHI’s annual meeting, and folk are calling for an MHInitiative® caucus.

Why?

&

What Would YOU Do, if This Scenario was Yours?

Ever find yourself betwixt & between? That’s the uncomfortable, but maybe timely and necessary state faced by some of us today, in the MHBusiness….

&

Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Allenisms

a Triple AAA array of computer and manufactured housing communication.

I.

Do YOU Feel, Like Me, an ‘MHInitiative®’ Coming On, During the Next Few or Several Months Ahead?

First off, what’s an MHInitiative®? Long time readers of this blog likely already know; but for everyone else, an explanation is certainly in order.

MHInitiative® is the contemporary trade term describing what was previously known as the National State of the Asset Class caucus. The first NSAC caucus was held 2/27/2008 in Tampa, FL., the second, 2/27/2009 in Elkhart, IN. These historic events provided asset class focus and new product design, for land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, and the HUD – Code manufactured housing industry, respectively.

During the initial (2008) caucus, 100 LLLCommunity owners/operators articulated and agreed upon ‘Five Action Areas to guide their Business Future during years ahead. Specifically, they agreed on the Value of political influence and Advocacy at local, state and national levels; Necessity & timeliness of National Image Improvement and local housing market promotional campaigns; Fair interplay of housing product pricing, financing, value and rental (homesite) rents; Measure customer satisfaction via resident relations, resident referrals, and resident retention; and Prevalence of financing and servicing new and resale home transactions on – site; and Identification of realty mortgage financing sources for properties.’ Quoted from Landlease Communities…2011, p.16. Four and a half years later, those Five Action Areas continue to guide the business decisions and actions of LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide.

The following year (2009) an eclectic mix of 100 HUD – Code home manufacturers, along with their land lease lifestyle community owner/operator counterparts, caucused at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s new Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN. Here, the challenge was, ‘How to Sell More New HUD – Code Homes into LLLCommunities’?! The caucus answer? Design a new line of manufactured homes, tailored for on – site installation, within this unique, income – producing property type. Well, the manufacturers did so, and in time, this new line of homes (i.e. oft singlesection, along with smaller multisection configurations) have come to be known as Community Series Homes or CSH Models. And to a degree, they’ve supplanted the behemoth multisection homes of the late 1990s, a.k.a. Developer Series Homes, designed back then, to compete with larger, site & stick – built homes. Also, a new job title and description appeared on the scene, to market CSH Models, the Business Development Manager or BDM. A free list of CSH Model characteristics, and the plants from whom to purchase them, is available via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. For in depth information about CSH Model homes, contact Don Westphal @ (248) 651-5518.

So there’s the brief, recent and successful history of NSAC caucuses. Since 2011, however, a new label, that of ‘MHInitiative®’, has been used to describe this informal, grassroots – driven, national manufactured housing meeting phenomenon – the very mention of which, has already prodded national trade bodies into similar action of their own. Lately however, some have been suggesting it’s time to caucus again; this time, to consider, and take on the major challenge of considering the rebranding of HUD – Code manufactured housing on the whole, including the industry’s land lease lifestyle community component. Specifically, to plan and effect a national, industry wide paradigm shift in the way we refer to our business model, market and advertise our affordable housing product lines, and promote our desirable realty – based lifestyle.

When might the next MHInitiative® occur? That depends on our elected leaders and salaried executives at the national Advocacy body level. An obvious place to start, in this industry observer’s opinion, would be the Manufactured Housing Institute’s annual meeting in San Antonio, TX., @ 7 – 9 October 2012. And there’s precedent for this; recalling a similar Strategic Planning Session during MHI’s annual meeting in New Orleans, nearly a decade ago. But if such an initiative was to occur this Fall, there’d have to be soon, widespread and effective ‘getting the word out’ to institute members and non – members nationwide, unless such an effort was going to be kept in – house. What might derail an industry rebranding effort this Fall? For starters, MHI and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s (‘MHARR’) ongoing feud. However, if it’s true more than 80 percent of U.S. manufactured housing market share lies with three MHI manufacturer members, maybe the institute could and should ‘go it alone’! and caucus over this matter. What do you think? If a direct, dues – paying member of MHI, let Dick Jennison know, via (703) 558-0678. Me too.

And if MHI doesn’t seize the initiative to plan and host an MHInitiative® – like caucus this Fall? Well, the ideal, even historic time to do so would be sometime around the 27th of February 2012. But guess what? That week is already filled with manufactured housing industry events: MHI’s annual Legislative Conference in Arlington, VA. @ 24 – 26 February; a Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® professional property management certification class in Oklahoma on 27 February; followed by the Great Southwest Manufactured Housing Show, also in OK., 28 February – 2 March! So, no, we’ll have to identify another date and location – unless everyone wants to travel to Oklahoma ‘to do the show’ AND rebrand the manufactured housing industry at the same time!? The next best alternative, would be to caucus somewhere ‘down South’ during mid – March; or simply wait and do so, at the annual Manufactured Housing Congress in Las Vegas, NV. All it’d take is a separate hotel meeting room and widespread national publicity. Whaddaya think? Send me an email: gfa7156@aol.com or phone the aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE. Or are you OK with the status quo?

In case you missed the point earlier, the rebranding of manufactured housing’s real estate component has already begun! How so? Well, you already know how ‘manufactured home community’, the realty asset class’ moniker, replaced ‘mobile home park’ two decades ago. Just this year – actually only a month or two ago, ‘land lease lifestyle community’ refined the ‘landlease community’ label we’ve been using during the past several years. While it’s certainly going to take awhile, know that ‘land lease lifestyle community’ will indeed ‘stick’; in part due to alliteration, in part because it makes perfect sense. So, in time, it will become the realty term of choice within and outside the HUD – Code manufactured housing industry, OR, whatever new name ‘rebranding’ gives the industry during the months ahead….

II.

What Would YOU Do, if This Scenario was Yours?

You’re a regular member of an athletic team. It’s comprised of several dozen players, who’ve played and competed together ‘for years’. And everyone – at least when the going gets tough, and in social environments, gets along well. In fact, everyone is so talented, it’s sometimes difficult to identify a particular leader; at least that was the way things were until recently.

Having competed together for more than a decade, experiencing the usual mix of successes and lapses, a subtle but obvious change in the tone of leadership, even team focus, has been felt and observed by some, if not most, team members. No longer do players get equal playing time, nor are team members overtly helping ‘the other guy’, when the game gets tough, as had been the case in times past. And, there’s little to no skill training available anymore, and others are expected to keep and publish game ‘stats’ for the team.

As it stands, a couple players, really good ones at that, have started making playing decisions pretty much on their own, and in a fashion that appears to favor a few of the more visible team members, rather than the entire team. When this was pointed out; that such favoritism is looking more and more like a clique, the notion was ridiculed. But the subtle change, nonetheless, is apparent to all.

What to do?

Confrontation or something else? Few team players want overt confrontation with other team members, as that flies in the face of camaraderie, cooperation, and simply getting the job done. Perhaps though, since the leaders of this team are elected to their playing positions, by the whole team, maybe other players need to step up to the place and make their desire to lead and change the team’s focus known, and campaign for the top leadership positions….

Or, given the significant differences in size, visibility, and playing ability of some of the dominant players and leaders, maybe form a new team to compete in the same sport, but on a different level? Now that’s a possibility. But, do we really want two teams from the same home town competing in the same sport, even at different levels? Other situations, of the same divided nature, in the sport, have not fared well in the long run. So, who will fans and supporters support when competition begins? Or is there yet some other way the two factions can ‘play well together to win’, during the months and years ahead?

The right answer to this sports metaphor quandary? Guess it depends on whether one is wholly satisfied with present leadership direction and team focus; whether one is inclined to challenge the status quo; or, frankly, see a brighter future playing opportunity, by separating from one’s old team and starting anew, with like – talented, experienced, motivated players, in a league of their own. Again, what would YOU do under these circumstances? Confront or play elsewhere? As they say, ‘inquiring minds would like to know’….

III.

Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Allenisms

BTW (‘By the way’), during this politically – charged POTUS (‘President of the United States’) election season, bet you hoped you’d heard the last of the ACORN (‘A Completely Obsessive Really Nutty Person’) folk and MSMD (‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’) politicians.

But no, nothing much has changed, as WYSIWYG (‘What You See Is What You Get’) occupy elected offices from coast to coast, causing responsible citizens to complain, AWGTHTGTTA (‘Are We Going To Have To Go Through This Again’) WTSDS (‘Where The Sun Don’t Shine’)?

But hey, as an industry and realty asset class, we’ve had more than our fair share of image slams over the years. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have to face down acronyms like CRAP (‘Cheap Redundant Assorted Products’); NIMBY (‘Not In My Back Yard’) you don’t; LULU (‘Locally Unwanted Land Use’) around here; or the land planner’s ultimate put – down, BANANA (‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything’). However, when so many of our struggling homeowner/site lessees are SITCOM (‘Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage’) folk, DINK (‘Double Income No Kids’) retirees, even FWBs (Friends With Benefits’), we’ve gotta expect to take some flack at times.

Some abbreviations, like USP (‘Unique Selling Proposition’) and RSVP (‘Respondez Sil Vous Plait’) go back years and years and years; also ASAP (‘As Soon As Possible’), CEO & COO job titles, and not to forget KISS (‘Keep It Simple Stupid or Sweetheart’).

There’s even some old military abbreviations and acronyms, out and about in the business world these days: AWOL (‘Absent WithOut Leave’), MIA (‘Missing In Action’), KIA (‘Killed In Action’, now a brand of automobile), EOD (‘Explosive Ordnance Disposal’ or ‘End Of Day’ or ‘End of Discussion’), NAVY (‘Never Again Volunteer Yourself’), USMC (‘U Saw Me Coming’, or as Carolyn likes to opine, “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children’, and one that can’t be printed here), RHIP (‘Rank Has Its Privileges’), SNAFU (‘Situation Normal, All Fouled Up!’), SWAG (‘Strategic Wild Assed Guess’), and WILCO (‘Will Comply’), and more….

Present day, constant exposure to email writing shortcuts has been educational as well. I’m OK (‘OK’) with LOL (‘Laughing Out Loud’ – or is it ‘Lots of Love’?) and TNX (‘Thanks’); but FOFL (‘Falling On the Floor Laughing’) is a new to me, as is NRN (‘No Reply Necessary’), which I find myself using more and more. And then there’s CUL8R (‘See You Later’), and RU (‘Are You?’).

Remember GIGO (‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’) of ‘years gone by’, when computers were behemoths and not laptops? How ‘bout this latter day variation, BIBO or (‘Beer In, Beer Out’). Not quite the same.

By now, most blog floggers (readers) are familiar with my unique brand of abbreviating, and then using, industry terms. In general, we call’em Allenisms; and when relating to manufactured housing, MHAllenisms. Here’re a few of the common variants: MHIndustry (‘manufactured housing industry’), LLLCommunity (‘land lease lifestyle community’), MHRetailer (‘manufactured housing retailer’), MHInitiative® – you met this one earlier in this posting; and MOPHEAD, an acronym I use from time to time, to describe ‘manufactured housing opinion/editorials’. And there’re these two word bastardizations: manufRactured housing – used when describing a dumb, self – inflicted wound within our MHBusiness environs! Then there’s this title to a blog posting earlier this year: ‘MHI (‘MY’) MHARRvelous Dream for the MHIndustry!’ wherein I fantasized our two national Advocacy bodies would finally be getting along, and working together for the good of our entire industry. Not!

Had enough yet? How ‘bout the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh!’ label on the popular calculation worksheet, using AMI (Area Median Income) and or AGI (Annual Gross Income), to estimate ‘affordable’ and ‘risky’ Price Points for new and resale homes destined for in – LLLCommunity placement, or sited as land – and – home packages. Anyway, the first four letters are direct abbreviations of the words Affordable Housing & Housing Affordability. And ‘Uh Oh!’? Seems reasonable to cite the unfortunate exclamation one might expect from someone who’s bought more house, or signed on for a larger mortgage, than they can afford in ‘risky’ fashion, rather than with ‘affordability’ in mind. And there’s more to this story than meets the eye here. For a free copy of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’, again, just phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE.

Hey, here’s another way abbreviations, acronyms, and Allenisms can serve the manufactured housing industry and land lease lifestyle community asset class. Two abbreviations suggest this (tongue in cheek) ‘fight cheer’ of HBASTD & HITAKS! Goes something like this, “At 50,000 homes a year, we’ve ‘Hit Bottom And Started To Dig! our way out, as we ‘Hang In There And Keep Smiling’!

*****

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry,
The Land Lease Lifestyle Community Asset Class &
Affordable Housing Purists & Enthusiasts Nationwide
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

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