National Model for LLLCommunities & Triple Threat

Blog # 248 Copyright 2013 2 June 2013

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’
&
Purpose. ‘A primary research, resources, & op/ed communication means for land lease lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide, plus, national advocacy awareness.’

I.

A Comprehensive National Trade Representation Model for Land Lease Lifestyle Communities of All Sizes!

II.

Triple Threat to the Manufactured Housing Industry

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I.

A Comprehensive National Trade Representation Model for Land Lease Lifestyle Communities of All Sizes!

Melding National ADVOCACY, Statistical RESEARCH, & Ongoing RESOURCE Servicing for LLLCommunity Owners/Operators Nationwide

You should be reading about this Grand Plan in Community Connections Newsletter. After all, the periodic communiqué ‘is the voice’ of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s, National Communities Council division. However, like MHI – which promotes only its’ events (e.g. Annual meeting @ 29 September – 1 October & NCC’s Fall Leadership Forum @ 16 – 18 October, leaving one to wonder, ‘why’ six other MHIndustry & LLLCommunity national and mega – regional events, occurring during the same time frame, are ignored) – the bimonthly newsletter rarely plows new ground, apparently preferring to preserve only its’ national Advocacy focus.

So, let’s describe the Grand Plan in the following paragraphs. For some, if not many, this is trade talk couched in terms of land lease lifestyle communities entering a whole New Era. Maybe so, maybe not. Depends on the aspirations and actions of property owners/operators, of all sizes, from all geographic regions of the U.S., and whether they’re MHI/NCC direct, dues – paying members, or not, or in search of something new, more and different. What follows here, in other words, is What Could Well Become How 50,000+/- LLLCommunties Come to be Represented and Served During the Years and Decades Ahead!

First a little history. It took more than 40 years of ‘little to no national advocacy representation’ and emerging ‘investment interest – per coming REIT wave – on the part of Wall Street’, to bring 19 (then) manufactured home community owners/operators together, in Indianapolis, IN., on 31 August 1993, for a Strategic Planning Meeting. There, and during subsequent meetings around the U.S., they ‘took collective (national advocacy) control of their future’! And 2 ½ years later, their ad hoc Industry Steering Committee was absorbed by MHI, to launch the National Communities Council (later, a full – fledge division) on 1 January 1996. Now, after 20 years, a half dozen staff executives, and one leaderless year, we’re today – still kinda stuck in first gear, as national Advocate for the real estate asset class. And as a related aside, 13 of the original 19 owners/operators are still active in the MHBusiness or have retired, one is deceased, and five have, evidently, moved onto other business interests.

Now for that Grand Plan to usher in a New Era for land lease lifestyle communities of all sizes – and their owners/operators nationwide! With strong and progressive leadership, we should be able to meld, within or without the present NCC structure, 1) present day national Advocacy, with 2) existing statistical Research and reporting, as well as 3) a plethora of print and online communication media, professional property management education and certification, regular interpersonal networking, and realty deal – making services, all existent on the ‘for profit’ side of the business.

Specifically, the Grand Plan is comprised of the following key parts:

• National ADVOCACY. Personnel and organization already in place ‘across the Potomac River’, from our nation’s capitol. No changes anticipated there.

• Statistical RESEARCH and reporting. Again, already existent (for the past 24 years), and easily transitioned to the Center for Manufactured Housing Studies or CMHS, if and when principals sit down and work out the details. This goes far beyond the ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators from Throughout North America!’), and includes annual updates to the National Registry of Realty Lenders (now includes chattel finance sources), as well as directories of freelance consultants, trade media, industry associations; for a total of 12 Signature Series Resource Documents.

• Print & online COMMUNICATION media. This is almost a ‘no brainer’. In the three Words of the oft referenced Success Formula, there’s a very Capable, industry Experienced, highly Motivated wordsmith ‘waiting in the wings for a curtain call’, so to speak, to continue and improve on the print (two subscriber – supported monthly business newsletters) and online communication media already in place! (And we’re not talking about me)

• Professional Property Management EDUCATION & CERTIFICATION. Once again, the Manufactured Housing Manager® program, is already ‘up and running’, with nearly 1,000 MHM®s owning and operating LLLCommunities throughout the U.S. and Canada. And frankly, there are ‘more than enough’ Certified Property Manager® members of the prestigious Institute of Property Management® (nearly 200), active in the realty asset class today, to easily staff and teach this one day program in – house for property portfolio firms, when hosted by state MHAssociations, even via the correspondence course alternative.

• Regular interpersonal NETWORKING opportunities too, already exist. There’s a one day Forum in the Spring of every year, followed by a 2 ½ day Roundtable in the Fall, plus periodic FOCUS Groups comprised of LLLCommunity ‘owners only’, who meet on – site in property clubhouses, to openly – but – confidentially discuss topics of their choosing. And again, there’s staff already in place to consolidate and plan these ongoing events.

• Realty DEAL – MAKING OPPORTUNITIES. While a function of interpersonal networking, the annual Investor Symposium planned and hosted by one of the nation’s top real estate brokerages, sets the stage and launches the momentum that, reportedly, accounts for ¼ to 1/3 of the LLLCommunity ‘deals’ that take place during the following 12 months. Again, a function already in place and easily continued, under the right leadership. And don’t forget, there’s an exclusive, confidential data base, comprised of 500+/- portfolio owners/operators that’s exercised almost every month, at $1,000.00/access, for direct mail campaigns starting and growing, or marketing LLLCommunity portfolios – already in place!

So, there you have the key parts of this Grand Plan to usher in a New Era for land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, of all sizes, nationwide. Now, how do we get this melding ‘off the ground’, ‘up and running’, ‘benefitting all of us’?

I see it happening in three steps over a six to 12 month period. First, there has to be a change in attitude or faces, among elected and salaried MHIndustry leaders on the national scene. At present, there does not appear to be any interest in bringing together ADCOCACY, RESEARCH, & RESOURCES (to include communication, education/certification, networking, and deal – making) from outside their immediate sphere of influence – which at present appears to be dominated by a few large property portfolio ‘players’. How so? During the past two years, the three informal reasons I’ve been given are: 1) ‘Coming together’ (i.e. Grand Plan) will be too much work; 2) puts too much emphasis on one segment of the MHIndustry; and, well, 3) ‘We just can’t afford to do it right now.” My rejoinders? 1) You’re right, it will be too much work for one staff person, so subcontract out the Research and MHM® training, and hire that savvy staff writer. 2) So what? If LLLCommunities are ‘where the action is right now’, with their estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites to fill – then showcase them! And 3) The ‘more you offer, the more members – and their membership dollars, you’ll attract’! Plus, and this is important, the newsletters, formal networking events, MHM® program, and aforementioned exclusive/confidential 500+/- name data base, are not just self – sustaining, they’re all significant ‘money makers’! And so would be the ALLEN REPORT if not used as a ‘loss leader’ when selling subscriptions to the Allen Letter professional journal. Now what’re the excuses for moving ahead with a Grand Plan? This is why there has to be a major change in attitude or change in leadership ‘at the top’.

The second step – not necessarily sequentially, will be to sit the new leaders, or old leaders with enlightened attitudes, down with two dozen land lease lifestyle community owners/operators (a.k.a. LLLCommunity Pioneers) who’ve been meeting, off and on, during the past two years, to help craft a Grand Plan to usher in an exciting New Era in Advocacy, Research, Resources for their unique, income – producing property type! That’s where the ‘devil in the details’ part of this melding will likely come about – when such a meeting occurs, hopefully yet this year! Are our elected and salaried leaders listening?

The third step – and likely sequential, following the above – referenced meeting, will likely involve me spending part time (over three to six months) at whatever central location is identified where the Grand Plan will commence and take shape. Frankly, and maybe this is because we’ve carried this Research & Resources load for 33 years, I envision the New Era being ushered in at the behest, and with the efforts of, three key individuals, all knowledgeable and passionate about the LLLCommunity asset class: an administrator/coordinator, an excellent and very busy wordsmith, and someone handling the details of maintaining the data base, updating the half dozen directories, effecting meeting planning details, and staying in touch with subcontracted researchers and MHM® trainers.

Well, there it is, a Comprehensive National Trade Representation Model for Land Lease Lifestyle Communities of all sizes. Is that, as a LLLCommunity owner/operators, what you’d like to see on the national scene, ‘for thee and me’, going forward? Then YOU need to let your state MHAssociation, even national advocacy representatives know, and ask them to proceed with steps number one and two!

If you’d like to input me, regarding your thoughts, reactions, ideas, critique, etc., regarding this Grand Plan to bring about a New Era for our property type, of all sizes, nationwide, reach me via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633.4764. Looking forward to hearing from you. Even more so, I await a call from the national advocacy people who can make this happen – if they truly want to do so. GFA

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II.

Triple Threat to the Manufactured Housing Industry

REMINDER. This timely threefold topic, of national importance, has been hinted at for weeks, and was described – but – not – fully parsed in last week’s blog posting at this website (Go ahead, scroll back thru the blog archive and bring yourself up to speed). The Triple Threat will covered in detail on 13 June 2013, at a luncheon meeting of the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association, in Urbana, IL., And it’ll be summarized in the July issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter, as well as August issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. If need be, it’ll be one of the prime topics of conversation at the Friday afternoon Open Discussion concluding the 22nd International Networking Roundtable in Bloomingdale, IL.

As you’ll likely recall, This Triple Threat to the MHIndustry, has to do with

• the faux shortage of chattel (personal property) capital, via independent third party lenders, to finance home transactions within land lease lifestyle communities….

• Uniform Law Commission’s (July 2012) Uniform Manufactured Housing Act, denigrating ‘vehicle titles’ for (eventually all) manufactured homes, as a means to secure new sources of less risky home finance capital. Tax consequences?

• Covert efforts to supplant HUD as federal regulator of what we know today as HUD – Code manufactured housing, in lieu of ‘another regulator’, one likely with its’ own (assuredly NOT ‘affordable housing’) lobbying agenda in hand.

With that said, one of the faithful readers and responders to this five year private blogging undertaking, offered this meaty commentary to last week’s posting:

“I THINK IT IS WONDERFUL… (for the manufactured housing industry)… “to acknowledge our paradigm has already shifted, and it is time to plan for tomorrow instead of letting government decide for us. Keep it up sir, we need to let go of yesterday!” (emphasis added. GFA)

Assuming for the moment our writer is correct, about the ‘cattle having already left the barn’, presumably for greener pastures (i.e. ‘no more chattel $ for the MHIndustry’, ‘no more vehicle titles for manufactured homes’, & ‘no more HUD overseeing the MHIndustry’), IS and WILL this threefold paradigm change be GOOD or BAD for the Business Model by which many of us live and work today? ME? I’m not sure I agree, in the first instance, with the writer’s posit. I darn sure hope there’s more Title I capital out there that’s more readily accessible to our prospective homebuyers/site lessees. Furthermore; where does housing ‘affordability’ go, when LLLCommunity site lessees (homeowners) pay taxes on their homes as realty? And ol HUD? I’m not a fan of their ‘benign neglect’ (i.e. ‘not promoting’) of manufactured housing as this nation’s premier source of nonsubsidized, affordable housing – all the while they’re enforcing the HUD building code where the housing product is concerned.

YES, all this warrants and deserves further thought….By the way, if you want to ‘get into’ this Triple Threat to the MHIndustry firsthand, phone (217) 528-3423 to register! I’ll be pleased to see you there, and engaged in this timely and critical discussion of our industry’s very future!

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

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