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Boston Globe Editorial on Manufactured and Modular Homes Solving Affordable Housing Crisis, Revisited

June 11th, 2016 No comments

In a Boston Globe  Editorial dated June 1, 2014, one of the nation’s largest newspapers’ digital edition carried the following article, which advocated for manufactured and modular housing to be used in their city.

We’ll share the entire column, under fair use guidelines, and then comment at the end.

Their headline and article (from their page linked here) is found below, between the — dashed lines.

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THE TERM “manufactured housing” tends to invoke a 65-by-12-foot mobile home plopped down in a trailer park. But the industry has evolved to the point that many housing units assembled in factories are indistinguishable in looks and quality from homes built on site. Multi-family, modular homes built to federal safety standards would look especially good in Boston neighborhoods where middle income people are increasingly priced out of the market. The modular building industry cites cost savings of 10 to 20 percent as compared to conventionally built homes. Those savings would open a lot of doors.

Last week, Mayor Walsh vowed to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the city’s chronic lack of middle-income housing. Many officials consider this housing problem to be biggest single threat to Massachusetts’ economy. At a time when manufacturing businesses are growing again, and even pillars of the knowledge economy require livable options for their back-office workers and support staff, the Boston area is almost totally unaffordable to the middle class. Subsidized-housing programs can only do so much. Walsh needs to look at market-driven solutions. A new zoning initiative to identify key spots in Boston neighborhoods for multi-unit developments would be a good start. But in seeking to drive down construction costs, manufactured housing must be encouraged, as well.

Traditionally, the building trades — which were formerly headed by Walsh himself — have pushed hard for so-called stick-built construction over less-expensive manufacturing techniques. Construction workers may well resent the sight of entire walls with doors and windows intact arriving in Allston, Hyde Park, Dorchester, or other Boston neighborhoods on flatbed trucks from out-of-state factories. But there is room for a workable compromise, and Walsh is in a good position to negotiate it: Manufactured homes could be built in Massachusetts factories with unionized labor. Then, as more area communities take advantage of the economies of scale, construction prices would drop even further. The need for new mid-priced units is vast throughout eastern Massachusetts; in the city of Boston itself, some 30,000 of them need to be produced over the next decade just to meet existing demands.

The Walsh administration, like the Menino administration before it, rightly worries that Boston is becoming a bifurcated city where the very rich live in market housing and the very poor live in subsidized units. And once that happens, much of the city’s character goes out the window. The South End, Charlestown, Back Bay, Fenway, and other northern sections of the city are considered beyond reach for families who are not prepared to spend at least $3,500 in rent. In downtown Boston, according to a recent analysis, a family earning $80,000 annually could afford just 1.7 percent of the homes sold.

The price of new housing can be reduced in two ways: By streamlining the approval process and reducing the cost of construction. A concerted effort to rezone Boston’s neighborhoods would ensure that local opposition to multi-unit developments would be resolved before the projects are actually on the table, greatly reducing delays and giving developers and the banks who finance them far greater certainty.

For their part, developers will have to utilize less-expensive construction techniques. Mid-rise construction, for example, is being used increasingly to alleviate housing shortages in cities with high housing costs. The new model calls for the construction of wood-frame, code-compliant buildings of up to five stories on a base of steel and concrete. Choosing wood over steel as the major structural material can represent savings of 10 percent or more in hard costs and significantly reduce construction times, according to industry analysts. And the framing technique is sufficiently versatile to allow for the construction of dozens of housing units on modestly sized sites.

In the early 20th century, triple deckers became the symbol of Boston’s striving middle class. The construction style maximized living space on small, rectangular lots. In the early 21st century, the new symbol of middle class housing could be modular homes or reasonably-priced condos and apartments built in wood-frame structures above retail outlets. It would help preserve middle-class life and keep Boston one of the nation’s most vibrant cities. ##

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I can’t get too deeply into Boston’s politics, the Globe’s editors will have a superior experience in their city than what I might offer, beyond saying that what they describe is rather common in many major U.S. cities. Union labor in often Democratically controlled cities chocking off the prefab/modular/manufactured home options are one reason why housing costs are so high.

But the Globe suggested a solution for that issue.

Land use – zoning related issues – are another factor that drives up housing costs.

While striving to navigate their own realities, the Boston Globe’s editors nailed a number of facts that ought to be carefully considered on this, the 40th anniversary of the birth of federally regulated manufactured housing.

As factory-built home industry pros know, today’s manufactured homes evolved from – but are not – the mobile homes of yesteryear.

Yet as the Globe’s editor’s wisely noted, many think of factory building in terms of those older trailers from roughly the 1930s to the 1950s, and the mobile homes from the 1950s to the mid 1970s. The video below illustrates that evolution, and the original article with that video is found linked here.

Others may have experienced only entry level manufactured housing, which while important to millions, ought to be understood as just one of the ways manufactured homes can be provided to the public, since residential style manufactured homes can rival the looks and quality of conventional housing for about half the price.

The Solution is Hiding in Plain Sight

In cities, suburbs and towns across America, there is a growing need for quality affordable living. Federally regulated and preemptive manufactured housing is an obvious solution for millions, and somewhat more costly modulars could work well in other municipal settings.

The false impressions about those off-site building construction options can be cleared up in part by sharing videos and stories, like those linked on this page and so many others that are found on MHLivingNews.com.

One example of an informed household – an engineer and his professional wife – who opted to buy a manufactured home – illustrates that the trailers of old have evolved, just as bag phones evolved into modern smart phones. See that video linked from the image below.

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Jerry McKibben is an engineer; he and his professional wife decided to buy a residential style manufactured home. That video interview can be seen at this link here, or by clicking the image above.

But other steps need to compliment videos. Factory tours along with tours through residential style neighborhoods that look like other houses but are built in a factory, all of those steps should be part of the process of making manufactured homes the acceptable and embraced choice by home seekers and public officials alike.

Until manufactured housing professionals – in concert with the public officials, housing professionals, forward thinking MH industry leaders and a public that needs to be exposed to the wonders of today’s manufactured housing – pull together and act, tens of billions in economic opportunity are being lost every year.

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Those opportunities would create good jobs, as the Boston Globe correctly points out. It could reduce the pressures on subsidized housing programs too.

Embracing the manufactured and modular home systems of building can restore the American Dream of home ownership that is appealing, eco-friendly and affordable. May the Boston Globe’s thoughtful column cause others across the nation to give this issue some serious thought that leads to action that yields mutual victories for all involved. ##

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L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. Tony Kovach is nation’s leading publisher, consultant, trainer and expert witness leading to the rebirth of safe, appealing, affordable and eco-friendly modern manufactured homes.  Tony is a proud part of the team that publishes MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com, divisions of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.

Comparing Manufactured Home Apples to Conventional Housing Apples

March 17th, 2015 1 comment

As the professionals, it is up to us to help frame the housing conversation in ways that showcase the appeal and value of modern manufactured homes.  All too often, I hear MHPros repeat things their customers are saying to them.  Don’t get me wrong, we need to LISTEN to what they have to say.  But that doesn’t mean we have to accept their viewpoint, when they have the facts out of whack.  When that happens, that suggests many pros need to step back and take a fresh look at the pro/home shopper dialogue and how it should be structured or re-framed. 

When someone is comparing a 30 year old foreclosure with a brand new MH, how is that anything but apples and oranges? 

Take a look at this new video and story, linked here.  It may help you and your team re-imagine how MH ought to be sold, so that sales will grow!

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SuperCharged Manufactured and Modular Home Marketing and Sales!  

Coming to Tunica? We will be discussing how you can Super Charge your Marketing and Sales!

MHPros from coast to coast will be there.  See why our seminar attendees and clients rate us 4 or 5 out of 5 stars.  See why one client’s trainees recently rates our user and customer friendly approach an 11, with ten being the best.  Please stop by the business building  seminars, our booth #73 or catch me among the homes or exhibits! ##

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By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Who Kicked Your Cat?

July 24th, 2014 No comments

Zig Ziglar continues to teach and inspire me, even after passing onto his eternal reward. We all encounter people, personally and professionally, whose attitude is clearly off. At such times, it is wise to be patient and to ask or reflect on Zig's question, “Who kicked your cat?”

The person doesn't even have to be a pet owner for this to apply. The cat is a metaphor for something someone cares about, and that something has been “kicked” or injured, and so the person with 'the kicked cat' isn't in a good mood! The possible causes are many, and often may have nothing to do with you.

Image-credit = biggsuccess-posted-on-mhpronews-com

Image credit = biggsuccess.

On the consulting and training sides of our operation, we are big believers in positive attitude, but also for tuning in to what the prospect is thinking or feeling. Selling isn't manipulation! At its best, selling is the noble process allowing your or a colleague to successfully engage a person to best determine the prospects needs and abilities, and then professionally guide them to the best options that fit. If you've done your job well, the customer isn't so much 'sold,' as they buy.

If the prospect or the person you are meeting or talking with is in a foul mood, think, what is the cause?

To do that professionally, you have to be focused more on them than on you. When you note that someone is in a foul or off mood, it's best to think HALTS. HALTS describes the routine causes for someone being 'off.'

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired
  • Sick/Stressed

Once you discover which of these HALTS factors may be upsetting the balance for yourself or another, it is easier to address and thus get on with the tasks at hand.

people often say that motivation doesnt last well neither does bathing, which is why we recommend it daily - zig ziglar-posted-cuttingedgeblog-mhpronews-com

Photo credit, ZigZiglar.com – graphic  © 2014 by MHProNews.com.

Professionals need daily motivation. Who says? Zig Ziglar, who inspired tens of thousands to do more, including our industry's legend, Jim Clayton! We provide that motivation in articles by Ziglar himself, by thoughtful, successful professionals such as Tim Connor, or by submissions by myself or a number of others to our industry leading motivational module, our free INspirations blog.

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Still by ManufacturedHomes.com – poster © 2014 by MHProNews.com.

I've said it before, and will do so again. Let me recommend that you keep your team informed daily on their industry and on better ways to present the great stories about manufactured and modular homes! 15 minutes a day is the minimum you and your team should be on this site, and 7 minutes daily on MHLivingNews.com. At the end of a year, don't be surprised when you find that your team is doing so much more than they ever did before; and have a better 'can-do' mindset too.

FYI, when you need a corporate or association speaker, marketing, a sales coach or trainer, you can contact me at the phone or email below. If I can't help you, I'll point you to others if needed.

Your-Business-Sign

What's your best investment?
If you don't answer your career or your business, think again.
Which do you have more influence over, your business, or someone else's?

Growth happens because you invest time and resources in yourself and your people. Who says? Ask the legends, almost all of them would agree that applied knowledge is powerful and profitable. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Memorable Destination and Launching Pad

February 23rd, 2013 1 comment

What if your business became a desired destination? Or what if your location was viewed as 'a launching pad' for fun and adventure? Have you ever heard about selling the sizzle, instead of the steak?

As an example, in my recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the option of flying out of Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) or Milwaukee's MKE airport. I chose MKE – Mitchell – for a variety of reasons.

Airports are a destination as well as a via point to elsewhere. They have often become mini-malls and restaurant rows. MKE has added some elements of a museum, artwork and other interesting and fun features to make coming to their airport more desirable.

It started with Long Term Parking

Airport parking at MKE offers four primary options, my choice was the long term 'super saver' parking (a good 50% less than ORD). The shuttle driver appeared as if on cue. Robert, the driver in the photo, proceeded to entertain us all (7 or so on that ride) with riddles, directions, suggestions, humor and good service.

We learned Robert had a 96 out of of 100 on his last job evaluation. He was good, so I believe it! Robert enjoys what he does, and it showed.

When I got inside the terminal, I spotted a table tennis (ping pong, anyone?) table! Two college-age looking guys (Tate, left; Mark, right) were playing. It has been YEARS since I played.

But what the heck? If I lost, they'd never see me again! If I won…hmm…

…I asked to play the winner, who turned out to be Tate, who had won by 10 over his buddy Mark.

Since Tate was smoking me with even gentle serves and returns during the warm up, which lasted about 120 seconds, he showed the zeal of youth. "Are you warmed up enough?"

Sure, was my reply.

What did I have to lose?

My pin-holder grip, learned during my own college days from a South Korean student, has the occasional advantage of laying on some spin. The pin-holder is also pretty potent when a ball floated into smash position!

When I first walked up, it was only Tate, Mark and myself. But as the middle age guy – that was moi! – started to mount up the score, a small crowd gathered as we played…

By the end of the game, the once empty wall across from the PGA shop was lined with spectators. Tate was periodically muttering to himself about letting himself get 'shaken,' 'surprised' and such.

The final was 21 to 12, with the short guy in the hat (Tate, left; Tony, right) prevailing.

I asked one of those spectators to take the photo shown. Tate was a good sport, we shook hands and I yielded the table, not wanting to tempt fate (after all, Tate was closing the gap in the second half).

None of this would have happened at O'Hare!

So what is the point?

The point is this. I'm doing in this column what millions do daily on Facebook, Twitter, via email, text or verbally. Sharing the day's experience! Someone will read this someday, and will select flights out of MKE vs. ORD as a result of my story and photos.

The lesson? Make the experience with your company memorable!

If you retail manufactured or modular homes, make the experience of coming to your community, development or retail center a good one. No matter what they decide, let them have a good time while you strive to show them why your offer is the place they should call home.

Our businesses and homes are destinations. They can become the launching pad for fun for people! Make the experience memorable, and more people will beat a path to your door. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Pinterest

May 16th, 2012 1 comment

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Pinterest must already be worth billions. I recently signed up, and want to encourage you to sign up and/or pass the following on to all on your email lists.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

We can add to this, of course, this is a start.

The idea is simple. It can benefit what ever it is you do in manufactured housing. Here is how.

We show appealing photos and a bit of copy with an image that showcases what is good about the Manufactured Home LifeStyle. This isn't selling one company's homes – it is selling the lifestyle – which will lead people to retailers and communities over time, which will sell homes.

It is a soft sell, not a hard one.

There are links back to our new MHLivingNews.com site. As you know, this MHProNews.com site is for Business 2 Business professionals, so we really don't look for ANYONE outside of our Industry to jump in here (not hiding it, just keeping it focused on professionals).

The new MHLivingNews.comis different. We want people far and wide to see this site! Pinterest will be one way to get them there.

If you decide to do a Pinterest board, let me make a suggestion. Do something that will attract attention In Addition to manufactured homes. In my case, I used Chicago Botanic Gardens. I may add others interests later as time permits. But the point is that if someone likes the Gardens, and they end up on the board, they are likely to see what else that person – in this case me, but it could be thee! – is interested in.

When politicians are using Pinterest to connect with voters (and they are) on a personal level, it is one of millions of reasons for us to use this as a simple and free tool to showcase manufactured and modular homes. The more people see, the more they will get curious.

Drops of water over time will fill the bucket. We can't “pin” our hopes on that alone, but if we do some pinning along with other things like MHLivingNews.com, it will only help our Industry's image – and that will drive more sales and satisfaction.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

Please, check it out and pass the hotlink above along! ##

 

Post by
L. A. 'Tony' Kovach
www.MHProNews.com
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com or www.MHMSM.com
Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals

Office – 815-270-0500
latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

http://LATonyKovach.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle